Restoring the Sacred

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Words of Relevance: G.K. Chesterton on the Object of a New Year

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936),  considered by many the greatest writer of the 20th century (because he was the greatest thinker of the 20th century), never went to college; he went to art school.  He argued against all the evils of his time, especially materialism and moral relativism, and argued for common sense, beauty, Christianity and the Catholic Faith.  Many agree that “you cannot consider yourself educated until you have thoroughly read Chesterton.”

He is perhaps the most quoted of the 20th century writers, and today's quote is as timely as it is relevant.

Here's the quote:
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”

Monday, December 22, 2014

Words of Relevance: Moses: on Choosing Life

Moses, considered by many to be the author of the first five books of the Bible (the Torah), led the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land, which he never entered.  Along the way, which lasted, according to Biblical accounts, forty years, he parted the Red Sea and received the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai.  He was also a great prophet and left us with many interesting and relevant quotes, including today's.

Here's the quote:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you.
(Deut 30:19-20)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Words of Relevance: Hannah Arendt on Public Opinion

Hannah Arendt, one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century wrote many famous books.  Among them: The Origins of Totalitarianism, On Revolution, The Human Condition, and Eichmann in Jerusalem in which she coined the phrase: The Banality of Evil.

In On Revolution she compared and contrasted the American and French revolutions.  She called the French revolution a disaster; the American revolution, a success.  She posited the French turned from their original goal of freedom and instead concentrated on "compassion for the masses."  Today's quote is from that work, and its relevance to today should be easily discernible to the reader.

Here's the quote:
Since no one is capable of forming his own opinion without the benefit of a multitude of opinions held by others, the rule of public opinion endangers even the opinion of those few who may have the strength not to share it. ... This is the reason why the Founding Fathers [of the United States] tended to equate rule based on public opinion with tyranny; democracy in this sense was to them but a newfangled form of despotism...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Words of Relevance: Daniel Henninger on Mobs

That's Daniel Henninger, deputy editorial page director of The Wall Street Journal, who today surely encapsulated the thoughts of millions of law abiding citizens in the opening sentences of his regular weekly column entitled today: Mobs of New York.  Everything Henninger writes is relevant, but today's quote is perhaps the most succinctly relevant thing yet said on this topic.

Here's the quote:
How did we get to the point in the United States where street protesters are treated as saintly figures?  How did it happen that important public leaders - the American president, the mayor of New York, college presidents - feel obliged to legitimize these protests, no matter what they do to a city, its citizens or owners of private property?  Why is it that the leaders of America's most important institutions are no longer capable of recognizing a mob when they see one?
There is, of course, an obvious answer.  It concerns the "leaders" mentioned above and it comes from the infamous Butch Cassidy: Who are those guys? and, more importantly, who voted for them?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Words of Relevance: Irving Berlin: God Bless America

Irving Berlin (1888-1989), about whom George Gershwin is quoted as saying:

"I want to say at once that I frankly believe that Irving Berlin is the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.... His songs are exquisite cameos of perfection, and each one of them is as beautiful as its neighbor. Irving Berlin remains, I think, America's Schubert. But apart from his genuine talent for song-writing, Irving Berlin has had a greater influence upon American music than any other one man. It was Irving Berlin who was the very first to have created a real, inherent American music…." 

He gave us such memorable musical hits as: "White Christmas," "Puttin on the Ritz," "How Deep is the Ocean," "Say it with Music," "Always," and so many others. 

He is probably remembered most fondly for his "God Bless America,"
written in 1918 and revised by him in 1938.  The opening lyrics of that great song make up today's quote, and one has to wonder whether the speech police would permit the public singing of such "controversial" lyrics today given the mention of prayer and God.

Here's the quote:
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free. Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
 As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her Through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home.