Sunday, March 31, 2024

Artisan Easter Eggs

From Victoria:

A symbol of new life in many cultures throughout the world, the egg has been incorporated into springtime traditions for thousands of years. Decorating these beloved emblems is a cherished custom associated with childhood, but this rite of Easter can continue on with elegant adornments that capture the beauty and wonder of this season of awakening. Nestled gently into a rustic twig nest, suspended from a willowy bouquet of freshly cut branches, or arranged in similarly festive displays, a bevy of thoughtfully hand-decorated eggs celebrates spring. Along with offering an interlude of crafting, creating these keepsakes with papier-mâché eggs instead of a farm-fresh variety provides a means to preserve the splendor of a landscape in bloom. (Read more.)


Sacrilege at the White House

From Jan Greenhawk at The Easton Gazette:

Of all the days of the Spring, this White House chose to degrade what is considered by many Christians to be the most important religious holy day of the year, Easter Sunday, with this proclamation from a President who claims to be a Catholic.

Are they stupid? Are they tone deaf?


This is clearly being pushed by an administration with an agenda that dismisses all people's religious beliefs as secondary to their courtship of the transgender, LGBTQIA Marxist left. We have seen them promote people like Rachel Levine, who thinks he is a woman, male members of the military who think they are women, and other mentally ill people while confusing our children about the truth; men and women are different and one cannot be the other. Worse, they promote mutilating children and addicting them to a lifetime of hormone blocking drugs which have proven to have devastating effects.

The Biden Administration isn't doing this to be caring and inclusive to these sad individuals, they are doing this to give, as Dan Bongino says, the double-barreled middle finger to Christians across this country and the world. And Biden, who is clearly controlled by outside masters, gladly goes along so he can pretend to the leader of the free world.

And, they know that many churches in our country will not fight back against this. Why?

In his book LIVE NOT BY LIES: A MANUAL FOR CHRISTIAN DISSIDENTS, Rod Dreher explains how the Marxist, Progressive Left have to replace traditional religion of any kind with their own religion. They cannot reconcile their own vision of Utopia with the views of Christians, so they set out to first infiltrate them, then change them, then demolish them. He states, " In our time, secular social justice has been shorn of its Christian dimension. Because they defend a particular code of sexual morality and gender categories, Christians are seen by progressives as the enemies of social justice."

In this scenario where a Progressive government/society is in charge, churches have to make a decision. They can either stand their ground and stick to their values and beliefs or concede to the cult of popular insanity that has increasing followers thanks to the constant messaging from media and the internet. If they stick to their values, they may come under fire by a totalitarian culture that promotes silencing and erasing those individuals and organizations that disagree. (Read more.)


How Some Puritans Saw Easter

 From The Earl of Manchester's Foote:

Much like their more famous ‘war on Christmas’, some hardline Puritans of the early 17th Century also had Easter in their sights.

It has been said that the transformation of Easter into a secular festival second only to Christmas has accelerated in recent years. With the long weekend affording many families the chance to come together, commerce has not been slow in sensing an opportunity to capitalise and the profusion of Easter-related paraphernalia – gifts, cards, and confections – only seems to grow. “Easter”, one commentator wryly noted, “is the new Christmas”.

This would have been no surprise in late medieval England, where Easter outranked Christmas as the key festival of the Christian year and was surrounded by a schedule of feast days, public events, and rituals.

But the English Reformation saw much of the Roman Catholic ceremony associated with Easter striped away, in favour of the more austere – and, to the Puritan mind, more fitting – fasting, contemplation, and prayer.

Historian Ronald Hutton traces the downgrading of Easter to the lead-up to the English Reformation led by its chief architect, Archbishop Sir Thomas Cranmer, who energetically pursued a policy of destruction of many of the medieval rituals associated with the festival, such as the dressing of special ‘Easter sepulchres’ – an arched recess generally in a church’s chancel which, from Good Friday to Easter day, would have had a crucifix and sacred elements placed within it – a long standing English tradition that was effectively snuffed out as early as 1548. (Read more.)


Saturday, March 30, 2024

An Easter Anthem from the Templars

From Mary Victrix:
The faith of the Templars led them to face death for the sake of Christ, the Holy Sepulcher and for the People of God who traveled to the holy places.  We talk a great deal about a “Resurrection Faith.”  Sometimes what we mean is too fluffy to be real.  To live in the light of the Resurrection is to face death with one’s face set like flint, and to do so in joy and hope (cf. Is 30:7).


He was girded with power.  And so are we.  This is the Easter proclamation of “Alleluia! Praise the Lord!”  The chant of the Templars sets the cadence to our march forward toward the light of the new dawn and to eternity.  But we do not need to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to benefit from the Resurrection, though I cannot recommend making such a pilgrimage enough.
Our altars and sanctuaries, our sacred vessels, indeed, the very bodies of those who have become temples of the Holy Spirit, all lead us to Jerusalem. Our love for all that is true, good and beautiful, preeminently represented by the Resurrected body of Christ made present in the Eucharist and by the Immaculate and pierced Heart of the Coredemptrix, anchors us to Ground Zero.  The power that singed our Lord’s image onto the shroud at the moment of His resurrection burst outwards like a shock wave that continues to reverberate through time and space.  May we be singed with the image of Christ by the same Easter sunburst.
Christ has risen
and shone upon his people
whom he redeemed
with his blood.  Alleluia!
(Read more.)

Trump The Dictator?

 From The Easton Gazette:

   It was not the first time I had heard Trump called a “dictator” but it still mystifies me how anyone could nourish such a notion. Dictators rule without the intervention of a Supreme Court or an elected legislative body. Of all recent presidents, Trump was careful to stay within the limits of the Constitution, in spite of non-stop false accusations of wrong-doing, all of which came to nothing. He tried to work with Congress. The fact that people with more access to more news than ever before in history have so little understanding and awareness of current events, but instead believe Leftist propaganda, alarms me just about more than anything the puppet referred to as President Biden does or says. When people are fed false information, then they vote based upon what they think is real, whether it is or not. We forget that having a free press is unique in the history of nations; most countries, even when they had a press, had censorship. Those who deliberately spread false information are abusing a most precious freedom. We should never take our freedoms for granted, because the moment they are taken for granted, they are as good as lost. (Read more.)


“Christ Is King!”

 From John Zmirak at The Stream:

Plain speech gives way to sophistry, and even the most innocent words can be misused with evil intent — as Judas perverted a kiss in the Garden of Olives into a symbol of betrayal.

So no, we won’t be able to settle the argument about the use of “Christ is King!” as a rallying cry or slogan simply by noting that it’s clearly true. For instance, it’s statistically true that per capita, black American men commit more violent crimes than white men. But what would we think of public figures who adopted the truthful statement, “More black men kill!” as a maxim? We might wonder about their motives. In fact, I’m pretty sure we would.

So let’s admit, up front, that “Christ is King!” in itself is blameless and admirable. When a Church father or a Mexican priest facing a firing squad said that, it was a magnificent statement of faith. When Pope Pius XI wrote in 1925 about the “social kingship of Christ” it was an eloquent rebuke to atheist totalitarians in Moscow and Berlin. Today, if Chinese Christians whisper it in the face of their torturers, or Coptic Christians spit it out in blood to their ISIS killers, their courage should send shivers down our spines.

So why is the way some people are using the phrase “Christ is King!” seen as controversial now? (Read more.)


Friday, March 29, 2024

Good Friday

From Daniel Mitsui.

The Reproaches (Improperia)
1 and 2: My people, what have I done to you
How have I offended you? Answer me!
1: I led you out of Egypt,
from slavery to freedom,
but you led your Savior to the cross.
2: My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

1: Holy is God!
2: Holy and strong!
1: Holy immortal One, have mercy on us!
1 and 2: For forty years I led you
safely through the desert.
I fed you with manna from heaven,
and brought you to a land of plenty; but you led your Savior to the cross.
Repeat "Holy is God..."
1 and 2: What more could I have done for you.
I planted you as my fairest vine,
but you yielded only bitterness:
when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink,
and you pierced your Savior with a lance.
Repeat "Holy is God..." 
1: For your sake I scourged your captors
and their firstborn sons,
but you brought your scourges down on me.
(Repeated throughout by Choir 2)
2: My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!
1: I led you from slavery to freedom
and drowned your captors in the sea,
but you handed me over to your high priests.
2: "My people...."
1: I opened the sea before you,
but you opened my side with a spear.
2: "My people...."
1: I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud,
but you led me to Pilate's court.
2: "My people...."
1: I bore you up with manna in the desert,
but you struck me down and scourged me.
2: "My people...."
1: I gave you saving water from the rock,
but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.
2: "My people...."
1: For you I struck down the kings of Canaan.
but you struck my head with a reed.
2: "My people...."
1: I gave you a royal scepter,
but you gave me a crown of thorns.
2: "My people...."
1: I raised you to the height of majesty,
but you have raised me high on a cross.
2: "My people...."

The Devil & Communist China, with Steven Mosher

 From Christine Niles at Forward Boldly

Mao Zedong led one of the most diabolical regimes in human history, slaughtering literally hundreds of millions of Chinese in his implementation of communism. That legacy of oppression, control and killing continues to this day under Xi Jin Ping. Foremost China expert Steven Mosher joins Christine in this riveting interview on his new book, The Devil and Communist China: From Mao Down to Xi.


C.S. Lewis Loved Weather

 From The Habit:

C.S. Lewis was funny about weather. For Lewis, it seems, an ability to enjoy all sorts of weather—not just endure it, but enjoy it—suggested that you were the right sort of chap. In Surprised by Joy he wrote of a favorite schoolmaster,
He communicated (what I very much needed) a sense of the gusto with which life ought, wherever possible, to be taken. I fancy it was with a run with him in the sleet that I first discovered how bad weather is to be treated—as a rough joke, a romp.
To appreciate bad weather, to Lewis’s mind, was to be willing to live in, indeed, to rejoice in the fullness of reality. For his Oxford friend A.K. Hamilton Jenkin, unpleasant weather was part of the “atmosphere” that was always offering itself to those who will receive it.
Jenkin seemed to be able to enjoy everything; even ugliness. I learned from him that we should attempt a total surrender to whatever atmosphere was offering itself at the moment; in a squalid town to seek out those very places where its squalor rose to grimness and almost grandeur, on a dismal day to find the most dismal and dripping wood, on a windy day to seek the windiest ridge. There was no Betjemannic irony¹ about it; only a serious, yet gleeful, determination to rub one’s nose in the very quiddity of each thing, to rejoice in its being (so magnificently) what it was.
A shared love of Weather, in fact, might be a reason for two people to get married. I love this bit of dialogue from That Hideous Strength:
“That’s why Camilla and I got married,” said Denniston as they drove off. “We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It’s a useful taste if one lives in England.”

“How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?” said Jane. “I don’t think I should ever learn to like rain and snow.”

“It’s the other way round,” said Denniston. “Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven’t you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children—and the dogs? They know what snow’s made for.”

“I’m sure I hated wet days as a child,” said Jane.

“That’s because the grown-ups kept you in,” said Camilla. “Any child loves rain if it’s allowed to go out and paddle about in it.”
Those of you who have been complaining about this week’s arctic temperatures and blizzard conditions and double-digit-below-zero wind chills in much of the US might want to think on that. (Read More.)

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Holy Thursday

Let us prepare for the Last Supper with Our Lord. Dom Gueranger writes of the Mass of the Lord's Supper in The Liturgical Year, Vol. VI:
The Mass of Maundy Thursday is one of the most solemn of the year; and although the feast of Corpus Christi is the day for solemnly honouring the mystery of the holy Eucharist, still, the Church would have the anniversary of the last Supper to be celebrated with all possible splendour. The colour of the vestments is white, as it is for Christmas day and Easter Sunday; the decorations of the altar and sanctuary all bespeak joy, and yet, there are several ceremonies during this Mass; which show that the holy bride of Christ has not forgotten the Passion of her Jesus, and that this joy is but transient. The priest entones the angelic hymn, Glory be to God in the highest! and the bells ring forth a joyous peal, which continues during the whole of the heavenly canticle: but from that moment they remain silent, and their long silence produces, in every heart, a sentiment of holy mournfulness. But why does the Church deprive us, for so many hours of the grand melody of these sweet bells, whose voices cheer us during the rest of the year? It is to show us that this world lost all its melody and joy when its Saviour suffered and was crucified. Moreover, she would hereby remind us, how the apostles (who were the heralds of Christ, and are figured by the bells, whose ringing summons the faithful to the house of God), fled from their divine Master and left Him a prey to His enemies.

"And there appeared to Him an angel from Heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer." Luke 22:43

Now, Voyager (1942)

 From The Easton Gazette:

The untold want by life and land ne'er granted, 

Now, voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find.

~"The Untold Want" from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

It is perhaps one of Bette Davis' best films, one in which she reputedly became quite caught up in the role, playing an active part in the production decisions. Perhaps that is why the sets, costumes, and screenplay, as well as the flawless acting, raise Now, Voyager above the soap operatic level to a serious drama exploring the psychological implications of certain moral decisions. Although Bette could be convincing as a Southern Belle, playing New England spinster Charlotte Vale, a Daughter of the Pilgrims, suited her mannerisms and natural accent impeccably. However, it is Bette's ability to depict Charlotte's transformation from a weepy neurotic into a vibrant and enthusiastic life participant that makes the film so engaging.

Now, Voyager, based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty, shows the fascination with psychiatry that would come to consume America, beginning in the 1920's, so that in some circles it became a pseudo-religion. When used in the proper context, as a tool for healing, not as a substitute for Divine grace, psychiatry can certainly help people with emotional and mental problems. Charlotte Vale, the heroine of Now, Voyager, is certainly put back on course by the compassionate Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains), whose firmness, wisdom and tough love counteract the emotional abuse leveled upon her by her mother. The film is, overall, a study in bad parenting and good parenting. Charlotte's healing is completed not by psychotherapy but by nurturing a disturbed child. (Read more.)


The Baltimore Bridge Collapse

 From The Western Journal:

By now, most people have seen the shocking images of the devastating collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, that happened on Tuesday morning. Indeed, it would be hard to forget the sight of the cargo ship hitting the 1.6 mile bridge, with the bridge almost instantly crumbling on impact into the Patapsco River.

What caused the cargo ship to ram into the bridge or what was faulty in the construction of the bridge to make it collapse so readily has not yet been discovered. However, as many users on the social media platform X have noted, the ramifications of this disaster will be devastating for Baltimore’s infrastructure.

User Matt Bracken was among the first to point this out. Sharing a map of the port of Baltimore, circling the location of the bridge, as well as the other main highways, Bracken noted, “All of the shipping north of the bridge is now trapped in place. No other shipping can get in. The tunnel shown has height and hazardous cargo restrictions, it can’t take the heavy trucking traffic that used the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which took YEARS to build back in the 1970s.”

Considering that the Port of Baltimore is the main port for both Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this accident, as Bracken said, was a “MAJOR infrastructure hit.” (Read more.)

Franz Joseph Washing the Feet of the Poor

In accord with the ancient custom.
In 1850, Franz Joseph participated for the first time as emperor in the second of the traditional Habsburg expressions of dynastic piety: the Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony, part of the four-day court observance of Easter. The master of the staff and the court prelates chose twelve poor elderly men, transported them to the Hofburg, and positioned them in the ceremonial hall on a raised dais. There, before an invited audience observing the scene from tribunes, the emperor served the men a symbolic meal and archdukes cleared the dishes. As a priest read aloud in Latin the words of the New Testament (John 3:15), “And he began to wash the feet of the disciples,” Franz Joseph knelt and, without rising from his knees, washed the feet of the twelve old men in imitation of Christ. Finally, the emperor placed a bag of twenty silver coins around the necks of each before the men were led away and returned to their homes in imperial coaches.(Read more.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

A Necessary Horror

 From The Dispatch:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Mel Gibson’s earth-shaking film The Passion of the Christ. To be sure, this movie is earth-shaking in the sense that a serious film (in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin with subtitles, no less) about the torture and death of Jesus Christ could even appear in theaters across the country. The conventional wisdom in modern times is that box-office Christianity simply does not pay. But The Passion of the Christ would defy the odds and become an international theater smash, raising $612 million after a mere $30 million was spent in production.

But The Passion of the Christ did more than upend conventional market expectations. The world was rocked by the film’s very nature. For 127 grueling minutes, we are witness to the peak drama of the Christian narrative—the tumultuous last 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life. From Christ’s Agony in the Garden to his betrayal by Judas Iscariot, from his scourging at the pillar to his crowning with thorns, from his relentless trudge down the Way of the Cross to his nailed, sword-pierced, last gasp on the cross. The bludgeoning and whipping, the pounding and stabbing, the mocking and spitting afflict this defiant-in-submission God-man amid the shame-filled silence of his petrified disciples and the heaving sobs of his despairing followers. 

The endured violence was bad enough, but the film’s personification of evil lent the Devil his day. The hooded, deathly pale Lucifer in the garden chillingly whispered to the agonizing Christ what I know I would have been whispering to myself: “No man can carry this weight alone. It is far too heavy. Saving men’s souls is too costly. No one ever … ” Then the Devil breaks, as if listening to Jesus’ inner rebuttal, and then continues in terse response, “No, not ever.” Even the scene where a smiling centurion is whipping Jesus, we are further jarred as the black-hooded Lucifer walks silently amid Roman soldiers while cradling a baby in its arms. At the far limits of torture, Christ’s gaze fixes momentarily on the Devil whose infant turns to reveal itself as a sneering grotesque. Some have conjectured this monstrosity symbolized the Devil’s prized victory against God’s creation—dignified man—which was the loss of innocence, original sin. 

It was brutal. A horror. But it was a necessary horror. 

In the Christian faith, we believe in a perfect God. A God of both perfect mercy and perfect justice. We also believe that we are dignified children of God imbued with glorious value quite simply for being. But to understand our Christian story is to understand that, though we are dignified, we are fallen, and in need of redemption. The cost of our fall, the price of our sin, is too great for any one of us to pay. And so, to pay an insurmountable debt (justice), we must rely on inextinguishable grace (mercy). In the Passion and Crucifixion of the fully human, fully divine Jesus Christ, the debt of the world’s sins is paid and the debtors are set free (that is, if we are willing to accept the payment on our behalf). This is the Christian narrative of enormity: enormous dignity, enormous fall, enormous redemption. 

But did The Passion of the Christ have to be so awful bloody and so bloody awful? In a word, yes. (Read more.)


Joe Biden's EV Mandate

 From The Last Refuge:

The issue that should concern everyone is not the Joe Biden administration and their ideology around climate change, or the EPA, or even the viability of EVs themselves.  The issue that should draw the biggest concern is how the regulation originates; what is the impetus; who are the beneficiaries? The regulation itself did not originate in the EPA, nor was it created from an origination process amid climate ideologues in the administration.  Everything starts with BlackRock positioning their assets.  From that empirical point, all political activity then takes place, which includes the regulations to support the BlackRock objective.

A massive, multinational investment firm is in control of political outcomes in the USA.  That should be the emphasis, not necessarily the regulation that flows as an outcome of that control, and certainly not the debate over whether EVs are a viable alternative to combustion engines. BlackRock, and the control agents of finance, banking and investment, would like nothing more than to see Congress have debates about climate change, the viability of EVs as an alternative to combustion engines, the nuances of power grid generation from alternative energy sources, the scale of energy need as estimated and debated for the next two decades, etc.

All these points of debate become useful political policy issues that divide and contrast.  Sure, Congress would love to hold hearings about EV viability, U.S. grid compliance, the need for subsidized charging stations, etcetera, etcetera.  Because what is not discussed in this debate is where the subject matter comes from. BlackRock positions their money to benefit from policy.  BlackRock, like others, then manipulate the policymakers to support their position.  We The People end up in a debate over EVs, while the BlackRock executives dance merrily into cocktail hour, discuss the latest climb in their value, and debate which politician should get a cut of the proceeds.

Nowhere in the political process on Capitol Hill does anyone ask, “How did the BlackRock investment group know to support Chinese EV plants in Mexico?”

The obvious fire of corporatism/fascism is ignored while the politicians, and us, debate the ramifications of the smoke, EVs. Democrats would love to debate EVs and say the Republicans are planet killers.  Republicans would love to debate EVs and say the Democrats are taking away your freedom. (Read more.)


Let Us Now Praise Famous Men—Or Not

 From Modern Age:

The year 2023 was a good one for movies, the best in several years at a minimum. All of Us StrangersAmerican FictionAnatomy of a FallMay DecemberPerfect DaysThe Boy and the Heron, and The Zone of Interest are all films that are going to stay with me for a long time and will merit re-watching. Numerous other high-profile films from last year took notable artistic risks and deserve serious attention, from mega-hits such as Barbie (which I discussed in the last issue) to commercial disasters such as Beau Is Afraid.

Notwithstanding Scarpa’s declaration, however, not a few high-profile films of 2023 tackled “great man” stories, his own obviously included. Napoleon was among the most audacious of these, daring to encompass the entire life of one of the most significant individuals in the last thousand years of history. It also fell the furthest short of its ambitions—but that was not an unusual failure among last year’s films. With one crucial exception, when filmmakers in 2023 contemplated greatness, they didn’t merely try to temper the audience’s enthusiasm by exposing its limits or its dark side. They left audiences fundamentally perplexed about why the story was being told at all.

It’s probably foolish to draw too many conclusions from a single year’s filmic output. But the casual certitude with which Scarpa made his comment—of course one couldn’t make a movie of a great man’s story these days; everyone knows that—in the context of writing a film about Napoleon of all people, suggested to me that there was something deeper at work than mere coincidence. Filmmakers clearly still relish the opportunity to tell stories on an epic scale, stories about real people, not cartoon superheroes. Have they forgotten how to draw real characters that can fill the frame?

In Scarpa’s interview, he notes that his and Scott’s original plan was for a smaller frame rather than a larger-than-life man.

They wanted to make a film focused on the relationship between Napoleon Bonaparte and the Empress Josephine, and I could see the residue of that concept in the finished film. When Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon first sees Josephine (played by Vanessa Kirby), he’s immediately love-struck. It’s an adolescent-feeling moment, and Bonaparte’s love for Josephine has a consistently juvenile quality (he even begs for sex at one point by flapping his gums in a mutely infantile manner). But that childlike quality is not limited to the love plot; this Napoleon seems juvenile throughout the film. I was put in mind of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, a man who had been at war since boyhood, who fled to the battlefield to escape the emotionally treacherous world of politics, and who was easily brought to defeat by his mother’s tears. But Coriolanus was never loved by the people. Napoleon was. Yet Phoenix’s Napoleon only once or twice manifests even a hint of the charisma necessary to move a mass of men to risk their lives for his cause. This absence is generally a disaster for the story, but never more so than upon Bonaparte’s return from Elba, when his mere appearance is supposed to be enough for the soldiers charged with apprehending him to switch sides, enlist under Napoleon’s banner, and face terrifying odds in his last stand at Waterloo.

These personal oddities are not the worst problem with the film, though. Napoleon was a world-shaking figure, and as he cut his swathe through history he shattered the civilization around him in ways that are still echoing. Yet there is no sense in the film that there was anything particularly significant about Bonaparte as an individual—as depicted, his extraordinary rise is mostly masterminded by others, with opportunities falling into his lap, and even his military genius seems to consist mostly of recognizing the importance of artillery. Nor does the film suggest anything significant about what he stood for. We don’t learn that he established a new legal structure in Europe, or emancipated the Jews, or prompted the first stirrings of German nationalism, or even that his rise from Corsican commoner to the seat of empire struck a fatal blow to the feudal belief in the natural order of rank. If one leaves all this out, why tell his story at all?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with telling the story of the private life of a great man, showing how that private life more fully explains the public narrative we presumably know better, or even just serving as a counterpoint to the commonly accepted version. But the private Napoleon of this film doesn’t explain the public Napoleon, not even by means of the love story. While Josephine may say that he is nothing without her, there’s no evidence shown on screen that this is the case. All we see is that she is capable of getting him to believe it because of his own immaturity. He still divorces her for reasons of state, of course, because he needs an heir, but that is a motive rooted in the social system that Bonaparte himself did so much to dismantle, an irony in which the film is completely uninterested. (Read more.)


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Zone of Interest (2023)

 From The Easton Gazette:

Zone of Interest (2023) film poster, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Rudolf Höss: I wasn't really paying attention... I was too busy thinking how I would gas everyone in the room. ~Zone of Interest (2023)

Winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Zone of Interest (2023) is perhaps one of the most placid films ever made yet it leaves the viewer with the feeling best expressed by Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness: “The horror! The horror!” At the center of the apocalyptic upheavals of World War II is Hitler’s “Final Solution” in which he and his henchman methodically planned the extermination of European Jewry, leading to the deaths of 2/3 of the Jews of Europe. While there have been other holocausts in history, such as the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840’s; the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks from 1915 to 1923; the mass starvation of the Ukrainians in the 1930’s; the ethnic cleansing of the Poles by the Soviets in the 1940’s; Stalin’s purges of his own people at various times throughout his thirty-five year reign of terror; Mao’s Cultural Revolution of the mid-20th century and the mass murders of the Pol Pot regime in the 1980’s, as well as others, none compares to the vast extent of the systematic murders of the Jews by the Nazis. While the aforementioned genocides numbered in the tens of thousands to the millions, none surpasses the Shoah and its six million victims, with the possible exception of the deaths due to Chinese Communism, for which there are no reliable statistics. While Holocaust deniers try to claim that six million deaths is an exaggeration, anyone who has studied the topic, such as Father Patrick Desbois in his book Holocaust by Bullets (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2009) knows that even into the 21st century mass graves of Jews have continued to be discovered throughout Eastern Europe. After so much death, the world could never be the same again.

However, we Americans often wonder at the compliance of the Germans and other nationalities with the Nazi policies at rounding up and handing over their friends and neighbors who happened to be Jewish. We know there were active underground movements of brave citizens, usually persons of faith, who risked their lives to save Jews from the gas chambers, such as the Ten Boom family in Holland, as told in Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. Yet when we see films on the Holocaust or even documentaries on The History Channel we are stunned that a crime of such magnitude was allowed to happen in the sight of all the world. (Read more.)


The Other “Nones”

 From Daniel McCarthy at Modern Age:

In the twentieth century, great ideologies fought to dominate the world. They were the legacies of the French Revolution and the philosophy of Karl Marx: the former showed that the ancient order of Europe was fragile and would shatter from violent upheaval; the latter prophesied an inevitable post-revolutionary future of freedom and equality. Fascism and even liberalism came to style themselves after those original nineteenth-century revolutionary impulses. As the Soviet empire rotted away, liberals hailed their own ideology as the end of History. Liberalism had proved to be the truly rational ideology, they believed, and it must sooner or later prevail everywhere. Rogue states and terrorists could only delay this revolution, not prevent it.

The proof was the absence of any alternative: if communism and fascism had failed, then another ideology must have succeeded. History without direction or end was inconceivable; some rational vision of human destiny must be correct. The only thing that could falsify the triumph of liberalism would be the rise of some compelling new comprehensive ideology that was able to win more converts. No such system turned up. There are still a handful of geriatric communist states, and fascism is supposed to recrudesce whenever liberal watchdogs let their guard down. Yet no fresh competitor in the struggle of global revolutionary ideals has come forward in the twenty-first century.
Liberalism was the last hope for progress as a political faith—a system that could rationally organize the world for human benefit by following the economic and moral laws of benign nature. But despite the absence of any equally systematic opponent, the great ideological edifice is crumbling. Instead of winning ever more converts, liberalism is losing adherents, and its institutions are in crisis. What faith in progress remains is ideologically splintered and personalized, consumed by identity politics rather than united by the conceits of scientific universalism. It’s as if a great religion has collapsed into an anarchy of cults. This is the end of History—not a goal attained but a capital letter rendered irrelevant. Entropy has dethroned progress.

The very capacity for organized faith, not just in religion but in progress too, is eroding in the twenty-first-century West. Nones may be postliberal as well as post-Christian. The ideologies that thrived for two centuries after the French Revolution did not succeed in replacing religion with a secular substitute; they were all along vulnerable to the same loss of faith that afflicted Christianity itself. And while Christianity endures despite weakening commitments in the West, progress as a faith has nowhere else to go in this world or any other. It aspired to be more universal than any church, but faith in progress is instead far more parochial. (Read more.)

Against Pettiness

 From 1P5:

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote of Magnanimity in great detail in the Summa, Christianising it by adding humility and charity to its strengths:
Magnanimity by its very name denotes stretching forth of the mind to great things. Now virtue bears a relationship to two things, first to the matter about which is the field of its activity, secondly to its proper act, which consists in the right use of such matter. And since a virtuous habit is denominated chiefly from its act, a man is said to be magnanimous chiefly because he is minded to do some great act. Now an act may be called great in two ways: in one way proportionately, in another absolutely. An act may be called great proportionately, even if it consist in the use of some small or ordinary thing, if, for instance, one make a very good use of it: but an act is simply and absolutely great when it consists in the best use of the greatest thing.
From this ideal of magnanimity came the Code of Chivalry, which in turn would give birth (thanks to the Romantic Movement of the early 19th century with its rediscovery of Medieval values) the Code of the Gentleman. Mark Girouard describes it thusly:
By the end of the nineteenth century a gentleman had to be chivalrous, brave, straightforward and honourable, loyal to his monarch, country, and friends, unfailingly true to his word, ready to take issue with anyone he saw ill-treating a woman, a child, or an animal. He was a natural leader of men, and others unhesitatingly followed his lead. He was invariably gentle to the weak; above all he was always tender, respectful and courteous to women.
That this survived in the 20th century may be shown by the Emily Post’s introduction the first edition of her etiquette book:
Far more important than any mere dictum of etiquette is the fundamental code of honour, without strict observance of which no man, no matter how “polished,” can be considered a gentleman. The honour of a gentleman demands the inviolability of his word, and the incorruptibility of his principles; he is the descendant of the knight, the crusader; he is the defender of the defenseless, and the champion of justice— or he is not a gentleman.
Even in my far-off youth this was still seen as the ideal – with corresponding qualities for ladies. The Boy Scouts, the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, and for that matter, even the school attempted to reinforce these qualities in the young; it was a battle lost by the time I entered college in 1978. (Read more.)


Monday, March 25, 2024

The First Spring Day

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,

If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun

And crocus fires are kindling one by one:

Sing, robin, sing!

I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.
I wonder if the spring-tide of this year
Will bring another Spring both lost and dear;
If heart and spirit will find out their Spring,
Or if the world alone will bud and sing:
Sing, hope, to me!
Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for memory.
The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So Spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring!
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.

By Christina Rossetti
(Artwork "The First Buds of Spring" by Lionel Percy Smythe, courtesy of Hermes.) Share

Bobulinski's Testimony

I wish everyone would wake up. From Greg's English and Politics:

In a recent hearing, Tony Bobulinski took aim at Jamie Raskin and Dan Goldman, accusing them of perpetuating lies across various media platforms. The hearing, convened by the House Oversight Committee amidst a Republican-led investigation, delved into allegations surrounding the business dealings of Joe and Hunter Biden. Testimony was provided by former associates of Hunter Biden, including Lev Parnas, once linked to Rudy Giuliani. Tony Bobulinski's testimony focused on purported connections between the Bidens and business ventures in China and Russia, suggesting their involvement in influence peddling. He claimed firsthand encounters with the Bidens in 2017, portraying them as actively engaged participants in the alleged dealings. (Read more.)

Bobulinki's statement, HERE. Share

The Virtue of Slow Writers

 From The Millions:

As a writer at work on a book that’s taken far longer than expected—a story collection begun in 2008 now a novel in-progress—I’m interested in how, in a world that values speed, the slow writer learns to tolerate the uncertainty that comes with the long project. Is it possible to tune out the noise of doubt and the proverbial ticking clock when writing goes into overtime? Having lost count of my revisions, and in need of advice, I went looking for other slow writers and discovered that more often than not, a book’s gestation takes place over years, frequently decades. I found too that the slow writer embraces the protracted and unpredictable timeline, seeing it not as fraught or frustrating but an opportunity for openness and discovery. As J.R.R Tolkien said to W. H. Auden, on the 12 years he spent writing Lord of the Rings, “I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me.” (Read more.)


Sunday, March 24, 2024

Easter Cakes

 From Country Living:

Easter is a time for dressing up, attending church services, decorating eggs and making Easter crafts. But it's also for planning tasty menus for Easter dinner or Easter brunch. And it isn't an Easter celebration without an over-the-top, fancy spring Easter cake! We've rounded up some of our favorites, from easy recipes that'll feed a crowd to simpler ideas for smaller gatherings. From light and refreshing spring flavors like blueberry, citrus, and coconut to down right decadent and rich chocolate cakes, there's something for everyone. This list has simple cakes, festive cakes, and elegant cakes that make gorgeous Easter centerpieces! (Read more.)


On Agenda 2030

 From Mel K and Rob on the upheavals of the week.


Turandot: A Racist Opera?

 It is my favorite opera. It never occurred to me that it could be seen as racist. I have always loved the Asian theme! From The City Journal:

Turandot, Giacomo Puccini’s final opera, has a “problematic” reputation due to its being a white male European composer’s depiction of medieval China. It certainly proved problematic on the evening of March 20, when a jammed stage elevator at the Metropolitan Opera House reduced Franco Zeffirelli’s lavish 1987 production—recently refurbished by a generous donation—to what a visibly embarrassed general manager Peter Gelb described as a “semi-staged concert performance.” Gelb labored to spin this mishap at his troubled company as a “historic” event (i.e., “the first concert performance of Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera”), but offered refunds, exchanges, or credits to anyone who wished to leave in the few minutes between his announcement and the beginning of the performance. Hundreds of sullen spectators proceeded to the exit. According to the Met, about 150 people claimed refunds. Others exchanged their tickets, accepted credits, or walked out rather than wait in the long box-office line.

Turandot is a popular opera that draws large and enthusiastic crowds. The Met claimed that the March 20 performance, a Wednesday evening show featuring no star-caliber performers, sold about 80 percent of capacity, considerably above average for the company these days and much better than sales for most of the contemporary operas Gelb is banking on to reverse the Met’s dismal financial fortunes.

No matter how eagerly Met audiences attend Turandot, however, the company clearly does not want to risk its woke bona fides by offering the production without a political disclaimer. Visitors seeking to buy tickets on the Met’s website are greeted by a link inviting them to read a program note for “a discussion of the opera’s cultural insensitivities.” Authored by Met senior editor Christopher Browner, the note instructs us “to appreciate Turandot . . . in a way that both celebrates its achievements and acknowledges the problems inherent in it.”

Lest spectators delude themselves into thinking they are spending up to $505 per ticket to be entertained by Puccini’s opera, Browner hopes we will instead “raise our collective consciousness of its faults,” and, “rather than shying away from the less-savory aspects of the opera . . . recognize and grapple with their implications.” “Many audience members of Chinese descent,” he moralizes without providing any supporting evidence, “find it difficult to watch as their own heritage is co-opted, fetishized, or painted as savage, bloodthirsty, or backward.”

Do they? One might ask when the last anti-Turandot protest occurred at Lincoln Center (the answer is never), but in 1998, the People’s Republic of China staged an even more lavish production of the opera in a specially constructed space in Beijing’s Forbidden City, featuring multiple casts of European soloists with hundreds of supporting performers drawn from Chinese companies and, reportedly, the People’s Liberation Army. With prices topping a reported $1,800 per seat, it was perhaps the most important public cultural event in China’s recent history and one that celebrated, rather than demeaned, the country’s legendary past and ancient grandeur.

To find true outrage, one would presumably have to fly 15 hours from Beijing to New York, where the Met considers Turandot so afflicted with “fault” that it is performing it 17 times this season, more than any other opera except for Georges Bizet’s Carmen, which, one might argue, equally “co-opts” nineteenth-century Spain, “fetishizes” its culture, and “paints” its people as “savage, bloodthirsty, and backward.” Carmen, which also has 17 performances scheduled at the Met this season, did not get a cultural trigger warning, though online ticket buyers are cautioned that the production involves “bright flashing lights.” Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which is set in a modernizing Japan and has 16 performances scheduled at the Met this season, is apparently uncontroversial enough to pass with no warnings.

Is Turandot really so bad? Its plot does feature a cruel princess, the title character, who enforces an oath demanding the death of would-be suitors who cannot answer her three riddles. The Tatar prince Calàf will not be dissuaded, however. He answers the riddles correctly and wins Turandot’s hand, yet offers his life to her if she can learn his name before next dawn. She fails, but Calàf reveals his name, deliberately placing his life in her hands, only to have her heart melt at the gesture and announce that his name is “love.” In the end, the ice princess is merciful and rewards Calàf’s vulnerability. Is this “savagery?” (Read more.)


Saturday, March 23, 2024

An Estate in Old Virginia


 From Veranda:

Each year the nation’s oldest fox hunt, the Piedmont Hunt (dating to 1840), goes off from the Upperville, Virginia, property of Alex and Jill Holtzman Vogel and their family of six children, and it is a magnificent, cinematic sight. This celebration of horse, hound, and open Virginia spaces is a tableau worthy of a painting by Sir Alfred James Munnings.

“Seeing some 400 people standing in your front yard, setting off on this chase, is amazing,” a cause for enormous gratitude, says Alex Vogel, the CEO of the Vogel Group, a lobbying and advisory firm in nearby Washington. “This is a family house with children and animals and lots of activity,” adds Jill Holtzman Vogel, an attorney and Virginia state senator. 

The family’s gratitude is for reasons beyond the obvious. The fact that this property is alive with the sound of children and horses and dogs is a testament to the Vogels’ efforts to preserve a 343-acre portion of the 2,000-acre property, called Oak Spring Farm, that belonged to the late Paul and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. Mrs. Mellon’s interiors and gardens are considered the holy grail of good taste, and sustaining that legacy—not to mention that much property—undoubtedly would present a daunting responsibility for any owner. (Read more.)



The Illusion of Privacy

 From Chronicles:

A recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast featured computer scientist, Ray Kurzweil, who is now working “to bring natural language understanding to Google.” Rogan and Kurzweil discussed many aspects of today’s accelerating technological progress, including artificial intelligence, but there was one exchange that stood out.

Rogan introduced the subject of privacy, which seems to be more and more difficult to attain. By themselves, our phones are, in Rogan’s words, “a little spy that you carry around with you.” Perhaps Rogan’s words sound paranoid, but if you tune in you will see that he presents evidence and cogent arguments to back up this assertion, not just rehashed conspiracies or speculation. This question of privacy is a significant one and in areas of life that impact all of us. These phone “spies” may not be spies in the traditional sense, however, these omnipresent devices, and the that way we use them, are set up to gather data that allegedly improves our “personalized experience” of the Internet.

Kurzweil, a pioneer in his field, reacted to Rogan’s questions about privacy with evident confusion. Far from giving the impression of being a cutting-edge technological guru, Kurzweil appeared more like a senile, retired professor, out of touch with time and reality. As Rogan presented one point after another showing how our privacy is affected by the decisions of our tech overlords, Kurzweil kept repeating the same line: “We have an ability to keep total privacy on a device.”

But what about hackers and the simple fact the algorithms that are building on themselves as they requires a constant stream of information? What about the fact that our phones are designed for the primary purpose of “scooping” that information?

“Only because it’s not perfect,” said Kurzweil in response to these objections. “We actually know how to create perfect privacy in your phone, and if your phone doesn’t have that, that’s just an imperfection [of the device].” In that one statement, Kurzweil expressed his ignorance not only over how the entire monopoly of technology functions, but also revealed the fact that indeed Google-aligned (and perhaps other) computer scientists know how to create privacy but are choosing not to.

Whether they display his senility or his ignorance, or some combination of both, Kurzweil’s comments stand in stark contrast to the dark realities of technology’s grip on our society. Surveillance is a reality of our times, and it can involve an intelligence agency spying on citizens or social media sites tracking our activity to bombard us with advertising. The latter may seem relatively harmless, but think of it this way: Every time we use social media we are the product that is being bought and sold on this strange market. It is our information that is being used, and companies like Google and Meta are making money thanks to our activities online. Shouldn’t they be paying us?

In her excellent book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: the Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshana Zuboff writes about the conformity encouraged in our society by surveillance. We have been facing a different kind of totalitarianism than what we have known in the past. Zuboff describes this as “instrumentarianism.” It’s not just about computers talking to each other, but the fact that “they are … the foundation of an unprecedented power that can reshape society in unprecedented ways.”

She is correct. In 2014, Google co-founder, Larry Page, said, “The societal goal is [Google’s] primary goal. We need revolutionary change, not incremental change.” Zuboff correctly asserts that the ambitions of Page and others like him are a combination of “A Utopia of Certainty” and ultimate power over not just information, but people themselves.

Entities like Google want to exert control over every aspect of society. This isn’t just about getting everyone to use Google Docs or Gmail, which provide good services but, primarily, are about collecting information at a fast speed—feeding the algorithm machine that only grows fatter and hungrier as time goes by. Page continued:

“We [at Google] have to understand anything you might search for. And people are a big thing you might search for … We’re going to have people as a first-class object in search … maybe you don’t want to ask a question. Maybe you just have it answered for you before you ask it. That would be better.” (Read more.)

From Standing for Freedom:

Hochul’s plans drew criticism from some who called the effort unconstitutional and totalitarian. Robby Starbuck, who hosts a podcast, posted on X: “Democrat NY Gov. Kathy Hochul says that her team is ‘collecting data’ from ‘surveillance efforts’ on social media to combat ‘hate speech’ so people ‘feel safe’. She might as well tear up our constitution, it would be a faster way to get the point across that she’s violating it.”

Last month, Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams demanded that social media platforms monitor speech and shut down “incitements to violence,” with Adams insisting, “These guys are experts. If they don’t want to do their job of policing themselves, I really believe it’s time for the federal government to step in.”

The calls come as Europe ramps up censorship of alleged hate speech, including pressuring X owner Elon Musk to censor the posts of online users. Many European nations now have laws that have made the expression of religious beliefs to be viewed as banned speech. This week Finnish Member of Parliament (MP) Päivi Räsänen and a Lutheran bishop were acquitted after four years of trials and investigations simply for sharing the biblical view on marriage and sexuality. And in the U.K., an Army veteran will soon be tried for silently praying for his deceased son outside of an abortion clinic. (Read more.)


Inspiration for 'The Quiet Man'

 From Joe O'Loughlin:

The origins of a story used in a small but important way in the film were founded in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh. It is the part about the friendship between the local Catholic Parish Priest and the Church of Ireland Rector. One of the principal characters was the Rev. James Benson Tuthill, born in 1788 in Co. Fermanagh near the Donegal village of Pettigoe. He was the son of a Church of Ireland minister. Before entering the ministry James B. had spent some years in the army. Ordained in 1812 he was curate in the parish of Inismacsaint which is on the south shore of Lough Erne. In 1824 he was appointed Rector of the parish of Belleek which is on the northern shore of the Erne. With this appointment went the post of a Justice of the Peace for Co. Fermanagh, a most prestigious post with a good income, the Rev. James B. presided over many cases in the local courts. Included in his flock were the leading families of the district, the Caldwell’s of Castle Caldwell and the Johnston’s of Magheramena.

He resided in a fine Rectory in the town land of Magheramena. The building still stands today and is occupied by a local family. His church stood on a most commanding position of the top of a hill in Oughterdrum. Built in 1780 it could be seen for miles around and the peal of its bell inviting members of the congregation to divine service was carried over hill and dale plus the waters of Lough Erne. The second character of this story Neal Ryan, as born in 1795 near the village of Pettigoe. He entered Maynooth College in 1816 to train for the priesthood, being ordained in 1822. A very popular priest, he first served in the parish of Donaghmoyne in Co. Monaghan. In those years, which were shortly after the restrictive Penal Laws had been repealed he assisted at thirty-six marriages on Shrove Tuesday. The day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Church rules did not permit marriages to take place during Lent. The fact that so many marriages took place on the one day when couples had to wait a long time for a priest to become available leads to a question. Did the young people co-habit in the early years of their union? [NOTE: Sometimes, in the absence of a priest, young Catholic couples made their marriage vows in the presence of their families, and were recognized as married according to canon law. When a priest became available he would give them the nuptial blessing.]

In March 1827 Fr. Neal Ryan was appointed Parish Priest of Templecarn. This parish was similar in area to the Church of Ireland parish of Belleek. It included the villages of Pettigoe and Belleek, the Pilgrim Island of Lough Derg, all that area of Fermanagh north of Lough Erne and a considerable portion of County Donegal. A new Church – St. Michael’s had been built in Mulleek in 1810. It was situated in a hollow at the bottom of Oughterdrum hill and was within 300 yards of the Church of Ireland building. The Church in Pettigoe was also newly built in 1820 and Fr. Ryan built another church in Lettercran in 1834. He resided in the town land of Aghafoy, just outside Pettigoe village. Both clergymen ministered to their flocks during the most difficult famine years, being from the same part of the world they soon became firm friends. The horrors of the Famine years of 1846-47 in this poor, rack-rented district baffle description. On one Sunday Fr. Ryan assisted by young men, buried 18 famine victims near Lettercran Church. (Read more.)


Friday, March 22, 2024

The ‘Religion of the Incarnation’

We live in an age of great artists. From CNA:

Daniel Mitsui, a contemporary Catholic artist based in Hobart, Indiana, who creates art in the medieval style, told CNA that Catholic art today suffers from the wounds of a double-edged sword: rejection of tradition and complacency.

“I believe that Catholic religious artists have two tasks,” he said. “First, they should be faithful to tradition, attempting to hand down in their turn the things that have been remembered since the time of the New Testament and that are reflected also in the sacred liturgy and the writings of the Church Fathers. And second, they should make their work as beautiful as possible, because they are attempting to depict things the way that God sees them.”

“The experience of beauty,” he said, “is like a dim memory of life in paradise, an experience that no fallen human artist will be able to recreate. But we should strive to do the best we can!”  (Read more.)


Blood Money

 Mel K interviews author Peter Schweizer.


The Origin of American Exceptionalism

 From Intellectual Takeout:

American exceptionalism didn’t fully develop and cohere until later in American history, but aside from its roots in nationalism, it has a foundation that started in 16th-century North America with the settlers from the British Isles. These settlers formed a culture based on English particulars like the common law system, independent courts, and sharing political power. And as a result, in the 13 Colonies, people identified as Englishmen.

Because the settlers were so far from the British Isles, they held tightly to the aspects of their homeland that they could. Thus, the English freedom tradition stemming from the Magna Carta became more pronounced in America than in England. And when the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, most of it became a list of complaints concerning the king and Parliament’s un-English behavior—and the American Revolution that followed aimed to protect the colonists’ rights as free “Englishmen.”

Still, the Founders did not create a European-like country with a king, nobility, and state church. Instead, they combined English freedoms with ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval wisdom, plus contemporary Enlightenment thinking, into a new sociopolitical order. In 1789, the U.S. Constitution created a political system with a small national (federal) government purposely designed to protect a free economy and high levels of personal freedom.

To support independence and merge regional colonial identifications into a national identity, several key questions had to be asked: Why should America be one nation? Why did America deserve freedom? Why was America an excellent place to live?

The answers drew from several sources prominent in England—including Biblical themes, a 12th-century Arthurian tale about Britain as the place Joseph of Arimathea chose to hide the Holy Grail, and rhetoric from the Tudor Era about England being God’s “elect nation.” Americans, therefore, saw their country as a new promised land and believed God had designated the U.S. for higher purposes.

This view combined with a high regard for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to form American exceptionalism. The idea was that America was a unique country that presaged a future where limited governments protected freedom and human rights worldwide.

Moreover, since most endorsed the Founders’ views of the U.S., the political themes of American exceptionalism—small government, low taxes, few regulations, state rights, and a free economy—were supported by nearly everyone. American politicians even competed to live up to the Founders’ ideals and kept the country’s original socioeconomic order untouched. (Read more.)