I have recently completed reading three books that on the surface seem to have nothing to do with each other, but I believe there is a common theme found in these treasures that is worth commenting about. The first book I have discussed previously and is about Fr. Pierre John Desmet a Flemish Jesuit Priest who traveled over 160,000 miles by foot, horse, and canoe across the entire Louisiana Purchase Territory many times over a 40 year period of time founding 12 Catholic missions and 5 Universities, and baptizing over 700,000 native Americans including Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud.
The second book entitled Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living by Fr. Charles J. Chaput, the retired Bishop of several large US diocese and he is also the highest-ranking Native American in the US Catholic Church, has a similar theme of courage, self-service, and faith as the first.
The final book by Bill O’Reilly is entitled Killing Crazy Horse: The Merciless Indian Wars in America, and I am sure that it has been read by far more people than the other two, and the treatment of both the Native Americans and the White man settlers is fair and equitable in my opinion. Interestingly, Fr. Desmet’s contributions in negotiating major treaties between the White and the Indians—Including the 1868 Treaty of Laramie that probably saved more lives—up to 20,000 on both sides, is never mentioned.
Revisionist history and a failure to recognize our past—both the good and the bad, and a conceited contempt for the historical actions of those who came before us is a formula for recreating those same mistakes. Context is never presented and history is often written as if there was a consensus at the time about the historical events that took place. What will future generations think about our society’s toleration of killing baby boys and baby girls? Reaching a political consensus is difficult—in our time and the past. What we can say is that our own country’s founding was facilitated by God fearing men and women—Abigail Adams’ letters to her husband should be required reading in every women’s study program, who had a deep understanding of not only the history of the modern day European governance, but they all—Christians, Jews, deists, and non-believers had a deep understanding of the history and teachings passed on from the ancient world—Israel, Athens, Greece, and Egypt.
The problem today is that many young people are being taught by academicians and teachers who don’t understand that when we envision the future without a factual understanding of the past we are very likely to make the same mistakes. The future is formed by the present and the present is formed from the past. We don’t have to look very far back to see that evil is present in our world constantly. Totalitarianism—Nazism, Communism, Socialism, has failed miserably. In the 20th century alone Hitler—Stalin—Mao—Polpott—Castro have been responsible for over 500 million deaths. Progressive programs in our country that started after the American Civil War have been dismal failures starting with Southern reconstruction that evolved into Jim Crow, Native American relocation that led to the almost obliteration—not assimilation of the Native American People and Culture. The Great Society programs of the ’60s that are now destroying not only Black but White families, local school autonomy, and the Historical Black Colleges and now private Christian Liberal Arts Colleges. These programs I always fail and yet we see today more investment (a terrible word) for the confiscation of property—taxes, and the reallocation of assets via government transfer programs—Medicaid costs have increased in our State from over $1.2 billion in 2012 to over $3.5billion today—the number is actually $5billion if the Feds part of the cost is counted in. We are again creating a new subservient class and a state of dependency in the name of equity and fairness. This type of fuzzy, feel-good thinking only makes the agent of transfer—the politician, feel good today without being responsible for the consequences tomorrow. Progressives are again repeating the same experiment over and over again and they can never point to a success.
The history of our country is about individual people making brave unselfish choices. Choices that they were willing to die for. We would all I hope be willing to die for our families and hopefully our friends. John 3:15. IN LEGENDS OF THE FALL a recent book revising the history of the Alamo by Bryan Burroughs— and two other authors, put forth the argument that the motives of the Alamo defenders were selfish and economic and were primarily related to continuing slavery in Texas. Sound familiar—the same has been said about American Patriots including John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin. I have spent many months in Texas over the past 40 years, and any knowledgeable person of Texas history will point the bravery and courage of the TEJANOS (Texans of Mexican descent) who fought against the Mexican forces of Santa Ana and even signed the Texas Declaration of Independence along with many Americans. Many Tejanos died at the Alamo even when given the chance to escape prior to the battle. There are some things worth dying for and there are a few people with the courage to die for those things. People die for ideas and other people—not for “things”.
We are at a critical time in our country’s history in my opinion. So many young people—many educated and indoctrinated in our institutions of higher learning, have never taken the time to reflect on what they are willing to live and die for. Unlike previous generations of Americans—many the parents and grandparents of millennials Gen Z and late baby boomers, they have been so busy enjoying the fruits of previous generations’ sacrifices, that they have never contemplated what they would be willing to sacrifice for—themselves.
I have thought about this myself and how it relates to my adult children and their families and their ability to work and make a living and be contributing members of society. I have spent the last 44 years of my life practicing medicine and surgery. When I applied to Medical School—I eventually chose to go to THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, I was never asked questions about gender equity, Critical Race Theory, or where I went to church. I was never confronted as a medical student with having to perform an abortion on an indigent patient. Ohio State today is at the front of including social indoctrination theory into the curriculum of not only its undergraduate programs, but also its graduate and professional programs. The Engineering department recently received an award for its social indoctrination programs. Today I would be an unacceptable candidate for the medical school because of my beliefs informed by my Christian faith.
I have sons who are CPAs. One is a partner at a major accounting firm in Seattle. The firm actively recruits and contributes to programs based on equity and “social justice” published guidelines. If I were a young CPA today looking for a job they would never hire me. I would have to agree to participate in inclusivity training that on its face is against everything I believe in.
What would I do if a local hospital required that I participate in social justice indoctrination programs? The easy thing would be to go with the flow. I would hope that I would never let cowardice hide behind the virtue of prudence. I would hope that I would not stifle the dictates of my conscience to avoid being the target of contempt. Today many young health care providers are faced with this problem. They are all making their own decisions based on their own conscience. I would suggest however that when we ever tolerate evil or evil acts, no matter the costs, we create a future of increasing dependency and subservience. You don’t have to be in a fight for your life to demonstrate courage.
The Federal Governments repudiation of President Lincoln’s merciful approach to reconciliation with the South, had US Grant listened to Fr. Desmet and followed Lincoln’s model for Native American Settlement and honored treaties between the US government and the Native American Nations—The Laramie 1868 treaty, many lives would have been saved and the futures of all people could have been respected and secured
Even during the Great Depression with the WPA/CCC/TVA etc. civilian and private enterprise saved the day—Think about Morrison Knutson and the Hoover Dam or great Western irrigation projects. Think about the contributions of Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army and many other private charities. When government intervention circumvents private expertise, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship, bad things happen. Both President Roosevelts knew this and they were both progressives.
Crazy Horse—Desmet, Sitting Bull—Cataldo, lived with honor. Honor when linked to the ideas of integrity and virtue is today the only way to confront ideas of social-progressivism. How many academics and revisionist authors are willing to die for principle? Many of the people they demean and try to marginalize did? It is easy to write revisionist history. It is easy to be an expert separated by space and time from the realities of the world. It is hard to say “no” to unelected bureaucrats and commissars in government and industry telling us how to live our lives—saying no to mandates and masks and participating in “social justice programs” may cost you your job but not your life. Saying “no” or just saying “prove it” to revisionists takes only a little courage. How many of our politicians and captains of industry are today courageous enough to stand up and take honorable positions? Or are they more concerned about votes, margins and doing business with China?
Courage can be found in the strangest places—volunteers working for the homeless like at our Boise Rescue Mission, first responders, and our military who take an oath to protect us even if it means themselves sacrificing their own lives and family’s security. What about a student that speaks up in class at Boise State risking a grade and maybe access to graduate school or a professional career?
Prudence—temperance—justice—and most importantly courage. These are the Catholic and Aristotelian virtues that have guided our advancing culture for thousands of years. Combined with the Christian virtues of faith hope and love and if practiced by people who themselves are virtuous, we can defeat those powers driving us to serfdom and servitude. Read Paul’s Letters, or the Easter passion, or our Declaration of Independence or Hyack, or Tolstoy, or Solzhenitsyn or C. S. Lewis. Stay away from the progressive junk being thrown at you every day by CNN/MSNBC/The Statesman and Spokesmen review.
God, Family, Friends, and community should be worth dying for. History gives us a chart to plot our future. Let’s never forget what we have been blessed to inherit and we should be open always to learning from our true history.
MAGA “Fight Like Hell”