Why Environmentalism Fails

Environmentalism, or ecologism, is a failure both as a science and as an ideology. It fails as a science because it cannot show “anthropogeneity” to be true, whereby mankind can actually alter the course of natural reality, nor can it define what it actually means by “nature,” and by “science.

As for its alarmism – is CO2 the great monster of our time that is being set loose by avaricious mankind for short-term gain, with dire results for all life on this planet? Or, is this all a great con-job by certain avaricious members of mankind for long-term gain? Evidence is shown to support both sides. This raises a problem with logic. If there are two contradictory types of evidence for one assumption, then the assertion that only one side of the argument is “true” is a lie. More crucially, “science” can hardly be “settled,” when it continually offers two opposing answers to one thesis.

This renders environmentalism nothing more than weak sociology – that is, a process of rhetoric, through which a drastic change of society is the desired outcome. In other words, a social science. And it is weak because it has no inherent verity – since it continually needs the support of rhetoric and political will in order to promote itself. In other words, environmentalism is merely sociologism, or a process to bring about revolution – that is, a “liberation” from all perceived wrongs of the past. Thus, environmentalism is pure ideology; and nothing else. (As a reminder, ideology is a form of speculative thought that seeks to justify a particular social action).

But is environmentalism a strong ideology? Hardly. It is nothing more than a jumble of contradictions.

First, environmentalism cannot define its own terms. It seeks to protect “nature,” but what is this “nature” that needs political salvation? Nor can it define what is means by “science.” Both these terms are continually invoked, as if they have a self-evident definition, which is not the case.

In the twenty-first century, “science” only means two types of paradigms – the Cartesian and the Neo-Darwinian. There is no third.

The Cartesian, or mathematical approach, states that “nature” is a construction of human reason (where mathematics is the mode of explanation). This is not because “nature” in itself is mathematical, but because human reason is mathematical. For Descartes, “nature” has no meaning outside the human mind. Thus, “nature,” only exists as a projection of reason. “Nature” does not inherently contain meaning, let alone truth. It possesses only matter and energy, which do not exist for a higher purpose. Only reason gives them that purpose.

Since “nature” has no being outside the human mind, what do activists want to protect outside the human? Random matter and energy? Thus, things like, “climate catastrophe,” do not exist in matter and energy. Rather, they are projects onto matter and energy by human reason.

This destroys any premise that environmentalism might want to offer as an explanation – for “nature” has no explanation. “Nature” is an idea – a function of human reason.

Next, there is Neo-Darwinism, which is concerned with the flow of genes, through the structure of evolution; that is, the mutation of genes and then their selection. Genes are, thus, packets of information (codes). This process of transmitting information into the future may be observed by way of an organism’s traits (the phenotype).

Once again, there is no “nature” as such – because everything essential happens at the genetic level, in which animate matter is nothing more than a container and delivery system for genes. Whatever might be termed “nature” shows itself to be nothing other than a continually evolving environment for genes to replicate in. This “environment” is essentially time, in which information will create the conditions that it needs to replicate – regardless of what mankind might or might not do, like releasing CO2.

In effect, Neo-Darwinism has no need for “nature,” because the phenomenal realm is always secondary to the micro-evolution of genes. Whatever destruction the phenomenal world might undergo, the genes will eventually reconfigure (recode), and keep replicating. And after destruction takes place, over time, complex life forms will once again evolve. Thus, there is no “nature” to destroy, because macro-ecology is nothing but a process of time. Whatever effect man might have on macro-ecology, micro-evolution remains unaffected. And it matters not at all whether CO2 is the great villain or not.

In fact, whatever “harm” mankind might be doing is ultimately part-and-parcel of the process of evolution, in which humanity is dutifully playing its role. If that role is one of “harm-bringer,” then so be it. Evolution will simply deal with it, reconfigure, recode and replicate.

Thus, the Cartesian paradigm denies environmentalism its rationale (“nature” is a construct of human reason). And Neo-Darwinism refutes environmentalism’s anthropogeneity, in that mankind can never alter the process of evolution. This means that environmentalism’s reliance on “science” is a sham. The alarmist claims about the loss of biodiversity, the collapse of ecosystems, and various extinction scenarios are meaningless in science as it is understood and practiced today.

This leaves only the projection of human emotion upon matter, energy, information, and time. In other, environmentalism is pure hysteria that has good political currency at the moment. But can any sort of economic, social, or cultural stability be built upon a lie?

Since environmentalism cannot claim any sort of “ownership” over science (Cartesian or Neo-Darwinian), anytime it uses scientific vocabulary, it contradicts itself. In the end, it possesses nothing.

Lastly, there is the question of humanity within nature. For Descartes, nature is formless and meaningless without human reason, which means that man creates the nature that he needs. For Neo-Darwinism, humanity is the subject of evolution, in that evolution creates mankind and will uncreate him in the flow of time. Thus, man can affect nothing in the process of information and time, no matter what he might get up to in the Destruction Department.

But environmentalism does have a rather effective weapon – mythology – through which it is now seeking to convince everyone that “nature” is “alive.” (Cue James Lovelock and his totem, “Gaia”). This endeavor also is bound to fail, because paganism was defeated long ago and thus can contribute nothing to the reality of human life in the twenty-first century.

The vain attempt to parse paganism as “ancient philosophy” is just wishful thinking, because paganism, as a vanquished paradigm, can no longer answer the fundamental question of life. And that question is this – How can I be free? Paganism was always about slavery (which is why it crumbled very quickly), for all it possessed was fear in the face of the incomprehensible. The habit of humanity to rely on reason can no longer be paganized, despite the efforts of universities and their Environmental Studies programs. Once the mind knows something, it cannot suddenly unknow it.

All this leaves environmentalism no real recourse but politics and the will of the state. But this is tyranny, which has failed every time it has been tried (though it does bring short-term misery). In effect, environmentalism is about defeat and failure – and thus it has no hold in the future.

The photo shows, “Metallic Tractors,” a print by James Gillray, London, England, 1801.

Why Pachamama?

The recent Amazon Synod has been a source of controversy, to say the least; but the most curious event was the introduction of an Andean mother goddess, named, Pachamama, into Christian holy space. This raises some crucial issues.

But, first, who exactly is “Pachamama?” The name is a hybrid (indigenous Aymaran and Spanish) and is used by Quechua-speakers. The meaning of “mama” is obvious; pacha means “earth,” “world,” “time,” “season,” “harvest,” and “spring.” Therefore, literally translated, “Pachamama” is “Earth-mama,” “Harvest-mama,” or “Spring-mama.” As such, she is perhaps a pre-Christian Andean goddess of fertility, who lived in the soil and assured nature’s cooperation with humans. She is paired with “Pachatata,” or “Earth-father” (note again the hybridism). There are twin temples to both on Amantani island (mentioned by the chronicler, Martin de Murúa).

Given this goddess’s ceremonious entry into St. Peter’s Basilica, there is the easy assumption that she somehow represents the Virgin Mary. This casual syncretism is a false understanding of the Andean context, a habit of mind nurtured by people like Joseph Campbell and his cicerone, James G. Frazer, of The Golden Bough fame. The claims of persistent mythic “archetypes,” somehow ingrained in the human “psyche,” are baseless, as neither linguistics or history support them. But such arguments have great appeal, because they fashion intrigue, and therefore become “settled history.” For example, Catholicism is still said by many to be a pagan cult foisted upon the world, in which the Virgin Mary is a “refurbished” mother goddess (this stems from Alexander Hislop, who in 1856 published his fantasy bestseller, The Two Babylons). Society at large has always suffered from severe historical amnesia.

Syncretism is also supposedly “proven” by the fact that Quechua uses the term, wir’xena/wirhina, when referring to Pachamama, in that the word connotes a “lady” and is derived from the Spanish, virgen (virgin).

But equating wir’xena to the Blessed Virgin is a mistake, because Quechua-speakers do not make this connection. Wir’xena only refers to Pachamama, and Mary is only invoked by the term, Virgen. Linguistically there is never any confusion, no matter the origin of these specific words. Thus, language clearly demarcates the Christian from the cultic. Of course, none of this is news to anyone in the know.

So, why the parading of Pachamama inside St. Peter’s? There are two interconnected ideologies that currently preoccupy the West – progressivism and repaganization. Pachamama embodies both.

Progressivism seeks human liberation through social means; and one such means is repaganization, or the recouping of hearts, minds and territory from the imagined destruction wrought by Christianity, the WMD of colonialism. In what now also passes as “settled history” – Christian, European colonialists subdued wise, gentle, peace-loving natives the world over and deployed Christianity to use and abuse them.

To counter this cultural “vandalism,” repaganization employs two strategies: environmentalism and indigeneity. Environmentalism is little concerned with pollution as such, but with bringing about eco-socialism, that is, a new world, a heaven on earth, in which all life-forms will live in blissful harmony (aka, the New Green Deal). The first step in achieving this “salvation” is the toppling of all old systems (“norm criticism”), chief among them being colonialism and its side-kick, Christianity.

The first method for carrying out all this overturning is indigeneity, that is, privileged, racial groups, artificially created by NGOs. All this became entrenched by 2004, when the UN-funded Decade for Indigenous Peoples ended. Hereafter, the world was to be reconfigured and thus “saved” by “ancient,” “environmental,” “indigenous” “wisdom.” Many an ardent PhD and researcher is out and about “uncovering” (i.e., creating) this “rich,” “lost” sapience.

Through indigeneity, progressivism has also coopted Christianity and made into one more effective NGO, which will happily carry out the “work” that is “relevant” to bringing about a “just” society (i.e., the various demands of progressivism). Protestants signed on early. Some Catholics and the Orthodox remain the holdovers.

This is where indigenization again comes in handy, in the form of archaeofuturism, wherein the ancient gods of Europe are to be revived, in order to bring back “native European” wisdom destroyed by Christianity. And there is also Kemeticism, which advocates the gods of ancient Egypt as “authentic” to people of African descent. And for those who do not want to commit to any specific god or goddess just yet, there is the magic and shamanism of the grimoires. Many a church building, therefore, stands empty and emptying, losing its flock not only to atheism and acedia, but also to “spirituality.”

This neo-paganism is slickly packaged as environmentalism for broader and greater appeal, especially among the Christian holdovers.

The end-game of all this toppling is eco-socialism, wherein nature possesses the legal rights of a mother, and humans owe legal obligations to their geo-matriarch; and all of it enforced by the state: “The ‘Rights of Mother Earth’ is a call to leave the dominant anthropocentric paradigm and to imagine a new Earth society.” In this system, a repaganized humanity is the perfect citizenry, for the earth can only belong to itself. It cannot be possessed by human beings, which thus requires the need to “overcome, redefine and limit the concept of property.” Humanity can no longer belong to itself.

The nightmare continues. “…Pachamama, or Mother Earth, is a being that embraces the living world,” in which the purpose of life will be to “create Earth governance systems at all levels – an Earth democracy that takes into account not only humans but also nature.” And here the true face of eco-socialism stands revealed: “Pachamama is the mother that nurses her children; if this mother that nurses is not poisoned, is not looted, is not contaminated, it is possible that, really, there is a socialism.” This planet-wide “earth society” will be a grim non-anthropocentric one, governed by “earth Jurisprudence,” where human life will no longer have privileged status. A mosquito and a man will have equal value.

It is this “eco-society” that is embodied by Pachamama, where a sacralized life of the planet will be guaranteed by the elimination of any and all potential of humanity to bring harm to mother nature. For the Church, the issue therefore is no longer about syncretism, ecumenism, or even liberal theology – all these were yesterday’s wars. The issue today is this – what will the Church become in a non-anthropogenic world? Agreeing to environmentalism is agreeing to such a world. Perhaps the Amazon Synod is a glimpse into that new “Church,” governed by the jurisprudence of Pachamama.

Near the end of His ministry upon the earth, our Lord asked a very sad question which takes on great urgency today: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8)?

The photo shows the goddess Pachamama.

Insipid Christianity

Rusty Reno, editor of the prominent religious conservative journal First Things, here couples an original diagnosis of how we got to the vicious decay of now with very muted prescriptions. This is a good enough book, earnest and intent, but it is cramped. Reno offers as an alternative not strong gods, nor even coherent positive visions of the nationalism and populism of the title, but only the tired and repeatedly failed call to return, though some unspecified mechanism, to vaguely conceived virtue.

I’m all for virtue, but Reno refuses to acknowledge that, more likely, and more desirable, the strong gods are those who will inevitably, as Kipling said, with fever and slaughter return, to scour the Earth in preparation for the rebirth of actual, living virtue.

In brief, this book is an extended attack on the so-called open society, created by the so-called postwar consensus of how the West should believe. We are all indoctrinated that the open society, never really defined, is wonderful, so Reno’s attacking it at first seems like attacking Nutella. This is true for liberals, for whom unlimited openness has been the goal since John Stuart Mill, and for twentieth-century conservatives, who were long taught to associate openness with anti-Communism, and thus saw no reason to question it, until its poisoned fruits came to full ripeness.

I don’t disagree with any of Reno’s extended history and analysis of the open society; I just think it’s too limited. As with Reno’s 2017 book, Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society, he is too abstract, and will not grapple with what can be, and with what must be, done.

I am much exercised, as regular readers know, with the very recent split among conservatives, between those who have come to reject the whole of the Enlightenment as a dead end, broadly speaking, characterized as post-liberals, and those who accept Enlightenment principles, and thus the premises of their enemies, and merely want to dial back some excesses, or if denied that by their masters, reach Left goals a little slower. No points for guessing which group has been in charge while conservatives have gone down to crushing defeat again and again.

Reno does not fall clearly into either group, which I think is meant as a compromise among ever-louder competing voices, but is really an unstable balancing act, in which Reno finally falls between two chairs.

He starts by acknowledging post-liberals such as Patrick Deneen and (an early voice) Alasdair MacIntyre, and if I had not read this book, I would have guessed that Reno mostly agrees with them. Yet, after some wavering, he comes down on the side of the Enlightenment—that is, of liberalism, of atomized freedom, and the destruction of all unchosen bonds in a desperate quest for total emancipation. For Reno, we find, it was not 1789, but 1945, which was the year that it all went wrong.

As Reno sums his view up, in his own italics, “The distempers afflicting public life today reflect a crisis of the postwar consensus, the weak gods of openness and weakening, not a crisis of liberalism, modernity, or the West.” Reno’s argument is that after the horrors of the first half of the twentieth century, the ruling classes of the West chose to create societies of “openness, weakening, and disenchantment,” in an explicit attempt to prevent the “return of the strong gods”—“the objects of men’s love and devotion, the sources of the passions and loyalties that united societies.”

Rather than simply trying to wall out only the terrible strong gods, the ruling classes chose to wall them all out: truth along with fascism; loyalty along with Communism.

At least Reno openly rejects any need for preemptive apologies, wherein as a conservative he would, in the past, have been expected to first talk at length about the evils of Nazism and fascism, and dissociate himself from them. He refuses, since he knows this is a propaganda trick used to make conservatives behave and look weak.

Instead, he begins with something unexpected, but apt—a lengthy attack on Karl Popper, whose The Open Society and Its Enemies he identifies as the first philosophical attempt to create the postwar consensus under which openness was the first and only commandment.

Popper rejected claims of metaphysical truth and insisted we must each seek, and create, our own meaning—not truth, merely meaning, a small and ambiguous word. Reno then draws a straight line from Popper to George H. W. Bush’s infamous 1990 address to the United Nations, where he demanded that we create “a new and different world . . . of open borders, open trade, and, most importantly, open minds.”

With the Left, all words have special meanings, and here it is no different. “Open” here means not actually open, but closed against the strong gods and minatory toward their adherents. “Open” does not mean free, but coercive—Ryszard Legutko’s “coercion to freedom,” where “democracy” only happens when votes are for the Left, and “liberalism” is where Left social goals are realized. It is no coincidence that that evil little troll, George Soros, was a student of Popper, and named his left-wing pressure group, most famous recently for losing the vicious battle it waged against the Hungarian people, “The Open Society Foundations.”

But none of this is acknowledged by Reno, who does mention Soros, but fails to draw the obvious conclusion: that calls for the “open society” have, and always had, a double purpose—to avoid totalitarianism of the Right, and, just as importantly, to enthrone totalitarianism of the Left. He is so busy being thoughtful that, as in the Edgar Allan Poe tale “The Cask of Amontillado,” he is walled in by his enemies by the time the talking is done.

In Reno’s analysis, Popper was followed and reinforced by many others: men such as Arthur Schlesinger and Theodor Adorno, avatar of the Frankfurt School and author of The Authoritarian Personality.

Critically, though, it is not only from such obvious leftists that Reno derives the “postwar consensus.” He also identifies conservatives equally responsible. For example, he draws a tight connection between Popper and Friedrich Hayek.

Hayek’s main target was central economic planning as leading to totalitarianism, but in so doing, Hayek exalted individual choice and rejected any concept of the common good, except as arising through individual choice. Government regulation was permitted, to be sure, but only to effectuate individual choices in achieving maximum freedom of play. Social consensus for Hayek was a threat, if it was anything but hortatory, unless it was directed to achieving freedom of individual action.

During the Cold War, this was a powerful anti-Communist vision, which conservatives endorsed, not seeing the sting buried within. Reno points out that “Like those in the 1990s who predicted that capitalism would bring democracy and freedom to China, Hayek believed that the market mechanism is intrinsically anti-totalitarian.” Hayek was wrong, as we can see both from China, and from our own budding totalitarian combination of the Lords of Tech and woke capitalism.

And, compounding his sin in the eyes of elderly conservatives who, for some reason, still burn incense at the altar of William F. Buckley, Reno analyzes how Buckley, starting with God and Man at Yale, similarly rejected in practice any focus on the common good and himself exalted atomized individual choice—probably helped along by being called a racist and fascist for even the modest endorsement of public virtue in his first book, combined with his keen desire to continue to be socially accepted by Left circles in New York, which the name-calling threatened to prevent.

As we all know, Buckley spent much of his energy for decades thereafter policing the Right, throwing out anyone who was anathema to the Left, and ended his life having accomplished nothing. He didn’t fight Tolkein’s Long Defeat, he fought his very own Short Defeat, and took us down with him.

Reno attributes Buckley’s insipid approach to that “he intuited, at least in part, that he could engage in public life only if he adapted his arguments to the growing postwar consensus in favor of the open society. That meant no strong gods—no large truths, no common loves, and no commanding loyalties.” (This is the closest Reno gets to actually defining the “strong gods”).

Hewing to this line was the only way to “give conservatives a place at the table,” but over time, “the tactic became a strategy.” Maybe so, but more likely Buckley was simply not the right man for the job. That doesn’t mean there was a right man for the job—Reno endorses Yuval Levin’s thesis in The Fractured Republic that postwar America was doomed to follow this path. At this point, though, who knows?

In any case, that’s all in the first chapter; it’s mostly history. Unfortunately, three-quarters of the book is mostly history, and repetitive history at that, viewing the creation of the open society from slightly different angles. Reno, for example, ties the initial impulse to avoid totalitarianism to the growth of multiculturalism, a “therapy of disenchantment” that denies any role for the strong gods of one’s own society.

In another thread, Reno describes how, for a time, the Great Books were emphasized, not to teach truth, but to allow each reader to draw his own conclusions. Reno does not engage Patrick Deneen’s argument that the Great Books themselves are, mostly, part of the problem rather than the solution, since most of them are works of the Enlightenment.

Since Reno denies that there was any societal problem prior to 1945, that is no surprise, but again, it makes Reno’s argument neither fish nor fowl among contemporary conservative debates, and it feels like whistling past the graveyard.

Thus, Reno attributes the decay that began in the 1960s and accelerated thereafter to an excessive attachment to the open society, not to Enlightenment principles. For him, it is a problem of disenchantment, and he seems in some places to think that we could have held the center if not for that obsession.

The truth is that the open society is, of course, merely a later manifestation of John Stuart Mill and his kind. While Reno mentions Mill in passing, he insists that all this is a postwar phenomenon. This is unconvincing. The open society is merely the latest guise of the Enlightenment project, protean as usual, able to pretend in one decade that it is the antidote to fascism and in another to fascistically force bakers to bake cakes for perverts. Reno simply skates on by these crucial matters.

Regardless, we are taken on a long ride, through Milton Friedman through Jacques Derrida and, oddly, repeated references to the lightweight economics blogger Tyler Cowen, along with a long discussion of Italian writer Gianni Vattimo.

We also touch on modernist architecture as emblematic of the open society, identity politics as the Caliban of the open society, and, citing Douglas Murray, how the open society results in leaders who hate their own people, something even more on display in Europe than here, though Hillary Clinton certainly gave Angela Merkel a run for her money.

Finally, we get to solutions. Well, not really. We instead get Émile Durkheim, who first pointed out, in 1912, that the Enlightenment had destroyed the old gods, and new ones were yet to be born. (Reno does not seem aware that his endorsing Durkheim suggests that he is wrong that the problems arose primarily after 1945).

We get a Durkheimian definition of the strong gods: “whatever has the power to inspire love.” We get talk of “we” and of the res publica, and a note that “the open-society therapies of weakening” cannot overcome the bad strong gods, “the perverse gods of blood, soil, and identity.”

Then we get a petering out, ten pages of rambling about “us” and recovering virtue, recommending mild nationalism and highly limited populism, “new metaphysical dreams,” concluding “Our task, therefore, is to restore public life in the West by developing a language of love and a vision of the ‘we’ that befits our dignity and appeals to reason as well as our hearts.”

What this would look like or how to get there we are not told. Weirdly, Reno is even aware that this is totally unsatisfactory, noting in his Acknowledgements that all his readers “warned me that I come up short in my final chapter.” If I were told that, I would rewrite my book, but Reno seems to think this is some kind of virtue.

Throughout the book, Reno is unwilling to follow his own thoughts, shrinking time after time from the obvious conclusions because he is afraid of being seen as too devoted to the wrong strong gods.

For example, after noting the deficiencies of mass democracy, he maintains that it is a “blessing,” because, you see, it “encourages [the populace] to transcend their me-centered existence,” a thesis for which he gives no evidence and which is contrary to all historical fact.

He even points out that “the freedom Romans loved was not individual freedom but the freedom of the city, the liberty of a people to make its own laws and embark on its own projects.” Yet he cannot see that exalting autonomic individuality is fatal, and its origin has nothing to do with 1945.

Self-hobbled, therefore, Reno offers not strong gods, but merely what remains of the strong gods after being emasculated by the Enlightenment, and he has no plan for releasing even them from the pen in which our rulers have confined them.

But you are in luck today. I’ll do what Reno fails to do—I’ll tell you what should be done with the strong gods, or rather, what will happen with the strong gods, who, after all, exist whether we want them to or not. It is instructive to note that the cover of this book features a statue that, at first glance, appears to be the Archangel Michael, a young, winged man with a sword.

It is not the Archangel, though. I had to dig outside the book (which does not refer to its cover art) to find out what the statue is. It is a detail of a monument in Madrid, the “Monument to the Heroes of the Second of May,” commemorating Spaniards executed in 1808 by the French after an armed uprising against Napoleonic occupation, a precursor to the Peninsular War. (This is the same event shown in the famous Goya painting of a firing squad).

The specific virtue of which the statue is meant as an allegory is “Patriotism.” Meditating on this shows the wrong turn in Reno’s approach. For him, patriotism is a gauzy love, one that can be shared by all, with overtones of ice cream and Independence Day parades. He calls it a strong god, nonetheless, since it has to do with human loves.

Yet we must recognize that it is not for nothing that the angel carries a sword, drawn for action. He seeks not delicious cold treats, but blood, for his enemies hem him round, having already slain his companions, and he stands ready to strike, for God and country—as did the Spaniards whom the angel commemorates.

Reno calls for unity, but fails to perceive, or admit, that unity cannot be accomplished among a people that lacks sufficient commonality to share a joint concept of ordered liberty. He precisely analyzes the so-called open society, and its effects, but refuses to draw the obvious conclusion—that its principles have corroded the foundations of American society, so unity is impossible until the corroded foundations are rebuilt. And that they can only be rebuilt in a manner such that Left, or Right, will rule permanently, and the other suppressed permanently.

Where wholly incompatible visions of the good live side by side, someone must rule. Today that is the Left—the hard Left in all social matters, and the neoliberal Left, combined with segments of the supposed Right, in economic matters, papering over our social pathologies with consumerism. We are propagandized that this is natural, inevitable, and unchangeable.

But in truth, as it is said, past performance is no indicator of future results.
What we need, and what Reno should have called for, is the return of the real strong gods, those that fired the imagination of men like Hernán Cortes, Godfrey of Bouillon, and Robert Gould Shaw. They will bring unity, a unity of the Right that permits us to win the power to rule.

Since the Left never, ever, ever, voluntarily gives up even one crumb of power, the resulting conflict will likely be violent (certainly, the Left has already embarked on widespread violence against the Right, proving my point).

The alternative is waiting for years, or decades, as the Left finishes its project to choke the life out of the West, then collapses utterly as reality catches up, no doubt leading to a long dark age. We should not permit it, nor allow their crimes to be visited upon future generations.

What will initiate open, two-sided conflict, if it comes, is opaque now, as it always is. Only in retrospect will it be obvious, yet we can be sure that as it comes, the real strong gods, of men’s love of family, of country, of righteousness, of justice, will return.

G. K. Chesterton, as usual, saw this a long time ago—that rather than interminable repression by the Left, “Likelier the barricades shall blare / Slaughter below and smoke above, / And death and hate and hell declare / That men have found a thing to love.”

This is far from the first time I have suggested violence is the near-inevitable end of our societal arc, and I risk being repetitive, so I will not belabor the topic, and hope to avoid it for a while after this review. Within the frame of his book, Reno nods to his desire for a Christian renewal, yet despairs of it. One suspects, though, that his renewal, if it arrived, would be insipid, unable to actually deal with the Left, and Cortes and Shaw would not be invited.

Insipid Christianity is not in short supply; we don’t need more of it. I have written in detail recently, in my review of Bronze Age Mindset, of the ferment on the post-Christian Right.

In this context, post-Christian does not mean anti-Christian; that we are a post-Christian society is, in large part, the fault of Christians themselves, and far from the worst choice is allying with those not Christian who at least do not hate and wish to destroy us.

I predict, in short, that this ferment on the Right, only a few bubbles of which are yet visible, will soon remake the world around us, through the agency of the real strong gods. Buckle up, and make ready, for I have little doubt that, soon enough, all our lives will be a lot more interesting.

Charles is a business owner and operator, in manufacturing, and a recovering big firm M&A lawyer. He runs the blog, The Worthy House.

The photo shows, “Casting Out the Mnney Changers,” by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890).

Where Is God’s Space?

Is there a God “out there”? God is “everywhere present and filling all things,” we say in our Orthodox prayers, but is He “out there?” For what it’s worth, I want to suggest for a moment that He is not. Largely, what I am describing is what takes place in our imagination – that is, what we picture when we pray and how we think of God as we seek Him.

There are, to my mind, two primary ways of thinking and speaking about God. One is “juridical,” the other “ontological.” Juridical relationships are largely how we imagine relationships in our modern culture. We think of ourselves as individuals with rights and obligations, with a series of demands made on us by others and on others by us. The rules and laws of our society govern these forces. For us – everybody and everything is “out there.” Thomas Hobbes, writing during the years of the English Civil War, described this as the “war of all against all.” He opined that only a strong government could manage such a state of nature.

“Ontological” means “having to do with being.” My relationship with myself is ontological. I am not “out there” from myself. In the modern imagination, that is where ontology stops. There is my existence (“in here”) and everything else and everyone else is “out there.” The war goes on.

This is a deeply inadequate view of life. Consider the relationship we have with our parents. We are, quite literally, “bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh.” We share a biological reality that is itself our existence. This can be extended towards other human beings. We never(!) exist alone. We can be “considered” alone for the purposes of study and the like, but we are no more alone than any of the cells within our bodies. We are social beings, but social in a manner that has to do with our very being and not merely with juridical arrangements.

The story of Joseph Stalin’s death is an interesting case in point. His exercise of brutal force on all those around him (including members of his own family) was a triumph of juridical ideology. As he lay dying (so the story goes), no one goes to his aid. There is too much fear. In the end, relationships that are shaped along purely juridical lines fail to give life. Indeed, they foster death.

St. Silouan said, “My brother is my life.” Nothing better states the ontological character of our existence. If my brother is my life, however, what is this space between us? An image that comes to mind is leaves on a tree. The life of every leaf depends on the life of every other leaf, just as all leaves depend on the life of the tree. The “space” between the leaves exists only in an imaginary manner. They are connected in a single life. The life of one is the life of all.

The space between is part of our modern imagination. The language of rights, for example, seeks to assert connectedness by juridical means, but only increases the emptiness of the space between. It is little wonder that this juridical imagery, when turned towards God, fails to nurture the soul. What we know of “out there” is always surrounded with uncertainty and anxiety. The juridical depends, ultimately, on violence. We can only “make” (“force”) things to bridge the empty space between us. And, of course, the space remains empty, regardless.

The modern paradigm, composed of juridical relationships, is the mother of loneliness, teaching our hearts that they exist in a fragmented world of temporary, negotiated cease-fires in an otherwise war-of-all-with-all. The language of rights, rooted primarily in older warrior cultures of Northern Europe, have given us our world of contracts, but never a world of true being.

God is not “out there” in the sense imagined by the juridical mind. At its very heart, “everywhere present and filling all things” means that there can be no “out there” with regard to God. God is only “here.” The Scriptures commonly describe God as dwelling “in us.” St. Paul describes our bodies as “temples of the Holy Spirit.” The language of Holy Baptism is not one of establishing a juridical relationship. It is the language of union, as is the language of the Holy Eucharist: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him (John 6:56).

All of this can easily remain little more than an intellectual distinction. My conversations over the years, however, tell me that our juridical imagination dominates how we see God. We long for a relationship with One who is “out there,” while remaining oblivious to the God who dwells in us. In a recent conversation with a young convert who was struggling with a sense of God’s absence, I said, “But you breathe Him!”

Life (and existence in all forms) has been reduced to science-facts, objects or properties of objects. In truth, all things have their existence in God (not in themselves). We live in a creation that was brought into being out of nothing – it has no being in and of itself. From an Orthodox perspective, the existence of anything is proof of the existence of God.

We recognize, however, an even greater union within human beings. Of us alone, it is said that God breathed into us and we became living souls. To know God is also to know oneself – and, we may say, we cannot know ourselves apart from God, for there is no such self.

Of all the writers in Scripture, the one who says the most about problems of being, existence, connectedness and such, is St. John. And, for St. John, the key within all of these things is love. Consider this classic statement:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

“…if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” This is the language of mutual indwelling that has no place within a juridical model of relationships. God is love. Indeed, in this passage there is a consistent blending of action and being. God not only does (He loves us) but He is what He does (God is love).

This manner of being is the image according to which we are created. Love constitutes our true being. “My brother is my life.” This is more than a moral statement: it is a reflection on the very nature of true existence. For this reason, the “space between,” must be seen as a delusional artifact of the juridical imagination. We are created to exist as love – love of God, love of the other, love of self. When we withdraw from the love of God and the love of other, then the love of self collapses into a solipsistic loneliness. Sadly, we have frequently structured the modern world to accommodate and promote the lonely self. Our neighborhoods, our cities, our mode of transportation, our world of entertainment and consumption thrive on the lonely self and seek to fill the space between. However, you cannot fill emptiness with emptiness.

“Out there” is “in here.”

Father Stephen Freeman is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, serving as Rector of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.

The photo shows, “The Eternal Father,” by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), painted in 1646.

The Persecuted Church

The situation is not a good one in the Middle East if you are a Christian family.

The chances are you will either be persecuted or you become a refugee and in most cases both.

Historically in Iraq there were up to 7 million Christians until the invasion of Islam in 633AD (then known as Mesopotamia) which was designed to wipe out Christianity, its culture and tradition. It has never recovered since. IS have recently added to the persecution.

In many towns and cities across the middle east the mullahs announce from the minarets that all Christian’s are to leave immediately otherwise every one of them will face consequences or death.

There are 5 million orphans in Iraq; with Yemen, Kuwait and Qatar etc giving them money to be terrorists.

In one of the cities in Lebanon there are many Syrian and Iraq refugee Christians.

The church started out with 75 then 750 and now averages around 1500 believers and growing, There are 40 mid-week prayer groups.

What is happening on the ground? Many Muslims are coming to faith in Christ. Their thought their religion was infallible but now Sunni and Shia are at war with one another. Deep divisions exist between the two. The god they believed in no longer seem to be the god they can trust. Many Muslims in Iraq are coming to Christians to see if they can pray in Christian churches and ask for healing especially for their children. When Arabs come for healing and are anointed by oil, they believe they will be healed by a Christian priest.

Many people including children in Iraq have genetic defects caused by the bombing and nerve gas used in the Gulf war of 1990 and the Iraq War in 2003 which lasted 8 years.

Christians are giving Muslims food and sharing with them The Muslims ask ‘why does our enemy do this sort of thing. Why are they giving clothes and food to us’?

More Muslims have come to faith in the last 5 years than in the last 1500 years. This is a fact. This is the key to the gospel and the key to how the people move on with issues concerning the past in Northern Ireland. The past haunts the country. The longer it goes on people become more entrenched in their stance. How do you make an enemy your friend? This is the conundrum that nobody can figure out.

Politicians don’t even understand this basic question. How do you make an enemy your friend? By bombing them?

By reaching out to them; what does Jesus says; ‘you have heard that it was said love your neighbour and hate your enemy; but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you may be sons of your father in heaven. Is Jesus, right? Of course, he is. But it’s costly. It’s sacrificial.

Jesus says; ‘a person must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’. Taking up your cross is voluntary.

Local pastors say that many countries had withdrawn their ambassadors from Syria because of the danger. But they themselves are Christ’s ambassadors; they cannot leave. The church from those early days in Straight St must be kept going. Christians fed by the word of God. They must stay and deny themselves as they take up their cross.

But many leave to because they cannot take any more and end up displaced or in refugee camps, where they are often persecuted even in the camps.

Persecution is a ‘Blessing’ for many. It drives people to fasting for days and praying and begging the Lord to tear down the citadels and strongholds of Satan.

People coming to faith are being released from sin and darkness.

Coming to church hungry to hear the word of God. Not looking at their watches in church services, not wanting to leave the church.

Praying for Revival with God’s spirit blowing into the hearts of Arab Christians, revival blows away the cobwebs of apathy, and affluence and hate. Pray that God would call people to be prayer warriors as not all Christians are gifted in this way. Praying for Satanic strongholds to fall and they are falling.

Christians are thanking the Lord for persecution.

A Christian Teacher in Pakistan was appointed principal of a local school. He had the qualifications and ability way ahead of other applicants. Muslim Parents came and told him to mark their children present in class when they were absent. He refused.

They took him outside and beat him up badly. He had to stay off school. Then they spread rumours that he wasn’t fit for the job. Then they accused him with blasphemy. Blasphemy carries death penalty.

An 8-year-old Christian girl was locked in the toilet all day by the teacher when Muslim girls complained that she should not be allowed to use the toilet. Persecution is spreading across all of sub-Sahara Africa. Yet people are being spoken to through dreams and visions just like Acts 2:15-. New life is sprouting up after the forest fire. Revival, persecution, blessing.

The Berlin Wall came down through prayer; the Communist Wall came down through prayer;

The Roman Catholic church will be refined. The Arab Muslim wall is falling apart. Do you think God is behind this? This is unprecedented. We are living in unparalleled times. This has all happened in the last 25 years; that’s pretty quick, don’t you think? Let’s think about what is going on instead of being blinkered and duped by Satan. Persecuted Christians need our help.

Arab Muslims are lost; their faith is a sham, it’s totally false. Mohammed was a fraud and a trickster. Oil money cannot buy them eternal life. God is highlighting this to the world. Look at the state of their countries. Even Saudi Arabia the lynch pin of the Arab world is in a mess.

They are building a wall 600 miles long between themselves and Iraq to the North to keep IS terrorists out. And this is against their fellow Muslims not Christians. Sunni are fighting Shia and vice versa. Look at what happens at Mecca.Many have been killed in stampedes with a crane falling on them 4 years ago at the Hajj pilgrimage. Lightning struck the crane before it fell over at the biggest mosque in the world designed to hold more than 2 million people. Is this all just chance?Saudi Arabia has spent billions on creating a highway for the pilgrims to reach Mecca. The design of this concrete highway was supposed to bring more pilgrims into Mecca instead it has caused chaos.

 Rev Farouk believes we are living in the last days but not just yet. He is only one man but there are many Arab believers who have the same opinion.

Much of what he says is based on Isaiah 19 which talks about Egypt, Assyria and of course Israel. There are of course many other prophetic passages in scripture concerning the end times especially in the book of Daniel.

But one thing is certain; the future of the Middle East is going to determine the future of the world. The covenant God made with Abram still stands. Genesis 12 v 3. ‘I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ The sequencing of events and time scale we do not know. But read it for yourself. If you read Isaiah you will see a list of the Arab nations where God will bring judgment to each one of them. Arabia, Assyria, Babylon now Iraq, Ethiopia, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel. It’s all there in black and white. Israel in particular will endure suffering prior to her deliverance by the Lord.

Egypt like many Muslim nations will disintegrate from the inside the seeds have already been sown. But the Lord will make himself known to Egypt and heal that nation.We live in a time of great economic and political unrest and upheaval.

Europe is in a mess and the majority of British politicians’ post Brexit have decided they want the nations sovereignty to be solely in the hands of Brussels despite a vote by the people wanting the very opposite.

The leaders we elect really haven’t got a clue. One day they decide to bomb Syria, then they say no. Next week they say bomb some parts of it. Change their minds, They don’t know who to bomb. Now things have gone quiet and no one knows what’s happening. The international community is afraid to act now in Yemen. Meanwhile the innocent are slaughtered.

 ‘Nation will rise against nation’. Matthew tells us in chapter 24 that the disciples came to Jesus and asked him about the signs of the end of the Age. ‘Tell us’, they ask the Lord, ‘when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age’. They were as interested and concerned as we are today.

Jesus calmly tells them in a general way; ‘you will hear of wars and rumours of wars’. See that you are not alarmed; for this must take place; but the end is not yet.’ It’s only the start, and it has started. All the beginning of global birth pains.

For Jesus to come again which he has promised repeatedly to do there will be thousands and millions of believers which he will gather up.

Jesus is not coming to gather up a few hard-pressed believers and a non-existent church. He will come in glory to gather his people up.

There will be millions and millions of Christians across the world he will take up to heaven. Will you be one of the many? Think carefully.

Jesus in the last 14 verses of Revelation 22 tells us 3 times that he is coming soon. Mark in your bibles where he says that. V7.12,20. He doesn’t say he will be coming in another 20,000 or 50,000 years. He is coming soon. The hour is near.

People will come to faith in the middle east. Millions of them. The cradle of Christianity. St Augustine of Hippo home patch. The Christian faith where it all began with Paul’s missionary journeys will return.

You see people think they can play God. They have always thought that. The Eurocrats in Brussels shake their fists at God and all that he stands for.

Their arrogance and intransigence can be traced even from the Tower of Babel. ‘Let us make a name for ourselves’, they said as they began building in defiance of God. The Lord in his mercy dispersed the people. Later during the Exodus God called them a ‘stiff necked people. Rev Farouk tells an amazing story.

At one of his prayer groups in the church attended by around 700 people. Yes, a prayer group of 700 people in Iraq. You see what happens with corporate prayer with this number of people. The devil’s strongholds fall down.

As he was speaking a small man came into his church. (Like Zacchaeus) Little tuna he called him.

He had body guards with him who ushered him to the very front pew of the church.

There he sat with 6 bodyguards around him. After he spoke, he asked people if they would like to be prayed for.

Rev Farouk went to the man and asked him would he liked to be prayed for. He said he would. And within minutes there was a pool of tears on the floor.

After the meeting Rev was told that a man wanted to see him in his office. When he went it was the little man with his body guards. He asked the Rev did he know who he was. Rev said no. He said I am the President’s personal advisor. I advise him in all his political affairs.

He went on and told Rev about how as a child of 6 years he was made to watch his parents being hacked to death by Saddam’s guards. He was so shocked he could never cry.

Later He was thrown into prison and tortured. Again, he was unable to cry with the pain. But now God was providing a way of healing for him and for his soul. He is now a member of the church.

This is a truly amazing turnaround for any individual. But all things are possible with God. Thank goodness.

Rev Alan Wilson is a recently retired Presbyterian Minister in Northern Ireland. He was a former Police Officer during the ‘troubles’ before going into the ministry. He is married to Ann and they are now proud grandparents of Jacob and Cora. He enjoys keeping Alpaccas, gardening, watching football and learning how theology relates to the environment and the world at large. He and his wife spent a summer Exchange in 2018 with a Presbyterian Church in Toronto.

The photo shows, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s “The Martyrdom of St Andrew,” painted between 1675 and 1682.

History’s Long Defeat

“Actually I am a Christian,” Tolkien wrote of himself, “and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory” (Letters 255).

History as a long defeat – I can think of nothing that is more anti-modern than this sentiment expressed by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is a thought perfectly in line with the fathers and the whole of Classical Christian teaching. And it’s anti-modernism reveals much about the dominant heresy of our time.

We believe in progress – it is written into the DNA of the modern world. If things are bad, they’ll get better. The “long defeat” would only be a description of the road traveled by racism, bigotry, and all that ignorance breeds.

And our philosophy of progress colors everything we consider. 19th century Darwinian theory wrote a scientific version of progress into his theory of evolution. Of course, using “survival” as the mechanism of change gave cover to a number of political projects who justified their brutality and callousness as an extension of the natural order. 

The metaphor of improvement remains a dominant theme within our culture. A few years ago a survey of young Americans revealed the utterly shocking conclusion that for the first time in recorded history, the young did not expect to be as well off as their parents. It was a paradigm shift in American progressive thought. It remains to be seen how that will play out.

But Tolkien’s sentiment bears deeper examination. For not only does it reject the notion of progress, it embraces a narrative of the “long defeat.” Of course this is not a reference to steady declining standards of living, or the movement from IPhone 11 back to IPhone 4 (perish the thought!). It is rather the narrative of Scripture, first taught by the Apostles themselves, clearly reflecting a Dominical teaching:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. …Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra– what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (II Timothy 3:1-13).

This is Tolkien’s warrant for the “long defeat.”

 And the thought is not that we wake up one day and people are suddenly boasters, proud, blasphemers, etc. Rather, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

It was a common belief among the Desert Fathers that successive generations of monks would become weaker and weaker, unable to bear the great trials of their predecessors. Indeed it was said that in the end, the simple act of believing would take greater grace than all of the ascetic feats of the earliest monks.

This is not a Christian pessimism. If history tells us anything, it is that this is a very honest, even prescient reading. The evils of the 20th century, particularly those unleashed during and after World War I, are clearly among the worst ever known on the planet, and continue to be the major culprits behind all of our current struggles. That first war was not “the war to end all wars,” but the foundation of all subsequent wars. May God forgive our arrogance (“boasters, proud”…). However, the Classical Christian read on human life contains the deepest hope – set precisely in the heart of the long defeat.

It is that hope that sets the Christian gospel apart from earlier pagan historical notions. For the “long defeat” was a common assumption among the ancient peoples. The Greeks and Romans did not consider themselves to have exceeded the heroes who went before. They could model themselves on Achilles or Aeneas, but they did not expect to match their like. The Jews had no hope other than a “restoration of the Kingdom,” which was generally considered apocalyptic in nature. All of classical culture presumed a long decline.

The narrative was rewritten in the modern era – particularly during the 19th century. The Kingdom of God was transferred from apocalyptic hope (the end of the long defeat) to a material goal to be achieved in this world. This was a heresy, a radical revision of Christian thought. It became secularized and moderated into mere progress. It is worth doing a word study on the history of the word “progressive.” 

But Tolkien notes that within the long defeat, there are “glimpses of final victory.” I would go further and say that the final victory already “tabernacles” among us. It hovers within and over our world, shaping it and forming it, even within its defeat. For the nature of our salvation is a Defeat. Therefore the defeat within the world itself is not a tragic deviation from the end, but an End that was always foreseen and present within the Cross itself. And the Cross itself was present “from before the foundation of the world.”

Tolkien’s long defeat, is, as he noted, of a piece with his Catholic, Christian faith. It is thoroughly Orthodox as well. For the victory that shall be ours, is not a work in progress – it is a work in wonder.

Father Stephen Freeman is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, serving as Rector of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.

The photo shows, “Galadriel,” by the Brothers Hildebrandt.

The Secular Quest For Eden

If you lurk around social media, particularly in conservative conversations, you will have undoubtedly seen something about recent statements on the part of a minor Democratic candidate for the Presidential nomination. I have no interest in the politics of the matter. However, the exchange goes to the heart of the modern impulse and serves as an excellent example of modernity’s dangers. The exchange:

Don Lemon: Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage?

O’Rourke: Yes. There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break, for anyone, any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights, that denies the full civil rights, of everyone in America. So as president, we’re going to make that a priority. And we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.

“We are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.” Of course, removing the tax-exempt status of selected religious institutions will do nothing to “stop” them from believing (and practicing) what they believe – not if their faith is worth its salt. Indeed, the comment might have been an ill-thought attempt to simply say that “we will punish those who deny these ‘rights’.” Religious people have a long history of being punished for their beliefs and a dogged propensity to dig in their heels when persecuted.

Modernity has an impulse to power that is, apparently, hard to resist. In the drive to build a better world (regardless of its definition) there is a deeply hidden belief and assumption that the world doesn’t want to be a better place. Thus, if the world is left to its own inclinations, it will lapse into a worse place. Modern thought is of a piece with the American frontier experience. The world is a wilderness in which civilization can only carve out spaces. The jungle always threatens to return and must be kept at bay – by force, if necessary.

It was a very interesting way to treat the buffalo, the trees, and whole tribes of people. Of course, it was (and is) a philosophy of devastation. It is also the most patently dangerous set of notions ever to have stalked the planet.

Technology has always been part of human existence. The first sticks were technologically improved by sharpening and we have never stopped. Modernity is the first philosophy, however, to imagine technology as the means of remaking the planet. Indeed, in a manner of speaking, technology itself has become the new planet, inhabited by minds expressed as 1’s and 0’s. In a world of artificiality, artificial intelligence, or intelligence that has been rendered artificial, is “naturally” at home. Of course, it is less than human, as well.

Human life is a traditioned event: it is handed down to us. Everything about us, down to the most microscopic level of our existence, is given to us from those who have gone before. We do not start with a blank slate, nor is the world around us a blank slate. The madness of those who are driven by the modern impulse is their refusal to acknowledge and respect what has gone before. To be the smartest generation is an arrogance unknown until rather recently in human time. Evidence continues to mount that such arrogance ill-serves our civilization.

The Christian faith, when rightly taught, has no agenda for the improvement of the world. It has the commandments of Christ, which, when practiced, certainly treat the world with kindness, mercy, love, and generosity. However, the Church has no mandate to exercise the sort of control that would nurture the modern impulse. The moments in history in which Christianity and empire have seemed to coalesce, represent temptations that have betrayed the faith as often as they have seemed to foster it. The naïve sentiment that such times were an ideal, much less, a goal, are maintained only through a refusal to look carefully at the facts.

The commandments of Christ point us towards His Father as the model for our life. He is “kind to the evil and the ungrateful.” He “makes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” If “making the world a better place” were the job description for the Father, then we would justly wonder why He fails to do so.

The work of Divine Love is a “mystery hidden from all the ages.” It is a “treasure buried in a field,” and “like a lost coin.” The death and resurrection of Christ point towards a triumphant love of God that, ironically, succeeds in failure. The modern impulse is a script for Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor

who suggests that human beings can do a far better job than God with the needs of the world.

The philosophy of control and the management of creation is deeply alluring for the simple reason that it seems to be the sort of thing that should work well and to our benefit. Indeed, there are any number of examples where such control has done quite well. The sheer power of technology creates a siren call to wield it – like a ring of power. Beto’s words, however, reveal the corruption of such power. “We are going to stop those…” Such words are not restricted to either the Left or Right: they are the voice of modernity.

The great struggles of modernity, culture wars, and ideological battles, have all been fought on the field of management. Each election cycle comes as an effort to seize power, only to find that the battle continues. Ultimately, only if the opposition is thoroughly vanquished (“we will stop them”) will the battle appear to end. The great masters of this application of power understood that weakness and gentleness with regard to power are useless. Only the ruthless win in the game of modernity. Thus, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, and their ilk, all enjoyed their moments of apparent victory. And yet, each of them is dead and their projects returned to dust.

In a quote that should be etched in stone and memorized by all, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who had lived in the belly of modernity’s darkest beast, offered his wise observation: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained.”

There is “one small bridgehead” in the heart of every human being. That is perhaps the most hopeful statement of the 20th century. In point of fact, most human beings are not engaged in world improvement, or stopping the “improvements” of their adversaries. Most people live, work, eat, love, and die, within the relatively small margins of their existence. If the masses rush to the barricades, the madness overwhelms the world for a time. And yet, it always subsides.

There are, I think, limits set within the world that tend to protect us from our best intentions. First, we live for a limited time. Second, people would rather work, eat, love, and die rather than stand at the barricades. I have said quite frequently that in an argument with gravity, gravity will almost always win. There is a “gravity” in the world that tends towards stability rather than chaos, or that tends towards chaos when the gravity is of an unnatural form.

The New Testament speaks of two mysteries. There is the “mystery hidden from all the ages” that surrounds God’s work of gathering all things together into Christ. There is also the “mystery of iniquity” that is not so well-defined. We are told, however, that it has its own time and its own limit. One small bridgehead of good always remains.

The nations rage and imagine themselves to be the arbiters of history. The mystery of the Kingdom continues to work its way within the bridgeheads of the heart. That the world still stands is testimony to the vanity of the nations and the steadfast commitment of God to our salvation.

Father Stephen Freeman is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, serving as Rector of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.

The photo shows a painting by Zdzisław Beksiński.

Why Do We Live In Two World?

“You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they’re people just like you. You’re wrong. Dead wrong.” — They Live

We’re living in two worlds, you and I.

There’s the world we see (or are made to see) and then there’s the one we sense (and occasionally catch a glimpse of), the latter of which is a far cry from the propaganda-driven reality manufactured by the government and its corporate sponsors, including the media.

Indeed, what most Americans perceive as life in America—privileged, progressive and free—is a far cry from reality, where economic inequality is growing, real agendas and real power are buried beneath layers of Orwellian doublespeak and corporate obfuscation, and “freedom,” such that it is, is meted out in small, legalistic doses by militarized police armed to the teeth.

All is not as it seems.

This is the premise of John Carpenter’s film They Live, which was released more than 30 years ago, and remains unnervingly, chillingly appropriate for our modern age.

Best known for his horror film Halloween, which assumes that there is a form of evil so dark that it can’t be killed, Carpenter’s larger body of work is infused with a strong anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, laconic bent that speaks to the filmmaker’s concerns about the unraveling of our society, particularly our government.

Time and again, Carpenter portrays the government working against its own citizens, a populace out of touch with reality, technology run amok, and a future more horrific than any horror film.

In Escape from New York, Carpenter presents fascism as the future of America.

In The Thing, a remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name, Carpenter presupposes that increasingly we are all becoming dehumanized.

In Christine, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a demon-possessed car, technology exhibits a will and consciousness of its own and goes on a murderous rampage.

In In the Mouth of Madness, Carpenter notes that evil grows when people lose “the ability to know the difference between reality and fantasy.”

And then there is Carpenter’s They Live, in which two migrant workers discover that the world is not as it seems. In fact, the population is actually being controlled and exploited by aliens working in partnership with an oligarchic elite. All the while, the populace—blissfully unaware of the real agenda at work in their lives—has been lulled into complacency, indoctrinated into compliance, bombarded with media distractions, and hypnotized by subliminal messages beamed out of television and various electronic devices, billboards and the like.

It is only when homeless drifter John Nada (played to the hilt by the late Roddy Piper) discovers a pair of doctored sunglasses—Hoffman lenses—that Nada sees what lies beneath the elite’s fabricated reality: control and bondage.

When viewed through the lens of truth, the elite, who appear human until stripped of their disguises, are shown to be monsters who have enslaved the citizenry in order to prey on them.

Likewise, billboards blare out hidden, authoritative messages: a bikini-clad woman in one ad is actually ordering viewers to “MARRY AND REPRODUCE.” Magazine racks scream “CONSUME” and “OBEY.” A wad of dollar bills in a vendor’s hand proclaims, “THIS IS YOUR GOD.”

When viewed through Nada’s Hoffman lenses, some of the other hidden messages being drummed into the people’s subconscious include: NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT, CONFORM, SUBMIT, STAY ASLEEP, BUY, WATCH TV, NO IMAGINATION, and DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY.

This indoctrination campaign engineered by the elite in They Live is painfully familiar to anyone who has studied the decline of American culture.

A citizenry that does not think for themselves, obeys without question, is submissive, does not challenge authority, does not think outside the box, and is content to sit back and be entertained is a citizenry that can be easily controlled.

In this way, the subtle message of They Live provides an apt analogy of our own distorted vision of life in the American police state, what philosopher Slavoj Žižek refers to as dictatorship in democracy, “the invisible order which sustains your apparent freedom.”

We’re being fed a series of carefully contrived fictions that bear no resemblance to reality.

The powers-that-be want us to feel threatened by forces beyond our control (terrorists, shootersbombers).

They want us afraid and dependent on the government and its militarized armies for our safety and well-being.

They want us distrustful of each other, divided by our prejudices, and at each other’s throats.

Most of all, they want us to continue to march in lockstep with their dictates.

Tune out the government’s attempts to distract, divert and befuddle us and tune into what’s really going on in this country, and you’ll run headlong into an unmistakable, unpalatable truth: the moneyed elite who rule us view us as expendable resources to be used, abused and discarded.

In fact, a study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern University concluded that the U.S. government does not represent the majority of American citizens. Instead, the study found that the government is ruled by the rich and powerful, or the so-called “economic elite.” Moreover, the researchers concluded that policies enacted by this governmental elite nearly always favor special interests and lobbying groups.

In other words, we are being ruled by an oligarchy disguised as a democracy, and arguably on our way towards fascism—a form of government where private corporate interests rule, money calls the shots, and the people are seen as mere subjects to be controlled.

Not only do you have to be rich—or beholden to the rich—to get elected these days, but getting elected is also a surefire way to get rich. As CBS News reports, “Once in office, members of Congress enjoy access to connections and information they can use to increase their wealth, in ways that are unparalleled in the private sector. And once politicians leave office, their connections allow them to profit even further.”

In denouncing this blatant corruption of America’s political system, former president Jimmy Carter blasted the process of getting elected—to the White House, governor’s mansion, Congress or state legislatures—as “unlimited political bribery… a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over.”

Rest assured that when and if fascism finally takes hold in America, the basic forms of government will remain: Fascism will appear to be friendly. The legislators will be in session. There will be elections, and the news media will continue to cover the entertainment and political trivia. Consent of the governed, however, will no longer apply. Actual control will have finally passed to the oligarchic elite controlling the government behind the scenes.

Sound familiar?

Clearly, we are now ruled by an oligarchic elite of governmental and corporate interests.

We have moved into “corporatism” (favored by Benito Mussolini), which is a halfway point on the road to full-blown fascism.

Corporatism is where the few moneyed interests—not elected by the citizenry—rule over the many. In this way, it is not a democracy or a republican form of government, which is what the American government was established to be. It is a top-down form of government and one which has a terrifying history typified by the developments that occurred in totalitarian regimes of the past: police states where everyone is watched and spied on, rounded up for minor infractions by government agents, placed under police control, and placed in detention (a.k.a. concentration) camps.

For the final hammer of fascism to fall, it will require the most crucial ingredient: the majority of the people will have to agree that it’s not only expedient but necessary.

But why would a people agree to such an oppressive regime?

The answer is the same in every age: fear.

Fear makes people stupid.

Fear is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government. And, as most social commentators recognize, an atmosphere of fear permeates modern America: fear of terrorism, fear of the police, fear of our neighbors and so on.

The propaganda of fear has been used quite effectively by those who want to gain control, and it is working on the American populace.

Despite the fact that we are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack; 11,000 times more likely to die from an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane; 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than a terrorist attack, and 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist , we have handed over control of our lives to government officials who treat us as a means to an end—the source of money and power.

As the Bearded Man in They Live warns, “They are dismantling the sleeping middle class. More and more people are becoming poor. We are their cattle. We are being bred for slavery.”

In this regard, we’re not so different from the oppressed citizens in They Live.

From the moment we are born until we die, we are indoctrinated into believing that those who rule us do it for our own good. The truth is far different.

Despite the truth staring us in the face, we have allowed ourselves to become fearful, controlled, pacified zombies.

We live in a perpetual state of denial, insulated from the painful reality of the American police state by wall-to-wall entertainment news and screen devices.

Most everyone keeps their heads down these days while staring zombie-like into an electronic screen, even when they’re crossing the street. Families sit in restaurants with their heads down, separated by their screen devices and unaware of what’s going on around them. Young people especially seem dominated by the devices they hold in their hands, oblivious to the fact that they can simply push a button, turn the thing off and walk away.

Indeed, there is no larger group activity than that connected with those who watch screens—that is, television, lap tops, personal computers, cell phones and so on. In fact, a Nielsen study reports that American screen viewing is at an all-time high. For example, the average American watches approximately 151 hours of television per month.

The question, of course, is what effect does such screen consumption have on one’s mind?

Psychologically it is similar to drug addiction. Researchers found that “almost immediately after turning on the TV, subjects reported feeling more relaxed, and because this occurs so quickly and the tension returns so rapidly after the TV is turned off, people are conditioned to associate TV viewing with a lack of tension.” Research also shows that regardless of the programming, viewers’ brain waves slow down, thus transforming them into a more passive, nonresistant state.

Historically, television has been used by those in authority to quiet discontent and pacify disruptive people. “Faced with severe overcrowding and limited budgets for rehabilitation and counseling, more and more prison officials are using TV to keep inmates quiet,” according to Newsweek.

Given that the majority of what Americans watch on television is provided through channels controlled by six mega corporations, what we watch is now controlled by a corporate elite and, if that elite needs to foster a particular viewpoint or pacify its viewers, it can do so on a large scale.

If we’re watching, we’re not doing.

The powers-that-be understand this. As television journalist Edward R. Murrow warned in a 1958 speech:

We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.

This brings me back to They Live, in which the real zombies are not the aliens calling the shots but the populace who are content to remain controlled.

When all is said and done, the world of They Live is not so different from our own. As one of the characters points out, “The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves, to others. We are focused only on our own gain.”

We, too, are focused only on our own pleasures, prejudices and gains. Our poor and underclasses are also growing. Racial injustice is growing. Human rights is nearly nonexistent. We too have been lulled into a trance, indifferent to others.

Oblivious to what lies ahead, we’ve been manipulated into believing that if we continue to consume, obey, and have faith, things will work out. But that’s never been true of emerging regimes. And by the time we feel the hammer coming down upon us, it will be too late.

So where does that leave us?

The characters who populate Carpenter’s films provide some insight.

Underneath their machismo, they still believe in the ideals of liberty and equal opportunity. Their beliefs place them in constant opposition with the law and the establishment, but they are nonetheless freedom fighters.

When, for example, John Nada destroys the alien hyno-transmitter in They Live, he restores hope by delivering America a wake-up call for freedom.

That’s the key right there: we need to wake up.

Stop allowing yourselves to be easily distracted by pointless political spectacles and pay attention to what’s really going on in the country.

The real battle for control of this nation is not being waged between Republicans and Democrats in the ballot box.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the real battle for control of this nation is taking place on roadsides, in police cars, on witness stands, over phone lines, in government offices, in corporate offices, in public school hallways and classrooms, in parks and city council meetings, and in towns and cities across this country.

The real battle between freedom and tyranny is taking place right in front of our eyes, if we would only open them.

All the trappings of the American police state are now in plain sight.

Wake up, America.

If they live (the tyrants, the oppressors, the invaders, the overlords), it is only because “we the people” sleep.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book is Battlefield America: The War on the American People.

The photo shows, “Hope” by George Frederic Watts, painted in 1886.

John Calvin’s Distortions

I grew up with Calvinist thinking. I spent my time reading Puritans and Spurgeon, checking things in Louis Berkhof, and promoting the books of John Piper. I was fully immersed! I made Mark Driscoll look like a soft Arminian.

Over the years I’ve questioned everything. Naturally. This is The Grit! And as I have, I’ve noticed some structural problems in my faith, some tensions, ways that it didn’t all hang together. I now hold my Calvinist heritage in a slightly more nuanced way. I’m thankful for the truth in it, but willing to acknowledge its weaknesses and critique it also.

I think some of the weakness in Calvinism occurs at a deep structural level. After a decade of thinking this over, I’m ready to sum it up. Here’s my critique:

Calvinism starts with the complete sovereignty of God. Whereas it should end there.

By starting where it should end, it collapses the space in which the story might unfold. It has an anti-narrative bent, a static tendency, built-in. There is no deep significance to time in the Calvinist worldview. Whatever time it is, at the deepest level all is well, for every molecule is following the predetermined will of God. And so all times are fundamentally the same time.

But we need space for the story. We need time for the story. Because the story is the gospel.

For Calvinists, God’s sovereignty is defined basically apart from the resurrection of Jesus. Whereas in the NT, I take it, that event is the defining moment for what it means that God is king. When Calvinists say, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’, they don’t intend to be saying anything much about God’s sovereignty: that’s already been established long ago. Whereas for the apostles, ‘Jesus is Lord’ was pretty much all they had to say about God’s sovereignty.

For Calvinists, the resurrection of Jesus doesn’t really change much. There is no room for a real coronation, and real victory of God at the cross. Because God’s victory has always been total anyway. He was King the day before, just as he is the day after. The main thing that changes is the appearance of the thing to us down here. But the underlying, unseen relationship between God and the world (i.e. complete sovereignty/submission to his will) remains the same.

In other words, God is not personally implicated or involved in the changes and events that make up the story, because there can be no real event for that sort of God. He is immutable in his utter sovereignty. Try making a story with a leading character like that!

This key aspect of the Calvinist world view, it seems to me, is ultimately anti-gospel.

I have another way I want to express my critique of the Calvinist thought-tradition I belong to. It’s another angle on the same thing:

Calvinism divorces God’s sovereignty from God’s kingdom.

These are metaphors. We can understand something about God by saying he is like one of our human rulers. He is King. He is in charge. He has a territory over which he holds sway. This is his sovereignty.

Or is it his kingdom?

Thing is, the two metaphors are not two, but one. It’s the same image. Therein lies the problem for Calvinism. Let me show you what I mean.

The first mention of God’s sovereignty in Scripture is at the Exodus:

…your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy…
You brought your people in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession,
the place, O LORD, that you made your abode,
the sanctuary, O LORD, that your hands have established.
18 The LORD will rule as King forever and ever.” Exodus 15

What does God’s sovereignty mean here? It means he came down and smashed Pharaoh, and created a people and gave them a land where he would rule over them. It’s not abstract, it’s very concrete. It’s about God’s presence and visible action.

In the Psalms, God’s kingship is introduced as a Messianic concept:

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the LORD has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” Psalm 2

Another classic ‘kingship psalm’, 29, begins and ends with the image of God hovering over waters:

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. Psalm 29
This is a creation image. God asserted his power over the waters, in the creation. They obeyed his voice. In this sense he is viewed as ‘enthroned’ over the waters. This is his kingship, or sovereignty.

Psalm 74 bemoans that in God’s absence, foes have made a mockery of his land. But that is not the whole story: there is still hope of God’s kingship.

Yet God is my King from of old,
working salvation in the earth.
You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters. Psalm 74

This is God’s kingship: his victory over the waters and the leviathan. His parting the Red Sea and smashing the ‘dragon’ Egypt. And it may return.

All of these psalms view God’s kingship as something concrete and visible that happens ‘down here’. We tend to overlay this with a framework of ‘God is already fully king, it just needs revealing‘. This is an abstract structure of thought which I suspect would be meaningless to the psalmists.

Seems to me the Jewish Scriptures have a view of God’s sovereignty which is pretty close to what we might call, ‘God’s kingdom’.

In the NT, of course, God’s sovereignty (or kingdom) is completely bound up with Jesus. Revelation 15 is typical: there the first mention of God’s sovereignty in Scripture, from Exodus 15, is transformed:

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations!
Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed.”
God can be declared ‘king of the nations’ because of his new victory, which brings all the nations to his feet. Which victory? The victory of the lamb. This is after all ‘the song of the lamb’.

In fact, the NT really has nothing to say about God as sovereign apart from what he has done in making Jesus King. This should give us pause for thought…

This kingdom is of course something that arrives. It means ‘God’s will starting to be done on earth, the way it already is in heaven, as people come under the leadership of Jesus.’ At Jesus’ resurrection and Pentecost, this starts to be a reality.

In Scripture, then there are not two concepts, God’s sovereignty and his kingdom/kingship. They are one and the same.

HOWEVER:

I am aware that systematic theology feels at liberty to use words in a different way from how the Scripture uses them. With its bent towards abstract thought, Calvinist systematics has constructed a whole theology of invisible ‘eternal’ stuff lying behind and prior to God’s action in the gospel, and labelled that concept ‘sovereignty’. Which of course, means ‘kingship’. But it uses this word in quite a different way from how the Scriptures use it.

This is a serious problem for ordinary Christians, as whatever contact they have with Calvinist systematics leads them to misread the Bible’s talk about God’s sovereignty. When they read in the NIV everywhere ‘Sovereign LORD’, they hear it as asserting the Calvinist doctrine of sovereignty. But Adonai Yahweh does not have that meaning. So we have this distortion.

It’s time for the two rival terms and concepts for God’s kingship in the Calvinist tradition to call each other out, confess that they are the same metaphor, go toe to toe and duke it out for the rightful title. This faith ain’t big enough for the two of them.

Historically, ‘sovereignty’ has packed the bigger punch, to the discomfiture of ‘kingdom/kingship’.

But I’m putting my money on ‘kingdom of God’. Coz it’s in the Bible.

Jonathan survived theological college, and now enjoys talking about books, scripture, theology, church, politics, mission, people, stuff like that.

The photo shows, “The Parable of the Blind,” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, paimted in 1568.

Greta Thunberg And Eco-Eugenics

Is fame random? Or, is fame the result of access to power? The recent prominence of Greta Thunberg is a case in point. Did she become famous for simply being photographed sitting alone in front of the Swedish parliament building, on strike for the environment? Or, did she inherit the mantle of an eco-prophet? Is she just an ordinary, outraged young woman, or someone with deep family links to environmentalism, and who thus has all the right connections?

For those that might not know, Greta supposedly shot to fame when the aforesaid photo of hers was put on Twitter in 2018. The Twitter account belonged to a group called, We Don’t Have Time, a Swedish organization, funded by Al Gore. Therefore, the photo was a clever piece of propaganda, designed to “capture” the hearts of people all over the world – a “lonely little girl,” speaking truth to power.

Of course, using children to further environmentalism is an old tactic. Back in 1992, there was Severn Suzuki, who at age nine started ECO (Environmental Children’s Organization), and gave a speech at the UN, which was far more coherent that Greta’s performance. But Severn’s father is David Suzuki, Canada’s foremost environmentalist.

Cory Morningstar has very meticulously, and very brilliantly, analyzed the deep connections that Greta has to the many power-structures, all of which seek to change the world. This excellent research should be widely read.

But why Greta? Why her photo? The clue lies in what she really advocates – the Fourth Industrial Revolution, aka, the New Green Deal. This is, very simply, transhumanism, which is the creation of a bio-digital world, where technology merges with humanity.

The oft-heard mantra of the environmentalists, “Change Everything,” means changing what it means to be human, what it means to work, what it means to be free, what it means to live a happy life. In short, it is Neo-Eugenics – or, the improvement of humanity by way of technology. This gives a whole new meaning to Greta’s iconic phrase, “I want you to panic.”

But why Greta? Because she belongs, as it were, to global warming “royalty,” being directly related to that very Swedish scientist who, a little over a century ago, invented, and then popularized, the concepts of both global warming and man-made climate change. His name was Svante August Arrhenius (1859–1927), and his mother was a Thunberg.

Greta’s fame therefore is not accidental. She is continuing the project started by her illustrious ancestor – of course, enabled by her astute parents. Arrhenius’s name may not be familiar now, but in his time, he was well-known throughout Europe and North America.

People commonly assume that overwhelming data (inductive reasoning) led scientists to declare man-made climate change to be “settled science.” The problem with this assumption is that global warming and climate change are in fact hypotheses first invented by Arrhenius, and for which data (evidence) is continually being sought (deductive reasoning). It is hardly settled science, as recently shown.

Why do people back this hypothesis over any other? Because the majority of college graduates have a humanities or arts degrees, which skews how they perceive things scientific, for which they have little aptitude, let alone understanding. For example, innumeracy in the general population is very high. But these arts-degree-holders are also the electorate and their consent must therefore be continually manufactured.

Also, when it comes to sociopolitical matters, those with science degrees think the same way as their humanities counterparts, given that the entire purpose of higher education now is inculcation into radicalism. In the post-truth era, this means that those who research and teach science no longer believe that science is wedded to truth, as the recent humiliating defeat of the high-priest of global warming, Michael Mann, clearly showed, along with other studies, for example, here and here and here.

Science, like all other human activities, depends upon ideas, which are structures or models with which we understand, manipulate and benefit from the reality of the natural world. In other words, inductive reasoning was once the ideal of science.

But science, serving other masters than truth, now often aligns itself with social activism and social engineering (aka, power). Such cooption of science by the power-elite means that narrative (rhetoric) becomes far more important than truth – because rhetoric is the most effective tool to manufacture consent. Humanities degree holders are used to stories and they therefore respond well to rhetoric. And so goes the entire industry of environmentalism, where the “climate crisis” is continually narrativized for consumption.

Not surprisingly, in his popular writings, Arrhenius used rhetoric to further his hypotheses of global warming and man-made climate change. Early scientists had, in fact, variously looked at how air could warm the earth, such as, Leon Teisserenc de Bort, Alexander Buchan, Josef Stefan, Samuel Langley, Claude Servais Mathias Pouillet, Arvid Gustaf Högbom, Joseph Fourier, and of course, John Tyndall.

Arrhenius took this early work and imagined that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), or “carbonic acid,” as he called it, in the atmosphere was directly responsible for warming the planet. He went on to suppose that if the amount of CO2 kept rising, then likewise the planet would keep getting hotter and hotter. This notion would become known as the “greenhouse effect.” And where would all this excess CO2 come from? Fossil fuels, of course.

He laid out this idea in a paper that was published in 1896 and entitled, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground.”

This paper would become the bedrock of the contemporary climate-change industry, even though it was much criticized at the time of its publications (and later also) for its faulty science, such as that the effects of water vapor are mistaken for the effects of CO2.

Many of his contemporary scientists pointed out (as many scientists still do today) that CO2 cannot have any warming effect (or climate sensitivity) – which thus means that CO2 is not a “greenhouse gas.” Also, Arrhenius’s math was severely criticized by many, such as the physicist, Anders Ångström.

But it would appear that alarmism was something Arrhenius excelled at, for he next wrote an international bestseller, entitled, Worlds in the Making, in 1908, in which he explained to the layman his “hot-house” theory, where the continuous burning of fossil fuels, by industry, would increase the earth’s temperature. Thus, he linked his dubious science to modern human life – the ideal formula for alarmism.

The logic followed in his book is obvious – control human activity and you will control the earth’s temperature. For this reason, Arrhenius is rightly called the “father” of global warming. He is also the “father” of the entire energy crisis industry, since he was the first to suggest that oil reserves were finite (aka, peak oil) and coal would run out.

Any alarmism worth its salt has an end-game (massive social change) and so must also offer solutions that will bring about this desired result. Accordingly, Arrhenius suggested that the use of oil and coal be limited, if not eliminated; that electricity replace oil as an energy source; that fuel efficiency be practiced; that bio-fuels be used; that atomic energy be developed. Arrhenius, in fact, gave modern environmentalism all of its talking points.

But how did his ideas become foundational to environmentalism today? Arrhenius was largely ignored until 1979, when the Charney Report, entitled, “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment” was published. It relied heavily on Arrhenius and thus gave him instant legitimacy.

Then, in 1990, the IPCC used the Charney Report as the basis for its own report, which turned Arrhenius’s hypotheses of man-made climate change and global warming into “settled science.” Henceforth, climate could only and “correctly” be viewed through the lens of Arrhenius. Those who refused or objected would be labeled as “deniers” – i.e., heretics.

Another “settled science” in which Arrhenius made much contribution was eugenics. Just as animals and planets could be bred to show particular characteristics, so too, it was believed, could humans be made better by selective breeding (which was known as racial hygiene). Thus, human reproduction was to be controlled and limited by the state, all bulwarked and justified by science. The mantra of “listen to the science” that is oft-repeated by environmentalists in itself has a very sinister history, for eugenics was nothing but “settled science” for people like Arrhenius, Margaret Sanger and Hitler.

The obvious question that arises is a simple one, then – does Arrhenius’s work on global warming stem from his eugenics? For example, in 1912, he famously concocted an experiment in which public school children were electrified, in order to make them grow taller. Apparently, it was said to have worked. Thus, where does climate science stop and eugenics being for Arrhenius? It is a question not yet settled.

Further, Arrhenius was the founding member of the Swedish Society of Racial Hygiene, which was established on 1909, as well as the State Institute for Racial Biology, in 1922. Both institutes justified Sweden’s sterilization of non-Aryans, and other “undesirables,” long before the Nazis. And these institutes set the context for the forced sterilization of over 60,000 Swedish women, who were deemed unfit to breed. This practice continued until 1975. Sweden was hardly a socialist paradise for these unfortunates. As well, Arrhenius worked with Gustaf Retzius, who used phrenology (developed by his father, Anders Retzius) to further claims of Nordic racial superiority.

And, in 1900, Arrhenius was the founding member of the Nobel Institute and its Nobel Prize and headed both the Nobel Committees on physics and chemistry. Needless to say, he made sure that most of his friends received the Nobel (such as, Theodore William Richards and Wilhelm Oswald). Three years later, he himself became the first Swede to receive the prize.

Thus, Greta’s own nomination for the Nobel is part-and-parcel of being a member of the global warming “royalty.” It is interesting to note that her father, who is an actor, writer and producer, is named Svante; and her mother (Malena Ernman) is a well-known operatic singer, who has also co-authored, with her husband, the bestselling book about her family and their environmentalism, entitled, Scenes from the Heart (2018).

Like her mother, Greta recently published her own book, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, which is a collection of her eco-activist speeches. And it does not come as a surprise that she herself has her biography on the Internet Movie Database, given her parents’ careers. But her recent stumble does give one pause as to her spontaneity.

As for Greta’s access to power? She is backed by the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute, the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and more than twenty NGOs – and they all want to bring about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She is hardly a “lonely little girl” heroically fighting the powers that be. Rather, she is famous because she is an effective ambassador of these powers, and because she belongs to the right family.

Greta means serious business. Wittingly or unwittingly, she is the child-herald of a nightmare future, inhabited by a mechanized humanity, wherein that century-old experiment, conducted by her relative, of electrifying children, will be upgraded for all humanity. Saving the planet means eugenics, for it is ultimately Malthusian in its logic, in that people are the enemies of the planet and their numbers need to be controlled. Greta’s alarmist environmentalism is impossible to accomplish without eugenics. But then global warming and man-made climate change are both the invention of her ancestor who understood such eco-eugenics well.