“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” – Aldous Huxley
A remarkable portrait of our contemporary world appeared two months ago with the daunting title : “Decline, Decay, Denial, Delusion and Despair”, but the content is surely true to life. Starting from a street scene to be found no doubt all over the eastern United States, the author concludes that within 15 years an Orwellian dictatorship will descend upon his country as the unwanted effect of wanted causes. But the USA is not typical of the whole world ? The whole world is buying into the American way of life. “Let the buyer beware”!
This autumn in the streets of Wildwood, New Jersey, the author observed pavements encumbered with a host of heavily overweight men and women under 50 years of age rolling around town on government-subsidized mobility scooters to visit one fast-food joint after another in order to gorge on sugar-laden goodies which would give their latest model scooters more work than ever. His amusing name for them ? – “The weight-challenged disabled on their powered mobility enhancement vehicles.” Such is the flight from reality of “political correctness” and its language.
The author seeks causes for this tragic-comic effect : how can the American people that once saved 12% of their income have been persuaded to frighten the obesity statistics off the end of the charts with a debt-laden, sugar-sodden way of life, with no more savings for themselves and with an unbearable burden of debt being bequeathed to their children and grand-children ? Of course there is a lack of self-control on their part, he says, but there must be something more sinister, some mind behind such a mindless scene. He says the mass of citizens are being manipulated by an invisible government that has mastered the modern techniques of mass manipulation.
He quotes a pioneer of these masters from the 1920’s, Edward Bernays: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the masses is an important element in democratic society… Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society… Whether in politics, business, social conduct or ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.” They are “the true ruling power of the country,” and they “pull the wires which control the public mind.” For what purpose ? For their own wealth and power.
It is they who have organized today’s financial and economic crisis for their own benefit. They have “wrecked the world economy… shifted their worthless debt onto the backs of taxpayers and unborn generations, thrown senior citizens and savers under the bus by stealing $400 billion per year of interest from them, and enriched themselves with bubble-level profits and bonus payments.” And when the plug has to be pulled on this unsustainable way of life, then our invisible masters have prepared for us a 1984 “dictatorship of tears” with militarized police with millions of bullets, surveillance cameras and drones everywhere, imprisonment without charges and so on and so on. Yet, says the author, it is the citizens’ own fault who have preferred ignorance to truth, sickness to health, media lies to critical thinking, security to liberty.
There is only one thing lacking to this admirable analysis: could our governing elite have run so wild, or our masses have turned so dumb, if either had retained the least sense of a God who judges us all at death, according to Ten Commandments ? Of course not. Catholics, wake up !
Kyrie eleison. Bishop Richard Williamson
Well the Season of Greed and Avarice is upon us.
Why has the celebration of the birth of Christ been adulterated to such an extent that we act as if we are deserving of so much more on His Birthday than he had?
Christ “so loved poverty that He chose for His mother not a rich and powerful queen, but a poor and humble Virgin. He willed to be born, not in a palace, but in a bleak stable, the manger of which, covered with a little straw, was His only couch.” – The Sinner’s Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.
Where did it all go wrong? The West’s wealth and love of money is unprecedented historically. We are told that capitalism is the best economic system but what happens when capitalism is devoid of morality and a sense of responsibility to our children and our future?
Personal greed and corporate greed have transformed capitalism. Corporate America panders to our base nature. It seeks out the latest, coolest, hippest and ultimately the lowest elements of our culture, repackages them, and seduces our senses, our children, and our pocketbooks.
The “hipsters” behind the scenes of what’s cool push the envelope on every front. They turn their decadent, sex-obsessed minds on our children and assume them to be of like ilk. They assume the average male is a vulgar, adolescent, frat-boy, who delights in toilet-humor, sex jokes and freaky stunts. They imagine the average female to be a shop-a-holic, vain, sex-kitten, who longs to throw off the confining chains of parents, husband and or children. The imagined male and female become reality when they are fed constant rebellion, entertainment, and not only sex, but “taboo” sex.
We exalt in arising at 4:30 a.m. on the biggest shopping day of the year to acquire, accumulate and acquiesce to this culture. The corporations that exploit Christmas also exploit our thirst for human respect. After all, if we opt out of the spending and gift-giving mania, we are uncharitable scrooges and our friends and family may think we have become religious fanatics. When we could use the season to counter the culture’s notion of Christ, we instead capitulate.
Why this obsession with the temporal? Where has our sense of the holy and eternal gone? Hillaire Belloc said of John Calvin and Calvinism, “In denying the efficacy of good deeds and of the human will, and abnegations, in leaving on one side as useless all the doctrine and tradition of Holy Poverty, Calvin opened the door to the domination of the mind by money. St Thomas had said it centuries before–that if men abandoned the idea of God as the supreme good they would tend to replace Him…[with]…material wealth” as the supreme good.” -Hillaire Belloc, The Crisis of Civilization.
If Calvin was right and our good deeds have no effect on our salvation, and, furthermore that we are predestined by the Divine Will to such an extent that man’s free will is nullified, then one can see how man could easily be consumed by temporal matters, and conversely ignore matters of the eternal. Why be so foolish as to forego the world’s glitter and glamour if there is no eternal consequence to partaking in it?
“Man cannot freely rise to God and the contemplation of His beauty while he is breathless in pursuit of riches. A heart filled with material and earthly pleasures can never know spiritual and divine joys. No it is impossible to unite what is false with what is true; what is spiritual with what is carnal; what is temporal with what is eternal; they can never dwell together in one heart.” -The Sinner’s Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.
Likewise man cannot truly appreciate the gravity of Christ’s birth when we engage in the world’s notion of Christmas which amounts to idolatry and worship of the golden calf. God requires good deeds of His people and our actions will have consequences. We must not partake in the corruption of Christ’s birthday.
“Riches are acquired only at the expense of pain and labor; they are preserved only by care and anxiety; and they are never lost without bitter vexation and grief. But worse than this, they are rarely accumulated without offence against God…”. -The Sinner’s Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.
Thou shalt not give any of thy seed to be consecrated to the idol Moloch, nor defile the name of thy God. I am the Lord. Lv:18:21: 21
A Planned Parenthood affiliate’s newest president and CEO said in an official statement that she regards her work for the biggest abortion business in America to be a holy profession.
Melaney Linton, who will now oversee Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, is determined to further the Life-ending work of Planned Parenthood:
“I am honored and humbled to be entrusted with such a sacred duty…I pledge to do everything in my power to fight back against the ideological attacks on Planned Parenthood and women, so that no teen will ever say she didn’t know how she got pregnant, no one will ever be denied basic reproductive health care, and no woman will ever be forced to bear children she cannot adequately support.”
Starting March 1st, Linton will manage 13 abortion and abortion-referring centers in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, as well as the largest abortion mill in America, located in Houston, Texas.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast alone performed over 12,000 abortions in 2010 and banked over $17 million – 49 percent of which came from taxpayer dollars. Linton will succeed Peter Durkin, who earned over $200,000 in 2010 by performing this “sacred duty.”
Linton is mistaken when she calls her work “sacred.” There is nothing holy about extinguishing the lives of millions of unborn children as a way to line the company pocketbook. The new CEO vows to fight back against Life-affirming measures that have limited the abortion provider, because it cuts into the proceeds Planned Parenthood receives from every abortion committed.
Planned Parenthood, with their money-hungry abortion agenda, has lured women and young girls into their clinics with the promise of putting them first, but Planned Parenthood’s financial standing is all that matters to the abortion giant. The abortion business refuses to acknowledge the physical, mental, and emotional damage abortion causes, thus, abandoning women because they are no longer seen as a profit.
The Planned Parenthood abortion business is a multi-million dollar company which preys on women to drive up their bottom line. This government-sanctioned killing of children must be brought to an end. As members of the Pro-Life community, we are dedicated to ending the horror Linton and Planned Parenthood so fiercely defend. As long as Planned Parenthood remains devoted to ending innocent human life and committing these unjust moral atrocities, we are dedicated to severing the revenue stream that is responsible for the death of innocent unborn children.
There has been much discussion about the contribution of unethical behavior to our present economic circumstances. Whether it was borrowers’ lying on mortgage-applications or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s politically-driven lending policies, there seems to be some consciousness that non-economic factors played a role in facilitating what we already call the Great Recession.
Unfortunately evidence is emerging that some people have learned nothing. A recent report, for example, commissioned by the Wall Street Journal illustrates that “losses from mortgage fraud—ranging from falsified credit reports to identity theft—rose 17% last year after declining 57% in the two years after its 2006 peak.”
Of course wider adherence to ethical norms against lying and stealing won’t solve every economic problem. There are heavy technical dimensions to many economic dilemmas which require technical solutions. Nor does every policy-error constitute a moral failure.
Nevertheless those making economic decisions are human beings, and our virtues and vices do shape our purchasing, selling and policy choices. Many such virtues could be highlighted, but one needing extra-attention today is humility.
The word “humility” derives from the Latin humilitas. This in turn comes from humus which means earth or soil, but is also related to homō, meaning man. For the Greeks and Romans, the word underscored the idea that humans are not God or gods. Likewise for the Jews and early Christians, humility was about remembering that humans are fallible creatures who come from and return to the earth: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Some first millennium Christian writers, such as St. John Chrysostom, even described humility as the mother of the virtues, as it prevented vanity from corrupting every other virtue.
So how might a renewed embrace of humility help us to rethink our approach to contemporary economic life?
In the case of consumers, a good dose of humility might well encourage some acceptance that the meaning of life is not simple and is certainly not to be found in how many material things we possess, as important as wealth can be in helping us to live dignified lives. To this extent, greater humility might temper the “I-want-it-all-right-now” mentality that helped generate such high household-debt levels in America and Europe.
Likewise, businesses could benefit from a renewed appreciation of humility. The financial wizard the late Sir John Templeton once wrote that humility was crucial if business was to maintain the open-mindedness that is essential to successful entrepreneurship rather than rest upon their past glories. To this we might add the insight of another prominent entrepreneur, François Michelin, that humility helps business leaders in a market economy remember that the customers are the real masters. More humble business-leaders would also be less-inclined to succumb to the “Masters-of-the-Universe” hubris that helped destroy any number of banks in 2008.
Speaking of hubris, humility also has a role to play in encouraging mainstream economists to accept economics’ limits as a science and acknowledge that not everything about markets can be explained by mathematical models that were supposed to fail only once in a million years. As George Mason University professor of economics Russ Roberts has wisely observed, while “facts and evidence still matter”, economists “should face the evidence that we are no better today at predicting tomorrow than we were yesterday.”
But perhaps those who could do with the biggest bout of humility during recessions are politicians and governments. If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it is that governments should admit many economic problems are beyond their control, and that any claim by politicians to be able to “manage” trillion-dollar economies is arrogant nonsense.
Instead politicians should be modest enough to concede that (1) the seemingly disorderly process of market exchange resolves many challenges that governments cannot; and (2) government overreach invariably causes new problems. Here they would do well to read Adam Smith’s famous warning concerning the “man of system” who “is apt to be very wise in his own conceit, and is so often enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it.”
The fear of the Lord, the Bible says, is the beginning of wisdom. Contrary to received opinion, this verse has nothing to do with frightening people into religious belief. Instead it reminds each of us that we are not the center of the universe and that the sooner we grasp this, the wiser our choices will be. All of us—consumers, business-leaders, and politicians—need to be sufficiently humble to reassess our actions in a time of recession, acknowledge our errors, and then live out the necessary correctives.
To this extent, the virtue of humility may well be a key to understanding our pre-recessionary past and a way of illuminating our path to a better and more economically-prosperous future.