Orthodox Survival Course, Class 73: Orthodoxy in America – Rendering Unto Caesar, Part II

You can listen to an audio recording of this essay at https://www.spreaker.com/user/youngfaithradio/osc73

Thanks and Request for Donations

Heartfelt thanks to our benefactors!   May the Lord bless you and your family in 2023.  I have not become free of PayPal, because we cannot get GabPay to work.  If anyone can help with a tutorial on GabPay, or introduce me to a method other than PayPal that is not too hard to use, I would appreciate it.   Those who would like to give a gift in the old fashioned way and send a check need only write to me at [email protected], and I’ll give you my real-world address.   My parish is small, and though they are self-sacrificing, generous, and supportive according to their size, they cannot provide a full-time income for a family today.   The kindness of our benefactors enables me to 1. write in my spare time,  and 2. to do unremunerative mission work in addition to my parish work, instead of working at a secular job. 

It is not only, or primarily, financial support, of course, that keeps us going.  Man does not live by bread alone. I know that the prayers of many uphold our work, and I also deeply appreciate the notes of encouragement I receive from readers and listeners.  I also want to make clear that I do not think I am entitled to anyone’s support:  I give, and others give freely in return.  Priests should never be “salaried” in the strict sense, though they should certainly be supported.  In fact, none of those who practice the artes inutiles – the clergy, intellectuals, and artists – are really wage-earners. They give, and in return they receive honoraria from those who benefit from their labors.  That’s how it works. 

  The Apostle writes, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another.”   All is gift.  

Other Offerings 

I ask forgiveness (again!) for the long hiatus since the last Survival Course talk.  But please believe that I am not completely idle.  Perhaps some of our Orthodox Survival Course audience is not familiar with the other offerings on my Spreaker channel.  Go to https://www.spreaker.com/user/youngfaithradio  in order to see them.     Our latest projects are a “show” with recordings of my sermons and a “show” with recordings of a class we have begun on the Divine Liturgy.   Earlier projects include sermons on childrearing, sermons on the Creed, and commentaries on the readings from the Book of Genesis and the Book of Proverbs that we read at Vespers during Great Lent.  I have also recorded many of the posts from my blog at https://orthodoxtruth.org/,  which usually consist of commentaries on the daily Gospel readings of the Orthodox calendar.   The Spreaker show linked to the blog is called by the same name as the blog, “Orthodox Truth.” 

Introduction –   

In our last talk, we asked the question,  “How does the Church’s teaching to obey the civil authorities apply to us today?”   Let’s summarize the main points of our response:   

1. The Orthodox Church does not teach anarchism.   Because of the Ancestral Sin, man needs to be ruled by a Godly authority with sufficient coercive power to chastise evil and protect the good.  Otherwise, society would descend into the chaos of unbridled criminality. 

2. An earthly authority is Godly, and therefore legitimate, to the extent that its laws, both in their conception and their execution, accord with the divine law – both revealed and natural – and also accord with the historical tradition of those human laws that express, or at least do not conflict with, the divine law.  To the extent that an earthly authority’s laws are conceived and executed in disobedience to the divine law and to the tradition of good human laws, that authority loses its legitimacy. 

3. Obedience is not owed to illegitimate authority, and, in fact, one may be obliged to      oppose such an authority in various ways, beginning with a Godly disobedience to un- Godly commands. 

4. In our time, the historically national governments are in the process of being subsumed into a one world government, a form of government explicitly forbidden by God, and therefore possessing no legitimacy and thus no divinely ordained claim to obedience. To the extent that a national government no longer acts in the interests of its nation but rather subjects itself to rule by an internationalist cabal that is not actually a government but a criminal gang, it is not Godly but Satanic and therefore it must be opposed by Christians in a Godly disobedience to its ungodly commands.   To the extent that governments at the lower levels – in the United States, for example, at the state, county, and municipal levels – also attempt to enforce the Satanic agenda of the internationalist anti-government, they must also be opposed and disobeyed.  

We ended our last talk with a question:  “To what extent has our national government been subsumed by the Antichrist, criminal One-World anti-government?”   Today we shall address that question.  After we address that question, we shall ask the logically consequent question: “What must be the duty of Orthodox pastors towards their flock in this situation?”  

It’s Not a Conspiracy, Because It’s Not a Secret 

We do not need to peruse obscure websites by so-called conspiracy theorists to obtain a preponderance of evidence that we are now living under a form of worldwide governance based on an explicitly anti-Christian ideology.   We need only to read a few books from the 20th century to understand the plans of those in charge, and then examine what they have in fact accomplished to achieve their plans by this point in the 21st century, by consulting the public and official sources from the agencies, public and private, that are carrying out the plans of the worldwide elite.    

To understand the type of society that the world elite is creating, one may start with three books:   Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932), 1984 by George Orwell (1949), and Tragedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley (1963).  The first two are novels; the third is a combination of recent history and a blueprint for a world government.    None of these three authors can be tossed aside as marginalized and alienated nobodies who fantasize about imaginary conspiracies.  The first two books have been part of the standard reading list for high school students since at least the 1950s.   The third was written by a Georgetown professor who was a personal mentor to many powerful men in the Establishment, including a former President of the United States, Bill Clinton.   (By referring to Mr. Clinton, I do not mean to imply that only – or even primarily – Democrats have advanced the New World Order.  It is certainly a bi-partisan affair!)

Huxley and Orwell (Eric Blair) did not write their novels as an exercise in storytelling unrelated to real life.  Both authors said openly and repeatedly that they were depicting a form of society that was rapidly coming into being in their own time. Huxley made this abundantly clear in a collection of essays called Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958.  Neither author saw himself as a fantasy or science fiction writer predicting a distant future; they were social critics holding up a mirror to their contemporaries, describing forms of society that were already in the early stages of formation.  Both men were in a position to know what was going on:  Orwell as an insider in the socialist movement and, pre-eminently, Huxley, as a member of a family that was extraordinarily influential among the British intelligentsia in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Both Orwell and Huxley created dystopias:  visions of a society in which human life is debased almost to the point of being sub-human, of being unrecognizable as a human life.  Orwell’s vision of hell on earth is based on the Stalinist U.S.S.R., in which the tiny elite that rules the society enforces conformity by means of a violent security apparatus using torture, imprisonment, and executions.  The rulers of Huxley’s dark world, by contrast,  do not need to torture, imprison, or kill anyone:  they keep the masses under control through universal drug use, constant entertainment, and recreational sex unrelated to marriage or procreation.   But both of these societies – if they can be called that – have several things in common:  

1.  The entire world is ruled by a single tiny elite.   In 1984 the elite project an illusion of three mega-states – Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia – but this is only for the purpose of agitating the masses through the constant threat of warfare among the rival states, using war propaganda to enforce loyalty to the authorities.  In reality, there is a one world government. 

2.  There is no traditional or local culture.  There is only single, uniform monoculture of purely material pursuits at a very low level, the same everywhere. 

3. There are no families, or, at least, in 1984 the family is a meaningless shell of its former self.  In Brave New World, Huxley takes this further:  Human beings are produced in laboratories, and marriage and family are considered abominations that have been abolished.      

4.  The masses have no interests higher than day to day material pleasures of the lowest type.   In 1984 it is beer, football, and watching the news about the current war that is supposedly going on.  In Brave New World, it is drugs, sex, and movies.  There is no genuine intellectual or artistic endeavor, much less spiritual life. 

5.  There are no loyalties other than to the world state.  All intermediate structures – Church, nationality, local community, family – have been stripped away.  

All of this should be familiar to us in 2023, not as pure fantasy but as accomplished goals or goals on the fast track to being accomplished. 

Carroll Quigley’s  book is not a novel.  It is a serious academic work, indeed a magisterial study that describes the history of the world from 1890 to 1960 as the history of the progressive movement towards the one world state.  In contrast to Orwell and Huxley, who projected ambivalence in their attitudes to their imaginary societies – Huxley, especially, never made it clear whether he was for or against the Brave New World – Quigley was an open and assertive proponent of world government.   And he was certainly an Insider.  Here is how he is described on the page on Amazon where the book is sold:  “Carroll Quigley (1910-1977) was a highly respected professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He was an instructor at Princeton and Harvard; a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, the House Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration; and the U.S. Navy.”   

Orwell and Huxley, then, describe the dystopia that was already in formation in their lifetimes, but imaginatively,  in its future aspect as an accomplished fact.   Quigley, on the other hand, as a social scientist, is writing a non-fiction book to describe and promote the actual means that were and are being used to create the future society.  They should be familiar to all of us by now:  A single banking system, consolidating government and private business into one monopolistic entity,  brainwashing of the masses through media technology and education, eradicating traditional national, local, and family loyalties, destroying religion and morality, etc. 

These three books are just a start, but all three have the advantage of both introducing and summarizing what we are describing.   There is a vast literature about all this out there, of course – much of which pre-dates the Internet, and is perfectly rational academic and artistic literature written by respected academics, essayists, novelists, and poets.  Our purpose today is not to go into all of it.   The study of just one aspect of this vast movement of history could occupy all of one’s time, and that’s not how most of us should be occupying our time.   For example, you could spend a professional lifetime studying the ubiquitous brainwashing techniques that every large institutional structure now uses to make people ignorant and to de-activate rationality and free will, or how the elite worked through the Frankfurt School to destroy sexual morality and the family, or the history of the centralized banking system, or the looming threats of trans humanism and artificial intelligence.   If there are scholars among us who want to tackle any of these projects in service to the Orthodox Church, to describe them and warn us about them from the Orthodox point of view:  God bless you and prosper your efforts!   Our purpose today, however, is to see the big picture.  This big picture is perfectly clear for anyone who is willing to see it, who does not want to delude himself for the sake of the psychological comfort that comes with de-activating one’s moral will in the face of evil.    

If one might be tempted to believe that what Huxley, Orwell, and Quigley are describing are fantasies, or at least only a blueprint for world government that has remained theoretical for the most part, he need only examine the public and official literature of well-known internationalist organizations such as the United Nations with its myriad umbrella agencies, the publicly available information about non-governmental organizations such as the Council for Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Soros Open Society Foundation, peer-reviewed academic histories of the world banking system, and so forth, and then follow up with studying the history of American congressional legislation, executive policy, judicial proceedings, and bureaucratic behavior from the period of World War I to the present, to understand clearly that the goals of the former have been steadily achieved by the actions of the latter.  Our formerly national government has degenerated from a genuine constitutional authority deserving respect and loyalty into a hostile and alien managerial interface between the real government – the international elite – and the American people.  There have been starts and stops, but the overall trajectory is clear.  American national sovereignty has by now been effectively surrendered to an internationalist elite that controls the direction of the information media, finance, education, medicine, scientific research, social policy, and foreign policy, including the use of the military.   It is an all-encompassing program, and it aims at what is today called full-spectrum dominance in every aspect of life and at every stratum of society.   This is no longer a secret, and therefore it is no longer a conspiracy.  It is happening – to a great extent has already happened – before our eyes.  

If anyone cares to refute this conclusion, let him make an argument.  But simply to dismiss those who come to this conclusion as “conspiracy theorists” is not an argument.  The use of such an ad hominem betrays the speaker as one not having an argument for his position. 

So Where Do We Go From Here? 

If the conclusions we drew above are true, or even half-way true, we have a grave situation on our hands, and we have to deal with it.   The Church has to deal with it, because the Church is where we go to find out how to deal with the big questions in life.  The Church, in the persons of Her divinely appointed hierarchy and clergy, has a threefold responsibility in this regard – a prophetic, teaching, and pastoral responsibility – to Her children, as well as to the world at large.   

Her prophetic mission is to do what real prophets have always done, usually in the face of great opposition and at great personal cost: to tell people the truth about the way things are and call them to acknowledge this reality and apply the Gospel to the reality, to repent and to believe in the Gospel, not in the abstract, but in relation to their lives as they really are, which includes their relationship to the world around them.   

The Church has a primary and secondary teaching mission:  Her primary teaching mission is to preach the divinely revealed truths found directly in Scripture and Holy Tradition and indirectly in natural revelation, and she also has the secondary – but obligatory and essential! –  teaching mission to exercise a decisive influence on all areas of human endeavor – including political, economic, educational, scientific, and medical  endeavors – according to revealed truth both natural and supernatural, which forms the only reliable and God-pleasing epistemological foundation for genuine learning. 

Her pastoral mission includes giving guidance to her faithful children who are facing moral choices in all areas of their lives:  not only in the internal arena of the individual’s struggle with the passions and the acquisition of personal virtue, but also in the external arena of the believing Christian’s relationship to his family, local community, and the world at large.  This includes the task of exerting a decisive Orthodox influence on personal choices involving domestic concerns such as marriage, family, and childrearing, as well as choices involving the family’s relationship to society in all of its aspects:  economic, educational, political, scientific, medical, etc. 

Why do pastors hesitate in the face of these responsibilities and wish to confine their teaching strictly to historical dogmatic questions, personal asceticism, and the Church’s internal sacramental and liturgical activities?   Here are three answers I can think of, none of which involves a moral judgment of these men who shrink from their prophetic office, but which rather involve matters of typical human limitations or a simple lack of understanding: 

1. Priests Are Not Interested in These Things: There is the obvious answer that no one likes getting out of his comfort zone:  priests usually don’t spend their time reading Carroll Quigley about the New World Order or learning enough constitutional law to conclude that the Center for Disease Control is not a constitutionally legitimate body due the Scripturally commanded obedience to the divinely appointed ruler.  At the moment, for example, I’m not reading about any of these things.  My current reading list is a hagiography of the Elder Leonid of Optina, the writings of St. John Cassian on chastity, the Catechism of St. Peter Mogila, and the commentary on the Divine Liturgy by Nicholas Cabasilas.   For a priest, that’s not extraordinary; it’s totally normal.  That’s the kind of thing that priests are interested in.  It’s our clerical comfort zone; it is both our professional area of expertise and our primary amateur interest, our hobby.  Not amateur in the popular sense, but in the original and higher sense of doing that which we truly love.   We love saints and prayer and the typicon; we don’t love reading Carroll Quigley.  As they say, “I get it.”  If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t spend time on Carroll Quigley either.  But we need to know the world our parishioners live in, and teach them how to live in it, if we are to go beyond Orthodoxy as a hobby to Orthodoxy as life itself.   That’s the rub.  

2. Fragmentation and Obsession:  The “Ask the Experts” Delusion Another answer is that priests, as men, are just as much a product of their societies as are the laity they care for, and therefore they unconsciously imbibe the delusions that their society believes.    One delusion of contemporary society that we all imbibe from our early school years is that real knowledge is a matter for experts, a matter of specialization.   The tinier the details someone has studied, and the more disconnected these details are from a greater philosophical – much less theological – understanding, the greater is his knowledge, and the more we must respect his opinion!    Richard Weaver, in his incomparable Ideas Have Consequences, describes this delusion in the chapter entitled “Fragmentation and Obsession.”  How many times during the recent Covid crisis were we priests told to shut up, because we were not physicians or scientists?   Yet one does not have to have to have a Ph.D. or M.D. in order to read the abstracts of papers or listen to good lectures by genuine experts – such as the world-class experts in virology, epidemiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and statistics who have in fact disagreed with the official Covid narrative from the beginning, and as we write are are growing in number as time goes on – and thereby get the big picture about what is really going on.   One has only to have some common sense, and to be a conscientious and careful reader or listener who ignores the heavily funded, mendacious establishment propaganda and looks for serious evidence and serious arguments for scientific claims.  For those responsible for giving moral advice or setting social policy, not being an expert often helps, because experts have been forced to confine themselves to such a narrow range of interests that they cannot see the big picture:  that is, they are not able to understand, much less articulate where their limited findings and limited understanding fit into the greater picture of man’s moral and social responsibilities.    This latter realm is precisely that of generalists – of priests, statesmen, poets, philosophers, and men of letters – not men who spend their lives with test tubes, microscopes, and mathematical modeling, or within the narrow confines of a specialized professional occupation. 

3.  Cartesian Dualism: This latter misunderstanding, involving an unconscious acceptance of the error of the fragmentary nature of true knowledge, is related to the third problem I can think of, which is the most serious, because it can lead to dogmatic heresies in the areas of Christian anthropology, epistemology, Christology, and soteriology, our understanding of the Church’s great commission to teach the nations – well, everything.  When we read the statements of various Church authorities, for example, which have decreed that the matter of taking or not taking the so-called Covid vaccine (which we now know beyond all cavil is not a vaccine but is in fact a form of genetic engineering technology) has no relationship to pastoral concerns, that pastors have no moral responsibility to guide their flock in such a matter, and that any and all physicians – whether Orthodox, heterodox Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, New-Age, Communist, Satanist, whatever – have total authority over the bodies of our spiritual children in such matters, while the Church has no authority whatever, we can only conclude that the authors of such statements have  – we trust through carelessness and not malicious intent – rejected Orthodox anthropology and have adopted some kind of an anthropology based on Cartesian dualism, on the basis of which we are to accept that man is, as Descartes famously said, a “ghost in a machine” and not the body-soul unity revealed in Holy Scripture.   Such a position, of course, implies not only the obvious anthropological heresy, but also heresies regarding the Incarnation, the literal truth of Scriptural history, the Sacraments, the ascetical life, the nature and constitution of the Church – you name it.  It affects everything.   And this kind of fragmented thinking, if accepted as the normative basis for Church policy, will inevitably be applied to areas besides medicine: to education, to politics, to technology, to child-rearing, to all of our social and domestic activities – with the result that the Church’s authorities end up claiming authority for the Church over nothing –  and their own responsibility for nothing! – in the lives of the faithful, except for what goes on within the four walls of the Church building on Sundays and feast days, which is precisely the situation that obtained in the Soviet Union, a policy condemned by the right believing New Martyrs and Confessors as “Sergianism.” And the shame of it is that the Bad Guys won’t have to kill millions of us to achieve this result, as they did in Russia in the years after 1917.  We are sleepwalking into a shameful self-destruction: we are going to perish not with a bang but with a whimper.  That’s where we are heading, if this problem is not addressed. 

Some Conclusions 

To return to our original question:  Is the current American national government a divinely blessed authority requiring our obedience or not?  The answer is that to the extent that its policies are in the service of the goal of world government, its commands are not blessed by God, and, far from being entitled to a godly obedience, such commands require godly disobedience.   We do not need to know if the final Babel of the personal Antichrist is being built before our eyes.  We can conclude, however, with confidence, that a form of a new Babel, a world governance in the spirit of the Antichrist is being formed.   To the extent that this world government has replaced the legitimate government of the American republic – to that extent it is our patriotic duty, fully in compliance with the teaching of  Holy Scripture, to resist such an illegitimate anti-authority.  Furthermore, it is the duty of the Church’s pastors to provide this resistance with their prophetic, teaching, and pastoral leadership, in activity and authority.   

        If God is with us, no one can prevail against us.   Let us be careful to make sure that we are really with Him.    

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