I Hear Music in the Air

I have in my acquaintance two very precocious young men- ages 9 and 11. I remember one particular drive home from school very vividly. The windows were down; summer rain was in the air. The air conditioner was broken, but the radio was not. And so at the tortoise-like speed of 10 mph ( we were in a school zone for goodness sake, and our ride home is littered with speed bumps), Zach , Jake, and I drove home from elementary school one happy Friday afternoon singing Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts” to our hearts content. A glance in my rearview mirror showed me two boys bouncing around the back seat; the older brother leaning up against the younger in an effort to recreate the accompanying percussion on the other’s knees. Heads bobbing, faces beaming, hands tapping on the electronic rhythms, we sang up and down the speed bumps, each of us attempting to sing louder than the rest.

Now as a classical musician, I am well aware that Top 40 radio hits can’t always be relied upon to demonstrate ideal morality or even admirable heroes. Let’s face it, most music on popular radio stations today doesn’t even exhibit unadulterated musical talent . But in some small way, the joy I remember catching in the faces of my rearview mirror that day reflected that joy that Sandra McCracken speaks of in this article linked from Christianity Today. McCracken writes this op-ed. “Children’s Music Matters” in honor of the release of her most recent album “Rain for Roots: Big Stories for Little Ones”.

She writes:

This reality is a great equalizer, and it makes me want to consider that honor even in the hope that the simple songs they sing and memorize should also be great songs. Strong, singable melodies. Rich, meaningful truths. Beauty for its own sake. Joy for its own sake. And by all means, we hold in view that the songs honor the great truth of God that shapes their character as they sing. The same thinking pertains to those of us who write music intended for children, or to those who teach music to kids in schools or churches—the same high standards of excellence still apply. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” The same is true for music.

We should sing those songs that “honor the great truth of God” as McCracken says– songs that mold our characters into those that honor God and his kingdom.

Name some tunes Salvo readers. Which songs have stood the test of time in your homes? Which hymns or songs from your childhood do you love specifically because they form us to love truth and beauty?

Parents: which songs did you love to share with your children? Kids: which songs or artists demonstrate to you the joy that McCracken speaks of above?

“Jesus, what are we doing?”

No one survives an abortion encounter unscathed. Even though he’d been raised in a family that was “thoroughly pro-abortion” and believed that abortion was “always the best option,” after his wife’s abortion, one post-abortive father was surprised by his own reaction. Despite the fact that he’d wanted it, insisting on it so vehemently he’d threatened to leave her if she didn’t consent to it:

“I found that I felt guilty, like I’d stepped over a line that shouldn’t have been crossed. There was also a feeling of dread, of impending doom. I sensed that some sort of divine punishment was waiting for me, and it was frightening.”

Dr. Arthur Shostak, who describes himself as “unswervingly pro-choice,” also confessed distress after involvement in an abortion:

“While I believe my lover and I chose the least-worst of the options available to us over two decades ago, I have lingering regrets about the situation.”

And that paragon of virtue, Steven Tyler, wrote this about witnessing his girlfriend’s abortion, which he also had coerced under threat of abandonment:

“It was a big crisis. … they put the needle in her belly and they squeeze the stuff in and you watch. And it comes out dead. I was pretty devastated. In my mind, I’m going, Jesus, what have I done?”

Jesus, what have I done? Whence cometh these reactions from decidedly pro-abortion fathers?

What have I done? indeed. One of the three, the one who opted to remain unnamed, eventually let that question penetrate his emotional defenses. But it wasn’t easy:

“I kept trying to find ways to run from that feeling of punishment. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, and I had no idea what I was feeling, or why. Our country’s lawmakers had made abortion legal, hadn’t they? They said everything was fine about it. So, why did I have these feelings? Why was my wife having these problems? During that time I started drinking more. I got more actively involved in sports. I did anything I could to try and cover up the feeling. I just wanted to quench it.

I didn’t want to think about the abortion or have anything to do with the subject, but my wife’s distress was a constant reminder. I tried to ignore her. If I allowed myself to believe that her problems were the result of the abortion, then I’d have to admit that what I did to her was wrong. I was very stubborn and very prideful. I had a heart like stone.

But one day I had a revelation. It was almost like someone removed scales from my eyes, allowing me to see clearly for the first time what I had done. My heart softened and I saw what abortion really was–not a solution to a problem, but the taking of an innocent life.”

He faced the difficult reality of it, and that opened the way for him to process the distress and lay it to rest for good:

“Several years later, my wife got involved with a post-abortion counseling ministry in the local area. One day they had a men’s outreach. I went, but I really didn’t want to share anything personal with this group of strangers. … But I took a chance. I opened my life to these Christian men and told them what I had done to my wife.

I expected anger . . . but what I found instead was compassion.

I expected judgment and condemnation . . . but what I found instead was forgiveness and acceptance.

I expected hatred . . . but what I found instead was Christ’s love being expressed through His people.”

His answer to post-abortion distress?

“Jesus truly is the only answer to post-abortion guilt.”

Father’s Day is this Sunday. Feminists will tell you that abortion is a women’s issue. It’s not. It’s about men just as much as it’s about women. Maybe more. Look at how all three of these pro-abortion men found themselves deeply troubled in the wake of a real abortion. Those feelings are saying something important. We would do well to listen to them.

For as much as loud voices of the day insist that everything’s fine with it, the conscience knows better. It’s not fine. The taking of an innocent life is never okay, and the conscience knows it. Face up to it, and Jesus can deal with the guilt of it. Ignore it, and it will remain. It’s as simple as that.

May God bless fathers today, including the post-abortive ones. May God inspire more men to face up to what we are doing. And lay the abortion holocaust to rest for good.

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Going to college? Watch out for political correctness and impractical degrees

Here’s a fine book I enjoyed reading written by my friend Ari Mendelson, which talks about the dangers of political correctness on the university campus, and especially in the humaninities. It’s a work of fiction, but it’s based on actual cases from a variety of college campuses.

Here’s a snippet from Ari’s web page about the book:

Lured by brochures promising limitless intellectual freedom, Jeff Jackson arrives at picturesque Tinsley College, eager to experience college life to the fullest. He does not know that the freedom he has been promised is in short supply at Tinsley, a college so dedicated to leftist ideals that the administration changed the name of the anthropology department to “anthrogynology” in order to make the name more “gender inclusive.”

 

Jeff makes the mistake of believing that the renowned Professor Bancroft Tarlton would be willing to debate the left wing politics that the professor advocates in his classes. Not realizing that there are just some questions one does not ask on a college campus, Jeff submits an essay outlining his provocative theories about happiness and human sexuality.

Professor Tarlton is not the only one furious at Jeff for his lack of devotion to left wing norms. Calling himself a “pomosexual” and believing Jeff to be not only a homophobe, but a “pomophobe” as well, Carl Fitzgerald, Jeff’s classmate, begins a feud with Jeff. The battle escalates from insults, to vandalism, to shattered love affairs and a dorm room inhabited by a fainting goat. In a college obsessed with political correctness, a clash between the writer of a “homophobic” essay and the “pomosexual” victim of a college prank can only end one way: with a showdown in a campus courtroom.

You can click the link to learn more about the book. It’s a nice little introduction to parents and college-bound students about what really goes on in the liberal arts departments of most universities. I resonated with the hero of the story who chose to study liberal arts, even though I studied computer science for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I knew that political correctness dominated in the liberal arts. My first choice of career was actually to be a lawyer and then an English teacher. I sat in on a criminal law course at one local university and then an English course at another while I was a senior in high school. That’s when I changed my major to computer science based on my experiences. Now that the economy is the way it is, I think it was the right thing to do.

University is a fine thing as long as you go there to learn math, science, technology or engineering. If you go there to study anything else, all you will learn is how to parrot the opinions of your professor. Any dissent will be met with bad grades, and possibly expulsion. There is no focus on producing value outside of the STEM departments. Not only is it a waste of money to be indoctrinated, but it destroys your ability to think critically and independently. You want to learn valuable skills in your time at university – all the better to pay back those enormous student loans. In case you would like to read a good book on the importance of choosing a major in STEM fields, here is a book authored by Captain Capitalism which makes the case for that, with all the facts and figures you would expect from an economist.

Here’s a blurb from his blog:

The amount of money they (or you) are going to spend on tuition, not to mention the sheer volume of their youth they will spend pursuing a degree, can NOT be wasted simply because nobody had the courage to tell the kids the truth about economics and the realities of the labor market.

But you don’t have to.  The book will do it for it you.

 

“Worthless” explains first and foremost to the reader that the reason somebody got them this book is because that person really cares about them.  And while it may not be what they want to hear, they will end up appreciating it in the future.  “Worthless” also goes into detail and explains in clear, understandable language the economics behind the labor market, showing the reader how and why some degrees are worthwhile and others are literally worthless.

Sometimes, people just seem to go off to university and choose a major without really thinking about it. Both of these books will help a college-bound student to think a second time about why they are going to college and what they hope to achieve there. It might even be a good idea to just choose a trade school and learn some practical skills. In this economy, the first priority is to find a job. You can always study the really interesting fields like philosophy in your spare time once you are gainfully employed.

May Day, East and West

As far back as ancient Rome, May 1stMay Day – has been celebrated as a spring festival in the northern hemisphere. But in the nineteenth century, that changed. Ironically, though the change began in America, America eventually rejected it. In other parts of the world, however, the shift in May Day emphasis gave way to radical upheavals of whole societies with generational consequences.

Seeds of Revolution
It began in America. In the 1800s, unhappy workers in the industrializing US began to agitate for a shorter workday – eight hours, to be exact. And it was the eight-hour movement which directly gave birth to a revolutionalized May Day. Not long after the Civil War put an end to real slavery, the National Labor Union adopted the language of slavery to advance its cause. At its founding convention in August, 1966, the following resolution was passed:

The first and great necessity of the present, to free labor of this country from capitalist slavery, is the passing of a law by which 8 hours shall be the normal working day in all states in the American union. We are resolved to put forth all our strength until this glorious result is attained.

In September of the same year, the Geneva Congress of the First International, an international consortium of labor unions, resolved to issue the same demand:

The Congress proposes 8 hours as the legal limit of the working day.

Eight-hour leagues were subsequently formed in America, and several state governments adopted the eight-hour day on public work.

The following year, 1867, Karl Marx called attention to this development in the first volume of Capital (Das Kapital). In a chapter called “The Working Day,” Marx too compared the plight of workers to that of slaves and similarly attached his cause to theirs:

In the United States of America, any sort of independent labor movement was paralyzed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the republic. Labor with a white skin cannot emancipate itself where labor with a black skin is branded. But out of the death of slavery a new vigorous life sprang. The first fruit of the Civil War was an agitation for the 8-hour day – a movement which ran with express speed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from New England to California.

May Day: A Day for Agitation
A young American labor organization which would later become known as the American Federation of Labor (A. F. of L.), was the first organization to call for specific action on May 1st. At a meeting in Chicago on October 7th, 1884, it passed the following resolution calling for a walkout eighteen months hence:

Resolved by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions the United States and Canada, that eight hours shall constitute legal day’s labor from May First, 1886, and that we recommend to labor organizations throughout their jurisdiction that they so direct their laws as to conform to this resolution by the time named.

A year later, the Federation reiterated the resolution on the planned walkout, and several national unions organized to prepare for the struggle. According to International pamphleteer Alexander Trachtenberg:

The rank and file of both organizations were enthusiastically preparing for the struggle. Eight-hour day leagues and associations sprang up in various cities and an elevated spirit of militancy was felt throughout the labor movement, which was infecting masses of unorganized workers.

There were detractors in this nascent worker’s paradise. Certain leaders of the Knights of Labor, especially one Terrence Powderly, were, according to Trachtenberg, “sabotaging the movement and even secretly advising its unions not to strike.” But the May 1st, 1886, demonstration took place, nonetheless. Its most intense concentration point was Chicago:

The May First strike was most aggressive in Chicago, which was at that time the center of a militant Left-wing labor movement. Although insufficiently clear politically on a number of the problems of the labor movement, it was nevertheless a fighting movement, always ready to call the workers to action, develop their fighting spirit and set as their goal not only the immediate improvement of their living and working conditions, but the abolition of the capitalist system as well.

This first May Day demonstration led to what became known as the Haymarket Affair, which left 18 people in Chicago, 10 strikers and 8 policemen, dead and more wounded. But it was the inaugural battle in the Marxian class struggle, and the war was on. At the first congress of the Second International (the First International had disbanded), held in Paris in 1889, May 1st was officially designated as a day on which workers of the world would organize in their political parties and trade unions to demand the 8-hour day. At the Congress of the International at Zurich in 1893 the following resolution was adopted:

The demonstration on May First for the 8-hour day must serve at the same time as a demonstration of the determined will of the working class to destroy class distinctions through social change and thus enter on the road, the only road leading to peace for all peoples, to international peace.

Thus did international unions pursue the glorious goals of the 8-hour day, social change, and the class upheaval that would eventually bring about world peace. May Day demonstrations grew in the east, and by 1900, the Russian revolutionary movement was gaining steam under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, who wrote in the preface to a pamphlet, May Days in Kharkov, in November, 1900:

In another six months, the Russian workers will celebrate the first of May of the first year of the new century, and it is time we set to work to make the arrangements for organizing the celebrations in as large a number of centers as possible, and on as imposing a scale as possible, not only by the number that will take part in them, but also by their organized character, by the class-consciousness they will reveal, by the determination that will be shown to commence the irrepressible struggle for the political liberation of the Russian people, and, consequently, for a free opportunity for the class development of the proletariat and its open struggle for Socialism.

Revolutionary Success in the East
May Day became known as Red Day, and the cause achieved its stated goal with the Russian Revolution of 1917. Under Lenin’s leadership, the Russian people were politically liberated, the struggle for Socialism was won, and the Soviet Union was born.

But Failure in America
But in America, the May Day movement took a different turn. Certain “reformists” (a pejorative term used by Trachtenberg) after the manner of Terrence Powderly, were not sufficiently aggrieved to take up the struggle against their employers. They began scheduling May 1st demonstrations on the nearest Sunday and turning May Day into a day of rest and recreation instead of struggle, a day of labor holiday, games in the park or outings in the country instead of war.

This turn did not sit well with the International, to whom May Day was to be a “demonstration of the determined will of the working class to destroy class distinctions.” The reformists did not consider themselves bound by the decisions of international congresses, and this could not be tolerated. In 1904, the International demanded obedience, resolving:

The International Socialist Congress in Amsterdam calls upon all Social-Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace. The most effective way of demonstrating on May First is by stoppage of work. The Congress therefore makes it mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May First, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers.

Freedom Prevails
It was an order that was, thankfully, more or less ignored, the Socialists having become more oppressive than industrial employers. The reformists moved American observances of Labor Day to the first Monday in September, thus inaugurating the national holiday Americans know today.

Russian novelist Leo Tolstoi, a contemporary of Lenin, wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” These ‘misleaders,’ as the Socialists called them, wisely foresaw that the Socialists’ designs for changing the world were, at best, ill-advised. Whether it was because they valued their hard-won political liberties too much to kowtow to the International’s dictates, or, understanding real slavery enough to find the Labor unions’ analogies grotesque, or simply because the Judeo-Christian work ethic resided deeply in the American psyche, they have done a great service for subsequent generations.

We can remember them and thank them by likewise rejecting leftist agitation and keeping May Day as a spring festival.

*Information for this article was drawn from “The History of May Day” by Alexander Trachtenberg, Published: International Pamphlets, 1932, Proofed and Corrected: by Dawen Gaitis 2007 for Marxists.org

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The Greater Hoax

"You Can Save the Earth?"

Are you enjoying Creation this Earth Week? The first nationwide Earth Day was held on April 22nd, 1970, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin, the founding father of the Soviet Union. Some say the date is only coincidental. Some say it’s isn’t.

I don’t know. But I do know this: Behind the ‘Save the Earth’ movement runs a forceful undercurrent of hostility to God that is consistent with his state atheism. Take a look at these snippets of media coverage on James Inhofe’s new book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future:

That last one, from Rachel Maddow’s personal blog on the MSNBC website, is especially telling, considering Maddow interviewed Inhofe and said she read the whole book. Presumably she invited him onto her show to discuss it, but she appeared wholly uninterested in the substance of it or the science supporting it. In fact she looked rather peeved when he went into it, but that could be because he blew her out of the water when it came to discussing the science. Click here to see the interview.

Clearly, what to her is all about going along with ‘consensus,’ is, to him, all about the science. That and serving the American people. And he knows what he’s talking about. The Senator, who serves on the Senate Committees on Environment and Public Works writes:

“I began my own investigation into the science in 2003, because I found out how much the ‘solution’ would cost and I said that if the United States was even going to consider such expensive, drastic measures that would fundamentally change our economy, the science driving that decision had better be solid. After my rigorous research, I found that it was not – and over the course of six years, more and more flaws continued to surface.”

This was in keeping with his principles for responsible public service:

“Because the Environment and Public Works Committee has primary jurisdiction over the issue of global warming, I realized that as Chairman, I had a profound responsibility, as any ‘solution’ to global warming would have far-reaching impacts for our nation. That’s why from the moment I took up the gavel, I established three key principles for our work on the committee: (1) it should rely on the most objective science, (2) it should consider the costs on businesses and consumers, and (3) the bureaucracy should serve, not rule, the people.”

The Greatest Hoax chronicles Inhofe’s decade-long service on behalf of the America people, explaining in plain language the scientific research and the legislative processes whereby it has been politicized, if not bastardized, in the name of saving the planet. In The Greatest Hoax he chronicles his efforts over nearly 300 pages and documents his facts with over 400 footnotes.

But Maddow mentions none of this, either in the interview or in her blog post titled, “Inhofe refutes climate science with scripture.” So where does that title come from? Inhofe is an unapologetic Christian. He quotes scripture;

“As long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” (Genesis 8:22)

Professing evangelicals differ on environmental politics, and Inhofe’s opponents, both in the media and Congress, use that to try and bring him in line. It is in that context that the Senator references this verse from Genesis. “God is still up there,” Inhofe reminds the evangelical alarmists, “and he promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”

So, to Rachel Maddow, Inhofe is an ‘opponent of climate science.’ Not ‘an opponent of a political agenda,’ not ‘an opponent of a scientific theory,’ but ‘an opponent of climate science’ due to ‘the far-right senator’s interpretation of Scripture.’ It’s as if the interview never happened and the Scripture quotation was the only sentence she read from the book. ThinkProgress and Right Wing Watch practice similar journalistic malfeasance. Meanwhile, the good Senator does his job, unswayed by sneers and mockery.

I don’t know enough to predict the future of the planet. But I do know that when the truth comes out, two things will be clear: (1) There is a God up there who has the earth and its climate firmly in hand, and (2) Senator Inhofe’s objection to green politics is not based on his interpretation of Scripture.

This week, marvel away at the beauty of the earth. And do what you can to preserve and protect the life that lives on it. But marvel even more at its maker, who created it out of nothing and daily holds and sustains it in the palm of his hand.

To believe otherwise is to buy into an even greater hoax.

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