My Thoughts

Someone reminded me of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a wonderful wonderland, indeed. The particular point of interest was Alice’s odd encounter with Humpty Dumpty and one portion of her conversation in particular. When Humpty Dumpty proclaims that he received his cravat as an un-birthday present, Alice asks “what is an un-birthday present?” “A present given when it isn’t your birthday, of course.”

After some discussion on how many days there were in a year, how many birthdays, “One,” leaving 364 un-birthdays to celebrate and receive presents, Humpty Dumpty declares:

And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!”

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

That sounds more than vaguely familiar, though written more than a century and a half ago (1865). Along with Chesterton and Orwell, how can anyone deny their undeniable witness when it came to the frangibility of the human condition and the seemingly insatiable appetite of the progressive to remake man in his own image and likeness, all the while the master. Their words presaged what has, without a doubt, become our reality, though to listen to the progressive, socialist left and their propaganda media arm, reality is merely what you make of it.

What is most corrosive is not even that leftists replace truth with falsehood; what is worse is that they don’t care about the difference. That’s not just lying, that’s cynicism. It is the same cynicism that asks, “What is truth?” And so you see the denial of objective truth altogether, denied in favor of subjective perception, your truth and my truth. So, everything becomes about language, everything becomes about the narrative. This is the definition of political correctness: manipulating language to deny reality.

The left would be master by perverting our discourse into nonsense and nothing. … The left tells us we must lie about sex, about history and about the weather because, they say, the truth is cruel. “Reality is cruel,” they tell us, “and fantasy is compassionate.” This belief itself is the oldest lie in the world, and the left has been peddling it for a very long time.

In one of the most famous lines in presidential history, John F. Kennedy, summed it all up. He was quoting socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw and he said, “Some people see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say ‘Why not?’” This is supposed to be very inspirational, repeated by countless leftist politicians up to today. What Kennedy did not mention is that Shaw wrote that line in a play called Back to Methuselah. Specifically, he wrote it in the mouth of the serpent tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden. You think he would have googled it; he didn’t have google in the sixties but crack a book open. Quoting the devil; that is not good presidential politics. Those were the words of the devil, there was nothing compassionate about them. ~ Michael Knowles, Leftism is not Compassionate

Speaking of Chesterton, I simply am no longer able to refuse him voice to this discussion.  He wrote, in a 1934 essay, describing a young mother who informed her child’s nanny, an older woman, “that the following rules must be strictly observed in the teaching, or for that matter, the playtime, of her child. (1) The child must never read fairy-tales or be allowed to hear about fairies. (2) The child must never hear of the very existence of fighting in any form. (3) The child must be strictly guarded from the shameful rumour that there is such a thing as religion or religious beliefs.” Amazing, how this sounds so familiar. Chesterton continued:

The intellectual interest of this bit of bigotry lies in this: that the new philosophies and new religions and new social systems cannot draw up their own plans for emancipating mankind without still further enslaving mankind. They cannot carry out even what they regard as the most ordinary reforms without instantly imposing the most extraordinary restrictions. We are to live under a sort of martial law lest we should hear of anything martial. All our children are to be watched by governesses lest they should be told, even by accident, of a fairy or a fight with robbers. Everybody is to be drilled with an anti-militarist discipline which is quite as stiff and strict as a militarist discipline. … ~ G. K. Chesterton, “On the New Prudery,” In Defense of Sanity, 1934

All this should remind us all that words matter. There are too many Humpty Dumpty wannabe masters out there who clearly subscribe to the creedal orthodoxy that “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less,” which, I suppose, explains much about the meaning of the word “racism” now, doesn’t it?

Just my thoughts for a Tuesday, for what it is worth.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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