The Easy Chair: Talks & Round Table Discussions
Weather; Population; Merill Lynch Scandal; Revolutions; Irrelevancy; Poetry; Aims of Chalcedon
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:03 This is R.J. Rushdoony. Easy chair number 20, March … or rather June eight 1982. Before I get on to some of the main subjects of our discussion today, I’d like to pass on a few items from a private news service for California farmers, John Taylor’s Crop News.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:34 This item on the weather I think is of interest to all of us. I quote, the next five winters may be among the coldest and snowiest in America’s history, according to science writer Lowell Ponte. If this works out, it could bring reduced harvests in the U.S. and could send food prices soaring. There are three forces converging to chill the Norther Hemisphere during the next five years.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:02 Our sun is giving one tenth of a percent less energy than in 1980. That year marked the peak of the 11 point four year sunspot cycle. The bottom of the cycle will come in 1986. There are two other concerns. one is the year’s snowfall. The snow reflects away sunshine that otherwise would warm the soil. The second is a volcanic cloud from Mexico, which will remain over the hemisphere for the next five years. It will block some sunlight and it is estimated it will chill the northern half of the planet by at least one degree Fahrenheit.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:40 The last ice age between the 15th and the 17th century occurred when the earth’s temperature fell about three degrees, shortening growing seasons.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:53 Well, we’re already seeing the difference in the weather in many parts of the country and certainly here, where except for last night, the nights have usually been in the 30s.
R.J. Rushdoony: 02:06 Then this item I think is of interest. Again, in John Taylor’s Crop News. Those of us in World War Two, the big one, didn’t get too much recognition for the fighting. Pay was cheap and, when it was over, we got a letter of thanks, a ruptured duck emblem to wear in our buttonhole and that was about it.
R.J. Rushdoony: 02:29 Iraq, locked in battle with Iran, a war they are now losing, offers a much better deal to their fighting men. Each officer, for instance, gets a new automobile. Relatives of soldiers killed in action are compensated even more generously with a 45,000 cash grant and a $10,000 housing loan and a new car.
R.J. Rushdoony: 02:52 Well, I think the sad fact is that instead of increasing the pay of our servicemen over the past 10 years, we have actually decreased it.
R.J. Rushdoony: 03:04 Another item from John Taylor’s Crop news. This is quoted from a San Francisco paper. It was a hot day up near Calistoga, so a motel owner brought some Coors beer for the union carpenters working on the remodeling job. They turned it down, Coors allegedly being anti-union. Then they noticed the nails he had bought were Japanese and refused to hammer them. So he checked the parking lot and fired every carpenter who had a Japanese car.
R.J. Rushdoony: 03:39 Then this, and this is of concern to various farm periodicals. Animal rights groups and vegetarians are uniting to try to impose their perspective on the rest of us. The groups included in this attempt to boycott various stores and restaurants are Fund for Animals, The American Anti-Vivisection Society, The Lawyers Animal Rights Coalition, American Vegetarians and Fruitarians Networks. They are providing speakers, one of which will tell you about plant and animal liberation, vegetarianism and why not to mow your lawn. They can make a lot of converts out of boys who would rather not mow the lawn.
R.J. Rushdoony: 04:41 Well, now to a very interesting item in R.E. McMaster’s The Reaper for May 21, 1982. I have called this publication to your interest before. It’s published 44 times a year for $225 from P.O. box three nine oh two six Phoenix, Arizona eight five oh six nine. It’s an economic report, which has some very interesting commentaries on the current scene as well. This item, I thought, was very interesting, especially so. I quote, Doctor David J. [Rodabaugh 00:05:31] associate professor of mathematics at the University of Missouri has used several different mathematical models to show that evolutionary-based population figures for the earth are totally unreasonable. In fact, using the work of evolutionists Boyce, [Deprima 00:05:49], and May, Doctor Rodabaugh has concluded that world’s population essentially grows exponentially until it reaches equilibrium. As population nears equilibrium, growth slows. Assuming that the earth’s population … a flood occurred 4,500 years ago and the repopulation of the earth began with eight people, we are only halfway to equilibrium. Rodabaugh’s work has been confirmed by studies with fish populations and various insects that naturally begin to level off at a certain density, even when there is plenty of food available.
R.J. Rushdoony: 06:29 World population began slowing in 1977, even while lifespans were increasing. Holland is twice as densely populated as India. But India is marked by economic poverty, squalor, and human misery while Holland, by contrast, is relatively prosperous with twice as many people. India’s population density is 400 people per square mile. Holland’s population density is 1,000 per square mile. India has more natural resources than Holland and a better growing climate, too. The logical conclusion is that religion, philosophy, habits, motivational structure and attitudes of people are the primary determinants of human conditions.
R.J. Rushdoony: 07:17 Doctor Colin G. Clark in June of 1980, speaking to a college audience in Santa [Paula 00:07:23] California said, “Even at present levels of agricultural science a properly cultivated world could support 10 times the present numbers on an American style diet,” unquote.
R.J. Rushdoony: 07:44 Now, something from columnist Ben Stein, who’s always a pleasure to read. In his column of Monday May 24, 1982 in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, he cites an experience that more than a few of you have reported to me. That’s why I’m reading it now. I quote, I tried to deposit my last advance for a book in my Merrill Lynch money market fund, laughingly called a cash management account. My account executive told me that I had to inscribe he deposit slip very carefully because there were many incompetent people working in the coding department at Merrill Lynch entering checks.
R.J. Rushdoony: 08:36 I encoded the check and the deposit slip. Sure enough, my deposit, about half of my total earnings for the year entirely disappeared from the Merrill Lynch radar screen. No one knew where it was for about five days. I became quite upset and called many people in the Merrill Lynch organization. To a man and woman, each person said that they money market funds, not only at Merrill Lynch, but at all brokerages are in chaos. The running of the funds requires so many computations which are performed by so many incompetent people that one account executive told me he alone had 500 customers with screwed up money market accounts.
R.J. Rushdoony: 09:22 Others said that a major scandal was brewing at Merrill Lynch and probably elsewhere. All of this comes under the heading of systems built by geniuses to be run by idiots. As society becomes ever more complex, the general level of education falls lower and lower. At some point, the line of rising complexity will cross the line of falling ability. At the point the United States will become a genuine banana republic. Anyone who has had to get a Mercedes fixed, dial long distance in West Los Angeles, get an addition built onto his house, book travel far in advance or get a washing machine repairman to come to his house will say that the lines have already been crossed and the bananas are already on the docks.
R.J. Rushdoony: 10:17 But let’s just shine it on, folks, and look at the wonderful, pink, glowing sunsets we’ve been having. Life is really only about 20 minutes long, and then it’s over, unquote.
R.J. Rushdoony: 10:31 Now to something a little more grim. In the Versailles meetings, the United States has been asking the European nations not to give aid to the Soviet Union. Of course, the same request could be made of us. A particular concern at the moment is the natural gas pipeline, which is being built to supply western Europe with natural gas. When this begins operation, the expectation is that a faltering and economically failing Soviet Union will be rescued. This is assuming that the pipeline doesn’t break down incessantly.
R.J. Rushdoony: 11:25 However, one man who has come out of the Soviet Union, Mikhail [Makarenko 00:11:33], spent 11 years inside the gulag and knows something about the natural gas pipeline. When asked in an interview by the Washington Times with Jeffrey St. John, a friend of Gus Eaton conducting the interview, what kind of labor will the Soviets employ if this proposed natural gas pipeline from Siberia to western Europe proceeds?
R.J. Rushdoony: 12:10 Answer, primarily prison labor. They will be the ones who will clear the forests, build the roads and the first living quarters for the more skilled specialists who will put the pipeline in place. So as in the past, it is going to be built over human bodies that will thaw this unlivable tundra through which the pipeline is to come.
R.J. Rushdoony: 12:34 Will this prison labor be political prisoners or ordinary criminals? All prisoners will be put to work on the project. Besides, it is very difficult to separate the two because in many labor camps, the prisoners are mixed together. Today in the Soviet Union, you have 2,000 camps and prison. 150 camps are for women and children, children under two years of age alone. Hundreds of other camps are for children from 11 to 18 years of age and many of these prisoners in the camps will be working on the pipelines.
R.J. Rushdoony: 13:12 Prisoners will be obliged to work in temperatures in the winter well below freezing. This will be intolerably cold, combined with Siberian winds. In the summertime, disease and insect-infested swamps also will be encountered.
R.J. Rushdoony: 13:34 The interview goes on to indicate that the prisoners die very quickly. They have a poor diet that leads to malnutrition. There is a high suicide rate. Many die in brawls and fights. Many die because of homosexual rape. That is to say sexual conditions are such in the camps that people are driven to suicide.
R.J. Rushdoony: 14:08 What are the economic goals of the Soviet in building this huge … or huge, I guess it should be, that’s a misprint, pipeline project? Answer, the main goal is hard currency. Even a small amount gained from a project has the green light and the highest priority in the Soviet Union. The fact is the pipeline will be built entirely with western credits and technology. The western specialists who will go the Soviet Union to work on the pipeline will not see anything. They are not going to see any slave labor. The Soviet system is so well adjusted to concealing such activities that no matter how many observers, diplomats, specialists and even spies the West sends into the country, they will see only what the Soviet Union wants them to see.
R.J. Rushdoony: 15:08 There’s much more to this interview. A very telling one. I’m afraid the West is not going to react with any concern to this matter. After all, how much concern have we shown for our own prisoners of war over the past decade or more? It is not likely that we will show much concern in this case.
R.J. Rushdoony: 15:34 I have off and on been dealing with the subject of revolution. I dealt very specifically with the matter of inflation, the breakdown of money and the fact of the failure of money as the precipitating cause of revolution. Now I’m going to go into the remote background of revolution. I shall begin with an unequivocal statement. Revolutions begin at the top.
R.J. Rushdoony: 16:12 Long after they have been initiated from the top, they hit the lower class man on the street, who begins to react to something begun generations and sometimes centuries before. Ideas do have consequences. The French Revolution began under Louis the 15th and the philosophes with their total cynicism about religion and all values. Marriage was turned into a mockery and on all sides there was the most flagrant kind of immorality and contempt of standards.
R.J. Rushdoony: 16:59 We’re all familiar, I think, with the old story, a true one, of Voltaire, who was discussing his skepticism and his agnosticism together with a group of his friends, when he shushed them all because his manservant was coming into the room with refreshments. He forbade them to say anything more on the subject until after the man left and then he gave his reason. He said, “Do you think I want him to think there is not God and not judgment? The man can murder me in my bed and rob me if he gets those ideas.” Well, in due time, the common man did get those ideas and the revolution became a possibility.
R.J. Rushdoony: 17:51 Now, before I go on, let me say with regard to France, one of the first things that the French Revolution and the Napoleonic regime, to a degree, proceeded to do was to break down all local self government. This meant the destruction, for example, of the Jewish ghettos. These were self governing enclaves within the various countries where Jewish law exclusively prevailed. The same was true out in the country. The villages, that parishes, governed themselves. Apart from a tax, which was paid to the central government, they had very little contact with Versailles. Very little contact with Paris. They governed themselves.
R.J. Rushdoony: 18:51 Now this local self government has been destroyed by every revolution because revolutions aim at centralization. The reason for this is that revolutions begin from the top. The ideal for those who begin revolutions is to bring all power and government into the hands of the figure or group of men at the very top.
R.J. Rushdoony: 19:25 Turning now to the Russian Revolution, we hear all too much about the student radicals, the campus groups, the Bolsheviks and the others. As a result, we are misled as to what the sources of the Russian Revolution were. The Russian Revolution began at the top with men, first of all, like Peter the Great. Peter the Great was a revolutionist. He wanted to take Western enlightenment, humanism, and overturn the old order of Russia. Another great figure that succeeded him in this was Catherine the Great. Catherine invited Western philosophes and humanist leaders of the Enlightenment to come there and instruct her court and her leaders so that in the ruling classes very early, the humanism of the Enlightenment was introduced and became their gospel.
R.J. Rushdoony: 20:39 Look at the Russian tsars over the centuries and you will find while there were some reactionaries, by and large the Russian tsars were the leaders of revolution. They were driving the country, not in the direction of more self government, more power on the ground level, more respect for the individual and his liberties, but in the direction of reorganizing the whole of society from the top in terms of Western liberal notions.
R.J. Rushdoony: 21:26 Of course, it let to their own destruction. Even as Louis the 16th was the victim of what had been done before him. Although he himself had some foolish liberal notions. So too Nicholas the second was the victim of what had happened before him.
R.J. Rushdoony: 21:50 Now let me cite one thing on which a few years back I did a Chalcedon Report. I think perhaps 10 years ago. Old Russia, as it developed education and began to open up the universities to the students of the Soviet Union, very quickly created a crisis for itself. That is, a crisis if you believe all problems are to be solved at the top. Now there were two groups in old Russia that were very much disliked for the simple fact that they were the managers. These were the Germans and the Jews. There were a fair number of Germans there that Catherine the Great and others had brought in.
R.J. Rushdoony: 22:46 Some of these were Lutherans. Some were Mennonites. Now, when a Russian nobleman wanted a good manager for his estates, he looked to a German or to a Jew. If he wanted someone to handle his finances or his investments, again he looked to the same two groups. This is why in time in the last century, in the 19th century into the 20th, the wrath of the common man was directed against these two groups because these two groups were the ones he dealt with primarily. They were the ones who managed things. They were the ones who controlled the economy on the huge estates.
R.J. Rushdoony: 23:42 As a result, people usually hate their bosses, especially if they themselves are expecting to get more than they’re entitled to. These two groups were chose precisely because of their abilities.
R.J. Rushdoony: 23:58 Now there was another complicating factor. Because of the emphasis in Jewish circles on education, which goes back to the Old Testament, the most literate group in old Russia was the Jews, the Jewish community. As a result, when the universities developed, a very large number of the students were Jewish. The tsars were trying to promote liberalism. They were trying to coax the Jew out of his traditionalism and the German out of his traditionalism. The universities were opened up to them.
R.J. Rushdoony: 24:43 Well, the immediate result was a preponderance of Jews in the universities. Among the Germans, the Mennonites did not go on to the universities. So it limited the number of Germans who did. So in no time at all, the Jews were a disproportionate number of the students and a disproportionate number of the civil servants. So the Russian monarchy was well on its way to being run and its bureaucracy by these Jewish ex-students.
R.J. Rushdoony: 25:26 Of course that create a great deal of bitterness and resentment. The result was, like all planners, like all centralized authority, the monarchy attempted to rectify this by controls from the top. So a quota system was introduced. The quota system said that the number of students to be admitted at the universities was to be in ratio to population. Well, that was an absurdity, of course, a monstrous absurdity, because the number of Tatar students likely to come around was perhaps one in a decade. Whereas the number of Jewish students was always going to be very high. The immediate impact of a quota system established to ensure fairness was gross unfairness. It did something immediately. It radicalized the Jewish students and the Jewish community from being an intensely conservative community both because of its old Orthodox background and also intensely conservative because it was a part of the bureaucracy now and hence had a vested interest in the regime. Suddenly, they were radicalized.
R.J. Rushdoony: 27:06 So the socialist movements found very good recruits among these young Jewish radicals who felt that the system was grossly unfair as indeed it was. I’m citing this because we are moving in the same direction here in this country and have been for the last 20 years. When by centralization you attempt to correct problems, you produce a distortion and you aggravate the problems.
R.J. Rushdoony: 27:40 At any rate, this was a part and parcel of the revolution conducted from the top by the tsars and their ministers. They were going to remake the old Russia. In the process, what they did was to teach the premises of Western liberalism and revolution to all the people. As a result, because of this essential liberal, humanistic, revolutionary impetus given to Russia by most of the tsars, it was soon imbibed by the people. After all, after a few centuries, you would expect that it would filter down. And it did filter down, even into the remote areas of Siberia.
R.J. Rushdoony: 28:44 I have in my hand a book published in the twenties by John Day. The author was a liberal of his day, as I recall it, Henry Kittredge Norton. The title, The Far Eastern Republic of Siberia. Most of you perhaps do not know that after the revolution, the old Russia split up into a number of republics. Then the Bolshevik regime gradually destroyed these, including the far eastern republic, which saw itself as a buffer state between the Far East and Russia.
R.J. Rushdoony: 29:40 Well, in this book, Norton, and his liberalism will come through in some of his statements, has this to say. The social demoralization is completed by the distorted idea of freedom which is abroad in the land. He’s talking now, by the way, about Siberia. Every man is a tovarisch, a comrade. This spirit is much less likely to find its expression in attempts to raise mortals to the skies than it is in efforts to pull angels down. The ideals of the Russian Revolution certainly look towards the lifting of the human level, but it is in practice inevitably resulting in the lowering of it.
R.J. Rushdoony: 30:27 You can see Norton’s liberalism here and his appreciation of the Russian Revolution. But to continue, in a land where all distinctions of class and quality have been abrogated by law and where there has been no time to reestablish them by custom, the enjoyment of any special privilege arouses instant resentment. Possessions beyond the average give rise to the determination, not that all should come into such possession, but that the one should be deprived of it. In America where some have automobiles and some have not, the social idealist holds out the promise of an automobile for every family.
R.J. Rushdoony: 31:11 In Russia, the cry is, no one should have automobiles. The leveling tendency is constantly downward. The result is a breakdown of all social control, other than governmental. Politeness, courtesy, even consideration have long since gone by the board. Even the things that the people of Anglo Saxon lands have long considered as rights receive scant attention in Siberia. Not legal rights, but social and customary rights are meant. If a man buys a first class ticket on a boat in England or America, he expects not only a first class cabin, but the enjoyment with other first class passengers exclusively of the saloon, dining room and other facilities that are designated first class.
R.J. Rushdoony: 32:00 In Siberia, he would be sorely disappointed. He would secure his first class cabin to be sure. Beyond this, however, he would share everything with the other comrades. First class saloon is far more airy and comfortable a place to lay one’s bed than the quarters provided for the third class passengers. The more enterprising of the third class passengers are quick to recognize this. All first class facilities are forthwith converted to third class use. Likewise, there is a tendency to sweep away all of the finer things of life in order that no man may be better than another. There is an underlying desire to level everything down, preparatory to building up the new civilization, which is to be based on universal equality.
R.J. Rushdoony: 32:51 Well, he goes on to speak of the demoralization and its effect on every aspect of the society. He says venereal diseases are one of the chief problems in Siberia, this in the days after the revolution. The Buryats and Mongols are almost without exception syphilitic. From them the evil influence is spread. Under the old regime, prostitution flourished. The Buryats and Mongols visited the licensed houses and left the disease, which was thus passed on to Russians. Then again, the civil war turned loose upon the country its worst elements. After it was ended, dispersed them again among the civil population. Thus raising the percentage of those inflicted with venereal diseases somewhat above the normal. And so on.
R.J. Rushdoony: 33:47 Well, what Norton points out is that the leveling tendency ended in a hatred of anything that would raise men above the ordinary. Moreover, the revolution, before it began, was so far reaching that it had affected the tribes, illiterate tribes of Siberia. They had all picked up these ideas. They all embraced the revolution, whether they fought for it, against it. In terms, so it’s basic social premises. Equality, which means essentially leveling, leveling any and everyone to the lowest common denominator.
R.J. Rushdoony: 34:47 This is why revolutions do not make any progress, because that leveling spirit remains. I began by saying that revolutions are begun at the top. You will recall that I cited the data dug up by Howard Philips of the Conservative Caucus and the data in the Conservative Digest, which I understand many of you sent for and found most illuminating, on how we are funding the left. That’s exactly what I’ve been talking about. Social revolution being promoted from the top down.
R.J. Rushdoony: 35:35 I do not believe there has been a single revolutionary movement in the past 30 years that has not been funded from the top here in the United States. Scarcely a one of any consequence, whether it was the Black Panthers or anyone else. These people received all kinds of grants, some directly from the federal government, others channeled through various foundations. The revolutionary forces have been created from the top down.
R.J. Rushdoony: 36:13 That includes ERA. That includes the homosexual movement and other similar movements. So we are working our way towards revolution. No question about it. This is not to say the revolution is going to come. It can be prevented if we as Christians are active in preventing it. One of the things we need to recognize about revolutionary groups, and by revolutionary groups, I mean establishments that are revolutionary, is that because they are at the top and are so smug in their concentration of power in their hands, they fail to appreciate what the realities of the world scene have become. As a result, they are consistently irrelevant in the basic issues of the day.
R.J. Rushdoony: 37:23 Incidentally, an interesting book illustrating irrelevance was published in 1980 by the Harvard University Press, Felix Gilbert’s The Pope, His Banker and Venice. The pope in question was Julius the second. Very remarkable pope, but deadly for the church in that he was more a cesar and a general than a vicar. Now at that time, Venice, the powerful state of Italy, was standing alone against the most powerful states of Europe. France, Germany, England and Spain were at war with Venice and they were concerned with attempting to overthrow that very powerful commercial state. In this situation, the papacy, which had been on the side of these other powers switched sides, offered a loan to Venice, and Italy was kept from further dismemberment.
R.J. Rushdoony: 38:45 But behind the scenes, there was a great deal of political byplay. Venice had a trade monopoly and a monopoly on all the Adriatic. It controlled the Adriatic. The pope wanted to break that monopoly. Venice wanted to retain it. The pope and his banker, Agostino Chigi, are also trying to corner the salt market and get a salt monopoly. So this was the situation.
R.J. Rushdoony: 39:26 Ironically, both the papacy and Venice were dealing with things that were very quickly to be a matter of the past. They were irrelevant to the world of their day and before too long, both Venice and the papacy were in sorry decline.
R.J. Rushdoony: 39:51 There was in both a moral decline. The author calls attention to the moral decline in Venice, and I quote, the recently appointed patriarch, Antonio [Ponterini 00:40:11] appeared in the [prigadi 00:40:14] and explained the disaster was a sign of God who had punished Venetians for their sins. He accused Venice of being a thoroughly amoral city. Nunneries served the sexual needs of the rich and powerful. Homosexuality was so widespread that female prostitutes had come to him complaining that they earned so little they had to exercise their profession into old age. When anyone was accused of such crimes, the magistrates closed their eyes and ears because they themselves behaved in the same way. People no longer came to confession. Whereas in previous years in the midst of Lent half of the population went to confession, this year chiefly pious old ladies and a few others had appeared. The patriarch ordered, therefore. That all ought to fast for three days, consuming only bread and water and that every evening in all the squares of Venice the priest should lead their parishioners in processions, chanting litanies and imploring God’s forgiveness.
R.J. Rushdoony: 41:23 Well, it did not work more than briefly. After a few days of religious fervor and penitence, Venice soon returned to its regular course. Venice was more interested in playing politics in terms of the categories of the past. As a result, because both the Vatican and Venice were living in terms of the past and seeking controls, Venice controlled the church to a great extent. That is, the church within Venice, controlled the Adriatic, had trade monopolies and the like. The Vatican wanted to get into the area of monopolies itself and was moving into politics in terms of that. Neither saw the future. Neither had any regard for the new conditions of Europe.
R.J. Rushdoony: 42:31 Italy, at that time by the way, was very wealthy and this was one reason why the other European powers were moving against Italy and against Venice.
R.J. Rushdoony: 42:44 Before I pass on, this little item tickled me. The banker, Chigi, who was a great one for banqueting. One of his most famous celebrations was his own wedding. He married his mistress after living together eight years and having four children. The pope himself presided at the wedding. But at any rate, this is said about the banquets. The banquets Chigi gave for the pope and visiting princes were famous for their magnificence. Ambassadors reported about them to their governments with admiration, tinted by only a little disgust, these were the feasts at which it was told that after each course the silver from which the guests had eaten was thrown into the River Tiber. It was also said that Chigi ordered nets placed below the surface of the water so that fishermen could collect the silver and return it to him the next morning. Nothing like being practical.
R.J. Rushdoony: 44:04 Well, now I’d like to share a few poems with you. The first is one by Louise Imogen Guiney and American poetess of the early years of this century, born in Boston in 1861 and died in England in 1920. The title of this one is The Wild Ride.
R.J. Rushdoony: 44:35 I hear in my heart, I hear its ominous pulses, all day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses. All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing. Let cowards and laggards fall back! But alert to the saddle weatherworn and abreast, go men of our galloping legion, with a stirrup-cup each to the lily of women that loves him.
R.J. Rushdoony: 44:59 The trail is through dolor and dread, over crags and morasses. There are shapes by the way, there are things that appall or entice us. What odds? We are Knights of the Grail, we are vowed to the riding. Thought’s self is a vanishing wing, and joy is a cobweb, and friendship a flower in the dust, and glory a sunbeam. Not here is our prize, nor, alas, after these our pursuing.
R.J. Rushdoony: 45:29 A dipping of plumes, a tear, a shake of the bridle, a passing salute to this world and her pitiful beauty. We hurry with never a word in the track of our fathers. I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses, all day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses, all night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing.
R.J. Rushdoony: 45:55 We spur to a land of no name, outracing the storm-wind. We leap to the infinite dark like sparks from the anvil. Thou leadest, oh God! All’s well with thy troopers that follow.
R.J. Rushdoony: 46:11 And now, in a totally different vein, a poem that some of you may know already, not as a poem, but as a folk ballad. It was written a good many years ago, early in this century by Badger Clark, who was born in 1883. But when he was a baby, he was taken to the Dakota Territory and spent the rest of his life in South Dakota. This poem, The Glory Trail, is sometimes know as High Chin Bob. If you’ve heard it sung because it most commonly is, it goes by the title of High Chin Bob. Many people have forgotten that it was written by Badger Clark and have just assumed that it is a folk song. Well, it was published in Badger Clark’s western poems, but it has passed out of his book into western lore. Now I think this poem, besides being delightful and very amusing, has a point to it that applies to modern politics. The title is The Glory Trail.
R.J. Rushdoony: 47:54 ‘Way high up the [Mokionies 00:47:57] among the mountain tops, a lion cleaned a yearling’s bones and licked his thankful chops. When on the picture who should ride, a-trippin’ down a slope, but High Chin Bob, with sinful pride and maverick hungry rope.
R.J. Rushdoony: 48:13 “Oh, glory be to me,” says he, “And fame’s unfading flowers! All meddling hands are far away. I ride my good top horse today and I’m top-rope of the Lazy J. Hi! kitty-cat, you’re ours!”
R.J. Rushdoony: 48:29 That lion licks his paw so brown and dreamed soft dreams of veal. And then the circlin’ loop swung down and roped him ’round his meal. He yowled quick fury to the world till all the hills yelled back. The top horse gave a snort and whirled and Bob caught up the slack.
R.J. Rushdoony: 48:49 “Oh, glory be to me,” laughs he. “We’ve hit the glory trail. No human man as I have read darst loop a raging lion’s head, nor ever horse could drag one dead until we told the tale.”
R.J. Rushdoony: 49:05 Way high up the Mokionies that top horse done his best, through whipping brush and rattling stones, from canyon floor to crest. But ever when Bob turned and hoped a limp remains to find, a red-eyed lion, belly roped but healthy, loped behind.
R.J. Rushdoony: 49:26 “Oh, glory be to me,” grunts he. “This glory trail is rough. Yet even till the judgment morn I’ll keep this dally ’round the horn, for never any hero born could stoop to holler nuff!”
R.J. Rushdoony: 49:44 Three suns had rode their circle home beyond the desert’s rim, and turned their star herds loose to roam the ranges high and dim. Yet up and down and round and cross Bob pounded, weak and wan, for pride still glued him to his horse and glory drove him on.
R.J. Rushdoony: 50:09 “Oh, glory be to me,” sighs he. “He can’t be drug to death, but now I know beyond a doubt them heroes I have read about was only fools that stuck it out to end of mortal breath.”
R.J. Rushdoony: 50:27 Way high up the Mokionies a prospect man did swear that moon dreams melted down his bones and hoisted up his hair. A ribby cow horse thundered by. A lion trailed along. A rider, gaunt but chin on high yelled out a crazy song. “Oh, glory be to me!” cries he, “And to my noble noose. Oh, stranger, tell my pards below I took a rampin’ dream in tow, and if I never lay him low, I’ll never turn him loose.”
R.J. Rushdoony: 51:07 Well, our politicians have roped a lion and they won’t let go. And so they’re in trouble.
R.J. Rushdoony: 51:23 Well, there’s much more I could share with you. Perhaps some other time I’ll take more time with some of these poems that I’m so partial to. But our time is approaching its finish. I do believe that we have some difficult days ahead to get back to the theme of revolution from the top. But what we as Christians must do is to start a revolution from the ground up, Christian reconstruction.
R.J. Rushdoony: 52:12 We need to recognize that the method that has been used by these bureaucrats and politicians is altogether wrong and it is destructive. Too often people seek to gain control of the top so they can accomplish the same thing. I believe this is altogether wrong. What we are trying to do here at Chalcedon is to reach people with a plan for the reconstruction of all society. One which beings on the ground level with what they do with their own life.
R.J. Rushdoony: 52:59 Now, one of the issues that I’ve often touched on, not only in the two volumes of the institutes, but in Tithing and Dominion and elsewhere, Politics of Guilt and Pity, for example, is the role of debt in society. How socially destructive it is. If you and I get out of debt, if you and I are financially responsible, if we operate not in terms of an unsound monetary policy, we institute a revolution. We institute a major revolution.
R.J. Rushdoony: 53:45 Various people have guessed at what would happen if, let us say, a given percentage of 10 or 15% of Americans lived debt free. I don’t know at what point it would begin to have a major impact, but there’s no question that it would because as I have pointed out more than once, inflation begins with larceny in the heart. No central government can make inflation work, unless the people themselves have larceny in the heart. The whole process grinds to a halt when people no longer have larceny in their heart, so that if we begin to change, then society has to change.
R.J. Rushdoony: 54:40 No one could’ve guessed when in the ’50s and early ’60s the Christian school movement began, what a revolutionary force it would be. It is that already. No one ever dreamed it could reach the point where it would be regarded as a threat to the public school movement and that the death of the public school movement would ever be in sight, but it is now.
R.J. Rushdoony: 55:08 It does not take long when a revolution begins from the bottom because then it is in the blood of the people. It is in their bones. It is their daily life. They live in terms of another faith and another principle. Now this is what Chalcedon’s about. This is why we write what we do. This is why we fight in the courts as we do. To stand by those that are persecuted. To us, this is basic. Therefore, our commitment is to godly reconstruction, beginning with you and with me.
R.J. Rushdoony: 55:53 Now, we are in the midst of that revolution, that reconstruction. So that I believe the forces that are working at the top are being progressively undercut. I believe their days are numbered because their policies are fallacious and will, in time, collapse. This means we must work all the more energetically to take up the slack, to fill the vacuum that is created by their collapse.
R.J. Rushdoony: 56:30 Christian reconstruction is our calling, it’s our ministry, it’s our belief. It means that it reorganizes not only the faith of a man, but his life, how he handles money, what his attitude is towards his work, and so on and on. Very soon, Chuck Wagoner will have, if they’re not already gray … Are they? Yes. Very good. The tapes of our Christian reconstruction conference in Seattle, Washington. I think you’ll find these most worthwhile. The text will be available in the next two journals probably. There are differences between the text and the spoken version, so they’re by no means identical.
R.J. Rushdoony: 57:27 I think you’ll find these of very great interest because they deal with the specifics. The Seattle conference dealt with the question of reconstruction in the area of economics. I think you’ll find it especially interesting. Douglas Kelly’s talks on the history of economics in the Western world and its practical application is exceptionally good.
R.J. Rushdoony: 58:02 Well, I think our time now is very nearly over. I have a number of things that I’m holding back till next time. Again, it’s been good to have this time with you and I’ll look forward to our next session together. Thank you.
Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder