Book Reviews - I - EC345

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Book Reviews, I
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 43
Length: 0:54:43
TapeCode: ec345
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 345, August 30th, 1995.

This evening Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin, Mark Rushdoony and I will have a somewhat different format. The men suggested that I discuss some interesting and, in some instances, forgotten books, their importance and their implications. And they will ask questions and make comments about the material.

I am going to start with the Russians. In the last century one of the things that was most notable about Russian literature was its religious character. Dostoevsky's novels, while the represented a kind of Russian orthodoxy, nonetheless had an intensely religious character to them. Tolstoy had a very liberal, modernistic emphasis, but it was still a religious emphasis and he wrote to the New Testament rather than the Old for his inspiration. There were a number of other writers who went even further, perhaps. One of them, now forgotten, was in the 30s when I was in school, a part of the reading requirements in a course on Russian literature. It was Dmitri Merejkowski, M E R E J K O W SK I, a trilogy. Now Merejkowski was Russian and far from our perspective, but nonetheless, he wrote three novels on Christ versus antichrist. The first of these was, the title reads, The Death of the Gods. It was about the effort of Julian the Apostate, to turn back the clock and make the Roman Empire again pagan and how he failed.

The second was the confusion of issues that came about with the renaissance, paganism under the façade of Christianity, very often. And it is titled The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci. [00:03:00]

The third deals with the emergence of an openly anti...[edit]

The third deals with the emergence of an openly anti Christian motif in history and it is titled Peter and Alexis, Peter the Great of Russia. And, of course, while Peter’s hostility is somewhat masked, his hope is in science and in modernization as the salvation of man.

Now these three volumes were a part of the modern library when I was a university student. Now they are forgotten. They are well worth exploring. As I say, you will not agree with the perspective, but Merejkowski was a very able writer.

I would like to stop there for a moment if there are any questions any of you have to ask about his trilogy and about Merejkowski himself.

[Voice] Rush, how does ... how do his writings relate to the pervasive Radicalism in Russia in late...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... {?}

[Rushdoony] He was hostile to the Radicalism and, in fact, one of his books which I considered bringing was titled The Menace of the Mob. He saw the rise of an emphasis on the mob and, of course, he felt that any time you create a mob mentality, somebody is going to manipulate the mob. So he saw the future of the 20th century as a very grim one, because of the menace of the mob.

[Voice] Was his religious orientation Russian Orthodox?

[Rushdoony] Very intensely Russian Orthodox.

[Voice] Well, Peter was the one that pulled together all of the diverse areas in Russia. So there was a very early attempt at a multiculturalism.

[Rushdoony] Yes and also he instituted the radical control of the Church. And the old believers were those who rebelled against what he did. And the old believers represented the real strength of Russian Orthodoxy. They were split into various groups. Their influence has been considerable as an underground movement throughout the Marxist years. And, of course, oh, what is his name? The great writer who wrote the {?} [00:06:15]

[multiple voices]...[edit]

[multiple voices]

[Rushdoony] Solzhenitsyn showed more than a little influence of the old believers. The old believers in the last century, although they were an illegal organization, began to prosper because they had what was like a puritan work ethic. They created... In fact, they industrialized Russia. They created vast industrial empires and put Russia in a position of competition with the western world and the US.

But they were becoming a problem not only industrially and financially were they exceedingly powerful, but their charitable work, which was enormous, was also remaking Russia. They were buying farmlands and sowing the homeless peasants on them. They were creating hospitals, work houses, doing a great deal. And then I believe it as {?} who was responsible for outlawing them. And the result was a great bitterness on the part of the old believers and an anger. They poured money into the Socialist movement because the Socialists were against the regime. Well, more power to them.

But, of course, they received no gratitude from the Marxists when they took over.

[Voice] Did they make... going back to the men earlier, observation. Is there any commentary in there on how or why the diverse cultural areas in central and eastern Russia allowed themselves to be drawn into essentially a European’s theater.

[Rushdoony] It was because from years before Peter certainly Ivan the Terrible’s regime all resistance as systematically destroyed and the last area of resistance was the Church and Peter broke that. He had great military power and strength and a position of tremendous prestige, because he had broken the back of the Swedish power in Russia and also pushed back the Turkish power. So, in a sense, he was a great hero because of that. His son Alexis who Peter really had killed as Merejkowski depicts, would have gone back to the old order, would have probably reestablished the old believers, broken the control of the Church. And Peter had his wife, in effect, a divorce and the Russian method was if you compelled your wife to become a nun, that ended the marriage, which is what he did with his wife Dorena. And then he destroyed his son Alexis. [00:10:05]

But the trilogy when I was in school was very well...[edit]

But the trilogy when I was in school was very well known. Of course, modern library books are published in great numbers. Curiously, you never see them in used book stores. So apparently those who bought them have held on to them.

[Voice] Rush, now were they published in the 30s or both written and published in the 30s?

[Rushdoony] No, they were written much before and they were translated into English in the 20s, I believe.

[Voice] So...

[Rushdoony] Or around 1930.

[Voice] So he wrote during the prerevolutionary period.

[Rushdoony] Yes. He continued to write some in Paris, but he was an old man then and didn’t do much, do too much. 1931 the first modern library edition.

[Voice] Do we see in his writing the mode of old Russian thinking? I know... the radicals were greatly influenced by western enlightenment in France. Many of them went there to study.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Do we see in his writings a real contrast to that, the old Russian approach?

[Rushdoony] He is very much Russian. Very much. Somewhat imbued with a mystical tradition of Russian orthodoxy, very great love of holy Russia.

Well, to move on to another Russian book by way of contrast because you had the Christian emphasis that I spoke of in some of these writers. But you had also a radical humanistic emphasis, one that stressed among other things the sexual revolution of the Marquis de Sade. And one such book that in its day was very important and was important in this country and, I believe, quite widely published including very popular and cheap edition. Let me see, by the World Publishing Company in 1932 was Michael Artzibasatv, A R T Z I B A S A T V, Sanine, S A N I N E. [00:12:43]

And the book, while very circumspectly written, nonetheless...[edit]

And the book, while very circumspectly written, nonetheless has two themes. One is a defiance of authority. Authority is really bad according to Artzibasatv. And the second, any restrictions on human sexuality are also bad so that he has a famous theme here where his radical hero laughs at his sister because the idea of incest strikes her as horrible and wicked.

Now Artzibasatv had a significant influence in the western world after the Russian Revolution. His books were translated, widely reprinted and in the years between the wars influenced many intellectuals so that the seeds of the Russian, of the sexual revolution were, in part, laid down by Artzibasatv and others like him. So the Depression, to an extent stopped a lot of this and it became merely an intellectual current rather than what it had started out to be in the 20s, a practicing faith. But it only went underground to revive in the 60s.

[Voice] He wrote in the 20s, Rush?

[Rushdoony] No, this was written... my vague recollection is 1905, about the time of the failed revolution. But I am not sure of that.

[Voice] What was the attitude of the new Russian regime in the 1917 toward works like that? Did they seek to suppress them or...?

[Rushdoony] I used to know their attitude, but I don’t remember now. Because I recall in the 30s studying the Soviet attitude on some of these writers, all of the great writers and not so great and the lectures were delivered by a Russian Marxist. [00:15:18]

Now I would like to discuss a very different sort of...[edit]

Now I would like to discuss a very different sort of book. I don’t know the date when it was first written. The edition I have was published for a popular book club in 1939. And it is R. O. G. Urch, U R C H, correspondent of the Times for Russia and the Baltic States since 1922. The title is The Rabbit King of Russia.

If you can find this in a used book store, by all means buy it and read it. Mr. Urch also wrote two other books which I have never been able to locate. The first has the title in quote, “We Generally Shoot Englishmen.” I don’t know what it is about and the other, Latvia: Country and People.

Well, The Rabbit King of Russia is a account both tragic and very, very hilarious about the idiocies of the Marxist regime as he saw it when he was there. And he has, for example, an account, something I have discussed before with some of you, I think, the expedition not long after the Marxists gained power to Africa. And the whole idea was to prove that primates could be mated with human beings and produce some ape man, because they were going to demonstrate the validity of evolution as against what creationists were talking about, the fixity of species.

So it was known as the monkey expedition. And as he quotes somebody, “That disgusting expedition off to Africa to create a new race, a race of monkey men, indeed. What do we want with such things? Why must we run away from our own child problems to create monster babies or baby monsters in Africa?” [00:18:11]

Well, at any rate, a comment...[edit]

Well, at any rate, a comment. The whole revolting idea is nothing more nor less than to prove that men and animals are one, that religion is wrong, that there is no God. And he says they were now putting their idea into practice and labeling it with the blessing of the great academy of sciences in Leningrad. {?} idea of millions being spent on the expedition was wrong. The first grant to professor {?} Ivanovich Ivanov for his visit to the monkey homes of Africa was not in rubles, but in dollars of the USA and amounted to 10,000, in those days a lot of money. The amount of subsequent grants were not published, but they can scarcely have run into millions of the new rubles. The task of the Ivanov expedition as simple. It was to go to the Congo and if possible and do some French {?} working there under professor Calmet to assist the Bolshevik scientists to catch a number of female chimpanzee apes. After this, Ivanov and his staff would endeavor to fertilize the apes by artificial apes, by artificial methods and bring back the mothers with their little human apes to gladden the heart of the anti God society in Soviet Russia and prove that there is no God.

The expedition left Moscow for Africa in December 1925 and when {?} spoke of it to {?}, Lenin’s wife, news had come through that Ivanov and his trusty band were already comfortably settled in the forest among the apes of the Congo.

Well, of course, it was a fiasco. They could not make it work and it became obvious. But were they going to say it failed? No. Next year, 1926, a circumstantial report was current in Moscow that the steamer bearing Ivanov’s interesting female apes had been lost with all hands in the Black Sea. Whatever really happened, the results of this expedition remains... remained obscure.

There is so much like this in this book. And the author not only deals with the nightmares, but with the idiocy and does it humorously. [00:21:20]

And he goes on to say, ...[edit]

And he goes on to say, “We have declared war on the denizens of heaven, have boomed the voice of Moscow in 1923. The party cannot tolerate interference by God at critical moments and come from there in 1924.”

So he says that they were always issuing proclamations, waging war against God, making idiotic statements that really were so absurd that they would have made the Marxist regime a laughing stock in the world if the world had reproduced what they said.

But he describes one thing that happened that was hilarious. Paul Robeson, if you remember him, as a dedicated Communist. And so anything by Paul Robeson had to be good. And as a result, they bought and put on Paul Robeson records on Russian radio stations all over the Soviet Union. Well, they were amazing instances of spirituals and songs hailing Jesus and so on which Robeson, because there was a good market for black Christian music, had recorded. So it was a long time before they tumbled as to what the contents were and in the meantime on the collective farms, Russian peasants were picking up these hymns and Negro spirituals and repeating them endlessly, singing them as they were.

One that was very, very popular was, “Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus.”

So for a while all of Russia was echoing with steal away to Jesus. [00:24:06]

There were some red faces in Moscow when they had found...[edit]

There were some red faces in Moscow when they had found out what they had done.

Well, they were great for solemn language and at another time, because peasants, starving, were going into the collective farm area to steal grain or food or whatever it was, they issued a proclamation in which there was the phrase that all these foods were the sacred property of the Soviet Union. Sacred.

So when someone began to object to that and, in fact, it was {?} minister of justice in Moscow, they told him, “Why should our property not be sacred?”

So there was a lot of to do about the nature of the property.

Then they arrested a priest, a village priest of about 60. He had been called in by a group of peasants at the {?} collective farm to bless an outhouse which had been put up there. Three pioneer children connected with the farm had reported the matter to the check out which discovered something illegal in the proceedings. Consequently, father {?} was arrested. Was it unlawful then to bless the building, asked {?}, who thought such things were tolerated so long as the priest did not intrude on the farms, but came only when summoned or invited?

“How should I know,” replied the priest. “I thought it was unlawful for me to be brought to this place, but here I am.”

“Oh, then we will soon find out. They will soon find out their mistake and set you free,” said the hopeful {?}.

“Maybe, but they have been thinking about it four weeks already.” {?} was silent and father {?} added, “They brought my other crimes against me now.”

“Other crimes?”

“Yes, I blessed the crops on that farms for years and christened some of the children.”

“That is good, indeed,” opined a merry looking speculator who heard the last remark. So merry looking was he that he seemed out of place among the dingy men of that dingy lock up.

Bless the crops of the {?} did you?

Well, well, well. The committee of the farm asked me along regularly every year. Just as well, to be on the safe side, explained the chairman of the committee each year.

“So the peasants of the godless farm are really religious,” asked the merry white?

“Not at all,” replied father {?}. “They think the Bolsheviks have made another mistake, that there be a God after all and the are afraid, afraid of the wrath of God. When they ask us, we go with their procession into the fields and bless them in much of the same way as formerly, only now we do it by night.”

“Are you afraid to go in during the day?”

“No. The peasants are afraid.”

[Voice] So we don’t now for sure exactly when the book was first written. Is that right?

[Rushdoony] No, we don’t. That was a very, very large book {?} edition.

[Voice] It certainly is a fascinating work. Were there other works similar to this at the time that you know of?

[Rushdoony] Yes, there were. But never any that I knew of with the sense of humor that this one had. Most of them were very grim reading, because they represented a disillusionment of people who had gone over there with a belief that paradise had begun and came back in a state of shock.

[Voice] And the left of that time was just in love with the Soviet Union.

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes. Intensely so.

[Voice] And closed their eyes to the evidence intentionally.

[Rushdoony] Thoroughly, thoroughly.

If you ever raised a question in class and cited a book and the only ones I would cite are for those by leftists who became disillusioned, they would become very angry.

[Voice] That is a pattern that exists to today. They...

[Rushdoony] Definitely.

[Voice] They absolutely can’t admit reality.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] But of the... the story over there what was really going on, even though the press and the newspapers particularly were... and our state department even was ... were very favorable to the Soviet Union. It was still being called a great experiment and wasn’t it?

[Rushdoony] And we had marvelous success stories.

[Voice] Did the Russian writers use satire as a means of shielding themselves from making comment directly on the political system?

[Rushdoony] I don’t know what the writers did. I read in the 30s a number of the Marxist novels and it was a kind of official literature. The same was true of the poets including one who became very famous. His name escapes me at the moment. He married the American dancer Isadora Duncan and, I believe, later on committed suicide. [00:30:32]

But there was only one way to get ahead, to act as...[edit]

But there was only one way to get ahead, to act as though paradise had suddenly dawned and the American writers of the time who were there, the correspondents, sat back glowing and totally dishonest reports.

Maurice {?} who is regarded in that time as one of the great correspondents wrote such flattering books that they were really fiction. He created stories about Lenin and about what was happening that were childish. But the left lapped them up and the books sold heavily.

Walter Durante, the New York Times correspondent deliberately gave the world what it wanted to hear. He knew he was lying. It didn’t bother him in the least. There is still a prize that he won that is hanging up on the walls of the New York Times, a prize for reporting. They have never taken it down although it has been reveled that he was working hand in glove with the Soviet propagandists. Most of the writers, the foreign correspondents were radically dishonest.

[Voice] You say the book, Rush, was quite popular in Britain at the time.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And circulated here. The book club was the right book club, right wing. And there were a number of American subscribers to that book club. And my father was a subscriber to it.

The interesting thing is on my first trip to London I went to one of the greatest book stores in the world that had at that time sponsored several book clubs, the right book club, the left book club, the Christian book club and now they acted as though it... they had been insulted if you asked where their religious department was. And they once had quite a selection of Christian books.

[Voice] Now they can support the Atheist book club, I guess. [00:33:17]

[Rushdoony] Well, now to go on to another era...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Well, now to go on to another era. This is an important book that in its day infuriated those who read it and disagreed with it. It was by H. J. Haskell, published in 1939 by Albert Knopf. And it went into its second printing, which is what I have, within a month. The title The New Deal in Ancient Rome. Now in 1939 was when the New Deal was in power. The subtitle: How Government in the Ancient World Tried to Deal with Modern Problems.

And as he points out, the problems then were not unlike those that confronted the United States with the Depression. And we went in the same stupid solutions that helped destroy Rome. And people could not believe that Rome would fall.

Let me read this little account.

“I followed through on this and hunted up at the time this bishop’s writing, I believe. At any rate after the fall of Rome the Roman lifestyle had survived in certain areas, pockets of the old empire. We have descriptions,” Haskell writes, “of this life and the letters of a Gallo Roman country gentleman who later became a bishop. Suetonius had a villa in the lovely hill country of southern France near Claremont. He describes it with its library, a dining room equipped with an open fire place, its baths, its hunting and dinner parties. But already the barbarians had broken through and Suetonius was uneasy. However, he could not believe his civilization was doomed.

“Providence,” he wrote a friend, “I doubt not will grant a happy issue to our prayers. And under new blessings of peace we shall look upon these terrors as mere memories.”

Providence failed him. Within a few years after his death the handsome villas had been burned. The cities were shrinking and drying up and a sort of life he knew had vanished from Europe. [00:36:17]

It took 1300 years for the world to build back to the...[edit]

It took 1300 years for the world to build back to the level of comfort in which Suetonius lived in his villa in the French hills.

He describes what was happening as far back as Caesar’s day. Brutus, who was a man of integrity was nevertheless lending money at 48 percent interest per year. And the reason was a good one. The Roman money was collapsing.

And what happened with inflation was that it destroyed the middle class, which, as Haskell points out was the backbone of the empire.

A pall settled over the population. People felt they were being swept downward by forces beyond their power to control. In the face of overwhelming evils they were helpless. Thus, despairing of the present light, they turned to the other world cults of the orient.

“The worship of Isis,” writes {?}, “was organized in a manner very much like that of the Catholic Church.” There was a kind of hope with priests, monks, singers and acolytes. The priests were tonsured and wore white linen vestments.

And he goes on to describe how they sought escape from the crisis by all kinds of off beat cults and things. And then, to me, one of the interesting things is 274 AD Aurelian extended the right of relief with bread substituted for wheat and the addition of free pork, olive oil and salt and made the right to relief hereditary so that welfare recipients’ children did not have to go down and apply. They were saved the trauma of standing in line. They were hereditary recipients of the so-called right to welfare. [00:38:59]

And, of course, isn...[edit]

And, of course, isn't’ that the attitude of more and more of the poor, especially second and third generation here that it is their right?

[Voice] There is five generations now.

[Rushdoony] Five generations now.

[Voice] This book, too, indicates that man doesn't really change. Liberals have the idea that man is perfectible, but this is an indication that while the outside changes, the externals of man certainly does not change.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Dorothy called attention a while back to an extraordinary example of that. John Law with his paper money experiment and wild inflation and things like, what was it? The Mississippi bubble? Destroyed France economically and financially so that one outcome was in a generation or so the revolution. And yet within a few years Britain tried the same thing, the ... what was it the South Sea bubble? And they felt they could make it work because they were smarter than the French in their own eyes. They didn’t learn. And, of course, the consequences were horrifying.

[Voice] Rush, you and I were talking earlier that at the time in the late 30s, early 40s, there was virtually no principled resistance to Roosevelt and the New Deal. That was just unbelievably popular, was it not?

[Rushdoony] Yes. We were very poor then. And yet because we were anti Roosevelt there were some bitter New Dealers in the area who were sure we had a lot of wealth stashed away somewhere.

[Voice] Some of the people listening to this tape may not be aware of what the Mississippi bubble and the South Sea bubble, what... what that means. [00:41:20]

[Rushdoony] Oh, well, they were speculations in areas...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Oh, well, they were speculations in areas of the world, Louisiana, the Mississippi, the South Pacific, selling shares in anticipation of vast production of various kinds. And on paper they developed plans for huge plantations or industry or growing this or that, huge orchards. And all they had to do was plan and people were already assuming vast production and profits. And they went crazy in a speculative fever, the get quick rich mentality.

[Voice] Didn’t... didn't the French scheme involve taking the French money onto this supposed value of the land in Louisiana?

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Which ... a number of things like that.

[Voice] And ...and it was {?} limit was anchors so therefore they could inflate the money almost limitlessly.

[Voice] It sounds like Whitewater.

[Rushdoony] Well, in the 80s I heard one candidate for president ridicule the idea of gold as a basis of money and say, “We could make anything the foundation of money. After all, land is wealth. The wheat crops are wealth. We can make anything we want the basis of money.”

Now that is a very popular idea.

[Voice] It takes work.

[Voice] You dealt with many of the things, Rush, didn't you, in your book The Roots of Inflation.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] I think a bubble is just about any... any type of a scheme where you assume you are going to make money because the next person is willing to pay more than you. You paid more than the previous person and therefore the next person will be... pay more than you, because they want to get it so they can sell it at a profit.

[Voice] Some sort of {?}

[Voice] When the... when the government gets behind it, it creates a ... it is a vicious thing, when the government throws its weight behind something like that.

[Voice] Wasn’t there a thing on tulips also?

[Rushdoony] The tulip mania. Yes. That was an incredible one. What happened then was this Dutch merchant was in Armenia where the tulips grow ... they are a wild flower there as are violets and one or two other things that have been brought over. But he brought over the tulip and developed the bulb and they became enormously popular. And everybody was speculating in them. Everybody was growing tulips. They could hardly wait for the new varieties to come out and it pushed the price up to astronomical figures until suddenly the whole thing collapsed because, as some people... well, most...

[multiple voices]

[Rushdoony] They lost faith and they started to get out of the market.

[Voice] Anything that is a guaranteed way of making money is... I guess, you have to view suspiciously. {?} and with the {?} and now it is ostriches and rheas. There is a genuine market to these things. But... but you don’t know, really know what that market is 10 years before the markets develop, because if you look at something like what is the kiwi? They had to create their market. Macadamia nuts. They had to work at creating a market and it wasn’t a speculative bubble. They had a product and they worked in developing and promoting a product and they created a market for it. And if you got into macadamia nuts or kiwis in the 50s or 60s assuming that there would be a market, you may have been correct. You may have been wrong. [00:45:24]

[Voice] I think what they could have done if they had...[edit]

[Voice] I think what they could have done if they had mass advertising like we have now.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] Well, you had a similar thing in recent years, the last couple of years with regard to ostriches. And some people have lost badly.

[Voice] {?} cocoa beans.

[Rushdoony] Yes. The cocoa beans.

[Voice] Remember those? They were going to grow those in the Mojave Desert. And they were going to replace the oil in your cars and just about everything else. They had no idea what an ... ho much oil could be produced from an acre of cocoa bud plants.

[Voice] Well, it is the same thing with solar power. You know, you have to pave half the world with solar panels. Nobody bothers to do the arithmetic. If it sounds like a good idea, well, it has just got to fly.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] Well, now I am going to turn to a book that I regard as a great classic. You may be able to get it still, but it is not any serious library will have it. This is the writings of Salvian the Presbyter. Salvian was a church man at the time that Rome fell. And his key work is The Governance of God: A Description of the Beginning of the Fall of Rome.

He wrote about northern France about Trier and how the barbarians began their entry into the empire. And the barbarians were not many. They were a few tens of thousands in various wandering bands meandering through the empire killing, robbing, raping and moving on. And what made it possible was the lack of resistance. Nobody, as Salvian makes clear, felt that Rome was worth dying for. They were weary of it. And he says some people actually fled from their areas to the pagan barbarian forces knowing they would be robbed, knowing there might be rape. But they figured after that we will be left alone. We will join them. [00:48:10]

And they felt that their life was worse within the...[edit]

And they felt that their life was worse within the Roman Empire, although he doesn’t say that in this particular work. The Roman tax collector had the power of torture. And he automatically assumed that everybody was a liar and would only tell where their wealth was when they were tortured.

Well, when they attacked the city, he says the Roman games were underway in the arena and nobody wanted to take time to defend the city. And so the cheers of the people cheering the chariot races or gladiators or whatever the case may have been, were mingled with the cries of the rape, the dying all over the area.

And when it was over they petitioned the emperor to rebuild the arena to improve the morale of the people. And he calls attention to the moral decline. He repeatedly cites the hostility of Rome even though it was now nominally Christian to conversion because if you were a nobleman and you converted, you lost your rank.

All the adversity they faced did not bring about repentance. And he said of the Roman world, it is dying, but continues to laugh. And he also said, and I am quoting verbatim, “The life of all is almost {?}.”

So it is a grim account. He is a better writer than Augustine was. Augustine was a greater thinker, but if you want a very telling and well written account, this is it, more than Augustine who sometimes is very, very wordy. He makes clear his belief that if Rome were not judged then he would doubt if there is a God. And he says, and I am quoting, “His government is his judgment.” [00:51:00]

So he was very, very vocal...[edit]

So he was very, very vocal. He indicted the Church for its failure. It had gotten rich and comfortable and no longer was faithful. And he felt the adversity would reawaken the Church. And he said, “We offend God all the more under the name of religion, because, having been {?} in religion we continue to sin. We all pursue sin with unanimity as if we were transgressing according to an extremely well planned conspiracy.”

Antinomianism had set in. And they were doing as they pleased and calling themselves Christians.

So I do urge people to try to locate Salvian and read him.

[Voice] He really is warning us today of where we are going.

[Rushdoony] Yes. I had an eerie feeling all the way through reading this book which I read in 1964. I realized the parallel was a very real one.

[Voice] Rush, what is your [?] observation and comments on Gibbons’ The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire?

[Rushdoony] Gibbons was a Rationalist to the core. He was an unbeliever, although briefly he was a Catholic. But it was more the appeal of the liturgy and the order rather than any real thinking on the subject. He was totally ignorant about philosophy and theology. So he is trivial when it comes to the theological and philosophical issues that faced Rome in its latter days.

He idealizes the early empire. The remarkable thing about Gibbons’ book is that he mastered all the imperial reigns and the battles and this and that, but history is not written that way anymore. A great deal more emphasis has, in recent years, been given to the economic side of events rather than the political. [00:54:05]

So it is a weak book in that respect, but a classic...[edit]

So it is a weak book in that respect, but a classic in terms of the prodigious scholarship that went into it, prodigious but limited.

Well, our time is nearly over. Thank you all for listening and God bless you.