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22 December 1972. Thought for the Week: "Tradition means that we do not leave things behind us, as on a road, but draw things with us, as through a root. Only he can lift his boughs into freedom who thrusts his roots into the deep earth."
E. Merrill Root, the famous American poet and writer.
REFLECTIONS AT CHRISTMAS
"Love is the greatest gift you can give at Christmas", read the headline. I did not buy the magazine advertised to ascertain whether the reference was to that increasingly publicised lust, which is mistakenly, called love, or whether it referred to that constructive force which erected a Christian Civilisation on the ashes of a Roman Civilisation that collapsed for the same reasons that Civilisation is collapsing today. But I felt that I might profitably start these Christmas reflections with a brief reference to the subject.
Even those who reject Christ as an historical figure cannot logically dispute the impact of Christianity upon Civilisation. Christ's teaching of love was no mere piece of sloppy sentimentalism; it partook of truth because when applied realistically it always works. The great Christian Commandment instructs us first to love God. This means obedience to God's laws, which the early Christian philosophers described as "natural laws". An attitude of proper humility was encouraged, a sense of reverence for that which transcends man's thinking. Christianity stressed the uniqueness of each individual, and as all individuals were 'God's children, they should love one another by respecting one another's rights. These human associations worked best where the underlying force was love and inducement, not compulsion.
A Civilisation is an incarnation of undergirding ideas and beliefs. Once the undergirding ideas were destroyed then that Civilisation starts to crumble. The visitor to Greece can visit the Acropolis and ponder on the ruins, which provide a physical reminder of the glory that was Ancient Greece. He can read the wisdom of Aristotle and study what Plato had to say about Government, but the Civilisation that produced such a prolific flowering of man's creative spirit has been dead for a long time.
The visitor to England can still visit the great Guildhalls and the Cathedrals, and admire Gothic architecture and other forms of art, which reflect the spirit of a Christian Civilisation. But the England of today is far removed from the England that produced such architecture and art. The Christian concept of love resulted in maximum freedom for the individual with a high degree of personal responsibility. It was Herbert Spencer who observed "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
Power without responsibility has been the hallmark of the harlot down the ages. No regeneration of a Civilisation is possible unless there is a return to those values upon which it was erected. Christmas focuses our attention once again upon the miracle of birth. To the Christian Christmas focuses his attention upon a very special miracle of birth. He believes that God manifests Himself through Christ. And Christ's message and example is the guiding light for all individuals who wish to serve God and His purpose for man.
Christianity is a religion for individuals, not for mobs. The regeneration of Civilisation will come only through sufficient individuals creating a new tone of mind, which will progressively have its impact over the group and eventually change its whole character. It will be the irresistible power of growth rooted in Truth.
Because Christianity is concerned with the miracle of birth, to it is a time when we can refresh ourselves with its message of life and hope. It is a time for rejoicing at the good news that each individual does possess within him that capacity for regeneration, which is the only hope for mankind.
* * * *
In spite of the fact that Karl Marx rejected the Christian law of love, because it stressed the importance of the individual over the group, many misguided Christians have been duped into believing that there are basic similarities between Christianity and Communism. Marx was a man of bitter hatreds, a petty man who used the most biting words against his own Socialist colleagues. His close friend and collaborator Engels extolled the therapeutic virtue of violence. Engels said that the force of violence "is the midwife of every old society which is pregnant with the new it is the instrument with whose aid social movement forces its way through and shatters the dead, fossilised forms." If violence is the midwife of progress, consider the plight of the world today, when never before has there been such violence!
* * * *
The cult of youth is producing disastrous results. The greatest sufferers are young people, whose very youth and lack of experience is so cynically exploited, not only by those materialists who take their money in exhange for degeneracy posing as art and culture, but by the political power men who keep on informing youth that they know so much, are so much better educated than their parents that they must be consulted on all political matters. And so the voting age is reduced to 18 by all those who call themselves "progressive".
I have a deep affection for the young, but why the growing insistence that there is some particular virtue in being young? There is no virtue either in being old. It is not how many years we have lived that is important; it is what we have done with those years. One of the greatest potential assets youth has is the opportunity to profit from the experiences of its elders. The old truism was never more apt; You cannot put old heads on young shoulders. Generally speaking, wisdom only grows and ripens with age and experience.
Tradition is the accumulated wisdom of the past. The growing attempts to subvert traditions are robbing youth of the guidelines of wisdom without which they are doomed to suffer even greater disasters than those experienced by their ancestors. Those who talk so glibly about "emancipating" youth are in fact engaged in a campaign to rob them of their rightful heritage and to cast them into a new hell on earth.
Those who genuinely love their youth must protect them from the commercial and political hucksters who seek to exploit them for their own ends. They must instruct them in the old truth that contrary to all the propaganda, freedom is not free, that there is a price to be paid for freedom; each individual must be held personally responsible for his conscious actions. Youth must be told that this is how real men grow, and that the power men want to prevent that growth, which they fear.
* * * *
One of the most vivid experiences I had during 1972 was at a meeting in a small Gippsland centre where I lectured on what is called "The New Education". Inside that crowded hall it seemed to me that almost two cultures came into conflict. Approximately half of the audience were farmers and their wives. They were concerned about what was happening to their children. Their faces and general demeanor reflected the traditional sturdy commonsense of country people. The other half of the audience was trainee-teachers from a nearby centre. At first sight they might well have been taken for a group of bit players on a film location. It appeared to me that there must have been some competition to see who could wear the most outlandish outfits! However, as I have learned from long experience all over the world, outward appearances can often be deceptive, and that as Bobby Burns told us, a man could be a man for all that.
But the general behaviour during the meeting revealed that the outlandish dress styles reflected the frightening approach of those who will be responsible for thousands of children. The boorish behaviour of the Vice Principal who was present with the trainee teachers was a typical reaction of those modern "intellectuals" who cannot even tolerate to have their specious theories questioned. There were sniggers when I suggested that genuine education required certain disciplines, and that history and geography were vital subjects. I was given to understand that this was all passé, that "imposing about history and geography was a form of brutal totalitarianism." I learned that spelling and grammar are not all that important, "so long as the meaning is clear". And all the old clichés were churned out such as "It is most important to relate, "whatever that means.
In a discussion with some of these trainee-teachers over a cup of tea I discovered that the less they knew about a subject, the more dogmatic they were. None of them had ever been to South Africa, South-West Africa, or Rhodesia, but I listened to the most incredible "facts". It did not seem to occur to these young trainee-students that they had been the victims of that very totalitarian indoctrination they said took place under the guise of teaching history. And that contrary to what they said about the relative unimportance of geography and history, they were in fact prepared to impose their own ignorance on those children unfortunate enough to come under their influence!
Real history is one of the most important
subjects in the world. If the present generation does not
know how it reached the present stage in time, then how does
it know where it is going? There is constant stress on the
importance of the future. But of itself the future can bring
us nothing. The individual can only build that future out
of the long experiences of the past. The tree cannot grow
unless firmly rooted in the ground and fed by the sap, which
flows upwards to nourish. Man is either rooted in his history,
or he is rootless, with no strength to decide his own destiny.
Before leaving my young trainee-teachers who said that history is not important, I discovered that most of them accepted Marxism. They had no answer when I said that I found it ironic that products of the "New Education" could in one breath tell me that history was not important while in the next breath they could endorse Marx, the man who made a most powerful appeal to his own version of history, which he and his supporters faithfully believe is on their side!
* * * *
"Progress" is one of the most over worked words in the English language. Linked with "progress" is the importance of "change". The term "winds of change" suggests that all change is beneficial and inevitable, the result of impersonal forces over which the individual can exert no influence. Never before in the history of mankind has there been such change, so much feverish material activity. But to what purpose? It is a long time since the poet wrote, "We have no time to stand and start." What would he make of the world today after so much "progress"?
Man can move himself from one point to another in a much shorter period of time. But what happens to the time saved? What does he do with this time? He is certainly not allowed to develop himself by making free choices. Big Brother in all his many manifestations robs him of the opportunity to make these choices. The "intellectual" supporters of Big Brother are the same people who never tire of conjuring up the threat of a "re-emergence of Nazism." They are Nazism's greatest exponents.
Speed can be the most deceptive means of attempting to measure human progress. Confucius, that man of deep wisdom - yes, he was before Mao Tse-tung! - observed that it was no use running if you are on the wrong road. Clearly mankind is on the wrong road at present. It is time for action by that minority which must pioneer the retreat to that fork in the road where a wrong turning was made. They will, of course, be called "reactionaries", perhaps even "fascist fossils". They will be charged with "stepping back into the last century."
Christmas is the time to go back much further than last century. Christmas is when we go back to nearly two thousand years ago to gain a deeper understanding of these eternal truths, which know no time. The only true progress is moral progress, the development of individuals. Each individual must start with himself. The salvation of a Civilisation must start with the salvation of the individual.
* * * *
One of the current favourite political
swear words of our illiterate devotees of porno-politics is
"racism". That brilliant Jew Beniamin Disraeli observed that
the nation that ignores race does so at its peril." A "racist"
is a person who observes that not only are there basic differences
between individuals, but even greater basic differences between
races. The materialistic levelers, including the Marxists,
insist that all human beings are basically the same. The Zulu
is really the same as the European only he has stayed out
in the sun a little longer. Send him to Oxford and he then
becomes an Englishman - but with a slightly different coloured
* * * *
Which brings me to conclude by drawing attention to the importance of the pedigree of ideas. The idea that the world can be run under increasing centralisation is not modern but as old as man. It is an idea with a special fascination for immature minds, for those who think in terms of a purely material and static world which an elite can plan. But there is a dynamic and explosive idea, which will shatter all the plans of the centralisers. It was outlined by He who said that He had come that man might know that Truth which would make him free. Freedom cannot be planned.
A Happy and Holy Christmas to all readers, both old and new.
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