Wilberforce’s Attack on Vice is Needed in the USA

This writer has been researching the life and thinking of William Wilberforce, who was the chief advocate for the elimination of slavery in the British empire, which in fact was abolished by Great Britain in 1833. This research revealed that Wilberforce also advocated for a change in morals and manners in Great Britain and its worldwide empire. He was concerned that Biblical values were eroding, and that a much higher standard of personal as well as public conduct was needed among English-speaking Christians. He thus was a preacher and polemicist to the country/empire as a whole, and not only to a particular congregation from a particular pulpit. Wilberforce, in addition to fighting to end slavery based on the Biblical premise that all men and women were created in God’s own image, sought to encourage “piety and virtue, [and the prevention of] vice, profaneness and immorality.” This aspect of his work or mission became known as the Society for the Suppression of Vice (SSV).

This SSV, founded in 1802, grew rapidly and had over 1200 members by 1812. It was authorized by King George III who, the reader undoubtedly recalls, was the monarch whose control we rejected during our War for Independence from 1776 to 1783. Thus, the move for moral purity had legal authorization by a king whom we considered to be so immoral.

The list of SSV’s offending behaviors was quite long. It included profanation of the Lord’s Day (Sunday), profane swearing, publication of blasphemous, licentious and obscene books, selling by false weights and measures, keeping of disorderly public houses, brothels, and gaming houses, illegal lotteries, cruelty to animals.

Well, dear reader, are you at all shocked that the one man who was the key player in bringing slavery and the slave trade to an end in the British Empire was, at the same time, on this moral crusade? Are you suddenly aware that the obverse side of the moral coin that was being held by Mr. Wilberforce contains all these moral injunctions? That high-minded and Biblically grounded individual saw then that slavery, although particularly un-Biblical, was only one side of the moral crisis besetting British society. If he was concerned about the general moral estate of Great Britain at that time, how much more should our Senators, Representatives, Judges, elected officials of all stripes—Governors, state legislators, mayors, city council members, etc.—feel dismayed and disgusted not only by our country’s moral downslide, which, by early 19th century standards, is our moral collapse.

In New York City, while prostitution is still illegal on the books, the ladies are no longer looked upon as perpetrators to be tried. The women are not put in jail, and instead therapy is offered. The judgment that this behavior is degrading and fosters a decline in public morals is removed from the equation. Prostitution is perceived simply as a type of maladjustment.

Also, the ACLU has successfully fought against obscenity laws for decades to the point where outright porno magazines are publicly for sale in stores and have been so for decades.

When I was growing up, gambling was restricted to Nevada. Now it is a staple in many states. Lotteries of all kinds are also advertised, and tickets are for sale in every bodega and newspaper store. With these gambling outlets, the idea of something for nothing pervades society. It accentuates the covetousness of society condemned without equivocation in the Ten Commandments. Gambling in the stock market is considered a wholesome and admirable “business activity.”

What about swearing? God’s name is regularly used in vain for decades. When this writer worked in an office with industrial engineers, the F-word was standard fare. One pastor I had years ago said that whenever he felt frustrated as a young man, he would start cursing. When he entered Bible college, he still had the same habit. But since he noted that the other students did not indulge in that profane pursuit, he resolved and prayed to be able to overcome that sin. He kept on cursing until one day, feeling very frustrated by some setback, he found that he grabbed the back of a chair (as he typically would) but that no curse words came out. The vain, immoral reactions to life’s frustrations were overcome. Although there were some occasional outbursts after that one successful moment, the corrupt speech was clearly defeated. Finally, it disappeared entirely.

Licentious and obscene books and films are standard fare. Nudity, conjugal relations, passionate kissing scenes, couples undressing themselves or each other, as well as an explosion of pornographic videos in theaters and especially on the Internet has turned our country into a sex-obsessed village. Conservative publications obsess about the sexualization of children in the early grades in our schools, but have allowed the pornographic obsessions of the Internet to run amuck. Pornography is driving a wedge even between the adult male and female populations. Settings to prevent this on cell phones or computers are strict (against), moderate, or off, but those settings are easily accessed and changeable. The concept of “prurience” that was once the basis for declaring reading or visual matter obscene is now out the window. Instead, any laws attempting to restrain this unfettered obscenity and vulgarity are considered an infringement on free speech.

This writer was invited to a lecture by someone representing the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). He spoke forcefully about the suppression of free speech that obscenity censorship represented, and how pleased he was that his organization had been at the forefront of crushing the accursed, rigid, Victorian morality behind all censorship.

During the Q&A following his talk, one person in the audience said that censorship was challenged because some literature like the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence had some obscene passages; but it was nonetheless considered to have redeeming literary merit, which offset the need for censorship. But the questioner then asked, “What about patently obscene material which has no redeeming literary merit? Shouldn’t that material be banned?” The speaker just brushed off the questioner by saying, “I don’t think so.” He gave no reasons in support of his primitive position.

We know that obscene literature degrades the minds of the users. Lust in the heart and mind—not only homosexual lust as some moralists would say—is according to the Bible to be discouraged as it offends the Living God who desires us to live on the spiritual level. All lust outside of wedlock is ungodly. Wilberforce understood that the morals of the Bible are eternal and uplifting. We need to revamp our laws and enforce our laws that are already on the books. We conservatives complain about the sexualization of children in the present world of trannie-ology; but we must acknowledge that in all areas of morals, including the sexual, we have been too lax for decades in allowing immorality to hold sway. Just as we are surely glad to be rid of the travesty of slavery, we must stand wholeheartedly against the trashy tolerance that has developed over the past few decades.


Jeffrey Ludwig presently teaches philosophy at a public university. He has also taught at Harvard, Penn State, and Juniata College, and during a stint as a high school teacher was listed four times in Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers. His latest book, Christian Perspectives, Vol.1 is now available.


Featured: “William Wilberforce,” by John Rising; painted ca. 1790.

The Sinister Roots of “Build Back Better”

President Joe Biden and the puppeteers who control his teleprompter are trying to weaken the country in order to gain more power and re-structure the country based on classical Marxism (government ownership of the means of production) as well as woke cultural Marxist lines—destruction of the family, depreciation of male vigor and determination, and demonic sexual perversion throughout all classes and segments of society.

The motto of the interloper now serving in the White House is “Build Back Better” (BBB), The trillions to “build back” is an updated version of the New Deal on steroids as the Dems take spending to a new level of excess which, for them, is ecstasy. In fact, a better name for their spend, spend, and spend programs should be “Excess Ecstasy Exhilarates.” The New Deal believed in the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes. Keynes was a British economist who came up with a theory of deficit spending, namely that the government going into debt would jump start the depressed economy which, then, by being reinvigorated, would have more employed, income tax paying citizens as well as corporate profits which would, in turn, restore the needed balance to the federal books. The deficit spending would restore a greater solvency that had been lost because of the great depression.

In practice this did not work out (unemployment was still in double digits throughout the 1930’s), but because of the passage of the Wagner Act which made it easier for workers to organize into unions, because of the use of the radio for “Fireside Chats” with the public by the President—a real novelty in American politics which intensified public support for FDR—and because of continuing anger towards the Republicans who had been in power throughout the 1920’s and were thus assumed to somehow be the ones who had caused the depression, Keynesian economics became the go-to model for economic policy in the United States for all decades since that time.

However, that Keynesian model has been weaponized under BBB in a most sinister way. The present shift is to make us more amenable to the globalist fantasies that have become so popular in recent decades to assure a revamping towards world governance and a cooperative world economy (rather than a competitive one) under the rubrics of “meeting needs” and “sustainability.” These two concepts are the key concepts in the document written and published by the United Nations called Agenda 2030. Although the original United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 stressed the need for individual rights after WWII and promoted those rights in nearly every sentence of that document, the present document—Agenda 2030—only refers to rights in one section, Section 19, out of 91 sections.

Instead of rights, needs are emphasized. This is consistent with the Communist Manifesto authored by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. A key principle in that document is “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Actual needs of people would be the uppermost goal of envisioned communist society rather than ideas like rights, freedom, responsibility, property ownership, pursuit of happiness, or even security. The new communistic premise is that if needs are met then people will automatically experience security and happiness and will not need the abstract fluff of such bourgeois, outdated, and elitist ideas as rights, freedom, or ownership. Further, meeting of communist needs must be based on sustainability. If we run out of energy, clean air, or water at some point in the future, we would then not be able to meet peoples’ needs. Therefore, there must be plans and actions taken to sustain all the materials and planetary conditions that will keep us from running out of the natural resources and environmental conditions that allow us to meet those needs. Sustainability works hand-in-glove or in tandem with the meeting of needs as a combo that is a cornerstone for a new world governance policy.

The BBB plan thus superficially appears to be an updated and extravagant Keynesian or New Deal style spending program, but the endgame is not economic recovery that forever establishes federal government dominance over the states in the socio-political realm. Rather, BBB is the connecting of that enlarged federal government and authority with a depreciation or elimination of U.S. sovereignty in favor of world, communist-style governance. But as if the endgame were not sinister enough, we see that this updated Keynesian expansion of expenditures has not been brought on as a result of economic collapse as a result of a depression as was the justification in the 1930’s.

Rather, simultaneously with expanded spending, the BBB plotters are trying to weaken the economy and bring about economic and socio-political chaos and mayhem. The southern border hands off policy is literally facilitating the entrance of millions of persons who have not been vetted. By limiting or eliminating natural gas and oil production in the territorial USA under the guise of protecting the environment, the feds are incentivizing other countries to expand their production of these energy sources. That production, which would still mean higher energy prices here in the U.S., has just as bad an effect on the world climate as would the same production in our land. But the brooding minds behind BBB want to see inflated prices. They want to see shortages. They want to see racial unrest. They want to see upsurges in crime as new theories of law inform the release of repeat offenders and shorter sentences which de-stabilizes society. The BBB autocrats want to see a society that increasingly identifies as LGBTQ because this radical individualism weakens the social fabric. They want to see fentanyl from China imported as a deadly scourge to kill our citizens who are weak-minded and susceptible to taking this drug.

Thus, despite resemblance to the New Deal, the BBB so-called governance (properly called betrayal) is at the front end linked to global health, green initiatives, and “interdependence” as an excuse for diminishing U.S. sovereignty. Since these policies were not initiated to combat depression conditions, we see that simultaneously with BBB are policies designed to undermine the freedoms and economic viability of the USA. This might be likened to applying chemo treatments to a patient who did not have cancer, and then, in order to justify the perverse treatment plan, injecting the patient with cancer cells in order to justify that plan. The goal of the sinister and aberrated “plan” would not be the recovery of the patient and return to normal living, but to place the “cured” individual into custodial care rather than independent living. That would be the equivalent of a United States with diminished sovereignty in a world governance system.


Jeffrey Ludwig presently teaches philosophy in New York city. His latest book, Christian Perspectives Vol. 1.


Featured: “Vanitas,” by Alexis Duque, no date.

A Potentially Dangerous Response to Domestic Terrorism

On June 15, 2021 the White House issued a “Fact Sheet: National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.” This fact sheet is strangely devoid of facts and is vacuous in the extreme, but at the same time communicates that the present Administration sees a connection between defeating terrorism and having a government-controlled economy. According to Merriam-Webster, “vacuous” means “1:emptied of or lacking content 2: marked by lack of ideas or intelligence.” Is it not true that vacuous thoughts presented as though they were serious and careful thoughts are almost always dangerous? Based upon this principle of understanding, the “national strategy” is one of the most dangerous documents I have read in my lifelong study of U.S. history.

The shift from domestic terrorism to much greater control by the federal government of our economy on the last page of the document is the product of a sleight of hand or a verbal shell game. The reader thinks he or she is reading about one thing, but finds that the Fact Sheet finishes with conclusions about matters not even remotely implied by the title of the report.

“Countering domestic terrorism” is more of a buzz term than a specific goal. It implies a complete takeover of vast areas of our lives by the federal government, but since this will be done under the slogan of countering domestic terrorism, that takeover is supposed to make us feel more safe. After all, who in his right mind wants his or her rear end shot up by some terrorists?

The Fact Sheet includes the definition of domestic terrorism in Federal law which states it is “intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.” Despite providing this definition, not one example of domestic terrorism is provided.

That means no mention of the Fort Hood mass shooting, the PULSE nightclub shooting, the San Bernardino Christmas massacre, the Las Vegas massacre, the Washington DC sniper, the aggressions against the Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021, the Boston Marathon bombing, the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and other Congressmen in Florida, the riots, murders, burning of buildings, and lootings in cities nationwide during the past year, and of course 9/11. The point to be seen here is that not one of these events is included in the so-called Fact Sheet on domestic terrorism. Again, no facts.

Then, on page three, still without providing one example, the document boldly proclaims that the two most disturbing areas of domestic violence are those “who advocate for the superiority of the white race” and “anti-authority violent extremists, such as militia violent extremists.” What could be more “anti- authority” than all the riots and aggressive, name-calling protests and Molotov cocktail throwing “protests” against the police? What about domestic terrorism by those who advocate for the inherent badness of the white race or the abolition of capitalism? Yet, instead, the document surprisingly points its ignorant finger at “militias.”

Suddenly on page 6, we find our first example, our first real world example of a practical connection to fighting terrorism. The document states “The United States also recently joined the ‘Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online,’ an international partnership between governments and technology companies that works to develop new multilateral solutions to eliminating terrorist content online….” This Christchurch Call to Action was an initiative begun by President of France Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2019 after an attack of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand killed 51 people. Their program is to enlist countries to partner with leading Internet platforms to prevent the uploading of extreme and violent content.

Instead of governments regulating these private entities that control Big Tech, they are “partnering” with them to provide surveillance and censorship. The companies are not accountable to citizens or to the governments but are working as partners. This format is very dangerous because of the inherent lack of controls over the participants. Thus, New Zealand, France, and other countries along with the Mark Zuckerbergs and Tim Cooks of this world will be deciding in some ways what information can and cannot be transmitted to the people of the USA.

The Call was adopted at its start-up meeting by France, New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Norway, Senegal, the UK, and the European Commission as well as Amazon, Facebook, Dailymotion, Google, Microsoft, Qwant, Twitter, and YouTube. Other countries who have adopted the Call but were not at the meeting are Australia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Now, Mr. Biden and the Democoms want to get on board.

What kind of an ex officio arrangement is this? Is it an agreement? A treaty needing Senate approval? What laws and rules will regulate this “cooperative” and its representatives when they meet? What oversight is in place to insure the First Amendment rights of American citizens on the Internet and off? How is it that Amazon where I buy some vitamins or toothpaste is now “helping” protect the world from terrorism? Most importantly, why is it that the one reference to a terrorist event in this document is not domestic but took place in a distant country? This international cabal is the only specific, institutional, practical response mentioned in this Fact Sheet about American domestic terrorism. Why is that?

U.S. participation in an extra-governmental consortium is experienced by this writer as a threatening and inappropriate development and should be understood this way by every thinking person in our country. The administration of former Pres. Donald Trump elected not to sign onto this “Call.” General support for its goals were expressed, but we did not sign up at that time because of concerns about First Amendment infringements on U.S. citizens. Although that is a legitimate concern, the dangerous implications of signing on to this vacuous document are more far-reaching.

Where is the outcry by our elected leaders? What kind of stupid, gutless people have we elected that are failing to understand and speak up when a document as devoid of logic, examples, and with a potentially sinister insertion is presented to the public?

By the last page of the document, after repeating ad nauseum the dangers of domestic terrorism without specific facts, plans, logical inferences, or historical references except for our participation in the French-New Zealand initiative (not resulting from U.S. domestic terrorism), the domestic terrorism fact sheet suddenly reminds the public of the supposed “relief and opportunity” provided by three of the administration’s legislative economic initiatives. Thus, for the occupant of the White House, the expansion of the government’s direction of the economy is part and parcel of our quest for safety from domestic terrorism. Vast new governmental expenditures plus vast new strategies of domestic surveillance will together bring more security to our land. This is Big Brother thinking on steroids. Inserting this claim at the end of the Fact Sheet is just another example of the incoherence and lack of persuasiveness of this document. Although poorly conceived and written, the Fact Sheet reveals the administration’s intention to tighten government’s grip on the lives of the people, and exposes a dangerous development namely our participation in a shadowy entity created by “the Call.”


Jeffrey Ludwig is at present teaching philosophy and preaching in various pulpits in New York City. He has taught history and philosophy at Harvard, Penn State, Juniata College, Lesley University, and Boston State College. His latest book is The Liberty Manifesto, Vol. 1. A version of this article appeared in the American Thinker.


Featured image: “United we Stand,” by Ali Miruku, painted in 2001.

Should The Founding Principles Of The U.S. Be Retained?

Would it be useful or realistic to re-name Manhattan and call it Transhattan in respect of gender fluidity? Would that new name not also reveal that not only is gender fluid, but New York City is fluid in the sense of being a crossroads of the world? Millions emigrated into the USA through Ellis Island in Manhattan. If Manhattan is renamed Transhattan, would not the past migration of people be seen for what it is — a dramatic change in demographics revealing the inherent changeableness of the world, and that radical change is progress? Would not the re-naming help us see that deviation from the norm is normal. Our norms of today would have been considered deviations from the norm a couple of centuries ago. The philosopher Heraclitus said “all is change,” so if we accept his slogan as truth, “change” is the stable reality.

Yet, such a change does not sit well with most of us. We see that there are many radical changes in social composition, creation of new societies and even new civilizations throughout history. Yet, aspects of life, especially the biological compatibility and union of male and female seem to be an ongoing and ahistorical desideratum. Although this writer is a creationist, even evolutionists like Jean-Baptiste Lamarck believed that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” This means that the development of the individual organism mirrors the evolutionary development of the human race. If this statement were to be taken seriously, even the atheistic gender fluidity crowd would have to accept gender bifurcation as nature’s final say in the matter. Gender bifurcation into male and female is a phylogenetic reality for all times, cultures, places, societies, governmental systems, etc. Therefore, it trumps our individual “choices.”

How can we resolve this tension between ongoing changes and desire to maintain the status quo which seems to have consolidated radical “changes” that occurred in the past?

We saw a tremendous influx of people into the USA from 1890-1920 but in the short run it led to massive poverty, and especially brought socialistic and communistic ideas into the USA that were less popular at that time than they are today. There was no USSR, no PRC, no commie Vietnam, no Venezuela, and no Cuba. There was no welfare system at that time, and unlike today the USA was not a place where 39% pay income tax and 60% do not (2020). There were no violent, unemployed punks in the street chanting for the overthrow of the USA for extensive periods of time or occupying Wall Street or setting fires or defacing buildings or looting millions of dollars worth of Levi’s, headsets, and panties from stores. Fluidity seen as historical change, as movement of people, as innovations in our everyday lifestyles and in our mores is thus the norm. Yet, we desire to control, to resist change, to harbor grievances against “change agents.” Both trends are historical realities.

This tension has in the past given rise to dialectic thinking whereby the German philosopher Friedrich Hegel took the “transcendental categories” of another German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, in a new direction. For Kant, those categories of the mind gave order and direction to our choices and understanding, but the Hegelian dialectic found an inherent tension in those categories which Kant failed to describe or analyze. Thus, for Hegel, there is in all historical experience a Thesis which is opposed by an Antithesis. The Antithesis negates the Thesis, and the Thesis is then replaced by a Synthesis. The Synthesis is not merely a mixture of Thesis and Antithesis, but a historical condition that is different from Thesis and Antithesis, and this “condition” could not have emerged had there not been a conflict between Thesis and Antithesis. The Synthesis becomes the new Thesis, and the march of time and history continues. The path taken is one of continuous progress towards the Absolute. The perfectibility of mankind is implied.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel said that this dialectic was more specifically grounded in economics than in Hegel’s philosophy as seen historically by looking at the “class struggles” throughout the ages. This dialectic they believed would and should culminate in the classless society called “communism.”

The most valid alternative to the dialectical reasoning arising out of Germanic culture is the one found in the English/Protestant tradition. Although Marxists would disparage this tradition as being bourgeois and proposing values opposed both to dialectic and to the proletariat, the English/Protestant tradition allows for progress without contaminating that progress with an ideal of a perfectly just social order and governance. Rather, it is a progress that is mediated and limited by purity of our motives, the requirements of conscience, the moral law as revealed in the Old Testament, and through faith in both the reason and revelation of the Messiah through the New Testament.

Faith is the linchpin of this progress since it is a progress supported by Almighty God through His Providential will. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as well as Protestant colonial leaders who preceded them purposely cultivated their spiritual lives through Biblical study and prayer. Further, John Locke, Jonathan Edwards, and William Penn provided the philosophical and theological momentum for the ideal of the USA as a city on a hill. Although it may not be obvious on its face, the struggle we are seeing about human sexuality, economic and political justice, and health and happiness are at bottom a profound philosophical and theological struggle between German culture and English culture; and the English tradition is by far more vibrant and hopeful.


Jeffrey Ludwig teaches philosophy in New York City and preaches regularly at pulpits in Queens, a borough of New York City.


The featured image shows, “Declaration of Independence,” by John Trumbull; painted in 1819.

Western Civilization Must Be Affirmed

Gerson Moreno-Riaño recently stated, “American colleges and universities have always positioned themselves as the bastions of knowledge and truth for the moral formation of their students. Regardless of intellectual debates surrounding the meaning of such terms, universities in America have never rejected implicit commitment to moral formation.”

By simply using the word “moral,” President Moreno-Riaño is already sending a message that he stands against the trend in modern institutions of higher education. The word “moral” connotes right and wrong within a Judeo-Christian matrix of understanding. The Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and loving one’s neighbor as oneself are increasingly portrayed by the apostles of heteronormative reality as covers for a hidden malignancy of exploitation and rejection that is unbecoming of civilized persons.

Instead, we are increasingly told by campus pundits and other self-proclaimed prophets of post-modernism that LGBT+Q (a couple of hundred varieties of sexuality come under the “Q”), feminism, anti-racism, and anti-white, male gender hegemony, are hallmarks of needed change in society.

To this crowd of miscreants – many of whom hold PhDs and teach at leading institutions of higher education – our entire society is living a lie. Our legal system is infected with racism from top to bottom which is why we see proportionally so many more African-Americans and Latinos in prisons than white people. The promotion of whiteness is the historical essence of American society, according to the proponents of the 1619 Project. These non-historians want to claim that the very founding of the USA was to glorify whiteness and to heap contempt on the non-white people of the Earth. We were not founded on true Christian or democratic principles like the furthering of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut that was the first constitution of Connecticut (1642) did not, according to those intent on demonizing whiteness, define the principles of government by which a people living in a state might enjoy self-government. Rather, that constitution like all the mores of colonial America, was a cover for a more sinister cover-up of an inherent, cancerous white supremacy. The underlying motive was not as might appear to be the case: “We deserve to rule ourselves because the principles of self-government are Biblical, and the affirmation of freedom is part of God’s plan for the universe;” but, according to the 1619 Project, that we are only claiming these goods because we are white and based on our racial superiority can and ought to claim them.

Everything we have been and are as a society is merely a rationalization to cover the sense of racial superiority and macho sexuality that underlies anything and everything we have done and achieved, anything and everything we take pride in having accomplished – politically, educationally, economically, medically, scientifically, socially, and legally. Straight male white society has built this monolith called the USA on the suffering of people of color, the oppression of women, the cruel suppression of non-heterosexual persons, and the rejection of Marxist ideology, even though, according to its proponents, that ideology would bring about the betterment of the greatest number of people in our society.

President Moreno-Riaño in the same article quoted above recommends, “the re-integration of the true, beautiful, and good within a context of pervasive and consistent open inquiry.” He also recommends the removal of funding from colleges that fail to do this. This writer found his shift to this position surprising since his article acknowledges that the teaching of Western Civ courses in colleges and universities has been decimated. Instead, this writer would cry out for a re-institution of those courses.

Western Civ encompasses the powerful traditions of Reason, beginning with ancient Greece and Rome; the power of Love via the great Christian commandments of loving one’s neighbor as oneself and loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength; the love of Beauty and Truth in our great literature and art works (John Keats’ “Ode To A Grecian Urn” says it better than this writer); and the great trans-racial and supra-racial achievements of Science, such as humankind has enjoyed since the 16th century. Without acknowledging the highest ideals embodied in Western Civ as being valued above all other ideals, we are doomed to demoralization, disruption, and decay.


Jeffrey Ludwig is presently a lecturer in philosophy and has taught ethics, introduction to philosophy, American philosophy, and philosophy of education. He also spent many years teaching history, economics, literature, and writing. For ten years he served as pastor of Bible Christian Church; and his theological focus is on the five solae. He has published three books, the most recent, The Liberty Manifesto, being a series of essays about the importance of reasserting liberty as a social, political, economic, and theological value. His other two books are The Catastrophic Decline of America’s Public High Schools: New York City, A Case Study, and Memoir of a Jewish American Christian.


The featured image shows, “The Architect’s Dream,” by Thomas Cole; painted 1840.

The Failure Of Woke Morality

A large portrait of William Shakespeare was torn down at the University of Pennsylvania in December 2016 , and a portrait of Audre Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” was placed on the wall in its place by student protesters.

Students did this to express their disgust with the perceived male chauvinism, white privilege, racism, straight sexuality, and poor judgment of UPenn and the Western canon of literature. When no action was taken against the rebels, and when the change of portraits was allowed to remain, as an alum of the Univ. of Pennsylvania, I had a brief correspondence with the chairs of the English Dept and of Graduate English Studies at Penn.

They assured me that Shakespeare was still actively taught. Thus, the mere fact that Shakespeare continues to be taught justifies their rationalization that (1) it’s only a picture, (2) kids will be kids, (3) throw them a bone (the new portrait on the wall was the “bone”) and they will be satisfied, and (4) life goes on in spite of caving in to student expressions of pique. They felt no need to publicly affirm Shakespeare’s rightful place on the wall, nor that student vandalism is unacceptable.

In a similar vein, during September 2020, the University of Edinburgh’s David Hume Tower was re-named 40 George Square because of some deplorable remarks Hume, a great 18th-century philosopher, made at one point about “negroes.” However, the University assured the public (just as UPenn had two years ago) that it will continue to teach Hume, and had a cadre of specialists more than able to do so.

The author of this article, Julian Baggini, took the tack of splitting hairs to explain and ultimately justify the name change. He’s against the dead “getting a free pass” on prejudice as being too lenient, but on the other hand, trying to punish them in absentia by today’s “higher standards” is too harsh. Instead the author equivocates and writes, “So before abolishing or renaming memorials to those who have views that offend or even distress us, maybe we should instead challenge our understanding of what such memorials are for. They are not there to encourage hero worship, to elevate certain figures above criticism.” What does this say about the University’s ultimate decision? He means it was too harsh, but he does not have an alternative.

Sadly, Mr. Baggini is legitimizing this action, and thus is still splitting hairs about this controversy. Actually, the name change is wholly ILLEGITIMATE. Changing the building’s name but still teaching Hume is like telling someone they still have a right to food, shelter, and clothing, but they can’t go out of the house because they should be ashamed to show themselves in public. At one point in my career, I taught the background of the Civil War in the U.S., and traced Abraham Lincoln’s attitudes towards blacks throughout his political career….

The Lincoln who opposed the popular sovereignty idea of Stephen Douglas was not as compassionate as the Lincoln who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, nor was that Lincoln as humble and godly as the Lincoln who prayed on his knees with black workers (not slaves) in the White House or the Lincoln with the passionate sense of God’s judgment in his Second Inaugural Address. He set the slaves free, but he was not always thinking that, who knows, maybe another Isaac Newton is now a slave, and being held back from his true destiny. Although he fully understood the justice and holy truth of emancipation, he did not repudiate totally the Confederate rebels who had brought about so much death and destruction. His hope in Christ had increased dramatically during the years of his presidency, and forgiveness was a central theme despite his anti-slavery commitment. If we took some earlier snippets of Lincoln’s views than the ones that emerged during the war years, we might find some reason to fault him or purge his name even. Instead, we purposely see the greatness of the whole man.

Of course some people are so evil that they are remembered for their wickedness, but in most cases that does not apply. “The good a man does lives after him, and the bad is oft interred with his bones.” Dishonoring someone for having had some opinions that seem wrong to many is a debacle. Hume did not go out of his way to harm any black folks. Slavery finally came to an end in the British Empire in 1833. To rename the Hume building is not just a wrong emphasis in thinking as the article suggests, but a case of egregious pandering to the racial demagogues.

Looking for reasons to debunk heroes of Western Civilization for their whiteness and supposed inappropriate statements – that supposedly reflect a deeply entrenched and abhorrent racism – has become a cottage industry in our political and educational institutions.

Not only do we see it at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Pennsylvania, but we see it in the self-confident ranting of a Scottish Member of Parliament, a man of Pakistani descent, SNP Justice Minister, Humza Yousaf. In August, he expressed his outrage that except for two seats belonging to two men of Pakistani descent, himself and one other man, the Scottish Parliament and so many other public officials who were – here’s the horrible word: white. This he proposes is white privilege run amuck. He is shocked and offended that in Scotland almost all the leadership is white.

Yet, a friend of mine, well informed about ethnography, wrote to me that “1) The northern parts of Pakistan are white – like the Kailash and the Kafirs, who are largely blued-eyed blondes and red-heads. Are they ‘white?’ According to Yousaf’s logic, they are not. 2) The rest of the population of Pakistan is Indo-Aryan – notice the term ‘Aryan’ – which means they are an Indo-European population (i.e., genetically, ‘white’).” This reality suggests that by having more Pakistanis in office, Scotland would be extending its pattern of whiteness, not counteracting it as Yousaf states. Despite his ethnographic ignorance and illogicality, Yousaf’s rant on Youtube led me to some radical introspection.

Why is it all the members of my birth family are… white? Is this a dreadful exclusivity? How dare they marry and procreate with people who look like themselves, and have similar mores to themselves?! And am I therefore now on the moral high ground because I married an Asian woman? My wife is Asian, but our daughter LOOKS white. That must mean that part of her is racist – against herself!

And why is it that so many of those in government in the West who are white believe in liberty while ignoring their white privilege? Why am I not relieved that my centuries old hypocrisy masquerading as “liberty” and “natural rights” is now being exposed?

Many are starting to say how “bourgeois” and inauthentic those words from the 18th-century now sound, how middle class and how WHITE (!) those calls for liberty and rights seem to be. The liberty talk we frequently hear, we are told by the left, is a cover for entrenched Western – especially American — racism. And worse still, this racism is linked to sexual militancy against LGBQ and especially T for transgenders. Think of it, neither Scotland nor the USA has had a head of state who is a transgender woman.

When we hear UPenn condemned or the Scottish Parliament condemned for its racism, do we not simultaneously tremble at the thought that trannies have been so systematically excluded from political leadership? There is a repugnant intersectional bias in Scotland and elsewhere, even too repugnant to be mentioned by Mr. Yousaf.

If we believe in liberty, are then people not free to have any genitalia they please – and to be elected for their stability of mind, values, and knowledge with or without their birth genitalia! Isn’t this the deep hypocrisy that the portrait of Shakespeare or the tower named after Hume exposes? Certainly, the rebels and iconoclasts on our campuses and in our legislative bodies believe this. Once persons admit they are racist, that puts pressure on them to admit they are also trans-phobic. And the phobic road is a long road indeed.

However, as we reflect on racism in the West (with its implied links to other generic, gender prejudices of custom and psyche via intersectionality), we see it extends beyond education and beyond public office. It is embedded in the warp and woof of society as a whole. This is true according to the latest big-name race baiting guru of America, Ibram X. Kendi, née Ibram Henry Rogers.

“You’re either racist or antiracist; there’s no such thing as ‘not racist’,” Kendi says. But then Mr. Kendi goes on to say that people are in a variety of complex situations with regard to race. In the criminal justice system, they may be racist, but in regard to the environment they are not racist. When it comes to healthcare they may be antiracist, but then in regard to education they are racist. The complexity does not have the effect of diluting racism, but instead helps perpetuate it. Complexity feeds racism rather than breaks its back.

And if you are white, you are hooked into racism by your attachment to capitalism, and you may be hooked into racism by saying you believe in assimilation. However, anti-racism is not compatible with assimilation. Ultimately, M. L. King Jr. got it wrong.

Thus, I attended an alumni day at the University of Pennsylvania a few short years ago, and was surprised to learn that there was a black segregated dorm on campus. The integration model of the civil rights movement had given way to a new black-initiated segregation. Listening to Kendi, I better understood why my beliefs in de-segregation were now being rejected. Anti-racism cannot identify with assimilation.

Kendi asserts this unequivocally. His view thus incorporates the Nation of Islam ideal of black separatism. But if it is true as stated in the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that “separate is inherently unequal,” then separatism by blacks is not announcing equality and not announcing inferiority.

Therefore, it appears that black separatism is a cover for black dominance and contempt for persons of European origin. However, by saying this, a white can be accused of trying to make blacks appear prejudiced, which itself brings out yet another accusation by blacks of racism.

Every verbal move – even a logical move – is considered a white racist gambit. Mr. Kendi and his ilk, like Mr. Yousaf from a different starting point in Scotland, are driven by the same demons, the same paranoia, the same demagoguery, and, on a kinder note, the same insecurities.

Jeffrey Ludwig is presently a lecturer in philosophy and has taught ethics, introduction to philosophy, American philosophy, and philosophy of education. He also spent many years teaching history, economics, literature, and writing. For ten years he served as pastor of Bible Christian Church; and his theological focus is on the five solae. He has published three books, the most recent, The Liberty Manifesto, being a series of essays about the importance of reasserting liberty as a social, political, economic, and theological value. His other two books are The Catastrophic Decline of America’s Public High Schools: New York City, A Case Study, and Memoir of a Jewish American Christian.

The image shows, “Auf der Flucht [On the Run],” by Magnuz Zeller, painted in 1920.

The Christian Life: A Three-Dimensional View

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6: 11-12).

Paul wrote these words to Timothy, his disciple/student, his spiritual son. He repeatedly calls Timothy “son.” Timothy faithfully accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys, but at a certain point when Timothy was 30 or in his mid-thirties, he was appointed to supervise the church at Ephesus. The first letter was about the time he assumed those responsibilities. Timothy was not an Apostle, but he clearly was given a lot of authority by Paul, as well as these two letters of advice and encouragement in the Lord. Many of the directions given to Timothy apply to the clergy and laity of today as well, although some might be seen as Timothy-specific.

He describes to Timothy how he can be “salt and light” (Matthew 5: 13-16), and lead his church to be salt and light. Like Timothy, the Holy Spirit of God calls us and supports us as we strive to be salt and light as we follow Jesus Christ. The above passage is a three-dimensional depiction of how we as faithful Christians can be, and should be

Dimension One: The Bible is filled with virtues. In addition to this list of six virtues in 1 Timothy, there is another list of nine virtues in Galatians 5:22: Love, faith, and gentleness are found in both lists. However, in addition, the Galatians list has joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, and self-control.

Righteousness is the first virtue on the list. Righteousness is inevitably linked with holiness, and holiness is linked with God. If one is an atheist and deems themselves as a “good person” that is not the same, and no atheist would refer to himself or herself that way, as a holy person. The Lord said, “Be ye holy even as I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7; 21:8) We may be starting to see that there is a vocabulary that the non-Christians do not ever use, and increasingly are omitted from the vocabulary and thoughts of Christians: Righteousness, holy, evil, sin, abomination. These words come under the heading of religious exaggerations or hyperbole.

Today’s mantra in our unbelieving society is that it is sufficient to be a “good person.” Yet, we know that we must strive for righteousness. However, the idea of being right with God and thus “right” in a bigger sense is considered up-tight by many. We are apt to be told that that is just our interpretation, or the Bible was written by people who were limited in their perspective by the time and place when and where they lived or it may have been believed by many and for many years, but that does not make it “right” in any ultimate sense.

Righteousness and holiness are repudiated by so many because they entail accepting the words “sin” and “evil.” I once referred to “our sick and sinful society” in a column in our union newsletter, and one of my colleagues, a woman with a Ph.D. in microbiology and a sociable and pleasant lady, came to my office to complain about my using the word “sinful.” “There’s no such thing as sin,” she said. I asked her, “What would you say about people who have intimate relations with animals,” and she replied “different strokes for different folks.” Then I asked her if sin could be applied to the kidnapping and murder of a four year old child, and she replied, “It’s a crime, but not a sin.” Are you, dear reader, stunned? Well, there are millions of people, even in churches who, tragically, think the same way.

Dimension Two: Paul tells Timothy and us to “Fight the good fight of faith.” Very often faith is portrayed – even by the Danish Christian existentialist Soren Kirkegaard as simply belief, a purely subjective attitude or belief in an eternal, changeless, perfect, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God. By, referring to fighting the good fight, Paul not only sees faith in an active mode, but also emphasizes that it is public and associated with confession. It is not private and subjective.

Faith is our public testimony and manifestation of our faith, and of those virtues or the virtues in Galatians 5:22 that are the expressions of our faith. Confession here is not going into a confessional booth, but of exhibiting Christian virtues in a lost and fallen world! Then Paul really shakes up our 20th and 21st century sensibilities by pointing to Christ before Pilate as the pinnacle example or manifestation of fighting the good fight of faith.

In Matthew, Jesus is asked if He is King of the Jews and answers, “It is as you say.” (Matthew 27:11) He is listed with the same reply in Mark 15: 2 and Luke 23: 3, but in John, Jesus replies, “Are you speaking for yourself or did others tell you about me?”(John 18:33-34) A few verses later in the Gospel according to John, Pilate asks Jesus “Are you a king then?” And Jesus answers, “You say rightly…I came into this world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”

Jesus’ good confession was not His many words, but his firmness in silence or in few words in the face of great personal danger, in a public place where this firmness and/or silence could be witnessed by others, and by His clear attestation of Himself as the Jewish Messiah (who was prophesied to be the universal Messiah of both Jews and Gentiles).

So. we are to fight the good fight of faith not by much speaking, but by holding firm whether to public ridicule or public threats or public slander or public opprobrium… matter-of-factly, without fanfare. Even if our firmness or our faith is perceived as irrelevant by others. When I was teaching in a public high school, one of my co-teachers called across to me in the teachers’ lounge. “Mr. Ludwig,” he called out. “Is God a he or a she?” I answered “God is a he, but not in the sense that you or I are ‘he’s’. He knows everything about us, things we would be ashamed to repeat in this room, but He still loves us, and his forgiveness is there for us if we would turn to Him and receive Him and the forgiveness He offers.”

Dimension Three: Paul tells us and Timothy to lay hold of eternal life. It cannot be seen or heard. We can’t take a weekend flight into the invisible heavenly realm. We have had reports of near death or death experiences related by people who died and were resuscitated. However this Scripture says that the heavenly realm has not been seen, nor can a person see it. So please greet such reports with a dose of healthy skepticism.

The King of kings bestows immortality with God himself. He dwells in unapproachable light. We cannot see Him, but we can hear him. God’s Ten Words were heard at Mt. Sinai (Mt. Horeb). But hearing Him was overwhelming for the Israelites and they cried out for relief from “hearing” (Deuteronomy 4:9-13; 4: 32-36; 5: 1-4; Exodus 20:19). With the hearing of God’s voice so painful, and being in His presence so impossible, how then can we lay hold of eternal life? On Earth He has given us His Word that we might hear Him without immediate terror; yet, we are to go forth in response to His Word in “fear and trembling.”

Further, the Word was made flesh in the person of Christ Jesus, second person of the Holy Trinity. Judgment awaits those who are not living in and through His Word. Here is where we understand that we must take up our Cross daily, deny ourselves, and follow Him to the very end. Only covered by the Blood of the Lamb can we hope to stand in God’s full presence.

Biblical morality was never intended to be a pathway to God, but a response of God’s people to His love and faithfulness. We appropriate Christ by faith, not by our good deeds. That is why application of and obedience to a list of virtues can never save our souls. Yet, when we are saved and lay hold of eternal life by faith, we then are called upon to walk on a path of righteousness or holiness by implementing the virtues found in the Bible.

Jeffrey Ludwig is presently a lecturer in philosophy in New York City and has taught ethics, introduction to philosophy, American philosophy, and philosophy of education. He also spent many years teaching history, economics, literature, and writing. For ten years he served as pastor of Bible Christian Church; and his theological focus is on the five solae. He has published three books, the most recent, The Liberty Manifesto, being a series of essays about the importance of reasserting liberty as a social, political, economic, and theological value. His other two books are The Catastrophic Decline of America’s Public High Schools: New York City, A Case Study and Memoir of a Jewish American Christian.

The image shows, “The Disciples in Emmaus,” by Abraham Bloemaert, painted in 1622.