Something for the weekend. George Washington Variations by Ernst Krenek. A refugee from Austria in 1938 after the Anschluss, composer Ernst Krenek became a naturalized American citizen and an ardent American patriot. His George Washington Variations (1950) are a fitting tribute to the greatest American.
One of the biggest mistakes thus far of the current pontificate is those idiotic questionnaires which were ordered in preparation for the synod on the family in October, at least, judging from what Sandro Magister at Chiesa is reporting, that might well be the private assessment of Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri:
Finally, on Monday the 24th and Tuesday the 25th of February there will be a meeting of the council of the general secretariat of the synod of bishops, coordinated by the new cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri.
That assembly will begin to evaluate the responses to the questionnaire concerning the upcoming extraordinary synod in October, also dedicated to the pastoral care of the family.
The episcopal conferences of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have already seen to spreading all over the world, through detailed press releases, the responses that have come to them, tipped very much out of balance toward the progressive side.
But this diffusion has been judged as a “unilateral initiative” and “not correct” by Baldisseri, who reiterated in an interview how the publication of these materials, which were supposed to have been sent “confidentially” to the Vatican, were by no means authorized.
Not only that. The new cardinal – also in the same interview published in the “Quotidiano Nazionale” on February 11 – also defined as “a possible interpretation” that which sees the release of the data as a form of pressure for influencing the work of the synod. Continue reading
(I originally wrote this about five years ago when the blog readership was much smaller. I thought that current readers might wish to know why I refer to Planned Parenthood as Worse Than Murder, Inc.)
In the late twenties of the last century, gangsters Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Meyer Lansky set up the National Crime Syndicate. Organized crime needed a mechanism to keep anarchy from breaking out within its ranks between various gangs and factions. Operating out of a 24 hour candy store in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, Murder, Inc. ( the name was a newspaper invention) provided this mechanism. Louis “The Judge” “Lepke” Buchalter and Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia were the leaders of Murder, Inc.
The Syndicate, by majority vote, would order the slaying of an unruly gangster and Murder, Inc would carry it out. The hitmen of Murder, Inc. operated under strict guidlines. No innocent bystanders were to be killed. No hits could be ordered against judges, police or prosecuting attorneys for fear of reprisals from law enforcement.
Over the years Murder, Inc. murdered some 800 fellow gangsters. In 1940 the downfall of the murder enterprise began when Murder, Inc. killer Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles, turned informant in order to save himself from the electric chair. Louis “The Judge” “Lepke” Buchalter died in the chair in Sing Sing in 1944, after the US Supreme Court rejected his appeal which raised, among other issues, the contention of Buchalter that lurid press coverage had tainted the jury. Other Murder, Inc. members swiftly followed “The Judge” down the last mile. Albert “The Madhatter” Anastasia would have followed in their footsteps but for the tragic “accidental” death of Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles when he fell from room 623 of the Half Moon Hotel on Coney Island. In the gang world he was ever after known as “The Canary that sung but couldn’t fly.” However, with the attention of law enforcement focused upon it, Murder, Inc. could no longer function and it ceased to exist except as a gangland legend.
Based upon this grim record I hope you can see why it is necessary for me to apologize—to Murder, Inc. Continue reading
Some of the Pope’s fans on the left are beginning to get impatient:
Spanish revolutionary, Harvard-educated public health specialist, abortion rights advocate and Roman Catholic nun.
These four labels seldom apply to the same person, but Sister Teresa Forcades, a 48-year-old woman from Barcelona, straddles many worlds.
In Europe she is the star of televised debates on feminism and religion, a leader of the Occupy movement in Spain who has taken on big corporate interests and a fierce critic of modern capitalism.
She pulls no punches with her views. “I don’t think it is possible to have democracy and capitalism. They go against each other because the way we live capitalism is that we allow some corporations to have such power that they are able to influence government. And that’s the problem,” she told Al Jazeera in an interview.
Until recently, these controversial opinions might have led to her being reprimanded by the Vatican. But now, with a new leader in power apparently committed to fundamentally changing the church’s approach on social justice issues, she believes she’s merely taking some of Pope Francis’ ideas and running with them.
The new pope has invigorated the previously isolated social justice wing of the church, a change that many leading activists have welcomed. But at the same time, others are warning that his papacy has so far been more about a shift in tone than about substantive change on key issues such as abortion, women’s ordination and gay rights. Continue reading
Ah, my home state. Just when you think it has hit rock bottom it sinks lower. Paul Mirengoff of the Powerline blog gives us the details of the latest outrage in the Land of Lincoln:
Arthur Bishop, the new director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), was convicted in the 1990s of bilking his employer, a substance abuse counseling center, out of money received from its clients. According to the center’s director at the time, Bishop created a bogus program for convicted drunk drivers. He took money from patients and provided them with forms they wrongly believed would allow them to get their driver’s licenses back.
Unfortunately for Bishop’s victims, the center wasn’t licensed by the state to provide that service at the time. Bishop pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, is standing by his decision to make Bishop the state’s top child-welfare official. He claims to see no connection between Bishop’s corruption and his ability to lead a department that has been plagued by charges of failure to keep track of its money. In December, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued a Chicago businessman and friend of a former DCFS director to recover millions of dollars in state grant money the businessman allegedly misspent.
If Quinn can’t see the connection between stealing and unfitness to run a large government agency, perhaps he can connect the dots on Bishop’s own “children and family” issues. Court records show that a paternity case was filed against Bishop in 2003, when he was a DCFS deputy director. DNA tests showed he was the father of Erica Bishop, then 17.
According to the child’s mother, Bishop, who was married to another woman when Erica was born, “denies his own daughter’s existence” even though “he visited us on numerous occasions at my parents’ house when she was a child.” The mother further alleged that Bishop “even asked me if he could live in with me if his wife put him out after she learned the truth.” Continue reading
Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa brings us some comments made by Pope Francis on the liturgy:
But on Monday, February 10, with no forewarning Jorge Mario Bergoglio broke the silence and dedicated to the liturgy the entire homily of the morning Mass in the chapel of Santa Marta. Saying things he has never said before, since he became pope.
That morning the passage was read from the first book of Kings in which during the reign of Solomon the cloud, the divine glory, filled the temple and “the Lord decided to dwell in the cloud.”
Taking his cue from that “theophany,” pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio said that “in the Eucharistic liturgy God is present” in a way even “closer” than in the cloud in the temple, his “is a real presence.”
And he continued:
“When I speak of the liturgy I am mainly referring to the holy Mass. The Mass is not a representation, it is something else. It is living once again the redemptive passion and death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord makes himself present on the altar in order to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world.”
Further on the pope said:
“The liturgy is the time of God and space of God, and we must put ourselves there in the time of God, in the space of God, and not look at our watches. The liturgy is nothing less than entering into the mystery of God, allowing ourselves to be carried to the mystery and to be in the mystery. It is the cloud of God that envelops us all.”
And looking back on one of his childhood memories:
“I recall that as a child, when they were preparing us for first communion, they had us sing: ‘O holy altar guarded by the angels,’ and this made us understand that the altar was truly guarded by the angels, it gave us the sense of the glory of God, of the space of God, of the time of God.”
Coming to the conclusion, Francis invited those present to “ask the Lord today to give all of us this sense of the sacred, this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray the rosary, to pray many beautiful prayers, make the way of the cross, read the bible, and the Eucharistic celebration is another thing. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that path which we cannot control. He alone is the one, he is the glory, he is the power. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord may teach us to enter into the mystery of God.” Continue reading
One of the most beloved fairy tales in this country is that the Government, which seems unable to balance its own books, can by fiat, with no consequences to employment, tell employers that they must pay a minimum wage. Economist Thomas Sowell, who, like me, began his career earning less than the then mandated minimum wage, explains what an appallingly bad idea this is:
One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired.
When you turn from economic principles to hard facts, the case against minimum wage laws is even stronger. Countries with minimum wage laws almost invariably have higher rates of unemployment than countries without minimum wage laws.
Switzerland is one of the few modern nations without a minimum wage law. In 2003, “The Economist” magazine reported: “Switzerland’s unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9 percent in February.” In February of this year, Switzerland’s unemployment rate was 3.1 percent. A recent issue of “The Economist” showed Switzerland’s unemployment rate as 2.1 percent.
Most Americans today have never seen unemployment rates that low. However, there was a time when there was no federal minimum wage law in the United States. The last time was during the Coolidge administration, when the annual unemployment rate got as low as 1.8 percent. When Hong Kong was a British colony, it had no minimum wage law. In 1991 its unemployment rate was under 2 percent.
It therefore came as little surprise to me yesterday when the CBO estimated that raising the minimum wage would kill off half a million jobs in 2016:
President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would cost 500,000 jobs in 2016, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The report also found hiking the wage from $7.25 per hour would raise income for about 16.5 million workers by $31 billion, potentially pulling nearly 1 million people out of poverty.
The White House and economic groups on the left immediately pushed back at the CBO’s conclusions on jobs even as they hailed the findings on poverty, saying its conclusions on jobs ran counter to other research.
“CBO’s estimates of the impact of raising the minimum wage on employment does not reflect the current consensus view of economists,” Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman wrote in a blog post. “The bulk of academic studies, have concluded that the effects on employment of minimum wage increases in the range now under consideration are likely to be small to nonexistent.”
Given its findings on poverty alleviation, Furman told reporters the CBO report was an overall positive for the White House.
“Sometimes you have to have a respectful disagreement among economists,” Furman said in a conference call. “I think a lot of economists who have looked at [the] literature would summarize it differently than CBO has done here.”
Democrats are hoping to make the minimum wage a top issue in the 2014 midterms if the GOP blocks passage of a bill, but the CBO report would bolster Republican arguments for stopping a wage hike. Continue reading
To many Americans it often seems that Congress wastes an inordinate amount of time debating on trivialities. It is at least an old tradition. The Senate spent a month in 1789 debating what the title of the President should be. Washington during the Revolution had often been known informally as His Excellency, but at that time that was the common title for governors of states. Vice-President John Adams thought that the President needed a royal, or at least a princely, title to sustain the dignity of the office. He suggested such titles as “His Highness” and “His Benign Highness” demonstrating once again how tone deaf to public opinion he tended to be, the American people post Revolution being decidedly anti-monarchical. Eventually a Senate committee approved the title “His Highness, the President of the United States, and the Protector of Their Liberties”.
Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was aghast at the whole business and recalled Benjamin Franklin’s description of Adams as a man who means well for his country, is always an honest man, sometimes a wise one, and who, some times, and in some things, is absolutely out of his senses.
Washington initially favored the unwieldy formulation of “His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of Their Liberties,” but was aghast at the criticism that all of this smacked of monarchy, and eagerly agreed to the simple title of Mr. President that James Madison succeeded in having the House of Representatives approve. Continue reading
Over the years I have often noted the air of unreality that surrounds most liberal policy proposals. They often boil down to government action surrounded by wishful thinking with not a clue as to what the consequences will be. Obamacare is a culmination of this mentality. John Hinderaker at Powerblog gives us another prime example:
I have written that on the Left, a “wonk” is any liberal who can multiply and divide. But liberals often trip over even that low threshold. Take, for example, this piece by Norman Ornstein in National Journal. Ornstein–a friend, former colleague at AEI and occasional debating opponent of Steve Hayward–proposes a modest solution to the problem of economic inequality and the declining fortunes of America’s middle class:
The first iteration of KidSave, in simple terms, was this: Each year, for every one of the 4 million newborns in America, the federal government would put $1,000 in a designated savings account. The payment would be financed by using 1 percent of annual payroll-tax revenues. Then, for the first five years of a child’s life, the $500 child tax credit would be added to that account, with a subsidy for poor people who pay no income [tax]. The accounts would be administered the same way as the federal employees’ Thrift Savings Plan, with three options—low-, medium-, and high-risk—using broad-based stock and bond funds. Under the initial KidSave proposal, the funds could not be withdrawn until age 65, when, through the miracle of compound interest, they would represent a hefty nest egg. At 5 percent annual growth, an individual would have almost $700,000. …
Imagine if we adjusted the KidSave rules so that at certain pivot points in life, individuals could withdraw a portion of their nest egg to pay for college expenses or a down payment on a house or a medical or other emergency, or even the creation of a small business, while still making sure that a substantial share of the funds would stay in a retirement account. We could ameliorate many of the problems facing hard-pressed middle-class and working-class families and encourage entrepreneurship, while protecting a major nest egg for retirement years.
So let’s get this straight: you give a kid $3,500, and in 60 years, at 5%, he has $700,000? Ornstein refers to “the miracle of compound interest,” but this would be a miracle more akin to that of the loaves and fishes. A reader who is an expert in finance corrects the math:
Ornstein states that inequality can be alleviated through this mechanism because “…through the miracle of compound interest, they would represent a hefty nest egg. At 5 percent annual growth [sic], an individual would have almost $700,000.” [emphasis added]
Now this struck me as highly implausible for a very simple reason. It was immediately and intuitively apparent to me that the numbers were — not slightly, not somewhat, not arguably — but wildly inaccurate. Anyone who has ever done even a bit of bond or loan math would, without any calculation, also immediately know that $1000+$500*5 (about $4,200 at 5%) over 60 years could not possibly accumulate to “almost $700,000” at “5% annual growth [sic]”. I calculated that with a 5% annual rate of return, even compounded continuously, the funds accumulate to only about $84,000, not even close: off by a factor of more than 8 times! In fact, it would require a 9% annual rate of return, 80% greater than assumed, compounded continuously, to accumulate $700,000. (It took about 30 seconds to run these numbers.)
This is not a trivial mistake like a proofreading oversight, or a quibble about arcane calculations or analysis. It is a major error, a fundamental misconception, and not incidental to the main point: it has the effect of completely undermining the entire proposal! An average freshman majoring in business at a middling university after about 5 weeks wouldn’t make such an obvious and fundamental error! And yet not only did Ornstein base his proposal on such an embarrassing mistake but apparently NO ONE at the National Journal in an editorial role had the wit to see such a laughably obvious problem with the argument.
I don’t mean to single out Ornstein. I think the point is more about the MSM incompetence and New Class pretensions of intellectual and moral entitlement to rule. We should keep this (admittedly egregious) example in mind whenever we read the standard MSM formulation, as parodied by Mickey Kaus, purporting to support a liberal proposal on supposedly objective, rational well-informed opinion: “growing numbers of experts say that studies show that…blah, blah, blah…”
Note, too, that for Ornstein’s proposal to mean what he thinks it means, the 5% has to be a real rate of return. I am no finance guy, but it was immediately obvious to me that Ornstein’s numbers are ridiculous. If you could turn $3,500 into $700,000 in 60 years at 5%, I wouldn’t be practicing law these days. As Rocky said to his two goldfish, “If you guys could sing and dance, I wouldn’t be doin’ this.” Money, unfortunately, does not sing and dance as hypothesized by Ornstein. Continue reading
Rorate Caeli has some fairly dispiriting news about Pope Francis thinking that a desire for the TLM is a mere fashion choice:
[Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. “When I search more thoroughly – the Pope said – I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: 'móda', Italian 'moda']. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.” Continue reading
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air gives us the report of Marianne Anderson who worked at a
Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder, Inc. clinic in Indianapolis, and who left under the inspiration of former Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder, Inc., clinic director Abby Johnson who is now a pro-life crusader. Unsurprisingly she quickly learned that all the killing was to make a buck.
“They would remind us in our weekly staff meeting that we need to tell everyone [who called to schedule an appointment] to avoid ‘those people’ [the sidewalk counselors] because we need the money. We were to tell them, ‘Don’t make eye contact with them, and don’t stop in the driveway. If you make eye contact with them or if you stop and roll down your window, they’re going to try their darnedest to talk you out of it.’
“They would allow girls to have ultrasounds that were obviously way too far along [the legal limit for having an abortion in Indiana is 13 weeks and six days]. They said, ‘If they want to be seen, you just put them through, no problem,’ just taking advantage to make money.
Given the outcry on the part of the stormy petrils and length of the article in the National Catholic Reporter Online (NCR), one would think the world had come to an end.
At least, according to the “narrative.” It seems as if everything today is about a “narrative.”
Consider the angry narrative providing the subtext of the NCR article.
On January 13, 2014, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Santa Fe Archdiocese told the pastor of Aquinas Newman Center that the Dominicans’ service would be terminated on June 30, 2014. Worse yet, the ham-handed, conservative Archbishop issued this edict allegedly without any prior consultation. And, rubbing some salt into the ecclesial wound he was unnecessarily inflicting upon all of the Center’s students and parishioners, the Archbishop stated in the press release he issued announcing the change that two “fine young priests” of his Archdiocese would be replacing the Dominicans. (The latter obviously aren’t “young” and perhaps will be touted as victims of age discrimination.) Those two priests include the Archdiocese’s vocation director and University of New Mexico (UNM) alumnus, Fr. Michael DePalma, who will serve as pastor. The parochial vicar will be Fr. Simon Carian, 26. Ordained last year, Carian is a University of Notre Dame alumnus currently studying medical ethics in Rome.
Why the change?
Consider Archbishop Sheehan’s pastoral narrative which added fuel to the angry narrative. In his press release, the Archbishop stated:
Having Archdiocesan priests at the Newman Center will enhance relations with the Archdiocese’s pastors and parishes of whose young adults attend [UNM], as well as promote diocesan vocations.
The angry narrative’s reaction?
To paraphrase: The nerve of His Excellency! This is the post-Vatican II Church, not the patriarchal and triumphal post-Tridentine Church! That man has no right to remove our beloved Dominicans. For gracious sakes, he even dumped the name “Aquinas” that has been in the Center’s title for as long as everyone can remember. Hrrumphhhh….
Some background information concerning the two narratives.
The Dominicans have served UNM’s Aquinas Newman Center in Albuquerque since 1950. The Center currently serves more than 500 UNM students and 750 families. One Mass is offered daily and five Masses are offered on Sundays. The Center also provides campus ministry, parish social groups, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and service opportunities.
Now, in light of these competing narratives, what may be the real narrative: Archbishop Sheehan is well aware of the success many Newman Centers across the nation are having in fostering vocations to the priesthood, especially those centers where “young” priests serve. The Dominicans never had much success in this regard during their 60+ years of service at the Center. So, the Archbishop decided to staff the Newman Center with his men and have them run it in the style that has demonstrated success at other universities and colleges.
That has the stormy petrils in an uproar. An allegedly “pre-Vatican II” bishop is seeking to destroy the “Pope Francis Church” the Dominicans have constructed and which parishioners seem to enjoy very much. After all, one subtext to the angry narrative is that parishioners must enjoy going to Mass (or “services” as the NCR article called them). As the Newman Center’s current pastor, Fr. Dan Davis, OP, opined:
The parishioners are very progressive, very intellectual, and they resonated with the way we preached. The Newman Center tends to be a conglomeration of disenfranchised Christians from around the city–which confirms the very things that the bishop is contesting.
In an email circulated to parishioners, a former UNM student and longtime Center parishioner, Chuck Wellborn, provided some additional details:
The Archbishop has made critical statements about our parish to others in the Archdiocese….These comments suggest that he believes our parish is insufficiently doctrinaire. It is certainly true that the Newman Center attracts parishioners with a wide variety of backgrounds and views, in particular university students and faculty. In that sense, our parish is quite dissimilar and perhaps more liberal in its thinking than at the Archdiocese’s non-university parishes.
Is that what has the stormy petrils in an uproar? A Newman Center that was intended primarily to serve students’ religious, spiritual, and moral needs has developed into a parish that operates as a “quasi-exempt” institution in the Archdiocese, meaning “operating parallel to but not necessarily in tandem with the Archbishop and his clergy.” And now, Archbishop Sheehan is quashing that long-term “arrangement.”
Despite the anger espoused by Fr. Davis and parishioner Wellborn, not all are happy with the current arrangement and support the Archbishop’s decision.
For example, on January 13, a UNM student, Colt Balok, posted a picture on his Facebook page of himself having dinner with Archbishop Sheehan. Balok captioned the picture, “I had a great dinner with Archbishop Sheehan tonight. UNM, he has some great news for us Catholics!” Then, in a Letter to the Editor printed on January 29 in the Daily Lobo, UNM’s student newspaper, Balok said:
…[the Newman Center] needs to be a place where the body and blood of Christ is adored and worshipped, not a place where the altar servers wear polo shirts and fail to honor and respect our Lord Jesus Christ….Thank you, Archbishop, for making the Newman Center Catholic again. My friends and I will no longer have to travel to other parishes to attend Mass.
Good for Archbishop Sheehan!
The Motley Monk would observe that His Excellency has every right to provide UNM students a religious, spiritual, and moral home in a way that fits his overall pastoral plan and its objectives. One objective is to increase the number of vocations to the diocesan priesthood so that UNM students will continue to be served by the Archdiocese. And, the Archbishop has every right to staff it with his men who will run it in the way the Archbishop desires.
Given the demographics, archbishops and bishops across the United States no longer can depend on the religious communities of men to provide manpower, especially manpower that is not self-sustaining. Now is the time to envision the future, not to look backwards in hope that the 1960s and 1970s will return.
To read the National Catholic Reporter Online article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
Sage advice from the Pope to married couples:
by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét
Sing hey! For bold George Washington,
That jolly British tar,
King George’s famous admiral
From Hull to Zanzibar!
No–wait a minute–something’s wrong–
George wished to sail the foam.
But, when his mother thought aghast,
Of Georgie shinning up a mast,
Her tears and protests flowed so fast
That George remained at home.
Sing ho! For grave Washington,
The staid Virginia squire,
Who farms his fields and hunts his hounds
And aims at nothing higher!
Stop, stop it’s going wrong again!
George liked to live on farms,
But when the Colonies agreed
They could and should and would be freed,
They called on George to do the deed
And George cried “Shoulder arms!”
Sing ha! For Emperor Washington,
That hero of renown,
Who freed his land from Britain’s rule
To win a golden crown!
No, no, that’s what George might have won
But didn’t for he said,
“There’s not much point about a king,
They’re pretty but they’re apt to sting
And, as for crowns–the heavy thing
Would only hurt my head.”
Sing ho! For our George Washington!
(At last I’ve got it straight.)
The first in war, the first in peace,
The goodly and the great.
But, when you think about him now,
From here to Valley Forge,
Remember this–he might have been
A highly different specimen,
And, where on earth would we be, then?
I’m glad that George was George.
I have never liked President’s Day. Why celebrate loser presidents like Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan, non-entities like Millard Fillmore, bad presidents, like Grant, with great presidents like Washington and Lincoln? Officially the date is still the commemoration of George Washington’s birthday and in this post we will recall the life of the greatest American who ever lived. Ironically in the length of a blog post we will be unable to cover all of Washington’s event filled life, including his Presidency. We will break off at the close of the Revolution and finish off on February 22, the actual birthday of the man who will always be first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of all of us who, as Americans, in many ways are his children.
Only Abraham Lincoln comes close to Washington in our American secular pantheon. Our first president, he was also the man who led our armies to victory in the Revolutionary War, a conflict I am certain that we would have lost but for his leadership, faith and example. In his own time, and from his days as a very young man, most people who encountered Washington assumed he was destined for greatness. Six foot three at a time when most men were around five foot six, Washington was a literal giant for his day, weighing 220 pounds of muscle, and noted for his feats of strength. A quiet aura of dignity and command seemed to envelop him from the first time that he put on the uniform of a Virginia militia officer. He had a hot temper that he usually successfully controlled beneath a mask of quiet dignity, leavened by a lively sense of humor. However, none of these explain why men and women instinctively looked to him for leadership, but they always did. Perhaps it was simply a matter of trust. Although the cherry tree is a myth, Washington was always known to be an honest man, and a man who could be entrusted with great tasks that he would attempt to do out of a sense of duty and not for personal aggrandizement. Such men are very rare in history, and almost all Washington’s contemporaries realized that he was such a rarity.
Washington of course did not appear full grown on the stage of history. When he was born none would have expected him to have any historical significance in his life. Continue reading
The things that you find on Youtube! Churchill warning in a radio broadcast during the second year of Nazi rule of the threat posed by them to the peace of Europe. Churchill tells a very old truth: one side of a dispute embracing functional pacifism, short of abject surrender, will not make war less likely, but rather ensure the coming of war.
Bonus: The actor Robert Hardy in 1986 gave a ninety minute presentation on Churchill. In the below excerpt he talks about socialism and the impossibility of isolationism as a foreign policy for the United States: Continue reading