The Easy Chair: Talks & Round Table Discussions

Episode 16

China; Photography; Paintings; Miquel Caldera; Power; Decay of Poetry


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:00 This is R.J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair Number 16. April 9, 1982. I’d like to start off today by speaking very briefly of an article in the April 1982 Harper’s Magazine. There is by the way, another article in this issue which is very bad, but most interesting. It is by Gene Lands and the title “Repealing the Enlightenment.” His point is of course that Arkansas with its law with regard to equal time for creationism and evolution was trying to repeal the Enlightenment.

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:49 At that point, I would say his article is perceptive. The rest of it is just bigotry directed at Creationism, but he is right in this. What we are trying to do is to repeal the Enlightenment because the Enlightenment enthroned humanism in Western culture.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:12 The article is of interest in this issue however is by Jame Kennison and the title is a very simple one. It is this. “China Stinks.” Kennison spent some time, almost a year in red China teaching at a university. He went there, he admits with a great deal of hope and expectation, believing that China might be the wave of the future. With faith in human nature, hope as he says, for a human future. But now that hope, he says, is far dimmer.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:58 In fact, he says, and I quote, “Our lives have been ripped raggedly in half.” Why? Because China was anything but the socialist wonderland and paradise he had anticipated. Everything that the socialist regime had done had worked together for evil. So much so that it is very hard for anyone who knew the Chinese to recognize the Chinese in his depiction.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:35 When I was a student I knew foreign students, Chinese students in particular. In fact, helped some of them with their English. Both voluntarily and at least with one student, for pay. As a graduate student, I worked for three years in San Francisco’s Chinatown as a youth missionary. The one thing that to me was notable about the Chinese character was its industriousness, and I’d have to add something else, a love for gambling. Because for Chinese, in terms of Buddhism and Toaism, chance is ultimate. They had a natural proclivity for games of chance. Tremendous appeal because chance being basic in their worldview, they naturally looked to a world of chance, a game of chance, as very important.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:53 They were hardworking, young and old, without exception. However, the author of “China Stinks,” Kennison finds no industriousness in Marxist China. He says that during the Cultural Revolution, working hard was criticized as bourgeois. Moreover, because Party members are seen by the people and bureaucrats as well as living in the very best apartments, eating the best food, getting the best cloth and having their clothing tailor made, they tend to get very upset because they see these bureaucrats doing next to nothing.

R.J. Rushdoony: 04:44 So the people have become accustomed to doing next to nothing themselves. Kennison was amazed at the protests of the students over what he regarded as very limited reading assignments. He found that because students could file anonymous protests against any faculty member and anyone could against another, these protests and gossips and rumors became a part of a permanent file. No professor was ready to risk the anger of the students and possible demerits from their anonymous letters to pressure them to study.

R.J. Rushdoony: 05:39 As a result, very little was done. University teachers were teaching two to eight hours a week with four about average and eight considered excessive. He found that the whole of life was geared to a similar level. So that productivity is very, very low. We’d have to add to that that throughout the Marxist world, the situation is not too different. Productivity is virtually at a dead level.

R.J. Rushdoony: 06:23 Moreover, he found that all the old characteristics of China have disappeared. The one real faith in the old China was ancestor worship and therefore respect for authority. The authority of the elderly who ruled in the family. Now old people get little respect. In fact, old people are shoved aside in the scramble for bus seats and are called with contempt, the waiting for death group.

R.J. Rushdoony: 07:06 The contempt for the elderly is very, very great. Now, Kennison says he is describing conditions in the portions of China that are open to foreigners. They are open because they are the best portions. So he says, the conditions in the rest of China are far, far worse. He says by way of conclusion that far from exaggerating, he has done quite the reverse. He has avoided telling many things that would be devastating because the episodes and examples could lead to tracing the source, and punishing the people involved.

R.J. Rushdoony: 08:08 His article is thus a very, very telling one and an important one. There is no productivity in the Marxist world. They are living off our productivity, because we are extending the credit to them. Now I’d like to go on to another book, not a new one, but I just read it recently. I found it most interesting. Not important, no necessarily good but some good points in it.

R.J. Rushdoony: 08:41 It is Susan Sontag’s book titled “On Photography,” published in 1973 and last reprinted in 1978. It was published by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux in New York. The interesting thing that Susan Sontag calls attention to is that photography has had a rather variable history. It began very early to see itself as another art, to attempt to portray the beautiful and to seek out those things to document that would show culture as clearly as possible.

R.J. Rushdoony: 09:42 By the 1930s, photography had become an instrument of propaganda, so that during the Depression, liberal to radical photographers used photography very heavily to give a rather warped or partial picture of what was going on. Having lived through the ’30s, and having been at the bottom of the barrel almost, economically in those days, I don’t think they are anything approaching what college and university students today tell me the Depression was like. They get a picture of hungry mobs in the streets, people on the brink of revolution and all kinds of preposterous horror stories that have little to do with reality.

R.J. Rushdoony: 10:49 But more important, from my perspective, is what Susan Sontag has to say about more recent photography. Photography since World War II. It has become anti-humanistic. It has steadily shown a contempt for man. Even in the photography of the nude for example, the idea is to show contours and forms and then as with some prominent photographers, to show a bell pepper, photographed in such a way as to indicate, look here are better forms in nature than you have in the human body.

R.J. Rushdoony: 11:42 Moreover, in one documentary after another, people are presented as scum, and the contempt of the photographer is very, very real. Thus, what was earlier a sentimental humanism, has given way Sontag says to anti-humanism, particularly in the 1970s. She has in the back of the book a number of very interesting statements about photography by prominent photographers. For example, Edward Weston is quoted as saying the following. “I have been photographing our toilet. That glossy enameled receptacle of extraordinary beauty. Here was every sensuous curve of the human figure divine, but minus the imperfections. Never did the Greeks reach a more significant consummation to their culture and it somehow reminded me forward movement of finely progressing contours, of the victory of [inaudible 00:13:04]Thrace”

R.J. Rushdoony: 13:07 She has lot more of that kind of nonsense in her book, but all in all, it’s very interesting. I’d like to add a note on this. She does speak of how photography instead of portraying things as they are, portrays reality as the photographer sees it. So that we see things when we look at past photography through the eyes of the photographer, what he has selected out of photography to show us. We can add more to that.

R.J. Rushdoony: 13:55 Photography is not necessarily true to life. There are many people who are very handsome or very beautiful and photography makes them look very poor indeed. I have in my hand a very interesting book by Nancy Cardoza, “Lucky Eyes and a High Heart: The Life of Maud Gonne.” Now Maud Gonne was one of the most influential women of her day.

R.J. Rushdoony: 14:34 She was an Irishwoman who inspired a generation of writers and poets. Even a man like George Bernard Shaw, always the satirist and cynic could wax lyrical about Maud Gonne. Someone like William Butler Yeats went into ecstasy over her beauty. She had a vast number of literary and non-literary figures very much in love with her. She commanded men with her beauty. Well, if you look at a photograph of Maud Gonne, you wonder, why anybody ever looked at her twice. Her beauty does not come through in photography.

R.J. Rushdoony: 15:26 So we have a woman who was almost like Helen of Troy in inspiring poets. Remember Marlowe’s famous lines on Helen of Troy, “Was this the face that launched 1000 ships?” Well, Maud Gonne, not even more enthusiastic treatment, to look at her in photographs, is not to see Maud Gonne. It is simply not to see her.

R.J. Rushdoony: 16:03 I know once in my student days when I was at the University of California at Berkeley I heard a lecturer refer to Maud Gonne and his glimpse of her some years previously. His eyes and voice lighted up at the thought of her. No photography of Maud Gonne would ever do that to anyone.

R.J. Rushdoony: 16:34 On the other side of the picture, I know, Dorothy and I know someone who is a very sweet and lovable person. No one would ever think of her as beautiful, but just aim any camera at her, and it is a startling experience to look at the picture. She looks like the most ravishing beauty imaginable. Her face somehow takes the light. It has the plains and all that somehow lead to very remarkable photography.

R.J. Rushdoony: 17:16 Well, I spoke about the anti-humanism of modern photography, to which Susan Sontag calls attention. The same is true in art. In art we have a contempt of man. A contempt of the image of God in man, a contempt of the human form. Picasso certainly, in his comments as well as in his art, ridiculed the human being and the human figure. The only time he ever painted a realistic picture of anyone was of his mistresses, when he first fell in love with them.

R.J. Rushdoony: 18:11 His disenchantment and dislike of them very quickly was reflected in his art, because they then became models for typical Picasso paintings and drawings. Now in painting, we have the same thing. A book of paintings was recently published. The artist is Mel Ramos. The title of the book is “Watercolors.” It was published in 1979 by Lancaster Miller. It’s most interesting because Ramos has done something subtly that Picasso did crudely.

R.J. Rushdoony: 19:02 Ramos painted a series of paintings of women, mostly in the nude, all of them in the same general positions as Modique Villani had painted his famous nudes many years ago. They are in a sense imitation of Modique Villani’s but with a difference. Modique Villani saw the women as beautiful. In some respects Ramos’ models are more beautiful but there’s always a subtle twist about the picture to make them somehow look repellent. In fact, one of the best of them, he titles, “You Get More Salami with Modique Villani” which gives you an idea of the kind of joke he considers the human body to be.

R.J. Rushdoony: 20:10 Thus the modern artist is in full scale revolution against humanism. His position is one of negation. It is anti-humanism. There’s no positive statement about it. So the titles are capricious. They are designed to be sufficiently pretentious at times, to con the prospective buyer or they are openly contemptuous like Ramos’ title “You Get More Salami with Modique Villani.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 20:54 Now to go to another subject. One of the very fine scholars on our mailing list is Phillip W. Powell, professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara. I believe Phillip Powell retired just recently. Some years ago, he wrote an excellent book, “The Tree of Hate: Propaganda and Prejudices Affecting United States Relations with the Hispanic World.” It was published in 1971 by Basic Books.

R.J. Rushdoony: 21:38 It is a book that should be reprinted. Perhaps someday we might have the funds to do so, because it is an important historical study. The whole point of it is that we have the Black Legend of Spanish mistreatment of Indians from the days of Columbus on. Now, supposedly, in terms of the thinking of many, this is one of the most purely ascertained facts of history. Very definitely we have a great deal of material on the ostensible mistreatment of Indians by a churchman, a Spanish bishop, Bartolommeo Las Casas.

R.J. Rushdoony: 22:41 But the fact is that while there were times when Indians were mistreated, by and large the Spanish policy from the early days was a very thoroughly thoughtful one, with more than a little concern for the Indians. In fact, the ironic fact is that some of this concern was a kind of liberal humanistic concern, and much of it was also Christian.

R.J. Rushdoony: 23:24 Why then the black legend? Well men like Bartolommeo Las Casas with a grudge against various administrators, with a liberal utopianism and with other reasons, began to slander viciously for their own reasons, the Spanish treatment of the Indians. In England, this was picked up by English propagandists who wanted to utilize anything that was anti-Spanish. The black legend passed into history. Protestants subsequently made very heavy use of it, and the myth remains.

R.J. Rushdoony: 24:18 In fact, the myth is so deeply ingrained that Powell’s book did not gain much notice and is now out of print. It should be re-printed. The fact is, whether or not you’re concerned about what people think of the Spanish, truth is truth. Certainly our own American past is full of myths and legends about how we treated many minority groups. Sometimes we did treat many badly, but our history is not the evil and unrelieved black picture that is so often portrayed. What I’m saying is, truth is important. Both the pro and the con.

R.J. Rushdoony: 25:19 We do need to have an honest picture of how the Spanish treated the Indians. It was not all Pizarros. In fact, Pizarro was an exception to the usual Spanish administrator. I’d like to spend a little time now in terms of that with a more recent book by Phillip Powell published by the University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1977. The title is, “Mexico’s Miguel Caldera: The Taming of America’s First Frontier, 1548-1597.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 26:12 This book by the way costs $14.95. This book is a most remarkable one, a dramatic story. Not only, very important history but exceptionally good reading. It has to do with the Chichimecas, the most primitive and the most deadly of the tribes in Mexico. The Chichimecas were hated by everyone before the Spaniards ever arrived. The Chichimeca term was given to them by the Aztecs, the Rascans and other peoples who called these particular peoples in the north of Mexico Chichimecas meaning dirty low-down dogs. So very obviously the Chichimecas did not give that name to themselves.

R.J. Rushdoony: 27:22 Now, the Spanish had a problem also with the Chichimecas. The Aztecs and others had, they could never tame them or bring them under their authority and so the Spaniards had the same problem. They were feared by all the other Indians and the Spanish very quickly had cause to fear them. Miguel Caldera’s father, Pedro Caldera, came from Castile. He was one of the conquistadors and he lived in the frontier country. We don’t know much about him.

R.J. Rushdoony: 28:20 Now his mother, Miguel Caldera’s was a captive girl, one of the Chichimeca peoples. So Miguel Caldera was half Chichimeca himself. The interesting thing is that in those days, if you were a male and you were illegitimate, many doors were closed to you. A good marriage was closed to you and you yourself could hold a very important position as Miguel Caldera did, but you could not marry into any of the good families. But if you were a girl and you were born of some sort of such union and illegitimate, with a sizeable dowry, you could marry into the best families.

R.J. Rushdoony: 29:21 As a result, Miguel Caldera was never able to make a marriage. He, however, became a leader of the military forces. In fact, the man who was in charge of a war for a generation, 40 years, trying to subjugate the Chichimecas. So here was a man who belonged to both worlds. His background through his mother was Chichimeca, one of the branches of the Chichimecas. His father, with the conquistadors, or the people of Castile.

R.J. Rushdoony: 30:11 Well the Chichimecas were a problem. They wore no clothing. They were stark naked as they lived and fought. They were very much given to cannibalism. Scalping and torture were a fine art with them. Their arrows were particularly telling. It was one area were they were superior, their technology with regard to bows and arrows was frightening to everyone else.

R.J. Rushdoony: 31:03 They exercised a great deal of inventiveness in the torture and mutilation of their captives. Let me read just one paragraph to avoid getting too grim, but to give you an idea. I quote, “Scalping was only a part of the total savagery that so appalled and scared the clothes wearers.” That is all the other peoples of Mexico.

R.J. Rushdoony: 31:35 “The Chichimeca warriors hacked or sliced off parts of the body, arms, legs, ears, genitals. One by one until the victim died. They stuffed the genitals into the victim’s mouth. They cut open the back and ripped out tendons for use in tying arrowheads to shafts. They slashed bellies to pull out entrails and scatter them through bushes and trees. They put captives to torture, while celebrating their [inaudible 00:32:06], nocturnal campfire orgies and rituals.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 32:11 They liked to take women and children as captives, only if they had sufficient strength to keep up with the wilderness wanderings of the Chichimecas. The very small children who could not keep up with this were killed by bashing their heads against rocks. Much more could be said, but I have no intention of getting too grim.

R.J. Rushdoony: 32:43 Now, the interesting part is this. Because the Chichimecas were stark naked, the liberals in Spain championed them. These obviously had to be innocent children of nature. So every campaign against the Chichimecas aroused a tremendous outrage among the liberals in Spain. Now mind you, this in the 1500s. So periodically or regularly there’d be such a protest that the funds for the military campaigns were cut back.

R.J. Rushdoony: 33:29 Then there would be a cry of outrage by the colonists in Mexico as well as the Indians of Mexico who were under Spanish rule. After all, their attitude was these people have eaten my father or mother, my wife, my husband, my brother, my sister or my children, and you mean to tell me that the administration back in Spain feels that they are dear, sweet, innocent children of nature?

R.J. Rushdoony: 34:07 The Spanish government was pulled this way and that between these two groups. The liberals in Spain and the people in Mexico who wanted to see the Chichimecas exterminated. Meanwhile, the Chichimecas were having a good time of it because with this kind of seesaw warfare, it was made to order for them. They could continue their depredations. They could extend them and the more that materials were sent, the more there was to raid, the more the army was pulled back, the more they could raid the colonists, and as a consequence, the Chichimecas were having a magnificent time of it. It was almost as though Spain were putting people there for them to rob, kill, rape and eat, and the army there to make sure it had plenty of supplies that they could raid and take periodically.

R.J. Rushdoony: 35:33 Well, Miguel Caldera tamed them finally. Seeing this seesaw pattern, he made it a policy to lose materials to them regularly. To allow them to capture all kinds of things such as clothing and food and other things. To get used to living on the kind of things that the Spanish troops lived on. Caldera figured that the best way to tame these people was to give them a taste for things that only the Spanish could supply.

R.J. Rushdoony: 36:19 Little by little, he got them to agree to various treaties. The condition of the treaties was that they would be supplied with all kinds of materials, because now they had a taste for them. Well, they would after a while, break the treaty, thinking they had a good sucker here in this man who was half Chichimeca, but he had forgotten, he’d never gotten the smarts of the Chichimecas.

R.J. Rushdoony: 36:51 But Miguel Caldera very patiently would sit down and make another treaty and give them a great many things, blankets and other things and in due time, these Chichimecas were weaned from their worst practices, and began to live in their areas a more settled and stable life. Miguel Caldera is one of the great men of Mexican history, but too much forgotten these days. The problem he faced is the kind of problem we face today.

R.J. Rushdoony: 37:34 The unrealistic promises of liberals, as against the grim facts of the world around us. This is a book that is good history. I wish Phillip Powell could, now that he’s retired, produce more works like these. He is a delightful person, by the way, to know as well.

R.J. Rushdoony: 38:12 Well, I’d like to refer very briefly to one or two other books, not to recommend them but just to comment on them. One of the more recent books is John Ehrlichman’s “Witness to Power: The Nixon Years.” It was published by Simon & Schuster in New York in 1982. It is a very interesting account because it is an uninhibited account of the men in power on both sides of the fence. It is not a popular book, I think partly because its account of the totally de-Christianized, amoral politics that prevails in Washington and the Supreme Court, in the FBI, in the administration, in Congress, among Republicans and Democrats, is devastating.

R.J. Rushdoony: 39:26 So, it’s a very revealing account, very important. It has had a bad press, and accused of being gossipy, but Erhlichman went to the notes which are now part of the government record that he had taken, day by day, and written his book in terms of that. Erhlichman by the way is not a conservative, so that he is not savaging his own kind. He’s dealing with everybody ostensibly conservative and liberal, rather bluntly.

R.J. Rushdoony: 40:12 Another books which like Erhlichman’s, is of interest but I’m not recommending it, is by Gary Wills, entitled “The Kennedy Imprisonment: A Meditation on Power.” This too was published in 1982. It’s an Atlantic Monthly Press book, published by Little, Brown & Company in Boston. The thesis is of course that the Kennedy’s have been dedicated to a lifestyle, a consistent form of self-deception and deceiving the public, and he says the Kennedy image became with John F. Kennedy, the opium of the intellectuals, so that the Kennedy’s and their use, or more accurately, misuse of power, their lies in general, distortions are now something that most liberals still feel compelled to defend and which are haunting Teddy Kennedy, because he cannot live up to the old Kennedy lifestyle and be a part of our world today. Yet he is trapped in the Kennedy syndrome.

R.J. Rushdoony: 41:52 This book too has gotten savage reviews. On reviewer speaks of Gary Wills as being motivated only by hatred. I think however there are some important things in both books, although they are not particularly good books. Now very briefly to another book, John L. Hammond, “The Politics of the Netherlands: Survival, Religion and American Voting Behavior,” published by Ablex, A-B-L-E-X publishing corporation, Norwood, New Jersey in 1979. Ablex’ address is 355 Chestnut Street in Norwood, New Jersey, 07648.

R.J. Rushdoony: 42:51 There is no price on the copy I have. Well, it’s a historical study of some merit. It deals with revivalism and its impact on America. There are some very interesting points. He calls attention to the fact that with Finney and Revivalism generally, the old Calvinism gave way to an emphasis on free will. This emphasis on free will led to a great deal of concern for man’s free will generally. It meant that abolitionism had a reasonably close connection to revivalism because if you believed in free will for man, you felt that any lack of freedom or ban anywhere was not acceptable.

R.J. Rushdoony: 44:14 Thus the revivalist movement did feed the abolitionist movement, quite extensively. Moreover, the revivalist movement held, as Hammond says and I quote, “The power to free to world of sin, clearly implied the duty to do so.” As a result, revivalism manifested a tremendous emphasis on changing the world around us. It led to social reforms in many forms.

R.J. Rushdoony: 45:02 However, in the process, something happened. As Hammond says, and I quote, “Finney made revivals a human product rather than a gift of grace, and taught that God required man to promote that.” Previously the revivals had been reformed, and the Calvinistic heritage had been predominant. Now with the Arminian emphasis, what man did became all important. This does not mean that Americans prior to that were Pietistic. Rather not only revivals but social reform became human products, not God’s grace saving man and then God’s word governing man as he faced the world, so that he was then required to conform the world to God’s word.

R.J. Rushdoony: 46:26 As a result, revivalism paved the way for the social gospel. Now Hammond does not go into that more than to hint at it. Other books have done that, because having stressed the will of man over grace, it followed logically that the will of man had to be the determining force in society, and logically the word of man had to be the determining force.

R.J. Rushdoony: 47:11 As a result, humanism was very definitely furthered by the revivalist movement because humanism of course stresses the word of man and the will of man. We have not yet had the final word on all the implications of revivalism and what it led to, but this book gives us another bit of evidence.

R.J. Rushdoony: 47:41 I’d like to turn now to a subject I dealt with previously. Do you remember last time I dealt with the decay of poetry in this century? Poetry was once a major literary form. Perhaps as influential an art form as any the world has known. Now it is irrelevant and virtually dead.

R.J. Rushdoony: 48:10 I pointed out that what had happened to the poets was that the world for them had become meaningless. As a result, there was nothing they could convey and so they retreated into an esoteric expression of nothing. To give you another glimpse of that kind of retreat, I’d like to deal with a poetess of the early years of this century, Helen Hoyt.

R.J. Rushdoony: 48:50 Her poetry too has this element. A very able woman, but her poetry was haunted by a feeling of death and the emptiness of life. Now any of you who have ever held a newborn baby know the marvelous sense of exultation and joy in new life, so the term newborn, both in terms of natural birth and spiritual birth, is one of the most beautiful in our language.

R.J. Rushdoony: 49:42 But this is what Helen Hoyt does with a poem she titles “The Newborn.” “I have heard them in the night, the cry of their fear because there is no light, because they do not hear familiar sounds and feel the familiar arms, and they wait alone. If they have never known danger or harm, what is their dread? This dark about their bed? That they are so lately come out of the dark womb, where they were safely kept. That blackness was good. And the silence of that solitude wherein they slept was kind. Where did they find knowledge of death? Caution of darkness and cold? These are the little new breaths and they have prudence so old?”

R.J. Rushdoony: 50:38 Now consider the mentality there. She sees the newborn baby as already with a dread of death. Another, “Rain at Night.” “Are you awake? Do you hear the rain, how rushingly it strikes upon the ground and on the roof and the wet windowpane? Sometimes I think it is a comfortable sound, making us feel how safe and snug we are. Closing us off in this dark away from the dark outside, the rest of the world seems dim tonight, mysterious and far. Oh there is no world left, only darkness, darkness stretching wide, and full of blind rains, immeasurable follow. How nothing must we seem unto this ancient thing. How nothing unto the earth and we so small. Oh wait, wait. Do you not feel my hands cling? One day it will be raining as it rains tonight, the same wind blow, raining and blowing on this house wherein we lie, but you and I, we shall not hear. We shall not ever know. Oh love I had forgot that we must die.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 52:15 And another one, again by Helen Hoyt, “Since I Have Felt the Sense of Death.” “Since I have felt the sense of death, since I have borne its dread, its fear, oh how my life has grown more dear, since I have felt the sense of death. Sorrows are good and cares are small, since I have known the loss of all. Since I have felt the sense of death and death forever at my side, oh how the world is opened wide, since I felt the sense of death. My hours are jewels that I spend, for I have seen the hour’s end. Since I have felt the sense of death, since I have looked on that black night, my inmost reign is fierce with light, since I have felt the sense of death. Oh dark that made my eyes to see, oh death that gave my life to me.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 53:19 But Helen Hoyt could not stay long with that mood. Briefly she felt that death and the closeness of death made her prize life more. But it only turned her against the best in life, because death was the ultimate meaning. So she wrote another poem, “Happiness Betrays Me.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 53:49 “Happiness Betrays Me. Happiness slays me. Sorrow was kind and loneliness was my sweet companion. Denial gave me good gifts. Now freedom is the bondage upon me and smoothness slackens my feet. I will find my way back to the thorns. I will find my way back again to the good thorns and steepness. Happiness betrays me. Happiness slays me.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 54:39 I think our generation has the spirit of Helen Hoyt in it. All you have to do is turn on TV and what do you see? Endless problems as though the one thing people want above all us, apparently is to immerse themselves in griefs and problems. Apparently they don’t feel the griefs and problems they have are enough. They’ve got to watch the daytime soaps with all their unhappiness and the nighttime soaps with all their happiness.

R.J. Rushdoony: 55:26 Life has to be a continual frustrating drama. Well, poetry did itself in. It destroyed itself with this mentality. So that today, poetry is an esoteric discipline, limited to a handful, little book published that very few people buy, outside of some libraries. Now I submit that just as poetry destroyed itself, so too humanism has been destroying itself. It cannot take happiness. It is suicidal. It is moving our entire world into a path of suicide, so that we live in a generation that has a will to death, a suicidal urge. Our foreign policy and our domestic policy, our literature, our day by day entertainment, is suicidal. That’s why I don’t find so much of TV entertaining.

R.J. Rushdoony: 56:52 I don’t like to subject myself to a lot of punishment and to me all that grim business is punishment. So, the Helen Hoyt of the early years of this century has many children today, all of them in a wild quest for death. so you have punk rock. You have narcotics. You have alcoholism. And all over the world a politics that moves to suicide and destruction. Well, our time is just about up. I am looking forward to our next session. I have material lined up for it already, so I’ll be with you again in two weeks. Thank you very much for your time.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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