Book Sale

Sunday 30 April 2023

Rejecting the Family Outright?

 

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There are those who say that to be nationalistic is anti-Christian, because we are part of the people of God, and this is more important than the nation we were born into.

This is a half-truth spun into a dangerous lie. About a generation or two ago people would have thought you were an immoral person for just suggesting that you should not prioritize your nation over others. Let me illustrate how.

A person in about 1950 (yes that "fearful" era) and earlier, would have looked at you as just as depraved for saying the nation does not matter, as someone would look at the average person today who says family does not matter. Because over the course of the last couple of generations people have been consistently propagandized to see the nation as an arbitrary aspect of life that can be changed at will, denied and ignored. And to view nationalism as at best out of date thinking, at worst, anti-Christian thinking.

But to say you should not care about the nation, because you are part of the people of God, is precisely the equivalent of saying you should not prioritize your family, because if you are a believer, you are part of the family of God. Just as we are part of a new people, we are part of a new family. These truths are both held alongside of each other as equal, biblical truths, with the very same implications.

And yet a man who does not provide for his own family is worse than an unbeliever. How can this be so, if your family loyalties are completely transferred?

Because the spiritual reality does not override the physical reality, it informs it, it enhances it. Just as being a believer in Jesus should motivate a man to be a better father, a better provider; or a woman a better mother, or any person a better contributor to the family. So too should believing in Jesus make you a better citizen of your nation, not someone who scorns the idea, or mocks it as misplaced jingoism. Such a cynic is not representing the faith of Jesus, who loved his nation in a unique way as the gospels display. He did not first reject them, they rejected him first.

What is interesting is that just as so-called Christian intellectuals will scorn the idea of Christian Nationalism today, so too will they one day scorn the idea of Christian family loyalty. You can see the seeds of this idea already taking fruit with all the messaging about who your true family is. Many will say your true family is who you consider to be your family, not who you are born to. Movies, TV shows and other media forms are consistently telling us that our family is what we identify as family, not the biological reality; a corruption of the idea of the Christian family being made up of various believers.

This process has already been applied to the idea of the nation, and it is now poisoning people's notion of the family. There is a good chance this push will fail, simply for the fact that the family is too basic a human unit for people to reject completely, it is too important and too basic a human reality: we are born into families. But it will not fail for lack of trying. It will not fail for lack of the Church's willingness to compromise (it has an almost infinite willingness to compromise it appears). If it fails, it will fail, because even the most unlearned heathen knows it is only the bad man who rejects his family outright. His family may reject him, but he won't reject it. 

As G.K. Chesterton notes, a sane man cannot reject his people, he can criticize them, but not deny the reality of family or the loyalty this implies,

"Now I have already pointed out that most sane men do admit our ideal in such a case as patriotism or public spirit; the necessity of saving the state to which we belong. The patriot may revile but must not renounce his country; he must curse it to cure it, but not to wither it up.  The old pagan citizens felt thus about the city; and modern nationalists feel thus about the nation."[i]



[i] Chesterton, Gilbert Keith. The Superstition of Divorce (pp. 12-13). Jazzybee Verlag. Kindle Edition.

Saturday 29 April 2023

Child Sacrifice and Defeat

 

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I was watching an older documentary on the destruction of Carthage by Rome the other day. It was creatively done, but was very biased in parts of its presentation. The presenter even began by admitting his pro-Carthage bias and that he was going to seek to prove that Carthage had been remembered wrong. In the documentary the presenter took the late 20th century line that Carthage was not as wicked as the histories of the Greeks and Romans say, and that the accusations about effeminacy and rampant child sacrifice were all just propaganda. The way he framed the discussion was that Rome was just an upstart society that was seeking to replace an older, wiser, but defeated empire, and Carthage had gotten an unfair bad reputation. 

He was wrong of course.

As interesting as his argument was, the archaeological, historical, and literary[1] evidence all point to Carthage having truly sacrificed its children in the fire. This practice was not unheard of amongst other Phoenician/Canaanite peoples and was observed, and then later copied, by the Israelites who conquered the land of Canaan, from which the ancestors of Carthage originated. We know for certain from various streams of evidence, that the popular view of ancient Carthage as decadent, wicked and depraved is the correct view. Despite the efforts of revisionist historians to argue otherwise. 

The presenter also made an interesting observation that he drew the wrong conclusion from. He noted that we do not find as much child graves as we should find in the later stage of Carthaginian society. The child mortality rate of societies in that era were quite high, and so there should be more infant graves. He sought to argue that the fact that we do not see many burials of children in later Carthage - the era where it began to decline and Rome began to rise - was proof that the burnt bones of babies found in tophets[2] were from the cremation of children who had died naturally, rather than from child sacrifice. But I would suggest they point to a much more grim reality.

Think about it. Infant mortality was very high in that era. So too was the mortality of women in childbirth. A nation that is sacrificing a percentage of their healthy children, in a day and age with a high infant mortality rate, is a nation which could only hasten its decline. So, what was more likely happening to Carthage in this period is that its population was declining, and the decreasing number of child graves and increasing number of sacrificed children in tophets both indicate this, and also help us understand why Carthage was declining so quickly. Their population was weakening and by their evil actions they were hastening the decline. This downward trend would have been sufficient to weaken their empire enough to make it vulnerable to an upcoming world power. Which is why an energetic and ambitious Rome was able to relatively quickly subdue and then annihilate an ancient empire that had once ruled the Mediterranean seas as an unsurpassed naval power.

This should cause every westerner to sit up in horror and recognize the situation we find ourselves in today. The West still has not yet faded completely, it still has its wealth and some of its strength and power. It is not a spent force yet. But population decline in Western nations is deeply entrenched. And while societies can survive a retraction in population growth and then bounce back, they cannot do this if they are facing conflict with equal or superior populations with a similar level of technology and the will to use it to rise up in power and conquer them. In other words, the West is in some serious trouble, because we are undermining our own ability to replace ourselves through births with wicked and foolish policies.  

We are now the declining power. We are Carthage. They burnt their children in the fires of some false god. Many of our children are killed in abortion clinics, or via post-conception birth control. These are not the only reasons our population is declining either. Western women are spending their best child-rearing years building careers and travelling the world, rather than having children like they would have in the past. Affluence, as much as evil is influencing this. Like many ancient civilisations, like Carthage, a combination of wealth and wickedness is white-anting our society.

This means, and this is important, that it would be basically suicide for our population to think about going to war with other nations who have curbed or avoided or overcome these trends[3]. Because we might have a strong first wave strength, maybe even a second wave strength, but within a generation this will decline massively. Like it did for Carthage, who, despite their wealth and power, found themselves overcome.

Padding this population decline with immigration is not going to solve this issue, but will only exacerbate it. You cannot rely on foreigners to reliably fight for your flag. Especially if you are facing their own home nations, which in some cases is very likely to happen. Ergo, Western nations are potentially, in reality likely, walking into a perfect storm of danger.

Our situation is not exactly like that of Carthage. The West is far more spread out now around the world and has its eggs in many baskets. But no nation which sacrifices its children in large numbers like we do can expect to stand for long against populations with larger numbers and more traditional family structures. And the whole transgender craze is going to accelerate this problem, by making even more people sterile. History warns us, will our leaders listen?

References



[1] Ancient Carthaginians really did sacrifice their children https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2014-01-23-ancient-carthaginians-really-did-sacrifice-their-children

[2] Burial places for sacrificed children.

[3] Note, for example, that China has solved their population issues and now encourages larger families, and traditional family values in many cases.

Friday 28 April 2023

The Potential Evils of Specialization

 

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Specialization is a necessary requirement of any reasonable civilised people. To have a complicated society you need some people to focus on some things and get good at them, and you need other people to focus on other things and get good at those as well. You need people like surgeons, a highly specialized skill, because they play an important part in keeping your civilisation well, but not everyone has the time, money, intelligence or inclination to be a surgeon. You need specialists like mechanics, and plumbers, you need engineers and scientists, and all sorts of other specialized people and professionals to help your civilisation function at a high level and in a healthy and stable way. You need men to be men and provide, and you need women to be women and be mothers and nurturers and carers of all kinds. These and other forms of specialization are integral, vital, and good. So, one would be foolish to say specialization is inherently evil.

Despite this it needs to be acknowledged that specialization has an inherent flaw, we could call it the “checkout” flaw. That is in a heavily specialized society like ours many people will use the excuse that they are not an expert or a specialist in a certain field as an excuse to checkout rather than thinking critically about certain policies and agendas. But many people will even go further than this. There is a tendency among people who have chosen just to rely on the experts to then turn around and attack those who question such authority. Great evil can happen because of this tendency. M Scott Peck[1] explains this for us very well,

“For many years it has seemed to me that human tend to behave in much the same ways as individuals— except at a level that is more primitive and immature than one might expect. Why this is so – why the behaviour of groups is strikingly immature – why they are, from a psychological standpoint, less than the sum of their parts—is a question beyond my capacity to answer. Of one thing I am certain, however: that there is more than one right answer. The phenomenon of group immaturity is – to use a psychiatric term—'overdetermined'. This is to say that it is the result of multiple causes. One of those causes is the problem of specialization.

Specialization is one of the greatest advantages of groups. There are ways groups can function with far greater efficiency than individuals. Because its employees are specialized into executives and designers and tool- and diemakers and assembly-line workers (who are in turn specialized), General Motors can produce an enormous number of cars. Our extraordinarily high standard of living is entirely based on the specialization of our society. The fact that I have the knowledge and the time to write this book is a direct result of the fact that I am a specialist within our community, utterly dependent on farmers, mechanics, publishers, and booksellers for my welfare. I can hardly consider specialization in itself evil. On the other hand, I am thoroughly convinced that much of the evil of our times is related to specialization and that we desperately need to develop an attitude of suspicious caution toward it. I think we need to treat specialization with the same degree of distrust and safeguards that we bring to nuclear reactors.

Specialization contributes to the immaturity of groups and their potential for evil through several different mechanisms. For the moment I will restrict myself to the consideration of only one such mechanism: the fragmentation of conscience. If at the time of MyLai, wandering through the halls of the Pentagon, I stopped to talk with the men responsible for directing the manufacture of napalm and its transportation to Vietnam in the form of bombs, and if I questioned these men about the morality of the war and hence the morality of what they were engaged in, this is the kind of reply I invariably received: 'Oh, we appreciate your concerns, yes, we do, but I'm afraid you've come to the wrong people. We're not the department you want. This is the ordnance branch. We just supply the weapons-—we don't determine how and where they're used. That's policy. What you want to do is talk to the policy people down the hall.' And if I followed this suggestion and expressed the same concerns in the policy branch, this was the response: 'Oh, we understand that there are broad issues involved, but I’m afraid they're beyond our purview. We simply determine how the war will be conducted—not whether it will be conducted. You see, the military is only an agency of the executive branch. The military does only what it's told to do. These broad issues are decided at the White House level, not here. That's where you need to take your concerns.' So it went.

Whenever the roles of individuals within a group become specialized, it becomes both possible and easy for the individual to pass the moral buck to some other part of the group. In this way, not only does the individual forsake his conscience but the conscience of the group can become so fragmented and diluted as to be nonexistent. We will see this fragmentation again and again, one way or another, in the discussion that follows. The plain fact of the matter is that any group will remain inevitably potentially conscienceless and evil until such time as each and every individual holds himself or herself directly responsible for the behaviour of the whole group-the organism-of which he or she is a part. We have not yet begun to arrive at that point.”

I hope you can see the important application of what Peck is teaching in this section of his book. He is explaining why people in society will tolerate great evil committed by their representatives. It is because they can simply say, it’s not their own fault, or it’s not their job, or it’s not really their concern, it’s all on the authorities. Peck also explains elsewhere that the basic human attitudes underpinning this are laziness and narcissism. That is people are just too slothful and apathetic to do anything about great evil being committed, and too focused on their own little world to care what others are doing in society at large. As long as they can live their lives and be left alone as much as possible, they will tolerate their national or business leaders doing terrible things and live quite at ease. They will easily be able to console themselves that it is someone else’s problem or fault.

This came up often in the Covid years where many in the church, many who were even not ok with what was happening, would say to pastors who spoke out: “Shouldn’t you just be focusing on preaching the gospel?” This was a cynical attack on people who were doing something, by those who were too afraid or too cowed or too lethargic to say or do anything themselves. But they weren’t just acting out of these motivations. They were also under the false assumption that it was our leader’s job alone to handle this, and the rest of us should all just leave them to it. But this is precisely the kind of thinking that leads populations to tolerate their governments doing unjust wars, or unjustly persecuting their fellow citizens, or committing other evils. It is a necessary condition for evil to be able to prosper.

In other words, Peck has outlined part of the psychology behind the old saying, “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” He has explained how otherwise rational and decent men and women can become participants in evil, simply by convincing themselves it is not their job to do anything. They can ignore their conscience because they have created a bunch of assumptions for themselves that excuse them from having to act. This is how groups can essentially become conscienceless, because most people, or all the people in the group, pass the buck onto someone else, usually an authority figure.

A friend of mine noted on social media the other day that he was disturbed by the fact that most people did not appear to have a line in the sand when it comes to evil being perpetrated on their fellow citizens. But when you think about it, this makes sense for people who have compartmentalized in their mind and in their society who can do what and when. If they say to themselves, “well this is the responsibility of the authorities”, then they have successfully washed their own hands of any participation in the evil. And to some degree they are correct. They did not do it themselves, so all of the blame is not on their shoulders. However, if they continue to do nothing when afforded the opportunity through voting, political advocacy, or protests, writing, lobbying, meeting with politicians, or just helping those in need and standing with them, then what they have really done is excused their own evil by pretending it is not an issue. There is sometimes a limited amount of things people can do, but if people excuse themselves from having to do any of these things, then they must accept that they share some of the moral responsibility.

The truth is though in a society where we all get a say, we are responsible for how we use that say, and we should use it for good (Prob. 31:8-9).  

Peck also notes that, “Specialization contributes to the immaturity of groups and their potential for evil through several different mechanisms.” What he is saying here is that blind trust in the experts, simply by virtue of the fact that you are not one of them, is a primary mechanism for allowing society wide evil to happen, and it manifests itself in different ways.

It does take wisdom to know when you can and when you cannot trust these experts. But it takes more than that, it also takes effort. Peck notes that a lot of people are not willing to make this effort, because it is personally and socially difficult. You have to reject the desire to just focus on your own corner of the world, you have stop the apathy and sloth that demotivates you from investigating further, and you need to take some ownership for the direction of your society and then you need to act on this within your means peacefully. If you have done this, then you can say you did what you could to oppose evil. If you did not, then you checked out, and helped contribute to the evil. You may not like hearing this, but it is the way things are.

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. It can triumph when they do, but the least you can offer your brother, sister or neighbour, is to try to speak out against it when it raises its evil head. Often you cannot do much more than this. Sadly many people over the last few years were not willing to even do this. But what about next time?  

References



[1] M. Scott Peck 1990, People of the Lie, Arrow Books, pp248-250.

Thursday 27 April 2023

A Covid Vaccine Injury Class Action Has Begun

 

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A Covid vaccine injury class action has been initiated, as reported by news.com.au reporter Frank Chung:

“The class action, organised and crowd-funded by Queensland GP Dr Melissa McCann, takes aim at the Commonwealth government and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) — along with a number of senior public servants — alleging negligence, breach of statutory duty and misfeasance in public office.

The suit alleges that the respondents approved the vaccines “with no proper or reasonable evidentiary or logical basis to reasonably determine the vaccines to be safe, effective and possessing a positive risk-benefit profile”.

“The action will argue that the Therapeutic Goods Administration did not fulfil their duty to properly regulate the Covid-19 vaccines, resulting in considerable harm and damage to Australians,” Natalie Strijland from NR Barbi Solicitor said in a statement.

Ms Strijland said the action “arises upon the basis that the government did not truly establish that the vaccines were indeed safe or effective for use by the Australian public, and the claim now proceeds upon the basis that the government in fact acted negligently in approving the vaccines and also by failing to withdraw them after approval based upon the known evidence”.

“Australians who have experienced a serious adverse event following Covid-19 vaccination are invited to step forward and register for this class action,” she said.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Aged Care said, “The department is aware of a proceeding commenced today in the Federal Court of Australia by applicants represented by NR Barbi Solicitor Pty Ltd. As the matter is before the court it is not appropriate to comment further.”[i]

If you would like to find out more information about this class action you can do so at: https://www.covidvaxclassaction.com.au/[ii]

References



[i] Frank Chung, 2023. “‘Waiting to drown’: Covid vaccine injury class action filed against federal government”, news.com.au, https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/waiting-to-drown-covid-vaccine-injury-class-action-filed-against-federal-government/news-story/8f91ca843cc4b62b7df9cbabd398cfe6

 

[ii] Class Action – Covid-19 Vaccine Related Injuries: https://www.covidvaxclassaction.com.au/

Wednesday 26 April 2023

If Pagans Can Do It

 

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One of the most consistent arguments made against the policy of society wide debt forgiveness is this: “You need a Christian or believing (in the sense of ancient Israelite) nation for it to work. It cannot work in a nation like ours because it is non-Christian, so either people will not go for it, or they will abuse it and it will not work.” Almost every time I have made a case for debt forgiveness somebody makes this argument. But it is a fallacious one, both historically and logically.

It is fallacious logically because there is nothing inherent to many pagan philosophies saying that debt cannot be forgiven. Forgiveness, liberty and debt cancellation were all concepts that existed before either Israel or Christianity had graced the face of the earth. Indeed, the most ancient usage of words that can be translated as “liberty” were pagan words referring to debt forgiveness.

It is fallacious historically, because we have countless examples throughout history of ancient societies practicing debt forgiveness. From the ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, and other Near Eastern societies, on through to Greek city states and the Roman public, we see that debt forgiveness was either practiced, debated, or offered in various contexts. In fact, many ancient pagan leaders saw it, correctly, as an effective means of shoring up popular support for their reign, and limiting the damage their nobles could do to both their reign and their society.

Many examples of debt forgiveness in pagan societies can be given, here is one from ancient Athens,

“Now later writers observe that the ancient Athenians used to cover up the ugliness of things with auspicious and kindly terms, giving them polite and endearing names. Thus they called harlots "companions", taxes "contributions", the garrison of a city its "guard", and the prison a "chamber". But Solon was the first, it would seem, to use this device, when he called his cancelling of debts a "disburdenment". For the first of his public measures was an enactment that existing debts should be remitted, and that in future no one should lend money on the person of a borrower. Some writers, however, and Androtion is one of them, affirm that the poor were relieved not by a cancelling of debts, but by a reduction of the interest upon them and showed their satisfaction by giving the name of “disburdenment" to this act of humanity, and to the augmentation of measures and the purchasing power of money which accompanied it. For he made the mina to consist of a hundred drachmas, which before had contained only seventy-three, so that by paying the same amount of money, but money of lesser value, those who had debts to discharge were greatly benefited and those who accepted such payments were no losers. But most writers agree that the "disburdenment" was a removal of all debt, and with such the poems of Solon are more in accord. For in these he proudly boasts that from the mortgaged lands:

He took away the record-stones that everywhere were planted; Before, Earth was in bondage, now she is free.

And of the citizens whose persons had been seized for debt, some he brought back from foreign lands, "uttering no longer Attic speech, so long and far their wretched wanderings," and some "who here at home in shameful servitude were held," he says he set free.

This undertaking is said to have involved him in the most vexatious experience of his life. For when he had set out to abolish debts, and was trying to find arguments and a suitable occasion for the step, he told some of his most trusted and intimate friends, namely, Conon, Cleinias, and Hipponicus, that he was not going to meddle with the land but had determined to cancel debts. They immediately took advantage of this confidence and anticipated Solon's decree by borrowing large sums from the wealthy and buying up great estates. Then, when the decree was published, they enjoyed the use of their properties but refused to pay the moneys due their creditors. This brought Solon into great condemnation and odium, as if he had not been imposed upon with the rest, but were a party to the imposition, However, this charge was at once dissipated by his well-known sacrifice of five talents. For it was found that he had lent that much, and he was the first to remit this debt in accordance with his law. Some say that the sum was fifteen talents, among them Polyzelus the Rhodian. But his friends were ever after called chreocopidae, or debt-cutters.

He pleased neither party, however; the rich were vexed because he took away their securities for debt, and the poor still more because he did not re-distribute the land, as they had expected, nor make all men equal and alike in their way of living, as Lycurgus did. But Lycurgus was eleventh in descent from Heracles and had been king in Lacedaemon for many years. He therefore had great authority, many friends, and power to support his reforms in the commonwealth. He also employed force rather than persuasion, insomuch that he actually lost his eye thereby, and most effectually guaranteed the safety and unanimity of the city by making all its citizens neither poor nor rich. Solon, on the contrary, could not secure this feature in his commonwealth, since he was a man of the people and of modest station; yet he in no wise acted short of his real power, relying as he did only on the wishes of the citizens and their confidence in him. Nevertheless he gave offence to the greater part of them, who expected different results, as he himself says of them in the lines:

Then they had extravagant thoughts of me, but now, incensed, All look askance at me, as if I were their foe.

And yet had any other man, he says, acquired the same power:

He had not held the people down, nor made an end until he had confounded all, and skimmed the cream.

Soon, however, they perceived the advantages of his measure, ceased from their private fault-finding, and offered a public sacrifice, which they called Seisactheia, or Disburdenment. They also appointed Solon to reform the constitution and make new laws, laying no restrictions whatever upon him but putting everything into his hands: magistracies, assemblies, courts-of law, and councils. He was to fix the property qualification for each of these, their numbers, and their times of meeting, abrogating and maintaining existing institutions at his pleasure.

In the first place, then, he repealed the laws of Draco, all except those concerning homicide, because they were too severe and their penalties too heavy. For one penalty was assigned to almost all transgressions, namely death, so that even those convicted of idleness were put to death, and those who stole salad or fruit received the same punishment as those who committed sacrilege or murder. Therefore Demades in later times made a hit when he said that Draco's laws were written not with ink, but blood. And Draco himself, they say, being asked why he made death the penalty for most offences, replied that in his opinion the lesser ones deserved it, and for the greater ones no heavier penalty could be found.”[1]

For those who argue that you need a Christian nation to enact debt forgiveness, the Greeks prove this conclusively untrue. Anyone who knows their Greek history reasonably well knows that in many ways the Greeks had a terrible morality and lived in ways that Christian’s, and even many other modern people, can only condemn. However, they still came to the obvious conclusion that debt forgiveness is good for a nation, and a moral imperative when a nation's people are heavily burdened by debt.  

We can observe a couple of things from Solon’s efforts. First, he only got his reforms through because he was trusted by common man and noble alike. Some of his friends in the know did take advantage of his policies, as is to be expected; humans can find a way to abuse anything good. He had to give both sides less than they wanted so that his whole society was not turned upside down, which turned people in the elites and among the common people against him. And his policy was so successful it eventually won people over and they asked him to radically reform their society in many other ways as well.

So, even though Solon was a flawed individual, and his policies were also flawed, just the act of debt forgiveness was so powerful for this pagan society it won many of them over to listening to this man on other polices of law and culture. Solon’s policies did not usher in the golden age of Athens straight away, but they did pave the way for it, and it is for this reason that he is viewed as one of the greatest reformers in Athenian history.

So, we can see conclusively you do not need a Christian society, or even a remarkably moral society for debt forgiveness to work. In fact, the reverse can actually happen; the flow on effect of debt forgiveness can eventually allow your society to increase its morality and culture in other ways. What is also interesting is that the only genuine Jubilee[2] that is called in the Old Testament was from Cyrus the Great, who was also a pagan ruler, in this case the King of kings of the ancient Persian Empire. Cyrus let the peoples of many nations go free, including the Jews, restored them to their lands and homes, and gave them wealth to rebuild their lives. This is what a Jubilee was, and it had a remarkably positive and stabilizing effect on the Persian empire, increasing its prosperity as a result. You could probably say that Pharoah in Exodus also called a Jubilee of sorts, however, this was not one he did willingly but under the command of the Lord God who told him to let God’s people go.

So, again we have established conclusively that debt forgiveness is possible in an unbelieving nation. I wonder what sort of moral effect it would have on modern Australia, Britain, Europe of the United States to have their peoples freed from debt? The effects of both the Athenian and Spartan efforts at debt forgiveness created two of the mightiest European nations of the ancient world. Nations which still live on in memory as grand ancestors of our modern western civilisations. Imagine what the highly capable European peoples of the western world could achieve if freed from the massive weight of the burden of debt around their necks? Imagine the blessing the West could have on poorer countries by cancelling their national debts. It is time to bring back disburdenment, I think you’ll find many Christians and pagans alike would support this policy and see it for the good that it is. The ancient Greeks did.

Here is an ancient video you can watch on this as well click here

References



[1] Plutarch’s Lives, Volume 1, The Life of Solon, Castalia House, pp125-127

[2] A partial Jubilee was called in the times of Nehemiah (Neh. 5) and in the time of Jeremiah, King Zedekiah called a Jubilee but took it back (Jer. 34).  

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Not A Bad Idea

 

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University was once a solid investment that had a strong guarantee of leading to better outcomes in life. But this is no longer the case as degrees become more and more common, and less and less useful, and therefore cheapened. And what is worse more and more junk degrees are being offered all the time. But changes may be on the way:

“English universities face fines over dropout and employment rates

Universities will face sanctions if not enough students go on to graduate-level jobs within 15 months, if too many drop out or fail to earn degrees, England’s higher education regulator has warned.

The Office for Students published its new tests of “low quality” subjects that could see large fines or deregistration imposed on universities where fewer than 60% of graduates in a university’s subject area fail to find work, set up their own business or go on to further study after finishing their course, with allowances made for those with caring responsibilities or travelling.

Sanctions could also be applied by the OfS against universities in England where more than one in five full-time undergraduates drop out, or where more than one in four of those who complete the course ultimately fail to gain a degree.”

In fact this is a fantastic idea. Universities have for too long been able to sell products with few guarantees that in many cases are not worth the paper they are written on. Keeping universities accountable for the services they offer is a must. University in its proper place is an important institution in society. Any policy which reinstates this is a good idea.

 

 

 

Monday 24 April 2023

Men, You Have Done It Again

 

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What have you done? You have apparently ruined women’s lives, again. As the Guardian informs us,

Motherhood on ice: lack of suitable men drives women to freeze their eggs

Selfish career-driven women. Gullible dupes of the fertility industry. Victims of the patriarchy. When leading anthropologist Marcia C Inhorn first embarked on her decade-long study of why women freeze their eggs, the popular narrative was largely one of derision.

“There was a lot of either blaming women or saying that they’re na├»ve, stupid and so forth,” says the Yale professor, from a red armchair in her home in New Haven, Connecticut.

Meanwhile, in academic circles, egg freezing was – and still is – often seen as a calculated act by women to hack their fertility by prolonging it through medical intervention, “as if this was something very intentional that women were doing in this kind of planned, almost feminist, narrative”, says Inhorn.

This argument was so compelling that it formed one of her initial hypotheses: “Is it career and educational aspiration that’s driving the turn to egg freezing?”

But when she started speaking to women, it became almost immediately clear that in fact it was something – or someone – else driving the globally expanding trend, which in less than a generation has gone from unheard of to, in some circles, almost ubiquitous.

More than 150 interviews later, her research – the largest anthropological study to date into why women freeze their eggs – concluded that it was men, not women, who were the problem. The biggest driving factor for women in the US was a shortage of suitable educated men, a problem which she terms in her forthcoming book, Motherhood on Ice, the “mating gap”.”

You selfish men, how dare you? You have not focused on getting educated enough for these high-maintenance, overly qualified women. How could you be so selfish?

This is incredible isn’t it. Now that the fruits of feminism are setting in, and women are starting to realize that more education is not making them more attractive with men, they feel the need to blame the men for this situation. I agree with the author that it is not very likely to be a result of a deliberate planned out feminist approach to family planning. It is much more likely to simply be that most of these women cannot see the way they have been guided by feminism to live a certain way, and then trained by society to not see the logical conclusions of their actions. In other words, they can't see how choosing a + b inevitably leads to c. And they then blame others for the situation. 

This line is particularly funny,

“Sometimes men would joke or insult them about their jobs or say ‘you’re smarter than I am, I can’t go out with you’. I mean, just really blatant kinds of misogyny and discrimination,” she says.”[i]

Men are being so “mean” now that they are saying to say to women this horrible line: “You’re too smart”. How could they be so horrible? Some women are actually now feeling discriminated against for being too educated for the men they are dating, and in many cases are knocking back themselves. Most men don't really care how smart a woman is, but more and more are finding out how much these women care, and therefore they are not as willing to pursue them as they may have once done. 

It is probably a bit harsh to find this whole article funny, because it is a genuinely sad trend in our modern society that the most intelligent women generally have the least amount of children. But the utter inability for the woman writing this piece to come to the right conclusion just increases the hilarity.

After spending the whole article lamenting how women’s newfound education levels are getting in the way of them finding love and having children, she concludes with this gem of a couple of paragraphs,

“In her book, Inhorn writes that closing the gap between the genders will be a “critical policy challenge in the decades ahead”. But until society “fixes men”, egg freezing will remain the best reproductive option for single women in their 30s.

But in the meantime, she says, we should focus on celebrating women’s successes. “Women around the world are really doing amazing things in higher education,” she adds. “But unfortunately the downside of that is some men are not doing so well now and women are suffering for that.””[ii]

She literally ends by celebrating the problem. Women’s education is having the twin negative effect on society of making women too choosey and men less interested in spending time on women who are too choosey, but she actually says, “we should focus on celebrating women’s successes.” We should celebrate the very issue that is becoming a roadblock to these women finding marital happiness? And just before she doubles down on this, she also notes the real issue is that men need fixing.

This is funny. It is truly funny. 

But it is not just funny. Because in a sense she is right, men do need to be held responsible for a large share of this problem. Far too many fathers and grandfathers have contributed to the lie that women can have it all, that they can have the careers, travel portfolios, the string of lovers[iii] and also the family life with children. Far too many men have not told their daughters the truth, and that is that men don’t want someone who is always going to intellectually challenge them[iv], they simply want a wife. And a wife is not someone who men see as needing to go toe to toe with them in every way in some battle for equality, this is more akin to a nightmare for most men rather than marital bliss. For most men a wife is simply a beautiful woman they can do life with. Someone who is a distinct, beautiful person whom they can cherish, and look after and view as a helper and supporter. And many modern women have not been taught how to be this way. They have been taught to compete with men and are surprised when men tire of this. They want to lead in every area of their lives and then are confused that most men will not follow them. Many women have forgotten how to be agreeable to men, and refuse to acknowledge how important this is.

To most men your education level is not a factor in the relationship, he can take it or leave it. He wants to know are you attractive, of good character, loyal and can you be a devoted wife. Education level does not always factor into these qualifications and when it does it is just as likely to be a hinderance (though not always) as a help. Because more and more men are coming to realize that a woman with a vast education portfolio and a career is far less likely to make a devoted mother who is willing to give these things up to be with their children. She will have split loyalties and men are finding themselves increasingly less interested in such women. And ironically the men who are ok with this are becoming less and less interesting to women. 

So even though there is a strong comedy in what this article is saying, at the end of the day it is more like a Greek comedy, that is a tragedy, than a laugh out loud comedy. Because it is tragic that such high-quality women have been trained and propagandized to remove themselves from the gene pool of society. They have been conned into not being the mothers that society needs them to be. And they are actually right to sense that this is in some way the fault of men, they are just not right about how the men need to be challenged. Men don’t need to be fixed, men need to reminded to train their daughters to desire marriage and motherhood above all else. Otherwise, they might find their daughter ends up like the sad, lonely women this piece is talking about.

References



[i] https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/motherhood-on-ice-lack-of-suitable-men-drives-women-to-freeze-their-eggs/ar-AA1ad6mg?ocid=emmx-mmx-feeds&PC=EMMX01

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] This one is not true for Christian men and some other men, but is true for many secular men in society.

[iv] They may want this some of the time, but not all of the time.

Sunday 23 April 2023

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Image: Unsplash

The idea of people becoming so familiar with something that they begin to hold it in some kind of contempt is well known. This can happen with family, with friends, and with all the other good gifts that God gives us. A good example of this is the grace of God. Those of us who live in the church and have known the Lord for some time can forget just what the grace of God is, and how much we need it.

Indeed, one of the most consistent things the Bible does is seek to remind God’s people how important the grace and power of God is by highlighting how often it is that the pagans get it better than God’s people. We see this throughout the Bible. Rahab understood the might and grace of God better than most of the Israelites who came out of Egypt, as did Caleb the Kenite. Job, likely an Edomite, had a better understanding of the grace of God and the importance of righteousness than many in Israel. No man in Israel had the faith of the Centurion that approached Jesus and understood how gracious he could be. And perhaps the most classic example of this is from the book of Jonah.

We read in the book of Jonah that God wants the prophet to go to the land of Assyria and preach to the City of Nineveh. But Jonah goes out of his way to avoid this ending up in all sorts of strife. After being swallowed by what was most likely a whale and being rescued by God, this happens,

“1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them” (Jonah 3:1-5).

Jonah goes to Nineveh and proclaims a message of judgement, and low and behold, the wicked Assyrians repent and are saved. The pagans hear the word of the Lord and turn from their ways. What makes this even more striking is that at this very time God’s own people are becoming increasingly corrupt and are ignoring the messages of God’s true prophets. The pagans hear, but the people of God do not.  

It is clear that the ultimate purpose of the book of Jonah is in some way to shame the Israelites about how they were approaching the truth and grace of God. They did not get it, yet these evil pagans did and repented. Before God it is not your pedigree which matters, but the state of your knowledge of your sinfulness and your willingness to admit this and repent of it that really counts. Hence these Ninevites are saved, because they got the grace of God in a way that many of his own people did not. And the Israelites, because of this,  are facing increasing judgement.

We see very clearly that God is challenging the heart of the Israelites, specifically in this case through the account of Jonah, when we read in chapter 3:10-4:3,

“3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”   

Jonah did not flee from Nineveh because he was afraid of preaching there. He fled, because he knew that if he preached to the Ninevites, they may repent and God would relent of his punishment over the city. Both the Ninevites and Jonah knew about the grace of God. The difference was that Jonah did not believe the Ninevites deserved it, and in this way his knowledge of the grace of God was deficient. The Ninevites were wicked, and violent, and they were also the rising enemies of his own people. They would eventually lay waste to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, completely dismantling Israel in the process and diminishing Judah to a tiny kingdom. They were the most wicked nation of the era, and Jonah wanted them to suffer because of their wickedness, so he tried to avoid preaching to them. He tried to hide the message of God from them.  

Jonah is not unlike many Christians today. In fact, I would argue we can all fall into this dangerous place if we are not careful. We can fall into the trap of forgetting how much we are reliant on the grace of God, and how much we deserve wrath, just as Nineveh did. We can forget that important principle that it is those who are forgiven much who love much, because we can forget how much we ourselves needed to be forgiven. We can forget just how bad our circumstances could have become, if not for the grace of God.  

Jonah understood the grace of God, mostly, but he had forgotten the most important part: “But for the grace of God, there go I.” If you forget this part, if your life is going so well, or your stand for righteousness has been so consistent, that you start to think you kind of deserve where you are at and forget that it is only by the grace of God that you stand as you do, then your soul is in real danger. God did Jonah a great favour, he schooled his heart and broke through his hardness. The heart that forgets how much it has been forgiven can become hard over time, and if this hardness sets in, then you are in danger of a strange conundrum: thinking you are in God’s good graces, when you are actually in need of more grace than you realize. In a real sense God is warning the Israelites through the book of Jonah, that they need his mercy and grace just as much as the Ninevites.  

We should not forget that those who are our enemies, though they deserve judgement, should be given every chance to hear the grace of God. If God allows the opportunity. The reason we should not forget this is because we too were once enemies of God and alienated from him and it is only by the grace of God that we are not in that position still. We should hate evil, and should want to see it dealt with. But sometimes it is more glorious to see a Saul turned into a Paul, than it is to see a city destroyed in wrath. In other words, sometimes it is better to see evil repent than to receive the fruit of its deeds.

God will do as we see fit, let’s just not forget how much we needed the grace of God at one point. And if we do forget, pray that God in his mercy reminds us like he did Jonah.

“10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10).  

In the great mercy and grace of God, pray that our hearts never become too familiar with his grace and border on contempt.


Saturday 22 April 2023

A Fool’s Errand

 

Image: Unsplash

Education standards are declining. Children know less and can do less. The public system is producing students with lower and lower education standards. So, the obvious solution is more public, or private, schooling from an even younger age. As the AAP reports,

“A royal commission into early childhood education has recommended universal preschool be extended to all South Australian three-year-olds, in a system requiring a big investment in extra funding and more staff.

Handing down her interim report on Monday, former prime minister Julia Gillard delivered 33 recommendations, urging SA to take the lead in early education through a program to begin in 2026 and be fully implemented by 2032.

Australian Education Union federal president Correna Haythorpe said Ms Gillard's findings had national significance.

"The expansion of universal preschool for all three-year-olds in the state will deliver benefits that flow across a lifetime for South Australian children and their families ... regardless of their financial conditions or socio-economic background," she said.

Ms Gillard called for three-year-olds to be provided with 15 hours of preschool for 40 weeks a year, similar to what is offered to four-year-olds.

That could be through government schools and also through private early learning centres and long daycare facilities, depending on the model adopted.

"I do believe that as a caring state, South Australians feel that we have a moral obligation to make sure every child has the best opportunity, to grow and learn and thrive," Ms Gillard said.”

They really do want your kids in their system. They want them as young as possible and as early as possible. If they can’t get them in the public schools, they will put their curriculum’s into the private schools. Either way, they want to get your kids into their mind warping education as soon as possible.

That is not to say everything kids learn at school is wrong, it isn’t, clearly. But the ever-increasing move of society to the left is not happening by accident. The socialists took over education a long time ago, and increasingly their agendas are becoming the normal view of young people. Most young people just hold, as a matter of course, progressive views on the climate, on green technology, gender issues, social issues, racial issues such as more minority representation[i] and more. With the hard movement of society to the left, it stands to reason that progressives would want to double down and work harder to get access to your kids minds even younger. If it’s not broken, do it more.

Every single parent I know, that is every Christian parent, believes their kid will be the exception who does not buy into the propaganda. But how many young Christian women do you know who come out of school seeking to be wives and mothers as soon as possible? Hardly any of them. How many young men come out of school seeking to be husbands and fathers as soon as possible? Hardly any of them. So, Christian parent, in more ways than one your child has been affected by the socialized propaganda which is seeking to turn children into working drones and economic contributors who delay marriage as long as possible, rather than the foundation of nuclear families producing the power house Christian families of tomorrow. The way statistics work is that very few of your children can be the exception, because that is not how exceptions works. Exceptions stand out from the norm, and most kids follow the norms.

I think it is a fool’s errand to try and beat a system which is designed to beat you. I really do. Call me overly critical, or a fundamentalist, or whatever else, but you are not as special as you think, nor are your children. None of us are. We all think we are, but at the end of the day the ever-increasing decline of Christianity is not going away, it is actually increasing. Each new census sees a drastic drop in people associating themselves with Christianity in our nation. This tells me that no matter how special we Christians think we are, we are, on average, being beaten by the schooling system, because it has been designed by people who know how to direct children in certain directions.

And the progressive educators know what the church once knew, the younger you start teaching the children the more likely they will stay in the way you have taught them.

But that isn’t the real fool’s errand in this piece, the real fool’s errand is seeking to speak into this, because the very same Christians who are losing their children in increasing numbers to a worldly philosophy, are determined to stick with a schooling system that is increasingly turning against them and their faith. It is just something that people cannot let go of, or don’t want to let go of. And anyone who tells them they should at least consider disentangling from that system, is in their eyes a crazy cook who chooses a strange way of life. A way of life that served Christian and before them Israelite families for millennia, but it’s different to modern Australia, so this makes it a little crazy to the majority.  

Have you ever stopped to think, maybe it isn’t? Maybe sending your kids, willingly, into a system that wants to teach them in every way possible how to live according to the world and not the Scriptures, maybe that is the way that needs rethinking? It’s something to ponder at least.  

 

Reference

[i] Last I check white men and women were a minority of the world’s population, but progressives don’t let a little fact like that slow down their propaganda.

Friday 21 April 2023

The Dangers of Blindly Trusting Science

 

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It is fascinating to read Christian thinkers of the past, whether recent or more ancient, and see how prescient they are. Whatever topic you can conceive of, there was very likely a Christian who spoke into that topic and gave wise words of warning. Amos speaks to something which can be applied to this in his short prophecy in the Old Testament. He tells us, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). God does not work in this world without revealing to his servants what is going to happen.

The converse of this, if God is often opposing evil, and he is, then when the enemy or evil is going to do something, it stands to reason that God will reveal this in some way to his people, or at least in their wisdom they will see the potential dangers and speak in such a way that addresses many of the trials and tribulations which we will face. Those who spend a lot of time studying the ways of God in his word, and in history, will start to see consistent threads and see certain things coming before they do.

Here is a good example of this from M. Scott Pecks, The People of the Lie,

The danger of cloaking moral judgment in scientific authority.

This is a major pitfall. It is a pitfall because we ascribe to science much more authority than it deserves. We do so for two reasons. One is that very few of us understand the limitations of science. The other is that we are too dependent upon authority in general.

When our children were infants we were blessed by the very best of paediatricians, a kind and dedicated gentle man of great erudition. When we visited him a month after the birth of our oldest child, he instructed us to start feeding her solid foods almost immediately, because such supplementation was needed for babies being breast-fed. A year later, when we visited him a month after the birth of our second daughter, he directed us to delay feeding this one solid food as long as possible so as not to deprive her of the extraordinary nutrition in breast milk. The state of the 'science' had changed! When I was in medical school we were taught that the essential treatment for diverticulosis was a low-roughage diet. Now medical students are taught that the essential treatment is a high-roughage diet.

Such experiences have taught me that what is paraded as scientific fact is simply the current belief of some scientists. We are accustomed to regard science as Truth with a capital T. What scientific knowledge is, in fact, is the best available approximation of truth in the judgment of the majority of scientists who work in the particular specialty involved. Truth is not something that we possess; it is a goal toward which we, hopefully, strive.

What is worrisome about this is the possibility that scientists—specifically psychologists—will make public pronouncements on the evil of certain personages or events. We scientists, unfortunately, are little more immune than anyone else to jumping to unsound conclusions. Many psychiatrists who had never even met the man labelled Barry Goldwater in 1964 'psychologically unfit' to be President. In the USSR, psychiatrists systematically abuse their profession by labelling political dissidents 'mentally ill', thereby serving the interests of the state rather than the interests of truth and healing.

The problem is aggravated by the fact that the public is actually eager to be guided by the pronouncements of scientists. As was earlier discussed in relation to the issue of group evil, the majority would rather follow than lead. We are content, even anxious, to let our authorities do our thinking for us. There is a profound tendency to make of our scientists 'philosopher kings', whom we allow to guide us through intellectual labyrinths, when they are often just as lost as the rest of us.

In our intellectual laziness we forget that scientific thought is almost as faddish as taste. Since the current opinion of the scientific establishment is only the latest and never the last word, we must for our safety as a public bear the responsibility of being sceptical of our scientists and their pronouncements. In other words, we should never relinquish our individual leadership. Demanding though it may be, we should all attempt to be scientists at least to the degree that we make our own judgments on issues of good and evil. Although issues of good and evil are too important to exclude from scientific examination, they are also too important to leave entirely to the scientists.

Fortunately, in our culture, scientists love to argue with one another. I shudder to think of a time and place in which there is a 'scientific' gospel on the nature of good and evil that is not subject to debate. I use 'scientific' in quotes in this regard because debate is the cornerstone of genuine science, and a science without debate and exuberant scepticism is not a science at all. The best safeguard we have against the misuse of the concept of evil by scientists is to assure that science remains scientific and grounded in a democratic culture in which open debate is encouraged.”[1]

Isn’t this prescient? And also such simple wisdom.

Science is only truly science when it can be debated, because science does not deal so much with established truth, as with the quest for truth. Scientists look into the factual nature of all sorts of things, and then are required to put together a theory which explains these facts. This theory can be true or false, but in a society where people are to lazy to care about evaluating it, it can become considered as truth even though it is false. Humans have always idolised things that are powerful. 

Note how Peck shudders at the thought that their may be a day where science is no longer able to be questioned. We live in that. Those who question science are now called ‘science deniers’. Whether it is covid vaccines, or climate change, or something similar, those who question the science today are considered outside of the realm of acceptable people.

But Peck was spot on about the dangers of blindly trusting science, because those who do this are not blindly trusting the science, they very likely have actually not read the science and could not understand it if they did. They are actually trusting the scientist, politician, bureaucrat, or businessman who is pushing the "science"* for his or her agenda whether noble or evil. And to blindly trust people, especially people you do not know who have a vested interest, is foolishness. It is the height of foolishness. 

This is sage advice, and even more so for coming from a time before our modern societal ailments. Peck saw coming what we have just gone through. Those who pay attention from a godly and wise perspective generally do. It is foolish to just blindly trust science and many people today are regretting that they did.

 Reference


[1] M. Scott Peck, 1990, The People of the Lie, Arrow Books, pp295-297.

*whether accurate or not.