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Issue 049
The Tenth Roman Month 7, Anno Domini 2020
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. ~Psalm 50
There is an illiteracy of the soul which no diploma cures. ~Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Artwork: "Weapon"  Artist: Yurishwedoff

Back in the Better Game

"Who you need to be" and "who you actually are" are two very different things.

"Who God says you are" is a third and yet more powerful fourth reality.

But let's stick with the first two for a moment:

"What your life demands of you" is who you usually become. Whether it is in response to a bill, an advertisement, or your boss, clock-worshiping people are schooled in obedience first, and thought, only "when I have time." Worshiping time as they do, unfortunately, only increases the scarcity of it.

"Who you actually are" could be understood in several ways, but I speak here of a very positive one. I'm talking about the "you" that you know you've wanted to be. This is the person who aspires, who gets up in the morning to reach for the stars, who remembers what it was like to dream as a child.

"Who God says you are" is yet two more things:

The first is near enough to "who your enemies think you are," to be a problem with the judge and jury, with your enemy's opinion of you (on average) being slightly better than God's.

God says, you have turned aside; you have become unprofitable. Romans 3:12

Or, put another way, for there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short. Romans 3:23

But the second thing God says is nigh on the opposite. Straight up: he has chosen you for better things than you deserve.

God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5

Knowing that the world is trying to mold you into its own image is the first step to being free of it. After that, it becomes the game of learning to see how much the world's mold differs from the one you want to be, the good person you are convicted you actually are.

Thus far the pagans can say, "Amen!"

Then it is also a matter of mixing that up with the karma sauce of chaos and death for all of us. Each and every one, including Tiny Tim.

Here, the pagans shiver at the thought. But the honest pagan knows it is true, and thus he makes his ritual oblations without fail.

But it is the next which distinguishes the immortals from the damned: the superiority of Christ's declaration is a unique, inSpiring knowledge that only a Christian, by virtue of being a Christian, possesses.

This does not make you immediately wise for all occasions. But it does make you immediately wiser than all the pagans in this alone: you know that while the scepter of wickedness might, for a time, lay upon the land allotted to the justified, it shall not stand to rest there, lest the justified reach out his hand unto iniquity. Psalm 125:3

Take it to the bank. Double down on it. Say "Amen," and get back in the game.

Till angel cry and trumpet sound,
Rev. Fisk

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Clickbait Paradise
You only vote for Communism once*

It seems to be an unspoken rule of emotionally-fuelled debates online that using terms such as "Nazi"and "Fascist" is the surefire way to win the argument. Or to at least shut someone up. Perhaps it's not the wisest strategy to play your trump card just because you've run out of pejoratives but it seems to be a "get-out-of-conversation-free" card. 

Do the noisiest of tweeters really believe that the current occupant of the White House is a "Fascist"? Are they saying these things out of ignorance of history, virtue signalling or just being plain old intellectually lazy? Whichever it is, speaking clearly has become one of the more important lost arts of our age.  

While bringing out the big guns might win the argument, It is harder to think everybody you disagree with is a Fascist when you know what Fascists really did and really believed. Hearing about the violence produced by evil ideologies and evil men makes it seem a bit trite to say that "speech is violence". Advocates of "reproductive justice" and supporters of Socialism might throw these terms around less carelessly if they brushed up on the injustice inflicted on entire populations by ruthless men. History is a good teacher.

All this came to mind this week, as a certain member of the Mad Mondays team was binge-casting a recent find, Real Dictators. It is a podcast that tells the stories of some of the most notorious dictators (are there any other kind?) in modern history. It is, as you might expect, fascinating and harrowing in turn. The level of control gained by these men over whole nations but also over individual lives is astonishing, from the mandating of haircuts (Kim Jong Il), the killing of every sparrow in China (Mao), right through to nuclear brinkmanship (Kim again) and breathtaking "purges" of whole groups of people (pretty much all of them).

It is difficult to say which comes first with a tyrant: the Utopian visions or the particular sort of murderous paranoia needed to carry them out. In each episode you might find clues about "How to Spot a Dictator", but it is evident from these case studies that there are many paths to becoming a totalitarian leader.

Stalin had a slow bureaucratic rise, Mao started out with grassroots rabble rousing, and Papa Doc kept the Haitian people subservient with deceptive "voodoo." There are notable references to some having cruel and violent fathers, a common disdain for human life, a knack for propaganda and raw selfish ambition. The adherence to godless doctrines is also there, especially in the lurking specter of Karl Marx.

The proliferation of loose language in internet chats is one thing, but language is being molded to shape narratives in academia, media and other places of power. There is no doubt that we should be concerned about where power lies today, what agendas are being fomented and by whom. While, it would seem there is no set template for what makes a dictator nor even a way to predict where one is going to rise, it is people who are "sober", who will spot the erosion of freedom. Those who are well-versed in truth and liberty are the ones who are best placed to call out lies and coercion.

We know we're preaching to the Mad choir here, but words have meaning, and careful speaking rescues those caught in the subtle drag of the white noise. The world's lies can slowly move you far from the shore, especially when you're tired of swimming against them. Being staid on the truth is the anchor for us and a lifeline we can give to others.

Joseph Goebbels reportedly said if you "repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth" and while this is the case when propaganda holds sway, the power of repeating nonsense for self-deceiving shouldn't be overlooked. The stream of people losing their minds over SCOTUS decisions and TikTok-ers shouting for "climate justice" are not likely to go away any time soon, but our job is the same. Wherever we are, we need to know the Truth and speak the truth. God grant us boldness and wisdom!

*We owe David Webb for his awesome quip

A brief history of fake news

It will not surprise many of our readers that you can't believe everything that you read. Yes, but when did the media stop telling the truth? Dan Hitchens, writing for Unherd, suggests a pivotal moment for truth-telling in reporting was on the back of the bombing of Hiroshima. 

Hitchens argues that the narrative around the tragedy was heavily controlled by the US government of the day. He credits one journalist in particular, John Hersey of The New Yorker, for rescuing the press from its growing credibility problem. Hersey travelled to Hiroshima and reported firsthand the devastation, which Hitchens says helped cut through the carefully constructed narrative being put in front of Americans. 

While conspiracy theories will always be with us, a few folks, including Hitchens, have noted the link between a media that regularly peddles in bias and the proliferation of wild theories. While Barak Obama has called for media outlets and tech companies to come up with better ways to tackle "fake news," Hitchens suggests that what is actually needed is for media to work to regain public trust. 

While we're talking about the state of our media...

There was much media celebration of Joe Biden's all-female picks for his communications team. It has been pointed out by conservative outlets that this is what President Trump has now.

And while we're on Trump, a pollster has given his summary of all the things puzzling him about the November election. "If you think that only weirdos have legitimate concerns about these findings and claims, maybe the weirdness lies in you."

Finally, Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock has said he's paid a whole bunch of cash to hackers and sleuths to prove the election was won by Trump. Irrespective of who is inaugurated in January, no one can deny that Trump has definitely been rattling some establishment cages.

The partiarchy lives

Students at England's exclusive boys' school, Eton College, have chalked one up for free speech and critical thinking in an open letter to their headmaster. Almost the entire student body signed the letter, protesting the recent firing of a teacher for showing his students a video challenging the "current radical feminist orthodoxy.” 

The student letter argues that the teacher's lesson was “a model for how to convey a contentious argument impeccably." Showing they are not snowflakes needing to be protected from dangerous ideas, they state: "Young men and their views are formed in the meeting and conflict of ideas. A conflict of ideas necessarily entails controversy and spirited discussion."

The hypocrisy of the school's administration was not lost on the boys, who noted how their woke Headmaster promotes tolerance, yet would not allow "free thought inside and outside of the schoolroom." Of their teacher they wrote: “His view is not very uncommon or exceptional. It is simply different.”

Mondays: speak softly and carry a big stick

Men with a mission

An amazing chapter from history also crossed the feed this week, namely the disastrous Antarctic voyage of Earnest Shackleton. With their ship slowly crushed by pack ice, the crew endured months of cold and uncertainty, while waiting for rescue. The tenacity of the men is captured by photographer Frank Hurley who documented the expedition. Though not all the photos survived, all the men did.

Car seats as contraceptives

Al Mohler discussed some topics that will likely interest Mad Christians on his podcast last Friday. He covered the rise of couples having more children in China, despite the Communist Party policy. Dr. Mohler also highlights an MIT study which concluded that child car seat requirements in the US correlate with the decline in three-child families. The study concludes that couples are stopping at two children to avoid upgrading their vehicle. 

Be where the Community is
Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🇮🇹 Mr and Mrs Clooney don't speak Italian, but their kids do

🐾 A NY man used a drone to help find a dog lost in forest. Aww. 

🥇 That's not a drone, THIS is a drone

🇯🇵 A Japanese artist designed a "zipper ship"

🇨🇳 A Chinese sub made it to the bottom of the Mariana Trench

🚘 Sentry mode: Tesla drivers are able to remotely view what their car camera sees

😬 Blue Mandalorian macarons don't taste that great

🐦 Someone made a self-quoting tweet

🇷🇴 Another monolith has turned up in Romania

🇬🇧 British pubs are getting around Bojo's "substantial meal" rule by serving cheap snacks

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

This recommendation has been sent to us by the previously featured Michael, who did some data-mining work of his own.

This is a good article as it brings together many aspects of the COVID situation into one place. Namely:

  • the science of the testing for COVID-19
  • how positive tests are being wrongly conflated as cases and so inflating every number associated with the disease
  • the absurdity of the lockdowns (the pandemic is essentially over)
  • the real severity of the disease (hint: it's on par with the flu)

Check it out here:  "Pandemic is Over" - Former Pfizer Chief Science Officer Says "Second Wave" Faked On False-Positive COVID Tests

Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached

Faith, Doubt, and Folly

Podcast Release

Re-Wilding Venture Gamification vs. Camp-Minded Ideological Free Fall

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Let us pray:  Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.