Although The stink of the ‘60s lives with us by Wesley Pruden is an interesting and informative read, it tempts us to believe something that is not true, that all the problems we see today in America began in 1960’s.
Charles Manson, perhaps the most wicked killer since the Nazis set up their abattoir in the Germany of the previous century, is gone now, banished by death to a decision at the judgment bar of God, from which there is no appeal. But we can measure the damage he and his times did here on our patch of Earth.
Manson was a product of the ‘60s, famous for the “summer of love” in San Francisco, the ultimate reflection of the decade from which so much chaos, moral decay, rot and cultural putrefaction sprang. We see the result writ large in our own times. The rot did not originate there; it goes back to Eden, but it flowered there. Manson’s death in prison last week only recalls the poisonous swill distilled in the City by the Bay. Rarely have so many been influenced for ill by so few. “If it feels good,” went the words to live by in that decadent decade, “do it.” A whole culture collapsed. (continued here)
Charles Manson was just one man. Whether Manson was possessed, a crazed lunatic, or a mad genius not many paid much attention to him. The people of the 60’s just locked him up and threw away the key. Our problems today are more fundamental than the murderous behavior of Manson and the violent political activists of the 60’s.
What is the cause of our problems? Pride. We are disobedient sinners. So God won’t allow us in Paradise. Instead, He seems more interested in our character development.
Genesis 3:17-19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
When I was a boy, one of the ideas that fascinated me was the notion I could put together a self-sustaining aquarium. In theory, I could put just the right things in a large jar, including some pretty fish, seal the jar, and then all I would have to do is shine a light on the jar. If I did it right, the aquarium would almost take care of itself. Thus, I would have a great aquarium and almost no maintenance problems. Although the idea sounded great in theory, I eventually put together an aquarium that required routine maintenance. In a universe dominated by entropy, perfection required more sacrifices than I wanted to make. So I decided a good aquarium was better than a perfect aquarium. When it was up to me to do all the work and make all the sacrifices required for the perfect aquarium, I had an easy decision. It was easier accept the limitations of this world, settle for a good aquarium, and do the required maintenance.
Why is this Part 1? This is the beginning of a series of posts on Utopia by Saint Thomas More. When More wrote Utopia, he coined a new word.
1551, from Modern Latin Utopia, literally “nowhere,” coined by Thomas More (and used as title of his book, 1516, about an imaginary island enjoying the utmost perfection in legal, social, and political systems), from Greek ou “not” + topos “place” (see topos). (continued here)
What is attractive about utopian schemes? Unlike the utopian, self-sustaining aquarium that so fascinated me, utopian schemes don’t require “us” do all the work. It is “other” people who need to be perfected, and it is for their own good, of course (see Busybodyism). Unfortunately, More’s was not the first work to present utopian ideas nor was it the last. In fact, we have more Utopians besetting our society with their wondrous schemes than ever before. Hence, today we will begin a journey through More’s little book.
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana (from here)