Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Dietrich von Hildebrand, Hitler's Worst Enemy

Volume XV, Issue XI

Adolph Hitler's Worst Enemy

Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977), born in Florence, was the son of renowned German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand. A leading student of the philosophers Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler, he took up the “great questions” – about truth, freedom, conscience, community, love, beauty – with a freshness that allowed him to break new ground, especially in ethics, but also in epistemology, social philosophy, and aesthetics. His conversion to Catholicism in 1914 was the decisive turning point of his life and the impetus for important religious works. His opposition to Hitler and Nazism was so outspoken that he was forced to flee Germany in 1933, and later across Europe, finally settling in New York City in 1940, where he taught at Fordham University until 1960. He was the author of dozens of books, both in German and English. He was a major forerunner of Vatican II through his seminal writings on marriage, on Christian philosophy, and on the evil of anti-Semitism.” – The Hildebrand Project [1.]

To have the wickedest man of the Twentieth Century label you his worst enemy has to be a signature honor. As the publisher of an anti-NAZI publication in Austria Dietrich von Hildebrand indeed found himself under Hitler’s scrutiny. Hildebrand was a great defender of the reality of objective truth. He also reminded us of the place of the objectively beautiful in describing Faith.

Dietrich von Hildebrand
[click to read]

The Forgotten Voice

He was a rare kind of philosopher: he was not just a thinker who aimed at formulating truth — he was also a witness who testified to the truth. Let me explain what I mean by giving you some background to his Vienna years. Von Hildebrand was aware of National Socialism from the time of its first appearance on the German scene. He must have been a well-known opponent of it already in 1923, for in that year, when Hitler tried to seize power in Bavaria, von Hildebrand's name was on a short list of enemies of National Socialism who were marked for execution. He left Germany for good in March of 1933, just days after Hitler had taken office. He moved to Vienna and founded an anti-Nazi journal. He must have made his voice heard, for in 1937 the German ambassador to Austria, van Papen, denounced von Hildebrand to Hitler as the intellectual leader in Austria of the opponents of German National Socialism, and in fact suggested eliminating von Hildebrand and his collaborators. Von Hildebrand stood his ground until Hitler entered Vienna in 1938. For over four years he lived in constant danger of assassination as he bore witness in the pages of his journal. (read more)

Dietrich von Hildebrand
[click to read]

In His Own Words

I was born in Florence on October 12, 1889, the son of the famous German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand, and his wife, Irene Schaueffelen. My parents lived in a beautiful house, a former convent of the Fratres Minimi, situated on the outskirts of the marvelous town of Florence. I grew up in these glorious surroundings, sheltered in the superabundant love of my mother, and of my five sisters, all rarely gifted personalities. Everything was pervaded by the genius of my father who was, not only great as an artist, but also as a personality. My youth was one of the happiest one can imagine. (read more)

To whom will the sublime beauty of a sunset or a Ninth Symphony of Beethoven reveal itself, but to him who approaches it reverently and unlocks his heart to it? To whom will the mystery that lies in life and manifests itself in every plant reveal itself in its full splendor, but to him who contemplates it reverently? But he who sees in it only a means of subsistence or of earning money, that is, something that can be used or employed, will not discover the meaning, structure, and significance of the world in its beauty and hidden dignity.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Art of Living

The great mystery of our metaphysical situation, that God is nearer to us than we are ourselves, is manifest in the fact that we cannot even be wholly ourselves—in the sense of individuality as a unique divine thought—until we are reborn in Christ.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, Transformation in Christ

Love is not concerned with a person’s accomplishments, it is a response to a person’s being: This is why a typical word of love is to say: I love you, because you are as you are.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Art of Living

For, just as love embodies the life of all virtues and expresses the inmost substance of all holiness, humility is the precondition and basic presupposition for the genuineness, the beauty, and the truth of all virtue.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, Humility: Wellspring of Virtue

Humility involves the full knowledge of our status as creatures, a clear consciousness of having received everything we have from God.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, Humility: Wellspring of Virtue

Happiness is love’s outcome, never its motive. Where someone is loved he is an end in himself and certainly not a means toward something else. It is therefore of love’s essence, wherever it is found, that the loved one seem precious, beautiful, and worthy of love.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God's Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family

Love alone brings a human being to full awareness of personal existence. For it is in love alone that man finds room enough to be what he is.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love: God's Plan for Love, Marriage, Intimacy, and the Family

Better to be a beggar in freedom than to be forced into compromises against my conscience. —” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich

The soldier of Christ is obligated to fight against sin and error. His battle against the Antichrist is prompted by his loved for Christ, and for the salvation of souls. He fights this battle for the salvation of those who have gone astray. His attitude is one of true love. But those who flee from the inevitable battle, and treat irenically those who have gone astray, obfuscating their error and playing down their revolt against God, are, fundamentally, victims of egoism and complacency.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand

Anti-Semitism was clearly not just anti-Christian and immoral but also quite foolish.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich

There were a host of people who viewed my rejection of National Socialism as exaggerated and who perceived my sharp tone as un-Austrian. Even many Austrians whose political views were relatively good found my stance too abrupt and not in keeping with Austrian sensibilities.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich

The more our life is permeated by God, the simpler it becomes. This simplicity is defined by the inward unity which our life assumes because we no longer seek for any but one end: God.” ― Dietrich von Hildebrand, Transformation In Christ

The Problem of Original Zinn
[click to read]

Howard Zinn’s One Sided View of History

Who is the most influential historian in America? Could it be Pulitzer Prize winners Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. or Joseph Ellis or David McCullough, whose scholarly works have reached a broad literary public? The answer is none of the above. The accolade belongs instead to the unreconstructed, anti-American Marxist Howard Zinn, whose cartoon anti-history of the United States is still selling 128,000 copies a year twenty years after its original publication. Many of those copies are assigned readings for courses in colleges and high schools taught by leftist disciples of their radical mentor.” – Daniel J. Flynn. Howard Zinn, widely hailed as a ‘historian’ once stated “Objectivity is impossible, and it is also undesirable. That is, if it were possible it would be undesirable, because if you have any kind of a social aim, if you think history should serve society in some way; should serve the progress of the human race; should serve justice in some way, then it requires that you make your selection on the basis of what you think will advance causes of humanity.” And so it goes that millions of young minds are being selectively fed Zinn’s view of history which highlights the sins of our great nation while largely ignoring her noble beginnings and aspirations. History according to Zinn must serve a “a social aim” other than the preservation or interpretation of a historical record. A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn’s 776 page book attempts to do just that. (read more)

Restoring all Things.

G-d's Audacious Plan
to Change the World
Through Ordinary People

The only two things that can satisfy the soul are a person and a story; and even a story must be about a person. Men... are much oftener led by their hearts than by their understandings." -- G. K. Chesterton

Modern Evangelical Christians often miss the power of the story" -- Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet

After I had completed the manuscript for 'Pontifus, the Bridge Builder's Tale in Three Parts,' I discovered Restoring All Things by Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet. It was as if these two scholars had seen my feeble attempt to bring redemption into a contemporary (albeit slightly futuristic) narrative. They see the dark and hopeless narrative of the culture and counter it with stories of hope and heroism by quite ordinary people.

The language of the Church often seems like a foreign tongue to those in contemporary culture. Indeed, in the afterglow of great revivals, Christian thought was present in the culture. One would know some Biblical wisdom as part of the narrative. Today the Church is speaking into a culture that has relegated Christian ideas and ideals to a place outside the discussion. The authors note how C. S. Lewis: "...had the challenge of building the bridge between the culture of Oxford and Cambridge and the culture of the Church. These cultures were worlds apart by his time." 

Lewis was 'bilingual,' so to speak, understanding the language of the Church as well as the language of the academy. He was able to present a world unseen to those in the secular academy. He and his fellow 'Inkling,'  J. R. R. Tolkien opened new vistas to mankind in the Twentieth Century. I am eternally grateful to them.

But the real beauty of this little book is that it is NOT merely a catalyst for intellectual discussion, but a call to action. Smith and Stonestreet show how Christians, ORDINARY Christians, ministered to those in their own communities. It was Christians who cared for their neighbors during plagues. History is full of the stories of the Church meeting human needs. The Saints of the past lay out a pattern for compassion today!

It is the Church that will continue to make the case for the value of all lives... making the case that if we want to protect children from abuse, we will protect them in the womb as well. The authors quote the oft repeated statistic that divorce rates are about the same for Christians as for Non-Christians and dig deeper, finding a significant difference for those who actually adhere to Scriptural authority. The oft quoted statistic includes ANYONE who merely identifies as a Christian. The reality is where Scriptural principles are the benchmark, there is significantly LESS divorce.

In fact, the Church can do the world a great service by 'Giving Marriage to the World Once Again.' Indeed, a world that has cheapened and discarded the institution simply needs to see more of the lovely thing it was created to be.

My favorite chapter is: 'Coloring Outside the Lines,' and it describes how Christians have cherished learning and innovation through history. The Church can provide meaning, purpose and foundations for the acquiring of knowledge. Though we often associate Christian curriculum today with notions such as: "color the grass green, the tree trunk brown..." the truth is that the Church historically has led in education, even establishing the great universities.

Today the Church must reengage in G-d's work to Remake the world. Smith and Stonestreet provide the workbook; and illustrate it profusely with stories of ordinary people doing just that.

Morality without G-d?

'Moral Atheism', A Conundrum

Suppose I should stumble upon a beautiful house in the woods. Is the architect merely a device I conjure to explain how post and beam arranged themselves over billions of years?" Such an argument would seem foolish to most, yet that is essentially the argument that occurred as NPR interviewed Phil Zuckerman, professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College. The titles of his books tell you where he is coming from; “Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions,”  “Faith No More” and “Society Without God.” The argument is essentially this: As more and more Americans seem to be turning away from G-d, the fact that most of us still believe in the Golden Rule... is some morality simply built into us as a species? [2.]

Barbara J. King writes: "In a book called The Bonobo and the Atheist, primatologist Frans de Waal argues that morality is built into our species. Rather than coming to us top-down from God, or any other external source, morality for de Waal springs bottom-up from our emotions and our day-to-day social interactions, which themselves evolved from foundations in animal societies.

For 30 years, de Waal has authored books about apes and monkey that open our eyes to the bottom-up origins of our human behaviors, ranging from politics to empathy. In this, his 10th volume, he extends that perspective by writing, "It wasn't G-d who introduced us to morality; rather, it was the other way around. G-d was put into place to help us live the way we felt we ought to." [3.]

And so, is this some great new revelation. Is Faith now rendered obsolete because morality is indeed visible outside of its boundaries? If 'evolution' gave us our morality programmed in, who's the PROGRAMMER? Much like the idea life on earth seeded by space aliens, one must simply ask: "How did THAT life come to be?

But is the house of Faith caught speechless? Centuries ago the Apostle Paul wrote these lines, which squarely address the matter:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of G-d unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of G-d is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of G-d is manifest in them; for G-d hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and G-dhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew G-d, they glorified him not as G-d, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible G-d into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore G-d also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of G-d into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause G-d gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 

And even as they did not like to retain G-d in their knowledge, G-d gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of G-d, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of G-d, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." -- Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭16-32‬ KJV

Evident in the "new" morality apart from G-d there is indeed at least a surface compassion, yet the push to marginalize Divine texts as a source for moral instruction has led to a 'civil morality' that must redefine marriage and personhood to incorporate non-traditional marriage and consequence-free sexual expression (through the employment of abortion). Those who would ask that we consider the rights of the unborn or the rights of conscience of those who adhere to traditional definitions are indeed excoriated as the 'heretics' of the new moral state.

Nowhere is this more evident than the academy. Lutheran college student Bethany Woelmer writes: "As college students, we swim in a sea of worldly lies and deceptions, whose roaring waves bring fear and doubt upon our consciences and whose subtle currents attempt to carry us farther from the truth. We swim in a culture that redefines marriage, misinterprets G-d’s Word and promotes intolerance against the fundamental reality of family and its blessing to society and the Church. Yet there is a wave of truth, that is, G-d’s Word, that transcends the wisdom of man, and it brought hundreds of college students to the Taboo conference in St. Louis, Jan. 5-7, to answer questions that many of us encounter today." [4.] The campus ministry conference addressed, as its name suggests, many topics the new atheists wish Christians would not. Woelmer's Report [click to read] on the conference is worth reading.

Ironically, Woelmer points out a great problem. While atheists may insist that 'family values' are 'programmed in,' so to speak; their philosophies actually are at odds with the preservation of family. Intellectuals like Sam Harris say things like: "If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion." Thinkers like Harris and Richard Dawkins see religion as a greater evil than truly defined evils. Citing the 'reasonableness' of science (it always invites free inquiry, right)?, they engage in an all-out attack on Faith as they seek to create a 'reasonable' society.

But is science really dogma-free? Consider the matter of "Global Warming." Even as the East Anglia emails [4.] showed climate scientists were forming the data to fit their desired narrative, the 'scientific community' continued to brand skeptics of the theory as 'heretics.' Popular culture fanned the flames through spokespersons such as Leo DiCaprio, who's passion for the narrative verges on fanaticism. Removing Divine Revelation from the discussion of morality has not resulted in a world without dogma. In fact, it has resulted in a new dogma, based on the sketchy evidence of computer models. Humans are "destroying the planet." "Zero Population Growth" and carbon credits are the new law to be delivered from the mount, not of Sinai, but of 'science.'

Casting aside the wonder of Imago Dei, the wonderful concept found in Genesis that man is created in the image of G-d, we are now seen by 'reasonable' men as nothing special. The theological implications are staggering. Man is just another species with no special place and if his presence unsettles the planet, reduce the population. In a profound irony, Self Actualization, as described by Abraham Maslow, becomes all-important in this new G-dless world.

Therefore, in the muddy new world of G-dless 'morality,' if I love the unborn I may be branded as a hater for denying someone the 'right' to kill her unborn child. Yet it is the Inspired Writings that tell us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us. It is the Christians who rescued unwanted babies who were cast into the Tiber River. There is a level of sacrifice that is unnatural, that goes far beyond sacrificial protection of our young. Consider the actions of the 'Righteous Gentiles' during the Holocaust. Consider the great stories, the stories of heroism and sacrifice. I do not feel you can dismiss them as simply 'programmed in.' [6.]

Lee Strobel offers More Evidence [click to read] of the work of the Divine.


PONTIFUS, The Bridge Builder's Tale

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XII, Issue XIIIc

PONTIFUS, The Bridge Builder's Tale
Copyright © 2017, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved

Table of Contents, Click to Enter:
Prequil: The Reckless Engineer

PONTIFUS, The Bridge Builder's Tale in Three Parts
Book 1: Dinner Stop at the End of the World
Book 2: Zimmerman's Folly
Book 3: Little House at the End of the World

NOVUS VIA, A Story of the More Perfect Way
Book 1: A Guide to the 2059/2060 World's Fair
Book 2: The Long Road Home
Book 3: The Road to Damascus

CORVINUS, A Story of Three Brothers and Their Rise to Power
Book 1: The Brothers CORVINUS
Book 2: Ascent to Power
Book 3: Behold the Man

APOLLONIUS, A Journey to a World Unseen
JOSIAH, A Time for Healing

The Gift Horse, A Short Story
Stones of Remembrance, A Short Story
ZIMMERLOOPTM, Travel in the Year 2059


Eugenics Then and Now, Northam/DeJarnette


Eugenics Then and Now

Once in the history of our Commonwealth our health system promoted a public policy that promised to deliver advancements in the betterment of the human race. In Staunton, Virginia it was promoted by the director of Western State Hospital, Joseph Spencer DeJarnette (September 29, 1866 – September 3, 1957). As the director of the mental hospital located in Staunton, Virginia from 1905 to November 15, 1943 he was a vocal proponent of racial segregation and eugenics, specifically, the compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill. He was considered a pillar of the community and Adolph Hitler greatly admired his work. Today we shudder at the thought of the forced sterilizations that took place under Dr. DeJarnett’s directorship. The practice only ended in the 1970s.

Today that aspect of eugenics is unthinkable to us, but consider for a moment the recent push in the state legislature to remove restrictions on late-term abortions. Kathy Tran introduced a bill clearly allowing for abortion right up to the point the mother was dilating. The frightening aspect of this bill was that it appeared to push the decision point over the line – allowing for the ‘abortion’ of an already born child. Appearing on WTOP’s Ask The Governor, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, was asked whether he supported a Virginia legislator’s statement that Virginia Democrats’ proposed legislation would permit abortion for a woman in labor.

He stated: “This is why decisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians, and the mothers and fathers that are involved. When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of the mother, with the consent of physicians, more than one physician by the way, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus which is non-viable. So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen, the infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if this is what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother.”

Beyond the obvious possibility being allowed for infanticide is the argument for eugenic murder (see his comments about deformities). Ben Shapiro says: “Northam is specifically talking about delivering an infant alive and then asking the mother whether the infant should live or not. This is not an argument about the morning-after pill. It’s not an argument over whether a fetus feels pain. This is a statement that a fully-formed infant, born alive, ought to be murdered if the mother says the infant ought to be murdered.” A call to Northam’s office had a staffer saying that “The Governor is clearly not for infanticide,” and that “he is very protective of children, being a pediatrician.” Still, the news conference remarks do not rule out the possibility of eugenic killing – and eugenics was brought to us by Doctor DeJarnett not so long ago.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Northam, Fairfax and Herring

Who will be three stars of Republican electoral advertising in the fall?
The longer they stay, the better it will be for Republican candidates.