Henry David Thoreau - Russell Kirk - Racism and Christianity - EC137

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Henry David Thoreau; Russell Kirk; Racism and Christianity; Anglo-Saxons; German Mitigation; Commodity Traders and Existentialism; Voter Memory; Soviet Spies; Anti-Communism; Television; Unionism
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 9
Length: 0:58:15
TapeCode: ec137
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 137, January the second, 1987.

This evening I would like to begin by sharing with you a letter to the New York Times book review section, December the 14th, 1986. It comes from a very able writer, Leon Edel, E D E L, and it has to do with Thoreau. He writes, “On October 12 one of your poetry reviewers claimed Thoreau went to Walden Pond in protest against the Mexican War. On November nine, a correspondent wrote that Thoreau went to write a book. Your reviewer rejoined that Thoreau said he wished to escape the desperate odd fellow society with its dirty institutions. As long ago as 1970, I proposed the question: Why did Thoreau really go to Walden Pond in a pamphlet written for the American Writers’ Series of the University of Minnesota Press (Let me say parenthetically it was an excellent pamphlet). I set aside Thoreau’s own rationalizations about getting at the essentials of life examined his historical and psychological situation at Concord. There is a great deal of evidence that Thoreau was very much at odds with the townsfolk. Shortly before he built his Walden hut he carelessly set fire to the woods near Concord, burning 300 acres. He was called rascal and woods burner by the time. His high individualism and aloofness played a distinct role. There is no easy answer why Thoreau moved into his hut only amile from his own home which he visited daily during his Walden stay. One conclusion can be drawn. He was alienated from Concord. His gesture had significant consequences including the writing his masterpiece Walden, a work that contained a great deal of fictionalized autobiography. All this is in my biographical pamphlet and my subsequent essay titled, ‘The Mystery of Walden Pond,’ published in my book Stuff of Sweet and Dreams, 1982.

“I feel your correspondents might have done quite a bit more reading before venturing casual half truths about the making of a great American myth,” end of quote. [00:02:55]

Well, Edel is rather kindly there, but the truth, as...[edit]

Well, Edel is rather kindly there, but the truth, as he states it, is an obvious one. The Humanists have always had a penchant for lionizing and idolizing some of the major frauds of history, men like Emerson and Thoreau. Thoreau while going back to nature at Walden Pond was actually leaving the place first thing in the morning to go into town to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with momma, to spend his time talking with the various ne’er do wells who hung around the general store and that sort of thing. He was far from the nature boy that some people have imagined him to be.

Another item of interest, the Heritage Lectures. Not too long ago, in fact, on September 11, 1986 Russell Kirk gave the Heritage Lecture His subject was, “Ten Conservative Books.” It is a very sorry lecture and it shows up a great weakness of Russell Kirk. Russell Kirk in the 50s had a strong influence on the young conservative movement. Since then he has become increasingly passé. Conservatism has developed. It has matured. It has grown considerably and Kirk has not changed. His ideas are the same ideas he had then and are less effectively set forth. He says in one passage early in his lecture, and I quote, “Conservatism is not a bundle of theories got up by some closet philosopher. On the contrary, the conservative conviction grow out of experience, the experience of the species, of the nation, of the people. Conservatism is the negation of ideology,” unquote.

For Kirk Conservatism is to have roots in tradition, to grow in terms of the past and of tradition. Well, what kind of Conservatism are you going to have in the Soviet Union today? Are you going to be a good Stalinist instead of Gorbachev? Are you going to idolize Stalin? [00:06:01]

In the 60s Kirk in California turned off a sizable...[edit]

In the 60s Kirk in California turned off a sizable number of university students with his statement, his admission, rather, on questioning that if he had been alive at the time of the American War of Independence, he would have been a Tory because tradition was on the side of the Torries. He says in this lecture, and I quote, “The Conservative mind looks to custom, convention and continuity for an understanding of the civil social order, not to such artificial constructions as a pretended social contract,” unquote.

Well, the alternative to continuity, custom and convention is not the social contract, but about Christianity. And what if the customs, conventions and the continuity are evil?

If Russell Kirk were ruthlessly honest with his own position, he would have to admit that Liberalism has custom, convention and continuity on its side in the modern world and in the United States. Why isn’t he a Liberal?

The simple fact is that Kirk does not deal with the heart of the matter. The 10 books he lists are of moderate importance. They are not great books and they are not books that anyone in reading could come to grips with the issues of our time. At least one of the books would be a bad influence.

Incidentally, almost as an afterthought he does mention Christianity. He makes clear, of course, that anyone who is going to determine his position in terms of the Bible is not his cup of tea. The kind of Conservatism Kirk represents is impotent. It cannot come to grips with the issues of the day because it wants continuity with the past. It wants to emphasize custom and convention, not faith. And that is the heart of the matter. [00:08:54]

Paul tells us that whatsoever is not of faith is sin...[edit]

Paul tells us that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. And any conservatism that builds on custom and convention, on tradition, on continuity is sin. It is as bad as Liberalism, because it is not of God. It is not premised on fundamental justice.

What would Conservatism espouse in India, in Africa? Would it be for cannibalism in some parts of Africa? What about China? To espouse that kind of Conservatism is pitiful and it is a revelation of impotence and sterility.

Yet Russell Kirk is a professing Christian. He is not alone in holding to the faith and yet making it all practical intent irrelevant in his life and thought. Most people are like that. Most church people do not relate their faith to politics, to business, to the every day affairs of their world.

Something struck me quite forcibly recently. I had to put the book down and wonder about this. I wish I knew more about the statement made. It was in a book published in England in 1985 by Dorset Press. The author, Gail R. Owen, O W E N, Rights and Religions of the Anglo Saxons.

On page 124 we have an amazing passage. I had encountered a reference or two to this earlier some time ago, but it was now that it struck me forcibly, quite dramatically.

I quote, “Red walled we know had been converted to Christianity on a visit to Kent. Adult baptism in the early days of English Christianity was an elaborate ritual spread over 28 days,” unquote. [00:11:55]

Twenty-eight days, almost a month...[edit]

Twenty-eight days, almost a month. Consider the implications of that. These early Anglo Saxons in England were a rough, crude lot. They practiced many things that probably a lot of the good Humanists wouldn’t practice today, but they knew there was a difference between their paganism and Christianity. They knew that becoming a Christian was a major step, a serious step. Twenty-eight days. It meant a radical break with one’s past, a time when you were baptized signifying your regeneration, the cleansing of your sins and the putting away of the past, the putting away of an old life and becoming a new creature in Christ.

Today we take the faith casually. And then bad as we might call some of the practices of the early converts, the Anglo Saxons and other peoples as well, we would have to say given what they were before their conversion, the change was a dramatic one. The Saxons, by the way, were great for human sacrifice. They ended that when they became Christians. They had their faults. They had a lot of growing to do, but they took the faith seriously, much more than their descendants do today.

Just in the past week or two I have had two people whom I don’t know mail me Xeroxed copies of some news items. One of them I am holding in hand has two articles on a sheet, “US Hispanic Population grows by Leaps and Bounds.” And the other, “Report: Whites to become Minority.” And that by the year 2080, supposedly, Hispanics, Blacks and Asians are going to be more than half the population. [00:15:03]

So what? So what? That doesn...[edit]

So what? So what? That doesn't bother me in the slightest. What bothers me and upsets me greatly is that these people who are upset about the United States possibly ceasing to be a White country are not upset about the abandonment of Christian faith.

God has blessed the United States richly. He is going to damn it unless it returns to the faith, unless it shows some gratitude to almighty God for all the blessings we have had. We are going to lose those blessings and we are going to lose the country and it will be the judgment of God. he will take it from us and give it to another people that will believe and obey. And who those people are, I don’t know. I hope it is the Blacks and the Hispanics and the Whites, all of them returning to the faith and having a readiness to apply the whole Word of God to every aspect of their lives. God doesn’t care two cents about godless Whites or godless Blacks or godless anybody. They are all going to be judged and punished.

My wife Dorothy comes from an old family going back to colonial times and she has often remarked, “What are these people complaining about? It is my kind of people that have destroyed the United States. Every major evil movement in this country who have the great old line families heading it up and financing it.”

And she is right. And how is God going to bless that? How is God going to give the United States a good future given that fact?

Well, from that let me turn to an interesting book on The German Dimension of American History The German Dimension of American History<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=timehistory-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0882291475" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> by Joseph Wandel, W A N D E L, published by Nelson Hall in 1979, a very interesting book. And it is worth remembering that when the German migration began, there were a great many Americans who felt the country was going to go to the dogs, that the United States had no future because these horrible foreigners were moving in, the Germans. And, of course, the Germans were considered a bad influence because one of the first things that you would see in a German community would be the biergartens and their delight in beer drinking and singing and dancing and they were regarded as a frivolous, bad influence on the United States. [00:18:47]

Well, when you look at the population of the United...[edit]

Well, when you look at the population of the United States today most scholars feel that the Germans and the English are about equal, about 13 to 14 percent of the American population being English and the same percentage German. However, I think one can question the validity of that estimate. I would say the German element predominates over the English. What people do not realize is that so many of the Germans Anglicized their names and quickly were accepted as of an English extraction after a generation or so. Mueller became Miller, for example, and Linkhorn became Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s family background, his grandfather was German. Daniel Boone spoke Pennsylvania Dutch fluently. And his real name was B O H N E in origin.

The German element was very, very great. For a few generations most symphony orchestras were overwhelmingly Germanic as were the conductors.

In fact, baseball was very heavily dominated for a time by Germans. Two very famous names were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. And Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both spoke German very well and often talked German one to the other when they didn’t want some of the Yankees on the team, the New York Yankees to understand what they wanted to say. [00:21:19]

I would like to read something from this book about...[edit]

I would like to read something from this book about one of the most colorful, one of the most interesting of the German baseball players. And I think a book could be written, a very delightful one just on the German ball players who, when I was a boy, were still quite numerous. That as in the days of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth who I saw play more than once.

I quote, “Herman Germany Schaefer was another successful and very colorful baseball player. He was known for his refusal to take the national pastime seriously. Once as a pinch hitter in the 1906 season he stepped out of the batter’s box and addressed the crowd. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at Germany Schaefer, better known as Herman the Great, acknowledged by one and all to be the greatest pinch hitter in the world. I am now going to hit the ball into the left field bleachers.’ In spite of the jeers arising from the crowd, Schaefer did hit a home run into the left field bleachers on the second pitch.”

Let me stop to add parenthetically another German did the same thing some years later. Babe Ruth said he was going to hit in the stands and did.

Well, to continue.

“Schaefer, moreover, rendered himself immortal in the history of baseball by being the first and last man to steal first base. The unusual feat occurred in the 1908 season in a game between the Detroit Tigers, Schaefer’s team, and the Cleveland Indians. With Schaefer on first and Davey Jones on third, Sam Crawford came to bat in a late inning. Schaefer called for a double steal, but the Cleveland catcher hung onto the ball and while Schaeffer stole second, Jones stayed on first. Davey Jones recalls the sequence of events to follow. ‘On the next pitch Schaefer yelled, “Let’s try it again” and with a blood curdling shout he took off from second base back to first base and drove in head first in a cloud of dust. He figured the catcher might throw to first since he evidently wouldn’t throw to second. And then I could come home same as before, but nothing happened, nothing at all. Everyone just stood there and watched Schaeffer with their mouths open, not knowing what the devil was going on. Me, too. Even if the catcher had thrown to first, I was too stunned to move. But the catcher didn’t throw. In fact, George Stovall the Cleveland first basemen was playing way back and didn’t even come in to cover the bag. We just watched the man running the wrong way on the base path and didn’t know what to do. The umpires were just as confused as everybody else. However, it turned out there wasn’t any rule against a guy going from second back to first if that is what he wanted to play baseball. So they had to let it stand. So there we were, back where we started with Schaefer on first and me on second (he meant third). On the next pitch darned if he didn’t let out another war whoop and take off again for second base, but this time the Cleveland catcher evidently had enough because he threw to second to get Schaefer and when he did I took off for home and both of us were safe. What followed might be called the Schaefer decision. Med Johnson, the leagues president decreed a new rule by which the men on base had to run counter clockwise. The game was saved and no one could steal first base again,’” end of quote. [00:25:55]

Well, it is a delightful book and it is interesting...[edit]

Well, it is a delightful book and it is interesting that in some areas, by the way, there were heavy German settlements. And, in fact, some dreamed of a German state. They openly spoke about this. And Texas was one of their goals. And a great deal of money was spent in settling in various areas. Missouri, of course, had and still has a tremendous German population.

Well, the German dimension of American history is a very important one. It has had a very powerful impact on American history. And yet it was seen as a disaster.

So what we have to say is this country has no future outside of God, outside of Christ. And if we look at the future in terms of what are we going to be in Christ? Are we going to make a stand in terms of the Christian faith? Are we going to take our faith seriously? Are we going to return to the basics that govern our society? Then we have a future. No future out side of Christ. So God is going to give the country to somebody else, if the White Christian population has no regard for the blessings they have received. I believe that with all my heart. I am interested in a Christian future for the United States and for the world, not a racist one. I don’t believe the United States or North America belongs to the White men any more than I believe that Africa belongs to the White man or the Black man. It belongs to the Lord God almighty and he will give it to whom he chooses.

So I don't believe that any continent is going to stay as it is or have the kind of future the peoples of that continent imagine today. God who sitteth on the circles of the heaven shall laugh. He holds all these people in derision. [00:29:07]

I would like to turn now to a very interesting book...[edit]

I would like to turn now to a very interesting book given to me by one of you, Dan Harris, Dan and Debbie Harris. It is by Bob Tamarkin, T A M A R A K I N. The title, The New Gatsby’s, Fortunes and Misfortunes of Commodity Traders, published by William Morrow in 1985.

This has a great deal of very interesting information on what is happening in commodity markets, Chicago in particular. The account it gives of the market is an exciting one, at times a horrifying one. I am tempted to take a great deal of time to go into it, but I would like to concentrate, instead on one point, because for one thing I am going through only a small portion of my material each time. I get wound up at the beginning and then I find that I have only covered a small amount of the territory.

The New Gatsby’s tells us something very significant. There are no corners of life unaffected by the culture of the times. We think of the commodity market as a technical area where people are trading in commodities and they are governed by the market place and by their knowledge of the commodities they deal with and so on. But what Tamarkin’s book tells us is that the culture of the times affects people in every sphere of life and thought. The commodity market reflects the existential temper of our world.

Tamarkin doesn’t use the word “existentialist” at any time. In fact, he is not interested in telling this point that I am dealing with, but in giving a factual account of some aspects of the commodity market. But what come through loud and clear is that the traders are not like the traders of 40 and 50 years ago. They are products of the culture of our day. They are what he calls long ball hitters. They are not working slowly, patiently, but they are a new breed of traders with a single minded penchant for the big play. Long ball hitters who want to strike it rich very quickly and in a dramatic way. [00:32:24]

They are Existentialists...[edit]

They are Existentialists. He tells how they spend money, these princes of the pit, some of whom feel that work is the curse of the masses. They spend money as though it were going out of style. One of them after doing very well, indeed, couldn’t find enough things to spend money on, 10 motor cars, for example. Existentialists who live for the moment, politicians who live for the moment, voters who are governed by the moment.

When I finished reading this book I found myself almost frustrated because I felt that I could write a book with the insights it gave me. I was reminded of what a friend of mine who is in politics told me once. He said that voters have a memory that does not exceed 90 days. And it is often far shorter. So he said, “What a politician has done rarely carries weight with voters if it is more than 90 days old. When they go to vote, they forget the past.”

This is because of the Existentialist temper. Just as people do not think ahead, go into debt without consideration for the future, so, too, do commodity traders. One of the biggest gimmicks in sales in recent years was the idea of selling people things and no payment for 90 days for six months I hear recently. And people with an Existentialist memory and an Existentialist outlook go overboard with that. It has seeped into every area of life.

Now clearly not everybody in the commodity market is an Existentialist. Certainly Dan Harris and others I know are not. But what Tamarkin’s book tells us is that there are no islands in our culture where people can sit in isolation from the culture. So what does that mean? The culture infects every person within its boundaries. [00:35:27]

So you either Christianize the culture or it is going...[edit]

So you either Christianize the culture or it is going to paganize you. It has paganized the commodity market. It has paganized politics. It has paganized the churches where you have the same temperament today prevailing. It is a very, very revealing and eye opening book. If you are an investor, read it.

Now to two books with regard to the situation in the Soviet Union. The first is one of the grimmest books I have ever read. Victor Suvorov, S U V O R O V, Inside the Aquarium: The Making of a Top Soviet Spy, published by MacMillan in 1986 for 17.95.

Victor Suvorov is probably the most important defector the United States or the West has ever received. He was in the GRU, military intelligence, the most powerful and deadly, deadliest unit of Soviet intelligence. He tells us the kind of person you have to be to get into the GRU. One of the first things that is done with potential recruits is to show them a film of a GRU man being cremated alive in the cellar of the aquarium. And they are told, “If you disobey an order, however small, this is what happens to you.”

They give them a training that is an incredible thing. They require performance of them that is staggering. These men go out and wherever they are, they get the information. They get the traders in other countries. They recruit them. They deliver.

One man who was sent to the furnace to give you an idea of how small it is, it was a man and they test them and Suvorov had to plant a little pocket Bible that it was passed around in the streets by Christians in the mailbox of this man to see what he would do with it. The man kept it and did not report it. You can have no secrets. So he was sent to the furnace alive. [00:38:38]

That is what life is like inside the aquarium...[edit]

That is what life is like inside the aquarium.

It is a grim book. It is a very important book. You had better read it because these people take what they stand for seriously.

One of the things that they are taught, these GRU men is a very simple thing. To quote from Suvorov.

“Spy films always depict intelligence officers as brilliantly eloquent and witty. The spy’s arguments are always irrefutable and his victim always agrees with his proposals. This is nonsense. In real life the reverse is true. The fourth law of recruitment says that every man has his head full of bright ideas and that everyone suffers mainly because no one will listen to him. The biggest problem for everyone is to find a good listener. That is impossible, because every one else is after the same thing, seeking their own listeners so they have no time to listen to other people’s silly ideas,” unquote.

He goes on to say that to be a successful spy you have to be a sympathetic friend and listener. In no time at all these people who normally would never betray their country, when they find a good listener are ready to tell him anything, ready to betray their country to him. He is somebody they like, somebody they trust, somebody they are ready to work with. It is one of the major means of recruiting peoples, by being a good listener.

A lot of us could learn that lesson when it comes to recruiting people to their side. [00:41:03]

This is interesting also with regard to recruiting...[edit]

This is interesting also with regard to recruiting. He says, and I quote, “The rules say that there is no need to recruit the factory manager or the chief engineer. It is easier to recruit their secretaries who are by no means less well informed than their bosses. But, unfortunately it is one of the conditions of our training, that is the GRU, not the KGB, in recruiting that we are forbidden to recruit women. Recruiting women, they say, is no training, because it is too easy. It is all right when you are working aborad, but not when we are being trained. It is not really so bad. You can find a draftsman or computer programmer or someone in charge of secret documents or a copying machine,” unquote.

Just by listening, you can recruit any woman. So it is too easy in the training program.

Now I wonder if that was a judicious remark. Maybe I will hear about it when I am through taping.

Another very delightful book, this was given to me by one of you, Phil Spielman. Vladimir Voinovich, V, as in Victor, O I N O V I C H, The Anti-Soviet Soviet Union, published by Harcourt Brace Jovanich in 1985.

This is a thoroughly delightful book, very humorous. He says, by the way, that the greatest anti Communist in all history was Joseph Stalin because he killed more Communists than any other single man. He killed them by the millions.

One of the things Voinovich found trying was Americans when he came to this country, their very radical ignorance, their stubborn ignorance, their insistence on viewing things in the Soviet Union in terms of things in the United States.

Let me quote just a little bit. “Once during our stay in the United States my wife and I decided to visit a woman artist we knew. She lives with her husband, an engineer, and her 11 children on a farm because they can’t afford to rent a house or large apartment in the city and they do not wish to live in a small apartment. Americans are spoiled. When I was a young man I once rented a room in Moscow with a family like hers. The state had lavished a four room apartment on {?} on that family of 13 people. Now they had to be important people to get that. They rented out one of the rooms.

“‘Aren’t you all crowded in three rooms?’ I asked them.

“‘What do you mean?’ said the woman of the house. ‘Two is a lot for us. Since we left our communal apartment, we are always stuffing ourselves into one room.’

“But back to Americans. We were off to visit the artist. Took a taxi and spoke with the driver about one thing or another along the way. Taxi cab drivers are talkative everywhere.

“Hearing our accent the driver was naturally interested in where we come from or who we were from. We told him.

“‘Oh, Russia,’ he said with respect. ‘And how is life over there in Russia?’

“‘What can I tell you?’ I told him. ‘It is worse all the time.’

“‘Like here,’ said the driver. ‘Life is more expensive every month. Ten years ago this cab cost 4000 and now it costs nine and I can’t even earn 3000 a month.’ [00:45:19]

“And I said, ‘Well, that is true, of course. But do you get your meat on ration cards or do you have connections?’ He didn’t understand my question at first. But when he did he said that he bought meat and all his other food in the supermarket nearest him. ‘So then imagine,’ I said, ‘that there was no meat, no canned food, no sausage, no frankfurters in your supermarket nor the next one or the one in the next city.’

“‘Yes,’ said the driver, ‘I heard the Russians have problem with meat. That is no fun. But in the end, you can always eat chicken.’

“My wife and I began laughing to hear the driver sound like Marie Antoinette. The driver became angry with us and said that unlike Marie Antoinette he as not cut off from real life. He knew a person could raise as many chickens as he wished. Chicken production was a very simple matter. The chickens hatched from the eggs and grew all by themselves. They just need feed. I tried to tell him about the Soviet agricultural system in which nothing is ever simple, but he didn’t want to hear about it.

“‘What are you trying to tell me? What does the system have to do with it? Chicken farms cost next to nothing. You can build as many as you want under any system.’ And he was so convinced of this that I almost believed it myself.

“Well, we arrived at the house and were met by our hostess who showed us her house. She had had the enormous two story house rebuilt to her own fanciful specifications which had resulted in many corners, curves and passageways, an innumerable number of rooms. Each of the 11 children had his own room. She and her husband each had a workspace and there was their bedroom, a living room and some other sort of room as well. And counting just bathrooms there were five, maybe six bathrooms. The children had all sorts of sports equipment, an Indian play house, a pony and everything else you can think of. There was a swing fastened to the branch of a tall oak tree and we had tea on the terrace. The children flew whistling over our heads on that swing.

“We sat, drank tea and talked about life. I prefer that sort of simple conversation to all intellectual discussion. I asked our hosts if life was difficult for them. They said, by and large it wasn’t easy. A big house, all those children, so much to take care of and they weren’t millionaires, just ordinary people, middle class as they say in America. Then they began asking us questions and I gave them a brief account of my life, not intending in the least to astonish them since my life story is, by Soviet standards, nearly hum drum.” [00:48:28]

Well, he goes on to describe his life and the hostility...[edit]

Well, he goes on to describe his life and the hostility to him when he began to disagree, the attacks by hoodlums and so on put up to it by officials. And yet he says, “The woman of the house...did not understand what he was saying, to make it brief. She said, ‘How could you live like that? Why didn’t you appeal to your government?’

“Her elder daughters, college students began to laugh. They were embarrassed, as children of that age often are by older people’s stupidity. But I didn’t laugh. I thought her question reasonable and I explained what sort of government we have and how it responds to that sort of appeal.

“‘Then you should have taken them to court,’ she said.

“One daughter began ridiculing her outright.

“‘All right, I understand,’ she said. ‘Maybe the courts aren’t the same as the government, but after all he could have written to the newspapers and appealed to public opinion. Why are you laughing at me? Don’t interrupt. I may be old and stupid and maybe I don’t understand a thing. I have never seen governments like that. I haven’t read newspapers like that. I didn’t know that there were courts like that. But if it is pointless to appeal to them all, in the end you could still go outside and shout, “Hey, everybody, what is going on here?”’

“We who were raised in the Soviet system sometimes find these remarks by western people ridiculous. Sometimes they irritate us. How can people be so naïve. But I don't see anything to get angry about. Yes, they are naïve. Yes, they can’t imagine our life even when they make an honest effort, but there are also those who do not even try,” unquote.

Well, that is the way the book starts. It is a masterpiece and you ought to read it. It is an amazing book, very humorous with a wry humor at times and very revealing at the same time, both as to what they are in the Soviet Union and what we are.

Interesting, too. He knew Brezhnev's daughter Galina and Galina, as a friend and one of those young people who hoped for something better, kept repeating over and over again when her father took over, “My dad will be progressive. You will see.” [00:51:54]

But Brezhnev was no different than the others...[edit]

But Brezhnev was no different than the others. In fact, he has this to say about one of the top men in the Soviet Union, that he would take bribes to pardon people sentenced to death. He was nothing but a party hack who even by his colleagues was nicknamed dim bulb.

Well, so much for the anti-Soviet Soviet Union. Read it. It is a delightful book.

Now for a few items about television that I ran across which tells you how far down hill we have gone in recent years, because in the early days of television play write George S. Kaufman was for a time banned from television when he said on a talk show during the Christmas season that he would throw up if he heard Silent Night played one more time.

Then another item about television. This comes from an older book. You Can’t Show Kids in Underwear, by Barbara Seuling, S E U L I N G, well, published in 1982. So it isn’t to old. And I quote this from page 57.

“During an interview on a talk show an old time comic had a heart attack and died. No one knew who was responsible for moving the body. So while a commercial was run, the comic was left slumped in a chair off camera. When it was finally decided that the corpse could be classified as a prop, the prop department moved him during another commercial.”

One of the marvels of unionism, is it not?

And this interesting item. A candidate for public office may not be prohibited from saying anything he wants to including insults and curses in a political television commercial. He is protected by the law of free speech.

And this, I think, confirms something I had always wondered about and felt was probably true. Some 30 second commercials cost more to produce than the programs they accompany. And I would say more talent goes into producing many of them. [00:55:28]

Then... oh, and there are about 40,000 TV commercials produced every year. And the advertisers try to appeal most to viewers between 18 and 49 because it is the group that spends the most money. Some of the other things. Children may not appear on TV in their underwear. It is not permitted to use psychedelic lights in a commercial for children. Soap operas really do sell soap. Studies show that nearly half of the commercials on daytime serials are for food or soap.

Then this, I thought, was interesting, that on one television show the family could not be shown eating bacon and eggs, because one of the sponsors was cereal manufacturer.

Then some sponsors control has bordered on the ridiculous, especially among automobile manufacturers. The Chrysler building was edited out of a scene of the New York skyline in a program sponsored by a competing car company. Fording a stream was deleted from a script for a similar reasons. One car manufacturer actually wouldn’t allow the name of Abraham Lincoln to be mentioned because Lincoln was a competitive car.

Well, a great deal more on this book of life character.

Our time is up now so I am going to have to hold some of this material back for another time. Thank you all for listening. God bless you and grant you joy in serving him and growth in him. [00:57:58]