“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”
There are big motions in the world right now – it’s not business as usual. Maybe you’ve been glued, maybe you’ve been indifferent, or tuned out but it’s worth taking a time out to assess what is happening on the world stage because it’s going to impact you if you haven’t felt it already.
History is being played out in the war in Ukraine, it’s not a sideshow. The implications are very real, lives are being lost in dramatic despair, prices are rising, and the risk of greater escalation is an accident or bad decision away.
Pray. Pray for the souls lost and will be lost. Pray for peace. Pray for the consecration of Russia. Pray that good people do the right thing.
Volatile events serve as a reminder that anything can change in a flash. It is best to secure all of your fronts. The world is changing rapidly, have you considered how a volatile environment impacts your family, finances, the people you serve, and your labor prospects? Be aware and stay on your toes.
It’s not a time for fear but a time for prudence.
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It was a damp and dark night in Hamburg, the air especially heavy. The Sauberzweig home, tense.
Otto paced in front of the hearth, pipe in mouth, Hamburg gazette underarm. His lips, held the end of the pipe tight, like a Rottweiler who’d found his favorite bone. A few rounds of fresh and fragrant tobacco had already been expended — room cloudy and full.
Otto’s stern expression wore consternation and complexity. Frieda sat at the desk, writing with clarity to her sister in Düsseldorf.
They didn’t have much time.
Perhaps less time than they thought.
A knock on the door.
The Sauberzweig’s both stopped and looked at the door in the parlor, eyes ablaze.
Just four hours earlier, retired General Otto Sauberzweig marched into the Schutzstaffel headquarters in full regalia to protest the unlawful and treasonous murders the night before in Wiesse. Word travels fast underground. Germany hasn’t been right since Wilhelm, but it is fast becoming unrecognizable. Vicious.
Otto looked at Frieda, Frieda looked at Otto. Another, but more firm knock.
Otto took another puff of the pipe and walked slowly to the door and unlocked the bolts.
“Guten abend General. I hope you don’t mind our stopping by so late,” a young but strong man with a crisp brown shirt led a posse of four Sturmabteilung officers. “Do you mind if we step in?”
“Nein.” Otto coldly replied with one arm across the door.
“I see.” The lad let a slow smile grow on his face, eyes locked to Otto’s. “You see General, I’m here to pay an unofficial visit this evening and thought we could sit down as countrymen and talk. Perhaps Frau Sauberzweig could join us?”
“Nein.” Otto’s reply, was more firm than the last. This time, blowing a puff of smoke forward, into the face of the young lad, who didn’t break his gaze or smile. The young man’s face held a soft glow from the interior lights but the other three who stood behind were silhouettes in the night. They said nothing but stood at ease, unflinching.
The young officer stood a moment, staring at Otto, saving face — with the exception of a new fire in his eyes.
“General I must insist we speak, out here is fine enough for the moment.” Otto kept his gaze, only using his lips to readjust the pipe in his mouth. “I understand you stopped by headquarters today to express your, grievances. I must say, leadership finds your lack of confidence,” the lads blue eyes tightened, “abrasive.”
Otto’s face was dark from being backlit but his inhale drew oxygen through his pipe and illuminated the embers to draw a deep red glow across his Prussian mustache and fierce coal eyes.
“The lads and I are here to bring you,” while trying to peer over his shoulder, “and dear Frau the opportunity to change your mind.”
“Progress is being made General. We could use men of your talent to serve this great nation again. Your reputation proceeds you, and we can certainly never forget the sacrifices you once gave. But. Now is the time to serve again. An evil is growing in this country and our leader is fighting for us, for a New Germany. One we can all be proud of,” the lad’s voice grew with excitement as if for the first time he had some hope. Otto stood firmly, one hand on his waist, hidden back as his jacket hungover, the other placed across the doorway.
“General, doesn’t it bother you to see our nation slave to the world and ruined by rich rats?” Otto caught a glimpse of a subtle movement of the guard to the left as he adjusted his hands to grip a baton. “The tide is turning. You will need to determine if you are on the side of progress or on the side of decay.”
A veteran of the Great War, a proud Prussian, General Otto Sauberzweig led many brave men into hell. He saw countless dead and dying. Otto inhaled again, a fierce highlight of his eyes wiped the smile off the young officer’s face. The moment sat in the air. The silence deafening.
Another movement yet out of complete sight by the guard directly behind the led officer.
“So General, I ask, will you join me down to headquarters where we can clear up this little misunderstanding?”
A long still pause.
Otto had seen what this new progress had to offer, what it promised. Progress doesn’t necessarily mean goodness.
The young blonde officer, still eye locked, snapped his fingers and the other three quickly drew their batons. Within a second, a rapid draw and fire of a seasoned Luger P08, hid nicely from Otto’s hip, dropped all four Brown Shirts upon the approach.
Frieda had taken a position in the side yard, Geweher 98 carefully aimed across the hood of the getaway car, just in case. Now that the guests have retired for the night, it was time to enact their planned escape to the free world —perhaps a little sooner than expected.
The “Night of the Long Knives” and its implication of Hitler’s rise can be explored with a couple of the quick links below. The story above is just a fiction, but there were many who did resist the Nazis, too few albeit.
Franklin: Because the people, on tasting the dish, are always disposed to eat more of it than does them good.
What happened at the Capitol last week was dangerous. But perhaps not just for the reasons you think. We’re living in perilous times and if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves at war with… ourselves. You can certainly feel the tension. You would have to be sleeping under a rock if you are now just becoming aware of it. It didn’t start here however as some will have you believe. We’re seeing a Great Hypocrisy run wild in our Democracy (ok Democratic Republic, but the line was too good to pass up).
President Trump was impeached for the second time, only days from writing this. What is remarkable, is that the case could actually be made for this and be reasonable, unlike the first, but politics being Kabuki theater, was rushed through. Up to this point, his team had every legal opportunity at their disposal to prove malfeasance. The media would say the assault of the Capitol was the Rubicon.
I’d argue differently, the President has every right to gather people wherever and whenever, peacefully. I don’t think he intended to storm the building with violence. He is more of a WWE showman than revolutionary in attitude. A smaller portion of supporters split off from a largely peaceful rally, with agitators from the left embedded as well and overran security. You would think however according to the popular current, that 74 million people did. Every one of those perpetrators who broke in should be prosecuted in court, and rightly, are being pursued. It was all a failure. An embarrassment for our country. We’ll know more as details unveil themselves.
I don’t think that was President Trump’s perilous move however. While a black eye to the country and we were blessed that it wasn’t worse, his real failure was the pressure of Vice President Pence to give himself powers he didn’t have. That is dangerous. That is where he failed. When we anchor ourselves as we do to the Constitution, it becomes clear when tyranny comes in. The tyrannical move here, wasn’t President Trump’s lack of wisdom in his end game but the direct move to usurp powers that were not granted. The electoral game should have been won long before that if he had a chance at winning the election but this isn’t commentary on Republican electoral strategy. To be fair, I’m simply calling out the right’s failure.
The left is not off the hook for responsibility of the state of our country. Upon this sad moment, I’ve taken notice of the reaction. I’ve noticed the rage and anger, justified, at the sight of the besieged Capitol. I’ve also noticed commentary in media and in friends feeds giving victory laps, show-boating that we should have expected this, as if innocent themselves. I’ve noticed a swift censoring and the calling of “deprogramming” of conservatives, who unjustly are swept into one broad dustbin and straw-maned.
I’ve also noticed tyrannical fruit from the leftist tree in the form of collusion between large companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, banks, PGA, among others and Democratic messaging to silence opposing viewpoints. It’s easy to shut down someone who isn’t popular like Trump. A dictator isn’t the loud mouth, it’s the one silencing it’s opposition.
The great hypocrisy here is two fold: 1. Where was this outrage when violence ran through the streets this summer? 2. Where is the outrage for the overt tyranny that is now taking place?
Because I don’t remember the same groups, outlets, and friends having the same standard when applied to earlier this year. Actually it is eerily reflective of group think. (Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of well-intentioned people makes irrational or non-optimal decisions spurred by the urge to conform or the belief that dissent is impossible (psychologytoday).
As I watched the vote count of the Electoral College after they returned, a Congressman commented about a false equivalency between what happened at the Capitol and this summer. Another said that these hallowed grounds are the tabernacle of our democracy and this was a desecration. I would agree that watching the seat of our national governance under siege is terrible, I think most rational people would. What I don’t understand is how you can watch as businesses and homes burn, statues undemocratically get toppled, people beaten and killed in the streets, sections of cities claimed autonomous and turn a blind eye, and not feel the same pain. As if violence and insurrection is only terrible if it’s the other team’s players.
The right isn’t rallying behind the Air Force woman who was killed and telling you to say her name. Or blacking out social media to dissenting voices. Or intimidating people to kneel before them to show support. Or using the private sector to censor ones ability to communicate. That is happening on the left.
Everyone has their cause and justice should be blind. The left and right should beware of group think and consider their own hypocrisy before pointing out someone else’s. If President Trump’s charge of incitement is punishable, should not the actions and promptings of the Congressional leaders who advocated for violence last summer? Or perhaps the same application of fairness when the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot up the Republican baseball game, critically wounding Congressman Scalise and garnering crickets? Can we not get on the same page and equally say that we want peaceful rallies, that we want fair justice, that violence in the street is not a good thing, that free speech is imperative – even when we disagree, and lastly that liberty is not shutting down others ability to think openly? What I’m afraid of, is that the answer to that, is no, but that’s not American ideal.
We need to be careful and reject tyranny within ourselves. We all have a right to our own viewpoints. You don’t have the right to silence or intimidate others. Vigorously fight for your belief but violence isn’t the way. Follow and consider facts, even if it’s not popular then live it out so it’s so attractive someone else would want to see what it’s about.
I’ve been to D.C. a number of times and seen many things but what I’ll never forget is the Holocaust Museum. There is a poem that is engrained in my mind upon the walls as you leave written by a survivor…
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me
If censoring is allowed to happen to one group, you better believe it can happen to you. Don’t let groupthink settle you into the the great hypocrisy. Let freedom ring for all.
1492, began a radical change in the world’s history. Aside from brief excursions like that of the Vikings, Old and New Worlds remained separated for millennia. Columbus’ voyage opened a collision between two worlds that have not engaged with each other since the Bering land bridge flooded over fifteen thousand years ago. I highly recommend the book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond for commentary on the disparity between the worlds.
My purpose with this post is to highlight the darkness of human governance pre-America and how our formation helped break much of the norms up to that point. It would be impossible to cover the depths of this history, so I will cover broad strokes. The formation of the United States wasn’t an act of evil and certainly didn’t form an evil nation. I will argue the opposite, that the U.S., despite the scars of slavery and Native warfare, has served the world as a net positive overcoming the stains of a world through the struggle to serve as a catalyst for change.
Proceeding the ignition of the Age of Exploration and the landings of Columbus, a few European powers took advantage of the disparity between worlds. Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, then England and France raced around the world building a mercantilist world economy that served to feed the mother countries. The slave trade became lucrative with willing accomplices based in Africa, happy to make a buck (or doubloon for you Spaniards) and not be a victim themselves. These empires toppled other empires such as the Maya and Aztecs in North America and were happy to edge out the competitive Ottoman, Chinese, and Mughal Empires.
1619, with last year marking 400 years since the beginning of slavery in the English colonies, was an anchor point for our history. While the history is not clean-cut, with many slaves and indentured servants being of a variety of races from African, Indigenous, and even European populations earlier than that, it marks a point on the timeline that we can point to as a starting point for what the U.S. was born into. Slavery was not a uniquely European quality however. Despite thousands of years of separation, the North American Indigenous Empires still developed the flaw of slave ownership before the Europeans arrived in the 15th century. This as well as the Ottomans and Moors, among others, used human capital for economic gain. This was a human issue that went unresolved even as the clarity of human rights through Christianity spread throughout the world in thanks to missionaries like the Jesuits. Those who prospered under the financial gain simply turned a blind eye to that which Christ taught in the Gospels.
As the dominant empires grew and established colonies, there was little respect for even these settled populations. This elitism festered. In the darkness of this time period of tyranny, there was also light. If this was an environment, it wasn’t all a dark canopy or a lightless cave. The sun did shine and there was a flourishing even in the midst of this hyper-competitive age. A hunger began to build through the heritage of the English colonies and the Enlightenment for freedom. Not freedom for whiteness, but freedom for all man. While theologically messy, this period set up in the New World a powder keg to dismantle the Old.
1776, The American Revolution was the spark to begin that dismantling with the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” We were designed by our Maker to be free and that no man has the Right to take that away. Even the deist fathers recognized this. Our founders were unable to shake the scourge of slavery engrained from mercantilist England in their time. It would have been impossible to win both the Revolution and Civil War at the same time in 1776. Step by step in our history, we walked closer to the aim of “a more perfect union.” The framework the Founders set up would be a framework that would create an environment where tyranny would have no home and that freedom was our national pursuit. The envy of the world. What millions of people, even to this day will leave their homes behind for a new opportunity.
1861, compromise was impossible. Making two systems work to keep the House together, the slave states decided that a framework of liberty for all was incompatible for their future in the union. They broke away. A terrible war ignited across our land as we fought to keep our people free and keep us together. Whites and free blacks fought in the grizzly Civil War which resulted in the Emancipation of slaves. We would spend the next one hundred years wrestling for equal rights for all and those wounds are still healing today.
The lessons and technologies developed from the Civil War prepared us as an emerging power in what would be the greatest fights in human history. While the scale of competition between the empires of the 19th century was truly global, it wasn’t until the 20th century when we experienced not only one but two World Wars followed by the Cold War. Our rebellion against the Old World made us a force to return back and strike the heart of the truly brutal philosophies of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, Imperial Japan, and the worst of all, the Soviet Union and her allies. An even greater foe to liberty than slavery or monarchy, Marxist powers sought to enslave the world. Now that is for an upcoming post. As our history and people continue, we strive and fight for liberty. These powers cost the world over an estimated 200 million souls. Our efforts freed hundreds of millions from the clutches of evil and poverty.
By bringing a freshly united, reconstructed, and powerfully industrialized U.S. in support of and then leading the free world, humanity stood a chance in the face of extreme evil. Our supplies and fresh troops in WWI tipped the balance to victory. Our bravery, ability to fight two fronts, and industrial might in WWII created a decisive alliance. Our technological leaps because of our economical forte matched by the contrast of Communism vs Free Market sealed the Soviet destiny to doom.
Our default human condition is tyranny and human history is dark with it, shading parts of our own. What makes us different is our governmental DNA. Our foundation from 1776 stages our future, sets our aim, to create an environment to raise our children, grow our culture, and to prosper. This sets the rules, architecture, and bounds for how the culture wars play out. Just a hint for the next post. This is what it means to be American, for us to pursue Happiness is to agree on our shared identity. As Americans. Under God and indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Left and right. We’ve struggled together to fight tyranny here in our Union. First to overthrow the Old World and create a new. Second, we had to work hard to make sure all Americans were included. Third, we brought the weight of what that liberty can create to fight the tyrannical monsters of the 20th and now 21st century’s.
The actions in our history have been that of a liberator. No, it’s not as pretty as a 1940’s reel but through the gritty real force of a people endowed by their Creator, the foundation of our Nation has created immense opportunity around the world because of the blood of those who fought for freedom. When we can agree that what we are fighting for, liberty and justice for all, we’re not our own enemies. When we stand for our flag, all of this is stitched into it. Our nation and our history is nothing to be ashamed of. We should be proud of our shared history. We have progressed greatly towards a more perfect union but not as political progressives would have us running away from it. Humanity’s default is tyrannical. We should be wise of what we hear these days or we will risk it all. As it’s been said, we’re always one generation away from throwing away our liberty. To stay true to our mission we need to use God, the virtues, and our founding principles as a compass and you can’t steer a ship without one.
Adam loves living out the vocation of marriage with his wife Ani, and proud father to Izzy and Wyatt. He loves God, getting outdoors, doing work that matters, and writing about things true to the heart.
This is a wild time in our nation. Not to be colloquial but society is in a wilderness right now. The story of race has been cut open new again and everyone is trying to figure out what to do with it. I’ve been listening, praying, and reading the various voices in the conversation of race. Left, right, and holy. The 1619 Project, Thomas Sowell, MLK, The Breakfast Club, Candace Owens, BLM, Larry Elder, Kimberly Jones, and Allen West amongst others. I’ve listened to black voices in the Church about their experience around this issue, including a “Coffee Talk” conversation I had with Fr. Moses, you can find it here.
What this article is, a commentary and challenge to get back into a place of dialog and debating of facts. To think as an individual and break from whatever narrative you are immersed in is the foundation of civil discourse. That means educating ourselves beyond the spheres we frequent. We have carved out idealogical lines with our families, friends, social media, and news outlets. Made tribes armed with spears. This closes our minds. Let your fingers loosen and defang yourself. A return to prayer softens the heart and clears the mind. We need a lot more of God if we’re going to solve the problems we’re facing in the 21st century.
What this is not, a full treatise on the topic. I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could solve or dive into all of the facts or perspectives involved in a quick read blog post but I would like to encourage you to tune into the various links and sources in the post for more reading. There are much smarter people engaged and my perspective is limited but what I will rely on are some of the black voices advocating in the scene.
While discerning my way through the conversation, something has become abundantly clear. There is a struggle of message in 2020. I think everyone can agree what happened to George Floyd was a terrible and ugly moment for the country and it was. Nobody cheered. Nobody celebrated. But the following month would have made it seem that the opposite was true. The nation exploded with fervor. The country took hold of passions and ran with them.
A loud collective voice took over and led what should have been a peaceful movement of solidarity turned into chaos. Riots and destruction in the streets, proclamations that the nation is systemically racist, that police need to be defunded, and our history should be torn down. And you have advocates stoking the fire saying that it’s legitimate. I disagree.
As a white man in America, I find that it is a little intimidating approaching the conversation, not because I have a problem with talking about tough conversations or that there is any shame, but there is a pressure out there to think a certain way, to tow a line. Cancel culture is very real and limits discussion and opportunity. In a free and liberal society, free speech is one of the most important pieces of our heritage. This is the most difficult article I’ve written but my nation, my voice.
First off, if you are judging someone based on the color of skin, you need to check yourself. As Americans and Christians, that is not who we’re called to be. Judging on race is cheap and thin-skinned. It’s dehumanizing and embarrassing. It is important to remember to love one another, to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus told us this as the second greatest commandment (Matt 22:38-40).
Our history is steeped in our racial divide. Slavery and the proceeding hundred years before the overturning of Jim Crow was terrible. As history, it’s important to read and learn about where we came from and have fought to overcome. It’s important to also know the history so you are not fed lies. It’s important to remember that it was blacks and whites who worked together to solve these problems. This isn’t an us versus them game as common narratives would claim. It’s going to be a just us mentality to bring healing and better opportunity for all.
I want to provide some contrast. If you’ve been observing, a lot of voices are saying that we need to listen. As President Obama has challenged lately, “make people uncomfortable.” Challenge: to listen to the other side. I’ve put down just a few samples of some of the most intriguing voices at work right now. The challenge here is for you to break outside of your tribe for a moment and pick another side below and listen to the argument. Go ahead. Hear it through. Is it convincing? What about it do you disagree with? Is there a common ground? Stretch a little.
Next level is to compare and contrast, who do you align with, and why?
I haven’t heard one argument that claims that black lives don’t matter. The phrase “black lives matters” is something everyone can get behind. Black people and culture of course has a place in this nation and should be protected and invested in. Yes, they matter.
Then there is the Black Lives Matters Movement, an ironclad identity that you would be foolish to oppose, because how could you ever get away with saying you don’t support Black Lives Matters? But here I am and here’s why I stand on this…
The ironclad wordplay is very clever, however there is much to BLM that I cannot get behind. First of all is in their mission, the disruption of the nuclear family, the unit on which society is built on. We know by stats that families that stay together have higher incomes, better health, and are overall happier. In a time when fatherlessness is at an all-time high for black families, why would we encourage otherwise?
Secondly, Patrisse Cullors, the founder of BLM, claims the ideological framework of the movement is Marxist. That they are trained that way. Marxist? The same ideology that is responsible for over 100 million deaths in the 20th century? That sought to enslave the world in an unjust economic system where liberty and opportunity are snuffed out? I’ll have more to say on this in the fourth installment in this series, “Socialism the Great Enslaver”.
Thirdly, one of the founding members, Shaun King is openly advocating for the destruction of Christian property and holy imagery. He’s not the only one. Aside from the fact that nearly every society has portrayed the Lord in local imagery, including Black and Asian Jesus, the Lord is someone who we are made in the image and likeness of. Christian art reflects that. The removal of national sites should be a democratic process with a vote where people in a community have a say, not the roving bands of brigands with an ax to grind. Most importantly, we need to recognize this for what it is, a hate crime against religion. You have no right to the destruction of other’s property and this level of incitement to violence to a specific faith, is actually a crime. There have been reports around the country of churches being vandalized. The St. Louis reports of Catholics being assaulted by praying by the statue of St. Louis himself is terrifying. They didn’t fight back. This is Marxism.
I’m all on board with the fact that black lives matters. If you think BLM is worthy of a knee, look again.
The greatest thing we can do as a country is to pray. If we’re going to solve anything, we need to put away our swords and do it together. If we are one nation, under God then let’s call ourselves back to that. Ourselves. Before we point out the splinter in someone else’s eye, we better work on the log in our own. For some reading this, you might roll your eyes at the God thing, but one thing is clear, we certainly don’t get our rights because of man.
It doesn’t matter what side of the lines you find yourself, this is a good time to check and see how you treat people. It starts in us and at home before we can ever go and change the world. If you have struggled in the past with seeing others who are different, through skin or ideology, gut check yourself. No, you don’t need to make a pressured social statement, just work on it. Stretch and learn. Lead with love. We have one home, let’s live up to what the country has set as our mission statement, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
If I can boil every conversation I have heard down to one point, it’s this. I hear a black community in desperate need of fair and fearless opportunity. We’ve been trying to solve this problem for the last sixty years through a liberal/progressive government ideology with terrible results, beginning with the Great Society. As Lyndon B. Johnson, a true racist, was heard saying, “I’ll have those $#% voting Democratic for 200 years.” I highly recommend Thomas Sowell, famed economist and advocate, to hear what he has to say about that experiment.
It’s time for a free market and entrepreneurial approach. Everywhere the free market principles are executed there is a rise of opportunity to those people. England, America, post-war Germany and Japan, South Korea, Israel, and more. We are the land of opportunity and we don’t need to burn it to the ground, we need to turn it up around the country in places like Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore. Let’s give more opportunities to support black small businesses and incentivize raising families and communities. Let’s teach free-market principles and entrepreneurship at young ages and inspire and encourage the vision through.
In addition, perhaps the most insidious is the long-running scourge of abortion in low-income communities. Planned Parenthood, founded by eugenist Margaret Sanger, is still targeting minorities with two out of every three surgical abortion sites in black/minority communities. The mindset of the Confederacy and White Supremacy, eugenics is the disgusting discipline of selective breeding. It is sadly still alive and well-disguised as women’s rights today. When black women represent 13% of the population and receive 30% of the abortions, there is a problem. As of 2008, that was over 1,000 babies a day. Over nineteen million since Roe v Wade. However, you won’t hear this on the news. If there has been a single effort at keeping the black community a minority, it’s this. I highly recommend you read Sanger’s words and read the abortion stats and not ignore this. This needs to end.
Lastly, we don’t need to defund the police and remove key protections for at-risk communities. What we need to do is have reform and better equip our police with the right training and accountability so they can do a better job at protecting justly. The vast majority of police are good but we do need to hear the fears of innocent people whose trust has been broken. Police do good work. Oversight, training, outreach, and reform can help rebuild relationships with police and the communities they serve. If we learned anything from CHOP/CHAZ, it’s that lawlessness is a disaster. We need to protect our communities because we’re only hurting ourselves. I’ve seen too many interviews where black business owners had their lives ruined because of lawlessness.
The benefit of hearing all sides of the situation and educating yourself is that you don’t just hear what one narrative is trying to sell you. There are so many problems facing our black brothers and sisters in society. It’s all of our jobs to make sure that we all rise together. This isn’t a black versus white issue. This is an us issue. We the people won the Civil War together. We the people beat Jim Crow and segregation together. We the people beat redlining and exclusionary banking together. And as we pursue the goal of “a more perfect Union”, we’ll beat our next hurdles together too.
Adam loves living out the vocation of marriage with his wife Ani, and proud father to Izzy and Wyatt. He loves God, getting outdoors, doing work that matters, and writing about things true to the heart.
There is a lot going on in this country. While I’ve been busy raising a family, building a ministry and a business, I’ve been away from advocating for Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness. There is a lot to say about what’s going on. That’s why I’m going to stand up and share my thoughts about this year, but not only that, it’s time to stretch and get active.
And a year it has been.
Big things are happening and “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
Racism, Marxism, Desecration of the Faith, Desecration of our History, Vice over Virtue…
It’s time to get busy.
As a Catholic American man I don’t want to stand by and watch our country burn. Enough. This is has been a call to action. As a part of the effort; my daily rosary, phoning my legislature and executives, writing in this blog, and more.
This is the introduction of a six series stretch, focused on this year, about six topics that we need to talk about. I’ve listened and read enough over the last few months from all sides, it’s time to share and challenge the narratives wrecking our country and faith. On the schedule…
Race & Racism
America the Great Liberator
The Great Hypo-cracy
Socialism the Great Enslaver
I hope you read along and share but more importantly pray and get brave.
No, we’re not looting but we are getting busy.
Adam loves living out the vocation of marriage with his wife Ani, and proud father to Izzy and Wyatt. He loves God, getting outdoors, doing work that matters, and writing about things true to the heart.
This is a adaptation of a reflection I gave yesterday online for the parish. As I’ve been personally reflecting on the environment we find ourselves in, I’m drawn to the lessons of history to find a way through. Old Testament, New Testament, and history since, the Lord is always calling us to pray and fear not. A timeless lesson.
The Lord moves through history, after all it’s HIStory. I love history. Especially listening to podcasts about it. Right now I’ve been digesting What We Saw: The Cold War and my favorite over the years, Revolutions. There is so much to pull from the tides of history, lessons learned can save us heartache. What I would like to do here is highlight how the 20th century can reflect us in the 21st.
I’m going to start in 1917, just over 100 years ago. Our Lady appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal. The signs and wonders that came from her messages revealed three things I would like to highlight,
1. Recite the rosary everyday for peace in the world and for the end to WWI. However if people don’t continue offending the Lord there will be a second and more deadly war.
2. Establish a devotion in the world to her Immaculate Heart
3. Consecration of Russia, otherwise she will destroy nations and oppress the faithful.
The requests fell on mixed ears. People were already praying for the end of the Great War, so adding more was a natural inclination. Dedicating Russia? Fell on deaf ears and didn’t happen. Later that same year, the Tsar was overthrown and the Communist regime took power. We’ll set that aside for now, and let it simmer. Or fester if you will.
The very next year on November 11,1918, known then as Armistice Day or as we call it today, Veteran’s Day, ended World War I with much rejoicing. That is unless you were Germany in which you were saddled with crippling reparations that would later breed resentment and the rise of the Nazi’s.
Two years later however, we enter the decade of the “Roaring 20’s”! Life was improving as the modern era took hold with electricity, cars, and planes arriving across society. Literature like the Great Gatsby capture the imagination in this fast paced decade with flappers, prohibition, and high flying stocks. Interestingly enough we see the start of our own decade with memes and social posts reflecting the same title of the “Roaring 20’s” here and now.
What tends to happen when things go well in society? We get distracted. We get busy. We lose sight of our relationship with God. Materialism and hedonism tend to rule our time and imaginations. It isn’t the Lord that walks away from us but we who walk away from Him. During this time, people became distracted and didn’t hear the call from Fatima.
Black Tuesday, 1929. The market crashed. This launched a decade of poverty and desolation across the world. Food lines and high unemployment along with failing crops in the Dust Bowl are reflected in works such as Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath.
I remember my grandma telling us stories of the Great Depression and living frugally her whole life. She would share tales of being out in a field in Springville as a kid, picking beans to bring home a little money for the family. I was a witness to one of the last times she, my mom, and aunts canned for the last time. I never liked canned tomatoes. A skill obtained from the time that was necessary. I wouldn’t know where to start today, never needed to because you can just grab it at the store. Stores never fail.
One of my grandma’s favorite scripture quotes, that has since become one of mine as well, is Psalm 91. Fittingly it seems to fit times such as these as the Lord is always reaching for us. Hard times always seems to be an opportunity for us to hear him more clearly.
Thankfully the Great Depression eased. Only for the price of the second Great War. The Great Depression fueled resentment in Germany as normal people carted wheelbarrows of marks for bread. The rise of the Nazi’s fed off of this and seized power from a weak and unsupported republic. The Soviets consolidated their power and crushed dissension in their motherland.
World War II killed over 75 million people. People raised in this age knew fear. They knew anxiety. Real fear was marching into a death camp or staring down the hull of your landing craft approaching Omaha beach. Fear was wondering if your loved one was coming home or if you were coming home in a pine box.
The world went from World War II straight into the Cold War, marking peak of the communist, atheistic, Soviet regime behind the Iron Curtain. The Nazi’s were notorious for a methodological and industrial process in exterminating over 11 million in camps that I had the honor of walking in myself. The Soviets however. Over 27 million perished because of their reign, inside the motherland and reaching across the world. The close ideological brethren in China, killed over 45 million in the Great Leap Forward.
Fear and anxiety now covered the world because of the reaches of the Atomic Age. Rocketry and splitting of the atom was sure to deliver a sun at anyone’s doorstep within twenty minutes of the press of a button. Only thing you could do was pray and hide under the desk.
Headlines from this era consisted of the Berlin Airlift, The Korean War, Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the brutal Vietnam War. From the Bolshevik takeover in 1918, atheistic Communism, started in Russia, claimed over 100 million lives.
In the midst of all the fear and evil in the world, there was certainly hope. With great fear comes the Hope and Love of the Lord. In desperate times comes great Saints who rise to the occasion not because of some chemical or program but cause of great faith. Just to highlight a few humble 20th century Saints below who lived a relationship with the Lord and let Him guide them in dire times…
1930’s, Sr. Faustina shares the message of the Divine Mercy, along with that is the famous image and chaplet of the Lord. She passed away from an illness, tuberculosis, in Poland at 33 years old, the Jesus year, just before the outbreak of the War in Europe.
1941, Fr. Maximillion Kolbe gives his life in place of a father at the death camp at Auschwitz, Poland.
1978, Pope John Paul II in his inaugural address, stared down the communist leaders in Poland and the Soviet Union and told the people to “Be not afraid!” as he led the Poles and the world in faithful fortitude.
Since the failure of consecrating Russia in 1917, the Church rallied and not only consecrated Russia but the world. By 1989, the iron grip of the Soviets was spent and outmatched. In the end, they couldn’t stomp out the flame of faith and hope. The hope for peace prevailed. By the power of prayer, martyrdom, and the blessings of ingenuity of the free world, the predicted Russia terror was over.
Now we as the free world are asked by Saint John Paul II, “Yes free, but free to do what?”
We’re just twenty percent into our own century but by this time in the last, those Saints were already walking, working, and living out a mission. They were youth and young adults. Who are the Saints of the 21st? They could be you. You just have to decide to be one. It starts with an invitation of the Lord. Difficult times gives us pause and a chance to reflect on our relationship with Him. How do we heed the call to prayer? More time. Less distractions. Clarity. He has only been calling for us for all of history. HIStory.
I’ll leave one last reflection below, just simply an except from Saint John Paul II’s inaugural address I referenced earlier. I think you may find hope and a timeless relevancy in it…
“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it. So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.“ JPII – inaugural address October 22, 1978
Adam Jarosz is the Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at St. Gregory the Great and the owner of Righteous Co. Adam loves living out the vocation of marriage with his wife Ani, and proud father to Izzy and Wyatt.
You can follow his work at stgregsym.org and righteousco.com.
This is the second of a three part series on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness continuing with liberty. The first of which can be found here. Coming from the first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, these inalienable rights for all make up the foundation of our society. Not to be viewed as an ancient scroll but a living manifesto of the U.S., it is something that any shade of American can hold as their own. Left or Right, all people in the melting pot can subscribe to this. The Constitution is what sets it in practice. While the Constitution has mechanisms to adapt to the times, its strength comes from being nearly timeless. It’s important to note that these rights are not given by man but by the Creator or for you atheists out there, nature. The point is still sound; the Founders recognized a truth, a truth that mankind’s basic rights are not subject to the will of those who hold power. These are your rights. You own them. The original entitlement. This is what makes us, U.S.. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them for yourself and those around you.
“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.” — Thatcher
The rise of socialism in America has been a troubling sight. I’m not talking about the classic Soviet styled socialism of the Cold War, its raw face, but the contemporary European counterpart the West’s Left have turned to. Chic, enticing, and well polished. After all, why not be social? Everyone is social. We’re on social media and we socialize our kids and puppies. If you’re not social, then you are unsocial. Nobody wants that. So why not have our government reflect that? I mean, the Left is dipping in so why shouldn’t I? #feelthebern right?
Marx laid the roots for socialism and communism out of critique for capitalism. The perfected plan for socialism is to level the playing field for all equally. Ownership rights are shared among the masses. Intellectual property is shared among the masses. Wealth is shared among the masses. Production is shared among the masses. Social rights over personal rights. While the democratic socialism Bernie Sanders advocates sounds good (well, anything free from Santa Claus sounds good), it is inherently dangerous for many reasons but two should be highlighted:
It robs the citizen of responsibility
It robs the citizen of the option to fail
This creates a culture of dependency and complacency. While healthy social nets are important for us to take care of the least of these, capable adults should be taking care of themselves. Capitalism maximizes independence. Free markets are responsible for lifting the largest amount of people out of poverty. Entrepreneurship and corporate business are the source that generates wealth and innovation in which people rise. Ideals which don’t find a home in socialist societies. Adam Smith wrote of the “invisible hand” of the market which affects everyone. People have buy-in because it’s necessary for them to take care of their needs.
There is no perfect system because of our human condition. Capitalism, like every system has people who lose out. This is especially true when it is tainted by poor regulation and cronyism with government. However the ills of capitalism are nothing compared with the ills of a social state.
Socialism, an economic system, has an accompanying political system that is always its wingman. The political system doesn’t support the inalienable rights Americans have because they create a roadblock for social success. The socialist will seek to undermine them, often arguing for other rights in their place. Progressives use socialist policies which exaggerate governmental involvement to solve problems and has been creeping onto the American scene for a long time. Governments are not inherently evil or incapable, however they can easily drift that way when given too much control and the right mix of hubris enters the mix. It’s important to see it ahead of time to prevent it from occurring. History is an important lesson.
A healthy Federal system will maintain a system of checks and balances among itself, its people, and its economy. A person or corporation that breaks the rules can be punished and the system is realigned. However when the government is out of line and balance, what will realign it?
The default human government throughout history has been some shade of tyranny. Kings, queens, despots, and dictators have ruled throughout history. If the rulers were too harsh and motivated a rebellion, the victors would replace one autocrat for another. People from every continent have submitted to the powerful in every age. Athens, Rome, the Republic of Venice, and the Weimar Republic are some examples democracy and republicanism giving way to dominating imperial forces. Each with it’s own history worthy of study, yet one thing ties them together, their cultural rot. The plebeians stopped caring about their power in the system, getting lost in their comfort. Often the fall of democracy was met with thunderous applause without knowing (or knowing) that a knife was held to their back.
“The basic fact that in Germany only a minority (not necessarily from the aristocracy or moneyed class) understands anything of life and knows how to lead it — a fact that, incidentally, makes the country inherently unsuitable for democratic government.” – Sebastian Haffner’s real time reflection on the rise of the Nazi’s in his book “Defying Hitler” written in 1939.
The U.S. was formed as a response to the historical default. We rejected the autocrats then as we should now. Socialism by its very nature seeks to dampen liberty. While our Constitution was ahead of its age at conception, the U.S. has grown into its shoes. The Constitution created the frame our country has needed to prevent it from returning to the default of authoritative rule and it is this framework that defends us from usurpation. Unfortunately it cannot defend itself, so I hope my case does it justice in an uncertain climate.