Sunday, December 16, 2018

Baby It's Cold Outside - Young Woman Has Frozen to Death

Not Yet Been Taught To Read - By Linda Schrock Taylor

“Research has determined that dyslexia and other reading disabilities stem from a core deficit in phonological awareness, a skill that is needed to associate spoken words with written language.”   Spalding Reading International

The underlying meaning of the term ‘dyslexia’is almost always “has not yet been taught to read.  Traditionally, such poor readers were referred to simply as “bad readers.”  It is time for educators to accurately define this overused term so that parents better understand the problems that their children are facing, and make better decisions even if those mean removing children from schools that fail to teach reading to enroll them in schools where full literacy is considered the achievable goal.  Spalding Reading International defines the core deficit of such readers as phonological awareness.   It is time that all schools employ teachers who know how to teach all children the skills for phonological awareness, then teach all children to read by teaching them to accurately use the complete system of phonics for both receptive and expressive literacy.  Phonics is, and always has been, the code in which English speech is recorded for later reading.  It is time to let both the students and their parents in on that secret.
When it became obvious, even to those outside the realm of schooling, that teachers, were failing to teach children to read using the See & Say Method with its Dick & Jane type books,, damage control became necessary.  By bringing into use the term dyslexia, educators were  provided with the means to transfer their own failures onto parents, genetics, birth defects, family dynamics, birth order, housing, neighborhoods, income levels, –anything butthe true reason that children were no longer learning to read.
Read Better!: For Adul...Linda Schrock TaylorBest Price: $20.69Buy New $20.75(as of 12:45 EST - Details)

The fact is that in order to read a phonetic language like English, readers must be taught the phonetic code in which that language is written.  Rather than admit their errors and return to the traditional method for teaching reading, educational powers-that-be decided that the destructive blunder must continue unabated and unstated.  Mountains of blame, and a lucrative dyslexia industry, have grown to distract people from the underlying reasons for the massive failure of American schools.
Reading failures began when educators changed their teaching methods from the teaching of phonics to the teaching of sight word memorizationRegna Lee Wood explained in her article, “That’s Right, They’re Wrong” (The National Review, 09-14-1992, pgs 49-52):
The massive failure of our schools …began in 1929 and 1930 when hundreds of primary teachers, guided by college reading professors, stopped teaching beginners to read by matching sounds with letters that spell sounds, and started teaching them to recognize the 1,500 most commonly used words simply by seeing them printed over and over in the new ‘see and say’ readers.…Teachers in other countries with alphabets have successfully used phonics for the last 3,500 years.  The United States is the only country in the world with teachers who try to teach most of their students to read with sight repetition of whole words.  The United States is the only country with illiterate schoolchildren, and with illiterate adults who were once illiterate schoolchildren.”
After bestowing a label of dyslexia on a child, the educational focus should turn to rapid remediation of accurate sound awareness, sound interpretation, and sound-to-letter correspondence.  That rarely occurs.  The black hole of special education too often swallows the child.  Little—or nothing— is done to remediate auditory and sound-to-letter deficits towards returning the child to regular classes prepared to achieve full literacy in English.  Too many of these children languish in special ed classes until quitting school or graduating as an illiterate with compromised opporunities in life.  Companies “specializing in dyslexia” create expensive programs, often with endless pen & pencil worksheets claiming to help students “overcome their deficits.”   Too many poor children in poor schools never receive even that much.
I taught special education classes for over 40 years.  The first two decades were spent teaching deaf children; the second two decades were spent teaching students burdened with the Learning Disabled label, often with dyslexia assigned like a specialty.  After careful observation and testing, I found that most of my students to be bad readers who were “Teaching Disabled” rather than Learning Disabled.   They had not been taught to read in the right way, at the right time, and with the right methods.  Some refer to the dyslexia subcategory as “School Induced Dyslexia”.  I concur.
Using Greek combining forms for word creation, one sees that dyslexia means “bad with words”.   However, in my long career in Special Education, where one should surely see dyslexic children, I recall just two (2) students with normal IQs who I believe had innate physical deficits.  I concluded that the term to define such deficits should be “bad with symbols”.  One student was so bad at learning and manipulating math symbols that in high school, he still had difficulty doing first grade math.  However, his verbal, reading, and writing skills were above grade level.   The other student, also a high schooler, had great difficulty interpreting and converting auditory input into the letter symbols which represented them.  He had learned to read fairly well because he had strong anticipatory and inference skills, but he could not convert any but the most basic words into a spelled form.  The condition of being “bad with symbols” occurs quite rarely.
The failure of the sight word/whole language/balanced literacy method happens like this:  A sight word memorized becomes a snapshot of the word, retained in the portion of our brain where pictures are stored.  Therefore, each new sight word learned nestles cozily there with memories of other Whole things:  grandmother’s face, first home, first bicycle, first pet, favorite friend,…
But the act of reading is a Sequential, rather than a Whole Word recognition skill.  Sequential processes are handled in a different portion of the brain from where all of those drilled-to-memorization sight words are stored.  For fluent reading to occur, an individual must become adept at moving the eyes sequentially, Left to Right, recognizing each phoneme and considering its position in a sequence that makes up a word, then considering the word meaning to the sequence that makes up the sentence.
Methodical instruction in Phonics hones such skills.   These skills allow the brain to assign Decoding (taking from the Code) tasks to an Auto Pilot mode whereby the flow of thought can almost see through the print to the meaning of the piece being read, without being bogged down by  decoding chores.   The eyes fly across the print, pausing to decode new words before leaping to the next word in the sequence.
We think in a flow.  I compare this to fluent, sequential Cursive penmanship.  We think and speak the word “dog”.  We neither think nor say, “/d/ /o/ /g/”.  The fractured aspect of printing has no place in reinforcing the fluent flow of speech, thought, writing, or reading.  The learning and use of Cursive mimics and reinforces the flow of thought and reading.  In great error, the educational “experts” have decided cursive is no longer needed.
In my classroom, we referred to the Sight Word approach as the “I Haven’t Had That Word Yet” Method.  A typical reading using this method:
I   ??  (send signal through the overworked bundle of nerves connecting the two hemispheres of the brain to find the whole picture of the unknown word and bring it back to place in the sentence)   hurried  ??  (send message across to retrieve… ) across the  ??   (“I haven’t had this word yet!  Oh, pavement.”)   pavement of the  ?? (send message across for retrieval) crowded … street to get the …… “ Oh! I forgot the first part of the sentence!!”    Reading Failure!
Educators would have us believe that dyslexia descended upon us like some virus from a crashing meteor to spread swiftly and widely to only English speaking children.  Ah, no.  Dyslexia is not a scientific condition with a genetic lifelong sentence.  A child with the label dyslexia needs a skilled reading teacher, not a team of expensive specialists.

For those given the word dyslexia as a label for a child, insist that the educational plan be written to specify the teaching and remediation of Phonemic Awareness and the entire Phonetic Code.   Express the expectation that the remediation be done with a sense of urgency, with the child to be released from special services at the earliest possible date.  Request that such plans be clearly worded and expressly defined in the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).  Do not sign the IEP until and unless such specific wording is included.    Remember, Dyslexia is an education term, not a scientific one.
Some wisdom from the past:
I tell you earnestly, you must get into the habit of 
looking intensely at words, assuring yourself of their
meaning, syllable by syllable, nay, letter by letter.
A well-educated gentleman may not know many languages,
may not be able to speak any but his own,
may have read very few books; but
whatever language he knows, he know precisely;
whatever word he pronounces, he pronounces rightly.
Let the accent of words be watched, and closely;
let their meaning be watched more closely still.
–John Ruskin, 1819-1900
Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] is a reading specialist, writer, and retired teacher. She is the author of Read Better! For Adults and Teens, a manual for those wanting to read better with greater ease and more efficiency. The book includes short important lessons for use of the code in which English is written, followed by 80 practice stories arranged incrementally, ranging in difficulty from mid-elementary through college levels, with graded scoring for charting progress. Linda is now writing Spell Better, her second in a series for teens and adults. Visit Linda’s website to see lesson samples:

Saturday, December 15, 2018

You Are Well Inside the Matrix - By Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Our politicians and media are not going to allow us to see Russia, and any incidents the country can be linked to, in any other way than black and white, in which we are the good party and they are the black, evil and guilty ones. So we’ll have to do that ourselves.
More than enough has been said about why NATO should have been dismantled when the reason for its existence, the Soviet Union, was dissolved, but nobody listened and NATO has kept expanding eastward and demanding more money, more members, more weapons.
NATO demands an enemy, and their chosen enemy is Russia. This has nothing to do with anything Russia has done or is doing at the moment. We can only hope that people are willing to accept that simple fact. And not passively go along with the flow of badmouthing and smear that decides what our picture of the country is.
Russia ‘invaded’ Crimea? Russia ‘downed’ MH17? Russia sent two hapless and inept blokes to kill the Skripals? Russia launched an unprovoked attack on three Ukrainian vessels in the Sea of Azov? Russia colluded with the Trump campaign against Hillary Clinton? And collaborated with Julian Assange to make that happen?
The Russia Hoax: The I...Gregg JarrettBest Price: $7.99Buy New $7.99(as of 02:25 EST - Details)

What all these allegations have in common is that there is no evidence any of them are true. Oh, and that nobody’s really trying to prove them anymore. Because you’ve already accepted them as gospel.
90% or so of Crimeans voted to be part of Russia, after the west had tried their hand at regime change in Kiev, with John McCain and Victoria Nuland opening the gates for various neo-nazi groups to enter government.
The MH17 investigation is led by the Netherlands, the main victim. As I told Jim Kunstler in our recent podcast, you try and find a detective story where the main victim leads the investigation. Aided by Ukraine, one of the suspects, but not Russia, the designated suspect from the get-go. We’re over 4.5 years later and there is no proof -not that that keeps anyone from assigning blame.
The Skripals were allegedly attacked with the most deadly nerve gas ever, and allegedly survived. They simply haven’t been heard from anymore. There are images of two alleged Russian spies who went out of their way to be filmed and photographed in Salisbury, but their ineptitude doesn’t rhyme with Russian secret service in any way, shape or form. The west tries to make it sound like Comedy Capers, and that just gives the west away.
As for the ‘attacks’ the other day, the Guardian of all outlets explains: “Since the completion of the bridge over the Kerch strait, Moscow has demanded that Ukrainian ships not only give notice of their intention to transit the strait but request permission, a change that Kiev has rejected. According to western diplomats, the dispatch of the three ships was intended to assert freedom of navigation..”
Sure, you can claim that Russia has no right to ask Ukraine to ask for permission to the Sea of Azov, but then Kiev should have protested that demand, not send three armed vessels to ignore the demand and sail through anyway. That is called provocation.
And Ukraine provoking Russia is a bad idea. Unless you’re NATO, and you want Ukraine as a member. And unless you’re the chocolate billionaire who took over the government and now has an approval rating in the single digits with elections coming up in March. Question: how much chocolate do Ukrainians eat?
For Ukraine to enter NATO would be the most flagrant violation against the deal the west made with Gorbachev just prior to the dissolution of the Soviet union to date. And there have been plenty such violations in the past almost 30 years; little wonder that Moscow draws a line.
It’s just that nobody in the west is aware there is such a line. The media have helped politicians, NATO and arms manufacturers in painting a picture of Russia as the evil bogeymen in the east, and there is no counterweight to that picture anywhere in what people read and watch. It doesn’t matter whether the ‘news’ is accurate, because journalists don’t do their jobs to go out and check the facts.
As for the Muller’s unending investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, we know for a fact that there’s no evidence of any such thing, since Mueller would have been forced to go public with it because it’s such a serious issue; you can’t let treason lie for months or years. And sure, Mueller today fingered Manafort for lying, but that has nothing to do with collusion.
As for Mueller’s Julian Assange allegations, he should be ashamed of himself for accusing someone he knows is barred from defending himself. Mueller can say anything he likes about Assange, and does, and it has no value, Julian has been silenced to an extent that shames us all, but Mueller first.
Ship of Fools: How a S...Tucker CarlsonBest Price: $13.52Buy New $17.00(as of 03:45 EST - Details)

The problem with Robert Mueller when he uses such tactics is that he loses his credibility, or rather, what he had left after solemnly testifying that Iraq possessed WMD when he was FBI head. The man is incessantly portrayed as America’s straightest arrow, but that just makes you lament the state the country is in. The odds that Trump is the straightest arrow are much higher, and even the Donald himself wouldn’t buy into that one.
As we’re worried about fake news and Facebook and election meddling and what have you, we need to be clear on what that really is. Which is, the worst and most fake news you see every single day comes from those sources that you trust most. This is not just deliberate, it’s highly profitable too. As long as you are gullible enough to keep buying into it. So far, you are.
Whenever you read anything at all about Trump, Russia/Putin and Assange in the major news outlets, chances that it is not objective or properly due diligence researched are far higher than that it is. You have to start out with the idea that what you’re about to read or watch is not true, for the simple reason that the vast majority of it is not; it only exists to serve an agenda and a narrative.
And because reporting what is not accurate makes ‘news sources’ much more money than reporting the truth. In the meantime, though, NATO, US/UK/EU intelligence and the military-industrial complex may be happy, but you should not be. Because you’ve landed somewhere in the middle between Orwell, Huxley and the Matrix. And that’s not going to end up doing you any good. Let alone your kids.
Shake it off, guys. You’re sinking. Information dissemination has become like walking into quicksand. Walking into a pre-processed narrative that deprives you of your ability to think. Not something we should wish upon anyone. But take this from me: you’re already in it, and you need to get out. It’s no longer about trying not to get in, those days are long gone. You’re already there.
Reprinted with permission from The Automatic Earth.
Copyright © 2018 The Automatic Earth

Revisiting Turkey's Debt Problem - TOM LUONGO

It is increasingly clear the global economy is slowing down.  And a few months ago the epicenter for that slowdown was Turkey. 
The Turkish Lira melted down as fears over its massive pile of corporate debt, most of it denominated in dollars, began selling off.  And that had contagion effects into Europe since yield-starved banks went looking for some thanks to the ECB’s negative interest rate policy.
So, at the time everyone was losing their minds.  The very public tiff between Presidents Trump and Erdogan over geopolitical issues became acute. Days later Turkey’s currency is under extreme pressure.
At the time I called this a political hit to try and remove Erdogan from power.  I was right about that. I was also right that Turkey would be helped from all sides to survive this attack.  
Turkey’s real allies — Russia, China, Iran and Qatar — came to its defense.  Qatar pledged some forex support, China upped its trade.  Bilateral swap arrangements were signed, trade deals cut, etc.
All This began shifting the Turkish economy away from the U.S. dollar and reorient itself with its biggest trading partners, which also includes the European Union.
So, imagine my shock this morning when Turkey’s latest debt numbers and how they’ve changed since the Lira crisis ended suddenly with the return of Pastor Andrew Brunson and l’affair Kashoggi.

The sector’s long-term debts reached $213 billion as of October, down $9.1 billion from the end of last year, the Turkish Central Bank said in a statement.
The bank also said the sector’s short-term loans — debt that must be paid in the next 12 months — fell $2.7 billion to $15.9 billion during the same period.

Those are the important numbers.  They aren’t good, but they are significantly better.  And exactly the kind of thing that needs to occur if Turkey is going to extricate itself from the mess it is currently in.
Raising interest rates sharply induced a mass of domestic savings, up a whopping 20% year-over-year. Turkey is now in a position to issue short-term foreign currency debt to mobilize some of that savings and convert more dollar and euro corporate debt into lira debt.
It’s a shell game for sure, but it’s born of necessity while Turkey narrows its trade deficit.  Savings is re-denominated to assist the most vulnerable Turkish firms while their debt is paid off or restructured. 
The banks are somewhat recapitalized thanks to strong savings.
These firms are  seeing stronger exports thanks to the cheaper lira while domestic energy costs have attenuated over the past few months with sharply lower oil prices.

Turkey’s Balance of Trade

Remember, Turkey is a huge energy importer and who does it buy the lion’s share of its energy from?  Russia and Iran. 
Watching this play out is so similar to what I saw in Russia in 2015.  The world piled on and thought Russia would never respond to the pressure.   Russian firms were barred, because of sanctions, from rolling over their debt, they had to pay it off. 
But, they did and now they, too, are running record trade surpluses, which will fall now with lower oil prices, but domestic energy prices are low keeping profits up and the reorganization of the Russian economy on pace.
Turkey isn’t out of the woods yet.  There will be periodic funding walls which occur where large tranches of corporate debt will need to be paid off or rolled over putting upward pressure on the lira.  And any strong dollar moves will also weigh heavily, like what’s happening now.
But, the worst is past because policy has fundamentally changed domestically.  Erdogan understands his economic future lies in Asia not Europe and the U.S.  

The Camp of the Saints - By Paul Craig Roberts

Jean Raspail’s novel is unfolding before our eyes.
The Russians and Chinese do not need to do anything about Europe and the US. The West is self-destructing at a rapid pace.
Open letter says French citizens have another reason to revolt
A group of French military generals have written an open letter to Emmanuel Macron accusing the French President of committing “treason” by signing the UN migration pact.
The pact, which was signed by 164 nations on Monday, including France, is not legally binding but greases the skids for unlimited migration to be treated as a human right and criticism of mass migration to be treated as hate speech.
A letter written by General Antoine Martinez and signed by ten other generals, an admiral and a colonel, as well as former French Minister of Defense Charles Millon, warns Macron that the move strips France of more sovereignty and provides an additional reason for “an already battered people” to “revolt”.
The Camp of the SaintsJean RaspailBest Price: $49.75(as of 06:05 EST - Details)

The letter accuses Macron of being “guilty of a denial of democracy or treason against the nation” for signing the pact without putting it to the people.
“The French state is late in coming to realize the impossibility of integrating too many people, in addition to totally different cultures, who have regrouped in the last forty years in areas that no longer submit to the laws of the Republic,” states the letter, adding that mass immigration is erasing France’s “civilizational landmarks”.
According to British MEP Janice Atkinson, the UN pact would lead to Europe being flooded with 59 million new migrants within the next 6 years.
Warning that the plan would lead to European countries having their “culture and identity crushed,” Atkinson also pointed out that the pact could lead to hate speech laws that make it illegal to use the term “illegal migrants,” replacing it instead with “irregular migrants”.
“It will be illegal not to use their prescribed language,” warned Atkinson, adding that European citizens could “say goodbye to your democracy and your way of life” if the pact is implemented.
President Macron’s approval rating has sunk to 18% amidst a wave of protests riots against a number of issues, including fuel taxes and mass immigration.
Read the full letter from the French generals below (translated).
Mister President,
You are about to sign the “Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” on 10 and 11 December, which establishes a genuine right to migration. It may impose itself on our national legislation through pre-existing treaties or the principle of common responsibility set out in this pact.
It seems to us that the only sovereignty that will remain with France will consist in freely setting the way in which the objectives of the pact will have to be implemented. You can not give up this new part of the national sovereignty without a public debate whereas 80% of the French population considers that it is necessary to stop or regulate drastically the immigration. By deciding alone to sign this pact, you would add an additional reason for revolt to the anger of an already battered people. You would be guilty of a denial of democracy or treason against the nation.
The Tyranny of Good In...Paul Craig Roberts, La...Best Price: $3.83Buy New $5.00(as of 06:45 EST - Details)

In addition, the finances of our country are drained and our debt is growing. You can not take the risk of an expensive call for air migration without first showing that you will not have to resort to more taxes to meet the objectives of the pact. On the other hand, you must be able, in terms of security, to curb the consequences linked to the arrival of extra-European populations. Finally, you can not ignore that the very essence of politics is to ensure security on the outside and harmony within. However, this concord can be obtained only if it maintains a certain internal coherence of the society alone capable of allowing to want to do together, which becomes more and more problematic today.
In fact, the French state is late in coming to realize the impossibility of integrating too many people, in addition to totally different cultures, who have regrouped in the last forty years in areas that no longer submit to the laws of the Republic.
You can not decide alone to erase our civilizational landmarks and deprive us of our carnal homeland.
We therefore ask you to defer the signing of this pact and call by referendum the French to vote on this document. You are accountable to the French of your actions. Your election is not a blank.
We support the initiative of General MARTINEZ against the signature of this pact which must be adopted by the Member States of the UN at the Intergovernmental Conference of Marrakech.
General Antoine MARTINEZ
Charles MILLON – Former Minister of Defense
General Marc BERTUCCHI
General Philippe CHATENOUD
General André COUSTOU
General Roland DUBOIS
General Daniel GROSMAIRE
General Christian HOUDET
General Michel ISSAVERDENS
Admiral Patrick MARTIN
General Christian PIQUEMAL
General Daniel SCHAEFFER
General Didier TAUZIN
Colonel Jean Louis CHANAS
Also read here and here.
Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House. Visit his website.
Copyright © 2018 Paul Craig Roberts

Friday, December 14, 2018

Does the Unfortunate 20th Century Foretell a Worse 21st? – By Michael Walsh (But can the blind see? - CL)

On the centenary of his birth, we see that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was right, not once but twice.
In appearance he was more akin to an Old Testament prophet—Jeremiah, say—than a Nobel Prize-winning Russian dissident writer, a man who had emerged from his long captivity in the Soviet Union only to find the supposedly superior West wanting as well. Honored as the author of The Gulag Archipelago, which finally persuaded even the most diehard of the Stalinist apologists that the USSR left something to be desired in the human rights department, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn came to be feared in his adopted homeland of America for his coruscating indictment of materialism and its handmaiden, atheism.
Solzhenitsyn, who died in 2008 in Moscow—he outlasted the regime that had seized control of Mother Russia by more than a decade—brought the same gimlet eye to the United States that had landed him the gulag. The West, he said, was every bit in as much danger of losing its soul as the Russians had been after the Bolshevik revolution, and he foresaw much the same fate for us as occurred under Marxism. Worse, we will have deserved it, because we embraced the diabolical tenets of materialism freely, rather than having them forced upon us by a murderous band of psychopathic ideologues.
The author gave full voice to these sentiments in several speeches, including a 1978 commencement address at Harvard (“A World Split Apart”) that rocked listeners with its frank criticism of Western values, as well as in his Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion speech in London in 1983. Of the Harvard speech, he later reflected:
Western society in principle is based on a legal level that is far lower than the true moral yardstick, and besides, this legal way of thinking has a tendency to ossify. In principle, moral imperatives are not adhered to in politics, and often not in public life either. The notion of freedom has been diverted to unbridled passion, in other words, in the direction of the forces of evil (so that nobody’s “freedom” would be limited!). A sense of responsibility before God and society has fallen away. “Human rights” have been so exalted that the rights of society are being oppressed and destroyed.
And above all, the press, not elected by anyone, acts high-handedly and has amassed more power than the legislative, executive, or judicial power. And in this free press itself, it is not true freedom of opinion that dominates, but the dictates of the political fashion of the moment, which lead to a surprising uniformity of opinion . . . . The reigning ideology, that prosperity and the accumulation of material riches are to be valued above all else, is leading to a weakening of character in the West, and also to a massive decline in courage and the will to defend itself, as was clearly seen in the Vietnam War, not to mention a perplexity in the face of terror. But the roots of this social condition spring from the Enlightenment, from rationalist humanism, from the notion that man is the center of all that exists, and that there is no Higher Power above him. And these roots of irreligious humanism are common to the current Western world and to Communism, and that is what has led the Western intelligentsia to such strong and dogged sympathy for Communism.
Strong medicine, and one that was not swallowed easily. Nor would it be today. Pinning the decline of morality—really, a loss of the sense of the transcendent—on the Enlightenment was a bold stroke, and a controversial one, since the modern democratic West traces its lineage directly to the 17th and 18th centuries. But it was in the Templeton speech that the Russian Orthodox Christian really let loose, warning the West of the dangers of its progressive, secular, and atheistic politics:
More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened . . . ”
And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire 20th century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: “Men have forgotten God.” The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century. The first of these was World War I, and much of our present predicament can be traced back to it. It was a war (the memory of which seems to be fading) when Europe, bursting with health and abundance, fell into a rage of self-mutilation which could not but sap its strength for a century or more, and perhaps forever. The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them.
The author went on to arraign the post-World War II peace in Europe which, sheltered by the American nuclear umbrella, was lulled into a false sense of its own secular security, untethered to human reality. We can see the effects of this sensibility today, when the countries of western Europe—Britain, France, Germany, have ceased to prize their own cultural uniqueness, mistake citizenship for nationality, and are admitting hordes of non-western, non-Christian aliens in the belief that they, too, will become “Britons,” “Frenchmen,” and “Germans.”
It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot. To achieve its diabolical ends. Communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails the destruction of faith and nationhood.
The West has yet to experience a Communist invasion; religion here remains free. But the West’s own historical evolution has been such that today it too is experiencing a drying up of religious consciousness. It too has witnessed racking schisms, bloody religious wars, and rancor, to say nothing of the tide of secularism that, from the late Middle Ages onward, has progressively inundated the West. This gradual sapping of strength from within is a threat to faith that is perhaps even more dangerous than any attempt to assault religion violently from without.
Imperceptibly, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West has ceased to be seen as anything more lofty than the “pursuit of happiness,” a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use, they have been replaced by political or class considerations of short-lived value. It has become embarrassing to state that evil makes its home in the individual human heart before it enters a political system. Yet it is not considered shameful to make daily concessions to an integral evil. Judging by the continuing landslide of concessions made before the eyes of our very own generation, the West is ineluctably slipping toward the abyss.
At the time, these words were received with some disbelief; of all the nations of the West, America was the most solidly religious. How could we fall into the abyss? And yet the same forces that began as secular humanism in Europe—Settembrini, one of the two principal influences on Hans Castorp in Thomas Mann’s masterpiece, The Magic Mountain, is its very oleaginous embodiment—and then turned to militant atheism have also been at work here, with the result that one of our two major political parties have become, in effect, the atheist party, happily willing to boo God.
The prophet did not live long enough to see his words about the West come true; he didn’t have to. He knew the truth whereof he spoke, having seen it occur in Russia. But he left us with a solution, one which we seem presently disinclined to adopt: “To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries . . . we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate 20th century . . . But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone.”
Will the 21st century be even more unfortunate than its predecessor? With the West abandoning its centuries-old faith, just as one almost as old rises up to challenge and extinguish it, what do we propose to substitute? Secular humanism is no match for jihad. The end result of moral nihilism, as the Soviets demonstrated, is death and destruction on an industrial scale; if man is the sole measure of all things, we are in bigger trouble than we know—because, God knows, left to our own devices, we’re just not up to the task.