Don’t Panic

Did you know? That apart from minor local issues, sometimes mentioned in passing, there are two causes of everything that’s wrong with the world today. According to the “mainstream” authorities in media and elsewhere, they are:

1. Anthropogenic global warming.

2. Trump.

Perhaps one is the cause of the other. Since Trump demonstrably exists, and climate change depends on who’s measuring, I deduce that Trump is the ultimate cause of global warming.

I don’t like him very much. I think he is crass, boorish, and successful. Canadians seldom approve of success – and as his opponents argue, everything he credits to himself was the product of pure luck.

He is also a white supremacist, apparently, but as it seems that everyone who’s white is a white supremacist, and needs to be punished for it, I don’t see why he should be special.

The other day I was discussing these points in a public bar with an old acquaintance, while several other Canadians watched who were determined to remain silent, and look bored. Being Canadian myself, I wanted to join them, but was not given a chance.

It was alleged that a couple more of our common acquaintances were supporting Trump. I was asked to explain this outrage. Had they “drunk the Kool-Aid”? Did I not agree that they were now beyond the pale, and any hope of salvation?

Rather than fall into what seemed a loaded question, I tried diplomacy:

“I’m really the wrong person to ask, having drunk the Kool-Aid myself.”

The odd thing is that all the Kool-Aid drinkers I know have nuanced, mixed views on these matters. Some things good, some things bad.

My own secret views, which I will now share with the public, are in opposition to every centralized, bureaucratic organization in the world, except possibly the Catholic Church. And to her, too, when, as recently, she begins to mimic a centralized, bureaucratic organization, soft-pedaling her spiritual mission.

I am what is called a subsidiarist, who would prefer that we deal with all our worldly problems from the ground, up, not from the top, down. I agree with statements given in a short manual on Canadian civics, presented to my grandmother when she became a (legal) immigrant in the year of grace, 1912. It explained the importance and priority of public institutions.

At the top, it placed the Sovereign Citizen, and his family. (That this family would consist of a man and a woman and their children was considered too obvious to hint at.)

Next in the pecking order came local informal organizations – neighborhood, ward, parish, and a more formal Municipality for such broad matters as had to be discussed.

Below them, the legislative assembly of the Province, and below that, the Dominion government (we now say “federal,” as in the USA). Finally, at the very bottom of this scheme, “servant of all servants” as it were, came the Monarch, who was practically powerless and thus entitled to universal loyalty.

*

That would be His Late Majesty George V, of happy memory. (We now have a Queen, God save her.)

Trump was not mentioned.

Neither, for that matter, were any environmental problems stressed, although the importance of Conservation was. God had endowed us with marvelous resources that ought not to be wasted, and a beautiful landscape that should not be spoilt.

I should think that the chief purpose of the broader governmental institutions was to prevent people from doing this, for sometimes people can be Bad. Against various evils, laws had to be clearly written, maintained, enforced. Hence courts, prisons, scaffolds. Too, the country had to be protected against avaricious foreigners, hence the Royal Navy.

“One Flag, One Fleet, One Empire,” as we say (or used to) – but note, this was not a legislative body. It was simply our night watchman.

My motive for providing such detail is to remind gentle reader how far we have descended. In Canada, but also in the fair Republic next door, the world has been turned upside down, so that we’re now under the impression that planetary issues, and Trump, are the most important things.

In the Heavens, we seem to have replaced God, and now that thanksgiving and worship have been deleted from the daily life of Man – even in political theory – all of our anxieties for fate have been accentuated. Not only does materialism rule, but material over which the individual, sovereign citizen has no control.

He now has a servile status. His mission is to pay his taxes and Obey Orders, which come down through myriad regulating agencies.

I believe this is called “progress,” and it is justified because there have been many technological advances since, say, 1912. Indeed, I will have to admit that thanks chiefly to the need for mass slaughter in world wars, this progress has accelerated.

Now, typical journalist that I am, I have exaggerated and simplified several points, for emphasis. In reality, not everyone has bought into the “globalization” project, but whether or not, we are all subject to it.

Anxieties over the state of the world, aggravated by a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness, has led us to this pass, in which a matter like “Trump” can completely obsess us; and unlikely tales of material apocalypse make us lose sleep. We look around at the manifestations of modernity – the ugliness and degeneration of our human environment – and become contaminated with despair.

I will of course say, “Only Christ can save us.”

But I should like to add, that His creation will do its part.

As I look around, I see almost nothing we have built in the last century that will outlast this one. The earth has miraculous reparative powers. All the trash we have spread must be replaced by more trash quite constantly, for the Devil to keep up.

We have only to stop, and it all goes away. No reason to panic.

 

*Image: The County Election by George Caleb Bingham, 1854 [Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Salem, NC]

David Warren

David Warren

David Warren is a former editor of the Idler magazine and columnist in Canadian newspapers. He has extensive experience in the Near and Far East. His blog, Essays in Idleness, is now to be found at: davidwarrenonline.com.