R.J. Rushdoony wrote this short essay in 1976 for The California Farmer. We’ll never need its wisdom more than we need it right now.
Just last year we were all gonna die from Climate Change, or measles, or whatevvuh. Rushdoony wrote, “It exalts some scientific plannedrs as the only ones with the answers, and it makes the rest of us a herd of cattle headed for the stockyards, unless we listen to them.” Sound familiar?
When Rushdoony was a schoolboy they were “teaching” kids that the world would run out of everything in 20 years or so, and that the Kellogg-Briand Pact would surely prevent another world war from starting. It’d be funny if the punchline weren’t World War II.
I remember what the Lord said to Isaiah: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isaiah 2:22)
Mussolini–the patron saint of 20th century humanism… and, he claimed, “a good catholic.” But then fascism always goes in two directions at once.
World War II annihilated openly-espoused fascism; but since the war, R.J. Rushdoony observed, fascism is “everywhere condemned, but everywhere imitated.”
Command economies don’t work well, in real life. In fact, they don’t work at all. So communist countries, facing ruin, fall back on fascism–as China has done.
In political science terms, fascism is an authoritarian government in cahoots with a few favored corporations steering the economy. Drop in a few favored unions to buddy up with the politicians and the magnates, and you’ve got Peronism. And Obamaism.
In this essay published in 2006, Rushdoony zeroed in on the now widely-practiced model of a “mixed economy.” When you mix your theologies, you get syncretism–the besetting sin of ancient Israel. When you mix capitalism and socialism, you get fascism: “socialism for the hypocrites,” Rushdoony said.
If the people are corrupt at heart, their state will be corrupt. There’s no getting away from it. We can try to be Christians and pagans at the same time, but no man can serve two masters.
In this 2014 Chalcedon magazine article, I traced some of the many steps of God’s providence by which I came to write my Bell Mountain novels. It started with a young R.J. Rushdoony reading Cornelius Van Til, and starting a correspondence with him–while I was still, literally, in knee-pants.
You have to view these things in retrospect, because you can’t detect them while they’re happening. God’s work is subtle: best to view it from a distance. Get up too close, and you can’t see anything.
Anyway, here’s how my books came to be written, and why they’re written the way they are.
When I was a little boy, the story of Joseph scared me, but good. His brothers stuck him in a hole and sold him as a slave, and then he was thrown into jail for something that he didn’t do. What if it happened to me?
R.J. Rushdoony touched upon a key element in the story of Joseph, in this essay reprinted first in 2007.
It’s easy to waste a lot of your life, he warned, brooding over past injustices and vainly trying to win back what you’ve lost. Joseph never did get compensated for the injustices he’d suffered. He was too busy saving Egypt. “Trust in God’s ultimate and unswerving justice,” Rushdoony wrote. It’s the only real justice there is.
But God pity us! We’ve made a whole way of life out of obsessing over past injustices, some indeed long past, and demanding…um… “reparations.” Doesn’t seem to matter how long past, or who was actually affected.
Happiness and peace of mind–the world knows how to avoid attaining it.
“The Swamp” wasn’t invented in 2008 and is not confined to Washington, D.C. It’s been with us since the dawn of history, and can be found wherever you look.
So R.J. Rushdoony’s 1995 essay, “Empty Suits,” is just as applicable, if not even more so, 25 years later.
We wonder why tiny minorities with truly lunatic, perverse, or wicked ideas ride roughshod over everybody else and always seem to get their way. Well, it’s because no one will stand up to them. “Men,” said Rushdoony, “are everywhere refusing to be men.”
Go along to get along. The churches do it. Office workers do it around the water cooler. Teachers with outraged consciences fall silent in the faculty lunchroom. Go ahead–see what happens to you if you don’t go along with a lesbian “wedding,” or with some bearded man insisting he’s a woman, or with some race hustler demanding “reparations.” These are all perverse and evil notions–but who dares say so? And so they flourish.
Without faithfulness to God, we have nothing and we are nothing.
Meanwhile, a lot of Christians strain themselves trying to serve two masters.
R.J. Rushdoony published this important essay in Chalcedon’s magazine, in 2000.
“Government” is not synonymous with the state. The state is only one of many spheres of government. Included as separate and equally important spheres are the self, the family, the church, and the school.
Modern statists try to devour or corrupt all the various spheres of “government” so that nothing remains between the individual and the state. In our time we have seen them encroach deeply on individual liberty, undermine the family, hamper the church, and turn the schools into Far Left indoctrination mills. Rushdoony spent much of his time and effort warning us of this–and current history starkly demonstrates how right he was.
(from the Chalcedon Foundation’s Youtube channel)
Very little news escaped R.J. Rushdoony’s notice; and his commentaries, recorded 30, 40, or 50 years ago, seem right on target today. A lot of us just now are asking, “How much honesty is there in civil government?” What with the talentless offspring of various high-level politicians being awarded fantastically lucrative no-show jobs with assorted foreign business entities… Gee, it sure doesn’t look honest.
In 1980, Rushdoony recalls, the Internal Revenue Service audited 168 of its own auditors–and found “serious errors” perpetrated by more than half of them. And their underpayments were about twice as big as those made by the citizens whom they were auditing.
“When we trust in God,” Rushdoony said, “we become more trustworthy ourselves, to the extent that we obey Him.”
The IRS can’t make us honest. Only God’s Spirit can do that.
Hell on earth–courtesy of Mao Tse-tung & Co.
We have no shortage of “Christian thinkers” and seminary wallahs who are uncomfortable with the idea of Hell and have excluded it from their teaching. R.J. Rushdoony looked into this in 1983.
“When hell disappears from religion,” he wrote, “it re-appears in politics and social morality. It becomes necessary then for ultimate moral judgments and dispositions to be made on earth, because there is no other court for a final reckoning.” [From Salvation and Godly Rule: quoted by Martin Selbrede in “Politics and the Madness in Men’s Hearts, Arise & Build, Nov. 2019]
Could he have been any more in the exact center of the bullseye than that?
The thing is, we can’t provide ultimate moral judgments. How could any earthly power punish Mao Tse-tung for his mass murder of tens of millions of people? And why would we even trust a power which with one hand offers us salvation and with the other, barbed wire and mass graves?
The fear of God is not only the beginning of wisdom. It is the very substance of wisdom. To know that God will judge us for our acts, to know it and not doubt, is knowledge to preserve the human race from being devoured by its earthly rulers.
Without the fear of God’s judgment… watch out!
Humanism is dying, as we can see by its fervent embrace of such cruel follies as abortion, sexual anarchy, socialism, censorship, assisted suicide, and the incessant growth of government. There is no leftist project that does not bear the stink of death.
This Chalcedon editorial, published today, meets this crisis head-on.
Christians do know what they’re against, but they’re not so clear about knowing what they’re for. This is what needs to be changed.
We do need “a new civilization,” founded on God’s law and God’s word; and the good news is that we, all of us, can start building one now. Right now. New schools, a re-commitment to the family, new science, and new churches. New everything.
We pray that God will equip us for our service to Christ’s Kingdom.