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Following on from my post yesterday, Neil Oliver had more on coronavirus on his programme of Saturday, January 22, 2022, wherein he warned of ‘consequences coming’ and eroding trust in institutions we normally respect.

His commentary was much appreciated:

Here’s the YouTube version:

GB News has a transcript, excerpts from which follow. Emphases mine:

American money man, philosopher and billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffet said: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

He was talking about business models – how when times are good everyone might seem to be doing ok, but when times turn bad, and there are always bad times, the reckless and bad ideas get woefully exposed.

As soon as the virus arrived among us, our democratically-elected governments, eagerly abetted by their preferred scientific advisors, threw away all the plans they had had for dealing with a pandemic – plans laid down after years of preparation and discussion, plans in line with advice from the World Health Organisation – and replaced them overnight with tactics lifted straight – I can only assume – from the Chinese Communist Party’s Big Boy’s Book of totalitarian control. All over Europe and the developed West it was the same. Talk about Plan B – where had they kept this one hidden, a person might have asked, if questions had been allowed, but they were not.

They helped themselves, those elected representatives of the tax-paying, law-abiding public – to powers unprecedented in peacetime, the sort of powers indeed that might give dictators and emperors excited dreams. With the craven complicity of the so-called political opposition, they drafted and passed outrageously invasive laws with barely so much as a nod to discussion or debate in Westminster. Before we knew where we were, the old world of taken-for-granted freedom had been papered over with a dystopia.

It was around then, though – within weeks of the outbreak starting, and certainly within a few months – that the tide started to go out and the truth began to be revealed, made obvious for those looking the right way. The naked swimmers were clearly to be seen.

Long ago now – long ago in terms of policies that have ruined lives, destroyed livelihoods, lethally endangered the health prospects of uncountable numbers of people and compromised the educations and therefore the hopes and dreams, not to mention the mental health and general wellbeing, of a generation of children – there were all manner of voices saying how wrong it all was.

Among them, and worth listening to more than any others in the spectrum of dissenting voices, were those of other scientists and, perhaps most pertinently, medical professionals of unimpeachable expertise and experience, with lifetimes devoted to the treatment and care of respiratory viruses and battling courageously to be heard. Again and again, they sought to highlight and to explain the wrong-headedness of what was being done, allegedly in the name of public health. Always they were shouted down, shamed, ridiculed, humiliated, even ruined professionally for having had the temerity to raise doubts and offer alternative solutions.

And of course, our governments did not – absolutely and unequivocally could not – have done all this alone. For me, in many ways worst of all has been the complicity, in the reprehensible behaviour, indulged in by so much of the mainstream media

The governments, listening all the while to the psychologists in the Nudge Unit, decided to fire up the fear train and the mainstream media were at their side for the duration. We, the people, it was blatantly decided, were to be frightened out of our wits so that governments could have their way with us, all for the greater good. Whatever they wanted us to do, they would use the seemingly unstoppable momentum of the fear train to carry all of us where they wanted us taken.

First aboard, like ticket inspectors and guards – were faces made so familiar by their daily appearance in our homes courtesy of news broadcasts. All aboard went the BBC, Sky, ITV, C4 and the rest. High profile journalists and all manner of well-kent faces took turns shovelling coal into the firebox, making the train’s engine run faster and faster … the most prominent news providers in the land were instantly and always on the governments’ backs – demanding faster … faster … faster … more … more … more.

Two years later and here we are, wherever here actually is. Like many populations around the developed Western world we have arrived at a destination many of us struggle to recognise. The buildings and streets look the same, right enough, but everything else is altered. Society is riven with divisions – between vaxxed and unvaxxed; mask wearers and bare faces, those who were helped financially and those that were hung out to dry. Those divides are deep and feel permanent. Great Britain is half a trillion pounds in debt. It has been estimated that 50,000 people who might by now have had cancers diagnosed and embarked upon treatment are, as yet, unaware of the awful news coming their way sooner or later. Six million people await treatment by Our NHS.

In the past few days here on GB News we have highlighted the results of a freedom of information request made to the Office of National Statistics. Coverage of the reply has been absent from the mainstream media. The ONS was asked how many otherwise healthy people had died in England and Wales of Covid and nothing else. The answer was 17,371 across the two years, average age over 82. These figures are comparable, to say the least, with the death toll that might be expected from a typical flu season.

All lives matter, including those 17,371. But there are nearly 70 million people in Britain. Around 700,000 of us die every year, of all manner of causes.

I look at these facts, these figures, and I cannot begin to imagine making sense of what has been done, apparently in the name of public health. Time will surely tell, as I and others have predicted before, that policies followed in these two years past will prove to have been the worst policy mistakes in peacetime – perhaps ever.

The tide I mentioned earlier, that revealing tide, is receding fast now. More and more naked swimmers – politicians, advisors and journalists among them – are to be seen running for cover behind the sand dunes, clutching at towels as they go. But we can see them. We know who they are. Some of them, more every day, have even had the unmitigated gall to think they could hurriedly get dressed again, without anyone noticing, so as to pretend they were never in the water in the first place.

Neil Oliver is not wrong. In fact, in the past few days, various vocal commentators in the public sphere have begun saying that they never supported the coronavirus policies. Really? Pull the other one.

He concludes:

There is still so much we don’t know – still so much we are not supposed to talk about, ask questions about … Maybe when talk of a new variant comes along, and it surely will, and the government tries to get us back in our boxes, some of those journalists might join the rest of us in saying Never Again. Or maybe they won’t. Anyway, as I say, the tide is well and truly out now and the naked swimmers are plain to see.

All drama aside, there are consequences coming, a great wave of them – economy, health, the as-yet unmeasured damage to our children and unanswered questions about which, if any, of our institutions we can trust. What has been done these last two years by those we had been encouraged to trust, will be hard to forgive, and impossible to forget.

I am incensed that England was locked down for 17,371 deaths.

Some of those deaths were in Wales, too, but the Welsh decided to vote Labour in May 2021 and remade their collective, socialist bed, thereby retaining Mark Drakeford as Prif Weinidog (First Minister). May they rest easy in it …

Guido Fawkes tells us that the title Prif Weinidog translates literally to Prime Minister (emphases in the original):

Speaking to BBC reporter Mark Hutchings, who asked Drakeford whether he planned to set a firm date for the lifting of Wales’ Covid restrictions, the First Minister said:

“No I won’t because I’m the Prime Minister of Wales, not a horoscope writer for a daily newspaper. And it’s simply impossible for anybody to peer into the future of coronavirus with the sort of definiteness you were suggesting.”

Hutchings later gave Drakeford the benefit of the doubt by suggesting it was just a “slip“. Probably, although Drakeford also changed his Twitter handle to “@PrifWeinidog” back in October – a direct Welsh translation of Prime Minister…

Returning to England, thank goodness that a rump of Conservative backbenchers rebelled against Boris late last year in voting against Plan B before Christmas. Even though Plan B passed, thanks to Labour, Boris did not push Plan C at the end of December.

Back in March 2020, MPs pledged not to make the pandemic about politics. It did not take long, however, for it to become purely political, especially in Wales and Scotland.

Thank goodness for Conservative MPs with backbone — and for the revelations about the Downing Street parties. Both prevented England from a sharper lockdown.

The Government lifted restrictions in England on Thursday, January 26. May they never return.

Neil Oliver is right: the fallout from the pandemic policies will be great.

The dominant classes in the UK are moving ever leftward.

Meanwhile, everyone else is centrist or decidedly conservative. We’ve noticed our standards of living slip. This probably would have happened without the pandemic, only more slowly.

On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, The Telegraph‘s Allister Heath had a good column on what’s happening: ‘Catastrophic elite failure is destroying the economic foundations of the West’.

Heath blames monetary policies for capitalism’s current weakness in the West (emphases mine):

In Britain and abroad, years of monetary vandalism, fuelled by hubris, neglect, economic amnesia and incompetent short-termism, are destroying capitalism’s ability to function efficiently and equitably. An obsession with near-zero interest rates and QE is engineering a vicious redistribution, propping up washed-out politicians and empowering a zombie class of unproductive private-sector bureaucrats.

He then goes on to discuss what is happening in the UK:

Savers are being mugged: over the past year, at least 4.2 per cent, and perhaps even 6 per cent, of the value of bank accounts was stealthily confiscated by resurgent inflation, and the average worker is being subjected to a real terms pay cut. For all of the talk of “levelling up”, and the genuine rise in relative wages in some sectors such as lorry driving, tens of millions of workers are witnessing, to their growing fury, the salami-slicing of their purchasing power, even before the National Insurance rise.

Heath says that the overall problem is:

the shared self-interest of our politico-technocratic ruling class …

… which has led to:

a series of catastrophic, self-reinforcing consequences.

It is true that the rich get richer. The middle and working classes have less purchasing power. It used to be that most Britons could buy their own homes. Not any more.

Heath points out that this is not just an economic problem but also a social one, affecting the family structure:

Cheap and easy money is destroying conservatism and liberalism, and shifting Britain to the Left politically, morally and culturally. On the one hand, work has become less rewarding; on the other, ultra-low mortgages and QE have dramatically enriched the 65 per cent of the population who possess their own home these past couple of decades, while the 35 per cent who don’t have fallen far behind. Owners of certain financial assets have also done very well from cheap credit, as have those with index-linked pensions; other savers are being hammered. Creditors are losing, debtors are winning.

This isn’t genuine, free-market capitalism: it is a warped, corrupting ersatz that is destroying the social compact. It undermines family formation. It sends a debilitating signal that the only way to become rich is to be rich in the first place, that thrift and hard work are a waste of time, that delayed gratification is for fools, that debt-financed hedonism is the answer. It will also fuel a disastrous class warfare, and embolden the hard Left to call for mansion taxes, all-out wealth levies, higher minimum wages and enhanced trade union powers, destroying what is left of the economy.

Quantitative easing (QE) — cheap money — was once considered an imprudent policy. It was never conservative, but now, it has become the norm:

People’s QE, which started as a fringe hard-Left idea, is mainstream; many “experts” now argue that we should increase our “excessively low” national debt by at least 50 per cent.

Heath goes to say that ‘woke corporations’ are another result of QE:

Cheap money is even behind the rise of the woke corporation, including the emergence of an unproductive yet highly paid segment of the middle class devoted to virtue-signalling. Inflation, by damaging risk-free savings such as cash and gilts, has encouraged riskier investment in stocks and shares, helping big fund managers, especially those that operate tracker funds, to tighten their grip. Because these funds don’t seek to beat the market, they have embraced an alternative role as woke enforcers, forcing private firms to sign up to endless green and social targets.

He says that governments must stop relying on QE and they must rein in spending:

We need to wean ourselves from QE. Governments must rein in spending. It’s either that, or wait until what is left of our societies is eventually taken down by the greatest financial reckoning in history.

That is one of the most honest appraisals of our economic and social situation I’ve ever read.

It’s time for more financial commentators to tell us the raw truth.

About 20 years ago, Britain’s Channel 4 showed a fascinating multi-part documentary on the Georgians.

The Georgians (1714-1837) were divided into two camps: God-fearing families and the underground movement of libertines who revelled at secret clubs in London.

While a pater familias might read an improving book, including the Bible, to his family after supper, young homosexuals were preparing for a night out, hidden from view, where they played the role of pregnant women with cheese wheels stuffed up their shirts.

The Victorians followed. Morality reigned supreme, at least on the surface.

Where is Britain today?

On July 28, 2021, The Times‘s Laura Freeman posited that we are probably closer to the Victorians, where everything came in for censure. We are no different in our moral outrage, criticising everything, from the lack of mask wearing to school curricula (emphases mine):

What a dreary period we’re living through; what a tutting, humourless lot we’ve become. Lace your corsets tighter, girls. Gentlemen, tip your stovepipe hats. Ours is a finger-wagging age. “Shame!” goes the cry. Shame on Matt Hancock for his undistanced grabbing. Shame on the chancellor who attempted to test and release. Shame on the health secretary who dared to say “cower”. Shame on Carrie for her Prince Regent tastes. Shame on JK Rowling, shame on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Shame on the panic buyers, the holidaymakers, the nightclubbers and shame, shame, shame on the man who put a firework up his bum. Shame, most of all, on any comedian who cracks an off-colour joke. The howl goes up on Twitter: We Are Not Amused.

How very Victorian it is, this purse-lipped Ruskinism, this prim pretence of moral outrage. It may be a myth that the Victorians covered their piano legs lest polished curves inflame the passions, but bodies were rigidly buttoned and gloves resolutely kept on. Let no Victorian daughter go out without her white kid gloves and let no modern Miss board a train without her floral facemask. We can just about cope with an ankle, but not an uncovered nose.

When details leak of the Downing Street decor, we clutch our jet necklaces and invoke William Morris: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” No useless Lulu Lytle cushions, then. Meanwhile, like Thomas Bowdler with his Family Shakespeare, “in which nothing is added to the original text; but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family”, we want to clean up the curriculum, sanitise our school set-texts. May no improper word or deed corrupt our kiss-curled Little Nells. All new Young Adult books must now pass the pince-nez test of the publisher’s “sensitivity reader”. On Twitter we are horrified, appalled and disgusted. We have fainting fits, demand cancellations, resignations and a bottle of sal volatile.

Laura Freeman says we need to look at the Georgian era to rebalance the spectrum, but several problems emerge with her suggestion. We are too dumbed down to appreciate either satire or liberty. By the way, my English class in high school had to read Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal one Friday afternoon:

Recognise that when Jonathan Swift — or today’s Substack equivalent — writes A Modest Proposal he isn’t actually advocating that the Irish eat their babies. Allow for irony. Accept that authors ought to be mad, bad and dangerous to follow. Byron had to be accused of incest, sodomy and assorted infamous crimes before he went into exile. All the modern author has to do is grope for the old word for woman.

Talking of groping: how I would have liked to see Gillray let loose on Hancock, or Hogarth engrave a satire on the No 10 flat. It isn’t that Hogarth never shook his head or taught a lesson. This is the man who invented the Modern Moral Subject, but the moral had to make you laugh along the way. Hogarth understood that sin is fun and vice is nice until it isn’t. That’s why we drink and cheat and lie and shop until we drop with debt.

In his chapter on the journalist and politician John Wilkes, [author Robert] Peal tells the story of Wilkes’s imprisonment in April 1763 for criticising the “odious measures” put forward in that year’s King’s Speech. When Wilkes was taken to court, his supporters cheered from the gallery. The judge demanded silence. He would not be swayed by a rabble.

“That is not the clamour of a rabble, my Lord,’’ replied Wilkes, “but the voice of Liberty, which must and shall be heard!” Not even the King could cancel Wilkes.

So, unpurse those lips, unlace those stays and with Alexander Pope proclaim: “The man that loves and laughs, must sure do well.”

No, that would never do in 2021. British society, on the whole, is too far gone. Many begged for lockdowns last year and cancel culture reigns supreme.

We are now in two camps.

One, dominated by the media, the Left and the elites, is fully in the Victorian one: demanding facemasks, lamenting our EU exit and calling for various academics to resign for not holding ‘correct’ social views.

The other, less influential but more prevalent among the rest of the population, including tradesmen and other small business owners, is Georgian: appreciating a good laugh, a walk down to the pub and, well, fun.

It seems as if we will remain ‘Victorian’ for quite some time yet.

On June 24, 2020, John MacArthur posted a sermon, ‘Act Like Men’, with the key phrase from the Bible, ‘be strong and courageous’:

It is one hour and six minutes long and, as you would expect, every minute is well spent watching and listening.

Without saying it explicitly, MacArthur disparages the welfare state which has caused millions of men to relinquish their family responsibilities.

Those of us who have had responsible fathers will greatly appreciate what the founder of Grace To You and Master’s Seminary has to say to men in the modern world.

In order to place this into context, you might wish to read my post from June 29, ‘John MacArthur videos about the protests’, which offers excellent advice about what to do in our journey as Christians.

Excerpts from the ‘Act Like Men’ transcript follow, emphases mine.

MacArthur begins by saying that, in the wake of the protests across the United States and the rest of Western world, he called a meeting of men from his congregation and Master’s Seminary — particularly men of colour — to enlighten him further. He asked them to give him five working points for a Christian agenda moving forward:

These are young Black men that gave up a chunk of their time to sit with me and talk through some of these issues. Thanks to Carl Hargrove for kind of leading that discussion which was powerfully fruitful for me

So I said to these men after about two hours plus of talking together, and it was a very gracious and loving communication. I said, “So give me five things that we need to do as believers in Jesus Christ to reach across racial lines and bring the gospel to these people and have it received.” So I said, “You get five shots, and I’ll have this as the introduction to my sermon.” So here we go. This is what they said to me.

Number One: “Tell people that racism is a sin.” Racism is a sin, isn’t it. Any kind of hate is a sin, and racism is an utterly irrational hate. Racism is what causes genocide, what caused the Holocaust, what causes ethnic battles all across the planet as long as there’s been human history. But then men in their natural state hate God, and the Bible says they hate each other. The first crime was a murder based upon anger, based upon hate, when Cain killed his brother.

Any kind of hate is a sin. Any kind of racial hate is an irrational expanded form of hate coming from any human heart; it is reflective of the fallenness of that heart. And we also know in our society that there are some people who have received more of that than others. We need to make it very clear that to hate anyone on any basis or any group of people is a sin against God of monumental proportions.

Secondly: “We need to show compassion, compassion to those who’ve experienced this.” And lots of people have. We need to open our hearts and weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. Jesus looked at the multitudes and had compassion. Even when He went to the grave of Lazarus, He wept; and He knew He was going to raise him from the dead, and He still wept. That’s the heart of Jesus.

Life is hard, and it has been especially hard for some groups of people; and that certainly speaks to the issue of the history of Black people in America. For those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, they don’t want to hear the statistics, but they would love to know you have compassion for them.

Thirdly, we talked about the fact that, “We need to listen.” And that’s pretty much a basic principle, isn’t it: slow to speak and quick to hear. We may have all the theological answers, we may have all the statistical answers, but can we keep our mouths closed long enough to hear the heart of someone else? Engaging someone with the gospel is so much more effective if that comes in the context of having heard their heart.

Number Four they said: “Use these days as an opportunity to show the love of Christ.” This was really rich advice for me. Say racism is a sin, and it is. Any kind of hate coming from anybody in any direction and you can see that it is tearing this culture to shreds.

Show compassion, listen, and use these opportunities as an occasion to show love. That’s four; got one more. And the final one was this: “The only thing that’s going to break the cycle of our problems in this country is godly fathers. Help us develop godly fathers.” Now you might say that was a providence of God that it happened the week of Father’s Day. Sure set me up for this morning because I want to talk about fathers.

Here are the current American statistics on fatherhood. These involve the main demographics, by the way. The statistics are probably similar, proportionally, throughout the Western world. Please read these and note them well:

Here’s the current reality. Twenty-five million children in our country live without a biological father – one out of three. Grades 1 to 12, forty percent of children live without a biological father in the home. Over fifty percent currently of children are born outside marriage. Eighty-five percent of prisoners grew up in a fatherless home. Eighty-five percent of children with behavioral disorders came from fatherless homes. Ninety percent of youth who run away and become homeless come from fatherless homes. Children from fatherless homes are three hundred percent more likely to deal drugs and carry weapons.

This is a holocaust. And it’s not limited to any group of ethnic people, it is a national holocaust. The statistics I gave you are across the board for our country. Just that one statistic, eighty-five percent of prisoners grew up in a fatherless home, is a terrifying reality.

I used to hear when I was a kid that if you had a good mother you could have any ol’ schtick for a dad. That’s not true. I used to hear when I was a kid preachers say, “You men, it’s important how you live, you Christian men, because your children will get their view of God from you.” That’s ridiculous. They don’t get their view of God from me, they get their view of God from the Bible. That’s an insult to God. What they do get from me is their view of a man. Children will get their view of a man and what a man is from the father.

There, I must disagree, at least in part. I have posted a few entries on fathers and clergy who have not fulfilled their respective responsibilities, either in the family or in the Church:

Here’s what happens when Dad doesn’t attend church

Consistent churchgoing habits important for children

The Methodist Church advocates man-centredness — survey (2010)

Which is more deplorable, the gun culture or the fatherless culture?

What kind of father doesn’t protect his family? (concerns bishops)

But I digress.

Back to John MacArthur:

Sexual immorality, relentless assault of feminism, overexposure to perversion, complete collapse of homes has just produced generations of bad fathers. And the reality is nothing is more devastating to a society than that, nothing. And on the other hand, the only hope for stability and the only hope for sanity, the only hope for peace in a society is masculine, virtuous men.

Some will find that hard to absorb. However, think of the rise of the welfare state over the past half-century. That might begin to put this into context. A virtuous life is not about absentee fathers or Big Government acting as a husband or father. If you sire a child, you need to be there as part of a family unit.

Even if one disagrees with that, it is hard to disagree that, during the past 50 years or so, the further we slip into moral laxity, the more we see evil. In fact, we’re seeing unimaginable evil. We thought we would be nice and allow people to do what they please. Now we see the results of that ill-advised experiment:

Evil abounds absolutely everywhere. How men respond to its presence determines the survival and well-being of a society. Let me say that again: “Evil abounds everywhere. How men respond to its presence determines the survival and well-being of that society.” One psychologist said, “Masculinity is taking responsibility to reduce evil and produce good.”

No culture will ever rise above the character of its men: fathers. The feminist lie has been that patriarchy is bad. It is tyrannical. It is toxic. It needs to be destroyed. And they’ve been doing it for decades. To destroy masculinity, to destroy strong male leadership and character leads to the current disaster: irresponsible men running loose in the streets terrorizing a society. Weak men have given us this legacy. Weak men produce the death of society. And men are in a crisis today, they are being continually told to try to get in touch with their feminine side, so they have become defensive about their masculinity.

Women rise higher and higher and higher and more frequently into positions of leadership, as men feel overwhelmed and overpowered and unable to fight against the trend. Oh, there are lots of men at the gym, pretty buff, have some muscles, but they’re doing virtually nothing to stop the tide of evil in the world. And by the way, in case women haven’t begun to realize it: weak, immoral men abuse women, and they produce more weak, immoral sons. No, children don’t get their view of God from their father, but they do get their view of what a man is. And we are in some serious trouble because the current crop of men are infecting the children.

There are two views in the Bible on generational sin. If one repents of a generational sin, one has wiped his slate clean. See Ezekiel 18:19-20:

19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

Yet, where there is no repentance from generation to generation, the sin endures as a punishable act:

Listen to the Word of God, Exodus chapter 20 and verse 5: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” Listen to Exodus 34:7, “God will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.” God says it again in Deuteronomy 5:9 and 10, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Repeatedly, God says corrupt fathers create in society a legacy of corruption that is generational. He’s not saying that a son would be punished for a father’s sin; clearly that is not the case. Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone will be put to death for his own sin.” We’re not talking about an individual suffering punishment for another person’s sin. What we are saying is fathers – plural – who are corrupt leave a legacy that will not be overturned in three or four generations. And if the next generation is corrupt, it pushes that out another three or four, and the next generation another three or four, and it becomes an impossible cycle.

In the words of the prophet Zechariah as he begins his prophecy, “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, ‘The Lord was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Return to Me,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I may return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers.”’” Something has to break the cycle.

This is what happens without repentance:

Clearly, a generation dominated by sinful fathers will bear the crushing consequence of their sinful progenitors. Their children will suffer. Their grandchildren will suffer. Their great-grandchildren will suffer. No generation exists in isolation or as an island. A wicked society defined as wicked by the behavior of the men won’t be rooted out for multiple generations. So it isn’t that people get their view of God from a father, but they do get their view of what a father is, and if it’s the wrong view, it’s just purposely repeated again and again and again.

So, as Christians, what do we do? First, we need to acknowledge that we are all prone to sin. When we give in to sin, we give in to all sorts of carnality. On the other hand, when we are alive in Christ, God’s infinite grace enables us to resist temptation through faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

The default position of every man is corruption, right? It’s the most natural thing they do is sin. The most accessible affect of that sin is on the women in their lives, and then on the children in their lives, and then it extends to everybody else.

The problem is, “There’s none righteous, no, not one. They’re all evil,” as we read in Romans 3. They don’t seek after God. They hate God, they hate others, and they’re influencing their children while they’re harming their wives. I understand why there’s a women’s movement. And even though it’s wrong and totally devastates a society, pushes women into places they were never intended to be and men out of the places they were intended to be, I understand it because of the corruption of men.

So where do we begin? We have to begin as believers who have new natures, right? We are new creations in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit, and we start by breaking the cycle. It’s not going to be broken, it’s still around, right? What you’re seeing today in the chaos of this culture, what you see in the weakness and foolishness of people in high places, what you see is just the reality that corrupt fathers destroy society.

MacArthur then begins discussing one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: fortitude. As we are in the season of Pentecost — please do ignore the term ‘Ordinary Time’ — it is important that we take some lessons from the weeks from Pentecost until the end of the Church year, just before December.

Fortitude is no casual word. It is not restricted to men alone, however, it is in scarce supply these days among some of today’s men, enough to make a difference in Western society:

Fortitude. What is fortitude? It’s a great word. Firmness, strength of soul that faces danger with courage and bears loss and pain without complaint. Fortitude: “Firmness and strength of soul that faces danger with courage and bears loss and pain without complaint.” That’s not a theological definition, that’s just a definition of the word.

When you say a man has fortitude, you’re talking about someone who doesn’t compromise even when there’s danger, even when that danger escalates to fear and pain. Fortitude is a combination of conviction, courage, and endurance – conviction, courage, and endurance. It is the willingness – it is not just the willingness, I would say it’s even the desire to risk, to literally create challenges if they’re not already there, to attack difficulty, to challenge difficulty head on, to bear suffering with courage. This is what makes a man a man, and this is the kind of man in whom a woman finds her security, finds her protection; and in that kind of relationship, the woman’s femininity flourishes.

Men are those who should be the protectors, the purifiers, who secure their wives, who secure their children, who accomplish all that needs to be done to reduce evil in a society and produce good; and yet this society for years and decades has had men busy producing evil, and diminishing good. True manliness is bound up in the word “courage.” That is the virtue that marks a real man. Truth, conviction, courage.

Turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 16, 1 Corinthians chapter 16. At the end of this wonderful letter, near the end, is tucked a very important verse, actually two verses: verses 13 and 14. Listen to what the apostle Paul says: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” “Be on the alert,” – danger is everywhere – “stand firm in the faith,” – don’t waiver in your belief and convictions – “act like men,” – What does that mean? Fortitude, uncompromising courage – “be strong.” The New King James actually says, “Be brave, be strong.” “Act like men” essentially means to conduct one’s self in a courageous way, to conduct one’s self in a courageous way.

Courage is the stock-in-trade of a man: courage in the face of danger, courage in the face of temptation, courage in the face of loss, courage in the face of suffering. This strength of verse 13, essentially four statements saying, one way or another, “Be strong.” Is then balanced in verse 14 by, “Let all that you do be done in love.” And how important is it to add that. There’s nothing more manly than a man with consummate conviction, courage, and endurance, who is marked by love. That’s a man – not weak, not vacillating, not fearful; and loving.

Real men face life with this kind of fortitude. They’re watchful of the dangers around them. They’re alert. They’re protectors of their wives and children, and of their friends and all the people over whom they have influence. They have convictions about what is true. They have courage to live out those convictions and the strength to be unwavering when those convictions will cost them everything. Your convictions, they’re only real convictions if they hold up under the most intense pressure.

MacArthur then goes into the many Bible verses with the words ‘be strong and courageous’:

In Deuteronomy 31, Moses is passing the mantle on to Joshua, and in verse 6, Deuteronomy 31, he says this: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them,” – meaning your enemies – “for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” “Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” That’s the greatest transitional leadership speech ever.

Look at … 2 Samuel chapter 10 and verse 12. This is Joab to the Israelites who were facing opposition, strong opposition, tremendously strong opposition. Back in verse 6, it lays out the forces that were coming against them. But in verse 12, Joab says to the Israelites, “Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”

First Kings chapter 2. In 1 Kings chapter 2, David addresses Solomon his son. “David’s time to die drew near. He charged Solomon his son, saying, ‘I’m going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke.’” Moses to Joshua, Joab to the Israelites, David to Solomon.

For another view of David’s speech to his son Solomon, look at 1 Chronicles chapter 22. I’m showing you these because I want you to see how common this is. First Chronicles 22, David calls for his son to build the house of God, and we can pick it up in verse 11: “Now, my son, the Lord be with you that you may be successful, and build the house of the Lord your God just as He has spoken concerning you. Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you’re careful to observe the statues and ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.” All of these declarations assume that your devotion to God is going to be tested, and you’re going to have to be strong. It’s going to be tested, no way around it.

David says again, 1 Chronicles 28:20, to his son Solomon, he gives this speech another time: “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” Just a couple more.

Toward the end of 2 Chronicles, Hezekiah is speaking to men in positions of leadership. Hezekiah, chapter 32 of 2 Chronicles, the first verse: “After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came, invaded Judah, besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself. Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come invading Judah and he intended to make war on Jerusalem; he decided with his officers and warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs” – this was a siege – “which were outside the city, and they helped him. So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and streams which flowed through the region, saying, ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, built another outside wall, strengthened the Millo in the city of David, made weapons and shields in great number, appointed military officers over the people and gathered them in the square of the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, and this is what he said: ‘Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’” That’s a great pep talk, isn’t it, for an army. Psalm 27:14 says, “Be strong and let your heart take courage.”

Men don’t give in to fear. Men don’t give in to pressure. Men don’t give in to intimidation, and they don’t give in to temptation. They don’t seek the easy way. They will take the pain, they will invite the risk, they will confront the challenge, and they will not bow to the pressure to compromise the commandments of God. Strength of a man is that he lives on principle, that he lives on conviction, that he has the courage of those convictions, stands strong against everything that comes at those convictions, bravely faces the challenges in a fortified way. Manly fortitude means contending with difficulty, facing every enemy, meeting the enemy head on, bearing the pain, maintaining self-discipline, upholding truth, pressing on to the goal. That’s what defines a man.

MacArthur cites more examples. God spoke the same words to Joshua in the presence of Moses:

I want to show you another passage back in Joshua, right at the beginning of Joshua. Moses gives this speech again as he passes the baton, as it were, to Joshua. He says to him in chapter 1 of Joshua, verse 5, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.” This is God now speaking, God is the one speaking. “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.”

So here it comes not from Moses to Joshua, but from God to Joshua in the presence of Moses. And here’s what God says to Joshua, verse 6: “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”

And here comes the key to that. How do you live like that? How do you live with that strength and courage? How do you live without ever compromising? Verse 8: “This book of the law” – the Word of God – “shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” It’s an incredible speech from God.

“Be strong” – verse 5 – “because God will be with you,” – “because you’re fulfilling a divine cause, a promise from God.” Verses 7 and 8, “The only way you can do this is to submit to the Word of God so that it constantly is in your mind and you live out its truths.” You will be able to be obedient if you’re saturated by the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God.

Can you see why this speech is repeated so many, many times? This is the mark of a man. It takes a father like that to raise a son like that. Spiritual men are courageous, strong, principled, uncompromising, and bold. This is God’s role for men to play in a society, but it is also God’s role for the men to play who are the leaders of His people Israel. And this is God’s standard for the men who lead His church.

This is what we should expect from our clergy:

When we come into the New Testament and we are introduced to the kind of men that the Lord commands to lead His church. This is how He describes them in 1 Timothy 3: “This man must be above reproach, a one-woman man, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (if a man doesn’t know how to manage his own children, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” High standards for a pastor, an elder.

To Titus, Paul says similarly, “Appoint elders. If a man is above reproach, one-woman man, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion; for the overseer” – or the shepherd, pastor, bishop – “must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he’ll be able to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict.” This is the kind of men who lead the church.

Why is the standard so high for the leaders of the church? Because the leaders of the church have the responsibility to set the pattern for what manliness looks like in a godly environment. It’s not that they alone should be like this, it is that they should be like this so the others can see what a man should be. It isn’t that the Lord wants to pick up all the pastors and elders and take them to another level of spirituality which no one could attain, it is rather that this is what God expects from every man. But it’s got to be modeled. Men like that and men, as Ephesians 5 said, who love their wives like Christ loved the church, and who are protectors of their wives and who literally are the saviors of their wives, are the kind of men who become a haven for the wife, who make her feel secure and protected, nourished, cherished. And when children grow up in a home where the man secures the woman and the children, there’s peace.

So, how have we gone so far astray?

This culture has turned on God, eliminated His Word. The bible and the gospel is an enemy.

One wonders what John MacArthur thinks of President Trump. To my knowledge, he has not been invited to the White House. I wish that President Trump would invite him. That would make for an interesting transcript.

But I digress. MacArthur says:

The leaders of this nation have no interest in God or in His Word, and they are basically running this country right into hell as fast as they can. The only thing that’s going to stop this is not a group of feminized men who thinks God just wants to give them what they want so they can be happy. What this world needs is not sensitive men, it needs strong men. We live in a world of compromise, more than compromise. You could barely call it compromise because there’s nothing left of that which is good, so what are they compromising with.

That said, it is clear that MacArthur, a Californian, disapproves of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s views. Newsom is a self-proclaimed Catholic. Here’s a 2008 video of the two of them on the old Larry King Show on CNN when Newsom was the mayor of San Francisco and married to his second wife at the time:

Now on to the word ‘integrity’:

To add another word to your thoughts about this, I would say that people who have no price have integrity, integrity. So we talk about fortitude, let me talk about integrity. “People who have no price have integrity.”

What is integrity? It is essentially unbreakable fortitude. Integrity is defined as steadfast adherence to a moral code. It comes from “integer,” which means “whole” or “complete.” Its synonyms are “honesty,” “sincerity,” “simplicity,” “incorruptibility.” It’s antonym is “duplicity” or “hypocrisy.” A person who lacks integrity is a hypocrite. Integrity means that you live by your convictions: you say what you believe, you hold to what you believe, you’re immoveable. That’s wholeness. That’s integrity: you are one. It was said long ago of a preacher that he preached very well, but he lived better. The world is a seducer, and Satan is a seducing deceiver, pushing us into compromise, and therefore into hypocrisy.

When our Lord indicted the scribes and Pharisees who were the frequent objects of His blistering attacks. Inevitably it was on their integrity that He assaulted them. For example, in Matthew 23:3, He said, “They say things and do not do them.”

MacArthur, who is truly blessed, has a number of additional observations. As such, I would invite you to read or watch his sermon in full.

In short, manliness does not involve belonging to a street gang.

Each man, at some point, will have to rely upon his own wits, determination and fortitude to resolve his own trials, whether they be his own or those of his family.

We need to recover the biblical ideal of manliness, which has kept Western society protected for centuries. It hasn’t always succeeded, but we are fallen people, susceptible to temptation and sin.

Men have been beaten into the ground for decades. This must be remedied:

We need a generation of men who are alert to danger, who stand firm in the faith, who are courageous with the Word of God, uncompromising and strong.

And, listen, everything about this that I’ve said indicates they will be tested. Manliness will be tested. Conviction will be tested. Courage will be tested. Strength will be tested. The pressure will come, it’ll come in unexpected ways, but it’ll come. You may get away with your statement of conviction for years, but there will come a test, and many men will shock the people who knew them by selling out, compromising, abandoning their integrity, playing the hypocrite out of cowardice. This falls into a translation of Romans 12:2. Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.

Stay strong. Stand firm in the faith, as Saint Paul did.

The world needs real men now more than ever, especially to stand by principled women.

Happy New Year!

Happy new decade!

I enjoy, albeit with trepidation at times, looking back at the decades I’ve lived through and charting the change from beginning to end.

O tempora, o mores!

1960s

In 1960, growing up in the United States, I remember that things were still quite formal. Most people took care in the way they spoke and in their appearance. They were careful to conduct their households in a respectable manner. By the middle of the decade, that began to change but not too noticeably.

By 1968, a social revolution was underway, including sexually. What was once private became public. Attire reflected that. Women began wearing skirts above the knee. Men’s clothes became more form-fitting.

Sloppiness and drugs became fashionable with the advent of hippies. Even though they were a small minority, they received a lot of media coverage. A slogan connected with them — ‘If it feels good, do it’ — began to pervade society at large.

Cinema and television reflected this change.

At home, Americans moved from watching westerns to tuning into a zany comedy hour. In 1960, Gunsmoke was the most viewed programme. In 1969, it was Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Gunsmoke had moved to sixth place in the Nielsen ratings.

Film genres and themes also shifted. In 1960, the great epics were popular, with Spartacus the highest grossing film and Exodus coming third. Psycho was second. In 1969, while Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was in the top slot, Midnight Cowboy was at No. 3, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice was No. 6 and an X-rated movie, I Am Curious (Yellow) was No. 12. It would have been unthinkable in 1960 that an urban drama about homosexuality, a movie about swingers and one that was pornographic would have been so popular nine years later.

1970s

The cultural shift continued in the 1970s. American magazines and newspapers devoted many column inches to social drop-outs experimenting with communal living. Swingers were becoming popular in suburbia. Again, those were two small sub-groups of society, but everyone — even the most respectable — knew about these two phenomena.

Pop music got bolder, more sexualised. I remember in high school that we talked a lot about sex and could hardly wait to start dating so that we could experiment. Our parents wondered what was wrong with us. The idea of sin and the forbidden went out the window. ‘If it feels good, do it’ had spread to the middle classes. Previously forbidden carnal acts were encouraged as being completely ‘natural’. This furthered the evolution of a shame-free society. Today, I read that some teenagers don’t kiss on a first date; instead they engage in oral sex.

Interestingly, one of the most suggestive singers of the decade, Eric Carmen of the Raspberries, laments where this has led today:

I remember neighbours of ours getting divorced. The wife said that she could earn her own living now, thank you very much. The husband was heartbroken. We felt sorry for their two children. Until then, my family and I personally did not know any couples who got divorced. It just didn’t happen to everyday individuals. However, divorce rates continued to rise and, these days, no one bats an eyelid.

More women started working. What began as a liberating elective would turn out to be a mandatory means of survival in marriage in the years that followed. Few of us knew that then, though.

Returning to music, it was a great decade for youngsters. FM radio produced rather excellent stations devoted to little known genres that never reached Top 40 AM stations. Through them, we discovered prog rock from Britain: Yes, Rick Wakeman, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, to name but three musical greats. There were many more, too numerous to mention here.

Near the end of the decade we had disco. Saturday Night Fever was a huge box office hit and propelled John Travolta from television (Welcome Back Kotter) to cinema fame.

The most popular television sitcoms, such as Welcome Back Kotter, were all set in metropolitan areas. In terms of television in general, The Waltons was probably the only show with a rural setting.

Halfway through the decade, I spent a year in France, which was much quieter than the US socially and still quite formal, even though the more leftist state university students were generally unkempt and unwashed. In many respects, the country was a bridge between the 1960s and the 1970s in the nicest possible way.

1980s

Leaving university, I recall that many of my friends latched onto the Reagan zeitgeist and became conservatives.

They turned into their parents and lost the fun-loving verve they once had. I stayed single the longest, so was more acutely aware of a shift into respectability and suburban living.

I lived in a major US city then, earning my own way in life. For relaxation, I used to go to matinees at the weekend. The price of admission was cheaper and the cinemas were nearly empty, giving me the impression I had the big screen all to myself.

I saw a lot of world films in the first part of that decade, some from Brazil and Australia but mostly Britain and France. French film became a passion. Even one of the UHF television channels showed French films from the 1950s. Bliss.

As far as music was concerned, my favourite FM station played British and European singles apart from reggae on Sunday afternoons. More bliss.

Then, around 1986, something began to change. Although my favourite radio station stayed the same, the movie theatres weren’t showing as many foreign films. Within a couple of years, they stopped showing them altogether. One of my lifelines had vanished, sadly. The American films that replaced them were not very good, either, so I stopped going to the cinema.

Everything became very one-dimensional. America, somehow, had lost the link with the zeitgeist of European culture, which it never recovered. It used to be that people in the 1960s and early 1970s made a two- or three-week trip to western Europe to see the historic sites they learned about in school. It was what we today would call a bucket list item.

Fortunately, by the end of the decade, employment events intervened — and further improved — for me.

1990s

Living in England, I realised that I had an insatiable appetite for history and politics. I learned a lot about both thanks to a gift subscription to The Spectator, which I had read about in English lit class in high school. It’s been around since 1828.

In 1990s, my in-laws told me that Margaret Thatcher’s time was up. She had become too full of herself. We had high hopes for John Major.

I remember the 1992 election, which Major won handily. I could not understand the rage of my female colleagues who expected Neil Kinnock to win. They stayed up all night drinking, waiting for a Labour government that never came. The next day, at work, they were hungover, tearful — and, above all, angry. Why did they think he stood a chance? Perhaps I had been reading too much of The Spectator, but I had no doubt that Major would continue as Prime Minister.

By 1997, most of us felt change was needed. The Conservative MPs on the front bench seemed like tired, bloated bureaucrats. None of them had an original idea. Most seemed to be lining their own pockets. I was most consterned by Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley, who started closing A&E (Accident and Emergency) services at local hospitals. What was she thinking?

When Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997, nearly everyone I knew rejoiced. Change was coming.

And how …

2000s

The first few years of Labour were fine. I was enjoying my work too much to pay any attention.

By 2005, I longed for a Conservative government, especially when Gordon Brown became PM with no general election.

After that, Labour became unbearable, banging on about people’s personal lives and habits. The smoking ban came into force in the summer of 2007. Ministers assured us in television interviews that private members clubs and hotels would be exempt. No, not at all. It was a blanket ban everywhere.

It was during this decade that London elected its first mayor, Ken Livingstone. He served two terms and introduced the city-wide congestion charge for motor vehicles, which we called the Kengestion Charge. My colleagues at the time reminded me that, as head of the old GLA (Greater London Authority), he was known as Red Ken.

Boris Johnson succeeded him, also serving two terms. His administration made the streets tidy again and also lowered crime.

By 2006, I started looking more closely at the EU and the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who seemed to rule our lives. I agreed with those disgruntled Britons who wanted a referendum on our membership.

Most of all, however, I was sick and tired of Labour, to the point of despair.

I also asked my far better half to cancel my gift subscription to the The Spectator, as it had changed its editorial line considerably after Boris Johnson left as editor. Although more people now read it, it is a former shadow of itself. I would not call it neither conservative nor traditional at all any more.

2010s

Hope came in the May 2010 general election.

The Conservatives had to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. It was the David Cameron and Nick Clegg Show, but at least Labour were out of the picture after 13 years.

David Cameron referred to himself as the ‘heir to Blair’. It took me some time to see it, but he was not wrong.

He set out to reform the Conservative Party and alienated older, faithful members in their local associations. CCHQ suddenly did not need their help.

On a broader level, Cameron will probably be best remembered for opening up marriage to same-sex couples and for offering us the EU referendum, billed by all parties as a ‘once in a lifetime’ choice which they all pledged to implement.

A number of televised debates took place in 2016. I watched them all. Some of my friends were less than convinced by the Leave proposition. The one clincher was Brexit The Movie, which is an hour-long eye-opener about the Brussels gravy train and better than any of the debates, no matter how good:

I stayed up until the early hours of the morning of Friday, June 24, 2016 to watch the result. When it was clear that Leave had won, I went to bed. The next day, my far better half and I woke up to Cameron resigning because he did not like the result. We had a celebratory lunch in London and went to a party that evening that had been planned months earlier. I remember the apprehension we both felt about sounding out the other party guests as to their views on the EU. We later discovered that were not alone. Finally, someone there broke the ice upon his arrival by exclaiming:

Is everybody HAPPY? I certainly am!

At that point, we were free to talk about Brexit.

Theresa May became Prime Minister later that summer.

Across the pond, another sea change was happening: Donald Trump’s candidacy. It was even more of a shock when he won. A startled nation awoke to find that Hillary Clinton was not their president.

The conflicts about Brexit and Trump continue today. Opponents to both have grown ever more vehement.

On September 20, 2019, the British website Spiked issued a thought-provoking documentary on Trump and Brexit. It’s 26-minutes long and well worth watching. To cover Brexit, their reporters interviewed residents of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. To cover the Trump phenomenon, they interviewed Pennsylvania journalist Salena Zito and residents of Erie, which was once a major industrial powerhouse in that state. It has fallen on very hard times, indeed:

The major theme running through both is, as they put it, ‘change’, which I believe they should have called ‘self determination’ and ‘recovering the aspirational dream’.

One thing that struck me was the interview with the owner of a gym in Erie. He said that his father raised seven children on a janitor’s salary:

You couldn’t do that now.

Too right. Both parents now have to work — unlike in the 1960s — and few households can support more than two or three children.

People in Britain and the United States want to work and save more of their hard-earned cash. They also want good job opportunities for their children.

A fisherman in Southend said that, because of EU rules, he is restricted to an ever-smaller part of waters in which to fish. The number of fishing boats has continued to decline, he added, and the number of fisherman has also dropped dramatically. That is why he, and many others in Southend, voted Leave in 2016.

The decade closed with Boris Johnson’s landslide victory on December 12. Historian David Starkey explores what this means for the nation in this 57-minute documentary from The Sun, ably conducted by a young reporter:

Starkey explores the evolution of Parliament since Victorian times, when it became the institution we know today. As many Northern constituencies flipped from Labour to Conservative, Starkey says that Boris’s pledge to revitalise the North will mean little unless he espouses their values of patriotism, which, he says, has been a dirty word for many years.

He says that Boris could well become a figure like Charles II, who restored the monarchy beginning in 1660. Many of their personality traits are similar, he notes, particularly their penchant for bringing a nation together and reforming it at the same time. It is well worth watching when you have the opportunity.

There is much more to Starkey’s interview than summarised here. He talks about the people of the North, Labour, Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron, Tony Blair and, significantly, Benjamin Disraeli. Starkey hopes that the PM will study his Victorian predecessor’s successes closely.

With that, I must close for now. There are many developments over the past 60 years that I have not mentioned. This is merely to give an idea about the direction that Western society took as the decades rolled on.

Welcome to 2020. Let’s hope it brings many good tidings. I wish all of us the very best.

British journalist and television presenter Piers Morgan effectively dismantles the snowflake generation and their parents in this two-minute video, which is subtitled:

It is amazing that some comments to that tweet ask how he would know about the snowflake generation. Uhh, the clue is in the first sentence:

Well, as a father of four kids …

Here they are, as seen on Christmas Day:

The person who tweeted the snowflake generation video received an interesting selection of comments. Half were critical and half were supportive.

I am glad to see that retired Australian cricketer Shane Warne agrees with what Piers said:

Morgan points out that there has never been a better time to be alive. We are living in peacetime, largely speaking. Our health advances are much greater than any time before. Our technological advances continue in leaps and bounds. What’s not to like?

Yet, he says, we are creating a generation of young adults who cannot accept the realities of life because we have sheltered them too much, whether at home, school or elsewhere.

Along with this comes the continued criticism of the world as it is: imperfect. Sure, we can always do a better job of things and, for the most part, we are. Yet, the criticism is vehement. Furthermore, most of it comes from the snowflake generation who expect a prize just for participating in an event.

As Morgan points out, kids are happy to place 25th in an event. He says that if one of his kids came home with 25th place, he would ask them why they didn’t do better. Absolutely! In my day — so last century — if we came second or third, our parents would ask why we didn’t come first!

This mollycoddling attitude of parents and teachers is not doing the current crop of twenty-somethings any favours. We have encouraged them to be too soft and to collapse at the drop of a hat.

I sometimes wonder whether much of this recent child psychology is a deliberate way of weakening, if not destroying, Western society. I very much doubt the Chinese or the Russians give out participation trophies to all. Nor do other non-Western countries. They make their respective younger generations toughen up from an early age. Consequently, their young adults move to Western countries for work, especially in technology. Their aptitude is better, because they had more structure in the classroom — no curved grades — and at home. Meanwhile, we have millions of children entering university who cannot do what used to be secondary school maths. Nor do they know the rules of grammar or spelling anymore. As a result, our universities offer remedial courses to bring first-year students up to speed.

It’s a parlous state of affairs. Heaven forfend if we are ever in a national crisis.

There is winning, which is easy to handle. Then there is losing, which requires a) knowing how to cope and b) learning from it when it is one’s own fault. That pertains not only to sporting events but to employment as well.

Life isn’t easy. Life has never been easy. There are lessons to be learnt at each stage of our journey, whether individually or together.

Let’s stop indulging young adults so much. And let’s watch how we raise the next generation.

We can take a lesson from nature here:

Snowflakes are for winter and the great outdoors. They should not be a personality type.

In perusing the Internet the other day, I ran across this tweet which has film footage from 1912 about a variety of Manhattan neighbourhoods:

It’s just under two-and-a-half minutes long and well worth watching.

The comments on the video are enlightening, too.

The vast majority discuss the lack of obesity:

There is that. Walking, as a few people stated, also helped. Furthermore, there was no central heating at the time, so houses and other buildings were much colder, adding to the calorie burn. There was no air conditioning during the summer, either.

They also weren’t eating much carbohydrate then, including breakfast cereal and cakes. Sugar was expensive back then, too:

My late grandmothers, both of whom were born at the end of the 19th century limited their carb consumption to morning toast and, if they had guests, a slice of pie or cake after dinner.

The next set of frequent comments concerned personal attire and comportment:

Unfortunately, we are where we are today:

Ugh!

One person mentioned the decline in Christian values since then.

I will add ‘Judeo-‘ to that, as a few of the neighbourhoods shown were predominantly Jewish. The point about the decline in faith and worship still stands, though.

Of course, it’s not only New York City where social standards have deteriorated. They have gone downhill everywhere in the Western world, which used to be a beacon of hope for those searching for a better life, when hard work often led to prosperity.

The generations alive today have some work to do if we want to recapture what once was with regard to dignity and integrity.

On Monday, March 6, 2017, Fox News host Tucker Carlson was one of the speakers who addressed the International Association of Fire Fighters at their annual legislative conference in Washington, DC.

Fox 10 Phoenix has the entire 34 minute video — recommended viewing:

For decades, average Americans have wondered why there is such a gulf between Washington and most of the United States.

Carlson explains the DC disconnect.

Starting with Trump’s surprise win in 2016, Carlson said that the middle class was simply fed up with the DC elite ignoring their cries for help regarding immigration and trade.

He said that the DC elite are oblivious to average Americans. Washington DC has full employment and more people working as housekeepers than ever before. Conversation revolves around the theoretical, e.g. economic theory, rather than reality.

He explained that two things that people in DC love are immigration and free trade. Immigration is great because DC residents can get servants very cheaply. In some cases, he said, they are paid a child’s allowance as a salary. DC residents then feel they are being virtuous towards the less fortunate.

However, what works for DC doesn’t work for the rest of the nation. The middle class tried time and time again to point that out to the elite, who dismissed them as being racist and stupid.

The same scenario occurred with trade. The middle class are losing their jobs. The elite in DC do not care.

This broad swathe of dissatisfied Americans took to the ballot box in November 2016. They mounted a peaceful revolution by electing Donald Trump to the White House.

Carlson talked about the rabid hate of Trump in Washington, where 90%+ of voters plumped for Hillary Clinton. Carlson said that, out of three million government employees, only 50 actually like Trump. Whether that is numerically accurate is beside the point. Trump faces an uphill climb.

Furthermore, as much as Democrats loathe Trump, it’s even more entrenched on the Republican side.

He said that Trump can come up with the most sensible policies — buying cheaper drugs from Canada — and politicians simply shut him out. They cannot hear what he is saying. I call that Trump Derangement Syndrome. The term was used about Bush and Obama’s opponents in their time.

Carlson said that nothing in this world is 100% good. Immigration and market-driven trade are two of these things. They work well for the top one per cent but are disastrous for everyone else. He pointed to other examples of where people have noticed and vote accordingly: the UK, with Brexit, and France, with Marine LePen (doing well in the polls).

Carlson spoke about the disaster coming from mass unemployment, particularly among men. Unemployment, he said, drives men crazy. Men need to work in order to feel that they have value and purpose in life.

He said that the current immigration model — and this is true for other Western countries — is predicated on a large manufacturing base. Unfortunately, that manufacturing base no longer exists. Therefore, immigration policy must change accordingly to fit reality.

This also holds true with regard to war and trade. Trump opposes needless American intervention in other nation’s affairs. Trump supports trade deals that will help, not hinder, America.

Carlson also warned about driverless vehicles. Once again, all of Washington waxes lyrical about how ‘cool’ these are. Yet, they will put 8 million people out of jobs overnight if they become reality on the nation’s roads. Carlson pointed out that the most popular occupation among recent high school graduates is driving a truck.

If truck drivers — and taxi drivers — become obsolete, what are they going to do for work? Carlson correctly surmised that they won’t be retraining to become computer programmers. He said that the Trump administration should ban them outright. I agree, in part. They should be banned for commercial use, at least.

He also talked about the Tea Party, which failed, in his estimation, because it lacked a leader. The Tea Party, he explained, was a way for conservative Republicans to express their dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, which clearly does not share their interests.

Then along came Donald Trump. Carlson found it interesting that Trump has never really issued a concise statement about what his movement or ideology stands for. Yet, he struck a chord with millions of Americans who felt he spoke for them.

I’ll conclude with something that Carlson opened with. He said that Republicans and Democrats must really take in and understand what upsets Americans and why they voted for Trump. He said that serious soul searching must take place in the two main political parties. Unfortunately, he noted, that has not yet begun.

As for what Trump’s ideology is with regard for America, I predict we will all be able to articulate it by 2020.

I nearly forgot to mention Carlson’s opinion of the media: ‘dumb’, except for his colleagues at Fox. He told the fire fighters that he has worked for every cable news network and knows whereof he speaks. He said that no one with an ounce of intelligence goes into media. (That should tell us something about students in Media Studies.)

Carlson’s speech was great. He spoke for 13 minutes then took three questions from the audience, for the next 20. He’s much livelier giving a speech than he is in interviews on Tucker Carlson Tonight. And rightly so. This address shows a different side to his personality.

The Obama administration is not bowing out quietly.

On May 8, the New York Post reported that Housing Secretary Julian Castro has plans for Section 8 which will see more affluent suburbs integrated with families from the inner cities.

The programme — Small-Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) — comes into effect in October 2016:

The scheme involves super-sizing vouchers to help urban poor afford higher rents in pricey areas, such as Westchester County, while assigning them government real-estate agents called “mobility counselors” to secure housing in the exurbs.

The Post says that Castro paved the way for this in two ways.

Last year, he implemented Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing:

that pressures all suburban counties taking federal grant money to change local zoning laws to build more low-income housing (landlords of such properties are required to accept Section 8 vouchers).

In April 2016, he threatened to sue suburban landlords if they refused to rent to people with criminal records, on grounds of discrimination.

When SAFMR comes into effect, it will forcibly lower rent subsidies for areas like Brooklyn and raise them for wealthy suburbs such as those in Westchester County (emphases mine):

In expensive ZIP codes, Castro’s plan — which requires no congressional approvalwould more than double the standard subsidy, while also covering utilities. At the same time, he intends to reduce subsidies for those who choose to stay in housing in poor urban areas, such as Brooklyn. So Section 8 tenants won’t just be pulled to the suburbs, they’ll be pushed there.

This is not a new concept. Bill Clinton tried something similar in 1994, with disastrous results. In an effort to socially and economically improve the lives of the urban poor, his Moving to Opportunity Initiative took families out of urban public housing and transferred them to more middle-class neighbourhoods and communities.

Clinton’s initiative died a death in 2009. In 2011, HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) sponsored a study which found that:

adults using more generous Section 8 vouchers did not get better jobs or get off welfare. In fact, more went on food stamps. And their children did not do better in their new schools.

Worse, crime simply followed them to their safer neighborhoods, ruining the quality of life for existing residents.

“Males…were arrested more often than those in the control group, primarily for property crimes,” the study found.

That is really sad.

The Post pointed out that quiet, industrious Dubuque, Iowa, is still suffering from increased crime rates after an influx of Chicago inner-city residents moved there, subsidised by Section 8 vouchers.

The article went on to say that left-wing experts looked at Dubuque’s situation and concluded that it would have been less likely to happen if Section 8 families had been relocated to affluent suburbs instead.

As a result, in 2012, HUD decided to experiment with the Dallas area. They ‘sweetened’ Section 8 vouchers and encouraged inner-city residents to move to communities furthest away from the city.

What happened? The same thing as in Dubuque:

Now Dallas has one of the highest murder rates in the nation, and recently had to call in state troopers to help police control it. For the first time, violent crime has shifted to the tony bedroom communities north of the city. Three suburbs that have seen the most Section 8 transfers — Frisco, Plano and McKinney — have suffered unprecedented spikes in rapes, assaults and break-ins, including home invasions.

Although HUD’s “demonstration project” may have improved the lives of some who moved, it’s ended up harming the lives of many of their new neighbors.

Come October, the same results may well be replicated across the country.

Not only will residents feel and probably be less safe, but their property values will also plummet.

It’s interesting that Julian Castro’s name often comes up as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton. Ironically, Chappaqua, the town where the Clintons live, is currently fighting Section 8 housing because of the crime wave it brings.

Back in 2008, reports circulated that ruining the peaceful life of suburbs and exurbs was one of Obama’s plans. It is not surprising that nothing happened until now. Americans should expect more social re-engineering between now and January 2017.

For the past 20 years, I have made a conscious effort to articulate views in conversation without saying ‘I feel’, instead using ‘I think’ or merely making a statement.

I knew a business professor at the time, now retired, who often introduced his conversational opinions with ‘I feel that …’ He said it so often that I began listening for those words from others, including friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There was a lot of ‘I feel’ among them as well as in television interviews with famous people.

SpouseMouse also noticed this.

Were we the only two who had?

We had a long wait, but, finally, it now emerges that other people have had enough of ‘I feel’. Before exploring their criticism of those words, let’s look at a bit of background from the late 20th century to today.

Thinking is being

Until recently, secondary school and university students took an introduction to philosophy course.

They read René Descartes, the French philosopher who wrote in his Discourse on the Method in 1637:

Je pense, donc je suis.

In 1644, he wrote the statement in Latin in Principles of Philosophy:

Cogito ergo sum.

Translated in English, it means:

I think, therefore, I am.

Wikipedia explains:

This proposition became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to form a secure foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

St Augustine of Hippo wrote similarly in the 5th century in his works The City of God and the Enchiridion, in discussing the errors of sceptics. By being alive, we are prone to error:

… one cannot err who is not alive. That we live is therefore not only true, but it is altogether certain as well …

Other philosophers and great thinkers also addressed the certainty of our existence, which revolves around the ability to think and to reason.

My point here is not to engage in philosophical discussion but rather to point out that thinking was seen as the foundation for rational expression.

When I was growing up, my parents asked me to substantiate my opinions with facts. Facts require thought in order to process the information therein. Facts give us solid reasons to support certain perspectives.

Thinking is not emotion. As my parents used to say, ‘Any fool can feel. You’re supposed to use the God-given gifts of thought and reason.’ To some that will sound tough, but it will produce critical thinking.

The therapeutic era

Most people under the age of 35 or even 40 will have encountered a therapeutic approach to language rather than a rational one.

If this approach to linguistics does not begin at home, it will certainly be taught at school.

Everything must be couched in inoffensive terms. Prefacing an opinion or even a fact with ‘I feel’ is understood to be more acceptable than using the more definite ‘I think’ or making a direct statement.

Defenders of ‘I feel’ think they and others who use those words are demonstrating humility, gentleness and openness towards others. ‘I feel’, they say, signals a willingness to change one’s mind if a good case can be made to the contrary.

However, there is also a manipulative side to ‘I feel’ when it is used by people who self-identify as victims. It is a passive-aggressive way of saying, ‘I’m a delicate little flower. Therefore, please don’t contradict me, because that will invalidate my feelings. Truth be told, I am not interested in what you have to say, anyway, unless you agree with me.’

The case against ‘I feel’

On May 1, the SundayReview in The New York Times featured an article by Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a contributing editorial writer to the NYT. Worthen’s most recent book is Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism.

Her article, ‘Stop Saying “I Feel Like”‘, is a must-read for both supporters and detractors of that perspective. The accompanying illustration of a woman opening her mouth with flowers falling out of it makes the point perfectly.

Worthen begins by saying she has been hearing people opine on the presidential candidates this year. Too many of them make statements similar to the following:

Personally, I feel like Bernie Sanders is too idealistic

or, as someone said of Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz, the ex-Canadian:

I feel like I can trust that he will keep his promises.

Worthen points out (emphases mine):

The imperfect data that linguists have collected indicates that “I feel like” became more common toward the end of the last century. In North American English, it seems to have become a synonym for “I think” or “I believe” only in the last decade or so. Languages constantly evolve, and curmudgeons like me are always taking umbrage at some new idiom. But make no mistake: “I feel like” is not a harmless tic. George Orwell put the point simply: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The phrase says a great deal about our muddled ideas about reason, emotion and argument — a muddle that has political consequences.

Although women use the phrase more often than men, she says that among her own students:

male students begin almost every statement with “I feel like.” The gender gap is vanishing because the cultural roots of this linguistic shift were never primarily a consequence of gender.

Some students Worthen interviewed are making a conscious effort not to say the words:

Jing Chai, a senior at the University of Chicago, said: “I’ve tried to check myself when I say that. I think it probably demeans the substance of what I’m trying to say.”

As I said above, ‘I feel’ can be a passive-aggressive conversation stopper. Worthen agrees:

“I feel like” masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.

When people cite feelings or personal experience, “you can’t really refute them with logic, because that would imply they didn’t have that experience, or their experience is less valid,” Ms. Chai told me.

You know, we can’t have that these days. The atmosphere on campus is meant for victimhood rather than learning. Worthen says that Bradley Campbell, a sociologist at California State University, Los Angeles, has written about the shift:

from a “culture of dignity,” which celebrates free speech, to a “culture of victimhood” marked by the assumption that “people are so fragile that they can’t hear something offensive,” he told me.

People like that should not even be at university, regardless of their intelligence. University is for people who can think critically and encounter new ideas. It’s a place for well-reasoned, tempered debate and discussions which result in learning. Yet, for all their linguistic kindness, today’s university students, sometimes aided by lecturers or professors, violently shut down opposing viewpoints. Think of the Chicago ‘protests’ (assaults and vandalism) a few months ago by university students — encouraged by radical professors — which prevented a Trump rally from taking place. Elsewhere, earlier this year, one student purposely damaged a Trump supporter’s laptop because he couldn’t stand looking at the bumper sticker on it. Trump aside, many universities — including those in the UK — have had to cancel certain speakers’ appearances because they are not politically correct. This is in response to student protest and threatened violence. The wimpy ‘I feel’ is, in reality, manifesting itself as physical harm or damage. But I digress.

Worthen also interviewed Christopher Lasch’s daughter Dr Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, a historian at Syracuse University, who is carrying on her late father’s fine work in social commentary. If you have not read Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism, you are missing out on a treat. I read it in the early 1980s and it analyses our society to a T.

Of ‘I feel like’, Lasch-Quinn told Worthen:

It’s a way of deflecting, avoiding full engagement with another person or group because it puts a shield up immediately. You cannot disagree.

In 2001, Lasch-Quinn’s book Race Experts lamented that no real improvement is being achieved with equality or economics. Instead, the Left focusses on sensitivity training. ‘I feel like’ is part of this pattern:

a means of avoiding rigorous debate over structures of society that are hard to change

Cultivating the art of conversation goes a long way toward correcting these things,” Dr. Lasch-Quinn said. 

Her father wrote about what, today, Americans call ‘self care’. Worthen explains:

“self-care” — can lead to what the writer Christopher Lasch called “pseudo-self-awareness.” It can leave us too preoccupied with personal satisfaction to see the world clearly. “The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety,” Mr. Lasch wrote in his 1979 book “The Culture of Narcissism.” “He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life.”

Unfortunately, times have moved on. In the 2010s, it is all too apparent that those who are emotionally-driven actually do seek to inflict their own certainties on others, either by shutting down opposing viewpoints or threatening people. ‘I feel like’ is a contributing linguistic factor to this phenomenon.

Although philosophers have for centuries acknowledged emotion as essential to thinking, we can take our feelings too far. When Worthen spoke to the neuroscientist Dr Antonio Dimasio, who teaches at the University of Southern California, he agreed that ‘I feel like’ is:

“bad usage” and “a sign of laziness in thinking,” not because it acknowledges the presence of emotion, but because it is an imprecise hedge that conceals more than it reveals. “It doesn’t follow that because you have doubts, or because something is tempered by a gut feeling, that you cannot make those distinctions as clear as possible,” he said.

The best gift parents and teachers can give children is to get them to figure out why they like or dislike and agree or disagree with something or someone. Insist that they think about it and articulate it factually, without one-word answers or labels. Furthermore, when they see a soundbite from someone they disagree with, ask them to research further. Did they understand the full context in which a statement was given? Did they read or hear the full quote?

Saying ‘I feel like’ prevents our getting the full story. Using ‘I think’ or — even better — doing away with the first person preface altogether will produce sharper thought processes and a more reasoned point of view, easily articulated to our listeners and readers. Children should learn that as quickly as they can. It will serve them well in life.

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