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Optimism is the liberal coolant; conservatives are realists, skeptical of utopian promises

“Hysterical optimism will prevail until the world again admits the existence of tragedy, and it cannot admit the existence of tragedy until it again distinguishes between good and evil. . . Hysterical optimism as a sin against knowledge.”
―Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences

Imago Dei – All Men Are Created In The Image of God

The Bible Project: This video traces the idea of humans as co-rulers alongside God, who are commissioned to develop the world and its resources and take it into new horizons. How has this human vocation been compromised by our selfishness and evil, and how did Jesus open up a new way of being human through his life, death, and resurrection?

Imago Dei is the Latin transliteration of the aphorism, “Image of God,” as found in the Old Testament Book of Genesis in the grand divine creation narrative. This term “Image of God” is defined as the metaphysical expression rooted in mankind’s likeness to their Creator God, and it is associated uniquely to human beings, and it carries enormous weight given that humans were created in the “image of God.” This aphorism also signifies the profound spiritual, tangible, and symbolical connections between God and humanity. The phrase has its origins in Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image. . .” This biblical passage implicates that humans are created in the image of God in their moral, spiritual, and intellectual essence. Accordingly all created humans reflect God’s divine nature in their ability to achieve the unique characteristics with which they have been endowed by their Creator. Mankind stands distinct from the creatures of the animal kingdom in this regard. It’s why man’s soul is precious and must be committed to God in this fallen world that man may partake of God’s forgiveness and redemption of fallen mankind.

Tolerance is the Virtue of the Man without Convictions

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”

―G.K. Chesterton

“A movement that cannot or will not draw boundaries, or that allows the modern cultural fear of exclusion to set its theological agenda, is doomed to lose its doctrinal identity. Once it does, it will drift from whatever moorings it may have had in historic Christianity.”
―Carl R. Trueman, The Real Scandal of Evangelical Mind

The Apostle Paul declared, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). The task of the Christian in this troubled modern era is to remain unsoiled by the world, and embrace the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his sacred scriptures. Those who fancy themselves as tolerant in this politically correct era are really more often than not intolerant of Christian moral norms and Christianity itself, or they seek to effect “a revolution within forms,” avowing support for Christianity in the abstract, but rejecting its most substantive doctrinal truths in practice.

Myself I’m intolerant. I have a credal basis for my intolerance rooted in belief in the authority of sacred scripture. I am intolerant of certain things: lifestyles, types of people based on their moral character and behavior, idolatry, revelry, thievery, wrong-doing, and wickedness. “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path. . .” (Proverbs 1:15). “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go” (Proverbs 22:24). “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats” (Proverbs 23:6). “Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.” (Proverbs 24:1). “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators. . .” (1 Corinthians 5:9). “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men” (Proverbs 4:14). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment” (Exodus 23:2). “They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee” (Exodus 23:33.) “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee. . .” (Exodus 34:12). “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).

The Importance of Work Ethic: ‘A Message to Garcia’

A Message to Garcia is a widely distributed essay written by Elbert Hubbard in 1899, expressing the value of individual initiative and conscientiousness in work. The succinct essay uses a dramatized version of a daring escapade performed by an American soldier, 1st Lt. Andrew S. Rowan, on the eve of the Spanish–American War. It describes Andrew S. Rowan carrying a message from President William McKinley to “Gen. Calixto García, a leader of the Cuban insurgents somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba—no one knew where.” The essay contrasts Rowan’s self-driven effort against “the imbecility of the average man—the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it.”

In Hubbard’s version of Rowan’s journey, President McKinley needed to communicate with Gen. Calixto Garcia, a leader of the Cuban insurgents.

[S]omeone said to the president there was ‘a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you if anybody can.’ Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How the ‘fellow by the name of Rowan’ took the letter, sealed it up in an oilskin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia – are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.”

Hubbard accurately wrote that Rowan “landed … off the coast of Cuba from an open boat” but erred considerably in other factual recollections. All the rest, including McKinley’s need to communicate with Garcia and Rowan’s delivery of a letter to the general, was misrepresentation. However, the letter endures quintessential example of dedication and work ethic, which is what Andrew S. Rowan was said to embody. I draw influence from it.

A Letter from Garcia

by Elbert Hubbard, 1899

In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Marsat perihelion.

When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents.

Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba — no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him.

The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly. What to do?!

Someone said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by the name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to beloyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing – “carry a message to Garcia!”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.

No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man – the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office—six clerks are within your call. Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Corregio.” Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task? On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye, and ask one or more of the following questions:

Who was he?

Which encyclopedia?

Where is the encyclopedia? Was I hired for that?

Don’t you mean Bismarck?

What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?

Is he dead?

Is there any hurry?

Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?

What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the two other clerks to help him find Garcia – and then come back and tell you there is no such man.Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.

Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Corregio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things thatput pure socialism so far into the future.

If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all?

A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night holds many a worker in his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine times out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate – and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.

“Yes, what about him?”

“Well, he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him to town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and, on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia? We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “downtrodden denizen of the sweat shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,”and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned.

In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, this sorting is done finer – but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go.

It is the survival of the fittest. self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best-those who can carry a message to Garcia. I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress, him. He can not give orders, and he will not receive them.

Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.” Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in your pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold the line in dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a slumming, I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds – the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and, having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes. I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for a day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village – in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly—the man who can

Carry a message to Garcia.

The Authority of God’s Word Endures in Spite of Sinful Man

“The collapse in evangelical doctrinal consensus is intimately related to the collapse in the understanding of, and role assigned to, Scripture as God’s Word spoken within the church.”
―Carl R. Trueman, Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, p. 98

The Apostle Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, authoritatively avowed the veracity and divine inspiration of sacred scripture, declaring: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Sacred scripture’s truth endures in spite of the fads of this day and age, and wickedness of man’s hearts. We live in an age of considerable depravity. There’s no point in making a lamentation with a laundry list of the absurd depravity so commonplace in this corrupt modern world. “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:12). God’s truth will endure in light of eternity, and He will trample underfoot all that offends His Heavenly Kingdom.

Johnny Cash – “The Man Comes Around” is a folk song rooted in Christian eschatology and the Revelation of the Apocalypse by God’s messenger, Saint John of Patmos.

Conservative Christians may risk persecution in an age of ‘Big Tech’ and ‘Woke Capitalism’

Today is an enigmatic time for conservative Christians in America and indeed throughout the Western world. Earlier President Trump expressed his concerns in August 2019 about the bias of social media platforms and search engines such as Google against conservatives and Christians. The President hinted that regulatory oversight maybe warranted to impact how they moderate their platforms and interact with those who hold views contrary to the liberal Big Tech elite.

John Nolte of Breitbart recently reported “Chick-fil-A is not even hiding the fact it is selling out its faith for a buck, choosing money over Christianity.” Formerly at the behest of its now deceased founder Truett Cathy, the restaurant chain enjoyed the goodwill of Christian Americans for the practice of closing on Sunday, the traditional Christian sabbath, allowing his workers the opportunity for religious observance. The restaurant also financially supported a number of Christian charities, but recently relented support for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes under pressure from progressive activists.

Matthew Continetti of the American Enterprise Institute penned an insightful article entitled: “Woke capitalism is a sign of things to come.” Therein Continetti offers a persuasive polemic against a phenomenon dubbed “woke capitalism” that may loosely be defined as the efforts of major corporations to subordinate their business interests to furtherance of progressive social engineering agendas. From Facebook to Google to NBA to Nike, all of these businesses sing hosannas to “social justice” and woke “progressive ideology.” Make no mistake, these businesses have hypocritically issued threatening letters holding state legislatures hostage under the threat of economic blackmail dictating their desired social agendas, all the while they hypocritically submit to the dictates of Red China’s Communist Party government in shaping their corporate policies around the totalitarian dictatorship’s desired-for political correctness. In the case of Big Tech, they even help secure Red China’s state policies of censorship, and then go to lengths to defend their actions. As Matthew Continetti notes, “Given the cultural power of the new progressivism, protests from conservatives weigh little in the balance.”

As an American, I enjoy freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of speech and religion. In Europe at the behest of Democratic Socialists and Labour Parties, they’ve introduced in essence what amounts to Thought Crimes. People can be prosecuted and jailed for instance for homeschooling their children or evangelizing on an open street, and sharing the Christian Gospel. In the United States, we’re posed with the very geniune risk that as a deepening culture of political correctness ensues, individuals in this malaise will be susceptible to retaliation and conformist corporate culture about views held in their private lives. The government itself as onerous as it can be at times may not be the primary purveyor of this abuse, but rather private corporations. I have decided not to compartmentalize my traditional conservatism nor faith in Christianity, but embrace a degree of transparency. I also consciously avoid living in the vicinity of hardcore liberal enclaves such as Austin, Boston, Chicago, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, or Seattle. I believe I can articulate and defend my faith in apologetic, persuasive and conciliatory terms (2 Timothy 2:24-25). Much the same can be said of my politics. My business persona doesn’t go out of its way to reference my private Christian faith and conservative views in business on any regular basis, nor do I go out of my way to scrub my private life and omit reference to my faith either. My concern at work is work. I am a Christian foremost, and an American in my national allegiance, and a traditional conservative. I typically find consolation when working with or for conservative Christians.

But I fear the future of a conformist corporate culture that starts to make demands and impositions upon people’s private lives while impugning my pro-life traditional Christian views, my faith, and my patriotism as an American. I just have to grin and bear the future. But I do so without much in the way of optimism for the future. Much of the current events worries me about the emergence of the global anti-culture, and overbearing political correctness afflicting the Christian Church, the United States of America, and the West today.

The thesis of Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations is coming to ripe fruition in the twenty-first century

“People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against.”
―Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

The thesis of Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations is coming to ripe fruition in the twenty-first century. The controversial hypothesis is finding practical vindication in the unfolding of geopolitical events and the cultural-political milieu of the twenty-first century. For the reason that creed and tribe remain the fulcrum and pivot point of geopolitical conflict and provide a solid foundation for understanding international relations.

The future of geopolitics was presciently foretold in Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations in 1993. Therein he posited that the geopolitical conflict will be between rival civilizations, which were the fault-lines and fissures of geopolitical conflict in the world. At the close of his original article, “The Clash of Civilizations?”, which foreshadowed his research in his subsequent book, Huntington writes, “This is not to advocate the desirability of conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth descriptive hypothesis as to what the future may be like.”

There’s a vital nuance I would add to the hypothesis though based on current events: the secular West is now a rival to the remnants of the Christian West, and it is arguably more formidable than the threat from Islam. The ingrained conflict manifest by Christendom with secular progressivedom with its myriad obsessions such as LGBT ideology and New Atheism are on-going, and could seriously prove fatally injurious to the West. The Christians of Christendom will endure much persecution as a pincer movement engulfs them as radical militant secularists and radical Islam circle them like sharks looking for blood. They threaten to coercively displace, and subjugate the remnants of Christian culture where it exists, particularly in Europe. Because of arbitrary thought crime laws, Christians cannot proclaim the truth of their faith and that homosexuality is immoral. Huntington implicitly posited that secular Westerners and Christians could somehow be at peace amongst one another. But new development is occurring. As the staff of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute wrote, “Today Christians face something that behaves much more like Islam. It is a rising empire of aggressive secularism, with a deep historical grudge against our faith. Gay activists, New Atheists, radical feminists, population controllers, multiculturalists, and other powerful interest groups see orthodox Christianity as their enemy. We once wielded power throughout the culture as they lived on the margins, and now they are looking for payback. They will know where to find us. Subjecting faithful Christian churches to a crushing, punitive tax is just the beginning. Think of it as the jizya.”

The militant progressive secularists advance a conceptual polis (πόλις) like that of the classical Hellenic and Roman civilization with a recognizable trait being that there is no distinction between society and state. Increasingly beleaguered Christian minority has no autonomy to safely practice its faith without feeling encroachments and diminution of the free exercise of religion by this secular anti-culture. There’s no freedom to home-school, and it cannot uphold its values in a rabidly secular West without persecution and loss of cultural, familial, and social cohesion; the very existence of an orthodox Christianity threatened in many countries. This has been the case in Benelux countries, Britain, France, Germany, and Sweden as the secular state has forced a militant secular humanistic progressive indoctrination upon the host population. Orphan children are abandoned by a predatory secular state to homosexual couples to de-christianize and corrupt them. To the true Christian, an upbringing by wild wolves maybe preferable. Public schools, the secular academy, and mass-media are a reinforcement mechanism that perpetuates radical secular progressive ideology. This ideology then insinuates its way into the church, corrupting it from within—divesting it of its integrity and fealty to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This has been manifest by the degradation wrought by the mainline liberal churches to the integrity of historic Christian orthodoxy, such as the perception of traditional cultural and moral norms, gender relations, and sexuality. The secularists have effected what Aristotle would dub “a revolution within forms,” where a veneer of Christianity exists in these liberal mainline communions, but the substance of Christian moral teachings are fundamentally swept away for a counterfeit.

Politics of the Round Table

“The gap between medieval Christianity’s ruling principle and everyday life is the great pitfall of the Middle Ages. It is the problem that runs through Gibbon’s history, which he dealt with by a delicately malicious levity, pricking at every turn what seemed to him the hypocrisy of the Christian ideal as opposed to natural human functioning. . . . ¶Chivalry, the dominant idea of the ruling class, left as great a gap between ideal and practice as religion. The ideal was a vision of order maintained by the warrior class and formulated in the image of the Round Table, nature’s perfect shape. King Arthur’s knights adventured for the right against dragons, enchanters, and wicked men, establishing order in a wild world. So their living counterparts were supposed, in theory, to serve as defenders of the Faith, upholders of justice, champions of the oppressed. In practice, they were themselves the oppressors, and by the 14th century the violence and lawlessness of men of the sword had become a major agency of disorder. When the gap between ideal and real becomes too wide, the system breaks down. Legend and story have always reflected this; in the Arthurian romances the Round Table is shattered from within. The sword is returned to the lake; the effort begins anew. Violent, destructive, greedy, fallible as he may be, man retains his vision of order and resumes his search.”
—Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous
14th Century