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Random Notes, 75

Hilton Kramer, in "Shock Treatment" (Art and Antiques, Summer, 1997, p. 116 f.) documents the fact that "art" today is too commonly simply an assault on religion and morality. For example, a sculpture by a woman which depicts a naked young woman urinating on the floor "reached a record breaking price at one of our most prestigious auction houses."

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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  1. Hilton Kramer, in "Shock Treatment" (Art and Antiques, Summer, 1997, p. 116 f.) documents the fact that "art" today is too commonly simply an assault on religion and morality. For example, a sculpture by a woman which depicts a naked young woman urinating on the floor "reached a record breaking price at one of our most prestigious auction houses." A British pair had photo murals at another gallery showing "the artists' own excrement" for which they were "proclaimed as great masters." It is Christian civilization which is under attack, by these Yahoos.
  2. In the early years of this century, Mario Praz, in The Romantic Agony, called attention to the logic of Romanticism. It progressively develops the bizarre and abnormal aspects of romanticism and becomes favorable to evil, perversion, savagery, and the like. Life since then has confirmed Praz's analysis. A recent study, very favorable to Proust, is titled How Proust Can Change Your Life. Proust spent fourteen years in bed, feared mice, was a hot-water-clutching Mummy's boy, had indigestion, constipation, "a neurotic need for tight underpants and a chronic suspicion of doctors." This was not the worst about Proust! Can you see why you and I are not great men among the moderns? We are too normal!
  3. Modern man is often insistent that problems, supposedly created by our Christian forebears, are insuperable, and we are doomed. Before my time, when the San Joaquin Valley of California was first farmed, a serious problem developed. Not far from our farm, alkali surfaced where farming began, and at first rich farms became white deserts. Mile after mile was simply alkali flats. After World War II, it was found that alfalfa could take out the alkali and restore the soil. At first, a 20-acre area might have only a dozen alfalfa plants that survived planting; in time, these grew, penetrated deep into the soil, and eliminated the alkali. The area was soon very choice farmland. In recent years, the panic button has again been sounded by some because of the selenium buildup in the west valley, with genetic damage to the bird life in the area's ponds. That too is now being taken care of.
  4. U. S. News and World Report is one of the better periodicals of the day, but it also shares in the modern sickness. In a series of issues, it has listed all of the various kinds of institutions in order of important, i.e., best colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, etc. Its guidelines for ranking these institutions is a very superficial. For example, in rating law schools it looks at various external factors. A law school placed near the top is one which permitted its students to disrupt and break up a lecture by a guest speaker. (This has been a common event at secular and some Christian institutions.) The facility did nothing. Now, how can a law school which is regularly lawless gain a high rating? Obviously, students and faculty know nothing about the real law. Instead of being highly rated, such institutions should be avoided because they are schools of and for barbarians. This particular law school has a great number of graduates who are highly placed in American life. No wonder we are in trouble.
  5. History favors the winners usually, and historians are ready to tell us much about the failings of the "losers." These failings are very much common to all nations! Consider, for example, Lithuania. At one time, its realm extended from the Baltic to the Black Sea, one of the greatest states in European history. Now not many know of its once great power. The same is true of Serbia, and other peoples. Even greater powers are usually forgotten unless a religious reason prevails. The empires of Biblical antiquity are still known to us. Religious humanism has led to the continuing regard for the Greeks and the Romans.
  6. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., in Lord of the Saved rightly called attention to an aspect of the Gospel now forgotten, its demand aspect. God requires our faith and service; he does not beg for it.
  7. Scott Shane, in Dismantling Utopia (1994), noted that the Soviet Union was "the world's leading oil producer," but, all the same, there were "mile-long lines for gasoline" (p. 60).
  8. In 1972, over 10.3 million violent crimes were committed, but only some 165,000 led to convictions, and even here the convicted men did not serve even half their sentence (Body Count, p. 85, by W. J. Bennett, J. J. Di Julio Jr., J. P. Walters, 1996).
  9. Some of the early Darwinians tried to develop a moral system on evolutionary theory. Nietzsche instead stressed the struggle for survival and self-assertion. This is the background of "self-esteem" thinking. "Only I count," is the rationale. It is now held that Biblical morality has no validity, and every man does that which is right in his own eyes, i.e., creates his own private value system. The conclusion of such thinking is only evil.
  10. Ann Bradstreet, in a lovely poem of 1678, to her husband, wrote,
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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