Monday, December 27, 2010

How Much Land Does A Man Need?

by Leo Tolstoy

An elder sister came to visit her younger sister in the country. The elder was married to a tradesman in town, the younger to a peasant in the village. As the sisters sat over their tea talking, the elder began to boast of the advantages of town life: saying how comfortably they lived there, how well they dressed, what fine clothes her children wore what good things they ate and drank, and how she went to the theatre, promenades, and entertainments.

The younger sister was piqued, and in turn disparaged the life of a tradesman, and stood up for that of a peasant.

'I would not change my way of life for yours,' said she. We may live roughly, but at least we are free from anxiety. You live in better style than we do but though you often earn more than you need, you are very likely to lose all you have. You know the proverb, "Loss and gain are brothers twain." It often happens that people who are wealthy one day are begging their bread the next. Our way is safer. Though a peasant's life is not a fat one, it is a long one. We shall never grow rich, but we shall always have enough to eat.'

The elder sister said sneeringly:

'Enough? Yes, if you like to share with the pigs and the calves! What do you know of elegance or manners! However much your goodman may slave, you will die as you are living -- on a dung heap -- and your children the same.'

'Well, what of that?' replied the younger. 'Of course our work is rough and coarse. But, on the other hand, it is sure; and we need not bow to any one. But you, in your towns, are surrounded by temptations; to-day all may be right, but to-morrow the Evil One may tempt your husband with cards, wine, or women, and all will go to ruin. Don't such things happen often enough?'

Pahóm, the master of the house, was lying on the top of the oven, and he listened to the women's chatter.

'It is perfectly true,' thought he. 'Busy as we are from childhood tilling mother earth, we peasants have no time to let any nonsense settle in our heads. Our only trouble is that we haven't land enough. If I had plenty of land, I shouldn't fear the Devil himself!'

The women finished their tea, chatted a while about dress, and then cleared away the tea-things and lay down to sleep. But the Devil had been sitting behind the oven, and had heard all that was said...Read it all

--->Alpha to Omega. The Christopher Hitchens Dilemma: "We may never know his true standing with God when he dies. What we do know, however, is that he is in a similar predicament as Rocky Sullivan. By the great grace of God he is now facing a dilemma that might not have presented itself - or at least not with such force - had he not been struck with cancer. Now he's playing for all the marbles. Will he hold steadfast to that human pride that for many years made him a hero in the eyes of the world's atheists or will he find it in himself to reach down and acknowledge to all humanity the truth that he knows about God before his time is up and God's mercy runs out?...

Many things to reconsider

Mr. Hitchens elsewhere in his prejudicial assault on theism speaks of the ritual disgust and "horror" the world's religions show "for menstrual blood" and sees contempt for women in this; just another reason to detest religion, he avers. But no, the man flunks the exam again; because it is the sacredness of menstrual blood which we hold in awe, not the "horror" of it. Only the 'Enlightened' ones who support Big Money multinational Planned Parenthood's butchery have a terror and horror of menstrual blood, what it stands for, along with the fecundity and teleology of sex. Mr. Hitchens' contempt for creation's diversity and fruitfulness is rooted it would seem in sheer prejudice, since he links our alleged "loathing" of sex and menses in the same breath, a preposterous ignorance of the Faith. I hope he will give renewed thought to all of this.

--->Many on the political Left rightly bemoan the loss of genuine democracy in our political context in this nation. Certainly the powers are loathe to consult the people in direct referenda about the timely issues of the day. But would the Left accept the result of such genuine referendums if, say, a majority of the people in the nation voted directly to ban abortion? or would they cry fascism and whine to Black Robes to overturn that majority? If so, what then becomes of their alleged love for democracy?

--->‘Homeland’ security coming to hotels, malls...

--->Updated. Why Is It So Cold? Should the Big Freeze Alter Our Approach to Climate Change? Read on...; for an opposing POV, DN video report see here...

--->Outgoing Brazilian President Lula Critical Of US "Empire" Policy In Latin America. "Speaking to reporters at a breakfast meeting in the capital Brasilia, Lula lamented that the election of President Barack Obama had brought little change to the "empire's" approach on Latin America...More

-->Boston Globe: From the Pentagon to the private sector: In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs...

The prodigal sonThe Natural Law: "For the LORD sets a father in honor over his children; a mother's authority he confirms over her sons. He who honors his father atones for sins; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. He who honors his father is gladdened by children, and when he prays he is heard. He who reveres his father will live a long life; he obeys the LORD who brings comfort to his mother. He who fears the LORD honors his father, and serves his parents as rulers. My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate with him; revile him not in the fullness of your strength. For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering--it will take lasting root"---Sirach 3:2-7.12-14 ---[The above post updated 2x]


  1. I believe that what the political left is not getting is that we ARE living in a democracy! The corporate elites can only do what the majority of people allow them to do. As long as the rich keep the cars and xbox players etc coming they will be given a free reign. Most people either want to be rich or want their children to be rich in the future so they have no interest in wholesale change.
    I don,t think the elites so much loathe consulting the public but that they usually don,t have to. But on those occasions when the public is stirred and they ,say, organise a boycott of certain products that advertise on certain shows they do cave in. The election of Obama is a case in point. He went directly to the people and got 65 million votes and the elites were powerless to stop him, despite their best efforts.(of course now that he has lost much of that public support the power dynamic has changed.)
    So I believe that we who believe in Christian moral values and a simpler life are in the minority and we must square ourselves with that and must work on not only the elites but the general culture around us.

  2. Many, seeing that Mr. Obama was a veritable public unknown before his election, knew that after his election it was necessary to look at his "team" to find out who he really was and served: Summers, Kissinger, Clinton, Geithner, Rubin, et al... So they conclude he was from the outset a servant and "made man" of Wall Street capital. Aldous Huxley (and to some extent Marshall McLuhan and others) suggested freedom and democracy would increasingly become a kind of chimera in our technological hall of mirrors, so that almost imperceptibly we would come to "love our servitude". Here's Huxley:

    "...democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms---elections, Supreme Courts and all the rest---will remain. The underlying substance will be a kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast---but democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit."---Brave New World Revisited

    See also (in wider context) the assessment of the French luminary Francois Furet here

  3. I think the power and soveriegnty of the majority is being underestimated. It could be that the alledged controll the elites seem to have is the illusion. If a pack of wolves are being given meat to keep them from attacking the cattle they are not being manipulated, they are being placated. The same with consumer society. Make no mistake, there are elites behind the scenes working towards certain goals but they have to take public opinion into consideration and will turn to puddles if public opinion ever goes against them.
    In the future they will likely get firmer controll but such controll will be directed more to those of us who oppose the political and cultural order because to the rest it will be exactly what they want.
    To me it seems like more of a give and take between the majority and the elites with the elites not "manipulating" public opinion but giving the people what they want to begin with.
    to us who oppose the present moral order(disorder?)it looks like the majority are "loving their servitude"but it may be that the elites are actually doing the serving to a certain extent.
    A defintion of democracy I heard is this, 8 lions and 2 zebras deciding what to have for dinner!Thats the frightening thing. We who hold to Christian values will be opposed not only by the ruling elite but but the people around us who agree with them, even family members. At the end of the day it doesn,t matter if we are persecuted by a society firmly controlled by elites or one that the elites have to placate it will still be one that is opposed to Christian values that will either lead to the apocalypse or crumble due to its flimsy foundation. We have to watch and be on our guard from either one.

  4. Thank you, Roman. You have the final word on that.