Questions and Answers - EC383

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Questions and Answers
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 75
Length: 0:57:29
TapeCode: ec383
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 383, April the second, 1997.

This evening Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin, Mark Rushdoony and I will discus a number of questions that some of you have sent in and we are very happy to get them. The first is a very difficult one, in some ways a very obviously easy one to answer, but there are all kinds of questions associated with it. It has to do with the perimeters of genetic research. This comes from David Ingram. What about genetic research, cloning, that sort of thing?

Well, first of all, we have to take the question in its broadest sense of genetic research. There is nothing wrong with it up to a point. For example, not too many generations ago the cattle of the western world was not very healthy or nutritious. The cattle was inclined to be rather lean and often sickly. Then a number of developments took place. Some men led the way in calling for better breeding practices and this greatly improved the strain of cattle, of sheep, other farm animals like chickens so that their meat weight went up, their health went up, their ability to lay eggs went up.

Now from that perspective you would have to say genetic research is sound. At what point does it cross the line and become dangerous?

A study was made a few years back in the 80s of the matter of artificial work in the form of implanting eggs and fertilizing them all done artificially. You hear less about that nowadays because, while it is still going on as much as ever, it does not bear close scrutiny. A great deal of the work here leads to monsters. The fetus is put to death, which is murder, and some of the women undergo hell because they are submitted to this kind of experimentation. [00:03:35]

Then there are ...[edit]

Then there are ... was a report recently on other aspects. For example, we have had an experiment with the cloning of sheep. Well, before we go into that, more than 10 years ago we had with us, associated with Chalcedon and writing in the report, Timothy Vaughan who had been a missionary in New Guinea and is currently in South Africa. Now Tim told us about something which became a matter of news before long. He said that cannibalism in New Guinea led to a very serious ailment, Kuru, K U R U, in which the mind of the cannibals was seriously infected.

Of course, something like that happened and was a relative of Kuru in Britain, cow madness. Because the cow and sheep were being fed processed food made with beef and sheep byproducts, these animals were turned into cannibals. And the results were deadly. Pictures, films of the cows as they became infected and staggered around, could not get up are devastating.

Well, their markets closed because nobody wanted to risk eating such beef and possibly catching cow madness.

Now that ban did not extend outside of Britain and, perhaps, one or two European countries. I don’t know. The common market there may have ruled that it would be outlawed, but I don’t know. Here it does not apply and here we are beginning to find a few cases of cow madness in human beings, peoples whose brains are being destroyed. [00:06:30]

Again, we see that tampering with nature, tampering...[edit]

Again, we see that tampering with nature, tampering with God’s rules can lead to problems. The same report indicated that there are fears that this may be happening in cases of organ transplants introducing the alien body into the body of a person can cause some very serious repercussions.

So we have now been given warnings to the effect that there are dangers here. Now, let me say, parenthetically, I have not spoken on the issue how valid and how true, how real is the cloning experiment that led to a sheep. There is so much deception in science, self deception and a deception of the public, deception to get more grants. There is no reason to believe that this happened in that case. But we again don’t know what could happen.

Now one of the things that can be a product from the comment of a scientist in any such thing as cloning of animals is that they are an unknown quantity. We don’t know what their immunities are or their succeptibilities. Can they be a focal point of new infections that can spreads to a great number of people? In other words, there is a great deal of recklessness here. As one scientist has said, “We are going to play God.” And that is what they are doing, but they are not God. So they are flirting with disaster. They are treading into uncharted territory as though there is nothing but good that lies ahead and they have no reason for knowing that. [00:09:17]

Too many of the innovations of recent years are backfiring...[edit]

Too many of the innovations of recent years are backfiring on all of us now. Then there is the moral issue. Should man play God? And the answer is obviously no. And this is the purpose of cloning. As one scientist said when organ transplants first took place, he said, “This is all wrong. Instead of trying to improve the people’s health and discover ways whereby they can avoid heart trouble or can recuperate without surgery from heart trouble, we are exploring ways in which we can show our cleverness, our ability to play God.”

I am afraid there is too much truth to that. There is a moral premise here. We are trespassing on it. Genetic research is a way of saying, “We are God. We can do these things.” This is why they want to create artificial life, then they can replace God. This is why they are for controls in one sphere of life after another, not for any assumed benefits, but for the privilege of playing God.

[Murray] Well, I think the dividing line is motivation of the people involved. People who enter this area of... of science to improve the ... the food chain to feed people, if they are godly men and women will steer clear of the ... the pitfalls, because they have got some guidelines to go by, but so much of science or, really, pop science nowadays is determined by how much money is there in it. Well, it... it... it almost sounds like one is cynical when you question the motives of the people in the scientific community, but it has been so consistent over the past 20 years in my memory that every year when the congressional grants have to be renewed there are sudden and cries in the newspapers and the media about whether... and it doesn't make any diffenrece what the... what the subject is, whether it is global warming or depletion of the ozone layer or whatever it is, it only comes coincident with congress renewing the grants for studying these... these things. And when you scratch beneath the surface, NASA did a study over a 20 year period with over 50,000 monitoring stations and there is no global warming. [00:12:50]

I mean, the temperatures are moving around as they...[edit]

I mean, the temperatures are moving around as they have always done because the earth is a self regulated entity. But on average there is no global warming. I spoke with the wife of a scientist who was down in the south pole studying the so-called ozone depletion and they really released very preliminary data that turned out to be erroneous, because the ozone layer is like Swiss cheese. It is on the move. There is holes in the ozone layer that keep moving around. So if you put a monitoring station in one location, obviously the amount of ozone is going to change from time to time. So they... all of these so-called crises that are supposed to effect mankind turned out to be poorly done science, premature findings. And the ... the media trumpets these because it sells newspapers.

Now the cloning issue, as Rush just brought up, it brings a question to my mind. Over time what weaknesses will be bred into the sheep which are part of the human food chain? What... for instance, susceptibility to disease or the ability to carry or perpetuate a disease is going to be generated by cloning. I think getting back to the motivation thing, if you have got godly men and women that have got to... that have got some guidelines to go by, they are going to know what to do and what not to do. If they are, you know, simply trying to improve the... the human food to feed people, then, you know, they are... they are motivated by... by, you know, acceptable guidelines. But so much... so many people in science nowadays are motivated strictly by money and the desire to enhance their ... their, quotes, professional image while to me there is nothing professional about them. I mean they are... they are right up there along with Joseph ... Dr. Josef Mengela who was Hitler’s experimenter, chief experimenter in the... the euthanasia and all of these areas and we are falling into the same trap. You know, the western world is falling into the same trap. [00:15:38]

The ... I think the... the element that was in the... the British situation with the cows was that they were grinding up the... the part of the animals that people wouldn’t eat and feeding them back which is the brains and so forth and being fed back to the cows. Well, we are specifically warned not to do that. You know, it is not like this is sudden, undiscovered information, you know, it is... this information has been around for a long time. People at some time in the past probably paid dearly to find that out and somebody wrote it down a long time ago and, you know, we have these warnings from the past. But our scientists are so determined that they are going to somehow overcome what they perceive as the mistakes of the past or the inconclusive data of the past. They have become so arrogant that they are going to how... somehow overcome these objections.

My... my concern is the motivation of the people involved and I have seen so much of this ... is grant thing. You know, there is... this country pours billions and billions of dollars into our research and into... you know, particularly they are funneling it into... into universities so that they can control the educational process. The department of education has become the funnel to contol the university system in this country so that they can ... the federal government can control what is taught. They can control what is said. They can control everything that is disseminated into society, by controlling the universities and they do it with the money spigot. And these people who are researchers in these universities, they have become... they have become slaves to the federal money spigot. And I think they have given up all moral ground in a large number of cases.

You know, for instance, I was thinking the other day, why is it that hospitals have to have ethics committees to decide whether or not a procedure is ... should be allowed? You know, if the doctors have no ethics themselves or don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, apparently they designate these ethics committees to take the heat off of the doctors so that their... the doctors can go ahead and do what they want to do and the ethics committees become the keeper of the... of the public morals. [00:18:31]

And are they any more or less capable of making these...[edit]

And are they any more or less capable of making these decisions than the doctors themselves? I think not. So you have got to go back to the motivation of the individuals. If they are godly men and women, you know, they are... they are more liable to make the right decisions than not. But people who give up that ... that moral imperative that somebody has to make the right decision based on moral considerations and everything is up to ethics committees which are subject to no one’s control. They are elected or appointed by hospital administrators whose only game is to make money. They are money making enterprise and, you know, morality goes out the window.

[Sandlin] I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie The Boys from Brazil with...

[Murray] No, I haven’t.

[Sandlin] ...Lawrence Olivier. You mentioned Mengela. That was sort of based on his... his life.

[Murray] Right.

[Sandlin] This whole question of cloning brings up another issue. What types of people... A) who would be making the decisions about who is cloning and B) what types of people would be cloned? Well, depraved people will want to clone handsome people, pretty people, intelligent people. And there man is again playing God and this is another form of Darwinian Darwinism and evolutionary theory, the survival of the fittest. You know, we want to prove some sort of master race.

Now, of course, when they begin they won’t use that term, but when they find that they are able to do this, if, as Rush said, they are able to do it, then that is certainly what is... what is going to happen. We go back to the tower of Babel and to... and to Genesis chapter three with man knowing and deciding for himself what is right and what is wrong. Then the sexual side. Many families would rather have boys than girls.

[Murray] China.

[Sandlin] China is a fine example, not only in the abortion, but in the... in the genetic field and, you know, if it is possible to manipulate genes in such a way that we can... A) we can get rid of... and the question, the whole question of sexuality. The people, the homosexuals talk about this particular issue. Is it a genetic related trait or not? So there are all sorts of ramifications here, but fundamentally it is destroying the creator, creature distinction with man deciding to be the creator. [00:21:00]

[M. Rushdoony] Well, I think we need to define what genetic, what... what genetic engineering is. Genetic engineering is going into the chromosomes and actually changing the arrangement of the chromosomes to control an... an effect. Now we have chromosomes that will control whether we have blue eyes or brown eyes. There are chromosomes, they believe, which give some women an inclination to have breast cancer. And you hear a lot about this. Have... they are searching for this gene that... that causes some people to develop breast cancer or other types of...

[Sandlin] Downs Syndrome, you know...

[M. Rushdoony] Yes, that is...

[Sandlin] An additional...

[M. Rushdoony] And I think we hit on the... the key word here. What is the motive behind the... the research and how will it be used? God created these genes and he told us to have dominion over the earth, not dominion over other men. The same knowledge can be used for good and evil.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] The same surgical skills which can save a baby’s life or a woman’s life can also be used to perform an abortion. The same skills... one man learns to improve his business for accounting purposes can teach another person how to be an embezzler...

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] ...if he uses it for the wrong person. Is interfering with the chromosomes, trying to alter chromosomes in an individual, let’s say, in you or me, not necessarily creating another individual. Is that for the purpose of ... of healing? If cancer cells could... so that cell could be altered and reintroduced to encourage the body to reject, that is a form of healing. Determining what someone is going to be like or a child is an extreme example of cloning.

Another example of how knowledge can be used for good or ill at something was developed about 30 years ago where a small amount of fluid is removed from a woman, a pregnant woman’s womb that can easily tell whether the child is a boy or a girl. That is used by a some people to determine whether they want to have an abortion. A couple wants... they have a boy and they want a girl and they don’t want another boy, they... they... some ... some will choose to use that test to determine whether they have an abortion.

It can also be used to prevent some tragedies. The are genetic illnesses which cause some babies to have a severe, not just an allergic reaction to milk, but a sever reaction to milk which can kill them and this is not easily ... this can be determined by amniocentiesis. It can be used to save that child’s life or serious harm.

When man wants to... to use this knowledge, we have to remember that man is very fallible. It is nice to think, well, if we can just figure out how to rearrange a few chromosomes here we are going to... we are going to ... we are going to fix all the problems in the world. [00:24:15]

If we look at how we have taken something as simple...[edit]

If we look at how we have taken something as simple as breeding. You mentioned cattle breeding and how man sometimes uses breeding for wrong purposes. We can look at breeds of animals such as dogs that are bred, very often for the wrong reason, because they look pretty. We work very hard. We... to develop certain breeds of dogs so they look just perfect, so they can be in a show and they can conform to an ... a very artificial standard. Dalmations have just the right definitive... well defined spots, well distributed, the shape of the head is perfect, the shape and curl of the tail is perfect. And these dogs, they develop dogs so they look perfect according to an arbitrary standard. But the fact is there is a high percentage of death dalmations because man has worked very hard to breed them in such a way that he has created dogs that are ... are relatively useless and in some cases are unhealthy.

There are many inherited diseases that are very common in all the common breeds. That is why I say the healthiest dogs are often mongrels, because there were these harmful recessive traits tend to be bred out and working dogs that are... such as Australian shepherds that are sometimes funny looking and they aren’t too similar, but they are... they are intelligent because they are used as ranch dogs still. They are... they are some of the healthiest and ... and most intelligent.

Man makes mistakes. And... and we have to remember that.

Now something which we ought to bring up which is one of the first objections that some people wrongfully bring up. If we create another life, all right, if we split an... an egg or something and we create another life such as, you know, he old Hitler thing from... that has been kicked around for many a year, what about the soul? That is really not an issue. And the whole idea of creating, you know, liberals or conservatives or, you know, an evil race of men is... is not really an issue, because when identical twins are by definition clones. It is when the fertilized egg for some reason we don’t understand decides to split.

[Sandlin] True.

[M. Rushdoony] And that is why they look identical because they have an identical set of chromosomes.

[Sandlin] They are not really identical.

[M. Rushdoony] And very often they are not really identical. They don’t always look exactly identical. They also ... they sometimes have very different personalities and they definitely have different souls and sometimes different talents.

So that is sort of a false issue. And it wouldn’t be possible to create a super race because they are going to be very different. [00:27:01]

So the real issue is, I think, is man playing God?...[edit]

So the real issue is, I think, is man playing God? And to what extent is interfering with the chromosomes designed to benefit man and to what extent would some use that to play God?

I don’t think we can... we can say it is all wrong.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] ...because we can’t say all medicine is wrong because of abortion and some things that have been done in the name of medicine.

[Sandlin] But technology is not evil. Man is evil.

[M. Rushdoony] Right.

[Sandlin] I mean it is the... I mean, technology can be used for... for evil or for... or for good purposes. I was... when you were talking about for medical reasons it is... if these things are used... genetic research is used for... by doctors for restorative purposes as you were talking about, to heal, that is one thing. If it is used for creative purposes, man playing God, I think that is where we should draw the line.

[M. Rushdoony] I have no doubt that... that lamb that was born was genuine. I have a text book that is ... about 10 years old, I believe, described the identical procedure that the newspaper described about that. And the .... this book said this is going to happen down the road, {?} just as soon as the techniques develop. We know it is theoretically possible and before long it is going to happen. So... but man can use that same knowledge to, like I say, do some very evil things and monstrous things. And what is going to be the reaction? We have to remember what evil men will use as a back up to what if we try to help this child—even theoretically. Let’s... we are... we are trying to help this child and we do something genetically to help this child and it creates a deformity instead? Well, we know with abortion what the line of argument is going to be. We did the best we could. Maybe now they will say the humane thing is to ... is abortion or... or infanticide. See?

So when evil men stat to play God...

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] ... all kinds of other arguments may start coming into play as well.

[Sandlin] That is like the idea of gun control. Guns aren’t bad. Technology is not bad. People are bad. You are right. And if godly people are involved in this or people that operate according to godly principles then by and large they won’t violate the law of God. But, but you are right. If they are evil wicked men who have an evil ideology, depraved ideology will use it to glorify man at God’s expense.

[Rushdoony] One of the problems with this type of experimentation is that man is in charge, not God. And man will clone what he feels he needs. And the results can be disastrous. For example, in the past couple of centuries there have been experiments in all kinds of ideal colonies, Utopian colonies. And I wrote about one in The Chalcedon Report some years ago and that essay is in From the Roots of Reconstruction. [00:30:26]

Some of the most brilliant minds were collected in...[edit]

Some of the most brilliant minds were collected in a colony, I believe in Ohio, an excellent piece of property, large area of land, some very fine buildings put up, but they were intellectuals. And as a result they had no common sense. They had not been there long when a horse pulling an over loaded wagon got mired in a mud hole. So they held meeting after meeting after meeting trying to decide what the solution was. Nobody went out there and gave a hand. They were all intellectuals. So the horse died while they were debating day after day their solution.

Well, scientists with ... with... with cloning will reproduce a lot of people comparable to those on that colony. They won’t think of reproducing the common people unless it is turn them into, after Plato, a slave class of workers.

Well, Douglas, you referred to the ozone layer and global warming and all the extravagant statements made by scientists. Because science has done a great deal there is a great deal of arrogance here. Now, much of the work of science has been due to inventors rather than professors. And we assume that the technology is the work of scientists and it isn’t. It is the work of men ho were in research and development for very practical reasons and are despised by scientists. The only thing that scientists actually did produce of any major note was the atomic bomb. Apart from that, most of our advance has been due, our technological, so-called scientific advance has been due to men working in connection with industry for very practical reasons.

And this has been resented as the Wright brothers innovation. A flying machine was resented. After all, they were two bicycle mechanics, not scientists. And they never forgave them. [00:33:16]

And the brothers lived and died in bitterness at the...[edit]

And the brothers lived and died in bitterness at the treatment they received. And even in within the past 10 years the federal government had the nerve to put out an airmail stamp with Samuel Langley’s name and plane on it and his plane couldn’t fly. It crashed. Of course, after the Wright brothers they corrected the mistakes in the Langley plane after the Wright experiment. So they could say, “Well, Langley had the principles of flight.” That is science for you. And they haven’t changed at all. They are striving for power.

Now Clinton talked about a temporary ban—and it is just the kind of a temporary thing with no bite to it—on cloning research. But the experiments will continue. Nobody will be able to stop the scientists, unless there is a changed religious climate in the United States and around the world that says, “No more of this.”

[multiple voices]

[Murray] Well, the...

[Rushdoony] {?}

[Murray] {?} some wag said that the reason that the Democratic National Committee had raised all that money was that so they could donate it to cloning research to generate more liberals so they would be insured of winning the next election.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, it is interesting. You mentioned, Andrew, I believe, and I think you referred to it, Mark, the homosexuals. Now this is a boon for them because it is a blow at marriage as they see it. And it will enable them to clone what they want on order, given the kind of order they want.

So the implications of cloning research are diabolical. The men, a high percentage of them involved in it enjoy playing God. So we have to take a stand against it and say this is morally wrong.

It is going to be hard for Christians to do that, because they don’t believe in God’s law. And since they don’t believe in God’s law they believe that anything is really valid.

[M. Rushdoony] I think that is one of the... the... if ... if this is feasible it is going to be one area where people are going to fight for it strongly and that is lesbians would love to have a baby that has no male part. They do the same thing with the sheep. It is theoretically possible to take some cells, the nucleus of a cell out of a woman’s body and plant it in her egg and I... I... I think that is down the road, because they will say, you know, the government, nobody, no law can... can prevent this because it is the right to my body. I have got... the government already gave them that right. So that... that would be an interesting thing that might be down... coming down the pike in the future. [00:36:47]

[Murray] Well scientists could become...[edit]

[Murray] Well scientists could become... have become the priests of a secular society, a humanist society. So many people have been conditioned to look up to them. And if they have no morals or no moral compass then people accept that, that it is not necessary. If they can bring all of the these miracles, so-called, to fruition, then they figure that any kind of moral restraints of biblical teachings are irrelevant. And this is what science has attempted to do consistently.

The... the... the warning is... is that man has been so consistently through history capable of evil, you would think that it would make people wary.

[Sandlin] Yeah.

[Murray] And say, “Hey. You know, let’s take a long look at this before we proceed, because throughout history man has always been capable of misusing technological advances.” If it can be misused it will be misused. That is almost an ... an axiom of any kind of technology.

Rush has mentioned the, you know, atomic weapons, you know. Gee, what a great boon to mankind that was, you know? Aren’t we all better off for it? This... this could... this genetic thing could be the next bomb waiting to go off. I mean, it could literally be the keystone to the destruction of mankind. You know, we are sowing the seeds of our own destruction. So we had better take a long, long look at it, because of man’s bad track record in making good decisions about the utilization of technology. I mean, the whole 20th century has been a... a panoramic of blood and death.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Murray] ...military and otherwise, genocide all through the misapplication of technology.

[Sandlin] Rush is right. The only thin that will prevent it is the religious character of the people, because if the last residue of Christianity that is keeping it from occurring now is erased, then there is nothing to ... to hold back the flood gates of this sort of thing. I mean, because laws can be passed. I mean, a wicked populace will permit laws to be passed to permit this sort of thing to happen. So... [00:39:33]

[Murray] We have already permitted wicked laws to pass...[edit]

[Murray] We have already permitted wicked laws to pass.

[Sandlin] Oh, of course, of course. I mean, you know, in 1973 with... and so many others. So the... the answer is not... fundamentally the answer is not legislation. The answer is regeneration of men’s hearts that will lead to the right kind of legislation.

[M. Rushdoony] Society is going to have to come to realize that a society to exist has to say no to certain things.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[M. Rushdoony] And the attitude in the last 30 years or so has been everything is ok. The only thing we ban is people who say no.

[Sandlin] Yeah, yeah.

[M. Rushdoony] And, but... but man should be free to do anything he wants. Now we are... we are starting to ... to look. Is that such a good idea? Maybe there are some thing that... that go beyond the line that even non Christians are beginning to see.

[Murray] And the question is... is man is ... is man capable of internal guidance or external guidance? And the history has taught us that internal guidance has never worked.

[Sandlin] Well, that is why, of course, that is why we have civil law, because men are sinners. We don’t have civil law to make men good, but to keep them from being as evil as they would be if we didn’t have civil law. But that is why responsibility of the family and the Church and the grace of God to stress the internal man, godliness that way. And that is where, as Rush pointed out, self government comes in. And when man is not self governed, all sorts of external restraints are necearry and, of course, that leads to a paternalistic and finally a totalitarian society. But if you have... if you have a large number of godly people then you need fewer laws and if that, of course, is what the Bible presupposes. It is going to presuppose it if there is a godly order, then you are going to need very few civil laws, only those found in the... in the Word of God which is the way it should be in the first place.

[Murray] Now we have thousands of them. I mean, you know, the Bible ... Rush has said that we have got over 600 laws governing human behavior. That ought to be enough for anybody. The way we think we have got to generate 3000 more a year just in the state of California and thousands more at the federal level.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Murray] I mean, if law is going to do it, we would certainly have done it by now.

[Sandlin] That is right.

[Rushdoony] We have another question that isn’t one that will require too much time. It is an historical question from Time Rawlings in Milwaukee. What was Cromwell’s motivation in taking most of the sword Drogheda and Wexford in his Irish campaign? His thinking, beliefs, religious motivation? [00:42:26]

Well, first of all, to answer the question we have...[edit]

Well, first of all, to answer the question we have to recognize that the rules of warfare at that time said that under certain circumstances you could call for the surrender of a city or a fortress and if they did not surrender within the given time, then every last one of them could be killed. And this was routinely done. Whether we like it or not, that was true. Then we have to look back at what preceded this in the century or so before Cromwell’s time, England had waged continuous warfare against Ireland. It was a brutal kind of warfare. What Cromwell did was small compared to what the English and the Irish both did during that long period of warfare. It is one of the most horrifying stories ever told.

And the evil from those massacres, which were not according to the rules of warfare—they were arbitrary—linger to this day and color the mind of all the Irish. It is one of the ugly chapters in the history of the western world.

So you have that background. Then, second, one of the terrible things that King Charles I did in his war against parliament and against the new model army headed by Cromwell, was to bring over an Irish army. Well, the English knew full well whether they were royalist or whether they were Puritans, what had been done to Ireland. And they expected the same kind of very fearful massacre to take place on a routine basis with that Irish army. The only reason why it did not take place on a massive scale was that Cromwell acted quickly and defeated that Irish royalist army. [00:45:17]

So there was a great deal of precedent, a great deal...[edit]

So there was a great deal of precedent, a great deal of fear on both sides. Cromwell had a very clear cut legal precedent in that the laws of warfare—and he abided by them strictly—did permit what he did. He also was faced with the fact that Irish campaigns in the past because of the inability to bring them to a quick finish dragged on to the point of radical attrition of the English forces. He had to end the war or the death toll would have been greater. And so he did what he did.

Now even one Irish historian in recent years has said that Cromwell was within the law in everything that he did. That doesn't mean we necessarily agree, but we have to judge a man by the standards of his day and his biblical view of things which was that in the long run he would save more lives, Irish and English by doing what he did and bringing the war to a quick finish.

Any reactions to that?

The interesting thing to me is that to this day you would think that was the one atrocity that ever occurred in Ireland. But when you go back and read what took place under Queen Elizabeth alone and then came James, you have to say it was a small thing by comparison. But the English hold it against Cromwell, because they dislike the Puritans and the Irish hold it against Cromwell because he was a Puritan and that was apparently his great sin in the matter, because the death toll was not equal to things that had happened long before he set foot in Ireland and after he left Ireland. [00:48:09]

The history of Ireland is a grim on and the British...[edit]

The history of Ireland is a grim on and the British were very brutal. The Irish, they felt, were a difficult people to deal with and from their perspective they were. The first conquerors of Ireland were the Norsemen. And they finally gave up. It wasn’t that they hadn't conquered them, but the Irish scene was so volatile and the many, many Irish kings and princes would shift sides so quickly. They had their own personal warfare and the people who were your allies today, the Vikings found, could be your enemies tomorrow and somebody else was your ally. And they finally said, “You cannot,” putting it in modern language, “keep a scorecard on these people.” And so they pulled out in disgust.

That was what kept Ireland from gaining a unity on its own. It only gained a unity under the English, a forced unity.

Sadly enough after the fall of Rome with the great people of Europe were the Irish monks and the Syrian monks. Those two were responsible for Christianizing Europe, even into the north and central Europe as well. There are still grave yards in some parts of Europe, southern France, I know, peopled by Syrian monks with Syrian inscriptions. We don’t hear much about the conversion of Europe by these two groups, the Irish and the Syrians. The Syrians for a long time had a very strong and missionary minded church. But one of the things that happened with Ireland was that it should have become united. [00:51:06]

Now in the days of ancient Greece, as we all know,...[edit]

Now in the days of ancient Greece, as we all know, there were city states, Athens plus a fair amount of farming countryside around it. Then Sparta and Corinth, each its own little kingdom. And there was a good reason for that, because it was a difficult task to govern an area when you were some distance from it.

It was Alexander the Great who created the vast empire, but nobody was able to hold it together and then Rome and Rome was able to hold it together. But it took improved communications in order to keep the remote areas together and that is one reason why Rome built up such a network of magnificent highways.

Well, Ireland never did develop any highways and the roads were mud holes a good deal of the year as the English found out and lost a great deal trying to get around. So Ireland did not unite. And that made it an easy victim to the English and to its own disunity, because of various little princes of Ireland each created their own jurisdiction, their army for that area and fought against all the other as well as the English. Their disunity was what did them damage.

Any comments from any of you about that?

[Sandlin] Well, as to Cromwell’s motivation, I think it was... he was a guileless Christian man. You read in his public speeches and his private papers and correspondence. You get the impression that he wanted to honor God. He didn’t always do it perfectly, like none of us, but I don’t... he was not a totalitarian at heart of anything like that.

[Rushdoony] No.

[Sandlin] I think he was a... a good man that wanted to... to honor God.

[Rushdoony] Well, there are some good books on Cromwell out there. One is by Antonio Fraser. Another is by Christopher Hill which is quite outstanding. But there are many older ones and all go into this at some length. But it is fashionable in academic quarters to beat up on Cromwell and to pay no attention to the fact that these two massacres—and that is what they were—were according to the rules of warfare and they were not as bad as some that had taken place in the time of some of the Tudors. [00:54:29]

England was determined for what she felt were good...[edit]

England was determined for what she felt were good reasons to keep control of Ireland. Now, we may not agree with her reasons, but they had their justification of a sort. It was this. They had become Anglican. They had broken with the Church of Rome. And if Ireland, being Catholic, was free, then it would ally itself with Spain or France. And both realms had designs on England. In fact, in Elizabeth’s day it was very present fear that Spain would seek to conquer Britain. And, of course, we all know the story of the Armada and how a storm destroyed them together with the faster moving smaller Spanish or English ships. But it was a valid fear.

This does not mean that the actions they took were valid, because they attempted to impose Anglicanism on Ireland. And Ireland, which had been independent of Rome previously and you had your independent Church of Ireland with its archbishop at Armagh turned intensely Catholic at out of hostility to the English. And until recently have been very pro Catholic. Now that is beginning to change, not for the best of reasons.

Well, our time is over now. Let me say we would... Yes, Mark, did you have a question?

[M. Rushdoony] No.

[Rushdoony] We do welcome questions. Some we will be able to answer. Others we won’t be able to answer, but we welcome them all. We will do the best that we can and we appreciate your interest. Thank you all for listening.