Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

Polycarp, whose name can be translated "much fruit," was a second century Christian bishop of Smyrna.  He was a direct pupil of the apostle John, and he battled the Gnostic heresies that were beginning to spread through the Church. 

His execution, by the Romans in the year 155 AD, was one of the most well-documented martyrdoms in the early church era.  The following was based on an eyewitness account of the event:

The [Roman] proconsul was insistent and said: "Take the oath, and I shall release you. Curse Christ."

Polycarp said: "Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"...

But the proconsul said: "I have wild beasts. I shall throw you to them, if you do not change your mind."

But he said: "Call them. For repentance from the better to the worse is not permitted us; but it is noble to change from what is evil to what is righteous."

And again [he said] to him, "I shall have you consumed with fire, if you despise the wild beasts, unless you change your mind."

But Polycarp said: "The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little; for you do not know the fire of the coming judgment and everlasting punishment that is laid up for the impious. But why do you delay? Come, do what you will."

And when he had said these things and many more besides he was inspired with courage and joy, and his face was full of grace, so that not only did it not fall with dismay at the things said to him, but on the contrary, the proconsul was astonished, and sent his own herald into the midst of the arena to proclaim three times: "Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian."

When this was said by the herald, the entire crowd of heathen and Jews who lived in Smyrna shouted with uncontrollable anger and a great cry: "This one is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods, who teaches many not to sacrifice nor to worship."

Such things they shouted and asked the Asiarch Philip that he let loose a lion on Polycarp. But he said it was not possible for him to do so, since he had brought the wild-beast sports to a close.  Then they decided to shout with one accord that he burn Polycarp alive. For it was necessary that the vision which had appeared to him about his pillow should be fulfilled, when he saw it burning while he was praying, and turning around had said prophetically to the faithful who were with him, "I must be burned alive."

Then these things happened with such dispatch, quicker than can be told—the crowds in so great a hurry to gather wood and faggots from the workshops and the baths, the Jews being especially zealous, as usual, to assist with this.  When the fire was ready, and he had divested himself of all his clothes and unfastened his belt, he tried to take off his shoes, though he was not heretofore in the habit of doing this because [each of] the faithful always vied with one another as to which of them would be first to touch his body. For he had always been honored, even before his martyrdom, for his holy life.  Straightway then, they set about him the material prepared for the pyre. And when they were about to nail him also, he said: "Leave me as I am. For he who grants me to endure the fire will enable me also to remain on the pyre unmoved, without the security you desire from the nails."

So they did not nail him, but tied him. And with his hands put behind him and tied, like a noble ram out of a great flock ready for sacrifice, a burnt offering ready and acceptable to God, he looked up to heaven and said:

"Lord God Almighty, Father of thy beloved and blessed Servant Jesus Christ, through whom we have received full knowledge of thee, 'the God of angels and powers and all creation' and of the whole race of the righteous who live in thy presence:  I bless thee, because thou hast deemed me worthy of this day and hour, to take my part in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, for 'resurrection to eternal life of soul and body in the immortality of the Holy Spirit; among whom may I be received in thy presence this day as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, just as thou hast prepared and revealed beforehand and fulfilled, thou that art the true God without any falsehood.  For this and for everything I praise thee, I bless thee, I glorify thee, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, thy beloved Servant, through whom be glory to thee with him and Holy Spirit both now and unto the ages to come. Amen."

And when he had concluded the Amen and finished his prayer, the men attending to the fire lighted it. And when the flame flashed forth, we saw a miracle, we to whom it was given to see. And we are preserved in order to relate to the rest what happened.  For the fire made the shape of a vaulted chamber, like a ship's sail filled by the wind, and made a wall around the body of the martyr. And he was in the midst, not as burning flesh, but as bread baking or as gold and silver refined in a furnace. And we perceived such a sweet aroma as the breath of incense or some other precious spice.

At length, when the lawless men saw that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go to him and stab him with a dagger. And when he did this [a dove and] a great quantity of blood came forth, so that the fire was quenched and the whole crowd marveled that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect. And certainly the most admirable Polycarp was one of these [elect], in whose times among us he showed himself an apostolic and prophetic teacher and bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. Indeed, every utterance that came from his mouth was accomplished and will be accomplished....

Such are the things concerning the blessed Polycarp, who, martyred at Smyrna along with twelve others from Philadelphia, is alone remembered so much the more by everyone, that he is even spoken of by the heathen in every place. He was not only a noble teacher, but also a distinguished martyr, whose martyrdom all desire to imitate as one according to the gospel of Christ. By his patient endurance he overcame the wicked magistrate and so received the crown of immortality; and he rejoices with the apostles and all the righteous to glorify God the Father Almighty and to bless our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls and Helmsman of our bodies and Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

How to Battle Vainglory

We must be very vigilant against the spirit of vanity because it hinders all of our intentions with all kinds of allurements.  It impedes the monk's true progress by corrupting all his actions so that, no longer ordered to God, they become motivated by vainglory and the desire to seek to please others. 

For this reason we must constantly examine our thoughts and feelings to see: Are our actions done for God and for our spiritual benefit?  It is necessary to avoid any kind of praise from people and to recall to mind the words of the holy David: "The Lord has scattered the bones of them who please men" (Ps 52:6) in order to drive away any kind of self-flattering temptation that might inspire one to act in order to please others.

Let us be grounded firmly in our thoughts, so that we do all things in accord with God's will. If anyone so conducts himself with his deepest desire, he will be victorious when the temptation of vainglory should rise up against his will out of weakness.  But let him confess by praying to the Lord.  Let him transform such a thought by humbling and debasing himself.  And he who sees all of our heart will forgive us when our soul is totally open before him and we bring every movement of our soul to him.  He will not blame us for having such thoughts.

When we battle the temptation to vainglory we must act in this way: When we feel the stirring to seek self-praise for whatever reason, let us remember our tears and recall the terrifying Last Judgment as we stand before God, by praying some of our special prayers, if we have any that are effective.  If not, let us picture our final departure from this world and thus drive away such shameless vanity.  Still, if we cannot get rid of temptation in this way, let us fear at least the humiliation which will follow such vainglory. For, as St. John Climacus teaches, "He who exalts himself while still on this earth will not escape being humbled even before the life to come."

-From The Monastic Rule, by Nil Sorsky (1433-1508) monk, hermit, and scribe, venerated as a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church

Thursday, November 22, 2018

C. S. Lewis on the Christian Society

C. S. Lewis died on this date 55 years ago, a transition overshadowed by another death on that same day. 

The following passage by Lewis is from the chapter "Social Morality" in Mere Christianity (1952).

All the same, the New Testament, without going into details, gives us a pretty clear hint of what a fully Christian society would be like. Perhaps it gives us more than we can take. It tells us that there are to be no passengers or parasites: if man does not work, he ought not to eat. Everyone is to work with his own hands, and what is more, every one's work is to produce something good: there will be no manufacture of silly luxuries and then of sillier advertisements to persuade us to buy them. And there is to be no "swank" or "side," no putting on airs. To that extent a Christian society would be what we now call Leftist. On the other hand, it is always insisting on obedience -- obedience (and outward marks of respect) from all of us to properly appointed magistrates, from children to parents, and (I am afraid this is going to be very unpopular) from wives to husbands. Thirdly, it is to be a cheerful society: full of singing and rejoicing, and regarding worry or anxiety as wrong. Courtesy is one of the Christian virtues; and the New Testament hates what it calls "busybodies."

If there were such a society in existence and you or I visited it, I think we should come away with a curious impression. We should feel that its economic life was very socialistic and, in that sense, "advanced," but that its family life and its code of manners were rather old-fashioned -- perhaps even ceremonious and aristocratic. Each of us would like some bits of it, but I am afraid very few of us would like the whole thing. That is just what you would expect if Christianity is the total plan for the human machine. We have all departed from that total plan in different ways, and each of us wants to make out that his own modification of the original plan is the plan itself. You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian: Everyone is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest. That is why we do not get much further: and that is why people who are fighting for quite opposite things can say they are fighting for Christianity.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tribe Fatigue

"For those who understand, no explanation is necessary.  For those who do not understand, no explanation is sufficient."

That quote, in various forms, has been attributed to a number of writers and thinkers.  It crops up whenever I am tempted to explain why I am now "a recovering Marxist."  Certainly, the antics of the so-called "Progressive" movement should be enough to make my point. But that brings us back to the quote.

Besides, someone else has made a statement that rings true for me (at least in many respects).

After the  2016 election, the following piece was making the rounds and it still holds up, two years later.
 It is a letter sent to Rod Dreher at The American Conservative:

I’m a secular/agnostic Californian and longtime reader of your blog. I’ve enjoyed your books beginning with Crunchy Cons, and have valued your insights over the years.

Though you don’t know me, I feel like I know you and your family. And I want to share with you, from the liberal bastion of Northern California, that I am officially tired of the type of people who have surrounded me my entire life. In the wake of Trump’s election, I am experiencing “tribe fatigue.” I’m not tired of The Other, Detestable Tribe. I’m tired of my own.

A bit about me: I am a [deleted] with two young children. My parents were non-religious Democrats, and my ex-Catholic mom loathes organized religion to this day.

So I was raised a secular liberal. My college professors were secular liberals. During my journalism phase, my newspaper colleagues were secular liberals. My law school professors and peers were – in the vast majority – secular liberals. Almost everyone at my corporate law firm was a secular liberal. My California neighbors and friends are secular liberals, as are my colleagues. My mother, siblings, and their spouses are all secular liberals.

By all rights, I should be a member in good standing of their tribe, “liking” their Facebook posts and joining their candlelight vigils against the evil Trump Administration. But November 8 and its aftermath revealed to me that I am just so tired of these people. I can’t be like them, and I don’t want my kids turning into them.

I am tired of their undisguised contempt for tens of millions of Americans, with no effort to temper their response to the election with humility or empathy.

I am tired of their unexamined snobbery and condescension.

I am tired of their name-calling and virtue-signaling as signs of supposedly high intelligence.

I am tired of their trendiness, jumping on every left-liberal bandwagon that comes along (transgender activism, anyone?) and then acting like anyone not on board is an idiot/hater.

I am tired of their shallowness. It’s hard to have a deep conversation with people who are obsessed with moving their kids’ pawns across the board (grades, sports, college, grad school, career) and, in their spare time, entertaining themselves and taking great vacations.

I am tired of their acceptance of vulgarity and sarcastic irreverence as the cultural ocean in which their kids swim. I like pop culture as much as the next person, but people who would never raise their kids on junk food seem to think nothing of letting then wallow in cultural junk, exposed to nothing ennobling, aspirational, or even earnest.

I am tired of watching them raise clueless kids (see above) who go off to college and within months are convinced they live in a rapey, racist patriarchy; “Make America Great Again” is hate speech; and Black Lives Matter agitators are their brothers-in-arms against White Privilege. If my kids are like that at nineteen, I’ll feel I’ve seriously failed them as a parent. Yet the general sentiment seems to be these are good, liberal kids who may have gotten a bit carried away.

I am tired of their lack of interest in any form of serious morality or self-betterment. These are decent, responsible people, many compassionate by temperament. Yet they seem two-dimensional, as if they believe that being a nice, well-socialized person who holds the correct political views is all there is, and there is nothing else to talk about. Isn’t there, though?

I am tired of being bored and exasperated by everybody. I feel like I have read this book a thousand times, and there are no surprises in it. Down with Trump! Trans Lives Matter! Climate deniers are destroying the planet! No cake, we’re gluten-free!

These are good people in a lot of ways. But there has got to be a better tribe.

That leads me to . . . drum roll . . . the Christian Right. It is no small feat, switching tribes. It feels stressful and weird to abandon your tribe for the Detested Other Side.

Since November 8, my husband and I have been taking the kids to church. (He is politically conservative with a religious bent, so no argument there.) I have come this close to buying a giant poster of the American flag for the living room. I may do it still.

Right now, I am struggling to accept the basic Christian doctrines (virgin birth, resurrection, second coming) because I feel the Christian tribe may be the right tribe for my family. We just finished watching a BBC miniseries about the birth of Jesus, which was so beautiful and moving compared to secular TV. My nine-year-old really enjoyed it. I want to prepare my kids to live according to some unchanging truth, not subject to every passing trend, and this felt like a start. But I worry that an inability to believe in the supernatural aspects of the faith will limit my ability to be a “real” Christian.

Last Sunday’s sermon mentioned 1 Peter:18-19, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors.” This may be obvious to you, but secular liberalism does seem empty in some way, despite all the things my educated, middle-class tribe has to be grateful for. If that’s what’s been handed down to me, I want more, especially for my precious kids. I’m trying.

Friday, November 16, 2018

"If you wish to be on good terms..."

 If you wish to be on good terms with God and have his grace direct your life and come to the joy of love, then fix this name “Jesus” so firmly in your heart that it never leaves your thought. 

And when you speak to him using your customary name “Jesu”, in your ear it will be joy, in your mouth honey, and in your heart melody, because it will seem joy to you to hear that name being pronounced, sweetness to speak it, cheer and singing to think it. 

If you think the name “Jesus” continually and cling to it devotedly, then it will cleanse you from sin and set your heart aflame.  It will enlighten your soul, remove turbulence, and eliminate lethargy;  it will give the wound of love (The Song 5:7-8) and fill the soul to overflow with love; it will chase off the devil and eliminate terror, open heaven, and create a mystic. 

Have “Jesus” in your mind, because it expels all wickedness and delusion from his lover; and greet Mary frequently, both day and night.  Great will be the love and joy you feel if you are willing to act in accordance with this instruction.  There is no need for you to be very eager for a lot of books: 

Hold on to love in heart and deed, and you’ve got everything which we can talk or write about.  For the fulfilment of the law is love:  On that, everything depends. 

 - From The Fire of Love, by Richard Rolle (1304? - 1349)  English hermit, religious writer and Bible translator

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Rise and Fall of the "Other" Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the setting for some of my earliest memories and some of my fondest memories.  I’m certain that many thousands of other people would say the same.

The Parkway has become so much a part of our lies that it is hard to imagine the mountains without it.  But, of course, it wasn’t always here.  Construction started in 1935.  The segment leading to Waterrock Knob didn’t open until 1959.

Early construction on the Parkway

Some people still remember the mountains before the Parkway, and several years ago, I listened to their stories.  Every summer they would drive cattle up to the open range between Old Bald and Richland Balsam.  Gathering blueberries and camping out to watch over their livestock was part of a subsistence lifestyle, not an annual vacation.

Summit of Richland Balsam in the 1930s

Today, looking at these places, one thing is obvious.  Had the Blue Ridge Parkway not been created in the 1930s, it might not be there today.  Given a delay of thirty years, the outcry over a road desecrating the mountain summits would have almost certainly brought the project to a halt.

An almost forgotten incident illustrates the changing attitudes toward the scenic road.

Construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway extended from 1935 to 1987.  During that same half century, officials pursued a two hundred mile extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway into Georgia.

As contemplated in 1937, the extension would branch off from the southernmost point of the Parkway at Beech Gap, near the current milepost 423.  From Tanasee Bald it would cross Panthertown Valley, skirt Cashiers and Highlands in North Carolina, and approach Brasstown Bald and Springer Mountain in Georgia before terminating near Kennesaw Mountain, north of Atlanta.  

Except for a 1953 field study of the proposed route, the effort languished for more than twenty years.

That changed when Representative Roy A. Taylor of Asheville went to Congress in 1960.  One of his first initiatives was to promote the Parkway extension, and his bill authorizing $35,000 for a study was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in August 1961.

Map of proposed extension - July 1963
(Click to enlarge)

Within two years, the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service submitted a report grading the project as “highly recommended.”  Agreement by both agencies was crucial.  The Parkway was a unit of the Park Service and the extension was routed to make the most of Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina and Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia.  Any acquisition of private land for the road would not only cost much more, but disrupt farms and homes along the way.

Taylor continued to champion the project, even after it was voted down twice in Congress.  When he became chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation, Taylor had the leverage to get a bill passed.  In January 1968 Congress authorized 87.5 million dollars for the Parkway extension.

This legislative victory grabbed attention.  In Georgia, real estate advertisements promptly touted “land for sale along the proposed Blue Ridge Parkway Extension.”  On the other hand, a letter writer to an Atlanta newspaper warned “the Parkway extension will destroy more than 50 of the 75 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.”

In 1969, details of the linear park emerged.  Plans included picnic areas every twenty miles, a pioneer homestead in Rabun County, Georgia’s Plum Orchard Valley, and the Rattlesnake Knob visitor area near Highlands, providing access to Cliffside Lake.  A recreational development slated for Panthertown Valley would offer overnight lodging, dining, a 120-unit campground and a spur road to the top of Toxaway Mountain.

An ominous turning point came in November of 1970.  Vocal opponents of the road packed a public hearing in Georgia.  A spokesman for the state Game and Fish Commission expressed concern about the impact of the extension on the environment of the North Georgia highlands.  Conservation groups coalesced for a long fight.  

Meanwhile in North Carolina a different obstacle arose.  A real estate company, the Liberty Corporation, owned 40,000 acres in Panthertown and surrounding areas, directly in the path of the Parkway extension.  The first prospective route threatened Liberty’s plan for a resort development of second homes, a golf course and lodge.  Liberty intended to dam the headwaters of the Tuckasegee to create a lake, which would have inundated Schoolhouse Falls.  Construction of the Parkway was acceptable to Liberty, but only if it complemented their own development plans.  Environmentalists in North Carolina raised alarms over the irreparable harm to the unique natural features of Panthertown posed by the Park Service and Liberty proposals.

Schoolhouse Falls

By 1976, the Park Service withdrew plans for a Parkway extension in Georgia.  Then, at public hearings on alternatives for the North Carolina portion, many attendees favored the option of “no action” on the road.

The Parkway extension did gain support in South Carolina.  In July 1976, the General Assembly passed a resolution promoting a new route, connecting with the North Carolina link at the state line near Whitewater Falls.  The path in South Carolina would meander westward for forty miles, through the most mountainous region of the Palmetto State.

South Carolina’s overture was not enough to save the Blue Ridge Parkway extension, though.  After several more years attempting to iron out differences with environmentalists and developers, the Park Service calculated the rising costs of construction and abandoned the project in the early 1980s.

Liberty Corporation’s development in Panthertown never materialized either, and eventually, the Forest Service acquired the huge tract for the Nantahala National Forest, commemorating the addition as the “Roy Taylor Forest” in 1982.

One of Congressman Taylor’s final acts before leaving Washington in 1977 was to introduce a bill, later signed into law, adding 900,000 acres to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

A bronze plaque beside the Blue Ridge Parkway honors a man whose hopes for the scenic road’s southern extension never became reality.  It bears the words:

“Man in his wisdom has made many wonderful and useful things, but no man can make a wilderness.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I'll Take My Stand



The Twelve Southerners



THE authors contributing to this book are Southerners, well acquainted with one another and of similar tastes, though not necessarily living in the same physical community, and perhaps only at this moment aware of themselves as a single group of men. By conversation and exchange of letters over a number of years it had developed that they entertained many convictions in common, and it was decided to make a volume in which each one should furnish his views upon a chosen topic. This was the general background. But background and consultation as to the various topics were enough; there was to be no further collaboration. And so no single author is responsible for any view outside his own article. It was through the good fortune of some deeper agreement that the book was expected to achieve its unity. All the articles bear in the same sense upon the book's title-subject: all tend to support a Southern way of life against what may be called the American or prevailing way; and all as much as agree that the best terms in which to represent the distinction are contained in the phrase, Agrarian versus Industrial.

But after the book was under way it seemed a pity if the contributors, limited as they were within their special subjects, should stop short of showing how close their agreements really were. On the contrary, it seemed that they ought to go on and make themselves known as a group already consolidated by a set of principles which could be stated with a good deal of particularity. This might prove useful for the sake of future reference, if they should undertake any further joint publication. It was then decided to prepare a general introduction for the book which would state briefly the common convictions of the group. This is the statement. To it every one of the contributors in this book has subscribed.

Nobody now proposes for the South, or far any other community in this country, an independent political destiny. That idea is thought to have been finished in 1805. But how far shall the South surrender its moral, social, and economic autonomy to the victorious principle of Union? That question remains open. The South is a minority section that has hitherto been jealous of its minority right to live its own kind of life. The South scarcely hopes to determine the other sections, but it does propose to determine itself, within the utmost limits of legal action. Of late, however, there is the melancholy fact that the South itself has wavered a little and shown signs of wanting to join up behind the common or American industrial ideal. It is against that tendency that this book is written. The younger Southerners, who are being converted frequently to the industrial gospel, must come back to the support of the Southern tradition. They must be persuaded to look very critically at the advantages of becoming a "new South" which will be only an undistinguished replica of the usual industrial community.

But there are many other minority communities opposed to industrialism, and wanting a much simpler economy to live by. The communities and private persons sharing the agrarian tastes are to be found widely within the Union. Proper living is a matter of the intelligence and the will, does not depend on the local climate or geography, and is capable of a definition which is general and not Southern at all. Southerners have a filial duty to discharge to their own section. But their cause is precarious and they must seek alliances with sympathetic communities everywhere. The members of the present group would be happy to be counted as members of a national agrarian movement.

Industrialism is the economic organization of the collective American society. It means the decision of society to invest its economic resources in the applied sciences. But the word science has acquired a certain sanctitude. It is out of order to quarrel with science in the abstract, or even with the applied sciences when their applications are made subject to criticism and intelligence. The capitalization of the applied sciences has now become extravagant and uncritical; it has enslaved our human energies to a degree now clearly felt to be burdensome. The apologists of industrialism do not like to meet this charge directly; so they often take refuge in saying that they are devoted simply to science! They are really devoted to the applied sciences and to practical production. Therefore it is necessary to employ a certain skepticism even at the expense of the Cult of Science, and to say, It is an Americanism, which looks innocent and disinterested, but really is not either.

The contribution that science can make to a labor is to render it easier by the help of a tool or a process, and to assure the laborer of his perfect economic security while he is engaged upon it. Then it can be performed with leisure and enjoyment. But the modern laborer has not exactly received this benefit under the industrial regime. His labor is hard, its tempo is fierce, and his employment is insecure. The first principle of a good labor is that it must be effective, but the second principle is that it must be enjoyed. Labor is one of the largest items in the human career; it is a modest demand to ask that it may partake of happiness.

The regular act of applied science is to introduce into labor a labor-saving device or a machine. Whether this is a benefit depends on how far it is advisable to save the labor The philosophy of applied science is generally quite sure that the saving of labor is a pure gain, and that the more of it the better. This is to assume that labor is an evil, that only the end of labor or the material product is good. On this assumption labor becomes mercenary and servile, and it is no wonder if many forms of modern labor are accepted without resentment though they are evidently brutalizing. The act of labor as one of the happy functions of human life has been in effect abandoned, and is practiced solely for its rewards.

Even the apologists of industrialism have been obliged to admit that some economic evils follow in the wake of the machines. These are such as overproduction, unemployment, and a growing inequality in the distribution of wealth. But the remedies proposed by the apologists are always homeopathic. They expect the evils to disappear when we have bigger and better machines, and more of them. Their remedial programs, therefore, look forward to more industrialism. Sometimes they see the system righting itself spontaneously and without direction: they are Optimists. Sometimes they rely on the benevolence of capital, or the militancy of labor, to bring about a fairer division of the spoils: they are Cooperationists or Socialists. And sometimes they expect to find super-engineers, in the shape of Boards of Control, who will adapt production to consumption and regulate prices and guarantee business against fluctuations: they are Sovietists. With respect to these last it must be insisted that the true Sovietists or Communists-if the term may be used here in the European sense-are the Industrialists themselves. They would have the government set up an economic super-organization, which in turn would become the government. We therefore look upon the Communist menace as a menace indeed, but not as a Red one; because it is simply according to the blind drift of our industrial development to expect in America at last much the same economic system as that imposed by violence upon Russia in 1917.

Turning to consumption, as the grand end which justifies the evil of modern labor, we find that we have been deceived. We have more time in which to consume, and many more products to be consumed. But the tempo of our labors communicates itself to our satisfactions, and these also become brutal and hurried. The constitution of the natural man probably does not permit him to shorten his labor-time and enlarge his consuming-time indefinitely. He has to pay the penalty in satiety and aimlessness. The modern man has lost his sense of vocation.

Religion can hardly expect to flourish in an industrial society. Religion is our submission to the general intention of a nature that is fairly inscrutable; it is the sense of our role as creatures within it. But nature industrialized, transformed into cities and artificial habitations, manufactured into commodities, is no longer nature but a highly simplified picture of nature. We receive the illusion of having power over nature, and lose the sense of nature as something mysterious and contingent. The God of nature under these conditions is merely an amiable expression, a superfluity, and the philosophical understanding ordinarily carried in the religious experience is not there for us to have.

Nor do the arts have a proper life under industrialism, with the general decay of sensibility which attends it. Art depends, in general, like religion, on a right attitude to nature; and in particular on a free and disinterested observation of nature that occurs only in leisure. Neither the creation nor the understanding of works of art is possible in an industrial age except by some local and unlikely suspension of the industrial drive.

The amenities of life also suffer under the curse of a strictly-business or industrial civilization. They consist in such practices as manners, conversation, hospitality, sympathy, family life, romantic love-in the social exchanges which reveal and develop sensibility in human affairs. If religion and the arts are founded on right relations of man- to-nature, these are founded on right relations of man-to- man.

Apologists of industrialism are even inclined to admit that its actual processes may have upon its victims the spiritual effects just described. But they think that all can be made right by extraordinary educational efforts, by all sorts of cultural institutions and endowments. They would cure the poverty of the contemporary spirit by hiring experts to instruct it in spite of itself in the historic culture. But salvation is hardly to be encountered on that road. The trouble with the life-pattern is to be located at its economic base, and we cannot rebuild it by pouring in soft materials from the top. The young men and women in colleges, for example, if they are already placed in a false way of life, cannot make more than an inconsequential acquaintance with the arts and humanities transmitted to them. Or else the understanding of these arts and humanities will but make them the more wretched in their own destitution.

The "Humanists" are too abstract. Humanism, properly speaking, is not an abstract system, but a culture, the whole way in which we live, act, think, and feel. It is a kind of imaginatively balanced life lived out in a definite social tradition. And, in the concrete, we believe that this, the genuine humanism, was rooted in the agrarian life of the older South and of other parts of the country that shared in such a tradition. It was not an abstract moral "check" derived from the classics-it was not soft material poured in from the top. It was deeply founded in the way of life itself-in its tables, chairs, portraits, festivals, laws, marriage customs. We cannot recover our native humanism by adopting some standard of taste that is critical enough to question the contemporary arts but not critical enough to question the social and economic life which is their ground.

The tempo of the industrial life is fast, but that is not the worst of it; it is accelerating. The ideal is not merely some set form of industrialism, with so many stable industries, but industrial progress, or an incessant extension of industrialization. It never proposes a specific goal; it initiates the infinite series. We have not merely capitalized certain industries; we have capitalized the laboratories and inventors, and undertaken to employ all the labor-saving devices that come out of them. But a fresh labor-saving device introduced into an industry does not emancipate the laborers in that industry so much as it evicts them. Applied at the expense of agriculture, for example, the new processes have reduced the part of the population supporting itself upon the soil to a smaller and smaller fraction. Of course no single labor-saving process is fatal; it brings on a period of unemployed labor and unemployed capital, but soon a new industry is devised which will put them both to work again, and a new commodity is thrown upon the market. The laborers were sufficiently embarrassed in the meantime, but, according to the theory, they will eventually be taken care of. It is now the public which is embarrassed; it feels obligated to purchase a commodity for which it had expressed no desire, but it is invited to make its budget equal to the strain. All might yet be well, and stability and comfort might again obtain, but for this: partly because of industrial ambitions and partly because the repressed creative impulse must break out somewhere, there will be a stream of further labor-saving devices in all industries, and the cycle will have to be repeated over and over. The result is an increasing disadjustment and instability.

It is an inevitable consequence of industrial progress that production greatly outruns the rate of natural consumption. To overcome the disparity, the producers, disguised as the pure idealists of progress, must coerce and wheedle the public into being loyal and steady consumers, in order to keep the machines running. So the rise of modern advertising-along with its twin, personal salesmanship-is the most significant development of our industrialism. Advertising means to persuade the consumers to want exactly what the applied sciences are able to furnish them. It consults the happiness of the consumer no more than it consulted the happiness of the laborer. It is the great effort of a false economy of life to approve itself. But its task grows more difficult even day.

It is strange, of course, that a majority of men anywhere could ever as with one mind become enamored of industrialism: a system that has so little regard for individual wants. There is evidently a kind of thinking that rejoices in setting up a social objective which has no relation to the individual. Men are prepared to sacrifice their private dignity and happiness to an abstract social ideal, and without asking whether the social ideal produces the welfare of any individual man whatsoever. But this is absurd. The responsibility of men is for their own welfare and that of their neighbors; not for the hypothetical welfare of some fabulous creature called society.

Opposed to the industrial society is the agrarian, which does not stand in particular need of definition. An agrarian society is hardly one that has no use at all for industries, for professional vocations, for scholars and artists, and for the life of cities. Technically, perhaps, an agrarian society is one in which agriculture is the leading vocation, whether for wealth, for pleasure, or for prestige-a form of labor that is pursued with intelligence and leisure, and that becomes the model to which the other forms approach as well as they may. But an agrarian regime will be secured readily enough where the superfluous industries are not allowed to rise against it. The theory of agrarianism is that the culture of the soil is the best and most sensitive of vocations, and that therefore it should have the economic preference and enlist the maximum number of workers.

These principles do not intend to be very specific in proposing any practical measures. How may the little agrarian community resist the Chamber of Commerce of its county seat, which is always trying to import some foreign industry that cannot be assimilated to the life-pattern of the community? Just what must the Southern leaders do to defend the traditional Southern life ? How may the Southern and the Western agrarians unite for effective action? Should the agrarian forces try to capture the Democratic party, which historically is so closely affiliated with the defense of individualism, the small community, the state, the South ? Or must the agrarians-even the Southern ones-abandon the Democratic party to its fate and try a new one? What legislation could most profitably be championed by the powerful agrarians in the Senate of the United States? What anti-industrial measures might promise to stop the advances of industrialism, or even undo some of them, with the least harm to those concerned? What policy should be pursued by the educators who have a tradition at heart? These and many other questions are of the greatest importance, but they cannot be answered here.

For, in conclusion, this much is clear: If a community, or a section, or a race, or an age, is groaning under industrialism, and well aware that it is an evil dispensation, it must find the way to throw it off. To think that this cannot be done is pusillanimous. And if the whole community, section, race, or age thinks it cannot be done, then it has simply lost its political genius and doomed itself to impotence.