The West

Lost Moral Compass

Yes, it’s true…
and I don’t ask for forgiveness… not anymore.
With thee, heresy has come to eden.

John Rhys-Davis (Vasco Rodrigues)-Shogun

I have been a fan of the work of actor John Rhys-Davies since I viewed his over the top performance as the Portuguese pilot Vasco Rodrigues in Shogun in 1980.  In a field dominated by the Left, he is an outspoken conservative and has achieved success through sheer ability as an actor.

In an interview this week, he lamented the current morally lost state of the West:

“There is an extraordinary silence in the West,” Rhys-Davies told Carolla. “Basically, Christianity in the Middle East and in Africa is being wiped out – I mean not just ideologically but physically, and people are being enslaved and killed because they are Christians. And your country and my country (Wales) are doing nothing about it.”

“Why is it so evolved not to judge?” Carolla replied, identifying political correctness as the culprit. “This notion that we’ve evolved into a species that’s incapable of judging other groups and what they are doing, especially when it’s beheading people or setting people on fire or throwing acid in the face of schoolgirls… I like that kind of judging. That’s evolved!”

Carolla added that the U.S. “crushing Hitler” in World War II was a “good thing” that would not be possible now because Bill Maher would be “screaming” about tolerance.

“This is a unique age,” Rhys-Davies explained. “We don’t want to be judgmental. Every other age that’s come before us has believed exactly the opposite. I mean, T.S. Eliot referred to ‘the common pursuit of true judgment.’ Yes, that’s what it’s about. Getting our judgments right, getting them accurate.”

“Why can’t we get the same nations on the same page?” Carolla asked. “There’s a lot of nations that are never going to go down this road with us, but your nation, England, they’re sane. Why can’t we get them back toward sanity?”

“I think it’s an age where politicians don’t actually say what they believe,” the actor replied. “They are afraid of being judged as being partisan. Heaven forbid we should criticize people who, after all, share a different ‘value system.’ But ‘it’s all relevant, it’s all equally relative. We’re all the same. And God and the devil, they’re the same, aren’t they, really? Right and wrong? It’s really just two faces of the same coin.’”

“We have lost our moral compass completely, and unless we find it, we’re going to lose our civilization,” Rhys-Davies cautioned. “I think we’re going to lose Western European Christian civilization anyway.”

Rhys-Davies appeared on Carolla’s podcast to promote the DVD release of his film Return to the Hiding Place, about a group of Dutch youth resistance fighters in World War II. Continue reading

Sagebrush Rebellion II

federally-owned-land

A perennial issue in the West is the amount of land owned by the federal government and the Clive Bundy confrontation, go here to read all about it, has brought it to the fore:

 

There’s a modern tea party political element to it, but it goes much farther back to when many western territories achieved statehood in the 19th century, working out deals with Washington (as Mormon Utah did over what adherents at the time called “plural marriages”).

The map accompanying this article shows the difference between the West and the rest of the country. Here’s a list showing percentages of federal land by state, according to the Congressional Research Service. It includes the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, National Parks, and military bases: Nevada 81, Alaska 62, Utah 67, Oregon 53, Idaho 62, Arizona 42, California 48, Wyoming 48, New Mexico 35, Colorado 36.

State lawmakers say they’re better prepared to manage such lands, both for the environment and for regional economies.

“There is a distinct difference in the way federal agencies are managing the federal lands today,” Sen. Fielder said. “They used to do a good job, but they are hamstrung now with conflicting policies, politicized science, and an extreme financial crisis at the national level. It makes it impossible for these federal agencies to manage the lands responsibly anymore.”

Utah has led a legislative charge to demand relinquishment of title to certain lands that exclude national parks and wilderness study areas, reports the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

The “Transfer of Public Lands Act,” signed into law by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012, set the stage for a formal showdown with the government by demanding action under threat of lawsuit, the newspaper reports. Other states are exploring similar options.

Often, the political fight centers on some hapless species of plant or animal threatened with extinction and protected under federal law – like the northern spotted owl in Oregon or the desert tortoise in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Sometimes federal agencies are caught in the middle, trying to apply the “multiple use” doctrine to lands in dispute. Continue reading

Sister Blandina and the Original Billy the Kid

Rose Marie Segale was born on January 23, 1850 in the small village of Cicagna in Italy.  When she was four she and her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, part of the initial wave of immigration from Italy to America.  From her earliest childhood she was determined to be a sister and frequently told her father that she wanted to join the  Sisters of Charity as soon as she was old enough.  She began her novitiate at the age of 16.  When she professed her vows she took the name of Blandina Segale.  She taught at Steubenville and Dayton, and in 1872 she was ordered to Trinidad for missionary work.  Initially she thought that she was being sent to the island and was thrilled.  Instead, she was sent to Trinidad, Colorado in the western part of that state.

What she found when she got there, was a town that was frequently visited by outlaws and where lynchings were common.  A fairly rugged environment for a 22-year-old sister!

Nothing daunted, she began to teach.  Soon after she got there she stopped a lynching by convincing a dying man to forgive his assailant, the father of one of her pupils.  Sister Blandina and the sheriff brought the accused killer from the jail where he was being held to the bed of the dying man, through the midst of an angry lynch mob.  The dying man, very generously I think, forgave the man, the lynch mob dispersed, and the man’s fate was determined by the court and not the mob.

One of the many outlaws who terrorized the area was Arthur Pond aka William LeRoy, sometimes known as Billy the Kid, and who was celebrated as the King of American Highwaymen by the “penny dreadful” novelist  Richard K. Fox who released a heavily fictionalized biography of him immediately after his death, conflating his exploits with those of the more famous Billy the Kid.  (Sister Blandina in later life confused LeRoy with William H. Bonney, the more famous Billy the Kid, who operated in New Mexico a few years later.  Sister Blandina had known the outlaw only by his nickname and didn’t realize that there were two Billy the Kids, who died within months of each other in 1881.)  A member of his gang had been accidentally  shot by another member of his gang and left to die in an adobe hut in Trinidad.  Learning this from one of her students, Sister Blandina went to the outlaw and nursed him back to health, answering his questions about God and religion.   When Billy the Kid showed up in Trinidad one day, intent on scalping the four doctors who refused to treat the man Sister Blandina had been caring for, he thanked Sister Blandina and at her request reluctantly spared the physicians. Continue reading

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