To China, My Heart

I wonder if normal Christians find it strange that I feel a special sense of duty to China from sharing my grandfather’s birthday. His birth date is recorded to have been in October, and mine in December, but seems his month and day were in fact according to the Chinese lunar calendar, in which case mine matches his in the solar.

If I were to ask for the intercession of departed saints, I would certainly be inclined to solicit his prayers, not because of any long and exemplary faithfulness to Christ but because of the circumstances of his becoming a Christian. It was nothing short of miraculous, I felt, that the Lord saw fit to convert him to the true faith in the last months of his life on earth. For decades he had resisted this faith, and when my father had converted to it he even had told him not to go to church – with which, being clean contrary to the commandment of God, my father dared not comply. My attempt to ask him about his religious beliefs had elicited a memorably clever reply but nothing of substance. Years later, as he lay dying, his defences stripped from him, with nothing between his soul and the eyes of God, he was compelled to bend the knee of his heart to the one true God by the mediation of Jesus Christ. When I heard the news, I think, I was in the shower on the other side of the country, and it was as if something had washed my family clean. His death, when it came, was great sorrow but also great peace for a man who had been carried by angels to meet his Maker. To a man who has been shown such extraordinary favour for the sake of Christ, will not more favour be shown?

Even today, whenever I go up the hills of Oakland to the land of the dead, to the darkness of death and the memorial of a great cleansing, I feel the holiness of God manifest. When my eye passes over Oakland and Berkeley, over the Bay to San Francisco, and over the ocean to the land of our fathers, it is as if God has given us possession of the earth because he has sanctified this family. No matter what happens in our family, this is the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy, granting that we may eat the flesh of his dear Son, and to drink his blood, to the cleansing of our sinful bodies through his body and the washing of our souls through his most precious blood. When I am there, I am assured as if by a promissory note that this family, sanctified by Christ himself from my grandfather on, will serve God even to the end of the world. By the power of a God who can convert the most stiff-necked people, and who made a noble pagan but a deeply flawed man into one of his saints, there is nothing that cannot be done. To see the land of the dead is also the hear the promise of life.

And Luminous Authority begat Nation’s Hoisting-up, and Nation’s Hoisting-up begat Walking in Righteousness.

And so, marking to what dangers my grandfather once submitted himself in service to China as a spy, my heart wants to do the same in Christ. The line of providence from my grandfather to me seems too great to cast off as coïncidence, since the all-wise Lord knows no such thing as luck or chance. In 1949, he had left China as an exile; near the turn of the millennium, ad te omnis caro veniet. The new millennium in China belongs to the Lord, and what things soever he has ordained for that nation will come to pass. And the power that turned the heart of my grandfather to his children, and of his children to him, that same power is the Holy Spirit in me to magnify and bless.

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Science Authoritative by Opinion

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Emile Durkheim in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (The Free Press, 1995), 210: ‘Opinion, eminently a social thing, is one source of authority. Indeed, the question arises whether authority is not the daughter of opinion. Some will object that science is often the antagonist of opinion, the errors of which it combats and corrects. But science can succeed in this task only if it has sufficient authority, and it can gain such authority only from opinion itself. All the scientific demonstrations in the world would have no influence if a people had no faith in science. Even today, if it should happen that science resisted a very powerful current of public opinion, it would run the risk of seeing its credibility eroded.’

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Mere Wage Increases Alienate the Worker

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Karl Marx, in ‘Wages of Labour’, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, against the notion that a mere increase in wages is adequate or even ultimately useful to the worker:

‘The raising of wages excites in the worker the capitalist’s mania to get rich, which he, however, can only satisfy by the sacrifice of his mind and body. The raising of wages presupposes and entails the accumulation of capital, and thus sets the product of labour against the worker as something ever more alien to him. Similarly, the division of labour [which is increased by the accumulation of capital] renders him ever more one-sided and dependent, bringing with it the competition not only of men but also of machines. Since the worker has sunk to the level of a machine, he can be confronted by the machine as a competitor.’

Raising the worker’s wages has not given him greater power over his own work; instead, because of the other things a wage increase involves, it has only further alienated the worker from his work and its product. Thus, Marx says, Proudhon is wrong to regard æquality of wages as the goal of social revolution; instead, he goes on to say, the workers need to seize the means of production for themselves in order to take back their own work.

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Dignity of Humbler Work

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Statue of a plumber, Omsk, Russia

John W. Gardner in Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too? (1961):

‘The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.’

In other news, I should watch Good Will Hunting.

For the People, Against Feminist Alienation

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Since men and women are natural and complementary parts of a whole family, to set them against each other is a crime against nature, displaying the curse of God. Hence, to have women’s interests alienated in politics from those of their husbands is as wrong as it is unnatural, seeing as women are by nature part of a whole ordained by God.

An international bourgeoisie waging class war against the people, in contrast, is an unnatural part of any nation, a usurious excrescence upon the natural, and is therefore rightly deprived and broken by the people, whom we may call the proletariat, acting for themselves in concert with other nations against a common enemy. Therefore nations that so join themselves in a common struggle with other nations, while keeping themselves whole and entire, have not aided and abetted an enemy, as traitors who hold power may claim; but rather they have given help abroad to those who would destroy their lives at home, meeting oppression with sabotage, and unjust violence with just. In doing what is natural and just, they are not at all to be compared to those who would politically cleave apart husband and wife, for they exercise a divine right.

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John Bramhall on Renouncing our Merits

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John Bramhall, in His Lordship’s answer to M. de la Milletierre, on the value of our merits at the hour of our death:

‘It is an easy thing for a wrangling sophister to dispute of Merits in the schools, or for a vain orator to declaim of Merits out of the pulpit; but when we come to lie upon our death-beds, and present ourselves at the last hour before the tribunal of Christ, it is high time both for you and us to renounce our own merits, and to cast ourselves naked into the arms of our Saviour. That any works of ours (who are the best of us but “unprofitable servants”; which properly are not ours but God’s own gifts; and if they were ours, are a just debt due unto Him, setting aside God’s free promise and gracious acceptation) should condignly by their own intrinsical value deserve the joys of Heaven, to which they have no more proportion than they have to satisfy for the eternal torments of Hell; – this is that which we have renounced, and which we ought never to admit.’

Aside

Many of those who consider Israel before Saul to have been a theocracy of the papal type show no awareness of these words of Moses, in Deuteronomy: ‘Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.’ With Aaron as high priest but Moses the prophet-king as shepherd of Israel, the constitution clearly appears more Ghibelline than Guelf; nor do I see any evidence to the contrary. Incidentally, Moses’s statement here is biblical support not merely for kingship but for an integral monarch, not alienated from the power of the people but sitting in the midst of the elders and the tribes.

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Knowledge Without the Fear of God

Jeremy Taylor, in ‘Via Pacis: A short Method of Peace and Holiness’, on the subordinate place of knowledge:

‘What availeth knowledge without the fear of God? A humble ignorant man is better then a proud scholar, who studies natural things, and knows not himself. The more thou knowest, the more grievously thou shalt be judged: Many get no profit by their labour, because they contend for knowledge, rather then for holy life; and the time shall come, when it shall more avail thee to have subdu’d one lust, then to have known all mysteries.’

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Slavery Abolished by the Gospel’s Restoration

Abraham Kuyper in Pro Rege 2, on the abolition of slavery by the impulse of the gospel:

‘We owe the abolition of slavery exclusively to Christ’s dominion in the family. Neither Christ nor his apostles ever demanded that every converted slaveholder immediately release all his slaves. We find no command in Scripture by which the rights applying in those times were either attacked or overturned. The slavery that already existed was allowed to continue under the gospel. But the gospel did penetrate the master-servant relationship; from this position, it went on to sanctify this relationship spiritually and to elevate it by appealing to masters to honor their slaves not only as their fellow human beings but also as their brothers in Christ. With this, the gospel created a situation in which the slave-master relationship gradually came to an end, out of an impulse that the gospel carried within itself.’

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Bourgeois Secure Freedom

Carl Schmitt, in The Concept of the Political:

‘The bourgeois is an individual who does not want to leave the apolitical riskless private sphere. He rests in the possession of his private property, and under the justification of his possessive individualism he acts as an individual against the totality. He is a man who finds his compensation for his political nullity in the fruits of freedom and enrichment and above all in the total security of its use. Consequently he wants to be spared bravery and exempted from the danger of a violent death.’

Aside

Respect is not always earned. It can be lost – a magistracy, for instance, forfeited by tyranny or gross neglect – but respect often exists by nature even before it has, in strict terms, been earned. Even faithfulness is not a matter of strict merit, but rather of duty and love.

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I stand with the oppressed citizens of this country, who have endured the globalists’ hatred for decades, who labour under their tyranny, who have suffered them long enough.

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The Need for National Prejudice

Joseph Marie comte de Maistre in Against Rousseau: On the State of Nature and On the Sovereignty of the People (McGill-Queen’s Press, 1996), 87:

‘Nothing is so important to [man] as prejudices. Let us not take this word in a bad sense. It does not necessarily mean false ideas, but only, in the strict sense of the word, opinions adopted before any examination. Now these sorts of opinions are man’s greatest need, the true elements of his happiness, and the Palladium of empires. Without them, there can be neither worship, nor morality, nor government. There must be a state religion just as there is a state policy; or, rather, religious and political dogmas must be merged and mingled together to form a complete common or national reason strong enough to repress the aberrations of individual reason, which of its nature is the mortal enemy of any association whatever because it produces on divergent opinions.’

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Recognition and Acknowledgement

One of the best scenes in Cantonese opera, from the 1959 film 《帝女花》 (The Flower Princess). The male protagonist, betrothed to the Ming dynasty princess shortly before the emperor’s suicide before rebel forces, now in the new Qing dynasty recognizes a Daoist nun as his once intended, tries to persuade her to acknowledge their relationship.

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Anticivilization

Julius Evola, in Revolt Against the Modern World (Inner Traditions International, 1995), 350:

‘America too, in the essential way it views life and the world, has created a “civilization” that represents an exact contradiction of the ancient European tradition. It has introduced the religion of praxis and productivity; it has put the quest for profit, great industrial production, and mechanical, visible, and quantitative achievements over any other interest. It has generated a soulless greatness of a purely technological and collective nature, lacking any background of transcendence, inner light, and true spirituality. America has [built a society] in which man becomes a mere instrument of production and material productivity within a conformist social conglomerate.’