Claude Debussy and the Prism of Life

Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 1888 Vincent Van Gogh

Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 1888
Vincent Van Gogh

Until the seventeenth century, light was accepted as a force of illumination, colorless and devoid of structure, the essential device by which God brought life from a formless void.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said Let there be Light. And there was Light. And God saw the light, that it was good. And God separated light from the darkness.                                                            Genesis 1:  1-4  

Then Isaac Newton came along, and revealed that colorless light was actually a complex spectrum of many colors, the beams made of heretofore unknown constituent particles that disassembled by the prism could be easily reassembled. The understanding of the world and its realities were forever changed.  With the microscope, the wonders of microscopic life, with the telescope, the celestial heavens comprised of so much more than the visible known.

This new understanding, that the miracle of nature and life was not for simple interpretation but for complex experience of the seen and the unseen, the heard and the sensed, inevitably established itself as a device by which the artist and musician , as interpreters of the two most visceral senses, expanded their creative forces to interact with man’s ultimate tool of expression, his imagination.

The 19th century was period of the most intense experimentation in these concepts, with the end of the century achieving the synthesis of this ideas in a merged artistic school known broadly as Impressionism.  The goal of the impressionists, whether in writing , art, or music was to achieve a projection of the essence of a subject, rather than a description of it.  Paintings fragmented or blended light, removed both clarity and shadows, brought an ethereal sense of place without specifically demanding accuracy from it. To look at the same haystack at three different times of day or two different seasons changed entirely the essence of it, and the feelings it emoted.  The power of this human impulse to interpret the natural world this way was most developed in France, linearly from Manet to Monet to Renoir to Van Gogh and beyond.

A parallel track was occurring in music, initiating with Berlioz and the Russian Five developing the telescopic power of the modern symphony through Wagner and his symbolic use of sound through motifs, but the back to France to join the painters and authors, through the most original stylings of a very unique genius, Claude Debussy.

Claude Debussy was born in the town of Saint Germaine in countryside near Paris in August 1862, just before Manet’s Luncheon in the Grass was revealed to Paris in an exhibition highlighting the first transitions from realism to something altogether more evocative.  Debussy’s family was driven from Paris by the crisis of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, and moved to Cannes, where his musical talents were discovered and allowed to flourish under a diverse set of colorful instructors, that appealed to his contrarian and bohemian genetics.  Artistic education for talented people propelled through France’s Academe, where the principles of classical art and music were rigorously enforced.  Debussy like all scoundrel talented youths from time immemorial had no patience for the judgements of accredited types, and sought his own muse almost immediately.  He was never a fan of the concept of Impressionism as it was then understood, but preferred the symbolic aspects devised by Wagner, while repelled by its bombastic Germanic expression.    He was drawn more to the world of the microscope than the telescope, relating to more intimate expressions and internalized emotions, consistent with other avant-garde composers like Satie.

Debussy reduced the experience of music to its essence, but he was not averse to beauty.  For him the natural world was so inherently beautiful that even discordant voices and cords could be, like the prism, used to emote a unified whole that was spiritual by his definition.  And beauty was for him the most primordial expression of the senses.  It flows like its own force from the tone poems of Images,Iberia,  and La Mer to the crystal glass intimacy of Clair du Lune, Reverie, and l’apres-midi d’un Faune.  The music soars and dives, roles and ripples, like light through leaves or wind through a screen.  It is tactile and physical, but does not exist in the conscious emotions of passions or anger.  This is  the serenity of the natural world on the floating mind, clouds between storms and waves driven by the eternal tides.  Expressing like JMW Turner, we are left to feel the boat on the ocean, or is it only a cloud, though it matters not because it is after all, the essence of the sea.

Debussy produced volumes of work that ushered in other great composers like Ravel, and contributed side by side with contemporaries like Stravinsky.  He unfortunately lived long enough to see the realities of the mechanized world destroy the intimacies of the old innocence with the brutal forces unleashed by World War I, another August anniversary of note.  The faintly discordant sonorities of Debussy were soon over taken by the cold  post industrial mathematical expressions of Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern.  The prismatic quality of Debussy was no longer capable of being reassembled as a unified expression linked by beauty.  The immense calamity of World War I and its effect on the psyches of both artist and audience alike saw to that.

But then, nobody is meditating to Schoenberg, or rocking their baby to sleep with Webern.  The innate stimulus of a special human place in the brain is Debussy’s gift to us, and like the prism, separates and re-assembles the world into a unified beautiful whole we long for in our daily lives, when the real world gets to be just a little too much.  Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the fateful declaration of war of Great Britain against Germany, exploding the conflict in the center of the continent into a world war, and changing the individual intimate world Debussy created for us forever.  The better memory will always be the gift of Debussy’s prisms of life.

And God said, let there be Light. And there was light.  And God saw the light,  that it was good.

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Just Being There

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

With the continuing dismal news proliferating daily that would unsettle the most secure supporter of the President of the United States, President Obama continues to see his role as the one time assumed leader of the “free” world as that of a disinterested bystander.  The log of upsetting events propels unabated …

Fragile and timid Iraqi forces struggle to mount any kind of cohesive response to the aggressive radical forces of the ISIS terrorist network attempting to establish a caliphate.  Syria continues in armageddon spiral downward in a battle of primitive and ruthless wills of the government and those same ISIS forces with an entire country’s population at their mercy.  A catastrophic collapse of organized government in Libya is in its death throws against hordes of radical cells unleashed by America’s extraordinarily incompetent decision to overthrow Libya’s dictator with absolutely no strategic plan to inject in case of success.  Israel and Hamas are treated diplomatically as equals in a battle for survival for the middle East’s only true democracy, facing a foe that uses women and children as human shields.  Russia lops of an independent country’s sovereign land in Crimea, funds and supplies with sophisticated weaponry a group of thugs led by Russian intelligence officers to destabilize the rest  of the country, then haughtily stands by as these same thugs shoot a civilian airliner out of the sky with 300 innocents aboard.

At home, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants pour across the nation’s sovereign border destabilizing the local economies, the health care facilities, and destroying the concept of a nation’s sovereignty.  The economy groans under the weight of trillion dollar deficits.  Government agencies designed to be impartial, function as the enforcement arm of a marauding government looking to instill its socialist  political philosophy on its citizens.  Even supporters of the President stand in anxious concern as the issue after issue piles on the impassive executive, putting to risk their electoral survival in November.

Yet the passivity continues.  The golf outings.  The vacation to the Vineyard.  The fundraisers with star elites.

For the intelligent and the logical,  the trail of disasters with no reaction is no longer explainable by incompetence.  There is the desire to attempt to conceive an overarching plan or strategic concept at work, to attempt to define how an apparently intelligent man could be standing by so idly while all around him collapses.  Charles Krauthammer, the insightful Washington Post columnist has convinced himself there is a method to the madness:

The preferred explanation for the president’s detachment is psychological. He’s checked out. Given up. Let down and disappointed by the world, he is in withdrawal.

Perhaps. But I’d propose an alternate theory that gives him more credit: Obama’s passivity stems from an idea. When Obama says Putin has placed himself on the wrong side of history in Ukraine, he actually believes it. He disdains realpolitik because he believes that, in the end, such primitive 19th-century notions as conquest are self-defeating. History sees to their defeat.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” is one of Obama’s favorite sayings. Ultimately, injustice and aggression don’t pay. The Soviets saw their 20th-century empire dissolve. More proximally, U.S. gains in Iraq and Afghanistan were, in time, liquidated. Ozymandias lies forever buried and forgotten in desert sands.

If you believe this, then there is no need for forceful, potentially risky U.S. counteractions. Which explains everything since: Obama’s pinprick sanctions; his failure to rally a craven Europe; his refusal to supply Ukraine with the weapons it has been begging for.

The shooting down of a civilian airliner seemed to validate Obama’s passivity. “Violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences,” explained Obama. See. You play with fire, it will blow up in your face. Just as I warned. Now world opinion will turn against Putin.

For most in our nation’s capital, it is important to find a rational basis for actions that seem so divorced from reality.  The nation has assumed a level of elevated intelligence in the man that would be a nation’s transformer, its savior – as declared in the triumphal exuberance of the reports of Obama’s prowess when elected.  The smartest chief executive ever.  A brilliant multidimensional thinker who puts to shame the minor intellects opposing his programs.  An international savant who sees with clarity the flaws of past administrations and will lead the world to a cleaner, safer, more tolerant and civilized place.

But what did we really know of this man?  A college and law school grad upon which no records of assessment have ever been released.  A community organizer trained at the feet of some of the most radical elements of American dissonance.  A single term state senator who rarely registered a vote of conscience.  A U.S. Senator who didn’t complete a single term.

What was the preparation or training for this individual who desires to overthrow all the tenets of a carefully constructed relationship of a government with its people, a world with its stabilizers.  What was the actual level of intellect, the depth of understanding of this individual.

In 1979 Peter Sellers projected onto the cinema screen a epic character named Chauncey Gardner who projects through his simple opacity and feebleness anything a person wants to see in him.  He becomes a mirror for all who want to see great depth in his thoughts, and are embarrassed to admit they don’t see what others see in Chauncey.  Perhaps this president is simply Chauncey Gardner, who is leading this nation as a mirror of what everyone hoped they had elected,  the savior of the human race and a great nation twisted upon itself.  To Chauncey his goals are simple.  He wants to tend to his garden, and help things grow.  The caos we are living through may not be the carefully laid radical solutions of a master politician, but maybe just a nation’s gardner who sees his role as just Being There.

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America and Obama’s Coming Certain Utopia

The United States as a Republic - R.I.P.

The United States as a Republic – R.I.P.

Our nation’s 238th birthday took place on the 4th of July and corresponded with Ramparts of Civilization’s 4th birthday, also born on the Fourth of July as a celebration of and defender for the accomplishments of that great day so many years ago, and the many other examples of similar greatness throughout the long and compelling story of western civilization.  July 4th, 1776 held one of the most treasured places in the pantheon of western civilization’s accomplishments, in its bold recognition of the individual as primary to the story,  rulers as a servant to the people, and not the other way around.  The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men as a right of their birth, are created equal and by their existence as equal men, maintain unalienable rights, that of life, liberty, and their individual pursuit of happiness.   It declared that government existed to preserve these rights and was instituted among people, deriving its powers from the consent of the governed.

The revolutionary words stimulated the passions of an extraordinary generation of people, and by 1789, had achieved the miracle of a constitution designed on those principles, and a series of carefully lain limitations and balances to maintain them.   Through the wrenching pain of a civil war, the sins toward an indigenous culture, the stain of a hypocritical enslavement of a race of people born under the same protections, the calamitous world of market crashes and the impact of two massive world wars, the founding documents preserved a means of governance that led to the freeist, most prosperous society on earth.  The United States was a beacon to those who came from environments with less or no respect for those unalienable rights, and flourished as the singular example of what was possible when a person’s talents are freed and left to their own devices.  The United States became not only the most desired, but the most powerful country on earth, an accomplishment achieved through the power of words and a people’s respect for their meaning.

It devised a council of elective representatives that would create a nation of laws, a judiciary that would ejudicate them and an executive that would see the laws were faithfully executed.  The Chief Executive was asked to swear a specific oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States

The key concept of the Chief Executive was that of the defender of the Constitution, that he would seek election to that critical post to help lead the nation towards a future in the Constitution’s image, not his own image.

On November 4th, 2008, the nation elected someone who presented themselves as a Constitutional scholar, and on January 20th, 2009, swore the very oath above as the 44th President of the United States.

And that was pretty much the last time the Constitution was basis for any consideration of this particular man, Barack Obama.  The first hint of this individual’s determination to not to uphold, but overturn the carefully constructed checks and balances that had brought the country such prosperity, was illuminated five days before his first election as President in October 2008:

And he meant it.  To him transformation meant the necessary destruction of that which came before him. Facing a recession caused by a fiscal crisis, he ignored the multiple previous examples of successful resolution of recessions by removing the hand of government upon the economy through tax cuts and relief from regulation, and went instead for a boundless stimulus spending process, that significantly lengthened the recession and injected into government a massive increase in size that all but doomed any future ability to achieve budgetary control.  When budgets were suggested to control the out of control spending, he ignored the concept of presenting a budget altogether.  In the 232 years of governance  and 43 Presidents before him the nation had incurred a 10.6 trillion dollar deficit.  In the six years he has been in office he has almost doubled the deficit and will have expanded it 2 1/2 times, to 22 Trillion dollars when he leaves office.  He achieved the largest grab of governmental control over the private economy in history when Obamacare was enacted in 2011 without a single opposition vote of support, then rather than enforce it as law of the land, has amended it  without any legal basis over twenty times to fit his purposes.

When he was unable to persuade the opposition or even at times his own party in regard to so called immigration reform or global warning legislation, he simply went over their heads by injecting regulations not based on any law, and ignored laws that were already there.  If the voting population could not be persuaded his ideas were sufficiently mainstream, he determined to change the make-up of the voting population, allowing hundreds of thousands to illegally enter the country, ignoring the laws of border security he had sworn to uphold, precariously putting his country’s whole southern border at risk to calamity, disease, and crime, as well as forever changing the voting demographics to something more of his liking.

He entered people’s private property through increased power of the NSA, the corruption of the IRS, and awesome power of his regulatory commissions to reek havoc.  He turned the power of the IRS on citizens who had differing views then his and sought to destroy them, He sent his minions from ACORN to corrupt voting processes and secure voting assurance for his desire to transform.  He promoted class warfare to hide his failures, and promote the innate power achieved in securing a dependent population to the whims of government control.

He purposefully undercut the painfully won strategy to secure Iraq for the simple concept of proving his notion that the previous administrations’ policy were wrong, and he was willing to waste the sacrifice of over 4000 American deaths and countless casualties to prove it by withdrawing all military support from the shakiest of new democracies, surrounded by ravenous neighbors.  He may have illegally supplied weapons to the most dangerous of opponents to the Assad regime in Syria, sacrificing the life of his Libyan ambassador to prevent exposure of the arms process, ultimately arming the very insurgents who have declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq and threaten to destabilize the entire middle east. He destabilized governments in Libya and Egypt, supported long term sworn enemies of American policy in the Middle East.  He slashed the military at the very time when the nation’s position and influence was growing more perilous by his actions, securing for Russia and China more aggressive policies toward their neighbors, and in Russia’s case, allowing the largest baldfaced land grab since World War II, in Russia’s consumption of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Obama institutionalized a pattern of behavior more fitting of a despot than an elected leader in his desire to “transform”.  He envisions a certain utopia from his actions, an America radically transformed into a socialist democracy fundamentally ruled by one party, with a bounty secured to a progressively dependent population obtained from a steadily diminishing group of producers, the majority fed by continuous immigration with promises of access to the bounty, a financial indebtedness that will remove America forever as the securer of the world’s free trade and markets, and an emasculated military that will prevent any influence on the more dangerous developments in world events, leaving her vulnerable within her own borders.  The concept of a series of checks and balances that would prevent this utopia are anathema to him, and he is gambling on the country’s unwillingness to call him to account for his actions, until they are irreversible. To him its all so obvious, and reasonable.  If the checks and balances of the system require him to persuade, and he can not, he will need to simply do “something” – He will do what he wants – its Economic Patriotism:

When we look up in 2016, we will see the ruins of a republic and lament its passing.  Like all great national efforts before it,  America’s own hubris brought to the position of power its own poison pill, and we swallowed it in 2008.

‘Preserve, Protect, Defend the Constitution’ will be actually our own epitaph, for by standing by passively helpless while this individual remade the country, whose founding principles he hates, in his own image, we cemented our own demise.

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A Sorry State of Affairs

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

What a week it has been.

In the past week, the IRS, the agency dedicated to holding accountable hundreds of millions of Americans to maintain precise records to defend their economic interactions and responsibility to proffer taxable income, admitted that somehow more then two years of emails sent by Lois Lerner beginning in the critical pre-election year of 2011 were somehow lost when her computer crashed and can not be recovered.  In an unrelated event, hundreds of marauding commandos of an islamist terrorist sect, ISIS, a group so violent and uncontrolled  Al Qaeda has disavowed supervisory influence, slammed across western Iraq and took control of Mosul Iraq’s second largest city, and a third of Iraq’s sovereign territory, driving tens of thousands of fleeing and deserting Iraq army soldiers before them.

What could the potentially criminal actions of a government agency and a sunni-shia conflict that has been fulminating for hundreds of years  possibly have in common?  The connecting word? -Catastrophe.  The connecting meme? – a Catastrophic Presidency.

Try as one might to seek a reasonable explanation for an individual’s self destructive and wanton behavior, families are often aghast as to their lack of influence with their wayward relations, and helpless in the face of their destructive spiral downward.   What to do, when it’s the President of a country, and the destructive behavior will potentially take a whole country down with him.

The coalescence of catastrophe around domestic and foreign policy decisions made by this President are not a surprise to those who have experienced the process in their own families.  The usual signs of spiraling self destruction are there.  The flaunting of laws and modes of behavior as if norms apply only to other people.  The blaming of others for outcomes that were uniquely created by the individual’s own action or inaction.  The cloying need for unconditional acceptance for their actions as indicators of their right to act anyway they want to, and be rewarded nevertheless.

The one stabilizing force in Obama’s first administration was at least there were a few adults in the room at times to corral his baser instincts.  Now?…not so much.  There is no William Gates, General Petraeus, Leon Panetta, or even Raul Emmanuel to at least form an argument on a subject.  Surrounded with failed Presidential hopefuls and syncophants, the President is finally the smartest man in the room and that’s apparently not saying much.

There is no one to stop him from claiming there is not “smidgen of evidence” of criminal behavior in an IRS scandal that has not even been investigated and already shows enormous signs of criminal obstruction at the highest levels.  There is no sage voice preventing him from again from sending his stooge ‘National Security Advisor’ Susan Rice out to spout completely unsupported tripe regarding his trade of 5 Taliban terrorist critical generals for a disserting private turned sergeant.  There is no available wise man present to keep him from trading his personal integrity time and  time again for convenient short term political spin.

No conceivable pattern of awareness or understanding is present in decisions to abandon unilaterally hard won victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, allow Russia and China to flaunt America’s helplessness to the countries that have counted on us for support, or secure America’s energy infrastructure on the altar of global warning lunacy.  No sequence of logic is present to solve the country’s immigration dilemma of millions of unsupportable illegal residents by the active opening the gates to millions more.

Like a clueless alcoholic on a binge, the pattern of behavior from the IRS to the NSA, Benghazi to Baghdad, Venezuela to Iran,  illegal immigration to ignoring illegal behavior in his own agencies, the fawning over enemies and the humiliation of friends, the President has determined to turn a deaf ear to any rational disagreement or warning as to the consequences of his actions.

We are all aghast at the deafness to our concerns, the tin ear to those who would try to prevent further calamitous actions.  America, your President is not listening because he cares not what you say or believe in. Its about him.

What a sorry, sorry state of affairs.



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A Close Run Thing

D Day Omaha Beach June 6, 1944

D Day Omaha Beach June 6, 1944

In his later years, the 1st Duke of Wellington, Field Marshall Arthur Wellesley, celebrated as the pre-eminent hero of final defeat of Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo and subsequently twice the Prime Minister of Great Britain, would have been forgiven a glossy remembrance of his greatest victory. Asked, however, of his impression of the moment at Waterloo that cemented his martial immortality, he stated:

” It has been a damned serious business.  It has been a damned nice thing – the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.”

The Duke’s statement has been modernized into reminding us that nice in 1815 vernacular referred to as “uncertain” – the quote has become “a close run thing”.  Wellesley recognized something profound that exists when enormous forces of history come together in a specific time and confined location – the outcome is nothing short of profound and completely at the mercy of fate.  No matter how intense or brilliant the planning, no matter how careful the preparation of the resources and talent, the final struggle is between immense forces of equal indomitable will, and the outcome more often than not resides in the unpredictable synthesis of  execution, weather, individual responses to enormous stress and out and out luck.

Wellesley could have been describing the amazing accomplishment of D- Day, June 6th, 1944, and the successful invasion of the continent of Europe by the liberating allied forces initiated on that day. The seventieth anniversary  of D-Day has just been marked at Normandy with the usual cocktail of a Presidential soliloquy and the celebration of the rapidly diminishing band of participants in that fateful day.   The eighteen and nineteen year old boys that were asked to commit to the beach that day as the youngest members of the invasion force are now the frail old survivors in their  late eighties.  A president born far after their day of sacrifice is asked to synthesize the forces and emotions of that day into a recognizable tome.  We are reaching the last of the ‘decade’ remembrances of D- Day, as the final group of participants will likely be gone, or unable to travel, to the next.  The political leaders are using the event as usual to promote their ‘appreciation’ of history, the righteousness of the cause, and the clarity that time has provided that the right side would inevitably win.

The truth is, it was a very close run thing.

The reality facing the allied nations in June of 1944, was that Nazi Germany was anything but a spent force.  The allied challenge was to be able to establish immediately an army in force that could stably secure a position in Europe and could resist and ultimately dislodge a fully equipped mechanized and highly experienced fascist army that had spent several years in unimpeded planning and construction of an impenetrable west wall of defense. As has been recognized over time, Plan A was the full injection of material, men and will on the beaches of Normandy, and Plan B was – there was no Plan B.  Men can be brave beyond comprehension, plans creative and comprehensive, but ultimately a small force briefly securing a beachhead would have no ability to resist a counterblow of superior forces, artillery and devastating tanks properly dispensed.

The loss of the armies of Normandy and the irreplaceable supplies and force commitment that went with it, would have had a devastating effect on the effort to defeat Nazi Germany. The loss would have been the end of Great Britain’s land army capacity, the political collapse of the ‘unconditional surrender’ strategy of Churchill and Roosevelt, and the potential stagnation of Stalin’s ability to determine the destiny of his eastern battle against a now unimpeded Germany. A massive victory for a staggering Germany would have allowed her the time necessary for implementation of the jet engine into her airforce, reversing the allied air superiority, ending the bombing campaigns, and securing the safety of her rocket weapons to destroy her opponent civilizations.

Plan A required a one day achievement of the landing of 160,000 men amphibiously with flanks secured, and the immediate establishment of harbors that would permit force multipliers, artillery and tanks,  a million men disembarked and supplied, all before the enemy could sufficiently react. Never before tried on such an awesome scale, at the complete mercy of favorable tides and the weather, and requiring of complete surprise and secrecy while preparing and training a million man force who would have to executive a plan with success with no foreknowledge of the date or the place, the most complex battle plan in history relied on the call of a single meteorologist.  At a time without weather satellites or computers, Captain James Stagg managed to come up with the most accurate and critical weather forecast in history, that prevented the armada from being swept away in a gale on June 4th-5th, and predicted a 24 hour window for relatively calm seas on June5th-6th, sufficient to provide a landing zone capacity.  General Eisenhower hinged his decision on the forecast, delayed D-Day on the night of the 4th, and gave the go on the night of the 5th, and secured a fate different then that of the Spanish Armada in the English Channel in 1588, a successful amphibious landing.  The German weather forecast did not see the brief window of stable weather Captain Stagg saw, and believing the weather too foul to allow a complex operation, the man most responsible for German’s Fortress Europe west wall defense headed home to Germany to visit with his family.  On the morning of the 6th, the one man that could have redirected Germany’s panzer tanks to repel the invasion was far from the field of battle.

D Day Normandy June 6th 1944

Plan A could not afford any exposure of flanks.  All five beaches had to be surmounted or the gaps would have allowed crushing of the fragile force.  Omaha Beach was the linchpin, and 6 hours after the first wave, the water was littered with hundreds of bodies and the invasion force was only feet into France, pinned disastrously against a seawall under murderous fire, not the several miles inland required.  General Bradley, the American directly responsible for the American army force, considered the possibility of withdrawal, as it appeared an epic defeat was eminent.  It came down to the individual man, who determined the water behind him was more certain death than the cliffs in front, that finally penetrated the murderous fire raining down and found the way off the beach.  Thousands of boys and men died, pushing out of the water onto land, and thousands of men and boys died for the defenders equally determined to push them off.  It was a close run thing on Omaha, and nobody there on that day will ever forget the terror.

Plan A required a level of secrecy and subterfuge of an almost metaphysical level to succeed. The ability to move an awesome force across open waters to a location surprised to see what had been predicted and prepared for by the enemy  for two years defies understanding in our current world of satellites, Google maps, and instant communication. Maintaining the  secret of a million man force, with spies all around, incredibly complex planning required, and multiple opportunities for slipping up defies belief.  Yet the secret was maintained so well and the confusion as to the allies real intentions so spectacularly sold to the enemy, that even days after the invasion took place, German Central Command and Hitler himself was sure that the Normandy invasion was a feint and the real invasion would come by Calais.  Entire false armies, errant bombing, parachuted dummies, even false orders on dead bodies produced an epic magic trick distraction that worked to perfection and provided the precise delay in response required for success.

It was a close run thing. The world of a thousand years of darkness enforced by perverted science envisioned by Churchill if the Nazis were to succeed was not an incalculable outcome of the struggle on the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944.  9000 graves in the Normandy cemeteries mark the final resting places of young people who placed themselves in the violent vortex of history and did not live to see their sacrifice achieve the destiny they hoped to see to fruition.  The freedoms we so casually take for granted and carelessly toss aside to any bureaucracy that lives to take them, were on the final breaths of every participant in the epic struggle of that far ago day.

Soon the men who personally viewed, participated and fought in the awesome spectacle that was D Day will be no more. That is of course a requirement of our mortality and the endless onward journey of time itself. But the tipping point that so few moments in history truly evoke, is safe in the epic story of that distant day.  As would the Duke of Wellington, we tip our glass to fate, and admire her generosity to us. It is why we celebrate the battle at Waterloo and not the catastrophe at Ligny, and epic triumph of the amphibious landing at Normandy and not, in the face of failure at Normandy, lament the potential German invasion upon the beaches of Brighton and Portsmouth.  For all the men on June 6th, 1944 who soldiered and sacrificed to convince Fate, who the winner should be in history’s story, we again salute you.





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Doctrines and Legacies

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton

Presidents of the United States from its inception have felt a pull to leave some form of recognizable imprint on the destiny of the country that would suggest a contribution worthy of the nation’s Olympian founders.  Since the end of World War II, this has been elevated by the nation’s position as the undisputed economic and military superpower in the world.  At its most identifiable, the policy considerations bear the vaunted label of the chief executive himself as the “architect” of the policy – the Truman Doctrine, the Kennedy Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, the Reagan Doctrine, the Bush Doctrine.  The establishment of a recognizable doctrine implies the formal intellectual understanding of the world’s various historical forces and the United States’ position within it.  It secures for the President his legacy – a measurable effect upon world history that will have legions of intellectuals debating the doctrine’s merits years after – a permanent accolade to the view of this individual as an effective and wise “leader”.

Last week, President Obama felt the need to use the commencement address at West Point Military Academy to try to put form to his foreign policy actions over the previous 51/2 years as President as a logical and consistent doctrine of international management that he hoped would cement a legacy of his time at the helm.  An Obama Doctrine, as it were.

The tenets of a doctrine tend to allow for a very contracted definition for what in each case was an extremely complex set of policies that drove the machine of the policy and the tremendous patience and investment in seeing it through:                                                        Truman Doctrine : Peace Through Containment                                                                   Kennedy Doctrine : Peace Through Competition of Ideas                                                      Nixon Doctrine : Peace Through Détente and Balance of Power                                            Reagan Doctrine: Peace Through Strength                                                                                Bush Doctrine: Peace Through Freedom as Universal Ideal

The evolution of a doctrine that holds merit is magnified by its survivorship over future administrations and its continuing logic in changing circumstances, but most profoundly by its ultimate success in accomplishing its goals.  The penultimate examples are Truman’s and Reagan’s Doctrines, which are effective bookends of the same strategic overview.  President Truman, burdened with the colossal responsibility of an entire continent in collapse as the detris of a crushing military conflict and facing the ominous reality of a megamilitary power in the Soviet Union with a antithical set of ideals as to a future world, saw presciently in an obscure State Department policist George Kennan a means to achieve peaceful containment sufficient for the time required for a free world to recover from its prostrate position juxtaposed to the Russian dominant force.  Kennan’s famous Long Telegram, published February, 1946, was a foundation on which a whole set of complex structures were laid – the Marshall Plan, NATO, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank – were developed under Truman’s clear headed understanding of how long the battle would take and what on what fields the battles would be fought.

For thirty years, Truman’s doctrine served to provide the United States the breathing time and protection it needed to avoid direct conflict until the time when the free world’s resources could be fully marshaled to secure a permanent result.  That occurred in 1980 with the election of President Reagan.  The Reagan Doctrine was natural outgrowth of the Truman process, though few recognized it as such in its time.  Reagan saw that containment has reached its evolutionary position where the enormous progress of democratic economies were in position to roll back the hegemony of the communist tyranny in the world.  ‘Peace Through Strength’ was the metaphor for the simultaneous release of the economic might of the free world, the advance of technologic innovation into the military force, and the exposure of the deficiencies of the communist world and the aspirations of its subjected populations.  In spectacular form, the combined tenets achieved in the life of the two terms of the Reagan Administration, the victory of this ‘cold war” strategy fruition in the collapse of Russian hegemony in Europe and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union itself in 1991.

What is to be made of President Obama’s attempt to define a ‘premeditated’ thinking to the American actions in an apparent series of passive and confoundingly self-defeating responses to one calamity after another on the world stage?  Is there a thinking process that secures a positive outcome in the parade of foreign policy apparent setbacks in the withdrawal of troops from a hard won victory in Iraq, the simultaneous surge and withdrawal strategy in Afghanistan, the red line declarations and subsequent lack of follow through in Syria, the appeasement strategy for nuclear weapon control with a autocratic Islamist regime in Iran, the aggressive military detachment of a functional government from Libya into the current dangerous  chaos that cost America a terror attack and loss of an Ambassador and that rules the Libyan people today?   What doctrine describes the dithering support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the demonization of the Mubarak and now Sisi regimes, the peripheral disappointment and minimal sanctions for a bald land grab of the Crimea by Russia, and the continuing whining regarding past American policies?

The doctrine of Obama as outlined in his West Point speech shows the reality that the ‘doctrine’ followed the disparate actions, and not the other way around.  The speech, a collection of verbosities and generous interpretations of outcomes, suggests the Obama Doctrine to be ‘Peace Through Controlled Decline’.  America must lead and when necessary militarily without asking anyone’s permission, but not”rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences, without building support or legitimacy for our actions“.  America must not be responsible for crises in the world that do not involve our direct national security interests, but “needs to energize the global effort to combat climate change, a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform, as we are called on to respond to refugee flows and natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food, which is why, next year, I intend to make sure America is out front in putting together a global framework to preserve our planet.” The concept of American Exceptionalism is not a foreign concept to this President, simply a concept that has been misinterpreted by all the Presidents before him –  “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.”  America must be prepared to face her enemies with complete resolve and where necessary military action and sacrifice but only with the near certainty of no collateral damage- ” But as I said last year, in taking direct action, we must uphold standards that reflect our values. That means taking strikes only when we face a continuing, imminent threat, and only where there is no certainty — there is near certainty of no civilian casualties, for our actions should meet a simple test: We must not create more enemies than we take off the battlefield“.

Doctrines and Legacies often intertwine, but the more modern of our politicians progressively confuse that legacies are earned, not managed. The genetic flaw in President Obama’s makeup is his confusion of instinctual intelligence for the hard work of learned strategy.  It is depressingly clear every time this President opens his mouth of his alarming ignorance of history and events and his willingness to interpret every event as reflecting his need to insert his personal spin as the defining historical participant . Charles Krauthammer perceptively lays this out in his essay “Emptiness at West Point” which he states more than anything reflected the President’s increasing irrelevance and “smallness”.  In the process of “leading from behind” , the two most politically skinned leaders in American history in Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton have put America in potentially irreversible waters in five short years.  A circular Doctrine that sees contrary events as having been guided by the same unidentifiable plan has placed not only America, but the world, in a perceptively more dangerous place.  Now that is a legacy likely to leave a lasting impression.




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The Rise of the Nationalists


On November 30th 2010, Ramparts of Civilization focused on an obscure, in your face politician representing Great Britain at the assembly of the European Union named Nigel Farage as People We Should Know #5, for his aggressive framing of the concepts liberty and national sovereignty in the temple of supra-national rule.

I don’t want to say I told you so, but…

This past week saw ascendance of Nigel Farage’s UKIP party in Great Britain’s local council elections that sent a shudder through the establishment parties and bewilderment from a media press that assumed ideas such as national sovereignty and personal freedom a relic of the past.  Farage’s party is positioned to change the discussion in a hurry.  His Britishcentric party is one of multitude of  similar movements that have blossomed in the United States and Europe.  The response of the establishment is aggressive and predictable, painting the movements as ‘Potemkin village’ parties hiding a dark racist streak and evil intent.  The spector of national socialism is blanketed over the liberal vision of the movements, ignoring the history of the marriage of racial politics and socialist central planning having coming directly from socialism’s fascistic genetics.

The triad of the resurgence of European nationalism is based on three anti’s:  anti-supra-nationalism, anti-tax, and anti-immigration.  From the Netherland’s Geert Wilders Freedom Party to Marine LePen’s National Front in France, local political strength is now starting to effect national politics that has the European Union taking notice.  Local nationalism in Switzerland, Finland, Hungary, and Austria are recognizably recruiting individuals from across society’s spectrum, while Greece’s Golden Dawn has more the shadowing of previous darker traditional European racial xenophobia. America’s Tea Party trails only in that it has yet to identify a unifying national spokesman for the movement.

Rise of Nationalist Parties Europe - BBCThe national parties each have a local inflection, but the response is to decades of progressive socialist trampling on the rights of individual entrepreneurship and expression, and the progressive superceding of democratic local corrective capacities.  Nigel Farage’s ascendance was initially tied to his disdain for the European Union’s arrogance in naming a “President of Europe” , the remarkably frumpy Belgian bureaucrat Herman Von Rompuy, who has secured that position for the past 5 years, accelerating the rule of Europe by fiat through regulation rather than local democratic debate.

Herman Von Rompuy

Herman Von Rompuy

In 782 AD, Charlemagne secured his rule over Europe by massacring 4500 Saxons at Verden who refused to bow to his edict to convert to Christianity and accept his rule.  Von Rompuy has achieved the same power through the massacre of considerably more than 4500 personal freedoms through his onerous regulations.  It is this central un-elected dictate that drives the national parties resurgence.  It is certainly more complicated than the liberal media’s desire to paint the movements as hatred of “other”.

The anti-immigration plank of these parties has left them open to the racism arguments, but the philosophical arguments are certainly more complex.  In many cases, the argument is regarding the progressive assault on culture that liberal doctrine is so aggressively  undertaking.  For the United States, it is what is considered the founding twin tower elements of individual freedom and individual responsibility for lives that are being derided, and has led to a resistance in the form of the Tea Party. The principles of limited government with identified checks and balances was placed to prevent a central government from usurping the capacity of individuals to achieve their own vision quests.  In Europe the hard won cultural maturity of Western civilization, forged through hundreds of years of bloody conflict, and  based on the rule of law as secured by the power of elected assembly has been under the attack of unfettered immigration, from cultures with no similar cultural respect for these tenets.  The liberal agenda has been on identifying the world as ruled by an entity known as homosapien, with its herds allowed to freely cross borders and graze in uninhibited fashion on the fruits of the local produce, the herd to be culled and organized by the all seeing, all knowing council of elders, assuring a “fair” distribution of the herd’s resources.

Nigel Farage UKIP

Nigel Farage UKIP

So Nigel Farage’s smile grows and grows, and the scowl of the liberal minders gets more scowly by the minute.  They are infuriated this beer swilling pack smoking politician continues to resonate with the very populations that they are trying to regulate out of existence. The very actions of Farage’s unapologetic beer swilling and pack smoking are the height of insult, because they seem to reflect a statement of personal freedom to voters,  rather than a nasty habit that should be regulated out of Farage’s personal choice for his own good.  In four short years, Farage has made the transition from derided peripheral clown to socialist globalism’s worst nightmare, a politician who makes sense across social stratifications.

Liberalism will do their best to paint the politicians of the nationalist surge as the second coming of Hitler.  It will be the challenge of these parties to identify with politicians that articulate the positive character of the message without attaching to the baser darkness of the xenophobic crowd.

Once again, we live in interesting times.



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The Elephant in the Room


Mike Lester - washingtonpostwriters group

Mike Lester – washingtonpostwriters group

Two weeks ago,  an e-mail obtained by the watchdog organization Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act  identified the involvement of the White House in the framing of the initial explanation denying the Benghazi terrorist attack of September 11th 2012 as a terrorist attack after a year of denial that there was any initial knowledge of it being a terrorist attack.  Last week, e-mails obtained by the watchdog organization Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act detailed an obvious focus by Washington DC  Internal Revenue Service hierarchy on tea party groups and “organizations critical of how the country is being run” despite over a year of administration denials that the IRS tea party oversight abuses were anything other than the zealotry of a few rogue agents in Cincinnati.  The President of the United States who in 2012 prior to the election bluntly told the nation that he had guaranteed that people could keep their health insurance plans if they desired,  informed the American people in 2013 they may not be able to keep their plans if the plans were”sub-standard”.

Fast and Furious denials. Solyndra denials.  NSA denials. Accountable Care Act denials. Benghazi denials. IRS denials. The list goes on and on.  Has there ever been an American administration that dealt in obfuscation with the brashness and consistency of this one?  Actually, is obfuscation too polite a word for the self interested willingness to deceive, otherwise known as lying?  The reality is, that one continues to lie when it is obvious that there will be no consequences for their actions.  For essentially the entire Obama Presidency an all too willing press has been willing to accept outright falsehoods and delaying tactics as simple political maneuvering on the part of the administration, to protect the president that has come closest to their value system.  A very different press was in place 41 years ago, when a President found himself unable to stonewall a progressive investigation into the difference between the administration’s version of events, and the truth.

From the Watergate hotel break-in of June 17th,1972 to the President Nixon’s resignation on August 8th, 1974 – two short years – the relentless hammer of investigative reporting linked to congressional investigation caused the entire pattern of governmental obfuscation to collapse.   We are approaching the fifth year of the fast and furious debacle, the fourth year of the IRS targeting of Americans, the third year since the discovery of the use of the NSA to spy on individual Americans without legal justification,  the fourth year since the Affordable Care Act was first mis-represented, the second year since the Benghazi distortion may of helped sway an American election, and where are we in terms of the public understanding as to the integrity of their government in these actions?

Maybe the enormous amount of evidence that the administration has been functioning in willful deceit is finally coming to bear, though with no help from an scandal catatonic press corps. The action of organizations such as Judicial Watch, to put in the hard work of information retrieval, is beginning to get the rats to scurry.  Given the bias of the press, similar disclosures regarding a Republican administration would be raw meat to the beast.  Regardless, the enormous number of people who have to have their stories controlled with so many parallel lie factories is the elephant in the room.  The progressive drip of information is beginning to stir the level of congressional oversight that begins to drive the story, and whether the press’s desire is to shield the President, the story may simply get too juicy to ignore.

The elephant in the room is big, growing bigger and progressively will not be able to be ignored very much longer.  Certainly, one can already see that some of the participants are distancing themselves from the elephant in hopes of not getting squashed.  The slippery and legalistically slimey Hillary Clinton, who skated through any responsibility for the Whitewater scandal, a real estate morass that sent twelve people associated with the venture to jail, excepting only her, and navigated professed outrage regarding the “right wing conspiracy”  exposing  her husband’s peccadillos into a Senate seat in New York, launching her own career, is smack dab in the elephant’s sights.  It will be interesting to see how she attempts to distance herself as the need grows to throw more and more people who served under her under the bus.

Could it reach the President himself, who assumes a veneer of detachment from all responsibility to any events that happen under his watch?

Having lived through the damage that the Watergate debacle placed upon the American psyche, no one should be happy to see the elephant find him.

But, its definitely his elephant.

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Charles Fritz and the Corps of Discovery

"The Corps of Discovery Running the Columbia"  Charles Fritz

“The Corps of Discovery Running the Columbia” Charles Fritz

"The River Rochejhone April 25, 1805"   Charles Fritz

“The River Rochejhone April 25, 1805” Charles Fritz

On May 13th, 1804, 33 explorers led by Captain William Clark set out from a staging area known as Fort Dubois in the Indiana territory, left the Mississippi River into the mouth of Missouri River, picked up their expedition co-leader Captain Meriwether Lewis, and embarked on one of mankind’s great adventures into the unknown. Over the next twoThe Lewis and Clark Expedition - 1804 - 1806  wikipedia years, the expedition group, known as the Corps of Discovery, performed the spectacular feat of successfully transitioning through thousands of miles of undefined territory to the Pacific Ocean and back, losing but one member of the corps (to appendicitis), and created a brilliant record of accurate maps, scientific observations, and out and out artistic prose. The success of the expedition codified America’s reputation as a “can do” nation and changed her forever. This record, in its highest form found in the Journals of Lewis and Clark, have stimulated historians and artists alike to try to bring time and time again a modern reflection on the epic accomplishment.

In the world of art, many famous artists of the likes of  Charles M. Russell have put their creative stamp on the highlights of the expedition.  The land with its endless vistas have been material enough, but the Lewis and Clark Journals brought such perspective to the landscape that the many of the landscape impressions seem empty without the attempt to view them as the voyagers in the Corps of Discovery did.  No one I suspect, however, took to the concept of recreating a visual Iliad for the journey to heart as did modern Western artist Charles Fritz.

Last year, I was introduced to Charles Fritz through a small painting I purchased at a gallery in Tucson.  In discussing the excellent skillset of the artist, and the accuracy and devotion he showed to the subject matter, I was informed that Fritz had previously achieved an immeasurable artistic feat on a particular historical favorite event of mine, the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  I ordered the book documenting the accomplishment, ” Charles Fritz: the Hundred Paintings Illustrating the Journals of Lewis and Clark” and spent hour upon hour in progressive awe of what Charles Fritz undertook and what he accomplished.  In an effort of exceptional devotion to the accuracy of the journals and personally  sighting each of the panoramas as the journals described Lewis and Clark experienced them, Fritz produced a comprehensive masterpiece that brings to life visually the entire voyage. Stimulated by a commission to paint a specific location described in the journals, Fritz determined with plenty of encouragement to devise a dramatically more substantial mission he had contemplated since his youth, a comprehensive artistic telling of the story of the complete expedition. Over seven years, and with no doubt personal hardship to his ongoing career as he determined to not sell individual paintings but instead show them in a comprehensive grouping, an authoritative collection of 72 paintings morphed into an initial traveling highly popular exhibition by 2005. The extent of the  work in terms of originality, scope, and man-hours was huge, but the obsession hit Fritz, and  with the support of a collector named Tim Peterson, the financial wherewithal to expand the scope to 100 paintings and fill in the story holes with the original creation was achieved by 2009.

The gift to us is a spectacular collection to the nation that birthed the Corps of Discovery and produced the men who achieved the adventure of many lifetimes.  The art brings the intrepid explorers to life, and precisely places them in the historically accurate depictions and landscape.  Yet this is not illustration, but true art, with the emotions and passions of the people, the drama of the events, and huge canvas of the landscapes come to life.

Portage Around the Great Falls - June, 2005  Charles fritz

Portage Around the Great Falls – June, 2005 Charles fritz

Fritz placed himself into the journals to create the drama of the works and in the landscapes he loved before they passed out of time in recognizable ways.  He makes all of us feel the danger, the wonder, and the exhilaration Lewis and Clark, and their corps must have felt.

"The Arrival of Captain Lewis at the Great Falls of the Missouri June13, 2005"  Charles Fritz

“The Arrival of Captain Lewis at the Great Falls of the Missouri June13, 2005” Charles Fritz

The journey stories from the funeral of Sergeant Floyd  to the Mandan Village winter, the interactions with the Sioux, Blackfeet, and the corps own unofficial guide Sacajawea and Clark’s black slave York are all represented.  The eye of the master artist and  integrity to the historical truth are matchless. Fritz’s natural love of the West and to the traditions of American painting from Bingham to Remington, Moran to  Russell come out in each individual masterpiece. The respect for the land and the indomitable spirit of the explorers who first saw it as unsullied paradise projects from each creation.

We are led  by Charles Fritz’s epochal life work  to the wonder of who we were and what we hoped to be, and maybe through the appreciation of the enormous effort of a man to his craft and to his country, what we perhaps yet, could still become.

Lewis and Clark - charles fritz

Lewis and Clark – charles fritz






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People We Should Know # 26 – C.S. Lewis


C.S. Lewis - wikipedia

On the most important day of the Christian calendar,  the day in which faith triumphs over reason, and reason becomes  faith, we celebrate the miracle that was the culmination of a Supreme Being’s promise to His creation.  With the triumph over mortality itself,  a reason for being, beyond an accident of nature, was revealed and life gained ultimate worth. The next two thousand years became a burst of passion for knowledge, exploration, expression, and discovery directly linked to renewed pact man held with his Creator, and his attempt to live up to the promise of that miracle.

The very success of man’s discovery of his capacity to understand, led, by the twentieth century, a willingness to suggest alternatives to the faith residing in the miracle of Easter, and to the question the very existence of, or fundamental need for, a Supreme Being.  The development of newer philosophies, materialism, atheism, and scientism, proceeded to put forward the idea that man’s development had superceded the validity of any “stories” that once provided answers to the mysteries of the universe and our place in it.

Confronting  the intense arguments of Nietzsche, Freud, and others, and the seeming lack of God in the dominance of the individual by the superstate, a few articulate men were able to weave modern concepts into the fabric of the ancient miracles, and show that God was even more apparent in the modern interpretation of life.  Of particular note was the genius of C.S. Lewis, whose stature has only grown some fifty years after his death.  C.S. Lewis, who as a philosopher recognized that logic and reason, faith and miracle were not incompatible, and had the brilliant literary prose to articulate it for everyone, is to be celebrated on Easter as Ramparts People We Should know – #26.

C.S. Lewis holds a special place in the discussion of a divine  providence not because he was an unquestioning, fervid believer in the Almighty but rather because he was the opposite.  By age fifteen, convinced of science objectivity and armed with an already impressive searching intellect, he announced his atheism to his family and friends. He served in World War I, was seriously wounded and only further confirmed his conclusion that man was an accident of evolution, and nature the format for chaotic, random occurrence.  It was at his obtaining a professorship at Oxford where he met a group of intellectual contrarians know as the” Inklings”, led by JRR Tolkien (better remembered as the author of the saga Lord of the Rings) . Tolkien, a strong Roman Catholic, interlaced Christian principles of good, evil, temptation, and redemption through his writings.  Lewis stated the conversion to Christianity for him was not immediate.  He described being brought “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting my eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.”  But his philosophical bent continued to cause him to ask question after question as how things exist and how randomness utterly failed to explain so many things in creation.  Being a modern man, he did not deny the answers of science, nor fall meekly upon the stories of creation to explain the way things were.  His was an intellectual journey:

If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too.  If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms.  And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s.  But if their thoughts – i.e., Materialism and Astronomy – are mere accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true?  I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents.  It’s like expecting the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.

C.S. Lewis

Progressively, he organized his thoughts on paper, and armed with a prodigious literary talent, left us a beautiful tome of literature to understand how well belief in the Divine stands up in the modern age.  Books such as Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and The Screwtape Letters are considered not only great paeans to Christian apologia but also great literature.  His children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, proved to be one of the most popular best sellers of the 20th century and have been celebrated in cinema.

Although he was a practicing Anglican, C.S Lewis  has sustained popularity some fifty years after his death for the universality of his message, the insightful logic of his arguments, and the beauty of his prose.  For an age, he inspires a love for the magic that underlies life and creation that few others have been able to achieve.

In so many ways., C.S. Lewis is an appropriate soldier of the Ramparts and People We Should Know.  On this beautiful Easter day, let us celebrate our faith, but take additional pride in the continual example of that faith’s vitality and pertinence in this modern world of ours.

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