Virtue and the Moral Fall of Civilization

I post this essay in full from Daniel Greenfield at http://sultanknish.blogspot.fr/2017/08/virtue-and-moral-fall-of-civilization.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

And include more of the John Adams quote:

“ … because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry,  would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. … “           John Adams.


Virtue and the Moral Fall of Civilization

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” Benjamin Franklin
“Whenever we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”  Thomas Paine
“It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” Patrick Henry

Civilizations fall rapidly due to an inescapable catastrophe. Water sources dry up. A powerful empire invades.
Civilizations fall slowly due to a moral catastrophe. A moral catastrophe is not a failure of arms or food. It’s a failure of the sustaining virtues of the civilization. As the society tumbles slowly downward, it will encounter defeat in battle, collapse of its infrastructure and food shortages. But these are symptoms, not causes. The cause is the degeneration of the society and its people.
A civilization is not a mechanical endeavor, but a moral one. The virtues that uphold a civilization, the ability to reason, to work hard, to study how to solve a problem, to sacrifice now for future gain, to cooperate with those outside the tribe, to value truth, beauty and goodness for their own sake are individual, but they are also social. A society that cultivates these virtues in people can prosper. As society loses these virtues, it grows dysfunctional. It loses winnable wars, it squanders vast wealth, it loses its work ethics, its ability to cooperate and to plan for the long term. It slowly dies.
Barbarians are not savages because they wear loincloths or bones through their noses, or even because they lack the majority of these virtues, but because they lack the ability to appreciate them. A barbarian who appreciates civilizational virtues can become civilized, but a civilized barbarian may wear a suit and tie, but is still a savage because he cannot even appreciate the virtues of his ancestors.
As a civilization declines, it becomes barbaric. Before the savages invade it from the outside, its own people have become savages. They enthusiastically welcome the savages. They are drawn to the culture and norms of the savages because these echo their own descent into barbarism. The cult of the noble savage is simply civilized barbarians glamorizing their own descent down the moral ladder.
Civilized men and women have principles. Such principles are the intersection of ideals and interests. Ideals on their own easily fall into an abstract nobility that can manifest as anything from sainthood to self-destructive aspiration. Interests on their own leave selfish people incapable of maintaining anything greater than themselves. Virtue negotiates between interests and ideals. This negotiation is expressed as a principle. A principle realizes an ideal and localizes it in an interest.
Utopians kill and die for ideals. The Nazis, Communists and Islamists are Utopians. Civilized men live and fight for principles. Utopianism is a civilizational degeneracy. It usually precedes barbarism. Sensing the decline, men and women embrace some pure ideal, they idealize equality or race, and set off on a quest to construct a new civilization around it by destroying the existing civilization. They are convinced that their ideal will create a civilization that can live forever. When their ideal fails, they revert to their barbarian roots by worshiping the shamanic personality force of their leader. And these new barbarians murder, scream and cavort around the fire convinced that their new god can stave off the fall of night. And when the fires goes out, all that remains is ash, horror and rubble.
Civilized men and women understood that nothing mortal is immortal. That which is best in us, is virtue. It is that, which in our flawed and humble way, makes us closest to the God that made us. Our principles are how we aspire to keep that faith. When we lose our principles, we destroy whatever it was we sought to preserve, we become our own worst enemies and bring about our own destruction.
Principles are defined at their farthest end by what we must do and what we would never do. But their soul is self-awareness. The essence of virtue is to know thyself. Few are so innately good that they can always do the right thing without ever examining and questioning themselves. It is this self-examination through conscience that is the great moral labor of all religion and philosophy.
Everyone is naturally inclined to believe in their own goodness. But goodness comes from questioning one’s own worth and examining one’s own deeds. It comes from transcending our emotions, our anger and our pain, our self-pity, jealousy, resentment and vengefulness to become better than we are. The essence of virtue is not doing what comes naturally, but controlling the natural impulse and rising above it. That is how civilizations are built. We build civilizations by transcending ourselves. We destroy them by giving and taking permission to fall to our worst impulses.
Interests and ideals tend to opposite ends. In war, ideals may say that one should never kill and interests counsel one to survive by fleeing the battlefield. Virtues guide us to principles that overcome the extremes by finding our higher responsibility in the intersection of ideal and interest.
Civilizations depend on responsible people. It is the people who come to work every day and do their best who keep a country running. It is the soldiers who advance to the enemy and return fire, who win wars. It is leaders who do the difficult things who leave their country better than they found it. It is the men and women who search their souls, who leave this world better people than they entered it.
In a declining civilization, there are few responsible people. There are many who will want a title, but few who will do the job. There are many who will shout, but few who will reason. There are many who will wave a flag, but few who will fight for a cause. There are many who would destroy, but few who will build. There are many who will lecture, but few who will do.
In a civilization on the verge of a moral catastrophe, the invocation of virtues and principles is met with contemptuous laughter. It is widely understood that irresponsible behavior is better, that decency is for weaklings and fools, that anger is the only true virtue that suffices to achieve all ends. Manners vanish like autumn leaves in a breeze. Moral compasses show nothing. Intellectual consistency ceases to matter. Men believe contradictory things at different hours of the day. Illusory victories are always being achieved even as real defeats follow.
We wonder why great civilizations fall. Couldn’t the Romans see what was coming? The first thing that goes in a moral catastrophe is virtue, the second is reason, the third is foresight, the fourth is competence and the fifth is self-control. And by then you have barbarians in the midst of civilization.
When virtue goes, civilizations rationalize destructive behavior. When reason goes, they become unable to even think about a problem with any degree of consistency. When foresight goes, they no longer understand consequences. When all those are gone, competence is all but  impossible. When there is no self-control, nothing matters anymore.
Civilizations are built on virtue. Without virtue, there is no civilization.

Maximilien de Robespierre

https://www.biography.com/people/maximilien-de-robespierre-37422

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(Note: I am writing this from Paris France)

I fear we may be headed down the path of the French “Reign of Terror” led by Robespierre.

The American and French Revolutions occurred in roughly the same period in the late 1700s, but with different foundational philosophies and dramatically different results.

Look at some excerpts from the biography of a man seemingly pure and noble at the beginning, becoming drunk with power resulting in the brutal deaths of many thousands, including his own, ending with the dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte.

“ … In April 1789, Robespierre was elected president of the powerful Jacobin political faction. A year later, he participated in writing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the foundation of the French constitution. When the people of Paris rose up against King Louis XVI in August 1792, Robespierre was elected to head the Paris delegation to the new National Convention. In December of that year, he successfully argued for the execution of the king and continued to encourage the crowds to rise up against the aristocracy.

On July 27, 1793, Maximilien Robespierre was elected to the Committee of Public Safety, formed to oversee the government with virtual dictatorial control. Faced with pressures both from the outside and from within, the Revolutionary government instituted the Reign of Terror in September. In the next 11 months, 300,000 suspected enemies of the Revolution were arrested and more than 17,000 were executed, most by guillotine. In the orgy of bloodshed, Robespierre was able to eliminate many of his political opponents.

Seemingly intoxicated with the power over life and death, Robespierre called for more purges and executions. By the summer of 1794, many in the Revolutionary government began to question his motives, as the country was no longer threatened by outside enemies. An awkward coalition of moderates and revolutionaries formed to oppose Robespierre and his followers.

On July 27, 1794, Robespierre and many of his allies were arrested and taken to prison. He was able to escape with the aid of a sympathetic jailer and hid in the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) in Paris. When he received word that the National Convention had declared him an outlaw, he tried to commit suicide, but succeeded only in wounding his jaw. Shortly after, troops from the National Convention stormed the building and seized and arrested Robespierre and his followers. The next day, he and 21 of his allies were executed at the guillotine. … “

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The target of Robespierre and the French Revolution was King Louis XVI.

https://www.biography.com/people/louis-xvi-9386943#!

Synopsis

“ … Louis XVI became the heir to the throne and the last Bourbon king of France upon his father’s death in 1765. In 1770, he married Austrian archduchess Marie-Antoinette, the daughter of Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. After a slew of governing missteps, Louis XVI brought the French Revolution crashing down upon himself, and in 1793 he was executed. His wife, Marie-Antoinette, was executed nine months later. …”

Image result for King Louis XVI Beheaded

Human nature seldom — probably never — changes, and history often seems to repeat itself, or at least casts its ghostly images on present day life.

It seems to me that today’s America is setting itself up for a replay of Robespierre and his Jacobians.

We are pushing our Judea/Christian Biblical roots into the corners of  churches and synagogues, not to be seen in public.

The barricades of moral standards fall against the onslaught of unbridled thought and teaching.

We are pulling down the reminders of our history – good and bad — by destroying monuments around the nation and teaching history in a politically correct fashion.

We have set up enemies within us, casting the “we” as noble and just, and “them” as evil. Hearts and minds close with breathtaking acceleration.  

I advise carful personal reflection as to our thinking, attitudes and actions in this time of troubles for our nation.

And no better source for such reflection exists than that wisdom from the founders of this great nation.

“ … because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry,  would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. … “    John Adams.

Don Johnson – August 2017



TEAR DOWN THE OFFENDING REMINDERS

RomanForum

When I first visited Rome on business in the late 1980s, I visited the old historical sites such as the Roman Forum pictured above.

One of the odd things I noticed along a long park like area was the rows of statues on both sides of the park. The odd thing to me at the time was the missing heads, arms, noses, ears on most of the statues.

It was later I discovered this was vandalism at the hands of the invaders that eventually sacked and conquered Rome.

The German Nazi regime of the 1930-40s also sought to vandalize the antiquities of France among other places. They attempted this by stealing much art work from the many museums of Paris.

For centuries and continuing to the present, we see Muslim leaders and governments actively destroying, hiding or placing off-limits to ‘infidels’ places and artifacts that tie Jewish history and culture to Jerusalem and other areas of the middle east under Muslim control.      

Moving forward to Afghanistan in the late 1990s we see the Taliban destroying centuries old Buddhist statues from the mountain sides.

And now to today, 2017. We see ill-liberal leftists doing the same thing. They are wanting to, and are actually tearing down those monuments they find offensive, in particular, and at least for now, those statues commemorating Confederate  heroes such as Robert E. Lee.  The picture just below shows one such destruction in North Carolina just this past week, with promises of more, both government sanctioned as well as rouge actions.

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Why has this happened? Why is it happening today in the United States of America?

The answer, I believe, is not complicated. The perpetrators of such deeds are attempting to destroy the cultures and history of those areas under siege. In the case of the Nazis and France for example, Hitler and the Nazi leadership had set out to destroy Judaea/Christian Western civilization and replace it with the Nazi doctrine of Aryan White supremacy – the Master Race.

And it’s happening here in the USA.  

With the ascendancy of an ill-liberal monster in it’s many headed manifestations, we see little by little, a destruction of the American version of Judaea/Christian Western Civilization.

This political correctness monster has been fed by many decades of the dumbing down of education, in particular that of history education. 

Serious times indeed.

Don Johnson August 2017

My New Book

— My new book announcement —

{Edit: Corrected book store web site }

****  Click in the image below ****

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If you live long enough and pay attention along the way, chances are you will rub shoulders with some interesting and amazing people and their life stories.

I have lived a long life, and indeed have run across my share of amazing and interesting people.
Adam von Dioszeghy is one such person, and I am blessed to know his life story and blessed to be counted among his friends.

Adam von Dioszeghy —
+ At 7 years of age, a World War II veteran as he and his mother survive the battle raging around them in Budapest Hungary.
+ Came of age under tyrannical communist rule in Hungary.
+ At 18 years of age became a freedom fighter in that ill-fated 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
+ Fled to the US as a refugee, having nothing and not knowing the language of his new country.
+ Graduated from Stanford University.
+ Served as a US Naval Officer with three combat tours to Vietnam.
+ Gained a law degree, again from Stanford University, and practiced law in California for 35 years.
+ Retired, and along with his wife Aliz, moved back to his old country of Hungary.
+ Authored his memoirs.
+ Co-authored, along with Aliz, the memoirs of their relocation to Hungary.
A remarkable story about and by a remarkable man.

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Take a look at Adam’s story at:

http://www.blurb.com/b/8107619-budapest-at-war

 

Hearing–The Intelligent Design

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Friends of Intelligent Design are often called IDiots, and much worse. But actually, ID is a position that should be embraced by clear thinking people. It’s what we experience in ordinary life all around us as common sense observations – by the highly educated Evolutionary Biologist as well as the ‘man on the street’.

An example, among many, is the hearing phenomena most of us fortunately experience. Let me walk you through a couple of features and functions of the inner ear from my own very practical and experiential background.

The inner ear contains a couple of key components that make life not only livable, but often times extremely delightful, while failure in either of both can cause much distress. And, these features have direct analogies to several significant phases of my life which lead me to understand the validity of Intelligent Design in nature.

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balance1

First is that part of the inner ear having to do with balance (see picture above). The inner ear has those semi-circular canals which monitor motion in the three-dimensional space of x/y/z and provide the body with a sense of ‘attitude’. In technical terms – roll, pitch and heading (i.e. where I’m pointing at any given milli-second). This part of our inner ear keeps us on the straight and narrow and tells us up from down and left from right when navigating this often topsy-turvy world.

For many years I worked on a system that tracked dozens of highly maneuvering and very fast fighter jets. A key component of this system was a pod, hanging on the aircraft, which contained a strap-down inertial reference system called the IRS. This IRS measured accelerations in all three axis of roll-pitch-heading, and gave the system a sense of what the aircraft was doing, and along with a geographic x/y/z position allowed inter-aircraft interaction for such things as running missile simulations between a fighter and a target.

When things were working well we had a complete capture of the training missions, both in real-time and later debrief. However, when there was a problem with the IRS in a pod, we saw wildly spinning aircraft on the screen or an aircraft that was stuck in a weird attitude until such time as the system could try a re-initialization. If that didn’t work, the pod was written up for off-line maintenance.

In similar fashion, when the inner ear mechanism for balance goes whacky, as it did for me when I suffered from what was diagnosed as Meniere’s Disease, my personal world spun wildly as severe vertigo and nausea set in. The only solution was to take myself off-line for several hours of absolute stillness until the episode passed.

So my personal experience along with a knowledge of the design of my own Internal Reference System points me to a Design Inference rather than some sort of randomly put together material assemblage of parts over some nebulous ‘Deep Time’.

See the previous picture to get a feel for the analogies in context.
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Blausen_0244_CochlearImplant_01

The other component of the inner ear is, of course, the hearing phenomenon. And again I will relate to my personal experiences with hearing – or more accurately, it’s degradation over time.

In short, my hearing has degraded in recent years to the point where hearing aids are very helpful, but not near the quality of the ‘original equipment’. Thus, I am now pursuing a technology called ‘cochlear implants’.

Cochlear Implants are different than hearing aids in that they are an implant that place a wire along the path of the natural inner-ear Cochlear, a spiral shaped device which, when healthy, detects the full range of sound frequencies entering the ear and converts these frequencies to electro/chemical inputs to the auditory nerve which are then sent to the brain for further processing. By the way, that is the same nerve bundle used by the balance system I described above.

What the Cochlear Implant does is two-fold; (1) sound frequencies are detected by an external device attached to the skull. (2) Those frequencies are then transmitted down a wire and the appropriate signals are transmitted to the nerve bundle in a fashion analogous to what the healthy Cochlear would do.

HearingSchemaic

An amazing part of the Cochlear is a liquid filled tube (see above) containing thousands of tiny hairs, each tuned to particular frequencies. Those hairs closest to the sound caused pulsating liquid wave are the stiffest, and handle the higher frequencies, and those towards the tail end of the moving liquid wave are more flexible and respond to the lower frequencies.

implant

The implant places a wire alongside the cochlear tube as seen above and sends the audio signal into the hearing nerve bundle.  An analogy would be a high end stereo system where complex audio signals are sent down wires to the various speaker types, each tuned to particular frequency ranges. 

speakers

As to how this all relates to Intelligent Design — consider that the scientists, designers and engineers developing these implants must first research and understand how the original (natural) design works. Then they must model the human designed and engineered device to replicate as close as possible, the natural design. To put it into other words, the makers of these implants – scientists, designers and engineers, work in an environment of Intelligent Design.

So I would ask the materialist, the evolutionary biologist — how does evolution explain the two phenomena I have described above. How does evolution in any way come to the aid in developing an understanding of how these phenomena came to be, let alone finding a ‘fix’ for when thing in these designs go bad?

There are many things in the human body, such as the hearing phenomena, which provide physical evidence, and validate Intelligent Design, and creation. These same things also invalidate Darwinian Evolution.

Don Johnson – August 2017






The Blessings Of Hearing

My hearing continues deteriating. And more and more I am frustrated and missing so much of the world around me, especially conversation.
But perhaps there is good news downstream. I recently attended a four hour presentation at the VA on this thing called Cochlear Implants. at http://www.cochlear.com/…/take-the-next-step/request-a-free…
I’m hoping I am a candidate for this, and later in the fall I’m hoping to be evaluated for the implants.

A Yearning for Publius

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Malpractice in Science Reporting

Read this from the  Bible book of Judges Chapter 1

” … But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely. 29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. 32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. 34 The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. 35 And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the tribes of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. 36 The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond. … “

Now read this:

https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/for-culturally-illiterate-science-reporters-ancient-canaanite-dna-yields-occasion-to-slap-the-bible-around/

And pay particular attention to the list of journalistic publications and their claim that modern science contradicts the Biblical account of the Israelite  war against the Canaanites.

In none of these publications did the authors or editors bother to check what the Bible actually said about the Canaanites. Their agenda was simply to discredit the Bible and replace it with a twisted version of a scientific study/report.

This scientific study  actually confirms the Biblical account as shown by Judges chapter 1.

But the mission was accomplished in that it propagated yet another bogus claim that the Bible is full of errors. Those eager to find “evidence” to back up their atheism will eagerly grasp this and not bother to think for themselves and check the facts.

Don Johnson — July 2017