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July 4 — at a time near the end of the world

Now in these dread latter days of the old violent beloved U.S.A. and of the Christ-forgetting Christ-haunted death-dealing Western world I came to myself in a grove of young trees and the question came to me: has it happened at last?

Two more hours should tell the story. One way or the other. Either I am right and a catastrophe will occur, or it won’t and I’m crazy. In either case the outlook is not so good.

Here I sit, in any case, against a young pine, broken out in hives and waiting for the end of the world. Safe here for the moment though, flanks protected by a rise of ground on the left and an approach ramp on the right. The carbine lies across my lap.

Just below the cloverleaf, in the ruined motel, the three girls are waiting for me.

Undoubtedly something is about to happen.

Or is it that something has stopped happening?

Is it that God has at last removed his blessing from the U.S.A and what we feel now is just the clank of the old historical machinery, the sudden jerking ahead of the roller-coaster cars as the chain catches hold and carries us back into history with its ordinary catastrophes, carries us out and up toward the brink from that felicitious and privileged siding where even unbelievers admitted that if it was not God who blessed the U.S.A., then at least some great good luck had befallen us, and that now the blessing or the luck is over, the machinery clanks, the chain catches hold, and the cars jerk forward?

. . . .

I… am a Roman Catholic, albeit a bad one. I believe in the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, in God the Father, in the election of the Jews, in Jesus Christ His Son Our Lord, who founded the Church upon Peter his first Vicar, which will last until the end of the world. Some years ago, however, I stopped eating Christ in Communion, stopped going to mass, and have since fallen into a disorderly life. I believe in God and the whole business but I love women best, music and science next, whiskey next, God fourth, and my fellowman hardly at all. Generally I do as I please. A man, wrote John, who says he believes in God and does not keep His commandments is a liar. If John is right, then I am a liar. Nevertheless, I still believe.

. . . .

Poor as I am, I feel like God’s spoiled child. I am Robinson Crusoe set down on the best possible island with a library, a laboratory, a lusty Presbyterian wife, a cozy tree house, an idea, and all the time in the world.

[Source]

Comments

  1. Cubeland Mystic says

    Well done, add a thousand words or so and try to sell it. It is the heart of a really good essay. It’s already a really great post.

    First, its personal but not too personal. It’s well balanced.

    Second, the subject matter is great. It floats. I like the imagery a lot. As the cubeland mystic God gave me the mission to warn people that we are at a time near the end of the world.

    It begs to be read again. I am going to read it again. Are you pro-life?

  2. Rufus McCain says

    Oops. Sorry Cube. I should have cited the source. (I did link put a link in the title of the post.) This is from the fabulous Walker Percy novel, Love in the Ruins.

    Or are you pulling my leg? If you’ve never read it, you need to drop everything and go get a copy and read it right now.

    And, yes, I am, and Walker Percy was, pro-life. And Love in the Ruins, along with its sequel The Thanatos Syndrome, are WPs two most overtly pro-life novels.

  3. Cubeland Mystic says

    I did indeed think it was you. Namely the 3 girls in the room. I thought it was your family.

    Other than what you and Matt have posted, I’ve never read Percy.

    I am strange about writing and writers. I read. I like it. Reading then reminds me that I should express myself that way.

    Then it depresses me, that I have little time to write. Also I fear other writer’s influence. I try to be unique. If I cannot fully posses the beloved, I exile myself from the beloved. I run from the muse. So I keep the fictional reading to a minimum. I read Mariette in Ecstasy last year. The beauty in every sentence killed me a little bit. I am weird that way.

    Seriously I thought it was you writing a semi-fictional essay. I see the west in those terms with their war on life in the quest for comfort. Yesterday, I saw two bumper stickers and I wished for a camera. It was “Peace Please” on one sticker, “Keep Abortion Legal” on the other. What the F k? That’s our country. With people like that, someday I could see myself sleeping with a rosary wrapped around one fist, and a Glock clenched in the other. “The Rosary and the Glock: Tales from the Domestic Monastery”.

    It’s not the ovenstuffers that are so shocking, I expect them to excel in their murderous ways. “It’s just a blob of cells!” My reply is “So are you. How much do you have to weigh before the state confers a right to life on you?”

    It’s our side that is more troubling with their fake rosy attitudes, hope, optimism, and joy. It’s hard to maintain a positive attitude and sense of joy while being crushed under a mountain of dead babies. It’s hard to see the light living in the dark shadow of that same mountain.

    That post was very relevant and very beautiful. Thanks Rufus. Sorry for the negative ramble.

  4. Cubeland Mystic says

    One more very important thing. For three hours I did think you wrote it, and for those hours I was very very happy for you.

  5. Rufus McCain says

    I like the idea of you thinking I wrote that for three hours. My best three hours as a writer ever.

    Speaking of three hours, I just spent three hours scouring the blogosphere and YouTube for primary documentation of Obama’s position on abortion. Man, he is very very pro-choice. Extremely. Anyone who doubts it ought to go to YouTube and watch his 20-minute speech to a Planned Parenthood group. My fantasy of becoming a Catholic Obamacon after the fashion of Kmiec might have come to grief. Although in some ways I’m all the more impressed by Mr. O.

  6. Anonymous says

    In a better world where all men respect and honor women; where all women respect the sanctity of life; where abuse, incest, and rape (mostly committed by men) is not prevalent; where a family with 4 children and 1 on the way, living in poverty, could expect real help; where the people picketing Planned Parenthood are willing to “step up to the plate” and give meaningful support to “the dregs of society.”
    In that world, the tragedy of abortion, would be shouted down by the populace.

  7. Cubeland Mystic says

    In the mean time feel free to arbitrarily redefine human life, and set the example by killing the weak and helpless. I think the argument is weak, and kind of sad that it continues.

    If the pro-death materialist team wants an economic means test, why not arbitrarily redistribute children/units as well as wealth? Why not take large families living in poverty and send the excess units who the family cannot afford to live with other units who can afford the excess? Codify it as part of the cost of membership in society that more prosperous cable units support the excess units of the less capable with their time as well as their treasure.

    Would the pro-death materialists be willing to support an economic means test for fertility? Would a unit be forced by the state to prove economic viability before they can breed? Would the pro-death materialists also advocate that if the unit cannot prove economic viability that they undergo forced sterilization or face prison?

    What would the pro-death materialists do with the weakest of society like units born to rape, incest, with diseases that even capable family units could not afford? Would they terminate the units? If not why not?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:EnthanasiePropaganda.jpg

    As far as the rape/incest justification, is concerned. As heartbreaking as it is why is it morally justifiable to commit a crime against humanity in the wake of a crime against humanity?

    I’ve heard so many emotional heartfelt appeals to women being raped and forced into these circumstances where they have to kill to get out of the situation. But what I never hear is a solution from pro-death materialists except more killing and more state intervention and more injustice. Only emoting. Has anyone done a study that documents how many abortions were due to rape or incest VS, how many were performed on upper middle class girls with bright futures who didn’t want to be held back? Its hard to believe that 40+ million abortions were all performed on rape and incest victims.

    I know that you are trying to do the right thing, I don’t hold that against you. The pro-life crowd is committed to support women who who refuse to undertake the final solution for their unborn. We support quite a few of those charities. Please consider looking into it. I’ve read the literature from your side, and I choose life.

    I am going to go hit the gym now. Behind the counter works a teenage boy who is Down Syndrome. He greets every single person with a smile and love. Absolute unconditional love, and in the pro-death materialist world he would have been terminated. What would you have done if you were his parent?

    Anon, please join us in making the world the place that you describe. You’re more than welcome.

  8. Anonymous says

    Let’s see, cm, based on my small paragraph, you have branded me a mis-guided “pro-death materialist” who would without a whim abort a Downs Syndrome child.
    I would love to respond intelligently to your self righteous assumptions about me, but I will just say, you are wrong on many levels. Jesus said, “Judge not………”

  9. Cubeland Mystic says

    Anon, that is an incorrect interpretation. It was not directed at you it was directed at your assertions. I believe your are a human being capable of great compassion and love. If you were not motivated by compassion why would you have bothered to write in the face of great tragedy and human suffering? I see that. It is obvious that you love. If your assertions are your beliefs, then it also obvious that you have not yet realized the path of sacrificial love.

    Perhaps I am wrong. But please answer my questions. They are directed at your argument, not you. Defend them.

    If you cannot then join us.

  10. Anonymous says

    OK–Fair enough. As you probably know, in 1998, law professor John Donahue and economist, Steven Levitt, wrote a very controversial research paper on the relationship of Roe v. Wade to the decline in the crime rate. Although many have since disputed the methods of the study, still, most admit that in the early years, at least, the majority of abortions were done in the realm of the impoverished. Since then, abortion, being so readily available has served as birth control for many. All of this is very troubling, but making criminals out of pro-choicers and giving money to charities is not the answer. We, as individuals, need to address the root causes by taking person to person action: Take a troubled teen into your home(I tried that–not easy), support leaders who are willing to try new approaches, FOCUS ON STRENGTHENING OUR OWN FAMILY TIES—
    The other thing that is troubling to me is that pro-lifers (I’m not directing this to you) often are pro-death penalty, pro-nuke the whole country of Iran etc. etc.
    How can one be anti-abortion for all reasons here in America and yet advocate the destruction of life—unborn and otherwise in other situations?

  11. Cubeland Mystic says

    “The other thing that is troubling to me is that pro-lifers (I’m not directing this to you) often are pro-death penalty, pro-nuke the whole country of Iran etc. etc.”

    I agree with you here. The murderers who kill for pleasure, I am not yet capable of compassion for them. It would require supernatural grace. I will kill in defense of my family. But in principle I support a consistent ethic of life, so I am against the death penalty, nuking Iran etc.

    more later I have to go.

  12. Cubeland Mystic says

    At a time near the end of the world, all the questions I asked are relevant. If one asserts materialist justifications for abortion it will lead to more abuse.

    Without getting into the whole medical thing with big business and government (which is worse) economics will continue to dictate solutions to problems. Money is the primary measurable performance indicator. Business people and politicians will always take the path of least resistance. Morality does not factor into their calculations. Typically solutions for poverty, retirement, education, health care will be directed at the least common denominator. Because those are the only types of processes that monstrous institutions can support. People will defend the processes they support, because that is how they earn their keep these days. We are not self sufficient. They have no choice but to support the system if they are doctor, nurse, or medical book keeper. Can you see where I am going? I don’t know if it can presented concisely in comments boxes.

    If abortion can be tolerated for economic reasons then why not euthanasia, if euthanasia can be tolerated, then why not forced euthanasia for the terminal or any other economic drag on the system? Watch and see when the boomers start to die, and the money isn’t there to pay for all the fancy medicine.

    You are right criminalizing abortion is not the answer. Although it should not be legal. Your original comment is evidence of my point. Your point is abortion should be legal as long as there is poverty and crime. My point is people will justify greater atrocities because their is poverty and crime.

    The truth is poverty and crime will always be. As a solution materialists will provide comfort to the weak by imposing even greater injustices on the weaker. The evil will never end. It rises and falls with circumstances. I fear we are on an uptick.

    The culture of death has always been with us. If these evils will always be with us, perhaps it is time to imagine a culture of compassion to replace it. How about we just don’t go there? We are not going to kill babies for economic reasons, we are not going to sterilize people for the same, we won’t discuss killing the elderly and terminally ill.

    Please rethink your assertions, consider that evil will continue, and that employing more evil on the weakest will not create more comfort only more fear. The only force that we humans can muster to challenge the evils of materialism is the force of compassion. I am confident it will work.

    Anon, help us challenge the culture of death. Consider challenging it with your compassion.

  13. Anonymous says

    Wow Rufus, a trickle quickly turned into a river when these two commentators took off in sixteen directions from your original post!! I guess it’s time for the silver-back of the clan to cast his thoughts into the fray, albeit without the keen edge, wordsmanship and depth of knowledge that the commentators have offered. Here is how I sorted out some of this:

    I know that Anon is not trying to “redefine human life” nor is an advocate for all of the atrocities suggested by Cube in his initial rebuttal to her comment. I sense that when all of the smoke is cleared away, Cube and Anon are pretty much on the same page when it comes to sanctity of life, but Cube has jumped behind the rhetoric and emotion of the “pro-life” political group and Anon is venting the frustration of actually being involved with the “dirty hands” part of helping those who can’t help themselves. I don’t think anything she said suggested that the 40+ million abortions were rape and incest victims—what she is suggesting is that we should be trying to fix the root causes of abortion, and sometimes there is a whole load of hypocrisy and disingenuousness about the legal and moral issue of abortion. It is real easy to pay lip service to being “pro-life” and it is real easy to throw money at charities that advocate for and support women who choose other than abortion—Planned Parenthood does that too—but more importantly, this is a drop in the bucket when it comes to helping with the underlying issues of poverty, abuse, incest and general abuse of women and children (born and unborn). It is also a “clean hands” approach to all of these problems—“ give the charity some money but don’t make me deal with these problems”. In citing the Donahue-Levitt study, I think Cube incorrectly took that as her endorsement of abortion for economic reasons. What Anon is saying is just the opposite—for moral reasons (and I suppose economic reasons too), we should be fixing the basic causes- not paying lip service to them. While I think Cube’s intentions are good, my sense is that he is conflicted about the basic issue of “death”—and is compartmentalizing abortion as a special “death”—which is why in my view, there is inconsistency in the Roman Catholic stance on this issue.

    And yes, I will vote for Obama, but not because he is “pro-life” or “pro-choice” but because I still think he will be a stronger advocate for a compassionate government—where the sanctity of all life is important.
    Pappa McCain

  14. Rufus McCain says

    I’m impressed by this unfolding dialogue. I won’t try to dissect much of it right now, but since it was brought on by my mention of my doubts about voting for Obama due to his extreme position on abortion rights, I will say that I haven’t ruled out voting for him. Probably, in good conscience, I won’t be able to reconcile his position on abortion — which appears to be hardline Planned Parenthood resistance to any and all legal restrictions — with a vote for him. (cf. this and/or this.) I’m not sure I’ll be able to reconcile McCain’s (no relation) position on the war in Iraq and other issues with a vote for him either. But it’s a long way to November and my mind is far from made up.

    I would take issue with my dad’s view that “there is inconsistency in the Roman Catholic stance on this issue.” For me it is the Catholic Church, pretty much standing alone, that offers any hope for a consistent “ethic of life.” Cf. this and this and this.

    To quote a John Prine song, “Jesus don’t like killing, no matter the reason’s for.”

  15. Rufus McCain says
  16. Cubeland Mystic says

    Anon 2

    To live like Christ is a journey of transformation. That is why there is a conflict which I shared to show anon 1 that it is not easy to be pro-life. Someone gets killed in a home invasion, it is not that hard of a decision to support the sanctity of life, if the victim is my kid harder but doable, people who kill for fun, very hard. Also, I said in defense of my family not self-defense, I am not sure but I don’t think I would defend myself. I need to be here for my family, and they have a right to life. So I need to protect them, and myself. Once that job is done, I think I will be able to pursue holy union and total detachment.

    War and nukes, I agree with Anon 1. But the church is consistent in their views on the sanctity of life.

    Actually, I think these comments are relevant and not astray to the post. (BTW, this novel it is officially book marked at Amazon, and I will read it.)

    If the post is about apocalypse, then this subject is very relevant. I feel that materialist thought will bring about the “end of the world”.

    I mentioned a bunch of points which are tangential, about processes and systems that are based on economics. Ultimately that is why we will get euthanasia in the country, because the processes will demand it.

    Anon 2 you mentioned compassionate government as a reason to vote for Obama. There is no such thing as compassionate government. It will never happen. As I said in my last post more government means more process with more people dependent upon it for their existence. As you increase the number of these institutions and their support bureaucracies the more liberties we will lose.

    In the future I can imagine a time even closer to the end of the world where a government or corporate bureaucrat saying, “If we don’t stop paying for expensive and useless therapy for these terminally ill people, it will bankrupt the system. But what do we do to end their suffering?”

  17. angelmeg says

    cubeland mystic,

    corporate insurance carriers are already deciding what therapies they will or will not cover for people who are living with cancer. People have to make choices (sometimes between remission and death) based upon what their insurance will cover.

    I myself have been told by our insurance carrier that a therapy that my Dr recommended was not going to be covered by them. The cost to us would have been exorbitant and we had to make the economic decision to choose another less costly but covered by insurance choice. Luckily for me my condition wasn’t life threatening, I just had to live with a little more discomfort than I might have if the insurance carrier would have allowed the other therapy.

    It really makes me mad that some actuary that has no idea who I am makes decicions about my heath care and can override my Dr.’s orders (it makes her mad as well, but she is just as hog-tied as I am when it comes to working with insurance companies.

    Socialized medicine isn’t the answer either. I have a friend in Canada who has arthritis, and was wheelchair bound by the time she was finaly able to get an appointment with a specialist. She ended up coming to the US and paying money out of her own savings to see a Rhumatologist before it got so bad that she was totally disabled.

  18. Cubeland Mystic says

    Angelmeg

    This is exactly what I am talking about, as you say “override my Dr.’s orders (it makes her mad as well, but she is just as hog-tied as I am when it comes to working with insurance companies.”

    The doctor is powerless, the doctor has kids and bills and bills and bills and bills to pay too.

    I’d don’t recall if you came to my blog, but I was kind of leading toward alternative meds and treatments. A lot of it starts with diet and exercise.

    I just don’t trust the docs anymore. They really creep me out, my last doc was a real drug pusher. Fear and everything. I just mentioned really casually that my job was very stressful, and he said well if it continues let’s talk about better living through chemistry. That is pretty close to a quote.

    I am not knocking modern medicine, I am knocking the process and supporting systems. That’s why government will never be compassionate only more hostile. Because the people who run it will make it that way since they survive by it.

    Because of the profit motive big business does better, but I am skeptical of them too.

    What I was thinking is a new medical order in the church. It would be set up like Opus Dei as a personal prelature. But the families would be doctors or nurses. They would work out of compassion, as well as compensation. There would also be celibates who live in community, and finally priest-physicians. Part of the compensation would be that the families needs would be met, so the kids could go to college for free etc. You as a patient would have to pay cash, but a visit might be $20, probably have to sign a waiver or something to get around insurance costs. Am I making sense here?

    The order would be based on compassion. it would be to stop the rising black tide of materialism etc. It’s been really on my mind a lot.

  19. Rufus McCain says

    Cube (Do you mind being called “Cube” by the way?): I’m thinking the Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub should shift gears and do Love in the Ruins. Would you participate if we do?

  20. Cubeland Mystic says

    no I don’t mind. Yes I would like to read it. I am going to try to buy it from our local book store.

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