Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

Saturday, December 12, AD 2015

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Something for the weekend.  Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.  Written by the ever prolific composer Anonymous in 16th century Germany, it quickly became a favorite hymn of both Catholics and Protestants in that time and land of religious strife, and that is a good message for Christmas.

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Veni Veni Emmanuel

Saturday, December 5, AD 2015

 

 

Something for the weekend before Christmas.  Veni, Veni Emmanuel.  The words of this magnificent hymn are from the 9th century and the melody is from 15th century France.  It is more familiar these days in its English translation.  Below is a powerful version that has great meaning for me.  After the death of my son Larry on Pentecost Sunday 2013 I found it of immense comfort.  Christ is Our Way, Our Truth and Our Everlasting Life.

 

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2 Responses to Veni Veni Emmanuel

  • Dad was bedridden for the last weeks in November of 2013. I would kneel at his bedside and sing hymn’s from his red Christian Prayers booklet. In the back of the booklet forty or so hymn’s were ready for the novice or well seasoned singer. Fitting the former class of singer I gently sang to him.
    He was paralyzed on his right side and couldn’t speak, due to a third stroke he suffered. He smiled the best he could as I sang many hymn’s. Oh Come Emmanuel was one of his favorite’s. Mine too. Forever I will hold dear these last days of his life within my heart. I did give him what I could…song for the journey. He died on Dec. 4th 2013…yesterday and two years.

  • O come, Adonai, Lord of might,
    Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
    In ancient times didst give the law
    In cloud and majesty and awe.

    How can priests and theologians spend their minds in denial, taking so many away from the Lord of might to enter Satan’s tyranny?

    As they hear these beautiful words year after year …

Turkey in the Straw

Saturday, November 21, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  Turkey in the Straw seems appropriate for the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The spirited rendition above is by the Skillet Lickers, a Georgia band of the twenties and thirties of the last century. Part time musicians, they made up in enthusiasm and faithfulness to the traditional music they played, what they may have lacked in technical skill.

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One Response to Turkey in the Straw

  • Can you only email articles to one recipient at a time?
    Seems so unless I’m missing something. Tried separating with commas as usual, or with a space between, to no avail. Window pops up: ‘recipient email invalid’, even though they could be sent one-by-one.
    I love this website and like to send articles individually, not just link to the entire website.
    Any tips?

Southern Soldier

Saturday, November 14, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  A rousing rendition of Southern Soldier by the 2nd South Carolina String Band, a group dedicated to bringing to modern audiences Civil War music played on period instruments.  Southern Soldier was immensely popular among Confederate troops during the latter part of the War and was one of their favorite marching tunes.

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One Response to Southern Soldier

Salve Regina and Hermann the Cripple

Saturday, October 10, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  Salve Regina.  Christopher Columbus was nearing the end of his voyage across the Atlantic 523 years ago.  He had a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary.  Each night he would assemble the crew on his ship to sing the Salve Regina.  The hymn was written in the eleventh century by Blessed Hermann the Cripple, a truly fascinating figure.

Born on July 18, 1013, he was a son of Wolverad II, Earl of Altshausen.  He entered this world with maladies that would be considered overwhelming in our time and in the eleventh century entirely beyond hope: a cleft palate and cerebral palsy and spina bifida, or perhaps  Lou Gehrig’s disease or spinal muscular atrophy.  In any event he could barely move, and could hardly speak.  He was placed in a monastery at age 7, no doubt his parents fearing that all that would occur for their son for the remainder of his time in this vale of tears was that he would be made as comfortable as possible until his afflicted life came to an end.

Among the monks he flourished.   At twenty he took his vows as a Benedictine monk. He spent most of his life at the Abbey of Reichenau.  He quickly demonstrated that a keen mind, as well as a beautiful soul, inhabited his wreck of a body. He mastered several languages including Latin, Arabic and Greek.  His genius was catholic in its scope:  he wrote a treatise on the science of music, several works on geometry, mathematics and astronomy, a chronicle of events from the Crucifixion to his time and composed religious poetry.  He built musical instruments and astronomical devices.  Students flocked to him throughout Europe, drawn not only by his learning but also by his sweet demeanor.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of his role in the scientific renaissance sweeping through Europe in the eleventh century.

Going blind in his later years, he became a noted composer of hymns, including the Salve Regina.  Dying in 1054 at age 40, he was beatified by Pio Nono in 1863.

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5 Responses to Salve Regina and Hermann the Cripple

  • Pingback: Blessed Herman the Cripple | CatholicSaints.Info
  • Beautiful story.
    Thanks again for your teaching.

    How many Hermann the cripple’s would of brightened our world if they weren’t diagnosed within their mother’s womb, and prompted to abort at the suggestion of their “doctor?”
    How many? God doesn’t make mistakes when souls are created and conception is achieved.

    In these, our dark ages, please continue to pray. Please consider joining ten’s of thousands of Prayer partners in public prayer.
    We will be in front of today’s Auschwitz’.
    Join us. Please. Hermann the cripple pray for us.

  • I too am heartened by the life of Herman of Richenau! Thank you for this post.
    Imagine being immobile – dependent – but on a beautiful island in the beautiful Lake Constance under the care of the noted abbot Benno in that wonderful brilliant century!
    + some belief that the refrain ” o clement,oh sweet…” Etc was added by Bernard of Clairvaux

  • “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to Thee.”
    .
    “Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
    That we may made worthy of the promises of Christ.”
    .

    “I fly to you O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother.”
    .
    “To you do I come; before you I stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, . . . ”
    .
    I think of Mary and my wonderful mother (RIP).

  • Pingback: Pope Francis Challenges Us to Live The Joy of the Gospel - BP

Rising of the Moon

Saturday, September 26, AD 2015

 

Something for the weekend.  I am in a disgusted mood at the papal events of this week, and when I am in such a mood it is time for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon.  The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland.  Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood.  However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and The Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute.

Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Tell me why you hurry so?”

 “Hush ma bouchal, hush and listen”, And his cheeks were all a-glow.

“I bear ordhers from the captain, Get you ready quick and soon,

For the pikes must be together At the risin’ of the moon”.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

For the pikes must be together at the risin’ of the moon.

“Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Where the gatherin’ is to be?”

“In the ould spot by the river, Right well known to you and me.

 One word more—for signal token Whistle up the marchin’ tune,

 With your pike upon your shoulder, By the risin’ of the moon”.

 By the risin’ of the moon, by the risin’ of the moon,

With your pike upon your shoulder, by the risin’ of the moon.

Out from many a mudwall cabin Eyes were watching thro’ that night,

 Many a manly chest was throbbing For the blessed warning light.

 Murmurs passed along the valleys Like the banshee’s lonely croon,

 And a thousand blades were flashing At the risin’ of the moon.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

And a thousand blades were flashing at the risin’ of the moon.

There beside the singing river That dark mass of men was seen,

Far above the shining weapons Hung their own beloved green.

 “Death to ev’ry foe and traitor! Forward! strike the marchin’ tune,

 And hurrah, my boys, for freedom! ‘T is the risin’ of the moon”.

 ‘T is the risin’ of the moon, ‘t is the risin’ of the moon,

 And hurrah my boys for freedom! ‘t is the risin’ of the moon.

Well they fought for poor old Ireland, And full bitter was their fate

(Oh! what glorious pride and sorrow Fill the name of Ninety-Eight).

Yet, thank God, e’en still are beating Hearts in manhood’s burning noon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, At the risin’ of the moon!

 At the rising of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, at the risin’ of the moon.

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8 Responses to Rising of the Moon

  • Donald,
    .
    I would imagine that a majority of orthodox devout Catholics are as disgusted as you. But God wins in the end. Why He has permitted this man Jorge Bergoglio to occupy the Papal Seat we may never know in this life. But God’s sovereign will will always be accomplished. As for the occupier of the Papal Seat, Ezekiel 34:1-10 comes to mind.

  • Young men know in their heart and soul the truth about freedom.

  • One of my favorite songs arising from the ’98 rising tells the story of Fr. John Murphy who led a local uprising in the West and was brutally executed for his troubles.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnXwFl3pGDc

    At Boolavogue, as the sun was setting
    O’er the bright May meadows of Shelmalier,
    A rebel hand set the heather blazing
    And brought the neighbours from far and near.
    Then Father Murphy, from old Kilcormack,
    Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry;
    “Arm! Arm!” he cried, “For I’ve come to lead you,
    For Ireland’s freedom we fight or die.”

    He led us on against the coming soldiers,
    And the cowardly Yeomen we put to flight;
    ‘Twas at the Harrow the boys of Wexford
    Showed Booky’s Regiment how men could fight.
    Look out for hirelings, King George of England,
    Search ev’ry kingdom where breathes a slave,
    For Father Murphy of the County Wexford
    Sweeps o’er the land like a mighty wave.

    We took Camolin and Enniscorthy,
    And Wexford storming drove out our foes;
    ‘Twas at Sliabh Coillte our pikes were reeking
    With the crimson stream of the beaten Yeos.
    At Tubberneering and Ballyellis
    Full many a Hessian lay in his gore;
    Ah, Father Murphy, had aid come over
    The green flag floated from shore to shore!

    At Vinegar Hill, o’er the pleasant Slaney,
    Our heroes vainly stood back to back,
    And the Yeos at Tullow took Father Murphy
    And burned his body upon the rack.
    God grant you glory, brave Father Murphy
    And open heaven to all your men;
    The cause that called you may call tomorrow
    In another fight for the Green again.

  • I love both songs, and the Clancys perform both on the great double album, Irish Songs of Whiskey and Rebellion.

    More Clancy Brothers, please.

  • Great Irish rebel song, here’s another:

    I was born on a Dublin street where the Royal drums do beat
    And the loving English feet they tramped all over us,
    And each and every night when me father’d come home tight
    He’d invite the neighbors outside with this chorus:

    Oh, come out ye Black and Tans,
    Come out and fight me like a man
    Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders
    Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away,
    From the green and lovely lanes in Killashandra.

  • Beautiful rendition of The Foggy Dew:

    http://youtu.be/13MQFCfCYdQ

Heia Safari!

Saturday, August 8, AD 2015

 

Something for the weekend.  Heia Safari!.   The lyrics were written in 1916 by noted German painter of African wild life Hans Aschenborn, and became immensely popular.  When Paul Emil von Lettow Vorbeck wrote his memoirs, he entitled the book Heia Safari (Hurray Safari).

Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck doubtless would have died an obscure retired German colonel but for the outbreak of World War I.  Taking command of the troops of German East Africa he made up his mind that he would help the German war effort by holding down as many Allied troops in Africa as possible.  This seemed like a large task for a man who commanded  2,600 German nationals and 2,472 African soldiers in fourteen Askari field companies.  The other German colonies in Africa were conquered swiftly by the Allies, but von Lettow-Vorbeck had a deep streak of military genius in him that had hitherto been unrecognized.

He defeated the initial Allied attempts to take the colony and expended to 14,000 his mostly native force.  He declared that “We are all Africans here.” and lived up to that claim by appointing native officers, mastering their language and treating his troops fairly, without loosening the strict discipline he applied to Germans and natives alike.  He proved a master of guerrilla war and improvisation, often arming, clothing and feeding his men from the stores of defeated Allied forces sent against him.  The Allies would pour 250,000 troops into a campaign that lasted the entire war.  He became a hero in Germany as news of his exploits spread, and the British grew to respect and admire a man who fought successfully against very long odds.

He ended the war undefeated, he and his men in northern Rhodesia, the only undefeated German force of the War.  He and his officers were given a tumultuous parade in Berlin in 1919.  Deeply conservative, he entered German politics after he retired from the Army in 1928 and served as a member of the Reichstag.  He fought against the rise of the Nazis and Hitler, who he despised.  When Hitler offered him the ambassadorship to Great Britain, knowing in what esteem the British held their old foe, the old soldier allegedly told Hitler to perform an anatomically impossible act.  (After World  War II a nephew confirmed this in substance, but mentioned to his British inquirer that he had heard that his uncle had not been quite that polite to Corporal Hitler.)

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One Response to Heia Safari!

  • Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck seems to have been a real man all in too short a supply today. My take from this however wrong I may be is that a person can be the enemy but does not have to evil.
    .
    Sadly today’s effeminate liberal wimps are both the enemy and evil.

The Ship That Never Returned

Saturday, August 1, AD 2015

 

Something for the weekend:  The Ship That Never Returned.  Written in 1865 by Henry Work, who the same year wrote Marching Through Georgia, it enjoyed immense popularity.  I can’t help but imagine that many of the listeners at the time were thinking of all the ships and men lost in the maelstrom of war in the preceding four years.  The song is sung by Tom Roush who has developed quite a following on YouTube with his heart felt renditions of 19th century songs.

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Internationale

Saturday, July 11, AD 2015

 

Something for the weekend.  The Internationale being sung in Spanish in Havana.  This is dedicated to Cardinal Jaime Ortega, and the Babalu Blog, the go to blog for all activities in Castro’s island gulag, tells us why:

Diplomacy does not seem to be Cardinal Jaime Ortega’s strongpoint. The archbishop of Havana behaved badly to a group of anti-Castro activists who were distributing a statement on a proposed amnesty law for political prisoners to diplomats attending 4th of July ceremonies at the home of Jeffrey DeLaurentis, head of the US Interests Section in Havana.

The cardinal’s harsh comments came shortly after a musical group — clad in colorful Prussian blue uniforms with white caps — had finished playing the last notes of the national anthems of Cuba and the United States on their wind instruments and after a brief welcome by Mr. DeLaurentis.

Relaxed officials and accredited diplomats working in Havana were chatting with dissidents, musicians and Cuban intellectuals — they had been invited to Independence Day celebrations — as waiters served red wine, beer, fruit juice and canapés.

Activists Egberto Escobedo and Jose Diaz Silva approached Ortega, who was chatting with a group of bishops, to hand him a list of fifty-one political prisoners whose release the Forum for Rights and Liberties — a group led by Antonio Rodiles, Angel Moya and Berta Soler — had been requesting every Sunday for twelve weeks in the face of intense harassment by police.

“I don’t want you handing me another list. Send it to the ’worms’* broadcasting on the radio from Miami. If you keep bothering me, I’ll have them call the police,” responded Ortega angrily.

Diplomats, guests and foreign journalists were taken aback. His outburst was the talk of the evening.

“He seemed more like a Stalinist commissar than a compassionate agent of the Lord. We assumed the Catholic church was supposed to welcome all of us. But for some time now there has been a faction of the Cuban church that has not only turned its back on dissidents but has attacked us nearly as forcefully as the government,” said Victor Manuel Dominguez, a poet and freelance journalist.

An official from a western embassy, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed the opinion of his mission that “all that is being asked of Ortega is that he at least listen to a person’s demands, even if he does not agree with them.”

The Cuban archbishop’s verbal hostility stems from statements he made on June 5 to Cadena Ser, a Spanish radio station, in which he said that there are no longer political prisoners in Cuba.

This statement provoked a harsh response from activist Jose Luis Garcia Perez, known as Antunez. Antunez and other activists — including Rodiles, Guillermo Fariñas, Angel Moya and Berta Soler — were present during the cardinal’s tantrum.

“This is what one would expect from a society in which religious institutions that supposedly welcome all believers turns its back on dissidents. But this is what is happening. Intellectuals and a certain segment of the clergy remain suspiciously silent in the face of Sunday assaults on activists and the Ladies in White,” said Rodiles.

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14 Responses to Internationale

  • Not to worry, once the global warming agenda gives the one-world UN the authority it seeks to control all nations, I’m certain the nice UN will admonish the communist nasties and the world will slip into Pax Romana mode again. Maybe the Vatican will move to Havana and live among the poor….

  • Another waste-of-space bishop. Blaise Cupich, this twerp, Msgr. Tiso and the ghastly Croat Franciscans during the war all cut from the same cloth.

  • “I am showing my age.  I can recall when cardinals were foes of Communist tyrannies instead of  toadies for them.”

    You didn’t go high enough in the chain of authority. How is Otega’s conduct different that PF whose own Academey of [pseudo]Science refused to even hear critics of global warming prior to the encyclical. Let’s pray that PF addressed the matter of political prisoners when he visits the Cuban dictatore.

  • I said earlier that I was disappointed with Cardinal Ortega. Not anymore. I am disgusted with Cardinal Ortega. I think the same of him as I do Bishop Lynch in St. Petersburg, +Cupich, +Mahony and even the ex-Pittsburgher +Wuerl.

    Most American Catholics have no clue about the Church in Latin America. Regardless of Latin American nation, the Church has had a soft spot for hard-core leftist politics. The Castros should be hated throughout this hemisphere but they are almost admired. The hatred for George W. Bush far exceeds anything aimed at the Castros.

    Imagine that – “worms in Miami”. Fidel has long labeled the Cuban exiles in Miami “worms”. The Cuban exiles in Miami are the one immigrant group that has been okay to trash by Hollywood and Big Media. PBS did a hit piece on the Miami Cubans not long after the Elian Gonzalez production.

    Every day we see more evidence of really how bad things are in the Latin American Church. Its infatuation with liberation theology and deep seated class envy cause the Church to bleed members to Protestant churches.

    Reform in the Church will come from the Remnant. Until then we must deal with the ineptitude of the Church hierarchy.

    Communism is the single worst idea in the history of mankind. It has oppressed and murdered more than any ideology in this world’s history. It has killed more than all of the plagues, diseases, and natural disasters. It denies God and freedom of man. Yet, we see what we see just in our own backyard.

    The real anti-Communist clergy came from the old Eastern Bloc and Mao’s China.

  • Communism suppressed the homeland of my dad’s ancestors for 44 years. Poland was the scratch, then the chip, then the crack, then the fissure, then the tremor, then the Krakatoa of the Soviet empire in Europe.

    Through the dark days of partition and Soviet occupation a quarter century after partition ended, the Church in Poland NEVER stopped in its labors to keep Poland alive and resistance to outside suppression.

    Ain’t happenin’ in Cuba. The Vatican has reached new lows with this papal visit and the most silly recent encyclical. The Roman Pontiff’s remarks about capitalism (really, free market economies) shows the depths of his ignorance about economic matters.

    Castro has murdered Americans. This has occurred in international waters. His regime would not last a week against the US Armed Forces, even now. All it took was a spineless, heartless, cold man in the White House to warm up to the Stalinist 90 miles from Key West.

    I am Catholic because of Christ. I would never be Catholic for any other reason.

  • Yes, the good Cardinal refers to Cuban refugees in America as “worms.” Now what if a conservative politician referred to immigrants here as worms. The hierarchical BS would hit the wall. We might get a looney Cardinal referring to him as a member of the KKK. Oh wait, they do that where there is reasoned disagreement on illegal immigration:

    http://www.catholic.org/news/politics/story.php?id=36322

  • Good comments by Penguins Fan – and all.

  • I recall my parents who came from Cuba to America in 1961 told me the following: “at the very consecration of the host when the Body of Christ is physically present, at St. Francis Cathedral in Santiago de Cuba at Sunday Mass, the Communists and followers of Fidel walked from the pews and formed a conga line, and sang,’ We are Communists go forward, go forward,’ The Communists who where present at Holy Mass told the other Communists on the line about the Carmelite Nuns present at Mass at the time, ‘check under their skirts that’s where they hide their money.’ To paraphrase Our Lord, you cannot serve the Lord and the hammer and sickle.

  • The Catholic clergy has always, throughout history, shown a fear and contempt of οἱ πολλοί, the many, whom they equate with the rabble. Despots, whether of the Left or the Right, for one man can be more easily guided than many.

    The fear and suspicion of democracy and the fear and suspicion of capitalism are two sides of the same coin. De Tocqueville described the attitude of the Ancien Régime, the creaton of Cardinals like Richelieu and Mazarin: “The Old Regime, in fact, held that wisdom lay only in the State and that the citizens were weak and feeble beings who must forever be guided by the hand, for fear they harm themselves. It held that it was necessary to obstruct, thwart, restrain individual freedom, that to secure an abundance of material goods it was imperative to regiment industry and impede free competition. The Old Regime believed, on this point, exactly as the socialists of today do. It was the French Revolution which denied this.”

    Compare this with Populorum Progressio (1967): “Organized programmes are necessary for “directing, stimulating, coordinating, supplying and integrating” the work of individuals and intermediary organizations. It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity.”

    I sometimes fancy a classical education was at the back of it and that the notion of Plato’s philosopher-king lingers on; in the ancient world, lawgivers were revered as heroes and demi-gods and as the creators of society; the legislator alone reflects, invents, acts, whilst the citizens are as clay in the hands of the potter. Thus, they believed it was Pelasges who first taught the Greeks how to eat acorns; before that, the legend says, they grazed the land like cattle.

  • I meant to write, “Despots, whether of the Left or the Right are preferred, for one man can be more easily guided than many.”

  • I doubt MPS if what you say is correct. In the Middle Ages the authority of the kings and emperors was always limited by other groups and institutions. Where a ruler became too powerful within a State he inevitably ran afoul of the Church. Catholic influence was greatest in Europe during the Middle Ages and subsidiarity, although the word would not be coined until the last century, ruled the roost in practice if not always in theory.

    If there is a bias against Democracy within the Church it comes as either a hangover from the views of 19th century popes who as the secular rulers of the Papal states tended to view all European Democrats as red revolutionaries, and a fondness for socialism which is a hangover from the last half of the last century.

  • Imagine that…..the parents of Julius Caesar’s Ghost were labeled as “worms” by Jaime Cardinal Ortega….for fleeing to the US and opposing Castro. An equivalent would have been Cardinal Wojtyla labeling Polish Americans as “dumb Polocks”.

    The church’s opposition to Communism, as with its opposition to Islam, has been nonexistent since Vatican II. Had we not had a Polish Pope, the Eastern Bloc may have not fallen. Does anyone think another Paul VI would have worked with the Reagan Administration to funnel assistance to Solidarity in Poland? Se how much help the oppressed Cubans are getting from the Church in Cuba?

    Cardinal Ortega reminds me of the wimpy English clergy who fell in line with Henry Tudor.

  • The fear and suspicion of democracy and the fear and suspicion of capitalism are two sides of the same coin. De Tocqueville described the attitude of the Ancien Régime, the creaton of Cardinals like Richelieu and Mazarin: “The Old Regime, in fact, held that wisdom lay only in the State and that the citizens were weak and feeble beings who must forever be guided by the hand, for fear they harm themselves. It held that it was necessary to obstruct, thwart, restrain individual freedom, that to secure an abundance of material goods it was imperative to regiment industry and impede free competition. The Old Regime believed, on this point, exactly as the socialists of today do. It was the French Revolution which denied this.”

    [grinds teeth]: The ‘liberal’ dispensation in Latin American politics, whether or not it actually traded in constitutional government (and see Rufino Barrios for an example of the caudillo ‘liberal’) had as its signature hostility to the Church. Ditto the entire republican dispensation in French politics prior to 1901. Ditto Otto von Bismarck and his collaborators in the National LIberal Party. Ditto the entire spectrum of republican parties in Spain in 1933 except for some Basque particularists and chameleons like Miguel Maura.

  • Penguins Fan writes: “Until then we must deal with the ineptitude of the Church hierarchy.” I am no longer willing to give them that benefit of the doubt. No one is that “inept”.

Fortnight For Freedom: Dixie

Saturday, June 27, AD 2015

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 I have always thought `Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. [Applause.] I presented the question to the Attorney General, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. [Laughter and applause.] I now request the band to favor me with its performance.’”

Abraham Lincoln, requesting the playing of Dixie when a crowd came to the White House after Lee’s Surrender.

Something for the weekend.  Well, after the Confederate flag madness of this week, the only appropriate song is Dixie.  One of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite songs, it now may become an anthem of a new movement against the suffocating political correctness that is threatening the freedom of our land.  Bob Dylan’s rendition of Dixie prior to the world going crazy:

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One Response to Fortnight For Freedom: Dixie

Pollution

Saturday, June 20, AD 2015

 

Something for the weekend.  In honor of the Green Encyclical, a bit of Tom Lehrer.  Living through the Sixties when I was a kid was bad enough.  Little did I know that I would have the “joy” of reliving the Sixties in my fifties.  The only thing that Marx, Karl not Groucho, got right was that history frequently does repeat itself:  the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

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4 Responses to Pollution

May 23, 1865: Grand Review

Saturday, May 23, AD 2015

Something for the weekend:  Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Doubtless many men who fought in the Civil War thought, and dreaded, that the War might go on forever.  Now, however, it had ended with Union victory.  Some European powers speculated that the United States would now use its vast armies to take foreign territory:  perhaps French occupied Mexico, maybe settle old scores by taking Canada from Great Britain, Cuba, held by moribund Spain was certainly a tempting target.  But no, the armies had been raised for the purpose of preserving the Union.  Now the men in the ranks were eager to get home, and the nation was just as eager to enjoy peace.

One last duty remained however:  an immense victory parade in Washington.  On May 23, 1865, the 80,000 strong Army of the Potomac marched happily through the streets of Washington on a glorious spring day.  For six hours they passed the reviewing stand, where President Johnson, the cabinet, General Grant and assorted civilian and military high brass, received the salutes of, and saluted, the men who had saved the Union.  Most of the men had hated the Army, and were overjoyed to be going home, but for the rest of their lives they would remember this day and how all the death and suffering they had endured over the past four years had not been in vain after all.    Almost all of them were very young men now, and many of them would live to old age, future generations then having a hard time picturing them as they were now:  lean, battle-hardened and the victors of the bloodiest war in the history of their nation.  When they died iron stars would be put by their graves, and each Decoration Day, eventually called Memorial Day, flags would be planted by their graves, as if to recall a huge banner draped over the Capitol on this day of days:

“The Only National Debt We Can Never Pay, Is The Debt We Owe To Our Victorious Soldiers.”  

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4 Responses to May 23, 1865: Grand Review

One Response to The Judge’s Song

  • “Any relation between this judge and any that you may encounter is no doubt purely coincidental.”

    ooh-kay ! Of course at one time, all judges were lawyers 🙂
    Actually, I have always loves G & S – used to act in them when i was at Cacred heart College – Mikado, Gondoliers, Pirates of Penzance……..all great fun.

Arise Ye Russian People!

Sunday, May 10, AD 2015

The Russians are celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany this weekend.  It is fair to say that in that defeat the Soviet Union did the lion’s share of the fighting, the Soviets suffering more than twenty million war dead.  For all their heroism and suffering , the Soviets were still enslaved to a tyranny just as bad as the Third Reich, with that system now extended throughout Eastern Europe.  This cold fact is why Churchill entitled the final volume in his World War II history:  Triumph and Tragedy.

The clip from the  film Alexander Nevsky at the beginning of this post underlines the tragedy for the Russian people of World War II.   A true work of genius by Sergei Eisenstein, who somehow pulled off the feat of making a film about an Orthodox Saint, an aristocratic Prince and pillar of the Church, and ladling it with Communist and anti-religious propaganda, and yet having the final result not be laughably absurd.  The film was among the first efforts of Stalin to rally traditional Russian patriotism against the looming threat of Nazi Germany.  Poor Eisenstein found himself in the doghouse soon after the release of the film due to the Nazi-Soviet pact.  After the onset of Operation Barbarossa, the film was once again released and played to packed houses throughout the war.  The Russian rallying song in the film was composed by Sergei Prokofiev.  The lyrics roughly translated are :

Arise, ye Russian people,
to glorious battle, to a battle to the death:
arise, ye free people,
to defend our beloved country!
All honour to the warriors who live,
and eternal glory to those slain!
For our native home, our Russian land,
arise, ye Russian people!

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8 Responses to Arise Ye Russian People!

  • The Russian people endured tremendous hardship to defeat nazism, and are
    right to be proud of their sacrifices and their accomplishment. They will never
    forget.

    What about here in America? At the national VE 70th anniversary celebrations
    held in DC yesterday, our president declined to attend, instead choosing to fund
    raise on the west coast and visit Nike headquarters. Vice-president Biden was
    also conspicuous in his absence. The administration did send a national
    security advisor as its representative, so I suppose we can’t say VE Day was
    completely blown off…

  • I could write a thesis about this subject if I wanted to. To sum it up, the Russian people have, for many centuries,suffered greatly under the oppressive yoke of whoever was or is in charge in the Kremlin. Often overlooked is that the USSR instigated World War II in Europe as the ally of Nazi Germany. Stalin, not satisfied at having starved millions of Ukrainians to death in the Holodomor, jumped at the opportunity to exact revenge upon the Polish nation who humiliated him in the Polish Soviet War of 1920-21. Stalin supplied Hitler with raw materials and the USSR shared intelligence with the Nazis.

    Great Britain warned the Kremlin of a German invasion, advice ignored by Stalin-that almost cost the USSR its existence. Had Germany had capable leadership instead of the madman Hitler,the Germans would have finished the job instead of being beaten at Stalingrad.

    The Red Army and the Russian people did the most bleeding and dying in World War II because it was fine with Stalin that millions of Russians die so that Hitler would be destroyed AND so that Stalin could expand the Soviet empire. Let’s not forget that the USSR took the Baltic states in the Molotov-von Rippentrop Treaty and took Polish territory east of the Curzon Line (the Kresy) which Poland never got back. Poland did get some formerly German territory. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, eastern Germany and Bulgaria became captive nations for 44 years.

    I won’t start about Katyn now.

    So, for all of their sacrifice and suffering, the Russian people got more of Stalin, then Khruschev, etc. and now Putin, who fashions himself as another Peter the Great.

    The real reason for victory in WWII was the United States of America. Russian troops fought Germany between Stalingrad and Berlin. American troops fought Germans in North Africa and Italy, led the invasion at Normandy on D-Day, hunted U-boats in the North Atlantic, rebuilt its Navy and fought in the Pacific as well as the China-Burma-India theater against a crazed Japanese military all at the same time. American factories and American workers built most of the war materiel used to win the war. Tanks, planes, Jeeps, bombs, ammunition and the Manhattan Project, which kept the USSR out of Japan. Great Britain fought longer and was almost bled white by WWII and its troops fought valiantly but the UK wasn’t going to beat Japan and Germany by itself.

    I did not know but I am unsurprised that King Putt didn’t bother to show up at any ceremony celebrating VE Day, I can deal with Barack Obama only by completely ignoring what he says and does.

  • I have no sympathy at all for the Russians. As a person of Finnish descent on my mom’s side, and a student of Finnish history, I learned these people and their various governments can never be trusted. My Finnish grandfather always told my mother and her siblings never to trust the Russians. Apparently, Grandfather had some very bad experiences with the Rus. When he was filling out his alien registration form at the post office, somebody hear his surname, and asked him if he was Russian. Grandpa said “No, I hate the G**D*** Russians!” My grandsire was a very devout Lutheran, so what happened to him in Finland must have been terrible for him to swear like that!
    BTW, the major thing that bugs me about the Russians is their attitude toward the Non-Russians they used to lord it over. When they pulled out of the Baltic states, the Russians who moved into to those countries during the Soviet years became outraged at a demand the governments of those newly freed countries were making on them. To be a citizen of those countries, they had to learn the native tongue! Horrible!

  • There was a facinating programs about the 10 most game-changing weapons of WWII on the History Channel. One of the weapons was the Studebaker Truck, made in South Bend, IN. The US shipped hundreds of thousands of them to the USSR, and because they made the Soviet army more mobile, enabling troops, supplies, and artillery to reach danger points in the line quickly, the Soviets were able for the first time to stop the blitzkrieg. This was what made Soviet victory possible, especially at Kursk and Stalingrad.
    I don’t remember who said it, but I agree with the statement: “Too bad they couldn’t both lose”.

  • Two items in lend lease were most valuable for the Soviets: the trucks you mention and endless tins of spam that kept the Soviet troops fed. Also the Anglo-American bombing campaign caused the Germans after 43 to cede air superiority to the Soviets by drawing huge numbers of German fighters from the Eastern front to air defense duty in Germany.

  • BPS, the quote “it’s a pity they both can’t lose” is from a comment Kissinger made
    regarding the Iran-Iraq war. And he was right.

  • At the national VE 70th anniversary celebrations
    held in DC yesterday, our president declined to attend, instead choosing to fund
    raise on the west coast and visit Nike headquarters.

    ==
    I wouldn’t mind if he just doesn’t do ceremonial. The fundraiser is retch-inducing (and his signature). He and Biden remind you of our achievement of the classless society: no one has any class at all.

  • “If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don’t want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them thinks anything of their pledged word.”

    Harry Truman, June 24, 1941

The Lasting Impact of Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, May 9, AD 2015

 In this temple
As in the hearts of the people for
whom he saved the Union
The memory of Abraham
Lincoln
Is enshrined forever 

Inscription above the Lincoln Memorial

Something for the weekend.  Lincoln and Liberty, Too.  The mortal remains of Abraham Lincoln were laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois a century and a half ago this week.  This is a good time to look at the impact of his life, a life more consequential for his country and the world than that of any other American except for George Washington.

1.  Lincoln ended slavery.  That is a simple three word sentence but what an accomplishment it was.  Slavery, a world wide institution, had existed in the American colonies since their foundation.  By the time of the Civil War the institution was two hundred and fifty years old and had tainted American history from its inception.  It tainted everything it touched, and, in the ringing words of Lincoln:

I hate [indifference to slavery] because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world-enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites-causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty-criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

Slavery was such an entrenched institution in the South that only a mammoth Civil War, with atrocious blood-letting, brought about the conditions that ended it.  In four short years Lincoln lanced the boil of slavery, and if that were his only accomplishment that alone should ensure that his name will be honored by endless generations of Americans.  Critics of Lincoln often pretend that the South would have abolished slavery.  There is no evidence to support that belief, and much evidence to support the contention that slavery was an immensely strong institution and getting a new lease on life by having slaves work in factories.  Vast slave empires arose in the twentieth century, and the Confederacy, if it had won the Civil War, might now be regarded as a harbinger of the future on the issue of slavery, rather than as a rear guard defense of the past.  There is nothing inevitable about history, which is a human creation, and Lincoln ending slavery had global ramifications, and if he had failed opposite global ramifications might likely have occurred, which would have reverberated to this day.

2.  Lincoln preserved the Union.  There would be no United States today but for Lincoln.  There would be two or more nations where the United States of America now is.  Daniel Webster, in his immortal reply to Hayne in 1830 stated:  “Union and liberty, now and forever, one and inseparable.”  For this country and this world I believe his comment was prophetic.  Without a united America I suspect that this nation would not have successfully led the fight against Nazi Germany and then prevailed in the Cold War over the Soviet Union.  I think it all too likely that in addition to the United States and the Confederate States, there would have been other successor states to the original United States.  Allow secession once, and in times of national stress it would have been a “remedy” trumpeted by ambitious demagogues.  The founders of the Confederacy feared this, the drafters of the Confederate Constitution voting down South Carolina’s proposal that a right of secession be set forth in the Confederate Constitution and instead included in the preamble of the Constitution that they were forming a permanent federal government.

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11 Responses to The Lasting Impact of Abraham Lincoln

  • one word….Machiavelli

  • What Lincoln could not foresee was the advent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR pitted Americans against each other (wealthy versus poor), exponentially grew the Federal Government in both power and scope, interred Americans in, well, let’s be honest – concentration camps (the Japanese Americans who were forced to sell or abandon their property and live in these camps) and his blindness to the evils of both Hitler (until it was almost too late) and Stalin, whose secret service completely infiltrated the US Government.
    The Democrat Party has been following the same playbook ever since and if some parts of this country want out from a truly despotic and inept Federal Government, I don’t blame them.

    We needed someone with the wisdom of Lincoln during the Great Depression but did not get it. We could have used Lincoln’s wisdom in 2008 but we got the worst president in the history of this nation – and reelected him.

    Lincoln saw the South as people who were, are and will be countrymen. Who thinks anything similar of King Putt?

  • The principle of separation of church and state does not give the state power to separate the human body from his soul. The principle of separation of church and state does not give the state the power to disenfranchise the human soul, because the sovereign person dwells in his body and his soul, from his Constitutional freedom and his civil rights under the First Amendment.
    When a teacher, coach, or other personnel in charge of minor children and leaders of a peaceable assembly who choose to exercise their First Amendment freedom to express their Faith, they are guaranteed their freedom to express their Faith as sovereign persons, individuals as private persons, and not in the office of any state position. The time of their lives spent acknowledging “their Creator” is their private, personal time because these citizens are exercising their First Amendment Civil Rights and as such are giving witness to freedom.
    The atheist, the secular humanist, in being offended by the citizens’ free exercise of his freedom to acknowledge “their Creator” has charged that a state religion is being established by exercising our freedom. In exercising our First Amendment rights, we, the people, as citizens are giving witness to freedom and the power of the state to protect freedom and civil rights, and “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity” from The Declaration of Independence.
    Private persons given charge of minor children act “in loco parentis”, and are prohibited by reason of parental authority to teach or witness to anything other than that which the parents authorize the state official to teach or disseminate as truth, principle, or freedom. This would preclude any state official in charge of minor children from imposing his personal, private opinion on the captive audience of minors, who are un-emancipated children, not yet able to discern for themselves the truth of freedom.
    Acknowledging “their Creator” and Natural human rights endowed by Nature and Nature’s God acknowledges too, that the state is not supreme. The state does not own the person. Rather, the sovereign person constitutes the state. Therefore, the state must protect the sovereign person’s sovereignty. If the sovereign person indeed, wishes to exercise his First Amendment civil right to acknowledge “their Creator”, the state is not empowered or authentically authorized to prohibit his exercise. “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” The First Amendment.
    Every state official in charge of minor children who does not pray as a private, sovereign person is enforcing atheism, precluding the free exercise thereof, and indoctrinating minor children in the prohibition of civil rights.
    It is argued that prayer, acknowledging “their Creator”, has no place on state owned property such as public school, town hall meetings or the public square. This concept of the state gives rise to totalitarianism, the total control of the people by government, the government which the people have constituted.
    All public lands, waterways and public squares, town meeting halls and municipal buildings (meaning the peoples’ building), and public schools are owned in joint and common tenancy by each and every sovereign person, the taxpayer who bought and paid for and built it. The administration administers the tax dollars which belong to the individual tax payer even as his tax dollars are administered by the administration. Possession is nine-tenths of the law.
    In terms of children, however, parental authority, and the choice of the child to survive, his natural will to survive is his civil Right to Life, and with his chosen parents is paramount.
    The florist, Baronnelle Stutzman and Melissa’s Sweet Cakes, who both and all chose to practice their free exercise of their civil rights are being temporarily prosecuted for the crime of “hatred and discrimination” for loving their neighbor as themselves. Being heterosexual and believing that being heterosexual and acknowledging our constitutional posterity as defended in The Preamble to our Constitution, the unchangeable purpose of our Constitution, is the correct path to loving their neighbor as themselves, since they are heterosexual, and exercising their freedom of religion thereof, “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” The First Amendment.

  • 1) Abolished slavery even though he himself knew he had no constitutional authority to do so and did not initiate the war to do it, but only grasped it as a war aim when the “glorious union” meme was not going well in the North (but since slavery was an evil, he gets a pass on this);

    2) Preserved a “union” by invading states who were simply resuming the limited authority they gave to the federal government when voluntarily joining the union after the war against England. What a “glorious union”– enforced at the point of a bayonet, at the cost of 600,000 lives. If it were a marriage, maintaining a union by such means would land someone in jail.

    3) It’s an absurd mockery to put Lincoln in the company of the founders, not one of whom would have remotely envisaged a federal army invading states in order to force their membership in what was a voluntary union of “free and independent states” after the Revolution. Nor would any of them entertained for a moment forcing a state to change a practice lawful under the federal constitution by forcing them at gunpoint to agree to the 13th amendment. Lincoln was the “anti-founder” unravelling the limited, modest role of the federal government envisioned by the founders. Pile on his repeated violation of the constitution during the war, shuttering newspapers he didn’t like; imprisoning political opponents, defying the Supreme Court about his abuse of habeas corpus… no, Lincoln introduced a new form of aggressive centralism that led in a straight line to late 19th, early 20th century progressivism and our modern unconstitutional government.

    Hey, I understand having a hero, but unreflective deification belies a lack of judgment. I love Lee and Davis, but do not hesitate to point out their many flaws, and I would never have the gall to compare them to the founders, even though they have much more in common with Jefferson, Madison, Mason, and others than Lincoln.

  • “1) Abolished slavery even though he himself knew he had no constitutional authority to do so and did not initiate the war to do it, but only grasped it as a war aim when the “glorious union” meme was not going well in the North (but since slavery was an evil, he gets a pass on this);”

    Lincoln always said that he had no power to interfere with slavery in the states except as a war measure. Once it was clear that the Confederates were in earnest in their attempt to split the country, Lincoln seized the opportunity to emancipate the slaves as an act of War, striking a blow against the Confederacy and liberating millions of people in the bargain. He then sponsored a Constitutional amendment banning slavery to ratify what he had done.

    2. “Preserved a “union” by invading states”
    As Robert E. Lee noted, secession was simply rebellion rather than a right under the Constitution. There was no mechanism for it under the Constitution and several provisions in the Constitution indicate that the Union was meant to be perpetual. In any case, no minority faction had the right to rend the Union without the consent of a majority of the people of the United States, which the Confederates clearly never had. The United States of America was created in a war in which up to one-third of the American people opposed the creation of the country and supported the British. That it took bloodshed against a minority faction of the American people to preserve that Union bothers me no more than the fact that the original establishment of the country occurred against the wishes of the Tories.

    3. “It’s an absurd mockery to put Lincoln in the company of the founders, not one of whom would have remotely envisaged a federal army invading states in order to force their membership in what was a voluntary union of “free and independent states” after the Revolution.”

    Not at all. Various acts of early Congresses while almost all of the Founding Fathers still lived, and the Constitution provided for federal intervention against either rebellion or insurrection. The Founding Fathers were quite familiar with using military force in times of dire necessity against fellow Americans who differed from them, which is precisely the way they suppressed the Tories during the Revolution. Lincoln deserves Founding Father status because of his carrying forward the proposition that all men are created equal and restoring to millions of Americans their God-given rights. As Jefferson stated, in regard to slavery, the Justice of God would not sleep forever, and it did not.

  • I wish we could get past the cult of Lincoln. He is simply not the saint we all want him to have been.

    Some reasons to discount his sainthood.

    1. Slavery – I tend to believe the man came around to the idea of ending slavery at some point just prior to or right after the start of the Civil War. I think he used it as part of his weaponry against the south. But let’s not pretend he started the whole thing to free the slaves. We know that’s dishonest.

    No question though that the Civil War did end slavery in the south.

    2. Sheer cost – Lincoln has some things to answer for in terms of morality of the war – before, during and after – the loss of 630,000 souls, the slaughter of civilians – the “mainstreaming” of total war, the utter destruction of the social structure in the south – flawed and horrific as it was, the destruction of the awful reconstruction of the south. Who could answer yes to these things being ok to start a war? Wouldn’t it have been better to find another option? Lincoln could have bought every slave their freedom for the price of the war and saved all those lives. Furthermore, what about all the other countries who ended slavery peacefully?

    3. Economic incentives – please be honest about the economic policies and incentives the Lincoln administration had regarding the south and the American System. It’s simply not fair to act like Lincoln was holding the south just to preserve the union. Part of the issue was that he didn’t want to lose the South’s tariff revenue.

    4. Constitutional interpretation – It’s open to debate whether what he did was constitutional or not. Do we want to praise constitutional innovators just because they “found” some new penumbras? Seccession had been openly understood as an option for the states and considered by many others than just the south prior to the Civil War. Lincoln won this debate because he outlasted the south. But the arguments are not still not overwhelmingly conclusive.

    These are just a few of the things we need to highlight about Lincoln’s run. I will leave aside the discussion of Lincoln’s personal ambition and even his faith as those are probably much lower on the list of things to worry about. I’m just trying to point out that he is not the saint we all hoped. And by doing so I hope to avoid putting our trust or our hope in any princes. Lincoln was a man with moral flaws just like the rest of us. It was a tremendously ugly time and Lincoln’s hands are stained with blood less than righteously shed at least as much as many others of the time. I do not know if the Civil War could pass Just War criteria prior to the war. And it definitely did not pass Just War criteria for prosecution of the war.

  • “But let’s not pretend he started the whole thing to free the slaves.”

    No one said that he did, least of all Lincoln. As he stated in his First Inaugural, the question of Civil War was in the hands of the Confederates and not his. Once the War started he seized upon ending slavery as a War measure to preserve the Union. That it ended slavery benefited the country greatly and was in line with Lincoln’s own belief that all men, everywhere, should be free. A lesser leader would have lost the War and seen slavery a fixture upon the continent for the foreseeable future.

    “Lincoln has some things to answer for in terms of morality of the war –”

    Those who fired on Fort Sumter and seceded in order to protect slavery bear the guilt of starting the War. In a larger sense Lincoln of course thought that both North and South were guilty for the War because of tolerating slavery for so long.

    “the slaughter of civilians”
    Lincoln never slaughtered civilians and the War was mercifully largely free of such atrocities.
    As for total war, both sides used stern measures by the end of the War, as Chambersburg, Pennsylvania could attest.

    “Part of the issue was that he didn’t want to lose the South’s tariff revenue.”

    Tariffs were at a low point prior to the War and simply were not an issue North or South. The War cost the North far more than any revenue that could be raised from the South in tariffs in a century.

    “Seccession had been openly understood as an option for the states and considered by many others than just the south prior to the Civil War.”

    More accurate to call it a highly debatable option on which there was no agreement in the country. Both Jackson and Taylor, two Southern presidents, viewed secession as treason to be met with military force.

    “Lincoln could have bought every slave their freedom for the price of the war and saved all those lives.”

    Lincoln proposed compensated emancipation throughout the War. The border states were not interested, let alone the Confederates.
    “I’m just trying to point out that he is not the saint we all hoped.”
    Someone who is both an attorney and a politician would find it hard to claim a halo! I do claim that Lincoln was a great man a very great president. He lived in controversial times, and what he did will remain controversial for centuries to come.

  • “That it took bloodshed against a minority faction of the American people to preserve that Union bothers me no more than . . . .”

    Mr. McClarey, please say that the deaths of 280,000 Southerners makes you sad. For the sake of your Southern readers, just say so.

  • The deaths of all Americans in war makes me sad MR. However, if the Tories had prevailed in the American Revolution there would be no United States. If the Confederates had prevailed in the Civil War, their descendants would not be my countrymen and might well be my adversaries. History took the right course in 1783 and 1865 and the blood price on all sides was not too high to pay.

The Last Stand of the Black Horse Troop

Saturday, April 11, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  I Am a Rebel Soldier sung by Waylon Jennings.  Stephen Vincent Benet in his epic poem on the Civil War, John Brown’s Body, follows, in part of his poem, a Confederate Georia cavalry unit in the Army of Northern Virginia, the Black Horse Troop.  On the way to Appomattox they met their destiny guarding the rear of their expiring Army.  I have always thought this was a fitting tribute to the men of that Army who endured to the end.

Wingate wearily tried to goad
A bag of bones on a muddy road
Under the grey and April sky
While Bristol hummed in his irony
“If you want a good time, jine the cavalry!
Well, we jined it, and here we go,
The last event in the circus-show,
The bareback boys in the burnin’ hoop
Mounted on cases of chicken-croup,
The rovin’ remains of the Black Horse Troop!
Though the only horse you could call real black
Is the horsefly sittin’ on Shepley’s back,
But, women and children, do not fear,
They’ll feed the lions and us, next year.
And, women and children, dry your eyes,
The Southern gentleman never dies.
He just lives on by his strength of will
Like a damn ole rooster too tough to kill
Or a brand-new government dollar-bill
That you can use for a trousers-patch
Or lightin’ a fire, if you’ve got a match,
Or makin’ a bunny a paper collar,
Or anythin’ else–except a dollar.

Old folks, young folks, never you care,
The Yanks are here and the Yanks are there,
But no Southern gentleman knows despair.
He just goes on in his usual way,
Eatin’ a meal every fifteenth day
And showin’ such skill in his change of base
That he never gets time to wash his face
While he fights with a fury you’d seldom find
Except in a Home for the Crippled Blind,
And can whip five Yanks with a palmleaf hat,
Only the Yanks won’t fight like that.

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3 Responses to The Last Stand of the Black Horse Troop

  • And with these things, bury the purple dream
    Of the America we have not been,
    The tropic empire, seeking the warm sea,
    The last foray of aristocracy
    Based not on dollars or initiative
    Or any blood for what that blood was worth
    But on a certain code, a manner of birth,
    A certain manner of knowing how to live,
    The pastoral rebellion of the earth
    Against machines, against the Age of Steam,
    The Hamiltonian extremes against the Franklin mean,
    The genius of the land
    Against the metal hand,
    The great, slave-driven bark,
    Full-oared upon the dark,
    With gilded figurehead,
    With fetters for the crew
    And spices for the few,
    The passion that is dead,
    The pomp we never knew,
    Bury this, too.

  • It is a crime Tom that a great poet like Stephen Vincent Benet is almost completely forgotten today.

  • Don, I am greatly indebted to you.

    I had no idea of who Stephen Vincent Benet was until you posted this here. I found the entire poem online here (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0700461.txt) and read about half of it – I will read it in its entirety later. I did some more research on him and found he had written By the Waters of Babylon. I was stunned! I had read that short story when I was nine or ten, and while it made an immense impression on me I did not recall the title or the author. I now have it on my kindle – thanks to you.

O Sacred Head

Saturday, April 4, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Now Wounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

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3 Responses to O Sacred Head

  • I don’t want to go off on an “I hate new hymns” rant, but…yeah. Today we sang Jesus Christ is Risen Today: But the pains which he endured / Our salvation have procured. Do kids growing up listening to contemporary hymns get exposed to theology like that? It’s unequivocal. A friend of mine who grew up secular once told me that with his conversion to Catholicism, all the Christmas songs he knew now made sense. There’s a richness of teaching that people my age have absorbed without realizing it.

    Digression time: you’re a science fiction fan, right, Don? I remember a ST Next Generation episode where Worf found himself in a prison colony of Klingons who had forgotten their beliefs. He taught them their legends, explained to them the meaning of the songs they’d handed down and the trinkets they played with. I’m convinced the episode must have been written by a traditional (or traditionalist) Catholic. Do you know the one? It’s fascinating to watch and think about as a VII / ecumenism analogy.

  • We’re forgetting the things that made us different, the things worth defending. Peace is a valuable goal, but at what price? We’re a shrinking population, content to fade away. But there’s something else out there: the Borg. They can use our technology against us, and they don’t recognize the value of freedom and love. They’ll overrun us if we don’t remember who we are. All that we’ve worked to create will be lost, our inner rot leaving us unable to stand against the wind. If we did somehow manage to withstand the onslaught, do we still have the thing about us that’s worth protecting?