Politicizing The Military Has Consequences (Ideas Have Consequences)

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INTRO

What lies below are three excerpts from articles I wish to highlight. There is much more below, but after reding The Washington Times article and the Monbattery post, this addition to my website was birthed.

I will end with Moonbat discussing the kid from the Air Force who lit himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy as a night-cap discussing our current military condition in regard to DEI, CRT, and WOKE ideology.

Also below is a 12-page excerpt of Richard Weaver’s book, IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES… a large chunk of his introduction. (INTERNET ARCHIVE has the entire 1948 edition for free.) The below is — I think — a good explainer for the phenomenon we are seeing, and if this culture continues, we will see more of.

HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Since the beginning of the Biden administration how the #WOKE/DEI agenda has been implemented in the military. Heritage Foundation notes this in a 2023 article:

The U.S. Armed Forces have one mission: to protect our nation from foreign enemies. Our troops are as committed to that mission as ever before. But according to a bracing new report, our warriors’ ability to do their job is being undermined by civilian leaders more interested in woke indoctrination and partisan politics than warfighting readiness.

“The Report of the National Independent Panel on Military Service and Readiness” is an urgent warning about creeping politicization at the Pentagon and its corrosive impact on America’s national defense. As the report details, the Biden administration’s whole-of-government embrace of woke politics is becoming a dangerous distraction for servicemen and women who signed up to protect and defend, not virtue-signal. 

The top-line statistics compiled in the report are jarring.

Last year, the Army missed its recruiting goal by 25 percent. They expect this year to be even worse. The Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps began the new fiscal year in October 50 percent below their normal recruiting numbers. Public confidence in the military is falling precipitously, and even military families—from which most recruits come—are less likely to recommend military life.

What explains the decline? According to a November poll, the most common explanations included “military leadership becoming overly politicized” and “so-called ‘woke’ practices undermining military effectiveness.” Another survey found that 65 percent of active-duty servicemen and women are concerned about politicization, including the woke training programs and equity-minded reduced physical fitness standards.

Troop retention rates are falling, too, and for the same reasons. As the report notes, “the perception that non-warfighting missions are distracting senior military leadership may alienate experienced, skilled and knowledgeable warfighters, incentivizing their early departure[.]” ….

For those that need some further confirmation… this is not good. And while there are two more articles to follow, here is a very long quote from an introduction to a book I read in the late 90’s — itself written in 1948, that goes a long way to explain the rotting roots of our current fruit.

  • “Ideas have consequences, and totally erroneous ideas are likely to have destructive consequences.” — Steve Allen

Like I said, this is not a short/pithy post:

RICHARD WEAVER

INTERNET ARCHIVE has the entire 1948 edition for free. – PDF of below:

INTRODUCTION

This is another book about the dissolution of the West. I attempt two things not commonly found in the growing literature of this subject. First, I present an account of that decline based not on analogy but on deduction. It is here the assumption that the world is intelligible and that man is free and that those consequences we are now expiating are the product not of biological or other necessity but of unintelligent choice. Second, I go so far as to propound, if not a whole solution, at least the beginning of one, in the belief that man should not follow a scientific analysis with a plea of moral impotence.

In considering the world to which these matters are addressed, I have been chiefly impressed by the difficulty of getting certain initial facts admitted. This difficulty is due in part to the widely prevailing Whig theory of history, with its belief that the most advanced point in time represents the point of highest development, aided no doubt by theories of evolution which suggest to the uncritical a kind of necessary passage from simple to complex. Yet the real trouble is found to lie deeper than this. It is the appalling problem, when one comes to actual cases, of getting men to distinguish between better and worse. Are people today provided with a sufficiently rational scale of values to attach these predicates with intelligence? There is ground for declaring that modern man has become a moral idiot. So few are those who care to examine their lives, or to accept the rebuke which comes of admitting that our present state may be a fallen state, that one questions whether people now understand what is meant by the superiority of an ideal. One might expect abstract reasoning to be lost upon them; but what is he to think when attestations of the most concrete kind are set before them, and they are still powerless to mark a difference or to draw a lesson? For four centuries every man has been not only his own priest but his own professor of ethics, and the consequence is an anarchy which threatens even that minimum consensus of value necessary to the political state.

Surely we are justified in saying of our time: If you seek the monument to our folly, look about you. In our own day we have seen cities obliterated and ancient faiths stricken. We may well ask, in the words of Matthew, whether we are not faced with “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world.” We have for many years moved with a brash confidence that man had achieved a position of independence which rendered the ancient restraints needless. Now, in the first half of the twentieth century, at the height of modern progress, we behold unprecedented outbreaks of hatred and violence; we have seen whole nations desolated by war and turned into penal camps by their conquerors; we find half of mankind looking upon the other half as criminal. Everywhere occur symptoms of mass psychosis. Most portentous of all, there appear diverging bases of value, so that our single planetary globe is mocked by worlds of different understanding. These signs of disintegration arouse fear, and fear leads to desperate unilateral efforts toward survival, which only forward the process.

Like Macbeth, Western man made an evil decision, which has become the efficient and final cause of other evil decisions. Have we forgotten our encounter with the witches on the heath? It occurred in the late fourteenth century, and what the witches said to the protagonist of this drama was that man could realize himself more fully if he would only abandon his belief in the existence of transcendentals. The powers of darkness were working subtly, as always, and they couched this proposition in the seemingly innocent form of an attack upon universals. The defeat of logical realism in the great medieval debate was the crucial event in the history of Western culture; from this flowed those acts which issue now in modern decadence.

One may be accused here of oversimplifying the historical process, but I take the view that the conscious policies of men and governments are not mere rationalizations of what has been brought about by unaccountable forces. They are rather deductions from our most basic ideas of human destiny, and they have a great, though not unobstructed, power to determine our course.

For this reason I turn to William of Occam as the best representative of a change which came over man’s conception of reality at this historic juncture. It was William of Occam who propounded the fateful doctrine of nominalism, which denies that universals have a real existence. His triumph tended to leave universal terms mere names serving our convenience. The issue ultimately involved is whether there is a source of truth higher than, and independent of, man; and the answer to the question is decisive for one’s view of the nature and destiny of humankind. The practical result of nominalist philosophy is to banish the reality which is perceived by the intellect and to posit as reality that which is perceived by the senses. With this change in the affirmation of what is real, the whole orientation of culture takes a turn, and we are on the road to modern empiricism.

It is easy to be blind to the significance of a change because it is remote in time and abstract in character. Those who have not discovered that world view is the most important thing about a man, as about the men composing a culture, should consider the train of circumstances which have with perfect logic proceeded from this. The denial of universals carries with it the denial of everything transcending experience. The denial of everything transcending experience means inevitably—though ways are found to hedge on this—the denial of truth. With the denial of objective truth there is no escape from the relativism of “man the measure of all things.” The witches spoke with the habitual equivocation of oracles when they told man that by this easy choice he might realize himself more fully, for they were actually initiating a course which cuts one off from reality. Thus began the “abomination of desolation” appearing today as a feeling of alienation from all fixed truth.

Because a change of belief so profound eventually influences every concept, there emerged before long a new doctrine of nature. Whereas nature had formerly been regarded as imitating a transcendent model and as constituting an imperfect reality, it was henceforth looked upon as containing the principles of its own constitution and behavior. Such revision has had two important consequences for philosophical inquiry. First, it encouraged a careful study of nature, which has come to be known as science, on the supposition that by her acts she revealed her essence. Second, and by the same operation, it did away with the doctrine of forms imperfectly realized. Aristotle had recognized an element of unintelligibility in the world, but the view of nature as a rational mechanism expelled this element. The expulsion of the element of unintelligibility in nature was followed by the abandonment of the doctrine of original sin. If physical nature is the totality and if man is of nature, it is impossible to think of him as suffering from constitutional evil; his defections must now be attributed to his simple ignorance or to some kind of social deprivation. One comes thus by clear deduction to the corollary of the natural goodness of man.

And the end is not yet. If nature is a self-operating mechanism and man is a rational animal adequate to his needs, it is next in order to elevate rationalism to the rank of a philosophy. Since man proposed now not to go beyond the world, it was proper that he should regard as his highest intellectual vocation methods of interpreting data supplied by the senses. There followed the transition to Hobbes and Locke and the eighteenth-century rationalists, who taught that man needed only to reason correctly upon evidence from nature. The question of what the world was made for now becomes meaningless because the asking of it presupposes something prior to nature in the order of existents. Thus it is not the mysterious fact of the world’s existence which interests the new man but explanations of how the world works. This is the rational basis for modern science, whose systemization of phenomena is, as Bacon declared in the New Atlantis, a means to dominion.

At this stage religion begins to assume an ambiguous dignity, and the question of whether it can endure at all in a world of rationalism and science has to be faced. One solution was deism, which makes God the outcome of a rational reading of nature. But this religion, like all those which deny antecedent truth, was powerless to bind; it merely left each man to make what he could of the world open to the senses. There followed references to “nature and nature’s God,” and the anomaly of a “humanized” religion.

Materialism loomed next on the horizon, for it was implicit in what had already been framed. Thus it soon became imperative to explain man by his environment, which was the work of Darwin and others in the nineteenth century (it is further significant of the pervasive character of these changes that several other students were arriving at similar explanations when Darwin published in 1859). If man came into this century trailing clouds of transcendental glory, he was now accounted for in a way that would satisfy the positivists.

With the human being thus firmly ensconced in nature, it at once became necessary to question the fundamental character of his motivation. Biological necessity, issuing in the survival of the fittest, was offered as the causa causans, after the important question of human origin had been decided in favor of scientific materialism.

After it has been granted that man is molded entirely by environmental pressures, one is obligated to extend the same theory of causality to his institutions. The social philosophers of the nineteenth century found in Darwin powerful support for their thesis that human beings act always out of economic incentives, and it was they who completed the abolishment of freedom of the will. The great pageant of history thus became reducible to the economic endeavors of individuals and classes; and elaborate prognoses were constructed on the theory of economic conflict and resolution. Man created in the divine image, the protagonist of a great drama in which his soul was at stake, was replaced by man the wealth-seeking and-consuming animal.

Finally came psychological behaviorism, which denied not only freedom of the will but even such elementary means of direction as instinct. Because the scandalous nature of this theory is quickly apparent, it failed to win converts in such numbers as the others; yet it is only a logical extension of them and should in fairness be embraced by the upholders of material causation. Essentially, it is a reduction to absurdity of the line of reasoning which began when man bade a cheerful goodbye to the concept of transcendence.

There is no term proper to describe the condition in which he is now left unless it be “abysmality.” He is in the deep and dark abysm, and he has nothing with which to raise himself. His life is practice without theory. As problems crowd upon him, he deepens confusion by meeting them with ad hoc policies. Secretly he hungers for truth but consoles himself with the thought that life should be experimental. He sees his institutions crumbling and rationalizes with talk of emancipation. Wars have to be fought, seemingly with increased frequency; therefore he revives the old ideals—ideals which his present assumptions actually render meaningless—and, by the machinery of state, forces them again to do service. He struggles with the paradox that total immersion in matter unfits him to deal with the problems of matter.

His decline can be represented as a long series of abdications. He has found less and less ground for authority at the same time he thought he was setting himself up as the center of authority in the universe; indeed, there seems to exist here a dialectic process which takes away his power in proportion as he demonstrates that his independence entitles him to power.

This story is eloquently reflected in changes that have come over education. The shift from the truth of the intellect to the facts of experience followed hard upon the meeting with the witches. A little sign appears, “a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand,” in a change that came over the study of logic in the fourteenth century—the century of Occam. Logic became grammaticized, passing from a science which taught men vere loqui to one which taught recte loqui or from an ontological division by categories to a study of signification, with the inevitable focus upon historical meanings. Here begins the assault upon definition: if words no longer correspond to objective realities, it seems no great wrong to take liberties with words. From this point on, faith in language as a means of arriving at truth weakens, until our own age, filled with an acute sense of doubt, looks for a remedy in the new science of semantics.

So with the subject matter of education. The Renaissance increasingly adapted its course of study to produce a successful man of the world, though it did not leave him without philosophy and the graces, for it was still, by heritage, at least, an ideational world and was therefore near enough transcendental conceptions to perceive the dehumanizing effects of specialization. In the seventeenth century physical discovery paved the way for the incorporation of the sciences, although it was not until the nineteenth that these began to challenge the very continuance of the ancient intellectual disciplines. And in this period the change gained momentum, aided by two developments of overwhelming influence. The first was a patent increase in man’s dominion over nature which dazzled all but the most thoughtful; and the second was the growing mandate for popular education. The latter might have proved a good in itself, but it was wrecked on equalitarian democracy’s unsolvable problem of authority: none was in a position to say what the hungering multitudes were to be fed. Finally, in an abject surrender to the situation, in an abdication of the authority of knowledge, came the elective system. This was followed by a carnival of specialism, professionalism, and vocationalism, often fostered and protected by strange bureaucratic devices, so that on the honored name of university there traded a weird congeries of interests, not a few of which were anti-intellectual even in their pretensions. Institutions of learning did not check but rather contributed to the decline by losing interest in Homo sapiens to develop Homo faber.

Studies pass into habits, and it is easy to see these changes reflected in the dominant type of leader from epoch to epoch. In the seventeenth century it was, on the one side, the royalist and learned defender of the faith and, on the other, aristocratic intellectuals of the type of John Milton and the Puritan theocrats who settled New England. The next century saw the domination of the Whigs in England and the rise of encyclopedists and romanticists on the Continent, men who were not without intellectual background but who assiduously cut the mooring strings to reality as they succumbed to the delusion that man is by nature good. Frederick the Great’s rebuke to a sentimentalist, “Ach, mehn lheber Sulzer, er kennt nhcht dhese verdammte Rasse,” epitomizes the difference between the two outlooks. The next period witnessed the rise of the popular leader and demagogue, the typical foe of privilege, who broadened the franchise in England, wrought revolution on the Continent, and in the United States replaced the social order which the Founding Fathers had contemplated with demagogism and the urban political machine. The twentieth century ushered in the leader of the masses, though at this point there occurs a split whose deep significance we shall have occasion to note. The new prophets of reform divide sharply into sentimental humanitarians and an elite group of remorseless theorists who pride themselves on their freedom from sentimentality. Hating this world they never made, after its debauchery of centuries, the modern Communists— revolutionaries and logicians—move toward intellectual rigor. In their decision lies the sharpest reproach yet to the desertion of intellect by Renaissance man and his successors. Nothing is more disturbing to modern men of the West than the logical clarity with which the Communists face all problems. Who shall say that this feeling is not born of a deep apprehension that here are the first true realists in hundreds of years and that no dodging about in the excluded middle will save Western liberalism?

This story of man’s passage from religious or philosophical transcendentalism has been told many times, and, since it has usually been told as a story of progress, it is extremely difficult today to get people in any number to see contrary implications. Yet to establish the fact of decadence is the most pressing duty of our time because, until we have demonstrated that cultural decline is a historical fact—which can be established—and that modern man has about squandered his estate, we cannot combat those who have fallen prey to hysterical optimism.

Such is the task, and our most serious obstacle is that people traveling this downward path develop an insensibility which increases with their degradation. Loss is perceived most clearly at the beginning; after habit becomes implanted, one beholds the anomalous situation of apathy mounting as the moral crisis deepens. It is when the first faint warnings come that one has the best chance to save himself; and this, I suspect, explains why medieval thinkers were extremely agitated over questions which seem to us today without point or relevance. If one goes on, the monitory voices fade out, and it is not impossible for him to reach a state in which his entire moral orientation is lost. Thus in the face of the enormous brutality of our age we seem unable to make appropriate response to perversions of truth and acts of bestiality. Multiplying instances show complacency in the presence of contradiction which denies the heritage of Greece, and a callousness to suffering which denies the spirit of Christianity. Particularly since the great wars do we observe this insentience. We approach a condition in which we shall be amoral without the capacity to perceive it and degraded without means to measure our descent.

That is why, when we reflect upon the cataclysms of the age, we are chiefly impressed with the failure of men to rise to the challenge of them. In the past, great calamities have called forth, if not great virtues, at least heroic postures; but after the awful judgments pronounced against men and nations in recent decades, we detect notes of triviality and travesty. A strange disparity has developed between the drama of these actions and the conduct of the protagonists, and we have the feeling of watching actors who do not comprehend their roles.

Hysterical optimism will prevail until the world again admits the existence of tragedy, and it cannot admit the existence of tragedy until it again distinguishes between good and evil. Hope of restoration depends upon recovery of the “ceremony of innocence,” of that clearness of vision and knowledge of form which enable us to sense what is alien or destructive, what does not comport with our moral ambition. The time to seek this is now, before we have acquired the perfect insouciance of those who prefer perdition. For, as the course goes on, the movement turns centrifugal; we rejoice in our abandon and are never so full of the sense of accomplishment as when we have struck some bulwark of our culture a deadly blow.

In view of these circumstances, it is no matter for surprise that, when we ask people even to consider the possibility of decadence, we meet incredulity and resentment. We must consider that we are in effect asking for a confession of guilt and an acceptance of sterner obligation; we are making demands in the name of the ideal or the suprapersonal, and we cannot expect a more cordial welcome than disturbers of complacency have received in any other age. On the contrary, our welcome will rather be less today, for a century and a half of bourgeois ascendancy has produced a type of mind highly unreceptive to unsettling thoughts. Added to this is the egotism of modern man, fed by many springs, which will scarcely permit the humility needed for self-criticism.

The apostles of modernism usually begin their retort with catalogues of modern achievement, not realizing that here they bear witness to their immersion in particulars. We must remind them that we cannot begin to enumerate until we have defined what is to be sought or proved. It will not suffice to point out the inventions and processes of our century unless it can be shown that they are something other than a splendid efflorescence of decay. Whoever desires to praise some modern achievement should wait until he has related it to the professed aims of our civilization as rigorously as the Schoolmen related a corollary to their doctrine of the nature of God. All demonstrations lacking this are pointless.

If it can be agreed, however, that we are to talk about ends before means, we may begin by asking some perfectly commonplace questions about the condition of modern man. Let us, first of all, inquire whether he knows more or is, on the whole, wiser than his predecessors.

This is a weighty consideration, and if the claim of the modern to know more is correct, our criticism falls to the ground, for it is hardly to be imagined that a people who have been gaining in knowledge over the centuries have chosen an evil course.

Naturally everything depends on what we mean by knowledge. I shall adhere to the classic proposition that there is no knowledge at the level of sensation, that therefore knowledge is of universals, and that whatever we know as a truth enables us to predict. The process of learning involves interpretation, and the fewer particulars we require in order to arrive at our generalization, the more apt pupils we are in the school of wisdom.

The whole tendency of modern thought, one might say its whole moral impulse, is to keep the individual busy with endless induction. Since the time of Bacon the world has been running away from, rather than toward, first principles, so that, on the verbal level, we see “fact” substituted for “truth,” and on the philosophic level, we witness attack upon abstract ideas and speculative inquiry. The unexpressed assumption of empiricism is that experience will tell us what we are experiencing. In the popular arena one can tell from certain newspaper columns and radio programs that the average man has become imbued with this notion and imagines that an industrious acquisition of particulars will render him a man of knowledge. With what pathetic trust does he recite his facts! He has been told that knowledge is power, and knowledge consists of a great many small things.

Thus the shift from speculative inquiry to investigation of experience has left modern man so swamped with multiplicities that he no longer sees his way. By this we understand Goethe’s dictum that one may be said to know much only in the sense that he knows little. If our contemporary belongs to a profession, he may be able to describe some tiny bit of the world with minute fidelity, but still he lacks understanding. There can be no truth under a program of separate sciences, and his thinking will be invalidated as soon as ab extra relationships are introduced.

The world of “modern” knowledge is like the universe of Eddington, expanding by diffusion until it approaches the point of nullity….

Wow, wow, wow. Think of the movement on the Left to say, as one example, that men can give birth and menstruate. Weaver was prophetic in his noting how bad this zeitgeist was going to get.

Okay, pivoting BACK TO our military and consequences of ideas that harm it’s readiness and the type of young people applying. What I mean when I say that is that the young officer class have typically one through university and many have accepted the CRT/WOKE/DEI junk — what Weaver would call “hysterical optimism.”

WASHINGTON TIMES

Here is the WaTi article excerpt:

Recently, Ashish Vazirani, the Pentagon‘s acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, testified to the House Armed Services Committee that the U.S. military missed its 2023 recruiting goals by 41,000.

Jake Bequette, an Army veteran and former U.S. Senate candidate from Arkansas, responded to this report by suggesting that no one should be surprised. Why? Because of what we’re teaching in our nation’s schools.

“In our education system today, so few young people are hearing real history,” Mr. Bequette said. “They’re hearing our American heroes being represented as evil racists … who were doing all these terrible things to disadvantaged people. And that really is shaping the views of America’s youth and making them have less respect for our institutions, have less respect for our history, and therefore making them less liable to want to put their lives potentially on the line to serve in our country’s military.”

Unless you’ve been sleeping through the past three or more decades, it’s virtually impossible for you to disagree with Mr. Bequette. Consider just a handful of examples of the intellectual malfeasance being foisted on the next generation of America’s leaders at your tax-supported schools, colleges and universities.  

At the University of Minnesota, a liberal arts professor named Melanie Yazzie has received national attention for leading a “teach-in” whereby she calls for her students to “dismantle” and “decolonize” America.

“We’re all indigenous people who come from nations who are under occupation by the United States government,” Ms. Yazzie said. “It’s our responsibility as people within the United Statesto decolonize this place. … [America] is the greatest predator empire that has ever existed. We want the U.S. out of everywhere,” including “Turtle Island” — a name used by some Native American tribes to describe North America.

She went on to say that “the goal is to dismantle the settler project that is the United States for the freedom and the future of all life on this planet. [We] need to lean into the fact that colonizers are scared. Lean into scaring them and making them feel uncomfortable!”

In Milwaukee, the public school system is touting “classroom resources for all ages” to support a curriculum called “Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.” A search of this organization’s website reveals the program’s 13 guiding principles. They include “Restorative Justice,” “Globalism,” “Queer Affirming” and “Transgender Affirming” as their primary goals.

The 11th principle, “Black Villages,” states: “We disrupt the narrow Western prescribed nuclear family structure. … We support each other as extended families and villages that collectively care for one another, especially ‘our’ children.” 

Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, says it best in response to this BLM agenda:

“We are in a crisis in America in public education. We have the lowest test scores since the 1980s in reading and the lowest math scores ever. Yet we have organizations like Black Lives Matter that are setting aside a whole, entire week, the first week of February, to drive their ideology, [an ideology] that [is] divisive and [seeks] to destroy our culture and our country,” she said.

Ms. Descovich goes on to suggest that nearly all of our nation’s schools are pushing this divisive material as “a cover-up for public education’s failure.” 

Do you remember in 2020, when rioters from Minneapolis to Miami were chanting, “Death to Israel, death to America, from Gaza to Minnesota, globalize the intifada”? There’s a reason that thousands of young people marched like lemmings to the drumbeat of such blatant and undisguised antisemitism, anti-Americanism and anti-colonialism. That reason is found in what the schools, colleges and universities are teaching your children.

Call me crazy, but maybe the U.S. military is falling short of its recruiting goals by the tens of thousands because of the culturally suicidal propaganda being peddled by our country’s teachers unions and educational elites. 

When you indoctrinate one generation after another that America needs to be “dismantled” and “decolonized,” why would you think those same young people would want to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend it? ……

Which brings us to the most recent example of a person filled with lies, and it’s consequences in his life.

Aaron Bushnell’s LEFTISM

Now, this person was left leaning already, but I am sure his higher ed institution pushed him even further. What do I mean? The NEW YORK POST mentions he was attending Southern New Hampshire University. Here is the skinny on that institution:

The College Republicans at Southern New Hampshire University, along with a national free speech group, want clarity on the approval process to host speakers on campus this semester.

The controversy stems from comments that events administrator Denise Morin allegedly made to Kyle Urban, the president of the student GOP group, when the group hosted Republican congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt.

[….]

Morin allegedly told Urban that the “university must substantively review and approve all proposed speakers to ensure they are ‘not so controversial that they would draw unwanted demonstrators’ to campus,” according to a letter sent by Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

The requirement is “not new and does not ban controversial speakers,” SNHU spokesperson Siobhan Lopez told The College Fix on September 16.

“[SNHU] seeks to promote and facilitate the exchange of innovative and diverse ideas, and we welcome speakers with a broad range of viewpoints and backgrounds to foster a diverse and rich educational experience for members of the University Community,” Lopez wrote. “Our policies are compliant with both state and federal laws and allow for the free flow of information and ideas while ensuring campus safety.”

[….]

“Accordingly, the President, or his/her designee(s), reserve(s) the right to modify the circumstances (including time, location, public attendance, etc.) of an event or withdraw the invitation to speak in those cases where there exists a reasonably foreseeable risk of violence or substantial disruption of the essential operations of the University associated with an event.”….

(See THE COLLEGE FIX and FIRE for more)

Since all the violent interruptions of speakers come from the left, essentially no conservative speaker would be allowed according to this policy. I noted this one of my posts many years ago in trying to define and describe Fascism:

  • ….when people like Ann Coulter or David Horowitz go on campus, Democrat and leftist students ramp up the death threats and attempted takeover of the mic and stage. When people like Cindy Sheehan or Maureen Dowd go to a university campus, they are treated like heroes and no personal security is needed….

NEW YORK POST

The NEW YORK POST continues:

Aaron liked two Ohio-based anarchist groups — Burning River Anarchist Collective and Mutual Aid Street Solidarity — on his Facebook page.

He also gave the thumbs-up to an account belonging to the Kent State University chapter of the radical pro-Hamas group Students for Justice in Palestine.

In late December, Burning River touted two books for readers, including one titled, “Nourishing Resistance,’’ on its Facebook page.

On Oct. 17, 10 days after the Palestinian terror group Hamas launched its massacre in Israel, sparking the Gaza war, the anarchist group also linked to an interview by the Black Rose Anarchist Federation titled, “Voices from the Front Line Against the Occupation: Interview with Palestinian Anarchists.’’

It interviewed Fauda, “a small group centered in the West Bank that identifies itself as a Palestinian anarchist organization, to get their perspective on the current struggle.

“We hope that this interview will be a step in creating more connections between revolutionaries in the US and the militant youth in Palestine, and more knowledge and understanding of each other,’’ Black Rose said.

The Fauda member interviewed said during the conversation, “I want to tell all our brothers around the world, not just in the United States, to never trust what the global media empire tells you.

“I want you to know something else, which is that the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas do not represent us, the Palestinian people, at all. We reject authority and we reject Abbas and all his ministers.”

Burning River declined comment to The Post on Monday, saying in an email that “none of us knew’’ Aaron Bushnell.

[….]

Two people who claimed to be friends of Bushnell spoke to independent journalist Talia Jane, who posted their words to X on Monday.

“He is one of the most principled comrades I’ve ever known,” said a person called Xylem, who apparently had worked with Bushnell to support San Antonio’s unhoused residents.

Another friend called Errico, who said they had met Bushnell in 2022, added, “Aaron is the kindest, gentlest, silliest little kid in the Air Force.

“He’s always trying to think about how we can actually achieve liberation for all with a smile on his face.’’

Anarcho-Left Fascism

In fact… the entire “facade” of this conflict has it’s origins in communist propaganda and antisemitism. Of course whenever you see “anarchist,” especially in Western youth, know that is is collectivism of a communist type. Dennis Prager even mused on this years ago: “This is a recovered audio from my old Vimeo from April 2nd, 2011. It is Dennis Prager discussing how what the Left thinks is anarchy is nothing close to it.”

Which leads us to the most recent example of the state of our cultural decline, quoting Weaver from above:

  • It is easy to be blind to the significance of a change because it is remote in time and abstract in character. Those who have not discovered that world view is the most important thing about a man, as about the men composing a culture, should consider the train of circumstances which have with perfect logic proceeded from this.

Drowning In Lies

  • The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy. (John 10:10a, ISV)
  • Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the Devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8, ISV)

I noted to my boys the following regarding the topic MOONBATTERY will be bringing up (Air Force Member Aaron Bushnell’s self-immolation/suicide outside the Israeli embassy):

  • The one positive that I can pull out of that whole Air Force kid is that at least he hurt himself. It’s tragic. I wish someone could have been able to talk him out of it. But, hurting himself versus hurting fellow service members to make a statement… I’m going with the the former.

My oldest responded in part: “I agree… I just am mad that the propaganda got to him. He fed on lies.” Yep.

To another friend I said something similar: “I wish someone was able to intervene in some way through conversation to get a ‘break through’.” To which he responded with a point I thought was sound, and a commentary that matches Weaver’s in some fashion:

  • your empathy is admirable. However, I’m confident it would have taken a lot more than conversation to persuade that guy. I don’t mean to go full armchair psychologists, but doing something like that suggests a fair degree of sociopathy as well as narcissistic delusion. — J.N.

Weaver notes on pages 53-54 this:

Obsession, according to the canons of psychology, occurs when an innocuous idea is substituted for a painful one. The victim simply avoids recognizing the thing which will hurt. We have seen that the most painful confession for the modern egotist to make is that there is a center of responsibility. He has escaped it by taking his direction with reference to the smallest points.

In one post I explain that much of the distorted view within the black community that harms it, and often leads to violence, is narcissism. So thinking through this this morning, I would add that this kid had the propensity to harm others as part of his statement based in lies and his egoism.

ON THE SIDE OF ANGELS

CUE MAMET:

One might say that the politician, the doctor, and the dramatist make their living from human misery; the doctor in attempting to alleviate it, the politician to capitalize on it, and the dramatist, to describe it.

But perhaps that is too epigrammatic.

When I was young, there was a period in American drama in which the writers strove to free themselves of the question of character.

Protagonists of their worthy plays had made no choices, but were afflicted by a condition not of their making; and this condition, homosexuality, illness, being a woman, etc., was the center of the play. As these protagonists had made no choices, they were in a state of innocence. They had not acted, so they could not have sinned.

A play is basically an exercise in the raising, lowering, and altering of expectations (such known, collectively, as the Plot); but these plays dealt not with expectations (how could they, for the state of the protagonist was not going to change?) but with sympathy.

What these audiences were witnessing was not a drama, but a troublesome human condition displayed as an attraction. This was, formerly, known as a freak show.

The subjects of these dramas were bearing burdens not of their choosing, as do we all. But misfortune, in life, we know, deserves forbearance on the part of the unafflicted. For though the display of courage in the face of adversity is worthy of all respect, the display of that respect by the unaffected is presumptuous and patronizing.

One does not gain merit from congratulating an afflicted person for his courage. One only gains entertainment.

Further, endorsement of the courage of the affliction play’s hero was not merely impertinent, but, more basically, spurious, as applause was vouchsafed not to a worthy stoic, but to an actor portraying him.

These plays were an (unfortunate) by-product of the contemporary love-of-the-victim. For a victim, as above, is pure, and cannot have sinned; and one, by endorsing him, may perhaps gain, by magic, part of his incontrovertible status.

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 134-135.

Or, as one truth loving leftist professor explains the modern day classroom narcissism of his students, “we [leftists] are on the side of angels”:

TRANSCRIPT: Having a sort of one party state in the classroom is that it leads to certain kinds of intellectual laziness. People can be gestural, and they can make gestures. Everyone in the [class]room knows we’re on the side of the angels, so the gestures don’t get criticized, but you step outside of that room, and certain gestural leftism’s will be criticized, and you really need to know how to deal with them.

MOOONBATTERY

FINALLY, here is the post via MOONBATTERY , in full!

Twisted recruitment emphasis and indoctrination in leftist ideology may be having the effect you might expect on the US military:

US Air Force member Aaron Bushnell has died from his injuries after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, an official confirmed on Monday.

Bushnell offered himself up as a human sacrifice on behalf of Hamas in the aftermath of the October 7 terror atrocities.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide [in Gaza]. I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest,” Bushnell reportedly said, before setting himself ablaze and repeatedly crying out “Free Palestine.”

He died of moonbattery, in which he had been steeped:

“Many of us like to ask ourselves, ‘What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?’ The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now,” he wrote.

Let’s be thankful Bushnell was not a pilot carrying a nuclear payload. He might have decided to confront white privilege by dropping it on a US city deemed to be insufficiently diverse.

Upon taking power, moonbat apparatchik Lloyd Austin conducted an ideological purge throughout the military. Too bad its purpose was not to root out kooks like Bushnell.

Aaron Bushnell personifies the figurative self-immolation by moonbattery of Western Civilization. Its age-old nemesis Islam is delighted.

UPDATE!

THIS IS the article I knew would come, and I was waiting for. You don’t set yourself on fire in a vacuum (ideological [or literally]). You need the wind of lies in your sails to propel you to that act. As one of my boys said, “traitor thru and thru!” The beginning part is a of course they did! See my old post on Roger Waters. As well as a Cornel West post just updated:

When Aaron Bushnell, an Antifa member and Air Force Airman, set himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C., Hamas supporters in this country made him into a martyr.

Cornel West praised Bushnell’s “extraordinary courage and commitment”, Roger Waters celebrated him as an “All-American Hero” and the media emphasized his military role.

In reality, Aaron Bushnell was a member of radical anarchist groups on social media, he wanted to leave the Air Force and cheered the killings of members of the U.S. military.

When three black Army soldiers were murdered in an Iranian-backed Islamic terror attack back in January, Aaron Bushnell posted it to the Antifa ACAB (All Cops are Bastards) Reddit group with a mocking “OhNoAnyway.jpg” meme.

“The cops are the domestic military and the military is the international police. They are bad for the exact same reasons,” Aaron Bushnell posted in the ensuing debate.

Bushnell believed that Islamic terrorists killing U.S. military personnel was justified, arguing that, “I work for the air force and would also have no right to complain about violent resistance against my actions.”

In a previous exchange he warned another user against joining the military and argued again that the murder of Americans was justified. “The US DoD is one of the most powerfully evil institutions to ever disgrace the face of this planet. You will have blood on your hands that you will never be able to wash off. There are many people who suffer under the imperial boot who would have every reason to wish you dead, and they would be justified. Don’t do it.”

When asked by another anarchist as to whether joining the military would provide him with the skills to conduct domestic terrorism, Bushnell appeared skeptical. “

It’s very unlikely that you get any kind of ‘proper training’ that would be useful in a revolutionary context,” he suggested. The military was “a neo-feudal institution plugged into the broader neoliberal system. It runs on nothing but coercion, toxic masculinity, and brainwashing.”

Aaron Bushnell’s comments reveal that he wanted out of the Air Force and believed it was evil.

“I joined thinking I was doing my part to make the world a better place. Then I realized we’re the baddies, and the only way to make the world a better place is to get out,”

Bushnell, who died in support of the Hamas war against Israel, not only supported the Islamic terror group, but also justified the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews.

“Israel is a white supremacist, ethnonationalist, settler-colonial apartheid state….It has no right to exist,” Bushnell argued. He claimed that all the Jews could be killed because “there are no Israeli ‘civilians’” and that Israel was “the closest thing the world has to the Nazis”. Exterminating Israelis “wouldn’t be genocidal but actually perfectly reasonable, as Israelis are settler-colonizers” and described Hamas as  an “anti-colonial resistance organization”.

“Israel’s existence can’t be justified in the first place, it’s a colony of the US and UK. It has imposed apartheid, displacement, and extermination on the Palestinian people since its inception. No aggression against the Israeli colony can be condemned by non-Palestinians.”

The murdered Israeli families in nearby towns had it coming because they were “colonizers” and “I don’t get to claim it’s a violation of my human rights if some of those people come and kick me back out of that house or throw a molotov at it or kidnap me.”

Aaron Bushnell compared Hamas to the “diverse coalition in Star Wars” and dismissed people “clutching their pearls over” the killing and rape of young Israelis at the Nova music festival because there “are no innocent civilians in seller colonialism”.

“That music festival was happening just three miles from Gaza,” Bushnell contended. “Imagine a similar event happening in the early days of the colonization of North America. Can you or I really say that Indigenous people are wrong for retaliating against colonizers who are rubbing their domination in their face?”

Aaron Bushnell believed that the destruction of America was as justified as that of Israel.

[….]

His death will be used by Islamic terrorists and Antifa to recruit more young men like him.

The Bushnell case is a wake-up call about actual extremism within the military. Someone recruited him and someone encouraged him to kill himself. National security begins with finding and exposing the Islamic terrorists and extremists inside the United States Air Force.

Millian vs Marxian Educational Goals | Jon Haidt

Rapid change… is the goal:

“Two incompatible sacred values in American universities” Jon Haidt, Hayek Lecture Series

On October 6, 2016, Professor Jonathan Haidt gave a Hayek Lecture at Duke. The event was co-sponsored by the programs in the History of Political Economy (HOPE), Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE), and American Values and Institutions (AVI). The event was open to the public, but also served as a guest lecture in Professor Jonathan Anomaly’s PPE course.

Professor Haidt argues that conflicts arise at many American universities today because they are pursuing two potentially incompatible goals: truth and social justice. While Haidt thinks both goals are important, he maintains that they can come into conflict.

According to some versions of social justice, whenever we observe a disparity of outcomes between races, genders, or other groups, we should infer that injustice has been done. Haidt challenges this view of social justice and shows how it sometimes leads to violations of truth, and even justice.

Haidt concludes that universities should be free to pursue whatever goals – truth or social justice – they want, but that they should make it clear which of these two goals is their “telos” – their highest purpose. He ends with a discussion of his initiative, HeterodoxAcademy.org, to bring more viewpoint diversity to universities in order to improve research and learning.

The fuller article is worth your time – via Michael Nayna at the PROCESS:

Haidt used two quotes to exemplify the opposing perspectives, the first from liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill.

“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion…

… he must know them (opposing opinions) in their most plausible and persuasive form.”

– John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

This quote reflects a liberal arts perspective. One that considers the discovery of truth as primary and is more concerned with accuracy than what’s to be done with the findings.

Embedded in this spirit of curious humility is a belief that objective reality exists and is accessible to all inquiring minds as long as they’re willing and able to overcome their subjective biases.

We recognize research conducted in this Millian disposition as scientific, with rigorous empirical methods, the development of testable hypotheses, and systematic observation, all being reflections of a striving toward the reduction of subjective bias.

Haidt contrasts this Millian perspective with that of Karl Marx, the father of communism, who was notoriously pragmatic in his pursuit of revolution.

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

– Karl Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach

This quote reveals an activist’s disposition that regards the effect of thought as its primary purpose. Embedded in this perspective is an eagerness to impose one’s will on the world and it would likely give rise to an eye roll if confronted with Millian appeals to dispassionate analysis….

A related couple posts:

LA Has Gone Full Communist | Joe Rogan

COLIN RUGG:

NEW: Joe Rogan goes off on liberalism, says he was a liberal his whole life but can no longer support their cause because it has “gone full communist.”

Rogan is wide awake 🔥

“I was very left-leaningat the end of the day, I’m way more left than I am right. But California went nuts, man.”

“It’s gone like full communist. It’s out of its fucking mind. And their approach to law enforcement is so insane. It’s so insane.”

“The no cash bail, the letting people out for committing violent crimes, not stopping people for stealing.”

Yep, the progressive Left has become [I say become sarcastically] a cult. Joe Rogan is right…

BUT this “shamming/excommunication/cult-like,” etc… aspect of the Left has always existed. HOOVER has a great article on the removal and truncating of history by Stalin called Inside Stalin’s Darkroom. And the first few books I read on the subject that alerted me to the move by Democrats and the Left to censor speech were:

  • Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (1991)
  • The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses (1999)
  • The Betrayal of Liberalism: How the Disciples of Freedom and Equality Helped Foster the Illiberal Politics of Coercion and Control (1999)
  • The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America (2003)\The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (2003)

In other words, Joe Rogan is late to the Party and is only now [partially] realizing that the Party and ideals he supported is the foundation for radical censorship and the curtailing of freedom and the source of tyranny.

I wanted to include a comment that someone made along with my response:

  • I used to be a republican most of my life until these past 6 or 7 years or so. After trump and the magot cult I’ll never go republican again.

MY RESPONSE:

Trump curtailed regulation and government policy more than Reagan. We still have a long way to go… like shutting down [completely] the Department of Education, for instance. But we need someone closer to Javier Milei in office but on a related note: libertarian economist Milton Friedman voted Republican almost his entire life, as does libertarian Thomas Sowell after leaving Marxism. Jason, be part of the base of the GOP that pushes us towards freedom and [God willing] limited government.

Men Are About To Dominate Women’s Golf! Democrat’s Collectively Cheer

Just an update to the craziness of the world… and if people can really believe men can magically become women and must be called by those pronouns… those people are already fooled beyond anything Stalin, Pol-Pot, Hitler, or Mao could ever dream of. And are ALREADY brainwashed enough to start putting people in labor camps. Scary.

  • Hailey Davidson, a man cosplaying as a woman, won the NXXT Women’s Classic in Florida. The tournament’s mission is to “empower women in golf.” — Todd Starnes

Megyn Kelly notes [rightly] the misuse of pronouns:

I will exemplify with the linked story from the NEW YORLK POST:

A transgender golfer with dreams of making it to the LPGA tour has won a WOMEN’S tournament in Florida, which improved her HIS chances of earning herself HIMSELF a spot in a qualifying tour.

Hailey Davidson, 30, came out on top at the NXXT WOMEN’S classic on Jan. 17 at the Mission Inn Resort and Club, 35 miles northwest of Orlando, after shooting one-over-73 and ending the three-round tournament +4.

Davidson, a Scottish native residing in Florida, won after being 3-shots behind with two holes to go before forcing a playoff following her HIS play on the 18th hole, according to Davidson’s Instagram post celebrating the victory.

NXXT Golf is a professional WOMEN’S golf tour focused on “elevating WOMEN’S golf.”

“The Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best YOUNG WOMEN professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour,” according to the Epson Tour’s website.

The win propelled Davidson to the top of the NXXT tour’s leaderboard where she HE boasts a total score of 1320, a whopping 150 points ahead of the WOMAN in second place.

Out of the five tournaments held in the league since November, Davidson has placed in the top-2, twice, along with a 7 and 9 place finish.

Along with a trophy and the 500 league points given to the winner, Davidson was awarded $1,576.51, increasing her HIS season total to $4,206.84, with a current career total of $5,801.89 over 8 events……

Megyn Kelly is joined by Dave Rubin, host of The Rubin Report, to discuss Nikki Haley dodging the question of whether a man can become a woman when asked in a campaign event, how Trump and DeSantis answered the same issue, and more.

Women’s Sports Just Got Even More Masculine!

Another inclusive “toxic masculinity” advance to equity.

Democrats Hurting Those They Purport To Care For – Children

As you read below… note that CHRISTIANS make up about 60% of the foster care system.

Much like blue states legalizing same-sex marriage, like in Massachusetts, the Democrat policies and politicians ran the most successful and oldest adoption services out of business. One non-Christian adoption specialist notes the impact back then:

  • “Everyone’s still reeling from the decision,” Marylou Sudders, executive director of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), said yesterday. “Ultimately, the only losers are the kids,” said Maureen Flatley, a Boston adoption consultant and lobbyist. (more at RPT WT)

Around the same time (2012-2013), it was noted in Philadelphia that “the City of Philadelphia put out an urgent call for 300 new foster families.”

Continuing,

  • Despite the desperate need for homes for the 6,000 children in Philadelphia’s foster care system, the City then abruptly barred Catholic Social Services, one of the most successful foster agencies in the city, from placing any children. The City’s actions mean that foster homes are sitting empty and loving foster parents are unable to serve at-risk children, simply because the City disagrees with Catholic Social Services’ longstanding beliefs about marriage. (RPT’S SSM POST – point #3)

In the naming of the bill e peer — yet again — into the mind of the Orwellian parlance of the Democrats:

“Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements” (Christian Post)

So, here is a nationwide bill hurting those the Democrats purport to care about:

  • “This is not just about foster care,” explains American Family Association Senior Fellow Jameson Taylor. They’re “beginning to define Christian parents teaching a biblical worldview and defining that as a form of abuse. If you deny the LGBT lifestyle for your children, that is where this is headed.” (CBN)

A Civil War? Victor Davis Hanson and Tim Pool

I start this excerpt of Tim Pools fuller “Tim Cast” (RUMBLE) with Victor Davis Hanson noting the “Revolutionary Acts” by the Democrats as of a year ago on FOX NEWS.  –  I have an updated audio as well (RUMBLE) . Enjoy… I found a new resource which I am excited about: LARRY DORS, who pieces together the same line being said from different movies. Check out his YouTube Channel.

REASON ARTICLE[s]:

The Theme This Week? Courage & Hounds of Heaven | #GodIsGood

Okay… two main themes came to my mind at the most recent Bible study at church… the first is the theme, “COURAGE.” The second is the idea of the “HOUNDS OF HEAVEN

BTW, there is a sermon rolling around in here somewhere for you pastors/speakers

(Skip my linked contents to start reading)

JUMP DOWN TO:

UNDER – COURAGE

UNDER – HOUNDS OF HEAVEN (JUMP)

COMMENTARIES

  • Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, vol. 7, The New American Commentary (Jump)
  • Herbert Livingston, “2191 רָעַע,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Jump)
  • Ronald F. Youngblood, 1, 2 Samuel, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Jump)
  • Walter Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Jump)

PDFs

  • The Significance of The Verb Love In The David-Jonathan Narratives In 1 Samuel (PDF)
  • Hamôr Lehem (1 Samuel 16:20): “So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and one young goat and sent them by his son David to Saul.” — Ass-Load (getting into the weeds of the Masoretic Text | PDF)
  • Old Testament Cross-Culturalism: Paradigmatic or Enigmatic? (PDF)

Paradigmatic: 1. Of or relating to a paradigm. 2. Linguistics Of or relating to the set of substitutional or oppositional relationships a linguistic unit has with other units, such as the relationship between (n) in not and other sounds that could be substituted for it in the same context, like (t) and (p). Together with the set of syntagmatic relations, paradigmatic relations describe the identity of a linguistic unit in a given language. (American Heritage Dictionary)
Enigmatic: Of or resembling an enigma; puzzling: a professor’s enigmatic grading system. See Synonyms at mysterious. (American Heritage Dictionary)

COURAGE

In Christian circles you often hear the term “confirmation” used. Not as in being confirmed in your salvation, or baptized…. but as in I had something I was thinking or praying for, and it was confirmed by the Lord. I would say my “tri-fecta,” or “hat-trick” to put it in hockey terms, was just that. It may have been merely coincidence, but even if not “divinely planned,” it was “divinely” applied to my walk by the Holy Spirit stirring in me Biblical truths.

  1. On October 12th I went to a Shelby Steele event, he spoke often of “courage” and “moral courage” (I uploaded my take on it on the 19th)
  2. This past Sunday (the 22nd) my Pastor ended his sermon speaking about courage.
  3. and on Monday (the 23rd), the men’s Bible study was going through 1st Samuel 17 and noted was David’s courage alongside Israel’s loss of it.

(1) SHELBY STEELE

On October 12th, I went to go see Dr. Shelby Steele at our local college… I wrote about my thoughts HERE. I have a section in that post on COURAGE.

Courage was a theme of Dr. Steele’s because he spoke of (A) the black culture not acting on their freedom, which takes courage; rather than the easy way out of the grievance culture where they receive handouts (emotional and/or monetary).

To communicate the following, publicly, but more importantly to act on it — takes courage:

“Racism is over with,” said Steele.  

In modern America, Steele feels free now.  

Smyth asked Steele what conservatism meant to him and he answered by saying that conservatism is a devotion to that freedom.  

“I say this to Blacks, you can be free, if you are not afraid to be free,” said Steele. 

A woman in the below video says she is on the fence when it comes to society allowing black folks freedom like the kind Shelby Steele was talking about. Her question relates to being held back… Shelby says whatever you feel like you are being held back in, do it (roughly adapted). He was saying, I think, test your theory.

To put yourself out like that and stand up to the narrative takes — courage.

(B) When one confronts the current laissez-faire use of pronouns and distortion of language, whites are labeled as racist, blacks as uncle Toms. One of the tactics of the Left is to silence the opposition by labeling them as: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted (S.I.X.H.I.R.B.). Overcoming the fear of being accused of these things, and confronting the lies of this “WOKE” culture takes what? COURAGE.

(2) MY PASTOR

I wrote a bit on Courage; Even though I saw Doc Steele on the 12th, I uploaded my post on it on the 19th. Sunday church service was on the 22nd, so “courage” was fresh in my mind. At the beginning of the service Pastor Todd spoke about a historical trip he went on during his sabbatical. He opened with touring the “behind the scenes war rooms, planning bunkers” Winston Churchill and others used to make battle plans…. Then at the end of the service he picked up the story again and tied is into the sermon.

The Apostle Paul was traveling on essentially unpoliced and dangerous roads for thousands of miles, having Jewish and Roman authorities looking for him ta’ boot — all to spread the Good News of Jesus — took courage.

So, in the below video I cobbled together a bit of a montage:

However, these are two of the three connecting themes….

I had a “hat-trick”…..

Enter…

(3) MEN’S BIBLE STUDY

At the recent men’s Bible study this past Monday, we went over 1st Samuel 16 and 17… Courage was part of the theme:

  • When Saul and all Israel heard these words from the Philistine, they lost their courage and were terrified (17:11)….David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!” (17:32).

David’s courage in battle against Goliath spread to his fellow Israelites who were infected with it.

I was then drawn to Hebrews 10:35-39 (HCSB)

35 So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.

37 For yet in a very little while,

the Coming One will come and not delay.

38 But My righteous one will live by faith;

and if he draws back,

I have no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

….“If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Draw back means “to take in sail.”

  • But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul [Heb. 10:39].

The writer to the Hebrews did not consider that they had drawn back, but he is speaking of the danger of doing so, and he is giving them this warning. Since draw back means “to take in sail,” the believer is like a sailor who should let out all the sail. That is what the writer has been telling these folk—“Let us go on!” His thought is that a believer could reef his sails—become stranded because of discouragement, because of persecution, because of hardship, because of depression. But since we have a living Savior, let’s go on. Let’s open up all the sails. Let’s move out for God.

You remember the story of the French Huguenots. They were persecuted, and they were betrayed. When France destroyed them, it destroyed the best of French manhood and womanhood. The French Huguenots went into battle, knowing they were facing certain death, and their motto was: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” The nation of France has never since been the nation it was before it destroyed these people.

We believers today need a motto like the Huguenots. There is a lot of boo–hooing today among Christians. There is a lot of complaining and criticizing. There are a bunch of crybabies and babies that need to be burped.

Oh, my Christian friend, the whole tenor of this marvelous epistle is “Let us go on.” So let us go on for God!

Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Epistles (Hebrews 8-13), electronic ed., vol. 52 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 65–66.

So the speaker at the Men’s group had our tables discuss topics from the passages… using health or other trials as maybe needing some courage to survive, address, and the like. I shared with the men my “tri-fecta” culminating with this battle, and related it to the battle we currently face as Christians in this increasingly pagan and secular America.

We need courage to enter battle with it. To be able to withstand accusations, or the [as already noted] laissez-faire use of pronouns and distortion of language. (To get a taste of this “extent of language distortion” explained well, I excerpted a few pages from Mark Goldblatt’s book (PDF), “I Feel, Therefore I Am” — it is a must read I think.)

To stand up to all this takes courage.

Okay, pivot to my next topic….

HOUNDS OF HEAVEN

During Monday’s Bible study, as we got to this portion of 1st Samuel 16:14-23,

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit sent from the Lord began to torment him15 so Saul’s servants said to him, “You see that an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command your servants here in your presence to look for someone who knows how to play the lyre. Whenever the evil spirit from God troubles you, that person can play the lyre, and you will feel better.”

17 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Find me someone who plays well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the young men answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is also a valiant man, a warrior, eloquent, handsome, and the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul dispatched messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and one young goat and sent them by his son David to Saul. 21 When David came to Saul and entered his service, Saul admired him greatly, and David became his armor-bearer. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse: “Let David remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.” 23 Whenever the spirit from God troubled Saul, David would pick up his lyre and play, and Saul would then be relieved, feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

(HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE [HCSB])

I camped out a bit in the text using some commentaries I had open in my LOGOS APP. I include the extended section of the commentary below. (JUMP TO IT IF YOU WISH.) The part that I camped on was this: “Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit sent from the Lord began to torment him.”


I have already covered the larger topic at hand a bit:Conversations with Lemmings: Did God “Create” Evil (Isaiah 45:7)


However, the commentary reminded me of “The Hounds of Heaven” and how often they can feel lie the “hounds of hell.” God sent an Angel of Judgement (as I see it) to Saul… this is what troubled him to the point of agony. In those who are God’s elect, this Angel “The Hound of Heaven” chases us to Calvary. Was God — who wishes all to come to saving knowledge of Him — wanting the same for Saul? Giving him the opportunity to repent, but knowing [in His foreknowledge] he wouldn’t, opening the door to a man after His own heart.

I previously posted a well-known poem about the Hounds of Heaven by Francis Thompson in 1893, after comedian Jeff Allen’s testimony that I isolated. C.S. Lewis was surely familiar with this 1893 poem as he intimated God chasing him into the Kingdom of Heaven.

However, if you are unfamiliar with this poem, here is a more in-depth dealing with the grace that exudes from it, followed by a slight dive into the mention of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

Tea with C.S. Lewis

….Francis Thompson died on this day, November 13, 1907. He famously wrote the 182-line poem “The Hound of Heaven” about the hound who single-mindedly pursues his catch across the countryside for as long as it takes. This was Thompson’s story. God never gave up on him even when he was living on the streets of London in the pits of opium addiction. God never stopped his pursuit. And even though Thompson’s grave today is overgrown, neglected and almost impossible to find in a cemetery on the outskirts of Manchester England, the rejoicing continues in heaven over one sinner who made his way home. Maybe Francis Thompson will be there, quietly sitting on the edge in quiet thanksgiving.

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears

Naked I waited Thy loves’s uplifted stroke!”

This one-way-love that never stops is what Christians call grace. “Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unloveable” (Paul Zahl). Grace is what distinguishes Christianity from every other religion. All the other religions instruct us to do something: to climb an achievement ladder, to make certain pilgrimages, to quiet dissonant voices in order to show God our faithfulness and attention. Christianity emphatically says, “It’s not your faithfulness that counts, but God’s!” While other religions say, “you get what you deserve,” Christianity says we get what we don’t deserve because God is a gracious Heavenly Father who is kind to the ungrateful and wicked (Luke 6:35). He loved them to the end (John 13:1).

Only God knows how many people have come to see Jesus as loving Father by reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Maybe there will be an afternoon tea in heaven where Lewis and Joy Davidman can meet with those who know and love God because God used them in this way. And perhaps Francis Thompson will be there too, quietly on the edges with a smile of thanksgiving.

J. VERNON MCGEE

GOD’S “WOODSHED”

This excellent short treatise by J.D. GREEAR, of the idea of God having His claws in us via C.S. Lewis and his The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

Dragged Into the Kingdom, Kicking and Screaming

C. S. Lewis has one of the more intriguing stories of conversion. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he called himself “the most dejected, reluctant convert in all of England . . . drug into the kingdom kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape.” Somehow that doesn’t usually make the list of people’s favorite C.S. Lewis quotes.

It’s important to see what Lewis isn’t saying: he’s not saying that he regrets becoming a Christian. (Remember, it’s Surprised by Joy.) And he’s not trying to weigh in on the Calvinism/Arminian debate (though he does elsewhere). C.S. Lewis is saying that God often pursues us long before we have any inkling of what he’s up to. More often than not, we don’t like the pursuit.

A scene that beautifully captures Lewis’ experience is in his Voyage of the Dawn Treader. One of the main characters—a boy named Eustace—has developed an evil heart and becomes a dragon. He wants to be a boy again, so Aslan leads him to a pristine fountain of water. Listen to Eustace (and behind him, C.S. Lewis), describe his experience:

The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain. But the lion [Aslan] told me I must undress first.

So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that [the skin on my feet was] all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as it had been before.

[Eustace then repeats the process a second and third time, growing increasingly despairing.]

Then the lion said, ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything, but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.

If you’re feeling God’s pursuit like the “claws” of a lion, know that while it may be painful, it’s not punishment. God never desires to pay you back, but to bring you back. Will you let him?

All this resonates with me as I was chased into an L.A. County super-max jail facility by my Savior. God’s Holy Spirit chased and judged righteously my actions and rejection of God. I responded only by the grace of God. I love because He first [and miraculously — through the Miracle of Calvary] loved me, 1st John 4:13-19,

13 This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.

17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.

(HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE [HCSB])

Which continues the above in thankfulness that God saw in me something to be desired. Sought after. Brought to “the wood shed” over.

The beauty, wonder, and distinction of God is His amazing grace. There is no ambiguity with God. The Lord is not fickle but loves and holds tight even when we are unlovely and practice avoidance. When God pursues, God finds; when God holds on, there is no letting go.

This trustworthy saying of Scripture is a good, short, solid expression of theological truth to memorize, meditate upon, and say to ourselves repeatedly.  We belong to Jesus Christ.  God is with us.  The Hound of Heaven will always sniff us out and bring us to himself.

(REV. TIM EHRHARDT)

Amen?

In some sense, we all have been brought into the Kingdom of God kicking and screaming.

WHAT TO NOTE: I add as many of the references found in the footnotes of The New American Commentary on Samuel as I can. So while the main commentary excerpt is just one, I provide the reader with access he or she may not have that I do, including a few PDFs. Enjoy:


COMMENTARY


16:14–20 David’s new status before the Lord stood in sharp contrast to Saul’s. When the Lord rejected Saul as king (15:23, 26; 16:1), “the Spirit of the Lord had departed from” (v. 14) him as well.[33] Saul had lost the empowering reality behind the anointing that had marked his selection for divine service earlier (cf. 10:1, 10). But Saul’s condition now was far worse than being without the Lord’s Spirit, for “an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” The Hebrew word translated “evil” (Hb. rāʿâ) has a wide range of meanings from “misery” to “moral perverseness.”[34] Thus, it is possible—and perhaps preferable—to interpret the text not to mean that the Lord sent a morally corrupt demon[35] but rather another sort of supernatural being—an angel of judgment (cf. 2 Kgs 19:35)—against Saul that caused him to experience constant misery.[36]

Saul’s tortured state was not an accident of nature, nor was it essentially a medical condition. It was a supernatural assault by a being sent at the Lord’s command, and it was brought on by Saul’s disobedience.[37]

The astounding declaration by the writer in vv. 14–15 reflects a worldview that bears further examination. God, the Creator of the universe, had issued a series of behavioral decrees applicable to all humanity, but especially to Israel, and these were revealed supremely in the Torah. The Torah was a path of life, and obedience to the Torah resulted in life and blessing. To disobey Torah requirements was to leave the path of life and enter into the realm of judgment and death. Through his repeated disobedience to the Torah requirements Saul had entered into a living, personal judgment that God brought against him. This punishment was carried out by a divinely created agent of judgment, “an evil [or “troubling”] spirit from the Lord.”[38]

This is the only time in the Old Testament that an individual is noted as being tormented by a troubling/evil spirit. Evidence that the writer considered Saul’s condition to be unusual is provided by the fact that the verb that describes Saul’s condition (Hb. bāʿat) is used nowhere else in a narrative framework clause in the Torah or Former Prophets; furthermore, the combination of grammatical and lexical features in this clause is rated as the most abnormal in the narrative framework of 1, 2 Samuel.[39]

Though Saul was the one being troubled by the spirit, the writer portrays him as being inert in dealing with it. It was “Saul’s attendants” (v. 15), not Saul himself, who correctly diagnosed his condition; it also was they who suggested an effective treatment for helping him “feel better” (v. 16). Their remedy was one known in Israelite circles to have power in the spiritual world (cf. 2 Kgs 3:15), the playing of harp music. By listening to harp music “when the [troubling]/evil spirit comes” (v. 16), Saul “will feel better.”

The suggestion seemed reasonable to Saul, and he immediately ordered a search for “someone who plays well” (v. 17). But even before a search party could be organized, an unnamed royal servant suggested that they seek “a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp” (v. 18). This individual—David—had numerous other qualifications that befit a person who would serve as a royal aide. Militarily, “he is a brave man and a warrior”; socially, “he speaks well”; physically, he “is a fine-looking man”; and spiritually, “the Lord is with him.” The mention of this last trait puts David in company with Isaac, Joseph, Joshua, and Samuel (cf. Gen 26:28; 39:2–3, 21, 23; Josh 6:27; 1 Sam 3:19).

On that recommendation Saul sent a message to Jesse ordering him to deliver his son over to the royal court. Dutifully, Jesse complied. The food that he sent—“a donkey loaded with bread,[40] a skin of wine and a young goat” (v. 20)—probably was meant to serve as David’s provisions since there was as yet no formal taxation system to support people serving in the nation’s political and military establishment.

16:21–23 David came to Saul at Gibeah and “entered his service” (lit., “stood before his face”), and it was not long before the king “loved [ʾāhab] him greatly” (“liked him very much”). So impressed was Saul with this well-recommended shepherd that he decided to make David a permanent member of his court. Saul assigned him a coveted role as “one of his armorbearers.” In this position David was kept close to the king and was thus able to respond immediately “whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul” (v. 23). Gordon cites Qumranic evidence to suggest that David’s songs were accompanied by singing as well.[41] Though David’s musical efforts were effective in providing relief for Saul, the writer understood that David’s success was due to the fact that the Spirit of the Lord was with him in power (vv. 13, 18).

David’s soothing remedy for Saul’s malady was simple yet effective. The Hebrew verb forms in v. 23 suggest that Saul was attacked numerous times by the tormenting spirit; Scripture records two such additional instances (18:10; 19:9), and likely there were others.

The three concluding verses of chap. 16 depict David’s first encounter with the one who would soon devote his life to trying to kill him. The verses play an important role in the larger scheme of 1, 2 Samuel, for they serve as the first evidence that David was a loyal, trustworthy servant of Saul who used his abilities to benefit the king. In spite of Saul’s repeated efforts to kill David, Israel’s next king made absolutely no efforts to bring down Saul’s dynasty. In fact, David performed feats in Saul’s behalf that no one else could, and the king initially appreciated David’s efforts. Any deterioration in the relationship between Saul and David would not be David’s fault.

NOTES

[33] D. Howard, Jr., understands the simultaneous transfer of the Spirit from Saul to David as not only a symbol of the transfer of political power but also a reflection of God’s disapproval of Israel’s manner of establishing the monarchy (“The Transfer of Power from Saul to David in 1 Sam 16:13–14,” JETS 32 [1989]: 473–83). [I uploaded it to be viewed – click to view the PDF]

[34] Cf. TWOT 2.856. [JUMP: I include the full portion of this commentary below, in “A”]

[35] Cf. Youngblood’s option, “alien spirit” (1, 2 Samuel, 688). [JUMP: I include the full portion of this commentary below, in “B”]

[36] The verb בּעת, translated “tormented,” has recently been examined more closely in J. Hoftijzer, “Some Remarks on the Semantics of the Root bʿt in Classical Hebrew,” in Pomegranates and Golden Bells, ed. D. P. Wright et al. (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1995), 777–83. He concludes that the word refers to an experience of extreme fear and incapacitation.

[37] W. Brueggemann suggests that Saul’s “disturbance has to do with alienation rooted in a theological disorder” and is “both theological and psychological” (First and Second Samuel, IBC [Louisville: John Knox, 1990], 125) [JUMP: I include the full portion of this commentary below, in “C”]

[38] This line of reasoning could also be used to explain the enigmatic word spoken to King Ahab by the prophet Micaiah (cf. 1 Kgs 22:19–23).

[39] The fact that the clause is so different from other biblical Hebrew narrative clauses meant that this clause would have been more difficult to process mentally and therefore would have required more attention by a Hebrew speaker reading or listening to the text. As a result the material would have seemed to be “highlighted.” This technique of encoding important and unusual information in grammatically exceptional structures is practiced in human communication of all languages. Cf. R. Bergen, “Evil Spirits and Eccentric Grammar: A Study of the Relationship between Text and Meaning in Hebrew Narrative,” in Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Linguistics (Dallas: SIL, 1994), 320–35.

[40] For a discussion of the phrase חֲמוֹר לֶחֶם cf. D. Tsumura, “ḥămôr leḥem (1 Samuel xvi 20),” VT 42 (1992): 412–14. [I uploaded it to be viewed – click to view the PDF]

[41] Gordon (I and II Samuel, 153), commenting on the apocryphal psalm 11QPsa27. [This is a link to a book, 11Q5 Psalms a (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010), showing the Hebrew from the Dead Sea Scrolls of portions of Psalm: Col. XXVII, 2 Sam 23:7; David’s Compositions.]

Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, vol. 7, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 182–184.


REFERENCES


FROM FOOTNOTE #34

רָעָה (rāʿâ). Evil, misery, distress, injury, wickedness. The feminine noun rāʿâ functions much like the masculine adjective, though somewhat more frequently. Often rāʿâ is an adjective too, and qualifies its nouns in terms of the negative function, or condition, and the injurious activity of the noun. God’s own character and attitude measures the value of things and people (II Kgs 8:12; Jer 29:11; cf. Jon 4:2, 6). The phrase “in the sight of the Lord” appears twice (I Sam 12:17; II Kgs 21:20). God’s view deals mostly with moral qualities, but man has his own standards and tends to evaluate his environment as rāʿâ in terms of the pain he experiences.

In a non-moral sense, things are counted as of inferior quality on the basis of their condition. The cows of Pharaoh’s dream were inferior (Gen 41:3–4, 19–20), also land (Num 13:19), and the figs of Jer 24:2–3, 8 were useless for food because of their condition. Beasts were evaluated in terms of their danger to human life (seven references), so also the sword (Ps 144:10). Verbal reports, the times/days, events of life may be bearers of distress and so are rāʿâ (some thirty-five times). The term may designate injury done to the body (over twenty times), or the sorrow one may experience (a dozen times). The feminine noun has the capacity to collectively denote the sum of distressing happenings of life (over twenty times).

This word rāʿâ can label men (Num 14:27, 35; Jer 8:3) or thoughts (Ezk 38:10), but a number of times it is an abstract for the total of ungodly deeds people do, or a person’s inner condition which produces such deeds. The term may label a variety of negative attitudes common to wicked people, and be extended to include the consequences of that kind of lifestyle.

In Jud 9:23; I Sam 16:14–16, 23; 18:10; 19:9 the word qualifies the noun, angels, not to indicate that they were demonic, but that they brought distress, or an abnormal condition to the person affected.

In harmony with the contrast between rāʿâ and ṭôb “good,” God acts with painful punishment against the rāʿâ kind of people (over seventy times; particularly prominent in Jeremiah). He also acts with mercy toward those who will respond to his exhortations (Eccl 11:10; Jer ten times; Jon 3:8), but man must confess (I Sam 12:19; Jer 17:17). On his part, God acts to save man from rāʿâ (Ex 32:14; I Sam 10:19; 25:39) as he promised (I Kgs 21:29; Prov 1:33; Isa 57:1; Jer 23:17; 36:3; Ezk 34:25). And there was advice to the believers on how to keep themselves free from rāʿâ (Ex 23:2; I Sam 12:20; Prov 3:29; 22:3; 24:1; 27:12).

Herbert Livingston, “2191 רָעַע,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 856.

FROM FOOTNOTE #35

The arrival of David in the court of Saul (16:14–23)

As noted above, the two halves (vv.1–13, 14–23) of chapter 16 are linked together in various ways and therefore constitute a literary unit. One link is the position of David’s name. “In each of its first appearances it is the object of a verb: in v.13 the spirit of YHWH ‘seizes’ (ṣālaḥ) David, and in v.19 Saul asks Jesse to ‘send’ (šālaḥ) David to him.… The two verbs are very similar in sound, being distinguished only as the two sibilants s and š are distinguished” (Walters, “The Light and the Dark,” pp. 572–73).

In addition, however, the hinge of the chapter underscores, as described in the title of an excellent article by David M. Howard, Jr., “The Transfer of Power From Saul to David in 1 Sam 16:13–14” (JETS 32, 4 [1989]: 473–83 [PDF VIEWABLE HERE]). “The movements of the figures here—YHWH’s Spirit, Samuel, the evil spirit—in relationship to each other effectively tell the story of the transfer of political power and spiritual power from Saul to David” (ibid., p. 477).

14–18 The relationships of four movements in vv.13–14 are clarified in the following chart, which exhibits an ABB’A’ pattern:

Howard summarizes: “When YHWH’s Spirit came upon David his anointer left, leaving him in good hands. When YHWH’s Spirit left Saul an evil spirit came upon him, leaving him in dire straits” (ibid., p. 481).

The Spirit’s coming on David and the Spirit’s leaving Saul were two climactic events that occurred in close sequence to each other (cf. esp. 18:12: “The Lord was with David but had left Saul”). Just as the accession of the Spirit by David was an expected accompaniment of his anointing as Israel’s next ruler (v.13), so the departure of the Spirit from Saul (v.14) should be understood as the negation of effective rule on his part from that time on. No longer having access to Samuel’s counsel, Saul eventually was forced to resort to the desperate expedient of consulting a medium because God had “turned away” from him (28:15; the Heb. verb is the same as the one rendered “departed” in v.14).

The “evil spirit” (v.14), the divinely sent scourge that “tormented” (lit., “terrified,” “terrorized”) Saul, returned again and again (18:10; 19:9). Just as God had sent an evil spirit to perform his will during the days of Abimelech (Judg 9:23), so also he sent an evil spirit on Saul—“both of whom proved to be unworthy candidates for the office” of king in Israel (Howard, “The Transfer of Power,” p. 482). In both instances it was sent in response to their sin, which in Saul’s case was particularly flagrant (13:13–14; 15:22–24). Although the “evil” spirit may have been a demon that embodied both moral and spiritual wickedness, it may rather have been an “injurious” (so NIV mg.) spirit that “boded ill for Saul, one that produced harmful results for him” (Howard, “The Transfer of Power,” p. 482 n. 36). It was thus doubtless responsible for the mental and psychological problems that plagued Saul for the rest of his life.

That God used alien spirits to serve him is taken for granted in the OT (cf. esp. 2 Sam 24:1 with 1 Chronicles 21:1). On occasion God’s people “were not very concerned with determining secondary causes and properly attributing them to the exact cause. Under the divine providence everything ultimately was attributed to him; why not say he did it in the first place?” (Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Hard Sayings of the Old Testament [Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988], p. 131; cf. also Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982], p. 180: “Saul’s evil bent was by the permission and plan of God. We must realize that in the last analysis all penal consequences come from God, as the Author of the moral law and the one who always does what is right [Gen. 18:25]”; cf. Fredrik Lindstrom, God and the Origin of Evil [Lund: Gleerup, 1983]).

As French marechal (“blacksmith”) developed into marshal, and as chambellan (“bedchamber attendant”) developed into chamberlain, so also ʿeḇeḏ (“servant”) came to mean “attendant,” “official” in royal circles in Israel, beginning during the days of Saul. The title was conferred on high officials and is found inscribed on their seals. It was also employed side by side with the use of the term as a conventional way of referring to oneself while addressing a superior (cf. conveniently Talmon, p. 64 and nn. 34–36). Thus Saul’s “attendants,” aware that their king was being tormented by an evil spirit (v.15), referred to themselves as his “servants” (same Heb. word) who were ready and eager to help (v.16; cf. v.17; 17:32, 34, 36; 18:5 [“officers”], 22, 24; 19:1; 28:7).

Perhaps sensing that “music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,” Saul’s attendants offered to look for someone to play the “harp” (kinnôr; cf. comment on 10:5) to make their master “feel better” (v.16). Pictorial representations of the asymmetrical harp or lyre ranging from the twelfth to seventh centuries b.c. can help us visualize what David’s harp looked like (cf. Biblical Archaeology Review 8, 1 [1982]: 22, 30, and esp. 34). Walters (“The Light and the Dark,” p. 582) points out that of the fifteen OT occurrences of niggēn (“play [an instrument]”), seven appear in this section of 1 Samuel (vv.16 [bis], 17, 18, 23; 18:10; 19:9) and thus serve at the outset to highlight the reputation of David as “Israel’s singer of songs” (2 Sam 23:1).

Saul agreed with his attendants’ counsel (v.17), and one of his “servants” (lit., “young men,” a different Heb. word than that rendered “attendants” in v.15 and “servants” in v.16) suggested that a certain son of Jesse would meet Saul’s needs admirably (v.18). In the course of doing so, the servant gave—in a series of two-worded Hebrew phrases—as fine a portrayal of David as one could wish. Understandably he began with a characterization of him as a musician and then continued by describing him as a “brave man” (the same Heb. phrase is used of Saul’s father, Kish, and is translated “man of standing” in 9:1), a “warrior” (translated “fighting man” of Goliath in 17:33 and “experienced fighter” of David in 2 Sam 17:8), a discerning and articulate speaker, and a handsome man as well. The servant’s final descriptive phrase—set off from what precedes by a major disjunctive accent in the MT (Masoretic text)—reminds us that just as the Lord was with Samuel (3:19), so also he was with David. This latter attribute becomes yet another Leitmotif for David (17:37; 18:12, 14, 28; 2 Sam 5:10; so Walters, “The Light and the Dark,” pp. 570–71; McCarter, “The Apology of David,” pp. 499, 503–4). Although unwittingly, Saul’s servant has just introduced us to Israel’s next king.

A modern assessment of David’s character and career sees him as “giant-slayer, shepherd, musician, manipulator of men, outlaw, disguised madman, loyal friend and subject, lover, warrior, dancer and merrymaker, father, brother, son, master, servant, religious enthusiast, and king” and then asks, “What are we to make of this enormous portrait? Where do we begin?” (Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis, “King David of Israel,” in Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives edd. Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis and James S. Ackerman [Nashville: Abingdon, 1982], 2:205). The rest of our commentary can only tentatively analyze these and other aspects of the personality and deeds of this most complex of all Israelite kings. For now, a gentle irony: Although Saul’s servant agreed with the positive contemporary consensus that kings and courtiers should be “fine-looking” (v.18), the same Hebrew word is preceded by a negative particle in its description of great David’s greater Son as one who had “no beauty” (Isa 53:2).

19–23 Again Saul, influenced by a servant’s suggestion, sent for the man described: Jesse’s son—here, for only the second time so far, identified by the name David (v.19). Saul’s reference to David as being “with the sheep” thus identifies him as a shepherd and uses “language which refers allusively to him as a kingly figure” (Walters, “The Light and the Dark,” p. 575). Like Jesse earlier (cf. v.11 and comment), Saul unwittingly characterizes David as Israel’s next king.

It is often stated that numerous inconsistencies, especially in matters of detail, exist in the early stories of David and Saul (for a typical list, see Emmanuel Tov, “The Composition of 1 Samuel 16–18 in the Light of the Septuagint Version,” in Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism ed. Jeffrey H. Tigay [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1985], pp. 121–22). The appropriate response to such alleged discrepancies is not, however, to seek refuge in the fact that in chapters 16–18 “the Masoretic Text has 80 percent more verses than does the LXX” (ibid., p. 99) and thus to attribute the differences to an attempt by the standardizers of the present Hebrew text to include variant readings whether or not they could be harmonized. Nor should one assume the prior existence of two or more different narratives of how David rose to power, along the lines of the now discredited documentary hypothesis (for a lively survey of this approach, cf. North, “David’s Rise,” pp. 524–44). Much to be preferred is the method of examining each so-called discrepancy on its own merits in an attempt to determine whether it is more apparent than real.

A case in point: If Saul recognizes David as Jesse’s son in v.19, why does he later ask him whose son he is (17:58)? In the light of the differing contexts in the two chapters, a possible solution comes to mind. In chapter 16 Saul’s initial interest in David was as a harpist, while in chapter 17 he is interested in him primarily as a warrior (according to his customary policy, 14:52). Saul’s question in 17:58, in any event, is only a leadoff question; his conversation with David continued far beyond the mere request for his father’s name (18:1). He probably wanted to know, among other things, “whether there were any more at home like him” (Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 175). It is of course not beyond the realm of possibility that Saul simply forgot the name of David’s father during the indeterminate period between chapters 16 and 17.

A firm believer in the truth later expressed in Proverbs 18:16—“a gift opens the way for the giver/and ushers him into the presence of the great”—Jesse sent David to take bread, wine, and a young goat (staple items; cf. 10:3) to Saul (v.20). Obviously impressing Saul (v.21), David “entered his service” (wayyaʿamōḏ lep̱ānāyw lit., “stood before him,” a common idiom in the ancient Near East [cf. v.22, “remain in my service”]; the Akkadian semantic equivalent is uzuzzu pani) as an armor-bearer. Although skilled men can expect to be pressed into service by kings (Prov 22:29), Saul also “liked” David personally (the same Heb. verb describes Jonathan’s relationship to David and is translated “loved”; cf. 18:1, 3; 20:17). At the same time the narrator may well be playing on the ambiguity of the verb ʾāhēḇ (“love”) in these accounts, since it can also have political overtones in covenant/treaty relationships (so J.A. Thompson, “The Significance of the Verb Love in the David-Jonathan Narratives in 1 Samuel,” VetTest 24, 3 [1974]: 335 [PDF VIEWABLE HERE]).

Obviously delighted with David, Saul engages him as one of his servants (v.22). Sandwiched between the two occurrences of the noun a (“spirit”) in v.23 is the verb rāwaḥ (“relief would come”). The noun and the verb both come from the same root (rwḥ) and thus constitute an elegant wordplay, stressing that David’s skill as a harpist brings soothing “relief” that drives the evil “spirit” from the disturbed king (cf. similarly Walters, “The Light and the Dark,” p. 578).

The chapter ends with a gifted young man, Israel’s future king, coming to serve a rejected and dejected ruler who is totally unaware of the implications of his welcoming David into his court. Not just “a handsome yokel with a rustic lyre,” Jesse’s son is the anointed king (ibid., p. 581).

Ronald F. Youngblood, “1, 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 687–691.

FROM FOOTNOTE #37

1 Samuel 16:14–23

The initial anointing of David was a private, even secret, matter (vv. 1–3). Now it is time for David to become publicly visible. At the outset of his “reign,” David has only three constituents: Yahweh and Samuel, who are his relentless patrons, and Saul, who is to become a more ambiguous patron. He has been dealt with already by Yahweh (and Samuel); now it is Saul’s turn to deal with David.

There is a deep and intentional tension in the story of 16:14–23, requiring us to trace two story lines. Ostensibly this story is about Saul, Saul’s sickness and Saul’s source of health. But underneath that interest is the story of David’s road to power. Of this second story, Saul knows nothing. Conversely, David’s relentless road to power renders Saul (and the story line of Saul’s illness) fundamentally irrelevant and finally of no interest to the life and faith of Israel. How ironic that a story apparently featuring Saul is in fact interested in Saul only as a foil for David’s advance.

There are twin dangers in approaching the pathology of Saul. On the one hand, we can read his situation as though it were the result of a supernatural theological verdict without reference to the experiential reality of life. On the other hand, we can seek to banish such supernaturalism by reducing his ailment to psychology. We shall misunderstand, however, if we appropriate the sickness as mere theology or only psychology. Israel’s faith is much more embedded in living reality than to deal only with a theological conclusion. Conversely, the narrative itself guards against an absolute psychological assessment in verse 23. (The rsv does the interpreter a disservice through its translation of this section. In the rsv, “Spirit” is capitalized in v. 14 and is in lower case in v. 23, suggesting a theological and then a psychological reading. But that is only a translator’s inclination. In fact “the spirit” is the same at the beginning and at the end of the narrative, capitalized or not.)

Saul is indeed a disturbed man, and the disturbance has to do with alienation rooted in a theological disorder. The disorder must be seen, however, as both theological and psychological in order to understand the powerful ministration of David, who is Yahweh’s antidote for every ailment in Israel.

16:14–18. Saul’s problem is the visitation of an evil spirit (v. 15); the solution is healing music (v. 16). The problem is with Saul; the solution will be carried by David. It may trouble our positivistic minds that the disorder of Saul is attributed to an evil spirit, and it may trouble us more that the evil spirit is credited to God. We must remember that the world of biblical perspective is a world without secondary cause. All causes are finally traced back to the God who causes all, who “kills and brings to life” (2:6). This narrative simply assumes that the world is ordered by the direct sovereign rule of God. All the spirits that beset human persons are dispatched from this single source (cf. 1 Kings 22:19–23).

Saul is eager to be healed (v. 17). He orders immediately that help be secured. He is an influential person entitled to the best health care available. Through verse 17 there are no surprises in this episode. We have an ordinary sequence of illness, diagnosis, prescription, and instruction to get available help. Yet, lingering not too far below the story line of Saul’s illness, the David story line already begins to assert itself. Saul’s imperative “provide” (see, ra’ah, v. 17) is the same word Yahweh used in referring to the choice of David (v. 1). David is “provided” by Yahweh and now is “provided” to Saul.

It is verse 18 that claims our attention. The speaker who answers Saul is too eager and knows too much. It is as though this character in the narrative has memorized his long line and is waiting for a chance to speak it. He “overnominates” David, who is overqualified for the job of musician. The royal appointment of a “therapist” must be well qualified. He must be skilled as a player, of “good presence,” and it is fortunate if God is with him (v. 18). David overpowers the job—and the narrative. In addition to those qualifications, David is brave, a man of war, a man of good speech. The narrator is obviously presenting David’s credentials for more than court musician.

The narrative invites us to wonder how it is that a member of Saul’s company should have ready a nominee from an obscure Judean village. Verses 1–13 provide the answer to our wonderment, however. The present availability of David is because of the secret anointing. The anointing will govern David’s story in the way the blessing governs Jacob’s story (Gen. 25:23) and as the dream governs the story of Joseph (Gen. 37:7–9).

16:19–23. The story turns decisively with the appearance of David. After the nominating speech of verse 18, Saul responds in verse 19. He calls David by name. Notice the servant had alluded to David but had not named him. Saul knows and speaks David’s name. David had been named by the narrator in verse 13, but no character in the narrative has yet uttered his name. It is appropriate and compelling that Saul knows it and is the first to name him.

Moreover, Saul invites David into his court. Saul unwittingly summons the very one who now possesses the spirit and will in the end displace him. David is not an intruder. He does not force his way in but comes by royal invitation. Saul knows more than he should about David. He knows David is “with the sheep” (v. 19), a fact not announced in verse 18. We had known it in verse 11, but again Saul is privy to information not previously given him.

The relation between Saul and David is a positive one. “Saul loved him greatly” (v. 21). David is irresistible. Saul might have feared or resented David if he had known the end of the story. He knows only what he sees in David, however.

David’s ministry to Saul does all that Saul might have hoped. (The rsv translation of v. 23 is inadequate, because the text contains a double use of the word “spirit.” When David plays, not only does the evil spirit depart but the spirit comes to Saul. In the rsv this is rendered, “Saul was refreshed.”) Saul’s desperate concern was how to have the spirit of life available, rather than the evil spirit. The narrative makes clear that David makes the spirit of life available to Saul. Saul has life only because David mediates it to him. David is a life-giver, even to Saul!

Walter Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1990), 124–127.

“Indigenous Knowledge” as “Science”

The WASHINGTON FREE BEACON calls it like it is:

Use of Indigenous Knowledge as evidence in Highly Influential Scientific Assessments poses serious risks, experts told the Free Beacon.

“This is extremely dangerous,” said Anna Krylov, a professor of science, engineering, and chemistry at the University of Southern California. “When I conduct experiments, I need to follow the rules and procedures and think about safety. I have to keep track of what I’m doing. I’m not thinking about chants or dancing.”

In addition to the Office of Science and Technology Policy memo, the White House has released more than three dozen documents that favorably cite Indigenous Knowledge. In one memo, the White House said Indigenous Knowledge is part of its “commitment to scientific integrity and knowledge and evidence-based policymaking.” In another, the White House said that science faces “limitations” given its refusal to incorporate Native religious principles.

Federal agencies have held dozens of seminars on the topic as well.

A March 2022 Environmental Protection Agency webinar entitled “Advancing Considerations of Traditional Knowledge into Federal Decision Making” featured an Indigenous Knowledge expert who explained that the “Native Worldview” does not consider time as “sequential” but rather “cyclical.” Another participant, Natalie Solares, who works for a tribal consortium, suggested paying tribal elders $100 an hour to assist in federal rulemaking.

Gretchen Goldman, a senior official in the Office for Science and Technology Policy, lamented during the seminar that federal processes can be biased against “something that’s not a peer-reviewed academic document.”

“There are places we can, you know, just remove any barriers to fully incorporate Indigenous Knowledge into the process the same way that we would for academic science,” she said.

The U.S. Geological Survey drew on Native religious traditions in an April webinar called “Incorporating Indigenous Knowledges into Federal Research and Management: What are Indigenous Knowledges?” Federal regulators and scientists were told to consider whether various food cultivation methods were considered sacred by a Native tribe. Failing to do so would “disrespect the spirits,” said Melonee Montano, a traditional ecological knowledge outreach specialist for a consortium of native tribes.

City University professor Massimo Pigliucci, a biologist and philosopher of science, told the Free Beacon: “When I start hearing things about how there’s this other dimension where, you know, the animals interact with humans at a different level of reality, that’s just not a thing. It’s not a scientific thing. You can believe that and you have the right to believe it, but it’s not empirical evidence.”

San Jose State University anthropologist Elizabeth Weiss warned that official reliance on Indigenous Knowledge could easily go from “dumb” to destructive. She pointed to reports that a Hawaii official delayed the release of water that was urgently needed to fight last month’s deadly wildfires on Maui by requiring consultation with a local farmer.

“The case is still out about the Maui fires and whether withholding the water was based on Indigenous Knowledge decisions, for example,” Weiss said.

A critical problem with Indigenous Knowledge is that its definition is borderline circular: Nearly anything can be considered Indigenous Knowledge if it was declared so by a Native person. Gregory Cajete, a University of New Mexico professor who lectured NASA on “Indigenous Perspectives on Earth and Sky” in July, said in his book Native Science that it is “a broad term that can include metaphysics and philosophy” as well as “art and architecture” and “ritual and ceremony practiced by Indigenous peoples past and present.”

“Much of the essence of Native science is beyond literal description,” Cajete wrote.

Given the lack of clarity on the definition of Indigenous Knowledge, it is difficult to discern what role it can play in federal policymaking. Some tribes are working to keep it that way…..

This story got me ranting in my head and now on my computer screen. Here is the story via THE DAILY CALLER:

President Joe Biden’s administration hosted “Indigenous Knowledge” seminars, including one where a speaker admonished scientist attendees about “disrespecting” knowledge provided by “spirits,” according to a video uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) told dozens of federal agencies to adopt “Indigenous Knowledge” for “research, policies, and decision making,” in a November 2022 memo. In April, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) hosted a webinar titled “Incorporating Indigenous Knowledges into Federal Research and Management,” in which a speaker warned scientists about “disrespecting” indigenous knowledge, including “spirits.”

“When you ask for knowledge and you take it and use it in a way that you didn’t intend or you misuse it, you’re not only disrespecting that individual that you sought that knowledge from,” Traditional Ecological Knowledge Outreach Specialist Melonee Montano said in the April webinar attended by scientists. “You’re disrespecting the teachers that they obtained the knowledge from. You’re disrespecting those spirits that may have brought that knowledge to them through a dream.”

[….]

The Biden administration promoted the OSTP to a cabinet-level agency in 2021. Moreover, the November OSTP memo also suggests collaborating with “spiritual leaders.” The White House has published over three dozen documents that positively reference “Indigenous Knowledge,” according to the Free Beacon’s investigation. A December memo states the Biden administration acknowledges that “Indigenous Knowledge … contributes to the scientific, technical, social, and economic advancements of the United States.”

[….]

Manuel prioritized incorporating “indigenous knowledge to the fields of water advocacy and management in Hawaii,” which allegedly could have contributed to the worsening of the Hawaii wildfires…..

Nice to see [/sarcasm] the official doctrine of these Leftist idealogues are so captured by cultural relativism and multiculturalism that all practices boil down to being just as beneficial as other cultures actions/understandings.

I guess all the past criticisms I have gotten as an armchair apologist serving some “sky god” that explained “lightning” is moot now. Having written and read the leading creationists and intelligent design authors throughout 3-decades…

  • as well as many leading evolutionary/atheists works – R. Dawkins, K. Nielsen, D. Dennett, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, S. Harris, M. Martin, L. Wolpert, D. Barker, W. Provine, C. Hitchens, E. Mayr, S.J. Gould, J. Coyne, E.O. Wilson, C. Darwin, C. Zimmer, K. Miller, J. Loftus, B. Forrest and early A. Flew, etc., etc. [to name a few]

…and debating and pushing back on philosophical naturalism and it’s deleterious effects on science, I have been often accused of thinking that “god, or, gods,” cause natural phenomenon like lightning. And then it is quickly followed with, “since we have given up ‘sky gods’ and ‘superstitious’ beliefs, science explains these natural wonders better that our past primitive and religious explanations ever could.

However, with the push for DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and the years of “cultural relativistic” position in multicultural pushes through the lens of Leftism, we have come to a place that not only destroys science but is reverting us back to what evolutionary atheists accuse [wrongly I might add] theists of.

So here we are… full circle right back to paganism. Rather than the scientific revolution started and led by theists… the Left takes us back to primitive animism.

Here are just some abstracts to exemplify this thinking creeping into science:

I argue that it is rational and appropriate for atheists to give thanks to deep impersonal agents for the benefits they give to us. These agents include our evolving biosphere, the sun, and our finely-tuned universe. Atheists can give thanks to evolution by sacrificially burning works of art. They can give thanks to the sun by performing rituals in solar calendars (like stone circles). They can give thanks to our finely-tuned universe, and to existence itself, by doing science and philosophy. But these linguistic types of thanks-giving are forms of non-theistic contemplative prayer. Since these behaviors resemble ancient pagan behaviors, it is fair to call them pagan. Atheistic paganism may be part of an emerging ecosystem of naturalistic religions.

— Eric Steinhart, William Paterson University, “Atheists Giving Thanks to the Sun,” July 2021Philosophia 49(20150711): 1-14

The traditional common consent argument for the existence of God has largely been abandoned—and rightly so. In this paper, I attempt to salvage the strongest version of the argument. Surprisingly, the strongest version of the argument supports the proposition, not that a god exists, but that animism is probably true and that such things as mountain, river, and forest spirits probably exist. I consider some plausible debunking arguments, ultimately finding that it is trickier to debunk the animist’s claims than it might first appear. I conclude that there exists one significant argument in favour of animism that has hitherto gone unstated in the philosophy of religion.

— Tiddy Smith, University of Otago, “The Common Consent Argument for the Existence of Nature Spirits,” April 2020Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98(3) DOI:10.1080/00048402.2019.1621912

Animism has been defined in many ways. Tylor defines it as the “the theory which endows the phenomena of nature with personal life” (1866: 82). Bird-David lists several definitions of animism: “the attribution of life or divinity to such natural phenomena as trees, thunder, or celestial bodies”; “the belief that all life is produced by a spiritual force, or that all natural phenomena have souls”; the belief that “trees, mountains, rivers and other natural formations possess an animating power or spirit” (1999: S67). Brown and Walker say animism is “an ontology in which objects and other non-human beings possess souls, life-force, and qualities of personhood” (2008: 297). Coeckelbergh says, “For animists, objects have (individual) spirits” (2010: 965). According to Helander-Renvall, animism means that “there are no clear borders between spirit and matter…. all beings in nature are considered to have souls or spirit” (2010: 44). Smith says animism involves “belief in nature spirits, such as mountain spirits, animal spirits, and weather spirits” (2019: 2–3). Definitions like these are easily multiplied.

— Eric Steinhart, “Scientific Animism,” Part of the Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion book series (PFPR) | Animism and Philosophy of Religion

POWERLINE noted this regarding “indegenouse knowledge vs. scientific knowledge… unless our government is acknowledging the science they push is “scientism” just as “indegenouse science” is “scientism:

The Biden administration has released a “guidance” to federal agencies that calls on them to include “Indigenous Knowledge” in decision making:

Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) jointly released new government-wide guidance and an accompanying implementation memorandum for Federal Agencies on recognizing and including Indigenous Knowledge in Federal research, policy, and decision making.

You may wonder, what the Hell is “Indigenous Knowledge”? Obviously, there is no such thing. There is just knowledge. Just as there is only science. Not “Indigenous Science.”….

Often these are driven by not only the genuflection created by multicultural relativism, but a Marxian “anti-capitalist/anti-West drive.

For example:

INTRODUCTION

Animism is said to be the most fundamental form and starting point of religious belief (Stringer, 2013). This concept has been used in cultural anthropology since the late 1800s but, due to inconsistencies in research ontologies, fell out of favour as an ethnographic research tool (Bird-David, 1999). A return to, and modification of, this concept has been witnessed over the turn of the century as researchers seek to better understand how the tool may once again be utilized. In this essay I discuss how modern conceptualisations of animism may shape human/non-human interactions and relations. I provide a brief history of the concept and discuss how its limitations excluded it from cultural anthropology’s tool kit for the better part of a century. Following this, I outline the contemporary conceptualizations of animism, or new animism, and how they seek to address the term’s original misdirection. Modern use of animism in South India, South America and Burkina Faso highlight the variability within the concept itself as well as the consistency of relational epistemology: bridging the gap between the “self” and “other.” To conclude this essay, I explore the possibilities of Western (and global) integration of traditional peoples’ epistemologies to reduce Cartesian dualism of humans and nature, which contribute to the exploitation and degradation of natural beings. This is seen in the emerging field of ecopsychology, which seeks to address issues inherent in pro-environmental communication with the general public through a recalibration of philosophical understandings.

[….]

CONCLUSION

From its roots as a misguided and derogatory concept to contemporary contextualisation, animism continues to provide cultural anthropology with a useful tool of ethnographic enquiry. The literature shows variation in animistic conventions throughout traditional peoples in different societies. However, a constant theme of relational epistemology persists in almost all of them. This distinction is not only important in understanding differences between traditional cultures but also for recognising limitations to the Western capitalist-driven, utilitarian ontology that has resulted in continued environmental devaluation and degradation. Acknowledging these flaws presents the potential to reconnect a sensual relation with the earth that suppresses, or even destroys, the Cartesian duality of human and non-human.

This is not the place to get into the topic… but, “the Western capitalist-driven, utilitarian ontology” via the Protestant work ethic and ethos imported agricultural practices and inventions actually saved indigenous cultures.

For instance, Vishal Mangalwadi notes just how missionaries carried these works to other cultures out of the Judeo-Christian worldview. (The entire chapter is a must read for the historian/economist):

My people in India did not lack creative genius. They erected great monuments to gods and goddesses and built palaces for kings and queens. But our worldview did not inspire these same engineering skills to be directed toward labor-saving devices. My personal interest in McCormick is rooted in the fact that his widow, Nancy McCormick, financed the building of the Allahabad Agricultural Institute in my hometown, Allahabad, on the banks of the river Yamuna. My brother studied in this institute and, for a few years, I cycled there every Sunday afternoon to study the Bible.

Between 2002 and 2006, from two to twenty thousand people— mostly Hindus—gathered there every Sunday for spiritual fellowship. This is significant because one of the holiest Hindu sites in India— the confluence of the holy rivers Ganges and Yamuna—is less than three miles from the Institute. As mentioned in chapter 12, practically every important Hindu holy man has come to this confluence during the last two thousand years; so have most politicians and wealthy merchants. Not one of them, however, ever started an institution to serve poor peasants.

The Agricultural Institute, now a Deemed University, was established by Sam Higginbottom, a professor of economics in my alma mater.* He saw the plight of the peasants, returned to America to study agriculture, forged links with McCormick’s family, and returned to establish this institute. His purpose was to inject into Indian culture McCormick’s spirit of loving one’s neighbors enough to attempt to alleviate their suffering.

Love is not a common ethical principle of all religions. No Hindu sage did anything like Sam Higginbottom did, because in order to be spiritual, the learned pundits had to separate themselves from the peasants, not serve them. The hallmark of Indian spirituality was detachment from worldly pursuits like agriculture. Therefore, the spiritually “advanced” in my country treated the toiling masses as untouchables.

McCormick’s reaper reinforces the point made in an earlier chapter—that necessity is not “the mother of invention.” All agricultural societies have needed to harvest grain. But no other culture invented a reaper. Most cultures met this need by forcing into backbreaking labor those who were too weak to say no—landless laborers, servants, slaves, women, and children. McCormick struggled to find a better way. The driving force in his life becomes apparent when you notice that he gave substantial portions of his income to promote the Bible through several projects including newspapers** and the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Chicago, which was renamed the McCormick Seminary.

Cyrus was born to a Puritan couple, Robert and Mary Ann McCormick, in 1809, in a log cabin in Rockbridge County, Virginia. His Scotch-Irish ancestors came to America in 1735 with little more than a Bible and the teachings of the Protestant reformers John Calvin and John Knox.

These reformers had embraced the Hebrew ideal of the dignity of labor. In addition, reformers, such as Luther and Calvin, introduced to the European mind the radical biblical idea that the calling or vocation of a peasant or a mason was as high as that of a priest or a monk. Every believer was a saint and ought to fulfill his or her vocation for the glory of God. In the words of sociologist Max Weber:

But at least one thing [in the Protestant mind-set] was unquestionably new: the valuation of the fulfillment of duty in worldly affairs as the highest form which the moral activity of the individual could assume. This it was which inevitably gave every-day worldly activity a religious significance, and which first created the conception of a calling in this sense. . . . The only way of living acceptably to God was not to surpass the worldly morality in monastic asceticism, but solely through the fulfillment of the obligations imposed upon the individual by his position in the world. That was his calling”2

Cyrus McCormick didn’t like harvesting with a sickle or scythe. Had he lived before the Reformation, he might have escaped the drudgery of toil by going to a university or becoming a priest. This was normal in Orthodox and Catholic cultures. Even St. Thomas Aquinas—perhaps the greatest theologian of the last millennium— justified the tradition by advocating that while the biblical obligation to work rested upon the human race as a whole, it was not binding on every individual, especially not on religious individuals who were called to pray and meditate.***

The McCormick family rejected that medieval idea to follow the teachings of Richard Baxter (1615–91), the English Puritan theologian, scholar, and writer, who believed that God’s command to work was unconditional. No one could claim exemption from work on the grounds that he had enough wealth on which to live. Baxter wrote, “You are no more excused from service of work . . . than the poorest man. God has strictly commanded [labor] to all.”3

It is important to note that this work ethic, which made England and America different from Italy or Russia, was biblical—not Puritan per se.

Quakers, like McCormick’s rival, Obed Hussey,**** shared the same worldview. This biblical work ethic, later called the “Protestant work ethic,” was driven into Cyrus from childhood. Both his friends and critics acknowledged that he was a workaholic***** with an indomitable perseverance and a bulldog’s tenacity. McCormick’s passion for focused work made him very wealthy, but his work ethic was a product of his religious culture, not his desire for wealth.

The West’s rapid economic progress began when it adopted the materialistic spirituality of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). For it is in Genesis that God declares the material universe to be good. Many ancient worldviews, such as India’s, had looked upon the material realm as intrinsically evil—something to be delivered from. Christian philosophers who studied the Bible noted that sin resulted in a breakdown of the relationship between God, man, and nature. The most influential exponent of this insight was Francis Bacon, who had a profound impact on the American mind.4

McCormick was nurtured on the biblical idea that through godly and creative work human beings can roll back the curse of sweat and toil and reestablish their dominion over nature. To repeat, my ancestors did not lack intelligence, but our genius was expressed in a philosophy that taught us to worship nature instead of establishing dominion over it. Economic development involves not worshipping but harnessing natural resources and energy for human consumption, albeit with foresight and a sense of stewardship.

Francis Bacon’s exposition of the Bible instilled a non-fatalistic philosophy in England and America. It implied that the future could be better than the past. As explained in previous chapters, this Hebrew concept was born in Israel’s collective experience of God. When God intervened in human history to liberate them from their slavery in Egypt, the Hebrews learned that God could change their destiny for the better. And since men and women were created in God’s image, they, too, could forge a better future for themselves through creative efforts.

This belief became an integral feature of modern Western culture and proved to be a powerful economic asset that would set the West apart from the rest of the world. While other cultures sought magical powers through

ritual and sacrifice, the West began cultivating technological and scientific powers. McCormick’s grandparents, like most European Puritans who fled from religious persecution to the liberty of America, interpreted their experience as being similar to that of the Israelites being set free from the bondage of slavery.

An important aspect of Moses’ mission was to teach God’s law to the Israelites. A cornerstone of this teaching was that while wickedness makes some individuals rich, it impoverishes entire nations. According to the Bible, a nation is exalted by righteousness.5 Cyrus’s forefathers believed that the blessings of righteousness were not exclusive to the Jews. God chose Abraham to bless all the nations of the earth. All true believers, they reasoned, were God’s chosen people. Therefore, it is wrong for God’s beloved to accept poverty as their fate. Even if one’s poverty were a result of sin, either one’s own or one’s ancestors, it was possible to repent and receive God’s forgiveness and the power to live a righteous life. It is not surprising, then, that within a century after Thomas McCormick’s arrival in Philadelphia, his grandson’s family owned an estate of twelve hundred acres.

Cyrus’s family owned slaves, as did so many others of their time. They were products of their era and could have purchased more human labor to bring in their harvests. One difference the Bible made was that it demanded the McCormicks work just as hard as any of their slaves. We know that by the age of fifteen, Cyrus had despaired of seeing people slave in the fields. That’s when he resolved to build upon his father’s failed attempts to find a better method for harvesting grain.

SPIRITUALITY OR GREED?

The 2010 movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps powerfully shows how secularism confuses ambition and greed. Ambition is good, but it becomes greed when separated from moral absolutes. Greed is a destructive part of human nature. It brought to India not only Europeans, but also the Aryan and Muslim invaders. Greed explains the loot of Alexander the Great and Nadir Shah, but not the creativity of industrial capitalism. Pioneers of modern economic enterprise, such as Cyrus McCormick, did want to make money, but they were inspired by something nobler.


  • The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011), pages are unknown due to Kindle and PDF conversation — from chapter seventeen.

FOOTNOTES


* In India colleges function under a university chartered by the Government. Deemed University is a status of autonomy granted to high performing institutes and departments of various universities in India. I did my Intermediate studies (grades 11 and 12) at Jamuna Christian College, a part of Ewing Christian College, in Higginbottom’s time. Now independent, it is still located across the river from the Agricultural Institute.

** The modern press is a product of the Puritan revolution in England, and a substitute for the biblical institution of the prophet. A century ago, most newspapers in America were Christian.

*** During the Middle Ages religious individuals were paid to sit the whole day and pray for the souls of their deceased relatives. In Hindu and Buddhist cultures, peasants provided for ascetics who did nothing besides meditate.

**** Hussey patented his reaper in 1834 but lost the marketing race to McCormick.

***** The term “workaholic” is used only in a negative sense today. However, even our leisure-driven age accepts that no one excels in a given field and becomes a distinguished scientist, athlete, inventor, or businessman without working harder than her or his peers.

2. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Talcott Parsons (NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958), 80.

3. Richard Baxter, Baxter’s Practical Works, vol. 1 (Letterman Assoc., 2007), 115.

4. See for example, George Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006).

5. Proverbs 14:34.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34, CSB)

  • Verse 34 is well-known. History has demonstrated many times that its teaching is true. The thrust of the passage transcends Judaism; what it says is pertinent to any and all nations, but it is most fully exemplified in the history of Israel. When counselees complain about various governmental inequities, this is the verse to turn to. Then, having read it, you may wish to observe: “You may become a part of the solution to our country’s failings by becoming a part of the righteous group who exalt a nation.”

Jay E. Adams, Proverbs, The Christian Counselor’s Commentary (Cordova, TN: Institute for Nouthetic Studies, 2020), 113.

Crop rotation, largely a Western improvement, combined with the inventiveness of the West helped the indigenous cultures as well. Even the Native Americans largely “practiced slash and burn agriculture. When soils became infertile, wood for fuel was exhausted, and game depleted, whole villages moved” (Shepard Krech III, The Ecological Indian: Myth and History, W.W. Norton & Company; New York: NY [1999], p. 76).

More on the history of this agricultural practice of “rotation” and top-soil.

Crop Rotation

One of the most important innovations of the Agricultural Revolution was the development of the Norfolk four-course rotation, which greatly increased crop and livestock yields by improving soil fertility and reducing fallow.

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons to help restore plant nutrients and mitigate the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one plant species is continuously cropped. Rotation can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. The Norfolk System, as it is now known, rotates crops so that different crops are planted with the result that different kinds and quantities of nutrients are taken from the soil as the plants grow. An important feature of the Norfolk four-field system was that it used labor at times when demand was not at peak levels. Planting cover crops such as turnips and clover was not permitted under the common field system because they interfered with access to the fields and other people’s livestock could graze the turnips.

During the Middle Ages, the open field system initially used a two-field crop rotation system where one field was left fallow or turned into pasture for a time to try to recover some of its plant nutrients. Later, a three-year three-field crop rotation routine was employed, with a different crop in each of two fields, e.g. oats, rye, wheat, and barley with the second field growing a legume like peas or beans, and the third field fallow. Usually from 10–30% of the arable land in a three-crop rotation system is fallow. Each field was rotated into a different crop nearly every year. Over the following two centuries, the regular planting of legumes such as peas and beans in the fields that were previously fallow slowly restored the fertility of some croplands. The planting of legumes helped to increase plant growth in the empty field due to the bacteria on legume roots’ ability to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil in a form that plants could use. Other crops that were occasionally grown were flax and members of the mustard family. The practice of convertible husbandry, or the alternation of a field between pasture and grain, introduced pasture into the rotation. Because nitrogen builds up slowly over time in pasture, plowing pasture and planting grains resulted in high yields for a few years. A big disadvantage of convertible husbandry, however, was the hard work that had to be put into breaking up pastures and difficulty in establishing them.

It was the farmers in Flanders (in parts of France and current-day Belgium) that discovered a still more effective four-field crop rotation system, using turnips and clover (a legume) as forage crops to replace the three-year crop rotation fallow year. The four-field rotation system allowed farmers to restore soil fertility and restore some of the plant nutrients removed with the crops. Turnips first show up in the probate records in England as early as 1638 but were not widely used until about 1750. Fallow land was about 20% of the arable area in England in 1700 before turnips and clover were extensively grown. Guano and nitrates from South America were introduced in the mid-19th century and fallow steadily declined to reach only about 4% in 1900. Ideally, wheat, barley, turnips, and clover would be planted in that order in each field in successive years. The turnips helped keep the weeds down and were an excellent forage crop—ruminant animals could eat their tops and roots through a large part of the summer and winters. There was no need to let the soil lie fallow as clover would add nitrates (nitrogen-containing salts) back to the soil. The clover made excellent pasture and hay fields as well as green manure when it was plowed under after one or two years. The addition of clover and turnips allowed more animals to be kept through the winter, which in turn produced more milk, cheese, meat, and manure, which maintained soil fertility.

Missionaries are still teaching people this today:

….The program also ensures that the innovative farming methods are accessible to the very poorest subsistence farmers. The methods taught do not require plows, expensive tools, or commercial fertilizer. Every single technique taught could be done for free. If a job needed a tool, the teachers learned how to improvise using trash—for example, using a bottle cap or jam can instead of a measuring cup. They learned how to save and store seeds to avoid repeated annual expenses, and memorized recipes for creating homemade compost.

“If you want to reach the heart of God, you have to make a plan for the poor,” the instructors said again and again. By reaching the poor with tangible, relevant skills that will help them better survive and thrive, MTW missionaries and their national partners are not only following God’s commands, they’re revealing the heart of God to their neighbors, building bridges for trust and relational evangelism.

“Jesus fed people; Jesus healed the sick; Jesus addressed physical needs as well as spiritual needs,” Sarah said. “I think that, as the Church, we’re called to do that as well. Food and growing food is something that everyone in the world has in common. That’s why I got into agriculture to begin with, and I think it’s a huge way to get into communities. … Especially for subsistence farmers in African contexts, it’s just so insanely relevant. If you can tie the gospel to planting a seed, to that seed sprouting, to the rain coming, to this thing they spend their entire day, their entire life, doing—how powerful is that?”

Chris Rufo’s War Against Woke Institutions | John Stossel

Chris Rufo makes some people angry. Why? Because he’s eliminating woke departments at Florida universities, and exposing woke corporate and government trainings. Rufo was once a filmmaker, making documentaries for PBS about things like American poverty. But then his research on poverty connected him with government workers who leaked documents about absurd “woke” training programs. The documents showed that Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights, for example, trained employees to “practice self-talk that affirms … complicity in racism” and to work on “undoing your own whiteness.” Media say Rufo has “invented” a crisis about this kind of thing, and that he’s pushing a “moral panic.” But Rufo has evidence. Watch the video above to see some of it.

Helen Joyce w/Jordan Peterson (YouTube Banned This Interview)

Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality | Helen Joyce | Podcast #287

The Trans movement surges across western civilization, necessitating the ego-centric fantasies of gender-dysphoric youths over what once was known commonly as indisputable reality. Helen Joyce and Dr Jordan B Peterson discuss the depths of this truly cultural battle, the dangers of a quickly growing transhumanist ideology, and the unbridled narcissism lurking at the heart of the conflict.

Helen Joyce is an Irish novelist and journalist, acting as the executive editor for events and business at the Economist in London. Before this, she trained as a mathematician, graduating from the Trinity College in Dublin, before attending Cambridge. She then acquired a PHD in geometric measure theory at the University College London. She has held many roles as a journalist, working for PLUS Magazine and Significance Magazine, both of which have an emphasis on communicating complex math and statistics to the everyday reader. Later, she would spend three years as the Economist’s foreign correspondent to Brazil, living in São Paulo. In 2018, Joyce curated a series of articles on transgender identity, which lead her to author the Sunday Times bestselling book, “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.”

Here is a bit more at THE DAILY WIRE:

DailyWire+ contributor Dr. Jordan B. Peterson revealed on Saturday that YouTube had removed a video — in which he and author Helen Joyce discuss gender ideology — for allegedly violating the platform’s “hate speech policy.”

In a tweet posted early Saturday, Peterson shared the message he received from YouTube informing him that a video titled “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality” was removed due to an alleged “violation”: “Our team has reviewed your content, and, unfortunately, we think it violates our hate speech policy. … We know that this might be disappointing, but it’s important to us that YouTube is a safe place for all.”

Under the “How your content violated the policy” section, YouTube stated in part: “Content glorifying or inciting violence against another person or group of people is not allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow any content that encourages hatred of another person or group of people based on their membership in a protected group.”

Tagging YouTube, Peterson responded on Twitter: “I have now officially been accused of hate speech by YouTube, Let’s be clear about this: that is a direct accusation [of] conduct deemed criminal in many jurisdictions. This is absolutely not OK, @YouTube. Not OK.”…..

James Lindsay at European Parliament – Woke Conference

UPDATED VIDEO below… it is an old primer (1969) on the American Communists by G. Edward Griffin seeing the opportunity to separate and divide the nation. (Just like “intersectionality“.)  Related to Dr. Lindsay’s speech I uploaded over a month ago.

Title of the speech is “Woke, a culture war against Europe” — this conference was organized by the “Identity and Democracy Foundation”

One should go through my posts from long ago that connect with the above speech:

Also a paper [really an opening to a debate with a co-worker] on Rousseau:

Also, a quick response by Lindsay a while back:

[CRT = Critical Race Theory]

James Lindsey was asked on his TWITTER the following:

  • What is your primary beef with CRT? Please be specific.

James Lindsey responded with the picture:


More Deadly Than War
G. Edward Griffin


#Woke Lectures Masquerading as Ads (#Wokesplaining)

Just two commentaries I enjoyed and wanted to share.

Nauseating Woke Lectures Are Masquerading As Ads: Gutfeld

Gutfeld mentions Gillette (see my past posts on that topic HERE and HERE)… to wit I use Jeremy’s Razors now. I have tried both the 6-blade and the 5-blade versions. I suggest the 6-blade for face people (it is a unique design that stays sharp)… I like the 5-blade because I shave my head as well as my face (less space between the blades for the bumpy head.

  • “So how did this happen? Well, all these nauseating lectures are now masquerading as ads, are the colleges churning out too many useless women’s study grads, so they end up in companies demanding tampons in men’s rooms and jockstraps in the women’s? Hmm. They view buyers as insects: stupid, gross, easily manipulated, someone to be punished, not celebrated.”

  • TRANS Sports Illustrated Model? Kim Petras Cover | Pseudo-Intellectual with Lauren Chen | 5/17/23 (Video: BLAZETV)
  • Woke Sports Illustrated Gets SLAMMED For Putting Transgender Model On Cover Of Swimsuit Edition (Video: SPORTS WARS)
  • Sports Illustrated DESTROYED For Using Trans Woman On Cover Of Swimsuit Edition! (Video: THE QUARTERING)

Watters: Elon Musk Speaks For All Of Us

  • “Now, everybody won’t be able to make enough money to speak freely. Okay, I accept that. So, we need to take the mob out, get our voices back and Elon speaks for all of us”

This week the left is trying to cancel Elon Musk for anti-semitism. In a tweet, Musk compared George Soros to supervillain Magneto. Apparently, this isn’t allowed because Soros is a Holocaust survivor.