Episode #10 – Devaluing Human Life and the Loss of National Confidence

by | Oct 9, 2017 | Master, The Easy Chair

Host

R.J. Rushdoony

Description

Episode #10 – Devaluing Human Life and the Loss of National Confidence

(Originally Recorded) Jan. 23, 1982

#Topics:
New York Magazine – Classified Strip Tease Ads
Political Courage
Prospects for the Future
Fall of Rome
Christian School Solution to Government Education
Hard Money and Inflation
Was America Ever a Christian Nation?
The Fake Article of the Treaty of Tripoli
The Defeat of Human Sacrifice by Christian Missionaries
Why did Human Sacrifice Exist?
The Loss of the Value of Human Life
Cultural Customs of Drinking and Washing with Urine

#Articles:
(Chronicles of Culture) The Officers Wives – Otto Scott (Book Review)
The Hard Money Investor – Hale Bryan
Treaty of Tripoli

#Books:
(Chronicles of Culture) The Officers Wives – Otto Scott (Book Review)
The Graves of Academe – Richard Mitchell
Human Sacrifice in History and Today – Nigel Davies
Beyond Guilt and Justice – Walter Kaufmann

#Poems:
Matthew Arnold Poems
The Great Lover – Rupert Brooke

Transcript of Episode:

Radio Announcer: The Reconstructionist Radio Podcast Network presents the Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony.

Speaker 2: The Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony is brought to you by the Chalcedon Foundation and the GCS Apprenticeship Program. For more information, visit chalcedon.edu and gcsapprenticeship.com.

R.J. Rushdoony: This is R.J Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 10, January 23, 1982. First of all, I’d like to call your attention to something that I missed all together. It was in New York Magazine recently and I was reading it at the breakfast table. Dorothy came in and I passed it on to her to read something and of course, she kept it to go on reading this and that. She spotted a couple of items in the back of the magazine, New York classified ads. There’s a note at the top, “All classified ads accepted at the discretion of the publisher.” Well I don’t know what kind of discretion they observe because here are some of the ads that Dorothy called my attention to. [Pilagram 00:01:35], male, female strippers entertain. Another, belly telegrams, another, Strippergram, the original strip teasing telegram company.

This one, [yantagram 00:01:52], guilt without sex, afraid to [knack 00:01:55] someone yourself, have yantas deliver yantagram guilt trips and so on and on. Another, Bare Facts Erotic Telegrams, male, female strippers. Also, Santagrams. Well, so much for the publisher’s discretion in New York Magazine. I want cross a little item too that tickled me no end. It seems that in 1979, the United Nations Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee was framing its annual resolution, indicating its “strong support for the national liberation struggle against racism, racial discrimination, apartheid, colonialism and alien domination and for self-determination by all means including armed struggle.”

Well, in the midst of the debate, the Thai delegate made an amendment. He proposed that a comma be inserted in the next following alien domination. A lot of debate followed and it was obvious that no one on either side understood what the comma would do to the meaning of the text. Finally, they came to a vote and the comma lost 17 to 38, 55 voting. 61 countries abstained from voting because they apparently were awaiting instructions from the home country. Now that’s what you call political courage, that the kind of political courage we have in just about every capital everywhere nowadays and it’s certainly true of Washington D.C. I’m reminded of a poem that Matthew Arnold wrote in 1855. He was meditating on the tomb stones in a church yard.

In the midst of his meditations, he turned from the [inaudible 00:04:28] to politics. He spoke of and I quote, “This ignominious spectacle, power dropping from the hand of paralytic factions and no soul to snatch and wield it.” That’s very much the situation everywhere. I’d like to comment a little further on what I was discussing in the last Easy Chair, the prospects for the future, nationally and internationally. I keep coming back in my mind to the fall of Rome. Rome fell, William Carroll Bark said because the millions of Rome did not feel Rome was worth defending. They were defeated by the tens of thousands of Barbarians who simply walked into the empire, looted it, burned, raped, killed.

I think we can best understand the fall of Rome today. If we look at Canada and the United States, and then say, “Tomorrow the Indians of North America in Canada and the United States are going to overthrow both countries.” The fall of Rome was comparable to that. The [inaudible 00:06:13] Salvian, I’ve quoted very, very often in speaking and in writing, is one of the most powerful writers of the area, if not the most powerful. He speaks of the taking of Trier. The people were at the arena for the game, they could not take time to defend the city. So as the Barbarians walked in and raped, killed and burned. The screams of the raped and the dying mingled with the cheers of the spectators of the arena. Well, they got to the arena and they burned that too. The remnants of the Trier Council, city council met in the ruins thereafter and sent a petition to Rome to the emperor, asking that the arena be rebuilt in order to improve the morale of the people.

Salvian who was there commented, “Rome is dying but it continues to laugh.” Salvian tells us how people picked up their belongings and moved towards the Barbarian mines. They were so over taxed and oppressed by the Roman bureaucracy that they figured, “We’ll go through the Barbarian mines, we’ll be robbed and raped once and then we’ll have some freedom.” People actually did that. No one felt Rome was worth defending. Rome had an excellent army, its commander-in-chief was [Stileko 00:08:16], himself a man with a Barbarian background. A good many of the recruits in the army were Barbarians and they were prouder Romans than the Romans themselves.

They knew that they could with Stileko, clean the empire of the Barbarians. The court and the bureaucracy distrusted Stileko, they had no reason to. He was as loyal a man as the military has ever seen. They knew that if he were commander-in-chief, which he was and met the Barbarians and cleansed the empire of them, he could ride his own ticket, he could be the next emperor if he chose, so they ordered him arrested. The army was so enraged they were ready to revolt on the spot but Stileko ordered them to be faithful as soldiers. They put his head on the chopping block. To add insult to injury, the Roman bureaucracy went after the families of many of these troops feeling that perhaps if we make virtual hostages of them, we can retain the loyalty of the troops. The result was the army melted away. 30,000 of them went over and joined the Barbarians. That’s how Rome fell.

The millions of Rome did not feel Rome was worth defending against the tens of thousands of Barbarians. I believe the same mentality is very prevalent in the world today. I know as I travel all over the country, I encounter a great many people, especially women. Remember, women are the political activists who keep politics functioning. These are women who have been hawks in the past, were strongly for the Korean War and for victory in Vietnam, and they feel betrayed. Now, I’ve heard more than one of them, mothers and grandmothers tell me that they’ve told their sons and grandsons, “I’ll disown you if you ever fight for this country. Until it changes, don’t you ever give your life for a country that betrays its own men out in the field and it will not work for victory.”

Well, that kind of mentality is prevalent in the Soviet Union, it is prevalent throughout Europe, it is prevalent everywhere. We saw hopes of a change in that here in this country when the two Libyan planes were shot down. Those were Soviet made planes and our fighter pilots there in the Mediterranean shot them down without any trouble. A great many Americans, whether they were hawks or doves, still felt good about that, not because they wanted war but they were tired of a cowardly stance on the part of this country. That’s the kind of thing that can revive a will to win but the administration and the kind of thing it has done, betraying its own following in the Sandra O’Connor nomination and in every other federal judge that has since been appointed, and in the matter of the Christian schools because the proposed legislation would mean total control.

It’s certainly doing nothing for that will to win. I believe it is there and the United States has nowhere else in the world. The Christian school movement indicates that a very large segment of the population have broken with the status quo, are double taxing themselves to put their children in Christian schools. There isn’t a fact to equal that anywhere in the world. I’m definitely not a tax revolt man but I submit that tax revolt is significant also. There are very severe penalties for those who refuse to pay but it is significant to me that apparently millions are involved in the tax revolt. We have here in this country the most tremendous reservoir for a strong and a virile nation but the men at the top are working to destroy it. I would say the men of the press too.

Now, as you all know, Otto Scott is one of our number and a very brilliant and able man. He has written a review which appears in the January, February 1982 Chronicles of Culture put out by the Rockford Institute, 934 N Main St, Rockford, IL 61103. If you enjoy book reviews, I would say there is no other publication in the United States that even remotely compares to the Chronicles of Culture. It is simply a journal. Now, Otto Scott reviews a new novel, Thomas Fleming, “The officers Wives.” This is a book about some officers and their training, their careers and their wives. Let me quote some portions from Otto’s superb review and I quote, “Innumerable sketches, scenes and observations make it clear that the novel depicts a nation, sends subtlety of feeling, sends honor among men and pictures women as suitable for better men from a better culture.

That message however, like many other themes in the book is subliminal and implicit rather than open and expressed. What is expressed is a persistent disdain for what might be called Americana. To say that this sort of writing does a disservice to the American society and culture is to understate the case. Writers like Fleming absorbed the attitude of Sinclair Lewis as easily as if they were error. After all, Lewis was only one of a long parade. His predecessors and intellectual era stretch as far as the eye can see, they infest Hollywood and television. They hog the booklets, they clog magazines, they occupy the lecture stage. They posture before students, they spread the universal myth of that species they have invented, Americanas [inaudible 00:16:55].

Travelers abroad meet that myth at every turn with numerous variations. If one is male, he is told that American women are nymphomaniacs. One learns that we prefer musical comedies to dramatic plays, digest the books, insults the compliments. There is no region on earth, no place too barren for its inhabitants to sneer at Americans as recipients of God’s mysterious bounty, rich but incredibly stupid, prosperous without merit, winners without brains. Cultural contempt for the United States is probably the only single subject upon which all other lands and races agree. To say that they can point to our own literature as proof to our films, newspapers, magazines and lectures as evidence is to admit one of the most peculiar problems that ever confronted a great nation for the myth does not simply travel abroad, it is fed and nurtured here at home.

Students are taught American history in such a manner as to create indignation. The Germans have problems with guilt over Hitler but they can at least point to other areas of their history that are worthy of pride. We have been denied the satisfaction of pride in any area of our history. Writers like Fleming, fearful that there may be some lingering hope for the US army, will use fiction to make sure that such illusions, if alive, are destroyed. The editors of that great fiction factory [inaudible 00:18:40] cheerfully agree. There is an agent at work at this very instant, attempting to sell this novel to Hollywood and/or television. No other country has ever been cursed with such a literature, with the possible exception of France during the last decades of the Ancien Regime just before the revolution.

The modern American for all his tolerance, accomplishments and charity must walk about with his back bent as though he represented some low, uncouth set of degenerates. Russians slaughter millions of their fellow countrymen, maintain slave camps and still they are accepted as a great people. Chinese communists have led massacres but they are honored in every world capital. How many books appear about the Chinese genocide, how many writers rise in wrath against the USSR as compared to those who find South Africa worse? America seems to be afflicted by an ominous scourge, we have writers who are not proud of us. We therefore have very few writers of whom we can be proud.”

Well, now very briefly to economics. A while back, I quoted from [Hal 00:20:11] Bryan’s, “The Hard Money Investor.” I’d like to quote again from Hal, who should be better known because he is an excellent observer. The Hard Money Investor can he had from Box 11, Enumclaw, E-N-U-M-C-L-A-W, Washington, 98022. It is published monthly for $35, first class mail. As Hal comments on our economy, he says and I quote, “Governments are by nature inflationary in their thinking. They like to spend money.” Elected governments are limited in the amount of taxes they can levy and still gain reelection, so they inflate the currency, which levies a hidden tax. When the general price level rises to the point where the hidden tax becomes obvious to the average citizen, governments promise to fight inflation.

Government spending habits result in huge deficits, which can ultimately be settled only by a fiscal restraint or repudiation. Whether a government repudiates its debt by a series of formal devaluations or by the floating devaluation of continual inflation is more or less secondary. At some point, it will stop the game by repudiating the monetary unit itself and substituting a new one at an exchange rate favorable to itself. These rates may be 100 to 1 as in the post-World War Two French inflation, one trillion to one as in the aforementioned German inflation or any other ratio you care to name. If true deflation, monetary deflation were to be undertaken by the US government, the gold value of the national debt would rise.

If such a policy could be pursued until all accumulated inflation were purged to our economy, the purchasing power of the debt would be over eight trillion dollars of gold but governments are debtors and like all debtors, profit from inflation. By deflating, government would pass that advantage to its creditors. Ask yourself if you are willing to pay your creditors several times what you owe them. Your answer will tell you how anxious the government is to follow a policy of deflation.” Well, Hal has a great deal more to say in this, which is very important and follows on the point he has made in what I just read you. For the rest of it, read his Hard Money Investor, this is the January 1982 number. We have had a great many books of late dealing with the problem in the public schools and it is interesting to me that as long as you do not say, “We need another kind of school,” such a book can be relatively popular.

One such book is by Richard Mitchell, “The Graves of Academe,” Little Brown and Company, Boston. The book is 1195. Now, it’s not a bad book, it’s by a grammarian who is an able writer, who gives us some telling illustrations of the bad education that is common place in our public schools and colleges. Of course, such books are tolerable and even successful as long as they do not challenge the state control of education. Things will continue to go from bad to worse and we will have our Richard Mitchells in eight successive generation telling us how bad the public schools are and calling for changes and nothing will happen except when you create an alternate system.

This, the Christian schools are doing. This is the kind of thing that offers hope for the future. We are creating a radically different kind of student. Now, very briefly, I’d like to touch on something else, which two of our Chalcedon friends turned up, Douglas and Marty [Kress 00:25:49] from Anaheim, California. A great many people regularly tell us that the United States was never a Christian nation from the beginning. They cite something from the Treaty of Tripoli, 1796, article 11, page 1786, ostensibly under the signature of George Washington and I quote, “As the government of the United States of America is not in sense founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said states never have entered into any war or act hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Now, this is interesting because this appears in text books, I heard it cited in class when I was a student at the university a while back. We are regularly told that this is a matter of law. What the presses have turned up is that it is fictitious. By going to the original text of the Tripoli treaty, they find that there is no such article, very interesting fact. It’s accepted as a part of an international agreement of the United States in the 1776 to 1949 era but it does not appear on the original text of the treaty. So much were secularity back in the days of George Washington. Now on to another subject, one of the interesting books of late published in 1981 is Nigel Davies, D-A-V-I-E-S, “Human Sacrifice in History and Today,” published in New York by William Morrow and Company, 105, Madison Avenue, New York 10016.

Davies is an Englishman whose fields are archeology and anthropology. He lives at present in Mexico City, has a doctorate from London University, a master’s degree from the National University of Mexico. He has written a number of anthropological studies and of late a few somewhat more popular statements of various fields. His book, “Human Sacrifice” is a very interesting work. In some respects perhaps, the best statement on the subject. Now, what in the world would be appealing on this subject of human sacrifices? Well, emphatically, Davies’ perspective is not that of our own. What he does bring out very clearly however, despite a great deal of implicit anti-Christianity in his book is that human sacrifices have had a great deal to do with atonement.

This has been true throughout history and that they are inseparable from that doctrine. Granted, in the process, he abuses missionaries from time to time because they are so upset over these practices wherever they have encountered them over the past generations. On the other hand, when he deals with India and the termination of human sacrifices there, Davies does very plainly state that had it not been for the Christian missionaries, human sacrifice, the [inaudible 00:30:57] and other things would still prevail in India.  It was the Christians who terminated it, not by the way, the British colonial agents because the non-Christian colonial officers were indifferent to the fact.

What is of particular interest and what is relevant for us because it tells us why we are having the problems we do today. Davies go into the matter of why these things existed apart from the religious demand for atonement. He says and I quote that, “Nothing whatsoever can be understood of human sacrifice in India or for that matter in Africa, Polynesia or ancient [inaudible 00:31:53] unless it is first grasped that the concepts behind the acts were the opposite of our own. Europeans, whether Christian or ex-Christian are imbued with the idea that good is good and bad is bad. The two forces locked in never ending conflict are not thought of as two halves of the same deity. For the Christian, God is love and the devil is his enemy. The notion that God and the devil can be one person is alien to western thought.”

As Davies goes on to point out, in many of the religions of the world, there is no real good and evil or good and evil come from the same source, the ultimate power or God of their system. As a result, there is no way that you can condemn whatever act of torture, of brutality, inhumanity or whatever you encounter. All are of equal value. Now, we’ve come to the key point, because in our society today, we deny the ultimacy of God, we deny his love.

We are supposedly beyond good and evil and good and evil are something that man determines in terms of his own taste. We have become an age much given to human sacrifice in our own way. Human life has lost its value because everything has equal value to us. Let me illustrate, a good many years ago when I was a student, on one occasion, I happened to be at a table with a number of professors. Apparently, the sciences predominated. I know because I sat next to an anthropologist. The subject of a book came up, it was just published and there were some comments about it. The book was about Eskimos. Mind you, this was 40 years ago. The writer commented on the fact that the Eskimo women of that day … they don’t do this anymore, they’ve become fairly modern, washed their hair with urine.

This gave the hair a particular sheen and quality and what not. It did not improve the odor of course. This old, Scottish trader who was spending his entire material life up there in the Arctic was asked how often he went home to Scotland. He smiled and he said, “When the women hair began to look good to him.” Well, I referred to that passage in the book and laughed and all eyes were turned on me as though I had committed some unpardonable sin. There were comments flying from all around the table that apparently I looked down on the Indians or the Eskimos and so on and so forth. I said, “No, but I certainly don’t like their practices in this regard and others.” Well, their attitude was that I was some kind of yahoo and barbarian. That this represented a degenerate Christian perspective because I saw good and bad, right and wrong and better and worse and didn’t have the right kind of appreciation.

I thought of that a few years ago by the way, that incident and episode because they really were very upset with me and I thought it was very funny, the whole thing, including their attitude, which I thought was much worse than that of the Eskimo women. One Nobel Prize winning scientist a few years ago wrote with disdain about the repugnance of various peoples for a particular Siberian tribe where … I have to mention this and I am choosing the best illustration possible to make this point. Any stranger in the village could sleep with any girl he liked provided he first of all drank a glass full of her urine. This scientist was very eloquent about how the average American would react with horror to such a possibility and shudder inside at the thought, which to him proved how contemptible we in America are.

Now, these attitudes and I could go on by the way with all the lecturing on campus I have done over the past 20, 30 years and give you endless stories like this, some of which I wouldn’t want to put on tape but you get the idea. We are surrounded in this world by degenerates with academic degrees and togas, are well shaved and bathed and perfumed and who profess to feel that no human practice can be disdained or looked down upon. They profess to find all of them acceptable and because we do not, it proves we are yahoos, barbarians. They do this from a position that is essentially Nietzschean, man lives beyond good and evil. Well, when man lives beyond good and evil, what’s the difference between rape and loving, marital sex?

What is the difference between murder and being a good Samaritan to someone who is hurt and needs help? There really is no difference from their perspective. Let me remind you of something that I often have called attention to. Walter Kauffman, professor of philosophy I believe at Princeton, he died about a year ago and his book, “Beyond Guilt and Justice” says very plainly that because there is no God, there can be no justice and therefore no guilt. For guilt to exist means that a law exists, a God-given law that some things are wrong and others are right. He says there is no God, therefore there can be no guilt. Similarly, for there to be such a thing as justice and injustice, there must be a God who says, “This is the way, walk in it.” A God who gives the law as the bible. He’s very specific.

Of course, Kauffman, “No such God exists, therefore there is no such thing as justice and man has to live beyond such obsolete concepts as guilt and justice.” It is interesting by the way, that Kauffman concludes his book with a full citation of Genesis 3:1-6, the tempter’s program. That man is his own god, he shall be as God, knowing, determining for yourself what constitutes good and evil. This is Kauffman’s program for the future. Well, you had better take it seriously because this is increasingly the premise of our courts and of our lawmakers. There is scarcely a country in the world where we are not moving to such a policy. It is a very serious matter. This is why Davies’ book on human sacrifice I believe is important because given his definitely non-Christian perspective, he does put his finger on the problem.

When you have no such faith as that as biblical faith gives, you are going very definitely to have a contempt for what we regard as justice, as sanctity of the individual under God and much, much more. Davies has written, therefore, a book which serves an important purpose. He gives us very telling illustrations of the casualness with which human sacrifice took place. Let me cite one and I quote, “Child killing, far from being confined to Hawaii, was widespread throughout Polynesia. In Tahiti, the people spoke to foreigners with utter complacency about how they had killed their infants and would calmly visit missionaries’ houses almost before their hands were cleansed of their infant’s blood. King [inaudible 00:43:58] the first had killed some of his own offspring.

In the cannibal [inaudible 00:44:03], in times of food shortage, children were sometimes killed and eaten, a practice not unknown among Australian aboriginals. On a superficial level, therefore, infanticide might be viewed as an easy way of relieving the irritation of parents and the overcrowding of the nursery. On a closer examination, the practice appears in a very different light as basic to religion and essential for the survival of society. The death of a child was believed to give added strength to the living. It became a positive duty in the Toga Islands for instance, for parents to strangle infants in order to strengthen and preserve their rulers and so on and on.”

He does take a swipe at the missionaries because they told about such stories in such detail. He says that, “They as usual went out of their way to discredit those religious beliefs, which it was their purpose to uproot.” I don’t know how you can exaggerate some of the things that he describes. Hawaii, by the way, was a place where life was virtually unendurable before the missionaries went. What the kings did and the queens [inaudible 00:45:33] is staggering to the imagination. Yet, about all you get today is a glamorization of the old Hawaiian order and slander, endless slander about the missionaries who extensively killed a marvelous social order and enriched themselves in the process.

Well, they did not enrich themselves, some of their descendants did and honestly, for the most part. That kind of thing is typical of what prevails today. Hawaii has nothing to glamorize as far as the old days were concerned. It was a nightmare as was the world outside of Christ. Well, there is a lot more that I’d like to go into but I’d like to get on to something else now. A poem by Rupert Brooke. Now, I’m not particularly fond of Rupert Brooke but this poem I regard as a remarkable one. I have very, very warm memories about someone also in relationship to this particular poem. She was a widow, a retired nurse, there’s a great grief in her life and that her only surviving child, a son, a professor by the way, was married a woman who was a hellion if there ever was one.

It would be hard to find an acceptable word to describe her. It made it very difficult for her therefore to ever visit her son and granddaughter. She chose to live two states away. She chose to ask nothing of her son although her son and daughter-in-law had an excellent income because she taught also. She lived by herself in a very charming house, the walls were lined with books which were her friends. She was really a very happy woman. She had learned to live with her sorrow and to enjoy life. Then she had a stroke and it affected her sight. She was blind. She went back into that house with determination in a walker, she learned to find her way about and to cook for herself. She had a neighbor come in once a day to check on her and a few times she was found stretched out on the floor and unable to get up.

She’d laugh about it, she would lie there and relax and repeat by memory the bible verses she knew and some of the poems she knew by heart and loved. One day when I was there and as usual had read from scripture to her, we were talking and something she said brought Rupert Brooke’s poem, “The Great Lover” to mind. I read to her and she was delighted, so that every other time that I went, she asked me, “Could you read a little more of that or all of it if you have the time.” Let me read it now to you, The Great Lover.

“I have been so great a lover: filled my days

So proudly with the splendor of Love’s praise,

The pain, the calm, and the astonishment,

Desire illimitable, and still content,

And all dear names men use, to cheat despair,

For the perplexed and viewless streams that bear,

Our hearts at random down the dark of life.

Now, ere the unthinking silence on that strife

Steals down, I would cheat drowsy Death so far,

My night shall be remembered for a star

That outshone all the suns of all men’s days.

Shall I not crown them with immortal praise

Whom I have loved, who have given me, dared with me

High secrets, and in darkness knelt to see

The inenarrable godhead of delight?

Love is a flame, we have beaconed the world’s night.

A city and we have built it, these and I.

An emperor, we have taught the world to die.

So, for their sakes I loved, ere I go hence,

And the high cause of Love’s magnificence,

And to keep loyalties young, I’ll write those names

Golden forever, eagles, crying flames,

And set them as a banner, that men may know,

To dare the generations, burn, and blow

Out on the wind of Time, shining and streaming.

These I have loved: White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,

Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust;

Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust

Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;

Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;

And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;

And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,

Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;

Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon

Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss

Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is

Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen

Unpassioned beauty of a great machine;

The benison of hot water; furs to touch;

The good smell of old clothes; and other such–

The comfortable smell of friendly fingers,

Hair’s fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers

About dead leaves and last year’s ferns.

Dear names and thousand other throng to me! Royal flames;

Sweet water’s dimpling laugh from tap or spring;

Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing;

Voices in laughter, too; and body’s pain,

Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;

Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam

That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;

And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold

Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mold;

Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;

And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;

And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass;–

All these have been my loves. And these shall pass,

Whatever passes not, in the great hour,

Nor all my passion, all my prayers, have power

To hold them with me through the gate of Death.

They’ll play deserter, turn with the traitor breath,

Break the high bond we made, and sell Love’s trust

And sacramented covenant to the dust.

Oh, never a doubt but, somewhere, I shall wake,

And give what’s left of love again, and make

New friends, now strangers.

But the best I’ve known

Stays here, and changes, breaks, grows old, is blown

About the winds of the world, and fades from brains

Of living men, and dies. Nothing remains.

O dear my loves, O faithless, once again

This one last gift I give: that after men

Shall know, and later lovers, far-removed,

Praise you, ‘All these were lovely’; say, he loved.”

Well, when I would finish reading, she would laugh with delight and echo lines that she had come to learn. The cool kindliness of sheets, the benison of hot water, and many, many more lines. Life, you see, is very rich to us and that’s the point of The Great Lover. Let’s not wait until like that very dear friend, we are blind and scarcely able to walk before we remember the richness of the life around us. It’s a good world, God made it. It’s a good life, God gave it. We need to rejoice in it and to thank Him for all its blessings. Well, it’s been another very happy hour, I find myself reading and studying all through the week and thinking that I want to share with you. I have some things here that still remain, we’ll get to them hopefully the next time. Until then, God bless you, thanks for listening.

Speaker 2: Thank you for listening to the Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony. Please visit chalcedon.edu for more materials by R.J. Rushdoony and the Chalcedon Foundation.

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