You Are Likely Richer Than John D. Rockefeller

If you are an average American, European or Australian reading this blog post, you are likely materially richer than John D. Rockefeller was 100 years ago today.

Consider the following which you likely enjoy which even billionaires 100 years ago lacked:

Radio & Television
Inexpensive, effective painkillers
CDs & DVDs
Safe, Timely transportation
Computers
Air-conditioning
Cheap, on demand International food
Smart phones
A high likelihood of surviving infancy
LASIK, Contact lenses & easy cataract correction
Widely available, cheap antibiotics
Dental care
World-class basic medical care
On demand access to classical literature and reference books
The Internet

And yet, the Marxists are gaining in power once again, not just on the Left, where they’ve always found a home, but with educated religious people.

I would not trade my lifestyle in 2019 for $1 billion and a life in 1919; would you?

Gratitude to God, not envy of worldly goods, is the certain human path to temporal happiness. Read the rest

The Malicious Witness

“Word of the Day: GOSSIP

The other day I heard the first somewhat unflattering description of the behavior of some — some — of our students. It wasn’t that they got drunk, or fornicated, or cheated on papers, or did drugs, or got into fights, as is par for the course everywhere else. It’s that some of the girls engaged in GOSSIP. The trouble is that the walls and floors in the dormitory are rather thin, so that two girls talking about a third girl would be overheard by ten others.

Men GOSSIP too, but it isn’t so much fraught with emotion. Consider it to be another case of a gift gone awry. Women do use words more often than men do, and women are in fact more keenly attuned to the feelings of others. You want that sort of thing in the sex that is to take care of babies and small children. You do not want that sort of thing in the sex that is to hunt buffalo. You want, in the buffalo-hunting sex, a different gift, one that can also be abused or that can harden into something bad: the capacity to bracket your feelings and put them in the closet marked “Inconsequential,” because what counts are not feelings but getting the particular job done. And if the job is complex and risky, like bringing down the buffalo, or building the cathedral, or digging the canal, most expressions of personal feeling are quite simply in the way.… Read the rest

Are We All Really ‘Slaves’, as Some on the Left (and Right), Claim?

A Facebook friend claimed we are all just slaves:

The truly amazing thing about America is that its workers have been persuaded that they really want to build the pyramids. Slaves who believe they are free are so much easier to control.

Another mocked the notion that Americans are adequately fed, paid and housed.  To top it all off, he claimed we lack sufficient leisure time!

As for myself, I work a lot (perhaps 50 hours a week), because I have a large family to support and commitments to others. But I enjoy leisure time as well, frequently after 6pm, usually on Saturdays, and always on Sundays.  My list of leisure activities-and between my work, teaching children, domestic duties, prayer and Church activities is not really very extensive-includes books, music, television, internet, radio, newspaper, a fully-equipped gymnasium, public greenways, libraries, parks, tennis…the list of leisure activities that are low cost or free is almost exhausting.

This daily leisure time-adding up to nearly as many hours as I work in a week-puts me in the category with Kings, doesn’t it?

And, if I (really here I am talking about the ‘we’ of the first world), didn’t want multiple cars, multiple smart phones, cable, dinner out and the long list of other luxuries even the poor among us enjoy (if you doubt that the poor enjoy multiple cars, smart phones and cable, spend more time in the ER, or at prison waiting rooms, or at WalMart, or around public housing), well, if … Read the rest

Celebrating Labor Day? Don’t

President Cleveland created Labor Day on June 28, 1894 in an attempt to quell a strike by 150,000 railroad workers that had crippled the country’s economy.  The striking laborers refused to go back to work and eventually clashed with federal troops. Their leader, Eugene Debs, was sent to prison, where he eventually became a Marxist.

The common ideology of the unions and the socialists made for a profitable long-term alliance.  Each sought to overthrow the existing order, each proclaimed an entitlement to the property of others, and each was quick to resort to violence when lawful means were unproductive.  Within two years of the institution of Labor Day, a quarter of a million workers in Chicago walked off their jobs, demanding a shorter work week (but the same pay).  As so many strikes do, this one resulted in violence when police attempting to disperse the crowd at the Haymarket Square were attacked with a dynamite bomb.  Seven police officers were killed.  They would be the first victims of the new century of union, socialist violence.

The unions have long cultivated the myth that their reason for existence is the promotion of workers’ rights, but from their earliest days the opposite has been true.  Shortly after the Civil War, as black Americans flooded northern industrial areas in search of jobs, labor unions such as The Brotherhood of Railroad Firemen and Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen prohibited the admission of black members.  They also banned Catholics.  Consequently, the railroads employed almost exclusively white … Read the rest

How to Be Miserable, Forever

I have known many envious people in my life, and never found their company pleasurable.  While hatred can be satisfying for a envybrief time, even entertaining when its excess boils over into comical antics, envy burns somewhat more discreetly but far more insidiously.  While hatred often reveals itself in violent and stunning flashes, envy eats away predictably, consistently, eternally and often serves to cover up it’s owner’s shame because the emotions it brings forth from that well of victimization which it has carved out serve to block whatever remaining conscience the owner has remaining, leaving them in a perpetual state of self-inflicted pain and pity.

This life we live here, satiated in every physical way and yet so desperately hungry in the ways that matter, serves as a frequent exhibition of this pitiful vice.  I am reminded of it often as I hear petty criticisms spew forth from the mouths of those who, having been failures in whatever pursuit they began, find pleasure only in lamenting others.  No matter how far they have fallen, they always find something to resent in another, usually, more quietly suffering individual.  I am not immune from it, in fact, I am the worst of them, because having been granted by God greater fortune than most, I still find the time to wonder, indeed, seethe, why it is that I cannot compose prose like Hemingway, or music like Mozart or thoughts like Aristotle, although I would not desire any of their lives.  I am merely … Read the rest

I have known many envious people in my life, and never found their company pleasurable.  While hatred can be satisfying for a envybrief time, even entertaining when its excess boils over into comical antics, envy burns somewhat more discreetly but far more insidiously.  While hatred often reveals itself in violent and stunning flashes, envy eats away predictably, consistently, eternally and often serves to cover up it’s owner’s shame because the emotions it brings forth from that well of victimization which it has carved out serve to block whatever remaining conscience the owner has remaining, leaving them in a perpetual state of self-inflicted pain and pity.

This life we live here, satiated in every physical way and yet so desperately hungry in the ways that matter, serves as a frequent exhibition of this pitiful vice.  I am reminded of it often as I hear petty criticisms spew forth from the mouths of those who, having been failures in whatever pursuit they began, find pleasure only in lamenting others.  No matter how far they have fallen, they always find something to resent in another, usually, more quietly suffering individual.  I am not immune from it, in fact, I am the worst of them, because having been granted by God greater fortune than most, I still find the time to wonder, indeed, seethe, why it is that I cannot compose prose like Hemingway, or music like Mozart or thoughts like Aristotle, although I would not desire any of their lives.  I am merely … Read the rest