The End of an Era - EC353

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The End of an Era
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 51
Length: 0:56:48
TapeCode: ec353
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 353, January 9, 1996.

This evening, first of all, Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin, Mark Rushdoony and I will discuss the end of an era, the end of an age. We have in history periods where a particular culture or idea rules. The Greco Roman era ended with the fall of Rome. The Renaissance marked the end of the medieval era. The Reformation then succeeded it and about 1660, roughly, the Enlightenment. And the characteristic note of the culture that followed the Enlightenment was a belief in Humanism and Statism as the solution to man’s problems.

Now there have been many subsections under the Enlightenment, the era of the Renaissance certainly, I mean, of the Romanticism certainly was a major development of the Enlightenment, a logical one. However, more than a few historians have seen the end of the old order, that which began with the Enlightenment in World Wars I and II. The beliefs have still remained because nothing has replaced them. But to all practical intent, they are dead.

Now a couple of very interesting books have been written in particular about World War I of which World War II was simply the aftermath. The first by Dr. Modris Eksteins, a Canadian is titled Rites of Spring: The Great War on the Birth of the Modern Age. He feels in particular that what has happened in this century is the modern age, that is the total severance of all roots which is the logic of the Enlightenment with the two wars, the roots were severed. The reason why he calls it The Rites of Spring is because of Stravinsky’s ballet of that name. It was produced by the ballet Russ and it created quite a sensation in 1913 when first performed in Paris. [00:03:24]

The point of the ballet ...[edit]

The point of the ballet Rites of Spring originally entitled The Victim was a young girl who embodied in her person the renewal of life and of youth that she dances herself to death. And Stravinsky and {?} saw in the modern age something comparable to that. The modern age saw itself with Wilson as bringing in a war to end all wars, to make the world safe for democracy, to guarantee, as Wilson claimed to the American voters, a 98 percent insurance with the League of Nations against any future wars.

It was marked by a frenzy of renunciation of the past in the 1920s and it was renewed with the 60s on, an abandonment of the family, of historical morality, of biblical faith, of the past of everything.

The Rites of Spring was published, I believe, in 1989 and Dr. Dwight {?} an historian loaned me his copy for which I am very grateful and I have subsequently purchased my own because I felt it was so important a work. Even earlier, however, there was another book that came out very openly to say what I have been talking about and have believed long before I read these two. This was published in 1980 and the author was Charles L. Mee, M, double E, Junior. The End of Order: Versailles; 1919. And it concentrates, in particular, on Versailles.

Dr. Ekstein’s book gives us in very, very horrifying and graphic detail the horrors of the war, of people beginning with parades and a lot of optimism, a belief that this was going to be a heroic venture and very soon they were in the midst of a desolation that made even a general weep when he was for one time on the front lines. [00:06:32]

And very few today appreciate the horrors of that war...[edit]

And very few today appreciate the horrors of that war, the bitterness of it, or, for that matter, of World War II.

When it was over, November 11, 1918, eight million soldiers were dead, 20 million more were wounded, diseased, mutilated or spitting blood. Twenty two million civilians had been killed or wounded. And the survivors were living in villages blasted to splinters and rubble on farms turned to mud and their cattle dead. They barely got things back in some order and World War II broke out.

At the end of World War I inflation hit Europe. Of course, we are all familiar with the German inflation in which it took billions of marks to mail a letter across town. In Austria, prices rose by a factor of 14,000 and in Hungary by 23,000, in Poland by two and a half million and in Russia by 400 million and people starved to death all over Europe.

About the time the war was ending the flu epidemic hit and killed another six million people. But that was not all. At that time with all the optimism, there were only men at the top who were full of illusions, none more so than Wilson. And, in fact, Mee writes, “On occasion, Wilson seemed to have forgotten entirely where he was. At one point he amazed Lloyd George and Clemenceau by explaining how the League would establish a brotherhood of man where Christianity had not been able to do so. Why Lloyd George recalled Wilson as saying, ‘As Jesus Christ so far not succeeded in inducing the world to follow his teachings in these matters. It is because he taught the ideal without devising any practical means of attaining it. That is the reason why I am proposing a practical scheme to carry out his aims.’” [00:09:37]

And Clemenceau was said to have remarked, ...[edit]

And Clemenceau was said to have remarked, “Wilson talks like Jesus Christ, but acts like Lloyd George.”

On another occasion, “How can I talk to a fellow who thinks of himself the first man for 2000 years who has known anything about peace on earth?”

And, again Clemenceau said, “Wilson has 14 points, but God had only 10.”

Well, this was the tenor after the war was over and the men were meeting. There were all kinds of absurdities at the peace treaty. Wilson wanted freedom for New Guinea and someone reminded him that at that time there were only cannibals there and said, “They eat each other.”

Wilson refused to answer him.

It is interesting that after World War II the same demand was made by the United Nations. Why isn’t New Guinea free? And when they were told that they were still cannibals there, they wanted to know why no universities were established to teach them better.

So much for the intelligence of our prominent politicians.

Again, Mee cites a case when an officer from general headquarters, making his first visit to the battlefront grew increasingly uneasy as the car approached the swamp like edges of the battle area. He eventually burst into tears crying, “Good God, do we really send men to fight in that?” [00:12:02]

Well, Mee also tells us of the marvels of the media...[edit]

Well, Mee also tells us of the marvels of the media when the train of American journalist was going to the Soviet Union to write their reports on what was happening before they reached the Russian border Lincoln Steffens had already written a good deal of his dispatch with his famous sentence, “I have been over into the future and it works.” It is usually rendered now, “I have seen the future and it works.”

Well, Mee describes the insanity of the leaders and how they sat at Versailles with all kinds of committees and subcommittees writing the Versailles treaty, volume after volume. And none of the leaders of any country had ever read it. None of the clerks or juniors or diplomats who were there had ever read the whole of the Versailles treaty. And two men, Jan Smuts of South Africa and Boner Law of England were trying to get hold of complete copies but they could not. And at that point one of the English leaders realized that they were going to turn over the terms of the treaty to the Germans without reading them ourselves first. I don’t think in all history this can be matched.

This was the core of the Versailles treaty. And this is why more than one scholar has said it was inevitable that it would lead to World War II. If not Hitler, someone else would have taken his place. It was insanity compounded.

Well, the point that concerns us this evening—and I want us to discuss—is this. Dr. Mee’s statement in the title The End of Order is right. We have seen a civilization, a civilization of the Enlightenment in disintegration. It is dying all around us. Everything is disintegrating. [00:15:18]

The governor of California made a powerful statement...[edit]

The governor of California made a powerful statement in his state of the state address yesterday and he spoke of the disintegration that is going on all around us in the family with regard to law enforcement, with regard to almost everything. The high rate of illegitimacy, the collapse of morality. We are a civilization that is dying. And you have the kind of thing that prevailed in a renaissance which was the era of the disintegration of the medieval world. Torture returned. Tyranny returned. Horrors that had been unknown returned. Slavery which had ended returned. And we had a nightmare which the Reformation started to clean up, but then the spirit of the Renaissance, the Statist spirit revived and suppressed the Reformation. So we only see the tail end of the Reformation spirit in our time.

Well, with that general introduction would you like to comment, Douglas?

[Murray] Rush, as you were talking about the... the situation in New Guinea the cannibals down there, the thought flashed across my mind given the track record of the United Nations and the United States, I would think that our state department would immediately send a delegation over there to set up a gourmet cooking school, not to break them of cannibalism, but to teach them to be better cannibals, because that seems to be the methodology that our state department follows and the United Nations has followed. They don’t cure problems, the exacerbate them. They always take an illogical tack and approach to these problems.

The... I guess it is a rhetorical question that I am about to pose and I don’t want to make a summation here too early, but all of these things that we have... or are discussing tonight and have discussed in prior Easy Chairs boil down to the fact that given man’s propensity for sin will we ever see an end to wars? I don’t think so. As long as we can’t seem to follow the 10 Commandments or the order imposed on us by God, then the order imposed by man will continue to wax and wane and in the intervening periods there will be wars. That is the way history has gone from the beginning and until man someday gains the wisdom and the insight to realize that the answer is very simple, all we have to do is follow those 10 rules and the wars go away. [00:18:45]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes. I believe we shall see world peace. It will be a decentralized society and it will be thoroughly Christian.

You mentioned New Guinea. I think on my first trip to Australia it was that this Englishman came up to me and he said, “You might like to glance through this document I had. I did not write it,” he said, “But it was done by a commission and I have to carry it to London. It is a constitution for New Guinea.”

Well, you know how easily read our Constitution is. One can read it one sitting. But this was, I don't remember. It was a thick, thick document all in highly legal language. I am a reasonably intelligent person, but it was too complex for me. And I wondered how could any natives with no education and most of them unable to read unless missionary taught, ever make sense of that document. And that is how unreal at Versailles, after World War II and in recent years our world’s leaders are.

[Voice] Well, with regard to what Douglas said, I think we need to remember that, Rush, you talked about the great time of peace coming, but if everything were to rely and there be dependent on man, then certainly we would be totally pessimistic. But the Bible depicts this great time of godly golden age because precisely because it is supernaturally induced. It is the work of God and not the work of man, although God obviously uses man.

I was just reading here in Isaiah 62 just the first two verses. “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness and all kings thy glory and thou shalt be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name.”

So it is true that we are in somewhat evil times and we have reason to be pessimistic, perhaps, in the short run. But we have all of the promises of the Word of God of what God is going to do and I think we need to exercise faith and work for the task of godly Christian Reconstruction. [00:21:33]

[Voice] Well, whatever man does when he indulges his...[edit]

[Voice] Well, whatever man does when he indulges his sin it becomes self destructive. On an individual level if you indulge yourself in sin, you are becoming self destructive. Even gluttony is self destructive of the health. When we indulge in sin we destroy ourselves and we are, in effect, becoming suicidal because we are fighting God’s law. When a culture, a civilization or a government indulges itself in ... in feelings of grandeur that they are... that they have become God, that they can make law, that they can establish the future, they destroy themselves, because it is a ... it is a fantasy that can’t happen.

Some of the greatest empires of the world have reached the pinnacle of power only to decline for no reason other than they... they couldn’t maintain their power. Rome is an obvious example. But the Soviet Union is another obvious example. It had every possible resource and all sorts of power for political and... and military domination, but it... it unraveled itself. It unraveled from within. And sin causes men and cultures, civilizations, governments to unravel from within and I think in this century we see this development of technology, development of Statism in various forms, but they all start to unravel.

[Murray] There is a... there is a problem, I think, that is universal for people to deal... in dealing with this question and that is that everybody expects this to happen within their lifetime.

[Voice] Yes.

[Murray] They want the good times within their life time.

[Voice] That is right.

[Murray] The Russians wanted the good times in their life time. They suffered under Communism for 70 years before they gave it up and finally they said, you know, that the average guy in the street said, “If it doesn’t put more food in my belling and, you know, raise the temperature 10 degrees in my apartment, what good is it?” So they did away with it. Everybody feels that, you know, the kingdom of God on earth has to take place within their lifetime and we are ... we are, in a sense, like time travelers. We can’t get there... necessarily get there from here within one lifetime other than to try to obey the laws of God and push the process along for ourselves and for our children and our children’s children.

[Voice] Well, that is why the Church has to have a long term vision. I mean, the Church may yet be in her infancy. And that is why that the work that Chalcedon is doing is foundational work. I... I have no doubt that in our lifetimes we won’t see the fullness of the kingdom of God. We have no reason to expect that. But we will see incremental growth and that is why we need to continue to keep building the foundation little by little. We see evil all around us and it seems to be winning. It seems to be successful. But we know that if the Word of God is truth, that it is not the case. And that is why we call ourselves Reconstructionist. We need to reconstruct what is evil about us and bring it back into conformity with the law of God. And you are right, Douglas, it is definitely a long term task. And we cannot be exponents of instant gratification. That is the problem. It is going to take a long time and we need to dedicate ourselves to that long term task. [00:25:04]

[Rushdoony] Well, there is an interesting aspect of...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Well, there is an interesting aspect of Charles Mee’s account. I cited his reaction to being told that the people of New Guinea were cannibals. He ignored the remark. He ignored reality. Now he was supposedly a scholar, a professor and a university president although his main work as president of Princeton was to destroy its historic Calvinistic position. But in all the things he wrote, he never dealt with any original documents. He simply was not interested enough in what happened, what is the truth, how was this done or started? What did this or that man write? His concern was he was going to remake the world and the future. So don’t bother me with the facts.

[Voice] Well, he was an ideologue, then.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] He decided beforehand what was going to happen and everything had to fit into his plan.

[Rushdoony] Exactly.

[Murray] I am convinced that every politician comes to office with the point of view that today or inauguration day is the first day of the rest of history. Nothing happened before that.

[Voice] That is right. Reinventing history on the anvil of their own speculation. That is right.

[Rushdoony] Too many of them are like that.

[Voice] That right. You know, one word that really comes to mind when I think of this whole century, Rush, and World War I and World War II is fragmentation.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] The destruction of the old order and now there is, well, this new buzz word is vulcanization. But this fragmentation in every are of life, in science and in art and literature. We see it especially in the literary field in British modernism, James Joyce and Virginia Wolff, {?}. It is essentially the decimation of meaning. There is no unified... well, we use the expression today, world view anymore. There are all of these little competing world views. That is a fragmented life. And that is... that is modern man. That is a description of him. I am writing something. He is fragmented man. [00:27:24]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] There is no {?} now. And that really was spawned by a lot of what you are discussing, Rush.

[Murray] Well the fragmentation, it seems to me, at least in my life time, really got into gear in the 1960s. I mean, every group... if you sat down and made a list, every single group that can possibly be set against each other have ... it is... it has taken place. Race against race, gender, men against women, children against their parents. Every single division that can be exploited has been exploited with a vengeance...

[Voice] That is right.

[Murray] ...during the past 30, 35 years. I mean, during the 1950s there was kind of a lull there it seemed to me, right, immediately after World War II. I was just got out of high school and I remember there were frequent pronouncements, brotherhood week. People were beginning to relax a little bit. There were, it seemed to me, to be a relaxation of tension between the races. There was much more accommodation. People seemed to be able to live side by side without undue friction. I lived in a... in a mixed race neighborhood and went to school with... with other races and the... that kind of strangeness wasn’t there that we have got today. But in the past 35 years the government and various self appointed leaders have made it their life’s work to exploit these divisions among us.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] We have been talking about the fragmentation that is underway. I think we ought to comment on a different kind of fragmentation that is a good variety. Whenever you have the end of an order, the end of an age, you have a fragmentation politically. The rejection of the old order can be partial or very radical.

After the fall of Rome people progressively throughout Europe wanted no part of cities. They wanted no part of a powerful state. So life became very different. It became primarily rural. And it also became anti political. There were no powerful states for centuries, because people were afraid of a strong central order. [00:30:19]

Well, this has happened again and again and since World...[edit]

Well, this has happened again and again and since World War II the same fragmentation is underway. In that war alone, four great empires died: the German Empire, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Turkish Empire. Many, many small states were created. But even those after World War II, like Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia have been splintering. And others are in the process of splintering so that we see a great deal of fragmentation. It is as though people are saying as the Israelites did of old, “To your tents, oh Israel.”

Well, there are some who actually believe that it is possible that the United States will fragment into possible as many as nine regional groups, not necessarily in conflict with each other, but in terms of local concerns and interests.

The Bretons of France do not like France. The Galicians of Spain are Gaelic also and they do not like the Spaniards in Spain. The Welsh in Britain and the Scots also have nationalist movements. These may peter out, but the point is the world over these are taking place. And even a figure whom I can not quote, prominent in politics has said, “Fragmentation is going to be the order of the day in the years ahead and many a country all over the world will divide.”

Now we can up to a point be glad that happens, because it takes man back to his roots. And men have abandoned their past too much. We have never had a greater rejection of the past than in the era from 1960 to the present, although it began after 1918. So fragmentation politically is underway. [00:33:01]

[Voice] Which, really, is just decentralization...[edit]

[Voice] Which, really, is just decentralization.

[Rushdoony] Decentralization, exactly.

[Voice] And Rush is as you... as you have emphasized over the years back to the idea of self government, not autonomous self government, but self government under God and then family government and church government, vocational government and other private government, with civil government being the last and one among many governments.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And that certainly seems to be the ... the case. I wanted to mention, too, Rush, we have talked several times about the idea of total war.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] I think people need to understand that World Wars I and II were not like previous wars for the most part. It wasn’t as though one country came out with its leaders, soldiers against another country’s leaders and soldiers, but a total conflict. Why don’t you discuss that in the how that there was a change about that time?

[Rushdoony] Well, in European history to the time of Rome you find total war in the Renaissance, brutal, savage, as ugly as possible. The tyrants of Greece delighted being cruel and savage. This ended, then, with the Reformation or started to end. And by 1660 warfare was always bad, but not as viscous as it had been.

In the modern era after 1660 it became progressively a matter of mercenary armies and gentlemanly conduct, but...

[Voice] There was an element of chivalry about it.

[Rushdoony] An element, yes. Not with the troops, but with the commanding officers.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] far as they could restrain them.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] But total war set in again. The conflict in America in 1860 saw a great deal of it on both sides, but most of all on the part of the union. The... that war set the temper for what followed. It was a training ground as it were. And there were generals who not only came over, but others who studied the history of that war in great detail and then it was applied with a vengeance in World Wars I and II.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] And what did not take place to as great an extent in the civil war took place in World Wars I and II, war against the civilians. The enforced blockade of Germany to destroy the civilian population, the bombings in World War II and the blockade again because Germany was deep into French territory and all over Europe in World War I it folded because of hunger. Food is a weapon of war and they didn’t have it. [00:36:23]

And the same was true in World War II...[edit]

And the same was true in World War II. But the horrors and the atrocities were maintained. Some of the most savage acts on the part of the Allies in both wars took place after the peace began. Attempts at total vengeance and brutal treatment, the... the peoples of the world were not told what was being done. It was done by the leaders.

[Voice] It seems that the goal was not so much total victory as total annihilation.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And that is why the modern era it is almost unheard of for the losing government to survive.

[Voice] Rush...

[Rushdoony] That... Iraq is perhaps the only exception.

[Voice] Rush, we have talked several times about the United States and its role in the war. I think some people tend to romanticize the role of the United States. Would you give your candid opinion on the United States and its role in World Wars I and II? In other words, were Wilson and Roosevelt any less vicious than some of these other leaders? Would you talk about that?

[Rushdoony] Not particularly. They both had messianic delusions. More than one person, historians, have commented and cited a number of statements from Wilson that indicated his messianic delusions. Roosevelt was thoroughly Wilsonian. After all, he had served under Wilson as an assistant secretary of the navy, I believe it was. And these me wanted—and Churchill also—to become world saviors. They became, of course, world destroyers.

By entering into both wars, we ended our historic position of neutrality. We destroyed the Pope Doctrine and the Monroe Doctrine whereby we separated the Americas from European influences, balance of power politics and the like so that both the Pope Doctrine and the Monroe Doctrine are now dead. This may haunt us some time.

Well, we were a peaceful country. We were still at that time a Christian republic. We had a definite character. It used to be before World War I wealthy Americans who wanted to retire had to go to England because retired man, unless he were not fit physically, was regarded as a lazy person in the United States. We had a work ethic, a Christian ethic. We destroyed that in World War I. There was a song popular at the time the gist of which was talking about the soldiers, how can you get them back on the farm when they have once seen Paris? [00:39:49]

And, of course, they came back, many of them, thoroughly...[edit]

And, of course, they came back, many of them, thoroughly corrupted. I know because when I was young the legionnaires had a very bad reputation. The veterans of World War II have a far better reputation than did the veterans of World War I. They came back as playboys. The American Legion conventions in the 20s and 30s were disgraces. The American Legion today is a more responsible organization and their magazine, by the way, is a very fine one. So there has always been a leadership there that has been more responsible. But it destroyed the old America. A lot of conservatives and Christians want to go back to that. They can’t go back to it. They can build a stronger, more Christian country. But that is beyond recall. And it was destroyed by Wilson and Roosevelt.

[Voice] And this messianic aspiration seems to have followed us. I mean, the succeeding presidents of the most part have had messianic aspirations.

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes.

[Voice] I have seen even in the last 10 years both Republican and Democratic administrations very quickly wanted to send troops overseas.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Even the war on poverty was... was an attempt to save... to save the world and to eliminate poverty forever. LBJ was very clear that he was going to eliminate poverty in America.

[Voice] And statements sound so utopian.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] And when we look at them now and we just laugh and some people laughed back then. They should have, as though he had it in his hands to get rid of poverty.

[Rushdoony] Well, analysts said of Bush that every time he spoke during the campaign against Clinton and mentioned the new world order he lost 100,00 votes. And although that was written about in the media, Clinton doesn’t seem to have learned his... a lesson from that because he is as determined to work to create a new world order. And if the Republicans don’t wake up, they are going to blow an easy chance to defeat Clinton.

[Murray] You know, most people don’t want to go into politics, but there seem to be certain individuals in our society who gravitate...

[Voice] That is right.

[Voice] That is exactly right.

[Murray] And they seem.... they have some sort of a gene or something that... that sort of tells them into that, because they want to be gods. [00:42:37]

[Voice] {?} has written about that. That is right. That is exactly right.

[Murray] All these guys want to be gods. And the extent of the damage that they do is dependent upon how adamant they are about being their own god and waging war just, you know, we have gotten more efficient at it. We can kill more people on a shorter period of time as a result of the megalomania...

[Voice] Yeah.

[Murray] ... of these individuals who want power. They desire power and as soon as they get the... the power in their hands, they want to enhance it. They want to enlarge it and enhance it to the point where it is totally out of anybody’s control.

[Rushdoony] And that is true, but not of all of them. I know some exceptions and a year ago now or a few days ago I had dinner with a congressman who represents a totally different standard and, of course, he says what you have just said about many, many of the leaders in both parties.

So there are those who oppose that sort of thing.

[Voice] Liberals tend to be enticed into politics because they are ideologues. It is a place where they can exercise power. They can redraw the board, redraw the blue print every time. Conservatives should want to get involved in politics almost to depoliticize it. We have become so centralized we should sort of the ironic situation of having conservatives elected so that they can weaken the political sphere. And that is what some of them are doing, thank God.

[Rushdoony] Well, there is so much hypocrisy on the part of people in politics. Someone, I believe it was Howard Philips who called attention to the fact that Bennett never talked about morality and the need for drastic changes in what we are doing in education and the need to teach virtue, although he doesn’t say what kind of virtue.

[Voice] That is right.

[Rushdoony] While he was cabinet secretary of education. Now it has become a good way of appealing to people whom he kicked in the teeth in earlier years. [00:44:59]

[Murray] {?} because he doesn't have the power now. But when he had the power... it is... it is always the same.

[Voice] Yeah. Now these people want virtue and goodness without God, you see?

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] That is what they wanted for, well, since the Garden of Eden. That is precisely the problem.

[Murray] Well, the... the ... the litmus test when you go to a political fundraiser or a political meeting for an aspiring candidate, just ask one question and you will find out exactly where he stands, he or she stands. Will you be willing to step down after two terms or whatever the term limit thing is? And you will know right then whether they have got that fire in their belly... if they have got that megalomania which is going to drive them to... to want to change history...

[Voice] One of the first goals of a politician is to stay in office, so...

[multiple voices]

[Rushdoony] It is...

[Murray] It is a prime directive.

[Rushdoony] It is a religion with too many of them. I realized that when I was very young. We had in California in those days a politician, a Socialist. And you must remember that in the 20s the Socialist party in the United States headed a good deal of the time by Norman Thomas was pulling more and more votes. Eugene Debs had been enormously popular before Norman Thomas.

In California we had a man who was an amazing orator, Stick Wilson was his name, totally forgotten now. But when you heard Stick Wilson you heard not only a remarkable orator, but a man with a... well, to use an old fundamentalist term, a passion for souls. He wanted to save America and he would... whether he was in a platform before a large crowd or before 12 people in a big auditorium or talking to one person this man had a plan of salvation and he was very intense about it.

The difference between Stick Wilson and the politicians for the most part of today and Eugene Debs before him and, to a lesser degree, Norman Thomas, was that these men had an intense belief in what they were saying.

The desire to gain power was not primary with them. They were misguided. If they had gained power they would have been dangerous. But now there is desire for power more than was apparent in these Socialists of the earlier part of the century. [00:48:18]

[Murray] Well, you know the old saying that the best...[edit]

[Murray] Well, you know the old saying that the best salesman in the world is the one who is sold on his own product.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Yes.

[Murray] The most effective salesman there are.

[Rushdoony] That is right.

[Voice] That is precisely correct.

Rush, when you look back on this century and you have been alive during most of it, what was it before... of course, you know, before World War II, specifically, what has so dramatically changed? There are a lot of people my age and older who never... of course, we only know about that era by... from the books we read. What... what were the most drastic changes that you have seen in your life time?

[Rushdoony] Well, there were changes underway before. All you had to do is go back to the editorials in the Hearts papers of Charles Ferguson whose religion was democracy. He had a powerful influence in many, many circles. But the bulk of the population at that time still had rural root even if they were living in a city the farm and the old folks, their parents were still home to them. And a popular poem when I was growing was still about over the hills and through the woods...

[Voice] grandmother’s house we go.

[Rushdoony] grandmother’s house we go for thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever. And that was true. People used to go back to the farm regularly for their holidays and for vacations as well. That was an ... a common form of vacation before the paid trips came into being so that they had humbler roots. They were plain folk, to use an old expression, very much so.

And I can remember shortly after World War II, I was on the Indian reservation in Nevada and there was this Presbyterian executive who visited the presbytery and he created something of a sensation. He had two good suits. Everybody else, ministers and laymen had their Sunday suit and rather worn out weekday clothing.

[Voice] Engaging in luxury, huh? [00:51:10]

[Rushdoony] And you had two suits it was very obvious...[edit]

[Rushdoony] And you had two suits it was very obvious because he changed suits. And he made the statement that they lasted longer because by hanging them up to rest between wears he got far more out of use and it was really an economy.

Well, whether that is true or not, I don’t know. But that was his statement.

Now that tells you the difference. That was in the late 40s and he had to explain the two suits.

[Murray] He had to justify them.

[Rushdoony] Yes. But the world has changed dramatically since then. We have had an inflationary prosperity.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] And we are going to pay the price for that very, very soon. And we are already seeing something of the price we are paying for it. So it is a very different world.

I recall on the Indian reservation this old Indian, one of the elders, Louie Dave who looked exactly like the Indian on the old buffalo head nickel and a very wonderful man who had as a boy hunted all over Nevada as their little band wandered here and there with a bow and arrow. And in the late 40s he attended the church’s general assembly flying there by plane. So as he remarked he grew up in the {?} and bow and arrow age, lived to see the atomic age dawn and flew to a meeting in the east in an airplane. It was quite a thing when he came back and told everybody what he had seen, because, of course, the nearest town was Elko, not very big and that is as far as most of the Indians ever got. And for Louie Dave to sit there and tell the Indians about the big city—I believe he went to New York for the general assembly—and about flying on a plane, it was quite a sensation all over the reservation.

[Voice] I imagine.

[Rushdoony] Well, we have only a very few minutes. Are there any comments you would like to make by way of conclusion? [00:54:07]

[Voice] Well, I think a good example we touched on...[edit]

[Voice] Well, I think a good example we touched on of the destruction that man causes by his own attempts to remake the world is what you just touched on is our... our debt and our attempts to... to remake the world and our foreign policy to our liking and a... an attempt to destroy poverty and, you know, our welfare state. We destroyed the wealth of many generations and we have gone from an economy based on capital to one that... that is structured around debt. And that is something we are going to be paying for for a long time to come. But it is a good example of how self destructive man’s illusions of grandeur and their ability to remake their world.

[Murray] I don’t think it will ever be paid. I think, you know, eventually it will have to default.

[Rushdoony] It may be paid off with worthless paper money.

[Murray] Oh, yeah, yeah.

[Rushdoony] Inflationary money.

[Voice] You know, I think that even though there is much about which to be concerned, we do have the promises of God and his Word and we need to be very diligent about the task of godly Christian Reconstruction and reordering our own lives and our families and churches and all of society in terms of the Word of God and we can expect success long term. So we not be afraid.

[Rushdoony] Very good. Is there anything you wanted to add, Douglas?

Well, thank you all for listening. We do enjoy these sessions together and with you. We try whenever possible to include subjects that you are interested in. We can’t always answer your requests for subjects because sometimes we don’t know enough about whatever you are interested in or we couldn’t talk for an hour on it. So we do the best we can. And we hope you will tell others about these Easy Chairs and urge them to subscribe to the Easy Chairs.

Well, thank you for listening, again, and God bless you all.