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Richard Weaver, the Gospel, and the Restoration of Culture by Bradley G. Green

richard weaverWeaver, the Gospel, and the Restoration of Culture

by Bradley G. Green

Somewhere along the way, many twentieth-century pilgrims have found inspiration and insight from the pen of Richard M. Weaver(1910-1963).[1]  More than one friend cites Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences when they recount their own intellectual journey, and when they describe when and how they began really to “think.”  Best known as the author of Ideas Have Consequences (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1948), Weaver was a southerner who has had a significant impact on political thought in the United States in the twentieth-century.  Born and raised in North Carolina, Weaver did his undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky.    A leftist-liberal during his undergraduate days in the 1920s, after a year of graduate work at Kentucky, he moved on to Vanderbilt for graduate study (early 1930s).  During his time at Vanderbilt, Weaver was greatly influenced by the Nashville Agrarians (often called the Southern Agrarians, or the Vanderbilt Agrarians), which included such persons as Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, and his thesis advisor, John Crowe Ransom.  Weaver would eventually do doctorate work at Louisiana State University (1940-1943), where he would write his dissertation on southern culture (eventually published posthumously as The Southern Tradition at Bay).  By the time he began doctoral work, Weaver had become disillusioned with the Left, and had become a southern partisan.  A conservative, agrarian, southern framework would be the general framework in which he would work during the remainder of his life. Weaver would go on to a teaching career in English at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1944 until his death in 1963.

Christian theological themes are found implicitly and explicitly in the work of Richard M. Weaver.  Weaver would eventually see his work as a “restoration of culture,” or of civilization, and he relies extensively on Christian themes as he writes about the restoration of culture.  In this essay I seek to explore how the following Christian theological themes appear consistently in Weaver’s work, and how these themes serve as the necessary substructure or precondition of this intellectual program.  The key themes I explore are: creation, the Logos, faith seeking understanding, and eschatology and the importance of history.  I argue that Weaver’s use of such Christian themes are both too extensive and intensive to be simply peripheral to his thought.  However, I ultimately argue that there is something key missing in Weaver’s use of such themes—the Christian gospel—and I try to elucidate the ways in which this lacuna may weaken an otherwise very penetrating criticism of modernity, and may hamper an otherwise brilliant attempt at the restoration of a meaningful culture.

Christian Themes in the Thought of Richard Weaver

Creation

In his attempt to articulate what is necessary for civilization, or for a genuine and meaningful culture, Weaver repeatedly emphasizes the importance of a doctrine of creation.  Weaver contends that a doctrine of creation is essential to an affirmation of the reality of knowledge.  If this is indeed a created world, there is something outside of us, something there to be known. Continue reading

Did ‘The Great Society’ Ruin Society? by Pat Buchanan

800px-Lyndon_Johnson_signing_Civil_Rights_Act,_2_July,_1964 Did ‘The Great Society’ Ruin Society?

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it.”

Thus did Mitt Romney supposedly commit the gaffe of the month — for we are not to speak of the poor without unctuous empathy.

Yet, as Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation reports in “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor,” Mitt was more right about America’s magnanimity than those who bewail her alleged indifference.

First, who are the poor?

To qualify, a family of four in 2010 needed to earn less than $22,314. Some 46 million Americans, 15 percent of the population, qualified.

And in what squalor were America’s poor forced to live?

Well, 99 percent had a refrigerator and stove, two-thirds had a plasma TV, a DVD player and access to cable or satellite, 43 percent were on the Internet, half had a video game system like PlayStation or Xbox.

Three-fourths of the poor had a car or truck, nine in 10 a microwave, 80 percent had air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

America’s poor enjoy amenities almost no one had in the 1950s, when John K. Galbraith described us as “The Affluent Society.”

What about homelessness? Are not millions of America’s poor on the street at night, or shivering in shelters or crowded tenements?

Well, actually, no. That is what we might call televised poverty. Of the real poor, fewer than 10 percent live in trailers, 40 percent live in apartments, and half live in townhouses or single-family homes.

Forty-one percent of poor families own their own home.

But are they not packed in like sardines, one on top of another?

Not exactly. The average poor person’s home in America has 1,400 square feet — more living space than do Europeans in 23 of the 25 wealthiest countries on the continent.

Two-thirds of America’s poor have two rooms per person, while 94 percent have at least one room per person in the family dwelling.

Only one in 25 poor persons in America uses a homeless shelter, and only briefly, sometime during the year.

What about food? Do not America’s poor suffer chronically from malnutrition and hunger?

Not so. The daily consumption of proteins, vitamins and minerals of poor children is roughly the same as that of the middle class, and the poor consume more meat than the upper middle class.

Some 84 percent of America’s poor say they always have enough food to eat, while 13 percent say sometimes they do not, and less than 4 percent say they often do not have enough to eat.

Only 2.6 percent of poor children report stunted growth. Poor kids in America are, on average, an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the youth of the Greatest Generation that won World War II.

In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government spent $910 billion on 70 means-tested programs, which comes to an average of $9,000 per year on every lower-income person in the United States.

Among the major programs from which the poor receive benefits are Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program, Medicaid, public housing, low-income energy assistance and the Social Service Block Grant.

Children of the poor are educated free, K-12, and eligible for preschool Head Start, and Perkins Grants, Pell Grants and student loans for college.

Lyndon Johnson told us this was the way to build a Great Society.

Did we? Federal and state spending on social welfare is approaching $1 trillion a year, $17 trillion since the Great Society was launched, not to mention private charity. But we have witnessed a headlong descent into social decomposition.

Half of all children born to women under 30 in America now are illegitimate. Three in 10 white children are born out of wedlock, as are 53 percent of Hispanic babies and 73 percent of black babies.

Rising right along with the illegitimacy rate is the drug-use rate, the dropout rate, the crime rate and the incarceration rate.

The family, cinder block of society, is disintegrating, and along with it, society itself. Writes Rector, “The welfare system is more like a ‘safety bog’ than a safety net.”

Heritage scholars William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell put Rector’s numbers in perspective:

“Today … 67.3 million Americans — from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries — depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid or other assistance. … The United States reached another milestone in 2010. For the first time in history, half the population pays no federal income taxes.”

The 19th century statesman John C. Calhoun warned against allowing government to divide us into “tax-payers and tax-consumers.” This, he said, “would give rise to two parties and to violent conflicts and struggles between them, to obtain the control of the government.”

We are there, Mr. Calhoun, we are there.

Essays by Pat Buchanan may be found here. Books related to the topic of this article may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

St. Nicholas Tavelic and Companions: Defenders From Islam

St Nicholas Taveric
St. Nicholas Tavelic and Companions
(d. 1391)

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Nicholas and his three companions are among the 158 Franciscans who have been martyred in the Holy Land since the friars became custodians of the shrines in 1335.

Nicholas was born in 1340 to a wealthy and noble family in Croatia. He joined the Franciscans and was sent with Deodat of Rodez to preach in Bosnia. In 1384 they volunteered for the Holy Land missions and were sent there. They looked after the holy places, cared for the Christian pilgrims and studied Arabic.

In 1391 Nicholas, Deodat, Peter of Narbonne and Stephen of Cuneo decided to take a direct approach to converting the Muslims. On November 11, 1391, they went to the huge Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem and asked to see the Qadi (Muslim official). Reading from a prepared statement, they said that all people must accept the gospel of Jesus. When they were ordered to retract their statement, they refused. After beatings and imprisonment, they were beheaded before a large crowd.

Nicholas and his companions were canonized in 1970. They are the only Franciscans martyred in the Holy Land to be canonized.

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Comment:

Francis presented two missionary approaches for his friars. Nicholas and his companions followed the first approach (live quietly and give witness to Christ) for several years. Then they felt called to take the second approach of preaching openly. Their Franciscan confreres in the Holy Land are still working by example to make Jesus better known.

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Quote:
In the Rule of 1221, Francis wrote that the friars going to the Saracens (Muslims) “can conduct themselves among them spiritually in two ways. One way is to avoid quarrels or disputes and ‘be subject to every human creature for God’s sake’ (1 Peter 2:13), so bearing witness to the fact that they are Christians. Another way is to proclaim the word of God openly, when they see that is God’s will, calling on their hearers to believe in God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Creator of all, and in the Son, the Redeemer and Savior, that they may be baptized and become true and spiritual Christians” (Ch. 16).

Thomas Jefferson on Public Debt by W. Winston Elliott III

Thomas Jefferson on Public Debt

public debt

by Thomas Jefferson

‎”We are ruined, Sir, if we do not over rule the principles that ‘the more we owe, the more prosperous we shall be,’ ‘that a public debt furnishes the means of enterprise,” that if ours should be once paid off, we should incur another by any means however extravagant.”– to James Monroe, 1791

For more on the American Founding visit The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an on-line journal for those who seek the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism (Visit our Bookstore to find books by/about these men).

We address a wide variety of major issues including: What is the essence of conservatism? What was the role of faith in the American Founding? Is liberal learning still possible in the modern academy? Should conservatives and libertarians be allies? What is the proper role for the American Republic in spreading ordered liberty to other cultures/nations?

We have a great appreciation for the thought of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Irving Babbitt and Christopher Dawson, among other imaginative conservatives. However, some of us look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.”

BUMMED ABOUT THE GOP CONGRESSIONAL DEBACLE? JOHN WAYNE’S WISDOM ON LIBERALS FROM NEARLY 40 YEARS AGO MIGHT HELP

BUMMED ABOUT THE GOP CONGRESSIONAL DEBACLE? JOHN WAYNE’S WISDOM ON LIBERALS FROM NEARLY 40 YEARS AGO MIGHT HELP

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Oct. 17, 2013 11:59pm 

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It was the first day after congressional Republicans, by many accounts, made a big show over delaying the implementation of Obamacare during the government shutdown and then essentiallycaved to Democrats in the 11th hour.

It’s also the day after Newark Mayor Cory Booker — who’s made news of late over a Twitter friendship with a vegan stripper, an allegedly imaginary drug lord friend named T-Bone, and allegations that he doesn’t actually live in Newark — managed to win a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey.

John Wayne Comments on Liberals in 1975 Interview

So if you’re feeling down, lend your ears to the hardscrabble words of John Wayne.

These excerpts from a 1975 interview — nearly 40 years ago — sound like the Duke could have uttered them today, as he digs into liberal political tactics and fiscal policies.

Here’s Wayne’s take on those who lean left all the way back in the Ford presidency: “They never listen to your point of view, and they make a decision as to what you think, and they’re articulate enough and in control of enough of the press to force that image out for the average person.”

OK, pilgrim — here’s the Duke as only he can say it, credited on YouTube to interviewer Tony Macklin (content warning: as you might expect, a bit of salty language ahead):

Other Must Read Stories:

YA HEY: Persecution & Salvation for the Coptic Christians in Egypt

I created this music video during the height of the slaughter of Coptic Christians in Egypt during August, 2013.  This film looks at the current persecutions of Christians in light of Catholic Revelation on salvation history and the redeeming merits of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Though this film addresses the Coptic Christians in Egypt may it stand as a symbol of hope for all persecuted in the name of Christ.

Abraham Lincoln: A Man and a Leader of Men by T.Elliot Goiser

Abe LincolnAbraham Lincoln: A Man and a Leader of Men

Abraham Lincoln

by T. Elliot Gaiser

Presented at a debate sponsored by the Hillsdale College Republicans and the Fairfield Society in commemoration of President’s Day, February 20, 2011.

Today I am called by the President of the College Republicans, Baillie Jones, to address Abraham Lincoln’s merits as a statesman.

You might be expecting this discussion to center on whether or not Lincoln was right in using war to prevent secession, which would open debate on the constitutional and philosophical justifications for secession and the historical facts surrounding 19th century America.

Of these facts, my family has been personally aware. I am descended of the son of the son of Thomas Anderson Smith, a free plantation owner of southern Virginia and, as I am told, one of only hundreds to reach the crest of Pickett’s charge in Gettysburg before falling to a near-fatal bayonet wound. I’ve walked the land, my family’s land, that was lost to us in this tragedy of brother against brother. And my heart is really there, in the south, which I believe today represents much of what is good and chivalrous and hospitable in America. Continue reading

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