Morality

Typically, in a flurry, I write about what’s on my mind. Being my own editor, publisher, and CEO and the business manager of a blog that makes no money I can get away with it. My method will never endure me to professional pontificators or those who pretend journalism while reading scripts someone else wrote. But that’s okay. Life is good.

Writing in whatever form it takes is just talking to yourself. If you’re sitting in your favorite coffee shop nursing a cup of Joe, using the free WIFI, and pecking away at your laptop most will not think you’re crazy. Adding to the aura of genius, plug some ear buds into your phone, and every so often pretend to take a call responding, “Really, Hmmm, OK, got it!” Then pull out your pocket notebook that’s crammed full of notes (mostly meaningless doodles), scribble down something, stuff it back into your pocket and continue typing. But if you are sitting there having an oral conversation with the introvert inside your head, the barista (who has no clue what a cup of Joe is) might call the cops on you. That’s binding of course on whether the coffee shop allows cops inside. I don’t frequent coffee shops anyway, that’s just one of those literary metaphorical thingies. Krispy Kreme? Well now that is a different story. Just as a public service announcement, a can of compressed air will not remove doughnut glaze from your keyboard, but it does fairly well with confectionary sugar.

Some topics however demand more than a flurry. I started this essay a while ago. In progress, I received an invitation from the Army’s NCO Journal to contribute to a future Journal article on the Army’s Core Values. Nearly nineteen years past retirement I was somewhat surprised yet honored they asked. I stopped writing this essay and spent several days on the NCO Journal values contribution. It is an important topic for an extremely important audience. There was a little unavoidable spillover from one essay to the next. The NCO Journal contribution was a more focused response to questions posed by the editor while this one may run all over the ball park before it stops. Guess I’ll have to wait and see what survives the NCO Journal Editor’s pen. Here, it all survives.

With that completed, I came back to finish this. It intrigued me though. Out of the blue, while writing about values and morals for my blog I was asked to write about values for an Army audience. I do not believe in coincidence. Do you? I don’t believe we move through this life by happenstance. In the eyes of some I’m weird that way. Looking back over life, including my Army time, there are too many unexplainable right time right place occurrences. There are also too many unexplainable rescues from situations that could have gone south. I’ve had doors close before me that caused me to move in another direction only to find success in unexpected places. I believe there is a plan for each of us. I also believe in guardian angels, although I’m not too sure I merit one. And, if I do have one he or she (not certain about angel gender) is probably worn out. If in the middle of the snooty coffee shop I’d announced that, rolling eyes and snickering would abound. While aiming their pepper spray, they would have probably asked me to vacate the premises. And I’m not even a cop.

For the record, the last article I had published in the NCO Journal was somewhere in the 90’s and my last article published in any professional military journal was in the November-December 2000 issue of Military Review. It was an article they held for several years before publishing. Apparently, they needed some filler for that issue and plopped in the Reader’s Digest version of mine. With the exception of my book, The Three Meter Zone: Common Sense Leadership for NCOs, and the dwindling numbers of military members who still subscribe to my blog, I have been out of sight out of mind for nearly 2 decades. Being asked to write for an Army audience consisting primarily of Noncommissioned Officers is certainly an honor. I hope my contribution serves them well. For now, let me get back to where I was before I got where I am.

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Have you heard about the culture war? It’s the epic conflict whose first engagement took place in the Garden of Eden, not in the 1960s. Evil encountered good and set out to transform human culture into one that ignores bothersome things like natural law, civil law, and utterly detests moral authority. In the garden, the continual war for souls of people and nations began.

It’s a war where an unscrupulous force endeavors to live in the shadows removing borders and eradicating identifiable cultures, nations, and human freedom. It is a vicious and unrelenting war. If it is not countered, the most violent, ruthless, murderous and Godless of us will dominate. And then they will try to exterminate the rest. It is not the pined for utopian serenity constantly spoon fed to the emotionally vulnerable – like submissive school children. It is a quest for absolute power and dominance. The battle lines are ever present. Around the globe nations are being overrun. They are headed for moral abyss and their cultures are being consumed. Here in the land of the free, we teeter on the edge of descent.

The descent to hell is easy, and those who begin by worshipping power soon worship evil. – C. S. Lewis

Beyond the supernatural skirmishes for our souls, there are mortal pawns in the battle for the morality of humankind – in our case the humankind that makes up the United States of America. There are religions of multiple varieties, atheists, anarchists, globalist patrons of the one world order, a failing education system, the entertainment industry, the media with the advent of social media, news media, the opinionated who have giant megaphones with which to spread their views, political activists purposely dividing the people into manageable groups, those who would brainwash children under the precept of educating them, people who earn their living through the human sacrifice of children … you name it.

Deceit, disrespect, name calling and profane language are the norm. Don’t like someone’s point of view? Riot and destroy half the town and college campus to prevent them from sharing it and then call them fascists while declaring that you are merely exercising your guaranteed freedom of speech. It is something you are unwilling to forfeit for yourself but are readily prepared to violently take from others.

Hollywood created a violent and sexualized entertainment culture then feigned disgust when it became public knowledge and a shock to no one that they were and are still living it – everything from casting couch auditions to alleged pedophilia. And they are the ones who complained about it? Sincere, you reckon? Between sex scenes and barrages of profanity, they put automatic weapons in the hands of every action hero and bad guy too and with never a thought about the impact their entertainment may have on our devolving culture.

How long has it been since you saw a cigarette in a movie or television program or even a commercial? I miss the Marlboro man. The flip-top box in my teenage shirt pocket was a symbol of individualism, also of ignorance and stupidity. Thankfully, I learned that, but only after someone I loved dearly died early from a lifetime of smoking. Dean Martin with a glass of whiskey in one hand and a smoke in the other wouldn’t be allowed on TV these days. Maybe the entertainment industry could apply the same standard to sex, language, and guns as they did to smoking. Nowadays, smoking pot is normal though – even glorified. People take it for medicinal purposes as alcohol was once prescribed:

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 1 Timothy 5:23 (NIV)

We all know how that turned out.

Are we okay with the trends of the day? Are we trying to invent a new moral code to replace the ageless? Are we aiming to make the unnatural natural? As a nation, have we abandoned the idea of a higher moral authority?

The man [country] without a moral code, like the animal, is free from moral problems. – C. S. Lewis Christian Reflections

I don’t think we are trending toward a new moral code, but rather toward no moral code. A past President declared that we are no longer a Christian nation. Are we running as fast as we can toward a post-Christian America. Are we being pushed to accept new moralities. Is a post Christian America our national aim? If so, C. S. Lewis questions do we want to:

…neglect not only the law of Christ but even the Law of Nature as known by the Pagans. For now they do not blush at adultery, treachery, perjury, theft and the other crime which I will not say Christian Doctors, but the pagans and the barbarous have themselves denounced.

Are we casting aside natural human values and trying to invent new ones. On issues of human morality, C. S. Lewis (As you might have gathered, I am fond of Mr. Lewis’ works.), the most logical mind on the subject I’ve encountered, points out:

Let’s get two propositions written into our minds with indelible ink.
(1) The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary colour in the spectrum.
(2) Every attempt to do so consists in arbitrarily selecting some one maxim of traditional morality, isolating it from the rest, and erecting it into an unum necessarium [the one necessary].

Without suggesting concrete interpretation of the thoughts of Mr. Lewis, World War I Veteran, Philosopher, Atheist turned Christian Apologist, and prolific author with a gigantic brain I’ll offer my unassuming perspective. Human values are the common thread that runs through all cultures. It’s the firmware installed on the human package. Don’t murder, don’t lie, don’t steal…. A culture may choose to ignore them, but they cannot change them or invent new ones. Neither can they pluck one from the range of human values and declare this is the one, even if we discount all others, by which we must abide. The ones in which we choose not to abide are still there.

First… human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.

Secondly… they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in. C. S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

We know how to behave, but we don’t. We know the Law of Nature and we break it. We know, yet we allow societal influences and the human desire for acceptance to push us away from what is right. From the time we exit the womb, cultural influences begin to tinker with our firmware. Wayward parents raise wayward children. Unscrupulous educators along with other societal influences attempt to indoctrinate the rest. We are in a headlong fall into a lawless, valueless world ruled by the lawless, valueless, and Godless. History has proven time and again that it is a world where one group always tries to exterminate the rest. In our world exists the manmade power to send any nation back into the dark ages. It is a place where most of us will not survive. It is time for us to make a real value check and compass adjustment before we devolve into daily life of basic human survival.

If God doesn’t soon bring judgment upon America, He’ll have to go back and apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah! Mrs. Ruth Bell Graham, circa 1965, wife of Reverend Billy Graham

In America, we claim to value freedom. From the beginning, we professed to believe freedom is God-given. It is a desire imprinted on the hearts of all people. We codified that ideal into our Constitution and made it the law of the land. Yet every day it’s a battle as freedom dwindles – not taken away but forfeited to an ever more smothering government. If you can believe the people who complete the surveys, most Americans profess belief in God and identify as Christian. Sometimes our Christian pacifism might be well blended with a little nationalism.

In our country, we cannot and should not be able to tell people how to live their lives. What we can and must do is insist by legal means granted to us by the law of the land that our government not write into law the unnatural. We cannot forever buck nature’s law endowed to us by our Creator. You can reroute a river, but someday it will return to its natural state. The result is generally devastating to those who chose to live where the river once ran.

Our country has been richly blessed of God, yet many are dissatisfied and cry out to be like other nations. Unimaginable, but not unordinary. The human race simply cannot be content. Why? It is because the heart runs after things of the world, which fail to satisfy; so the chase will continue until the end of time. – Reverend Billy Graham Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond

Until the end of time… This war does end. I plan to be on the side that wins. Eternity in asbestos underwear doesn’t appeal to me. But, I’m weird that way.

Don’t worry about me. I’m just having a nice self-chat. I can’t save the world. Ultimately, none of us can.   I do vow that my values including the God-given free will to choose my path can never be taken from me nor will I forfeit them. Even if that vow angers you enough to burn down your town.

© 2018 J. D. Pendry