Despite Everything, It is Easter

When I confessed last week that I had for much of 2020 struggled against the sin of despair, my confessor replied: “I’m struggling with it myself. 90% of the confessions I hear these days include that one. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m shocked.”

It was my turn to be shocked – and intensely relieved. It wasn’t just my own spiritual weakness that was to blame. It wasn’t just a matter of my own acedia.

“So,” I replied – I had never met the man, so I had no notion of his politics – “the lockdowns are working. This is going to be a major challenge for us. But good. There won’t be so many of us, when we come out of this. But we’ll be stronger.”

He nodded. “We can hope so. The Church will be different, that’s for sure. Our bishop has told us that when we are through this, things will be much different. The numbers won’t be anything like what they once were.”

If you’ve been feeling despondent at the state of the world, not only do you have good reasons, but you are not alone. You – you personally, you specifically – you have been enduring a massive, sustained attack. If you’ve made it this far, you are already battle hardened, and are likely to be able to go the distance.

You are likely, in other words, to be able to avoid falling into despair. You are likely to be able to persevere until the end. You are likely to enjoy your own personal Easter.

So, let us be of good cheer, all of us. The Great War is over, after all, and our side has won. The Gate of Heaven is open. Let’s keep on toward it, following our Captain. Farther up and farther in!

Christ is Risen! So then may we Rise. Let’s do it, no?

A Happy Easter to you, all.

26 thoughts on “Despite Everything, It is Easter

  1. Happy Easter, Kristor.

    If I might suggest a modification of your statement:

    “You – you personally, you specifically – you have been enduring a massive, sustained attack. If you’ve made it this far, you are already battle hardened, and are likely to be able to go the distance. You are likely, in other words, to be able to avoid falling into despair. ”

    I think this is only true if you do not despair Yet are also Not (this-worldly) optimistic about the future.

    Those who do not despair contain a swathe of people who believe that we have triumphantly dodged the bullet of a Black Death plague; who want nothing more than to return to the hedonism of December 2019; and are so credulous and corrupted that they believe the lying propaganda from the evil Establishment that ‘if only’ we do obey – do this, that and the other – then we will be allowed to return to ‘normal’ (or an even better, ‘new normal’)… soon.

    In other words, I believe that the real test is when we accept the 2021 reality of a totalitarian world of anti-Christian and demon-controlled human rulers – *and yet* still we do not despair *because of* our faith and Heavenly hope.

    I’m pretty sure you will not disagree! – but I just wanted to clarify that while we must not despair, we also must not-despair for the right reasons – and not by means of delusional hedonic optimism (nor by prideful resentment, nor anything else sinful).

    But yes indeed – “This is going to be a major challenge for us. But good.” It has been a great simplification, revelation, clarification – it has been the actuality of ‘things coming to a point’ as CS Lewis described it in That Hideous Strength. Christians (and churches) that come through *and stay Christian* will be immensely stronger for it.

    • A blessed and holy Easter to you, too, Bruce.

      In writing – as in life – I take it for granted as a Catholic with JRR Tolkien that the history we may look forward to is a long defeat. That does not matter, for the defeat is of all corrupt and vicious worldly things. These are all doomed. Corruption corrupts itself. Yet though we must fight them, we cannot defeat them; not by dint of our poor effort alone. Our Enemy’s craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate; on Earth is not his equal. But then, we don’t have to defeat him and his legion. We have the right man on our side, and he has won the battle. All that is left is the mopping up operations. These will kill everyone still on the field. But one army will rise again, from dry bones scattered on the desolate plain.

      So, yeah.

      All this would have been so whether or not the lockdowns had happened.

  2. Great to read this, both essay and comment. I am quite heartened by the turn of events in this country, because, as someone who is not a Christian, my liberty to think, speak and act requires fundamentally conservative and tolerant American (and likely more Protestant than Catholic) tenets and mores in which to thrive.

    The return to strength of Christianity, or more generally, the Judeo-Christian ethos, on its own terms, can only come about through the challenge to it. Many young people — all Christians as far as I can tell — seem to be moving towards a sense of some extraordinary potential, what we took for granted as youths who thought it would always be there, who saw the tail end of a great American culture.

    As the Congressman from Colorado said the other day, Boebert (?), “I’ve read the book and I know how it ends. We win.” Remember, the opposition has nothing to look forward to, except annihilation of self. That, in itself, is a kind of punishment, engendered of one’s own self-loathing.

    I’ve been binge watching the art historian Waldemar Januszcak, whose documentaries are the epitome of instructive entailment. His program on Van Eyck has led me to this diptych, which, when I first saw it (yesterday) I realized what it meant, causing a thrill of nearly weeping delight within me. Quite à propos at this time of year, too.

    • The night is darkest just before the dawn.

      Richard, if realizing what the diptych meant brought you to the brink of tears, then, my friend, you are more of a believer than you suspect. I pray now that you shall soon find your way to your own personal Easter.

      May the Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

      Numbers 6:24-26

      • I greet the future with hope and a burgeoning sense of victory over evil in the places that matter most.

        Leave aside modern politics. As Christians these are not the most important. Yes, they are terrible to behold, and yes, they will (and do) call us to suffering. Leave it aside.

        Within the Church, the Enemy seems poised on the threshold of complete victory. He has carried all before him for a long while now. Longer than I’ve been alive, he has marched from triumph to triumph. His victory has been so extensive that the Church has moved from a state of siege, to his smoke entering in, to co-opting those with most influence and power, even suborning the See of Peter. (N.B. I say here that Pope Francis is a bad pope who materially and purposefully aids enemies of the Church; do not mistake me for saying more than this.)

        And yet!

        The tide has turned. Within the Church, who has the cultural power? Who has the initiative? Who plays offense, and who plays defense?

        The enemy now, in the midst of his conquests, is essentially reactionary. Yet we are not vanquished, and we strike back. Tradition is spreading through the Church, and the enemy plays defense. We have the initiative, and we have the cultural weight behind us. Many have begun to recognize the tricks and disguises of the enemy and reject them instead of following a policy of accomodation. And, more than anything, we have Christ. Christus Vincit!

        Even better, my impression is that this is happening all across ‘the Christosphere’ if I may coin a term. Those yearning for traditional Christianity are not in the ascendant, but ascending. Because the enemy offers only death and stasis, we are winning. This gives me great hope for true ecumenical principles, as well: remember Anglicanorum Coetibus is still young, and yet has breathed immeasurable life into the Church and shown the way forward to a true ecumenism where, perhaps, all those who truly stand with Christ can stand together.

        In this, I don’t mean to exclude our Protestant, Orthodox, or other brethren. I simply know less about their congregations. But my impression is they can more or less say the same: there is much less difference between a traditional Orthodox and a traditional Catholic than there is between them and their progressive ‘co-religionists’ and everyone knows it.

        Coming back at the end to touch on politics in general as well, I’ll simply mention that my analysis remains mostly the same. The current western order is moribund and everyone knows it. Those in power are on the defensive and we can see year by year the fragmentation and loss of their influence. (Think how much currency ‘conspiracy theories’ had, culturally, in 1990.) Even the rhetoric and hopes of the Great Reset has more in common with the Battle of the Bulge than American Malvern.

        Stand strong. Fight back. We will win, and we are winning.

      • I have the same impression. I’ve been listening to Catholic Radio since 2012 or so. Since the election of 2020, there has been a decided turn toward reaction in its commentary – even its commentary on Pope Francis.

        As the liberal elements of the laity calve off into indifference or apostasy – this being a process immensely accelerated by the covid lockdowns – the remnant laity gets more and more traditional, more and more reactionary. The ecclesial hierarchy cannot but follow, eventually.

        That, and the rising generations are more traditional than their predecessors.

        There is hope. There is always hope. Look to the East at the rising of the Sun.

        +++++++++++

        PS: By the way, speaking of Anglicanorum Coetibus: a few months ago I met again with a man who had been a Methodist pastor the last time I had seen him a few years ago. This time, he wore the dog collar of a Catholic priest. He had been accepted to the Catholic priesthood via Anglicanorum Coetibus on account of the fact that Methodism is an Anglican sect. Who knew!? I rejoiced at this; as did he, and his wife. He told me that this path to priesthood was open to pastors of quite a few Protestant denominations.

        Christmas is coming. Aslan is on the move.

  3. Kristor, this is a great posting and comment thread, among other things sounds like everyone is picking up on the Ratzinger prophecy. Which Catholic Radio are you listening to? I must tune in as well.

    Meanwhile, as the Empire declines, do not rule out the possibility of our shadowy rulers doing something catastrophically stupid. While I have not yet done anything about this myself, logic and our experience here in the Texas snowpocalypse, tells me one needs to have a Plan B.

    All the best and keep up the good work.

    • Hi Woody. I listen to EWTN on Sirius, when I am in the car. Which is not often these days. Even so, I have noticed that hosts who had been remarkably lenient with Francis over the past few years have begun more and more often to call a spade a spade. Ever so gently, and of course charitably. But still. If those guys, who must hew to the middle way, are moving in our direction, why that’s an indication of a massive sea change in the laity.

      There has also, since the election, been a huge increase in the number of callers to this or that show who forthrightly name the apostasy and evil of Joe Biden and his administration. How long can it be before the bishops begin to echo their tune? Ten years or so, perhaps; a year or two, or three, before the first few bishops are arrested, the bishops as a body will have begun to call out the prevalent evil for what it is.

      Until things become intolerable, they must forfend. This, for the sake of their flocks, if not for the sake of their own skins. It behooves all big institutions to be super careful, so we must not be too vindictive of the bishops about this. They have a tough row to hoe. We are not that far from tumbrils for the lot of us trads. The bishops must try to stave off the guillotine.

      God send it may be soon, if it is to be. So much less trouble for us personally, that way!

      Speaking of EWTN, I cannot too highly recommend the show Called to Communion. Dr. David Anders, the apologist on call every day, is just staggeringly erudite, and incisive. I am appalled at my ignorance, every time I listen to him – and gratified, edified, and educated, with every single answer he provides. I have never listened to anything, ever, so profitably. The guy is just a force of nature. He is head and shoulders above the other apologists on EWTN. And that is saying something. Those guys are all *amazingly* smart.

      Plan B is just plain common sense these days. Do all that you can to delink your household from the net. This has been crystal clear in California for a couple years now, given the fires and rolling blackouts. My wife and I never let our supply of firewood drop below a cord these days. Get out of the city, post haste. The cities seem to be doomed right now.

      Having said that, and donning now my investment advisor cap: buy urban real estate, now. The cities will come back. No insanity can grow to the sky. There will be a reversion to the mean. And, let’s face it, in most respects, our cities right now are just awesomely great. Our hatred of them right now is the matrix of their correction of the defects that led to that hatred. There will be a rebound. But not before rural areas enjoy some long overdue love, that must in the nature of things be somewhat permanent: if you can work well enough from peaceful orderly bosky small towns, why not do so? The present shift of cultural gravity from cosmopoleis to the countryside is long overdue, and immensely good for our general adjustment to reality.

      But, what that portends is an eventual renascence of the City. City and Country depend upon each other, at bottom. Neither can flourish properly, or completely, unless the other does, too. The virtues of the City will make themselves felt again. So, this is perhaps a good time to buy the City.

  4. Kristor,

    As I think you know, I make my living in the home remodel business. I received a call this morning from one of my customers informing me that she needs her back entry door replaced, but when she went to try to find one she ran up against two obstacles she hoped I could help her with.

    In the first place, finding the door she has in mind has turned into something of a chore; secondly, she was told by two different places that the door in question (normally around $250-$300) will now cost her $900., if they can get it. As much as I wanted to help her, all I could tell her was that a month or so back one of my other customers called me to install a french style door at his back entry he had purchased at Lowe’s a couple weeks before for roughly $600. When I went to do the job, however, I soon learned that the new door was/is three inches shorter than the old door we were to take out. This would not normally be a big deal – just build in the framework and all that – but in his particular case the original homeowners had ceramic tiles cut in various sizes and installed in the place of trim in a sort of a ‘random’ pattern on the inside. And since installing the new door would require the removal and replacement of that very same tile, and all the work that goes into removing the adhesives and whatnot from its backside, plus adding the sheet rock, taping and mudding, floating and re-shooting the texture to match the old texture surrounding it and all that, we agreed between us that the better option (which is the option I’ve taken numerous times before in the past when I run into that sort of thing) would be to place an order for a custom-made door to fit the existing roughout.

    I then got on the horn setting about to get the process underway, but soon discovered that that option was no longer an option due to all the COVID nonsense. I was told by both Lowe’s and McCoys, as well as two other smaller outfits, that the custom door, which always costs a bit more, would, this time around, cost between $1,700 and $1,800., and that there would be a 16 week waiting period for getting the door made and delivered. After learning all that, and having it repeated to me several times, we decided to go ahead with the door he’d purchased with all the extra labor installing it would entail. I didn’t mind doing the work per se, but I had other jobs going and on the schedule too that I had to get to, so we had to burn a little ‘midnight oil’ to keep everything going and everyone happy.

    When I told this story to my other customer this morning, it was demoralizing to her to find out that it’s possible none of us will ever, from here on out, be able to purchase something as simple and cheap to make as an entry door at a reasonable price, and certainly not within the timeframe she wants (and needs) hers replaced. I did tell her, however, and in hopes of boosting her spirits, that if worst came to worst, we could just build her custom door ourselves. Which is not something I normally do, but I’ve done it before and can certainly do it again. And it certainly won’t cost $900.,… unless the price of lumber multiplies by double or triple digits. Which, judging by the way things are going at this point, is not outside the realm of possibilities.

    I personally tend to fluctuate between … not despair, but a lot of worry as to our future, and happiness that this is all finally happening in my lifetime. I don’t think God intends to let us starve, and just to help him along in case he needs the help (ha, ha) we raise a big garden, keep feeding the chickens, raise a little of our own pork and all that. But it is easy to see that my livelihood could be ruined in an instant by all of this COVID madness. On the other hand, and as I’ve been saying all along, it won’t hurt some of us to learn to be more self-reliant; it can’t, to my mind, hurt to shutter the public schools, nor certain (illicit) businesses we did without fine and dandy until, all of a sudden, we got it in our heads that we can’t do without them anymore – gaming casinos, etc.

    When I was a little boy, I distinctly remember when we would visit my great-grandmother on my dad’s side. She had chickens and hogs too, and a milk cow (something I don’t have). She also had lots and lots of jars filled to the brim with old used buttons. What did she need with those buttons, and why had she salvaged them from old clothing? Seems like we might be fixing to find out.

    • All the builders I deal with here in California report massive difficulties with supply chains of all sorts. At the same time, they are all massively busy, with more business than they can handle. This because people have been working at home and realizing they need to change this or that to make working at home easier. So, both builders and their supply chains have faced massively increased demand. That leads naturally – as in, always – to higher prices, both in terms of money and in terms of time and hassle.

      I think one effect of the lockdown that its engineers did not anticipate is a systematic move away from urban centers, and thus a more distributed economy. This is already good for small towns all over the place. The more people there are living in small towns, the more K, and the less r; the more reality based, and the less narrative based, people will be. There’s nothing like closer contact with the land, animals, and the weather to get people thinking more clearly. All bad for our would be oligarchs.

      • Kristor wrote:

        I think one effect of the lockdown that its engineers did not anticipate is a systematic move away from urban centers, and thus a more distributed economy. This is already good for small towns all over the place. The more people there are living in small towns, the more K, and the less r; the more reality based, and the less narrative based, people will be. There’s nothing like closer contact with the land, animals, and the weather to get people thinking more clearly. All bad for our would be oligarchs.

        Hmm. I ain’t so sure about all that. My perspective is more like, ‘the more people who live in small towns, the less small towns begin to look or act like small towns, and therefore the less small towns are really and truly small towns,’ but I’m willing to listen further to your perspective. I am in the same position as the builders you know and deal with, although I’m really not a “builder” in the sense I think you are using the term. I’m an independent contractor who *used to* do quite a lot of work for builders, but I later realized that doing (sub-contract) work for builders was more of a pain in my neck than it ever was in theirs. So I ultimately just went completely independent, and avoided the whole sub-contract thing altogether t’boot.

        The breaking down of supply chains is a real (and I think, long term) problem, and people in my line of work and similar lines of work are right to worry about the situation. Mainly, I think, because there is really no end in sight, and things are therefore bound to get worse, before they get better. But enough of this negativism!; I’m personally too self-governing and self-reliant to let the current (or future, for that matter) state of things ‘get me down.’ It would be easier, sure, were we able to just ‘keep on keepin’ on,’ but I suspect Providence might actually have other ideas in mind. As Prof. Smith once wrote in this space, we’ve entered into a situation that ‘the earth won’t long put up with.’ So let it be written, so let it be done. Amen.

      • Amen, amen. Small towns will inevitably be changed by their immigrants. But vice versa. And I think the immigrants will be changed more than the places they migrate. For one thing, and as an example of the more general dynamic, the sky in small towns will not change no matter how many coders or customer service reps move there. And when you live in a small town, you must have more to do with the sky than you did when you lived in the big city. You are not going to get the sky to adapt to you. The adaptation has to go the other way.

        The result: the Narrative must come to seem relatively less real to you than the real world. A good thing. The small town liberals I have known were all far more based than their big city coreligionists. If you feel comfortable dealing with chain saws, why then, guns don’t seem nearly so scary.

        I’m not so worried about the long term prospects for supply chains. When supplies get dear, more suppliers enter the market. And the new entrants, being small in scale, will tend to be local. Again, good for rural economies, small business, entrepreneurship, independence, enterprise … and prices.

        By the way, when I said “builder,” what I meant was “tradesman.” The same phenomenon is at work, for example, in the HVAC world, among plumbers, cabinet makers, tilers, you name it.

      • I will echo Mr Morris concern for our supply chains and note that I further suspect this is a permanent contraction for reasons that have to do with the forced political and economic readjustment of the world as US hegemony continues to slip. Harbours silt up. Railroads and roads weather and crumble. Engines fail and cannot be repaired. This long slow process happened to Rome mostly unnoticed, and it is happening to us, mostly unnoticed.

        If you haven’t begun a garden in earnest and done what you can to start caring for food animals, it’s time to start. (This is advice I need to take myself in all honesty.)

        But I don’t feel like this is a counsel of despair. To the contrary, it brings me hope, because as the massive economic ties that bind the world together fall apart from decades of neglect and abuse, production responsibility for the necessities of life fall to us and our local communities again. This ongoing contraction plays, literally, into our hands.

      • Dear Kristor:

        Yes, I see what you mean, and agree with you as far as it goes. As much as we agree on so many subjects, I think, this time, we must ‘agree to disagree,’ and here’s why. You wrote:

        Small towns will inevitably be changed by their immigrants. But vice versa. And I think the immigrants will be changed more than the places they migrate. For one thing, and as an example of the more general dynamic, the sky in small towns will not change no matter how many coders or customer service reps move there. And when you live in a small town, you must have more to do with the sky than you did when you lived in the big city. You are not going to get the sky to adapt to you. The adaptation has to go the other way.

        Well, actually, the sky will change in small towns as (city dwelling) migrants invade them, and the reason the skies will change is because (formerly city dwelling) migrants will begin to assert their power and insist that the skies be washed out by nighttime lighting (light pollution), just as it was in their former dwellings. I’ve seen this happen before, and have experienced it first-hand; I know therefore of that of which I speak. You wrote:

        The result: the Narrative must come to seem relatively less real to you than the real world. A good thing. The small town liberals I have known were all far more based than their big city coreligionists. If you feel comfortable dealing with chain saws, why then, guns don’t seem nearly so scary.

        Yes, you’re absolutely right that ‘small town liberal’ are far more based than their big city coreligionists. I have spoken about this before, here and elsewhere. But maybe I didn’t make clear in those writings that, first and foremost, the small town liberals I know are, well, actually descendants of the original inhabitants of the small towns in question, not some outsiders from the likes of Boston, or San Francisco, etc.

        I once wrote (in a comment to one of Tom’s posts having to to with needing a haircut) of our local hometown barber – an older man with whom I get along very well. He is also a liberal, and hated/hates President Trump, and the Republican Party, with a passion. I might or might not have told this story (I don’t recall), but he (my former barber) was an old-school barber who always shaved the necks of his (male) clientelle with a straight-razor. I was sitting in his chair one day when one of my uncles (now deceased) came in and sat down to wait his turn. My uncle – God love him! – was something of a ‘jokester,’ and loved getting under the skin of our barber. Anyway, as our barber began shaving my neck, my uncle started in on him about how great and wonderful Trump and the Republicans were. I could literally feel the barber getting very upset at the edge of the straight-razor against my neck. I said to my uncle, “would you please shut up, before he cuts my throat!”

        The barber in question has now retired, and put his little shop up for sale. But my point of course is that I can identify with a liberal of my own kith and kin; whereas, I cannot identify with someone (barber or otherwise) who ‘talks out his nose.’ And, moreover, I already know – skys, or chainsaws, or guns or whatever – he and I are *never* going to see eye-to-eye on any of the most important things of life.

        I think the bottom line is, Kristor, and from my perspective, that I don’t like the ‘tradeoff’ because I already know the tradeoff is mostly going to work against my favor when these fleeing migrants come rolling in. I witnessed, with my own eyes, the transformation of McAlester, OK from a small town environment with a very small town (Southern) feel, to, within less than twenty years, … something altogether different, and something I could no longer tolerate. Why? And, how? Well, there was that Army “re-alignment” thing that happened during that time; a part of which was to consolidate several army amunition bases about the country into one. Namely, McAlester Ammunition Depot. Within literally months of their arrival there, we saw, with horror and great disgust, the transformation of the little town from “small-town U.S.A., ” conservative, down to earth and all that, to a bastion of homosexual and ‘trangender’ tolerance. And there was literally noting we natives could do about it! I promise you, the natives of McAlester had absolutely nothing to do with that transformation; they also found themselves powerless to do anything about it, like me.

        By the way, when I said “builder,” what I meant was “tradesman.” The same phenomenon is at work, for example, in the HVAC world, among plumbers, cabinet makers, tilers, you name it.

        I see. Yes, you are right. When the late, great ‘ice out’ of 2021 hit us down here in ‘Okie Land,’ my sons and I went around breaking up ice in the ponds for several of our ‘cattlemen’ friends. Later, when the great thaw happened, we went about reparing the plumbing in and under many houses whose plumbing had … succumbed to the elements. Finding parts and stuff to repair all that with was, well, not easy. But, ‘where there is a will’ and all that. My father was an HVAC guy. As such, and although I’m not a licensed HVAC guy, I actually know quite a lot about HVAC stuff. I repair all of my own HVAC stuff, and actually quite a lot of HVAC stuff for my kith and kin. The woman I mentioned above who needs the back door replacement also called me a while back about a heat pump problem she was having. We had similar difficulties getting the part to fix her unit, but finally got it done out of sheer patience. In her particular case, I couldn’t salvage a part off of another unit, so we had to … wait.

      • I bow to your greater experience in this matter. Although I will say that it is a far, far different thing for 20 or 30 distance workers to move into a small town from a big one than it is for the Army or Google or somebody like that to set up a massive operation and import hundreds of workers. It was rather the former sort of informal migration I had in mind. And my thinking on it was informed by my own experience in rural Vermont, of the son of an Episcopal preacher from the big city (me) and the son of an investment banker from the big city (my best friend in that small town, and the only young man within walking distance up in the back woods where we both lived). We both got mighty familiar with chain saws, skidders, back hoes, and saw mills. And mud, snow, dead animals, falling trees, washed out roads, and so forth. I quickly shed my big city slicker foolishness that, as a big city slicker, I knew a lot more about how the world works than rubes in the country. I found it was the opposite. I knew how to find my way around a library. They knew that, too. But they also knew how to find their way around the woods. They could take apart any machine and put it back together. They taught me a lot.

        I moved on from there, suitably chastened and humbled. My friend the son of the investment banker stayed, and has been for decades a pillar of that little town. He farms a bit, runs some timber, horses and cows, scratches out a nice living on a few hundred acres of wooded mountains. Total salt of the earth. I have no notion of his politics. But I know he is as level headed as it is possible to be. I would trust him to handle anything properly, in a pinch.

    • Kristor wrote:

      I bow to your greater experience in this matter. Although I will say that it is a far, far different thing for 20 or 30 distance workers to move into a small town from a big one than it is for the Army or Google or somebody like that to set up a massive operation and import hundreds of workers. It was rather the former sort of informal migration I had in mind.

      I didn’t mean to come across as a know-it-all jackass, and if that is the way I came across, I humbly apologize, sir. I think you know in what great esteem I hold you and your cohort contributors here at The Orthosphere, but if you don’t know, let me re-emphasize the point once more.

      I don’t really believe I have, in your words, ‘greater experience’ in the matter per se; my experiences in the matter are actually pretty limited, to be perfectly honest, but I can’t exactly dismiss them as some sort of aberration either, no? McAlester is one place I’ve witnessed this sort of transformation, but not the only place. I mentioned McAlester as a sort of ‘prime example’, only because it is an example of the whole sorry thing transpiring almost overnight; whereas the other examples I might have cited haven’t quite (as yet) gone full bore. Additionally, McAlester of old (say, 2000 or thereabouts) is a far cry from the new McAlester in the way of ‘big box stores’ and whatnot. They’ve pushed the little family-owned businesses completely out. There were two competing lumber yards in the town way back when, long established and all that. Now they’re both gone; Lowe’s – with its “unisex” bathrooms and ‘woke capitalism’ – has, at length, shoved them both out of business. If it were up to me, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, and Amazon, et al, would all disappear in an instant.

      • By no means did you come off as a know it all. I know well that you are a good friend, and I would take any criticism from you in the most open hearted way. You really do have more experience than I at living in small towns and seeing what the cities have done to them.

  5. Hello Kristor,

    Reporting on my current stage of trying to get up from atheism. My (diagnosed) autism does not help… basically what I am thinking is that there is an objective world out there, but our minds do not see the world as a bunch of objects. But more like a story, or stories. So metaphors can be real. Things can be real without existing. Frodo and Hamlet are real without existing, it is meaningful to ask what would they do. But God isn’t one such characters in the story, but the Author of the story. This is not something to grasp with the objective parts of our minds, that seek objects in the world, but really with the story-mind. That mind instinctively seeks an Author. Unfortunately the autistic mind is not good at the story-mind stuff. But it is learnable. It is not a lifelong disability but just being a slow learner on certain things, I have certainly learned myself out of many aspects of autism in my 40+ years. Just slowly.

    • Another thing that is slowly helping is that I am getting more and more authoritarian. I mean my political philosophy has been so for a long while, but it is getting IRL and real for me, I just have to take charge more and more often because no one else is. And it is very intuitive for me that authority is delegated from above. But I see no man actually delegating it to me. Therefore…

      Don’t misunderstand me, one actually has to earn the respect of people one leads, not running some kind of sick Führerprinzip. But that earning comes from having authority inside, before practicing it outside. It is absolutely true one must first learn to obey before one learns to command and again no actual man is commanding me. So who is? There is an inner voice of… responsibility. But where did it come from? Why do I feel responsible for people who are often not much more than just friends in the loose sense, not even close ones? It absolutely feels like Someone is giving me such jobs to assist Him in his work.

      And there is also strength that comes with it to do the job. I feel strangely confident in such cases without being confident in myself, if you understand me, it is nothing like “I totally got this” but more a more neutral “this is going to be solved, stat”. So in what/who exactly I am confident in, confiding in?

      But it is not an inner voice or anything, nothing personal, does not (yet?) feel like a personal God, just a weirdly unexplainable sense of being responsible for other people to somewhere “upward”, to an invisible command center of the universe.

      • Dividualist, this is a fascinating story. So to speak! You can think of your life as a story unfolding. You are not its Author, but rather the protagonist. As such, the order of the story, the logic of its world and the plot line of that world, are more and more apparent to you. You are not the Author of that order, either. But it is there, undeniably. And it is that same order that orders you, the protagonist, an integral member of the world that it ordains. So you feel that order at work within yourself, too. It has always been there, always working. But for most of your life you had not noticed it.

        Now, you begin to notice it.

        That’s great news. Many people never notice it.

        I would suggest that your growing apprehension of the order within you, which is at one with the order of your world – an integrity that you can feel – is the reason of your growing authority. Go with it. So long as you pay attention to the moral quality of the acts to which it inclines you, and make sure that they agree with what you know in your bones to be good and right, you should keep growing.

        The Author may never reveal himself to you face to face, in the course of your story here on Earth. But if you wait patiently on him, he shall become more and more apparent to you as a Person. It is that appearance that we pray for each other when we say, “God be with you,” or, more often, “good bye.” It is as much as to say, “Good be ye.” As you more and more express the Good who is the Author of all the concord in which the world of our story consists, so will you be a better and better likeness of the Author whose image you are.

        God speed you on your way.

  6. Happy Easter! I’ve got a few quotes that come to mind:

    “Do not, I beg of you, be oppressed by forces already dissolved. You have mistaken the hour of the night. It is already morning.” -Hilaire Belloc

    “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!” -JP2

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