As I write, the violence levels in American domestic rioting have fallen; and the official death rates from the Batflu are also declining. But I am writing dangerously, some hours before this column will appear.
Who knows what the media will be shrieking by publication time? There could be spikes to report in either “index.” Dow Jones might be shooting himself down. Some other catastrophe may have been announced.
Insects are always good for a scare. We’re all waiting for the cicada swarms to emerge from the northeastern deciduous forests, as this is their seventeenth year. Do you know that they have red eyes? Or that the choral buzz of the mating males can drive an unstable person mad? (And drive the female cicadas to distraction, too, for they are trying to be monogamous?)
Perhaps we should panic. It will be hard for the media to revive the global climate-change terror, in the season just ahead. What if, like small family businesses across this continent (and the other ones), they start going bankrupt, now that “the economy” is opening again, and they are losing their captive audiences?
My own inclination is to do the opposite of whatever I’m told. For many years I have been resisting this habit and trying to fall in line with “traditionally Christian” behavior. But my opposition and downright disobedience to instructions from progressive, heathen sources continues, itself “unopposed,” as it were.
For instance, I absolutely refuse to riot. I have not, even once, hurled a brick through a store window in order to express myself. (Other places might be more tempting.) I am disinclined to wear facemasks – both the pharmacy kind and the fuller, Antifa variety.
In the face of carnage, I am also disposed to joke – not over the vile acts committed by street anarchists, or rogue unionized policemen, but when, in retrospect, an especially foolish remark presents an opportunity for political incorrectness.
So universal is the call to despair, by the talking heads that “virtually” surround us, that I would like to devote today’s column to an expression of hope and contentment.
This is because, in the worst moments of viral plague, or civil insurrection, I have noticed a happy fact. The truths embodied in the Western Christian canon, and the Eastern and Protestant ones for that matter, to say nothing of ancient Israel, and the philosophia perennis – are not touched. Even Krishna and Confucius appear to be unscathed.
If I may use the monosyllable “Truth,” as a way to condense everything that is true, in a humble gesture of inclusivity, I think that I will also catalogue everything that is immune to events on our planetary surface.
Let me raise the stakes, further, by reminding gentle reader that The Truth is a Person by the name of Jesus Christ. He is both the historical ambassador from God the Father, and in His own right, Very God. This does not, and cannot, contradict any lesser truth, and is thus in Himself perfectly inclusive.
Catastrophes are all very well, and almost to be welcomed, because they shatter the lies by which truths get encased.
Sometimes those lies are relatively small, or have grown quite brittle, so that only a little catastrophe is needed to smash them. A single, sharp hammer blow, and the truth is set free.
Sometimes, however, the lie is more formidable, and a huge catastrophe may be needed. By the grace of God, this will come in due course.
But often, there is a comfortable alternative. Take racism for instance. I will assume this word is standing in for “bigotry,” which all upright authorities condemn. It is very easily defeated by abandoning it. Those who are bigots should stop it right away. Those who persist should be ignored. Who could want to give them publicity?
There are similarly straightforward solutions to our other problems. Violence is another example. The unreasonably violent should cut it out. Alternatively, if they won’t, we can put them in jail, or shoot them, depending on the urgency of the case. If “social justice” has any meaning (and, of course, it does not), these are the quick fixes.
I was impressed by how swiftly the rioting in Minneapolis stopped when Governor Walz got the clever idea of calling out the National Guard. Promptly, the exponents of intimidation were intimidated, themselves. Legal prosecutions could then proceed at leisure, and the good citizens of Minnesota could start cleaning up.
Call me a simpleton, as many have called me, but I’m unaware of a single human problem, from the narrowly individual to the messily public, that does not have a fairly clean and available solution. I will not trouble the reader today with an advertisement for molten salt reactors, however.
Imagine, gentle reader, that you have been tied to a stake, in front of a firing squad. Many will think this an insoluble problem. But it is simplicity itself. All you have to do is die.
This points to the importance of the Sacraments, including frequent Confession, beforehand. In the old Boy-Scout adage, one should “be prepared” for situations in which it is too late to make excuses.
But lies, violence, and environmental foibles grow boring after a while. General decadence gets tedious, both to watch and participate in. Even wars grind eventually to a halt. Within just a few weeks we get tired of them.
And then, because we are restless people, we must look for something else to do. Only recently have I received a glimpse of why God might have invented restlessness to goad us, or if He did not, at least permitted it. One might, sadly, proceed to some other bad thing, but I like how we are given the option to do good instead.
So not only at present, Hope is on the table. We can always hope to do things right, next time. Call it an article of Faith, because it is.
*Image: Precision Strikes by the Riotous Mob of 1831 by W.J. Muller, c. 1831 [Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery]. The Bristol Riots were occasioned by the failure of a Reform Bill in the House of Lords.