The Good Life - EC360

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Good Life
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 58
Length: 0:59:38
TapeCode: ec360
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 360, April the third, 1996.

Douglas Murray, Paul Biddle, Mark Rushdoony and I are going to discuss now the good life.

I have taken then subject from the title of a book by Loren Baritz written in 1989. The subtitle of The Good Life is The Meaning of Success for the American Middle Class. The book, in a sense, is a jumping off point. It is a fairly good book and it does call attention to the decline in the character of the American middle class in this century.

According to Baritz the first shock to the middle class came with the 1920s when debt began to be a way of life. Americans plunged into debt in a reckless way both in buying property and in the stock market with very serious repercussions which led to the crash of 1929. Of course, with the end of World War II we went back to this debt economy and even a more intense way than the 1920s. At that time you still had to pay a sizable down payment.

As Baritz points out in our history in the last century, a very high percentage of the cost of a property had to be paid down before you could buy it. And there were certain areas of life where you could only or the country where you could only buy with full payment. You had to pay 100 percent, no long term or short term loans. This still prevails in certain parts of the world.

When my brother and sister-in-law who do missionary work in the Balkans found that it was wiser to have a house in Greece than to make a hotel or an apartment their base, that it would be cheaper in just a few years, they decided to build and found that they could only build with full cash payment. He sent over enough to build a summer place in terms of American costs and found that he had a three story home with five bedrooms built with reinforced concrete in terms of U. S. or California earthquake standards. It overlooks the Aegean Sea and in back is Mount Olympus. [00:03:42]

They couldn’t believe what his money bought him...[edit]

They couldn’t believe what his money bought him. And, of course, it is because there is no property tax there and there is no interest to pay on a property.

Well, debt was the first breaching of the protestant work ethic in this century. What it said was you don’t have to wait. You can get it all now. And this has been especially true since World War II.

But since World War II we have added another breaching of the protestant ethic to the fact of debt. And that is in the area of sex. As Baritz points out playboy’s world offered a single, simple message. Women and men are an eternal in overpowering heat. They live truly only through their genitals and those who pretend otherwise merely play games designed to add fleeting and delicious preparatory tension to their inevitable surrender. The activating principle of life is female lust, promising every man relief from {?} in flames. Now American boy men could fantasize about safe conquest by melting over playboy’s paper dolls they could call their own. The large breasts of this safe doll were displaced as her only erogenous equipment. She could never witness a boy man’s flavor.

And it goes on to speak of the vulgarity and the breakdown of everything and says that what playboy hoped to do was to make lust respectable and that Kinsey, of course, worked to the same end. [00:06:00]

So the good life has come to mean affluence via debt...[edit]

So the good life has come to mean affluence via debt and sexual license ala playboy and penthouse. And the net result has been the destruction of the protestant work ethic which was basic to the country, basic to the whole history of the United States. So the good life has taken on an entirely different meaning.

I would like to comment on something that Baritz doesn't deal with here, but I have read a few books on the subject lately and I have forgotten their names. But we have had a revolution also in architecture. Older homes, good homes comparable to the middle class homes today in value, were much larger. If you go into any part of the United States and look up the old neighborhoods there are houses of two stories, many, many rooms, umpteen bedrooms, sleeping porches in many cases. And the rooms are large. Earlier there would be a small room near the front door which was a family chapel. That has totally disappeared. But this was once a part of the American home, because his faith and his family were basic to the American male and to his wife and children.

The home reflected it in its architecture. But now it is radically different. It is merely functional. It is a place to eat and sleep and to watch television. I recall shortly after World War II going to southern California from northeastern Nevada, the Indian reservation, to meet with some people. I did some speaking, as I recall it and I meet with this magazine group for whom I have written one or two brief things. We went to the editor’s home for a party. The home was a new and expensive home, very, very modern. Except for the bathrooms, all the walls, interior walls, were movable. They could fold up into a wall so that you could have a party using all of the house except for the bathrooms. And it was regarded as the ultimate in modern design. [00:09:18]

I couldn’t help but think it was a nightmare, because...[edit]

I couldn’t help but think it was a nightmare, because, first of all, you would never sleep quietly in a home where anybody could push the wrong thing and the wall would disappear. And, second, because I did not like the idea of home life which shifted from family life to a party, endless partying.

I am glad it did not catch on, but basically the modern home is not for family living. And that, too, is a great loss, because the good life is no longer seen as defined in terms of the faith and the family.

[Murray] Well, I was going to observe that it seems to me that playboy has succeeded beyond its wildest expectations because we have had a series of presidents in the White House...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] Who... whose lust has... is no longer a detriment to their presidential or their political ambitions. And so playboy got the job done.

The... the ... the middle class, I remember, in the San Francisco Bay area, where I lived for many years before I moved up here, I remember what you are saying. I think it was the Eichler homes where there were no partitions. And they had high vaulted beamed ceilings and there were no, you know, it was one great big room in a place and all glass. I mean, your... your life is like living in a fish bowl, you know, with glass all the way around. And I guess the neighbors if... it was before ... it was about the time television was coming in. I guess they figured that people just sit around and watch each other or something.

The... you know, there are a lot of well recognized factors that have gone into the diminution of the good life of the middle class, but certainly inflation is one of them. The pace of life where people simply can’t enjoy food, the advent of fast food restaurants is simply a symptom of the fact that we no longer have time to enjoy good food. We don’t take the time to enjoy good food. And, as a result, there are a few people who devote themselves to ... to the preparation of food as a pastime, but where... whereas it used to be a standard family activity where, you know, hours or sometimes days were spent in preparation for a particular meal, food for a particular meal. People just don’t do that anymore. [00:12:24]

The... the time isn’t there. The will isn’t there. And in many cases the... the economic wherewithal is not there. So one of the simple pleasures of life has virtually disappeared.

[Biddle] Well, speaking of the good life, I ... I love Dorothy’s description of the... of how we might get back to a cow and a milk pail, because I often look to these quality things in our foods. And I think for the American people the good life, you speak of housing. I think the American people have suffered in terms of the foods they eat, especially. We don’t have the flavors. We don’t have the colors. We don’t have the variety. I mean, you speak in terms of fruit trees or vegetables or anything else and our... our quality of life or the good life is something we almost cannot reach anymore, because no one has provided it. And perhaps we don’t have a long enough memory to understand that those things once did exist and provided us a lot of satisfaction that, no, I ... I think the... the good life is choice. And if you don’t have choice and you don’t have moderation so you can have a scope of choice, you end up not having a good life.

I mean, I ... I think no one can say that sex is wrong or that it is not enjoyable, but too much sex is just like too much of anything. It is not good for you. And I think that maybe during ... I don’t know when {?} his daughter is now running playboy, I guess. But we... we have had too much of this and that and what other and too little of some of the things that we really... we really do need and really enjoy.

That... that good life is starting to evade us.

[Murray] He has... he has... he has proven that you can wear yourself out.

[M. Rushdoony] I think entertainment media has had a big effect on redefining people’s concept of the good life. People, especially young people are ... are... who are very impressionable see what... things in movies. They see things on television. And even though they know it is not real, they get these subtle assumptions about what is desirable and what is not desirable. And so that is why I think young people increasingly, over the last half century have been kind of casting their line in all kinds of different directions and some of them quite absurd and... and counter productive and even destructive, because they see things ideal... idolized in movies, on television. They see lifestyles or ambitions that are really rather foolish. [00:15:30]

And I think that began probably very early, because...[edit]

And I think that began probably very early, because, well, California became a desirable place through the movies and I think it is from the early days movies have... have had quite an impact on people and their public perception. And they still do have a perception on how people perceive the United States, because of our ... what we export in the form of our movies. So even though we know it is ... it is not real, it affects us. And I have found a lot of students, a lot of their ideas of history comes from their impression of what they have seen on... in a movie, on television and they don't even realize it. Their idea of Puritans are what they have seen on television. Their idea of Abraham Lincoln is what they see in a portrayal. Their perception of World War II, it is what they have seen in old war movies. And on and on and on. And people’s perception of what is desirable and what the real world is like has been... has been largely molded by entertainment media in this century.

[Murray] It is extremely powerful. I remember {?} observed that... this was back in the... in the late 60s, I guess, that the average kid had over 3000 hours of television watching in before he hit the fifth grade. And that has got to have a powerful influence, more so than the parents. And then when the kids are able to read, what do they read? They don’t read the Bible. They don’t know what God’s prescription for a good life is. Television becomes their Bible. The... the pop culture becomes their ... their Bible. It defines what the good life is for them. What are... what other source of information do they have?

[M. Rushdoony] It really creates pop culture to a large extent.

[Murray] You know, what other... what other source of information do they have? I mean, they are... they are starved for information, first of all. And then they are fed garbage. Their hunger is fed with garbage.

[Biddle] Well is it... let me ask you question, Doug. Is... is the good life contentment which would be television watching or is it fulfillment?

[Murray] Well, it has to be fulfillment.

[Biddle] I think so.

[Murray] Nobody is ever content. The human...

[Biddle] I think,... think...

[Murray] Human beings don’t... don’t know what contentment is.

[Biddle] I... I do think we do have some sort of contentment, like, you know, people spend a lot of time in front of the TVs and they are contented being entertained. They are contented with this little box that interacts with them in a very active fashion, so to speak. I mean, they can sit there passive and just let it all come into them.

[Murray] Well, yeah, but, you know, the key word here is just passive entertainment. It really....

[Voice] That is not interactive. [00:18:19]

[Murray] Yeah, we haven’t gotten to interactive yet...[edit]

[Murray] Yeah, we haven’t gotten to interactive yet. I mean it exists technologically, but for the great majority of the mass audience out there, interactive TV hasn’t hit the shores yet. So that is the reason we have, you know, kids are ... are the way they are, you know, they... they don’t interact.

[Biddle] Well, I think this contentment thing is very important. Remember in clockwork orange.

[Voice] I didn’t see it.

[Biddle] They... they take the people who are the disappointments of your culture, so to speak, and they give them these little balls, like beach balls to hold on to and it puts off a vibration that makes them contented where they don’t bother you.

[Murray] Like a purring cat?

[Biddle] Like a purring cat. Only we shouldn’t say that to the cat lovers {?} but contentment and fulfillment are two different things. And I think Christians seek fulfillment. But I think there are many people that are very satisfied with contentment.

[Murray] That is because they are lazy.

[Biddle] Possibly so. But I... I...

[Murray] Humans... humans are very easily corrupted.

[Biddle] Yes.

[Murray] You know, television is a marvelous corrupting influence. I mean, it is just... it appeals to your instinct to take the path of least resistance.

[Biddle] So the...

[Murray] ...in life.

[Biddle] The good life is not having.

[Murray] Yeah.

[Biddle] ... a Sony 32 inch television. The good life is not having an ability to kick back in your rocker and not have to do anything. Those are contentment type things.

[Murray] Yeah, well...

[Biddle] I think the good life is fulfillment.

[Voice] I would vote for that.

[Murray] Television has now become the path of least resistance to knowledge. And... and that is the reason that there is so much control, the government has so much control. They can say what knowledge is. They can dispense it in any form they wish. You know, we... we have got pornography on television now that would have been un... unthinkable a couple of years ago.

[Biddle] Yes.

[Murray] But the government defines, the courts define, the media defines the ... the entertainment industry defines by what is seen on television. It has become all powerful.

[Biddle] {?} I am thinking of fulfillment with Mark, like I think Mark has a good life. I really do believe that from what I observe. I don’t know. You haven’t told me that, but I think you have a good life. But I was thinking about your {?} with the kids and doing with the sheep. That requires effort. It gives you fulfillment, not contentment, but fulfillment and that is a good life for you. And I... I think it has the same thing to do with … each of us has this thing that if we find fulfillment we have a good life. If we find contentment, we don’t necessarily have a good life. And all the things that we acquire, the physical possessions we acquire for the most part give us contentment and not the fulfillment aspect. [00:21:07]

[Murray] Well, how many times have we met people with...[edit]

[Murray] Well, how many times have we met people with enormous amounts of money who were the most miserable people on the face of the earth? I mean, they themselves are not far from being content or fulfilled. They may have fulfilled their wishes as far as wealth is concerned, but they are terribly... you know, their lives are just a shambles.

[Biddle] Last night I was reading Ecclesiastes, you know, the... and that whole {?} in Ecclesiastes, I think {?} contentment, you know, but I think fulfillment is... is the big thing in the good life.

[Rushdoony] One of the things we need to consider now is the fact that in this country we represented the good life for generations with the world because here you could be free and you could worship as you wished so that we were a magnet to the world. Twenty million people migrated to the United States by 1900. It has been called the largest population transfer in history. There was a very, very great outpouring of immigration because of the upsets of World War I so that the number from 1900 to 1920 approximately was very, very great.

Now these people came here at a great cost. It meant uprooting themselves. It meant accumulating the money or being staked to it by their family and relatives. And they came here because they were ready to work. It used to be that in New York the pay at the beginning of this century for immigrants was eight to 14 dollars a week and that was the high pay area. It was half that in Boston where a lot of immigrants landed as well. The interesting fact is that those immigrants did not stay in the poor neighborhoods very long. In New York it was about six or seven years and they moved upward, because every member of the family that could get a job worked. They were out to improve themselves. And the result was this work ethic was potent. They brought it with them. [00:24:21]

Now it is important to realize that in those days you...[edit]

Now it is important to realize that in those days you could not land and go on welfare as they do today. You were immediately deported if at any time because of illness or anything you applied for welfare. You could not. So these were people with a work ethic.

Now the interesting thing is Baritz and other writers who have dealt with the subject of immigration have said that the congestion, the number of people in a square block or in a single dwelling on the lower east side was worse than in Bombay. And Bombay is often held up as the example of how low people can be, how poorly they can be housed and cared for. It was worse in New York on the lower east side.

But those people were out of there very quickly. It was a temporary place. And the orthodox Jews who landed there made Bombay look like a blissful place in terms of congestion, because they brought in all their friends and relatives, sent for them as fast as they could, piled them into rooms and as quickly as possible moved upward.

This to them was opportunity. The good life was going to come by working beaus they were going to have freedom for themselves and freedom for their faith. And now that no longer defines then good life for all too many people in this country.

[Murray] Well, a good life has become redefined as self indulgence.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] You know, many people used to find contentment in work. Artisans would find contentment in doing a particular job. Now they are looked upon as oddities, guys that make barrels and people who make oak furniture. You know, there are certain almost lost trades, wheelwrights and so forth. There is a fellow down here in Farmington that restores old horse drawn carriages and stage coaches and so forth.

[Rushdoony] There are lots of Mennonites in the area. [00:27:12]

[Murray] Yeah, well, I don’t think he is a Mennonite...[edit]

[Murray] Yeah, well, I don’t think he is a Mennonite, but I mean he is... he is probably one of the last living wheelwrights in this country. Wells Fargo sends that stage coach, they have got three or four of those stage coaches down there and they send them down to him to be overhauled every now and then. And I mean to look at the guy, you wouldn’t think he had very much money, it seems to me, you know, and the facilities that he works in and the way he walks around and the car he drives. He just... he does it because he likes to do it and there are ...

[Biddle] Fulfillment.

[Murray] That gives him... that gives him fulfillment.

[Rushdoony] One of the things I remember vividly from my boyhood days, which is going back 70, 75 years, was the fact that men like blacksmiths who had craft and a knowledge, if you went by a shop or anyone like that was working, there would always be men who were passing by who would stop and watch him work with respect and admiration, because what he was doing was difficult work. It was knowledgeable work. A blacksmith did more than shoe horses. He was a skilled worker in his craft and there was respect for him.

Of course, it goes back to the fact that in Longfellow’s day going back 170, 75 years, he wrote a poem expressing that, the poem about the village blacksmith which, in my day, you memorized. Dorothy probably could recite it. I can’t.

[Murray] One of the most popular displays over here at Columbia, this restored...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] ...town, the most popular display in the whole place, you go over there on a Saturday and walk around the place there is more people standing outside the blacksmith’s shop, because they have never seen it before.

[Rushdoony] A few years ago there were only half a dozen blacksmiths in the United States. Now there are a couple of hundred.

I would like to quote Irving Howe who came from an immigrant family and he said, “Our parents clung to family life as if that was their one certainty.” This is how important families were. [00:30:04]

Now a very important aspect of the world of the ...[edit]

Now a very important aspect of the world of the 20s and 30s was the immigrant family. We don't realize that because of the tremendous upheavals of World War I a great many people had to leave Europe, had to leave the Middle East, Armenians, the massacres, many people fleeing Communism in eastern Europe, many others fleeing for one reason or another the oppression that arose in various parts of Europe and the Middle East.

These people came over and together with their children by 1930 they were one third the white population of the United States. Their devotion to family life was intense. Irving Howe, to repeat his words. “Our parents clung to family life as if that was their one certainty.”

Well, what this did was to revive the basic character of this country because family life had been basic to 19th century America and now the immigrants revived it. We face a situation today when we have problems from every direction. First, the third and fourth generations do not regard family life as important. They have been so thoroughly affected by public education that their standards are neither familistic nor biblical.

Then you have the sexual revolution and its impact so that the good life is no longer what it was to Americans over the generations. The immigrants at that time reinforced what had been the American tradition of faith and family. But since World War II our immigrants come over here and go on welfare. We have a great many illegal ones. We have a population of, what is it, 30,000 who are criminals, I believe, in California. These are illegal aliens. [00:33:07]

And across country the illegal aliens represent a criminal...[edit]

And across country the illegal aliens represent a criminal element. The legal ones too often are ready to go on welfare as soon as they come. We all know here of one family that came over and before their first day was over they had applied for welfare. This is common place now. It was once illegal.

So this has led to a redefinition of the good life in this country. It is now an entitlement idea. I am entitled to this or that. I am entitled to live well or to have what I want.

[Murray] Well, that is... that is the new contentment is to get money and not have to work for it.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] As long as the government hands it out, people being as easily corrupted as they are, they go for it hook, line and sinker.

You mentioned the sexual revolution. I think that was, you know, it was sold as a revolution, but it was... really was a devolution.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] It took us down. The disrespect for life, the Supreme Court decision in 1973, Roe v. Wade, it... all those things took us down, the lack of respect for God’s law has evolved into a lack of respect for life and a lack of respect for ... for one’s self. High rates of suicide, disintegration of family. Now you have parents killing their children either in the womb or after they are born and it is a daily... becoming a daily occurrence on the news. People are becoming less and less surprised, less and less shocked. And we are turning into a bunch of cannibals.

You know, we are... we are ... we are consuming our young. Any species on the planet that kills its young, eventually has to become extinct. I mean, they... it is a numbers game. You can’t destroy your offspring without destroying your... yourself and your species. It is amazing that people haven’t figured this out. You know, that if you suffer from lack of fulfillment or contentment, the Bible is the greatest handbook for living that there is, you know. If there is anybody out there that is confused about what to do and can’t find instructions, when all else fails, read the instruction book. You know? It is like the ... the ... you buy a new appliance or something and you can’t get it to work, you know, if you ... if you can’t get your life to work, there is a hand book out there. Everybody ignores the instruction book, but when all else fails, if you hit the wall, pick it up and give it a try. [00:36:25]

[Rushdoony] Well, we are in the midst of revolution...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Well, we are in the midst of revolution or devolution, but it is suicidal. It has no future. I believe the tide is already turning against it. The fact that the Christian school and home school movements have grown so phenomenally is an indication that there is a different future ahead. And the growth has, indeed, been sensational. Mark and I were at the home school conference a week ago Saturday. It was for northern California, held in the civic auditorium and they filled it. It was very interesting, because these people are doing something that is not easy to do. It takes a lot of time and they are doing a remarkably good job of educating their children. Well, those children and the Christian school children are going to be the leaders of the future. And they represent a real revolution.

It was interesting that the attorney for the home school movement, the main man, Michael Farris, a very superior man who was there, was himself evidence of a change coming. As he said, he was born in Arkansas and grew up in Washington state, went to the university there, had the credentials of a liberal and wrote a paper and won a prize for it as a student on over population and what a problem it was. And he said, “You can see how much I have shifted in my position when you know that I have nine children now.”

Well, this is what is happening. We are the future. And that is why they are afraid of us. They hate us. [00:39:01]

[Biddle] Rush, you know, you...[edit]

[Biddle] Rush, you know, you... you speak about this good life and you speak in terms of when you were a young follow and so on. Some of the kids today that are in to these tattoos, safety pins through their nose, piercing this, piercing that, they... the proliferation of casual drug use. What is going to be the good life for these people? Are they going to have a good life?

[Rushdoony] No. The Bible says, “All they that hate me, love death.” The amount of suicide among young people today is growing. The number of young people in their teens and 20s who say they have no reason for living is growing. At the same time that these people are wiping themselves out, another element, a Christian group is taking over increasingly. So we are in difficult times, but it is a time of transition. The new definition of the good life is a definition of suicide, basically. Debt is a form of slavery and of death. And the sexual revolution is culminating in abortion, AIDS, homosexuality and the enlightened people of our time are for euthanasia. So Dr. Death, Dr. Kevorkian is a hero to them. The whole scene is one of an exaltation, not the will to death. And God is going to give them their wish.

[Murray] You know, the New York Supreme... I guess it was the New York Supreme Court just ruled that doctor assisted suicide is ok and medical... they were interviewing a... the woman... a woman who is the president of the American Medical Association and they are not comfortable with that.

[Rushdoony] Well...

[Murray] ... and not for the right reasons.

[Rushdoony] In the Netherlands elderly people are afraid to go to a hospital because without their consent they can be put to death. And that situation, while not legal, is, I am told, taking place.

[Murray] Sure. Well, they are... you know, they... they say, well, the safeguard is that the ... the patient has to be intellectually capable of making this decision. Well, how many people who are, you know, terminally ill or seriously ill, you know, are really at the top of their game? And the pressures for the hospital and their so-called ethics committee place on their medical staff to rid themselves of a sometimes enormous financial liability can be pretty overwhelming. And, you know, you have to believe that under the right circumstances or the wrong circumstances a bad decision is going to be made. [00:42:50]

So, you know, every time man elects himself god, you...[edit]

So, you know, every time man elects himself god, you know, he gets himself into deeper water than he can swim in.

[Biddle] Well, you know, bringing God into the good life... I am to pose the question to Mark. I would like to hear him speak to it. But as a parent, the good life is having your kids turn out in a way that you are happy and you are fulfilled by. You see children adopt values that you think will serve them will in life. And I know with my son when he went to school at the Christian school at Saint Paul’s Canterbury at Los Altos with Mr. Milbank’s oversight, he turned out to be a beautiful child. And it was because he was involved with the Church, involved with a religion, involved with learning in a Christian context and that turned out a different product. Other people, I think, who don’t have that going for them, they sometimes suffer and do not have as good a life as they might.

Mark, you... you earned not only an education, but you have some great kids. And I... I think that is a big part of it, in turning out kids that are... that you are really happy with, you are fulfilled by.

[Murray] And children are the greatest indicators in the world. You know, they don’t... they don’t very often hide their feelings. You go by a public school and you see all of the sullen zombies walking around.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] And... and you ... you go look at kids in a Christian school and they are laughing and their faces are just lit up in joy. They are having a good time doing what they are doing. The difference is stark. I mean, you can’t miss it. You can’t miss it.

[Rushdoony] Yes, it is very depressing to go by a public school during lunch hour and see them walking the streets. They are a scruffy looking lot.

[Murray] Pagan zombies.

[Rushdoony] And, yes, pagan zombies, an excellent term for them.

[M. Rushdoony] And they... they are... and they look miserable. It shows.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] They are miserable. You talk to them and, you know, they haven’t got anything good to say about their lives whatsoever, nothing. There is no fulfillment. There is no contentment. They are continually agitating, rebelling against authority, rebelling against God, rebelling against society, rebelling against their parents. I mean, how can you achieve fulfillment or contentment under those conditions? It is impossible. [00:45:16]

They weren’t born with this...[edit]

They weren’t born with this. It is a learned behavior. Our culture teaches this behavior. So, you know, the culture needs to be reformed.

[Biddle] Rush, you are a grandfather.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Biddle] What has been the good life for you now? Speak in terms of ... of something personal for you.

[Rushdoony] It has been the ability to serve God and to have children and grandchildren who love the Lord. It has been a joy. And I hope not too long a time will pass before I have great grandchildren. The first of my granddaughters is already married.

I would like to go back to Baritz’ good life book and what he says on page 300 following.

“Philip Reiff, the University of Pennsylvania sociologist showed how the western world has slowly liberated itself from religious culture. The organization of thought by faith, acceptance of mystery, invention of music and architecture to glorify God and the rationalization of social institutions such as the patriarchal family to reflect its God centeredness. This aesthetic culture, rich in symbols and nuance, based on conscience and guilt, thou shalt nots, was overthrown in favor of a psychological culture symbolically impoverished and vulgar, based on intelligence, leading to a desire to feel good and composed of members who believe they had passed into a world that seemed not to have evolved from their own childhoods, new people in a new world, free to worship each in his own closet, liberated from emotional bonds, emancipated from love. In this new irreducible church of solitary worship, impulse replaced prayer. Religious man was born to be saved. Psychological man is born to be pleased,” as Reiff wrote.

Then he continues a little later.

“Even Nietzsche, our great thundering prophet of expressiveness occasionally peered over the brink and recoiled, but the free Americans demanded everything. They insisted on the release of the isolated self which in the 60s was called doing your own thing and which existentialists described as authenticity and by post aesthetic Americans, characteristically in a command, ‘Get out of my way.’ A 25 year old bicyclist ran over and killed an 86 year old woman because, he said in justification, she got in my way.” [00:48:44]

So that is what the good life has become...[edit]

So that is what the good life has become. And it is killing off the people who worked for it. So we are the people of the future.

[Murray] Well, it seems like Christians are the only people left in this planet with any hope. Everyone else seems to be running on the arrogance of electing themselves god.

[Rushdoony] And we are growing in numbers. I have cited often a figure given of an average of 300 Christians killed for their faith every day somewhere in the world, but about double that number new converted every day.

[Murray] Well, there is lots of people out there that just cant’ stand to see anybody having a good time. But I guess you have to hang in there.

[Rushdoony] Yes. The good life is a life only open to Christians in the final analysis. Everybody else is trying to replace the quality of life with things, having possessions, accumulating as much as they can accumulate.

When I was young there was a saying which is still known, but not considered as seriously as then. You can’t take it with you.

[Murray] There was no Brinks armored are following Howard Hughes to the grave yard.

[Biddle] What do you think we can do, Rush, with our children to encourage them to seek out a good life consistent with our understandings of a good life?

[Rushdoony] First we have to set the right example. Then, a second, it requires teaching and more teaching and then more teaching. Nothing else can replace it. [00:51:12]

One of the things that has happened between my generation...[edit]

One of the things that has happened between my generation and the present one is the emphasis on doing things with your children. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, but when you realize that for a long time fathers didn’t have the time for that, they didn’t work eight hours a day.

Dorothy’s father worked, at first, 14 hours seven days a week and only towards the end of his life was there an eight hour day. Now how much could you do with your family? Well, surprising how much they could do and did do. They set an example. They were the law. They led the family in worship. They took the family to church if they were home. But they made clear there was a standard.

Now that was the great contribution they made and that is the contribution that is missing today.

I know how shocked I was when I was young, really shocked and embarrassed when I heard some of the wilder kids... I am talking going back to the 20s, talk about my old man. That seemed so disrespectful to most of us and it just shocked it every time we heard it. But that kind of disrespect kids picked up, even good kids nowadays. And they don’t stand in any position of respectful awe of their parents and their father in particular. That is the biggest single change, I think, within the family that I have seen since my childhood. And...

[Murray] {?} I was just going to say that there has been too much of an effort since the 1950s to create a buddy, buddy relationship...

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:54:00]

[Murray] ... and destroy the respect that should be there. You know, there is... there is a bridge, but there is also a separation.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] And the separation is one of respect, but, you know, you have to maintain this bridge with dignity. And in the recent generations that... that dignity between the generations has been destroyed.

[Rushdoony] Well, even when I was in high school I could remember the saying by some of the kids, big strong farm boys, you know, 190, 210 pounds, six foot, six foot one and they would shake their heads over what some of the town boys would say casually about their fathers, you know, not expressing hatred, just disrespect and their attitude was: If I said that, I would picked my dad and I picked myself up in the corner.

[Murray] Yeah.

[Biddle] Well, you have had a lot of contact with my son, Rush, because we see him about ever two weeks. But Doug’s emphasis on dignity between a... a father and a son, I think, is a very key part of it.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Biddle] But I ... I think back when I was little I used to always love to do things with my dad. You know, if he was doing something he would say, “Go get the screw driver.” Oh, I really wanted to go get that screwdriver. Or if we were working in the garden and he would say, “Bring the hose over here,” oh, that was my job. I went to get the hose. I think too often now father’s hesitate to involve their kids in what they do. They don’t... my dad used to take me with him when he was working and things like that and that... that closeness of a father and son is very beautiful.

[Murray] This goes back a long ways. I mean, to... to biblical times.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] It is how kids learned. They learn practical ... practical knowledge by observation and that ability to be with their father when the father is working is... is a very key element in their education.

[Rushdoony] Well, our culture, films, television, all the kids in the neighborhood have worked to destroy that old position of respect, a patriarchal authority. And our culture is suffering from it and it is leading to a barbarization of the young. More and more of the marks of a barbarian mark the young.

We are seeing it in every field. We see it in music. The amount of good music that was current when I was a boy, whether in school or in society was remarkable. On radio and even into the 60s still on television symphonic music or folk music that... from different cultures. But now the music is of the most debased variety and television has been a corrupting force. [00:57:29]

[Murray] Well, music has been another devolution...[edit]

[Murray] Well, music has been another devolution.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] To see who can get to the bottom first and still make money.

[Rushdoony] Well, all you have to do is to recall the Boston Pops orchestra under Arthur Fiedler. They played good music. But now most of what you get from the Boston Pops you can get without a symphony orchestra. It is just wretched stuff, very popular, very, very weak musically. It is very sad what has happened there.

[Murray] Well, every marketing effort now takes advantage of the common denominator of marketing to 12 year olds...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Murray] ...because they are just reaching puberty and they feel that if they can capture them at that point, they have a life long customer. They, you know, they have just reached the age of reason, supposedly, when they are beginning to pull away from parental authority. And they feel that that... if they can catch them at that point, they have... they have a life long customer. So they ... maintaining parental control through that period is very important. But you can’t do it without respect.

[Rushdoony] Well, our time is almost up. I think the one thing that has contributed to the barbarization of language among young people is the lack of teaching of poetry.

Time’s up now. Thank you and good night.