Curtis Dahlgren
Presidents Month: For those who missed it the first time (don't)
By Curtis Dahlgren
February 22, 2017

"Christianity is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities . . . Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." – G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

[THE FOLLOWING IS FROM MY 1/05/11 COLUMN – written for the 100th anniversary of President Reagan's birth.]

"Evolution introduced a mode of thinking that in the end was bound to transform the logic of knowledge, and hence the treatment of morals, politics, and religion." – John Dewey

"Because Roman civilization perished through barbarian invasions, we are perhaps too much inclined to think that that is the only way a civilization can die." – Alexis de Tocqueville

BUT ENOUGH OF THE BAD NEWS! I want to be the first to proclaim this "the Year of the Gipper" and dedicate it to the younger generation who can barely pick his photo out of a lineup. Frankly though, one of the reasons I still have HOPE is that grandchildren are usually more like their grandparents – personality-wise – than their parents. I hope that this means our youths will be less like the 70s hippies and more like those of us who are "stuck in the 50s." Shoot, I'll even take the forties, before drive-by shootings and stuff. How's that New Morality working out for us?

As Chief Dan George said, "If the very old will remember, the very young will listen." Listen to this:

In one of the least-remembered speeches of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan's farewell to the United Nations, he concluded his prepared remarks in the tone of a grandfather, as if talking to his young descendants. He spoke of his hometown of Dixon on the Rock River, and the hearts of the people of the heartland, how his mother had taught him the value of prayer at a very young age. My own family has lived in the Valley of the Rock since the 1800s.

It might be hard for some to picture today, but President Reagan actually told the delegates to the General Assembly of the U.N.:

"The deliberations of great leaders and great bodies are but overture. The truly majestic music, the music of freedom, of justice, and peace is the music made in forgetting self and seeking in silence the will of Him who made us."

I want to finish this up on a high note, with a few words more about Freedom. It's not quite morning in America again, but the Fat Lady is done with the New Year's music, and the rooster is beginning to warm up his windpipe. The grandchildren of the Baby Boomers may yet prove to be culturally more like the very old, or anyone who knows the meaning of that anachronistic word "Freedom."

The Thesaurus lists the following as some synonyms for Freedom:

- license

- laxity

- libertinism

- lattitude

- profligacy

- wantonness

- abandonment

- released

- unleashed

- unbridled

Now those were the meanings the hippies meant by "power to the people." What those old nihilists originally meant by "liberation" isn't what Patrick Henry had in mind in that old church in Virginia when he said, "Give me Liberty or give me death."

Licentiousness was not the reason the first colonists came to the New World. That was in fact one of the reasons that they wanted to get out of Europe so badly. They risked their lives crossing the Atlantic Ocean to what? To a wilderness where their lives were still in great danger. That first winter at Plymouth, there was a lot of grave digging going on (for nearly half of them).

They weren't risk-averse snowflakes. And what was it all "about"? It was mainly the freedom to worship God according to their own consciences. That's what it was all about! I just read an interesting article on the first Thanksgiving in America, and here are a couple of excerpts:

"Prior to making their way to the New World, the Pilgrims, themselves the victims of religious persecution, spent several years among Sephardic Jews in Holland . . [and] the Jews, who also arrived early at the New England colonies, have kept track of [parallels between Thanksgiving and Israel's fall festival of Ingathering, Sukkot] . . .

"'The Puritans in England,' writes Jewish historian Max Dimond, 'regarded themselves as Hebraists . . [and] the British rulers rightly regarded them as Jewish fellow-travelers, and when they departed for the Colonies, the British ruling class wrote them off as good riddance. . . It is no accident that the early settlers called their Plymouth Colony 'Little Israel,' and they even compared Governor Bradford to Moses." [; Nov-Dec 2010]

I could elaborate on the subject another time, but the bottom line is that since 1620 to the 21st century, the word "Freedom" has evolved from a weighty responsibility on the shoulders of the Individual to "having a fling" and "swinging," or just doing whatever we want to do! No wonder John Dewey's public education system doesn't want to talk about the Puritans or Pilgrims (at least not in a positive light). Kids are told that our government was set up as a totally secular one by Deists and other non-Christians – a total LIE.

YET NOT ALL IS LOST; WE STILL HAVE THE PAST AND THE PAST DOESN'T LIE. Chesterton said, "Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the Democracy of the dead." By the way, that means one thing in Chicago's city hall, and quite another thing in Tea Party USA. In 1984, President Reagan spoke to the National Association of Evangelicals and said:

"I urge you to beware the temptation of pride – the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and . . thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil."

The Bible tells true Christians that we "wrestle against wicked spirits in high places," and I MIGHT ADD, those "spirits" literally influence "flesh and blood" people in high places.

P.S. "God wouldn't have told us to 'wrestle' if the deck were stacked against us, that there were no chances of winning, eh?"

Chesterton said, "I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act, but I do believe in a fate that falls on men UNLESS they act."

to roughly quote Edmund Burke:

"All that is necessary for the forces of evil to conquer the world is for enough good men to do NOTHING!"

[PPS: That was posted over seven years ago; this is now. But the battle for the hearts and minds of men has just begun. And Truth is "trump"!]

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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