Hope

One of the many reasons I posted so little here at the Orthosphere over the summer was that in the months leading up to the family vacation that began in mid-June I had been feeling more and more discouraged about the culture wars, and thus enervated. The handwriting was on the wall, the Persians at the gates of the City; and other watchmen on the web were doing a great job. What could I add, really, to the fight, especially given that it seemed foredoomed to go against us?

Sure, I was busier than at any time in recent memory with family and business affairs. But such business had not kept me from writing in many decades.

In retrospect, I just needed that vacation. I was tired. I know this because only a few days into the vacation I began to feel hope again.

It’s not just that I was getting some rest, eating right, tanking up on family, spending time on something other than work, engaged with nature and the weather, and exercising hard again. I’m sure all that played an important role, but it was more.

When you leave your usual haunts for a while you meet, or just see, lots and lots of people. Many of them are not of the sort that you usually see. And all of them are busily engaged in getting on with life. Because they are different from the sorts of people you normally see, and so live somewhat differently, you find yourself noticing how they live – not just what they do (go to the grocery store, take a walk, read a book) but how they do it (what they buy, how they talk, what they are reading).

It was this that I found to be a curious source of hope. Strange, no?

I saw all sorts of people: hippies, yuppies, old folks, young families, college kids, street people, surf bums, petit bourgeois shopkeepers and clerks, tradesmen, divers, truckers, glamorous LA types, cowboys, nervous New Yorkers, body builders, gay blades: the whole gamut. Most of them were Americans, although only about half were Anglos. What struck me was that while almost every one of them other than the old folks was working some sort of obsession – fashion, sex, extreme sport, business, piercings, tattoos (the tattoos were just everywhere, to an astonishing degree), dreads, luxury, street theater, Goth, The Cause, what have you – they were all at the same time almost entirely normal and down to earth. They all had quirks and weaknesses, as I do; but they almost all seemed basically healthy.

I asked myself: in an emergency, would these people behave appropriately, responsibly? Would they do the right thing, or try to? Would they go out of their way to help, or to rescue, or to console? Would they pull together? Would they sacrifice for the common good, as embodied in this or that actual man or woman, boy or girl? In short, would they love each other, valiantly, intelligently, and for the most part competently? The answer: yes; yes, by God, they certainly would.

So I began to dare to hope for a clement future, for our nation, for our culture, for our religion, and thus for my children and grandchildren, as they (God send) arrive. The vicious perversion eating at our culture had more and more seemed to me to have penetrated the muscles of its heart, inflicting a mortal wound, and vitiating my own morale. Observing all these people, almost all of them struggling with depravity of some sort, it seemed to me rather that it was eating at the edges. A mere scratch can mortify the strongest young man, of course; add heroin or meth, or porn or depression or alcohol, or obsessive hatred, or any sort of marginal imbalance to an otherwise hale and healthy life, and you can quickly kill it. But most people shrug off most such insults, and hobble on, both weakened and educated – which is to say, strengthened – to meet the next.

I had been dreading the Collapse which I have eagerly hoped will be a salutary purgation for my sickened patrimony. But now, I rather look forward to it, as more likely than not to be the occasion of a great adventure, in which by shared hardships we all make many new, fast, hearty friends, and forge or renew deep common bonds of loyalty, courage, and virtue.

It is in humble things that I gathered all this wool, to be sure: nothing more than the way a mother stooped to her child, or that a father encouraged his son; the way that friends or strangers (it was difficult to tell) laughed together, or gave each other the time of day. But what more is there, really, to this our joint endeavor here on Earth?

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10 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Feels good to leave culture war and intellectual discussion behind once in a while, huh?

    There is always hope for our people. It’s easy, when looking at how widely decadence and cultural poison has spread, to write everyone off as lost. But if you look at history from a cyclical viewpoint, this decadence is revealed as shallow as well as wide – it’s a passing thing that doesn’t change what lies within us. As Alex Kurtagic remarked, we are solar people. We must not forget who we are.

    It helps to have one or two close friends who are “broken” from a traditional standpoint, to let you see that people are still just people, no matter their sins and failures. They try their best, and are still worthy of caritas. Jesus’ attitude toward sinners is one I try to cultivate.

  2. Pingback: Hope | Reaction Times

  3. Well, gut feelings (or a warm heart) may well be feeling something genuine, and I am very glad at you hopefulness (which is essential) – but I have been struck by stunning examples of people NOT behaving appropriately, responsibly – not behaving as I would expect normal human beings to behave; for example in the London Race Riots or the Virginia Tech massacre. I am been involved with several of the Politically Correct ‘Watsonings’ of recent years, and there has been near-zero popular resistance to (but rather a spiteful enjoyment of) these elite abuses and vindictiveness. And I am continually amazed at how *hope-less* ordinary people are when it comes to tough problems needing tough decisions, or confronted with the spiraling and celebrated depravities of life – they have given-up. I am sure things are much worse here in the UK and mainland Europe than in the US, but the US has made giant strides to join us over the past generation, and especially since 2008. Indeed, I hesitate to say this and I am certainly not trying to *persuade* anybody of it – but the one and the ONLY institution which makes me genuinely hopeful in the West at present is the CJCLDS; what a relief and a refreshment it is to contemplate that micro-world, albeit from outside!

  4. I have to disagree with Dr. Charlton since I believe the situation is worse in the US than in UK or Europe. We have a Marxist-Muslim President who has filled our entire bureaucracy with likeminded marxist-muslims, who has an entirely fabricated past/backstory, who succesfully defeated an attempted military coup at Benghazi, who has purged our entire military’s upper command of patriotic Americans, who has deliberately flung open our southern border and allowed Hispanic torture squads and Islamic jihadists (in the tens of thousands) to stream into our country to eventually wreak havoc in the near future.

    Nobody recognizes what has happened because they don’t want to, not even most conservative Christians. I mean, how many readers here roll their eyes when they read the above paragraph? And we’re supposed to be the ones who’ve truly swallowed the red pill. We need to get a proper understanding of the situation. Here is some audio from this past weekend to that effect:

    http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2014/07/27/dave-hodges-interviews-jim-garrow-regarding-new-operational-details-about-the-impending-attacks-upon-u-s-shopping-malls/

  5. I grant everything that Andrew E and Bruce notice (leaving it to them to work out whether things are worse in the UK or the US). Things are indeed very bad, and I expect that they shall get much worse. I expect an acceleration of both wickedness and pain.

    Nevertheless, I have myself suffered through a number of really desperate emergency situations, and every time I did I was astonished at the resourcefulness, intelligence, courage, toughness, and magnanimity of the ordinary folks around me. Every time, I saw people trusting their lives to strangers, or assuming responsibility for the lives of strangers at risk to their own, or both; and I saw their wagers pay off. Every time, a truly amazing degree of social coordination arose organically: teams assembled, hierarchies formed, leaders appeared and were recognized, complex plans were worked out in minutes and immediately put into action.

    When things are at their worst, people are often at their best – or if they can’t or won’t rise to the occasion, then it overwhelms them, and they dwindle and die. This is why what’s happening is a winnowing. It will improve the human stock.

  6. A mere scratch can mortify the strongest young man, of course; add heroin or meth, or porn or depression or alcohol, or obsessive hatred, or any sort of marginal imbalance to an otherwise hale and healthy life, and you can quickly kill it.

    As a young man with lots of young male friends, I can vouch that those are very common problems (minus heroin or meth) especially porn (and fornication), depression, and alcohol. I haven’t been immune to a few of those things and neither have my friends. All I can say in my favor and in the favor of my friends is that we’re all trying. We’re all at different stages, but we’re all trying. And in the rag-tag group of young men I call my friends, I know that they will always have my back and I theirs. It’s things like this, the little things with big implications (loyalty is a very important virtue) that show the nature of men: deeply flawed but ultimately striving towards betterment and the Good.

    While I am deeply pessimistic about the survival of civilization (esp. Western Civilization), I assume it will be a Sodom and Gommorah sort of situation; there will be a remaining few that will not be too warped and corrupted by the zeitgeist of the age. In those few lie our hope.

    That being said, we must never make the perfect the enemy of the good. Everyone in this age is deeply flawed(possibly ever since the Fall) but very, very few are completely and utterly corrupt to the core. Very few have gotten to the point where they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

  7. When you leave your usual haunts for a while you meet, or just see, lots and lots of people. Many of them are not of the sort that you usually see. And all of them are busily engaged in getting on with life. Because they are different from the sorts of people you normally see, and so live somewhat differently, you find yourself noticing how they live – not just what they do (go to the grocery store, take a walk, read a book) but how they do it (what they buy, how they talk, what they are reading).

    I understand just what you mean here. And it’s a noticeable relief to watch ordinary people looking generally cheerful as they do normal things. Lately just watching a husband and wife walking together in the store and smiling at each other warms my heart; apparently there are still people who like being married in the world.

    Of course, I’m generally as pessimistic as the gentlemen commenting here are, but there are still swaths of normality with reasonably functional families and I find that I cling to those examples when I see them and feel some sense of hopefulness.

    Oh, and hello to you, Svar!

    • Hi Sunshine!

      “Lately just watching a husband and wife walking together in the store and smiling at each other warms my heart; apparently there are still people who like being married in the world.”

      Same here, especially with young couples around my age, gives a young guy like me some fresh perspective and hope.

  8. That is precisely why I think we here in Central Europe would not pull a crisis through as well as Americans would – the level of indifference of people to each other here is just staggering. Nobody cares about chatting with their neighbor or trying to make friends in the neighborhood or having any activities in common. Our block has a mailing list, and it is just complaints of the “who left a mat in the stairway, get rid of it asap” type, and when I occasionally sent a mail about who wants to have a beer or play table tennis nobody cared. There is a reclusiveness here, people withdrawing into their living rooms. The coworker working literally five steps from me does not care to tell me about that he has a son for three years. Nobody ever eats a lunch or has an after work beer with anyone. I don’t quite understand why or how it happened, given that in the everyday sense Vienna, Austria is less liberal than say, San Francisco (in the sense that for example gays look less gay, more conforming to norms, in that sense), yet there is no social fabric to speak of whatsoever. This looks seriously dangerous.

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