Christianity and Middle-Earth

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Scouring of the Shire: George Soros Plays Sharkey

"The Elder Days are gone. The Middle Days are passing. The Younger Days are beginning. The time of the Elves is over, but our time is at hand: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see."

Saruman, FotR


No Admittance Between Sundown and Sunrise


Sharkey's persistent, if nothing else.
"George Soros told a carefully vetted gathering of 70 likeminded millionaires and billionaires last weekend that they must be patient if they want to realize long-term political and ideological yields from an expected massive investment in “startup” progressive think tanks (…) Rob Stein, a veteran of President Bill Clinton’s Commerce Department and of New York investment banking, convened the meeting of venture capitalists, left-leaning moneymen and a select few D.C. strategists on how to seed pro-Democratic think tanks, media outlets and leadership schools to compete with such entrenched conservative institutions as the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Leadership Institute."
From there—if you’d like an easy-to-grasp view of the goods on Mr. Soros—go to this related site and click on Discover the Network in the upper right-hand corner and follow the links to this Individual Profile.

(Yes, this is a conservative site, but, come, be logical—why would you expect the remoras that rely for sustenance on the Hungarian Sharkey to beach him? There are plenty of links to sources, so you can draw your own conclusions. The Visual Maps are particularly interesting.)

None of this surprises those of us who have been keeping even an occasional glance on Mr. Soros for any length of time, but for your delectation I offer these informative links for further insight on the prime financier of the Loonybiscuit Left:

George Soros and the Press
"One would think that our journalists, who profess a commitment to the Bill of Rights, would raise the alarm. But they're too busy filling out grant applications to the Soros Open Society Institute."
The Coming Crackdown on Blogging (via LGF)
"Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet."
~~~
’No!’ said Merry. ‘It’s no good “getting under cover”. That is just what people have been doing, and just what these ruffians like. They will simply come down on us in force, corner us, and then drive us out, or burn us in. No, we’ve got to do something at once!’

‘Do what?’ said Pippin.

‘Raise the Shire!’ said Merry. ‘Now! Wake all our people! They hate all this, you can see: all of them except perhaps one or two rascals, and a few fools that want to be important, but don’t at all understand what is really going on. But Shire-folk have been so comfortable so long, they don’t know what to do. They just want a match though, and they’ll go up in fire. The Chief’s Men must know that. They’ll try to stamp on us and put us out quick. We’ve only got a very short time.’
~~~

The Greatest Investors: George Soros
"A highly respected currency speculator, he once shorted the British Pound for a one day gain in excess of $1 billion."
A Free Pass for "21st Century Lenin"
"Known as "the man who almost broke the Bank of England," Soros engaged in a complex financial transaction that resulted in the Bank of England losing billions of dollars defending the British pound before having to devalue it. He is essentially a manipulator of money, able to bet that currencies of nations will rise or fall while he makes billions in the process."
Foundation Watch
"George Soros: A Bridge to Radicalism -- Soros Funds a Leftwing Network Addressing Media, Legal and Social Issues" (pdf, via Frontpagemag.com)
~~~
’I’m sorry, Mr. Merry,’ said Hob, ‘but it isn’t allowed.’

‘What isn’t allowed?’

‘Taking in folk off-hand like, and eating extra food, and all that,’ said Hob.

‘What’s the matter with the place?’ said Merry. ‘Has it been a bad year, or what? I thought it had been a fine summer and harvest.’

‘Well, no, the year’s been good enough,’ said Hob. ‘We grows a lot of food but we don’t rightly know what becomes of it. It’s all these “gatherers” and “sharers”, I reckon, going around and counting and measuring and taking off to storage. They do more gathering than sharing, and we never see most of the stuff again.’
~~~

Of particular interest to me is this aspect of Mr. Soros's philanthropy:

Soros and Schiavo
"It would seem that Terri Schiavo had the misfortune to be targeted as a test case for a wide-reaching change in medical policy. That, I believe, is why her would-be killers - those in black robes as well as white ones - run roughshod over the law with such fearless confidence. Powerful forces stand behind them. Hundreds of billions of dollars in future medical entitlements are at stake."
Death March: Assisted Suicide
"Compassion in Dying, a Hemlock spinoff founded in 1993 to surreptitiously assist in suicides, is also broadening its mandate. Originally a local group in Seattle, it has metastasized into the Compassion in Dying Federation of America, funded in part by billionaire George Soros, who has donated at least $350,000 to various of its constituent groups."
(As an aside, the Compassion in Dying Federation of America has the Right Loony Bishop Spong on its advisory board. ‘Nuff said.)

In 1994, Mr. Soros gave a speech at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center that included this wee snippet:
"This brings me to that hotly debated subject, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. This is the one aspect of dying that is talked about everywhere -- on television, in public forums, in newspaper headlines, and serious journal articles. Voters in Oregon just approved a law that makes it the first state to lift the prohibition against physician-assisted suicide.

As the son of a mother who was member of the Hemlock Society, and as a reader of Plato's Phaedra, I cannot but approve. But I must emphasize that I am speaking in my personal capacity and not on behalf of the Board of the Project on Death in America."
No, of course not. Influencing people who depend on Mr. Soros’s good graces for paychecks or grants is the last thing on his mind. He most certainly wouldn’t want to tempt his audience. (The headline at that last link is my favorite: Soros to Announce $15 Million to Combat Influence of Money in Medicine. Makes perfect sense to me!) Why, it was just sheer fluke that he was invited to give this speech; in fact, they really wanted the head of housekeeping to give the address, but she‘s in such demand as a speaker at universities these days that there’s no getting on her calendar for love or—er, um, anything.

And lastly, as the cherry on top of this section of our little linkfest, there’s this: OSI Seminar Series: Building Coalitions for Tobacco Control

~~~
There was no beer and very little food, but with what the travelers brought and shared out they all made a fair meal; and Pippin broke Rule 4 by putting most of the next day’s allowance of wood on the fire.

‘Well, now, what about a smoke, while you tell us what has been happening in the Shire?’ he said.

‘There isn’t no pipeweed now,’ said Hob; ‘at least, only for the Chief’s men. All the stocks seem to have gone. We do hear that wagon-loads of it went away down the old road out of the Southfarthing, over Sarn Ford way. That would be the end o’ last year, after you left. But it had been going away quietly before that, in a small way…’
~~~

Intellectualconservative.com offers a take on Our Financier as “The Dark Lord Soros.” This amuses me, but methinks the author gives Mr. Soros a higher rank than he deserves. Mr. Soros is doubtless afflicted with a hefty portion of megalomania, but underneath that is a plain, old-fashioned busybody—albeit an epic busybody, one with the money and thus the means to stick his busy fingers into a great many pies. (The pies can be any ethnic/cultural flavor that they want to be as long as they are in line with the basic Utopian menu.) Take away that money and you’ve got a cross between a Homeowners Association Board director and a trendier, softer-spoken, bankrupt version of the Earl of Sidcup.

~~~
‘What’s all this?’ said Frodo, feeling inclined to laugh.

‘This is what it is, Mr. Baggins,’ said the leader of the Shirrifs, a two-feather hobbit: ‘You’re arrested for Gate-breaking, and Tearing up of Rules, and Assaulting Gate-keepers, and Trespassing, and Sleeping in Shire-buildings without Leave, and Bribing Guards with Food.’
~~~

It’s not Mr. Soros’s opinions I object to—well, I do object to them, but what I mean is that he is entitled to his opinions, political, religious or otherwise, God granting each of us the right to self-determination and the consequences—but it’s not so much that as it is his overriding impulse to remake the world in accordance with those opinions, whether the rest of us like it or not.

And what a well-ordered world it will be! Harmony achieved by Theraputic Guidance, inclusiveness guaranteed by Judicial Order, efficient use of resources assured by Central Planning, thus granting to each citizen the right to be born by permission, live a politically-correct life, and then die by prior arrangement, ushered into eternity by morphine, soft music and cuddly crib-toys. Man arrives at his glorious future and it is a Paint-By-Number Paradise.

Now granted, such a splendid realization of properly dotted ‘i’s and crossed ’t’s was Sauron’s hankering, too (minus pastels and lollipops, of course, Sauron’s taste in utopias being more along the lines of a particularly depressed Rabine landscape), so my disinclination to classify Mr. Soros as the Dark Lord may seem mere fussiness. But I feel that he lacks a little something, perhaps the beauty and charm with which his master so easily deceived the Elven eye and that, inverted, fed the menacing black hunger that crept ever amongst the shadows of Middle-Earth: the Soros kingdom is built but with the power that comes from money.
~~~
’You little folk are getting too uppish. Don’t you trust too much in the Boss’s kind heart. Sharkey’s come now, and he’ll do what Sharkey says.’

‘And what may that be?’ said Frodo quietly.

‘This country wants waking up and setting to rights,’ said the ruffian, ‘and Sharkey’s going to do it; and make it hard, if you drive him to it. You need a bigger Boss. And you’ll get one before the year is out, if there’s any more trouble. Then you’ll learn a thing or two, you little rat-folk.’
~~~

Deprived of his financial Isengard, bereft of his stock-ticker palantir, unable to bankroll his Open Society Orthanc, Mr. Soros would be ignored and forgotten and forced to find some little helpless Shire to regulate into happiness and metaphorical soot by way of venting his frustrations. Because, you see, it’s not enough for him that his soot be exactly two inches deep; every soot-garden in the Shire had better be too and if it ain’t, well, I expect he’ll insist upon sensitivity training or hobnailed bootlicking or some such for those of us with bad attitudes.

But don’t be too distressed, Pippin. There may not be any of the Shire’s pipeweed left for you to smoke, but Sharkey is going to provide plenty of the other sort.


Update: Just came across this in a recent Moonbat Central post.

 

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Light in Dark Places

I would like to congratulate my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ on the election of Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy: he comforts me greatly. The various loonybiscuits are chewing their post-modern fingernails, of course, but that was to be expected. (Note to self: this might be a good time to buy stock in antidepressants.)

One of Catholicism's graces—and something the relativists scorn—is a deep understanding that human suffering is an inescapable and necessary interface between God and Man. Western society has rejected that truth, demanding instead that we be denied nothing that we desire and that we hold to no rule but that of self-indulgence and narcissism. (How eagerly we kneel before that Once, Present and Future god!)

We despise the parts offered us upon the stage of our Middle-Earth, angry and resentful that the Writer of the Story insists on adherence to his direction—and Heaven forbid that the Recording Angel dip his quill-pen in red ink instead of the more tolerant purple. Love means never having to make judgments, doesn’t it?

Jana Novak at NRO quotes an observation by the new pope that hits the nail of that particular inanity smack on the head:
"Anyone who really wanted to get rid of suffering would have to get rid of love before anything else, because there can be no love without suffering, because it always demands an element of self-sacrifice, because, given temperamental differences and the drama of situations, it will always bring with it renunciation and pain."
That is what makes us human instead of animal and that is what molds us more perfectly into the image of God.

 

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Loonybiscuit Time

Yes, it’s that time again, time for the 2nd Official Neanderbunny Award, a high honor bestowed on some of the very best nitwits to be found dwelling upon this strange planet of ours.

There are, of course, a great many possibilities to select from, the Post-Modern West of this 21st century being exceptionally rich in loonybiscuits; but a few stand out.

Barbara Boxer for one (courtesy Power Line):
Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Democratic Party's comely obstructionist, has charged that Bolton needs ''anger management lessons (…) So I was interested to hear about the kind of violent Boltonian eruptions that had led Boxer to her diagnosis. Well, here it comes. (If you've got young children present, you might want to take them out of the room.) From the shockingly brutal testimony of Thomas Fingar, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Intelligence Research:

Q: Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?

Fingar: No, he was angry. He was standing up.

Q: Did he raise his voice to you? Did he point his finger in your face?

Fingar: I don't remember if he pointed. John speaks in such a low voice normally. Was it louder than normal? Probably. I wouldn't characterize it as screaming at me or anything like that. It was more, hands on hips, the body language as I recall it, I knew he was mad.
She missed her calling, that one: she should be in a third-grade classroom, grading spelling tests in purple instead of red ink, lest Johnny’s fragile little psyche get a dent in it.

Which takes us nicely to the second contestant—or more properly contestants—the barmpots running Middleton Technology College in Manchester, England.
Olivia Acton, 13, was told she could not join her classmates at Middleton Technology College because her tightly plaited hair was too "extreme" for the strict uniform policy.

However, two other pupils at the school who have an Afro-Caribbean background are allowed to attend the school with similar hairstyles because it reflects their cultural heritage.
I had to google Manchester, being more familiar with the exact location of the Manchester of my birth—the one in New Hampshire—but that was no great hardship (I’m made of sturdier stuff than Ms. Boxer, even if I says it as oughtn’t) and I soon found it perched up near Liverpool in the northwest of England.

This convenient store of Manchester-info tells us that 1900 years ago it
"lay within the territory of the Celtic tribe called the Brigantes and started life as a Roman fort..."
Unsatisfied with this fairly straightforward ethnic crossbreeding, history then proceeded to add some Saxons to the mix.
"Around 411 AD the Roman fort was abandoned and in the following decades the Anglo-Saxons began to settle on the eastern coasts of England and by the late sixth century they had begun to penetrate into the area later to be known as Lancashire."
The next invaders on the timeline are the Vikings.
"(M)ost of Lancashire escaped their colonisation. The Manchester area was an exception however and most of the Danish settlement in what was to become Lancashire fell upon the Manchester area."
Britons, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and later, I assume, some Normans—a splendid multicultural casserole of the barbarous, the advanced and the merely resigned, spiced up with that fascinating mongrel confusion of ancestral complexions and place-name endings that really livens up a genealogy chart.

Olivia-child, I feel certain that you can find a hairstyle to suit somewhere in all this. I have taken the liberty of providing you with helpful links on the subject regarding your probable ancestors:

Roman

Roman-British

Danish rather than strictly Lancashire Viking, but close enough for government schools (Click on pic of Elling Woman at bottom)

Viking (general)

York: a headdress rather than hair, but guaranteed to get you sent to the headmaster

For the Normans, lots and lots of general Medieval headdresses; these are easier to find than images of actual locks of the period due to the stricter Christian zeitgeist of the Middle Ages, which required that women have their hair covered. (I recommend the 1400s in particular.)

Some more Norman


Please do be as outrageous as possible.

~~~

Worthy entries both, these contenders for the Neanderbunny Award, but I feel that the third contestant is just a smidgen to the fore: Howard Dean.

This is no doubt a purely subjective evaluation based on the dizzying effect his superior quality of Grade A Loonybiscuit-ness has upon my nervous system. (If Howard Dean's Bedlam-streak were a log cabin-shaped can of Vermont Maple Syrup, it’d be the lightest of fancy ambers; more specifically the rarified, faintly vanilla-flavored, first-run stuff obtainable only by signing over your house, car and firstborn child.)

Howard Dean: Schiavo case will hurt GOP
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who has accused congressional Republicans of "grandstanding" in the Terri Schiavo case, said his party will use it against the GOP in coming elections.

"This is going to be an issue in 2006, and its going to be an issue in 2008 because we're going to have an ad with a picture of (House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?"' Dean said in West Hollywood, California.
"This is going to be an issue in 2006." That I can believe.
Karen Finney, Democratic National Committee spokeswoman, defended Dean's comments…

"Tom Delay and his cronies want to intrude in personal family matters. Democrats believe that individuals and their families should be trusted to make these very personal decisions, not Tom DeLay and not the government.”
To echo what numerous others have pointed out before me, I wonder exactly what she thinks a court is? A division of General Motors, perhaps?

Now it is entirely possible that enough Americans will fall for this asininity: it’s tricky thinking clearly when your chief interest in life is your own pleasure and comfort. I will point out, however, that whatever the outcome of the next election, the black hole of a moral vacuum that is rapidly sucking the last, lingering and very tatttered scraps of light out of the principles of the Loopy Left isn’t going to suddenly let go and spill out the blessing of Heaven upon their New World Order.

A rose is a rose is a rose, and a legal murder is a legal murder: it doesn’t matter how many times you say that it isn’t, Mr. Dean. Truth is truth to the end of reckoning, and you’re on the wrong side. That you, the head of the Democratic Party, would push your political plank out upon the smelly muck of that particular corpse-filled Dead Marsh is simply astounding.

*Baillie pauses to paste her Christian veneer back on* (ed.--This is supposed to be lighthearted, lady!)

Okay, okay.

Especially since I'm not really being fair to Neanderbunny, who is actually a very sweet-natured creature. But his daftness is not in doubt—in fact, to say of him that he has fairies at the bottom of his garden is to say it all.

How pleased he will be to have the committee chairman of one of our chief political parties to join him!

 

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Shadow on the Pelennor

The recent episode in Florida in which a woman was put to death by having her food and water taken away—a condition we call starvation when applied to sub-Saharan drought refugees—is in my opinion the point at which America’s cultural collision reached critical mass.

The sides were pretty clearly drawn, the worldviews apparent—despite the efforts of the death-supporters to smudge their talking points with expert-speak obfuscations. (I get very tired of ‘experts.’)

At one pole was a moral tradition based in old-fashioned Judeo-Christian chivalry, a view that regards each human being as an individual of intrinsic worth and made in the image of God himself; at the other pole was the bastard offspring of a mating of the Efficiency-mongers JRR Tolkien so despised with a sort of Paganism Redux.

The enfant terrible born of this unlikely consummation apportions worth not to persons, but to the collective, leaving the individual subject to the demands of the socio-political market, valuable only so far as his or her existence pays a dividend at the ballot box (a perspective which reminds me strongly of Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery).

The conflict between these worldviews is the great battle of our time.

 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Plague and Pestilence

You're going to have to make do with a Frodo-poem until I get through being sick. It pretty well describes the shape I'm in at the moment anyway.


The Gifting

The Shire-light is quenched and I am blind.
No path lies clear to guide my vagrant sight
To candled room of Once for me to find,
To lead tomorrow out of ashen Night.

The Shire-light has gone and I am blind
To any Road that Middle-Earth can mend;
The bridge to home was shivered in the End,
                        Like Khazad-dûm


A dusk is on my soul and all is naught,
As when we crept to stay the fatal breath
Come with the world’s new breaking heaven wrought,
And fled for one last moment withering Death.

The dusk fell on my soul and turned to naught
The golden hour that shone upon my Shire;
It lingered there, uncertain, by the Fire
                        And was consumed.


Thus gone from me was that which was most fair,
That, step by step, unknowing, I had sold;
And, breath by labored breath, I, unaware,
Had spent my shining coin for darker gold.

Now gone from me is that which is most fair,
And all I might have seen is lost to me,
Save for the starlight on the Sundering Sea
                        That westward gleams.


But Frodo-lad will come with sight undimmed
As mine that saw the Shire in brighter days,
And all I might have seen is left to him,
To light his Road amongst the winding ways.

Sweet Frodo-lad will come with light undimmed,
Youth-eager, chasing paths of light reborn,
For all the Shire he sees will be of morn
                        And golden dreams.

 

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Schiavo Effect

Steve Bragg over at Double Toothpicks links to a Washington Post article about Dick Cheney’s distaste for political “revenge” aimed at the judiciary over Terri Schiavo’s starvation death.
Cheney was asked about the issue on Friday by the editorial board of the New York Post. He said twice that he had not seen DeLay's remarks, but the vice president said he would "have problems" with the idea of retribution against the courts. "I don't think that's appropriate," he said. "I may disagree with decisions made by judges in any one particular case. But I don't think there would be much support for the proposition that because a judge hands down a decision we don't like, that somehow we ought to go out -- there's a reason why judges get lifetime appointments."
Now, I like Mr. Cheney—for one thing, he’s very cuddly-looking—but I have to disagree with him on this point. For one thing, it’s not about revenge; at least, not from my perspective. It’s about defeating a terrible evil that’s already gotten its carrion claws deep into the American soul. Life and death hang in the balance of this issue—and I don’t just mean the lives of murdered innocents.

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.

~~~

I take the title of this post from remarks about the upcoming Papal election by Hugh Hewitt, in which (after a nice little quote from The Lord of the Rings) he addresses the convergence of John Paul’s life and death with that of Terri Schiavo.
These Cardinals will have to be wondering about, and praying about, what the Holy Spirit intends them to do in conclave and why the pope has died at precisely this moment. The anti-Christians will scoff at the idea of God's timing, but not the Cardinals, for whom God's timing is a given. They will be fully informed of the circumstances of Terri Schiavo's death, of the advance of the Groningen Protocol, the pressure under which many of the doctrines of Christianity find themselves, and of a variety of developments that are directly opposed to the Church's doctrines on the sanctity of life.”
And then he speaks of what J.R.R. Tolkien would call ‘eucatastrophe.’
…It is an old story in Christianity --in fact the oldest-- that apparent disasters and outrageous injustices lead in fact to the brightest displays of grace.
Let us hope that that is what is going on here.

~~~

In yesterday’s post, Mr, Hewitt linked to a column by Albert Mohler concerning Papal authority and its opposing claims to those of Protestantism. (The link’s expired, so I went to Crosswalk and fetched a new one.)
Evangelical Christians should honor the courage of this man and his historic role in bringing Communist tyranny to an end--at least within the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. Added to this, we should honor his defense of human dignity and his eloquent and influential witness against abortion and the Culture of Death.

Even so, we must also recognize that John Paul II also represented the most troubling aspects of Roman Catholicism. He defended and continued the theological directions set loose at the Second Vatican Council. Even as he consolidated authority in the Vatican and disciplined wayward priests and theologians, he never confronted the most pressing issues of evangelical concern.
There is no church on the face of this earth that has got it all right. To be human is to be flawed. Almighty God looks on our hearts and he judges us by how well we do with what we are given. It will avail us nothing to stand before our Judge in the Last Day with every theological button polished to brilliant perfection and our hearts corroded with self-righteousness.

That last is not aimed at Mr. Mohler, by the way. I don’t have his responsibilities (President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) nor the Pope’s, and certainly have no authority to determine doctrine and dogma for Christ’s flock. And, yet, while not blithely casting aside these genuine theological differences, I have come to understand over weary years that what divides Rome from her children pales into insignificance beside the gulf that separates Christianity from the darkness of this world.

As an individual, someone not charged with the care of a flock or a long tradition, I just keep my head down and my feet moving. Wiser heads than I can argue the technicalities and decide the great decisions: all I have to do is keep plodding towards Mount Doom, grateful for assistance unlooked for from both Men and Elves.

But the character and moral timbre of the next Pope matters to all Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant. The West—and more specifically, America—is, to echo Mr. Hewitt’s reference, on the knife-edge of moral disaster, a perilous standing achieved in all its horrifying finality last week when Terri Schiavo drew her last tortured breath.

The wolves of Mordor and Isengard have long been outside the church door, both Wittenberg and St. Peter’s; they’re chewing great splintery holes in it now.

Traditional Christianity has need of shepherds who will not flinch from the howls and snarls and bared fangs of moral relativism, faithful stewards who strive to bring Christ’s lambs safely through to morning light.

Gandalf’s declaration in his confrontation with Denethor seems pertinent:
“The rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?”
May God in his mercy grant us stewards of such fibre to stand uncringing and fearless against the Night.

 

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Guest-blogging by Caspian

My son-in-law has his MA in History. His area of particular interest is WWII.
What Would Our World War II Veterans Think?

With the death of Terri Schiavo, the United States has taken a turn for the worse. “Why?” you ask. The courts now have the ability to starve an incapacitated person without due process. If someone starved his animals, they would be arrested. If the judiciary decided to starve death row convicts, appeals to the US Supreme Court would overturn the verdict because it is “cruel and unusual punishment.” But a person who is incapacitated, on the hearsay of her adulterous husband and her in-laws can be starved to death. What if it was your child? What is if it was you? Would you want to be starved to death? Although it is supposed to be a “painless” death, why would morphine administered to “ease her pain?”

In the early twentieth century, a group of people wanted to ensure the survival of their country and created a series of laws to allow first the forced sterilization of minorities, criminals, and the handicapped. Eventually they created laws for the euthanization of those handicapped individuals considered “life unworthy of life.” Criteria for those “unworthy of life” included anyone permanently disabled physically or mentally. A tribunal of doctors and judges oversaw the process and selected those for “special treatment.” Eventually a war was fought and those involved in the program were tried, convicted , and executed or served prison sentences. Anyone who knows history will know that the people wanting to ensure the survival of Germany were the racial hygienists of the Nazi Party, After World War II, Allied forces brought those people to trial. What would our fathers and grandfathers think about their country, that they defended against the tyrannies of fascism and imperialism, adopting the practices of their enemies?

In teaching world history, I find that my students are stunned at times by practices such as India’s sati in which a widow is encouraged to jump on her husband’s funeral pyre or a father denying paternity and allowing an infant to be exposed to the elements to die. But they cannot equate these practices to the Terri Schiavo situation or to abortion and the destruction of innocent life. Maybe it is true that history is a repeating pattern with humanity ignoring the lessons of the past.

 

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

John Paul II

One fire was on his spirit, one resolve:—
To send the keen axe to the root of wrong,
Clearing a free way for the feet of God.
And evermore he burned to do his deed
With the fine stroke and gesture of a king:
He built the rail-pile as he built the State,
Pouring his splendid strength through every blow;
The conscience of him testing every stroke,
To make his deed the measure of a man.

So came the Captain with the mighty heart;
And when the judgment thunders split the house,
Wrenching the rafters from their ancient rest,
He held the ridgepole up, and spiked again
The rafters of the Home. He held his place—
Held the long purpose like a growing tree—
Held on through blame and faltered not at praise.
And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down
As when a lordly cedar, green with boughs,
Goes down with a great shout upon the hills,
And leaves a lonesome place against the sky.



From Lincoln, the Man of the People--Edwin Markham

 

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