Ten suggestions


Because I am a bit of an anomaly in the Canadian "mainstream media" -- because I am, to put no finer point upon it, not only rather conservative in my political outlook, but what is called a "social conservative"; and as one of my critics once patiently explained, "not just conservative, but Christian; and not just Christian, but Catholic" -- because of this I get many e-mails.

Many of them are just rude; some offer criticism that borders on the constructive; but a surprising number show agreement, amity, encouragement, even praise. And not a few ask me very difficult questions, which I regret I can seldom answer adequately, or at all. Among the most frequent are those who ask Lenin's old question, namely, "What is to be done?" Or as one inquirer this week put it, "What can 'normal' people do to fight stuff like political correctness, and help win back a little order, decency, freedom and sanity in our society?"

I do actually think about this a lot, and today I propose to give 10 suggestions in reply to all such questions. Note that not one of them requires political action.

These are 10 things I think a "normal" person could pursue in a practical way (I have always aspired to be normal myself, not always with success), and indeed, I am convinced that they are "categorical imperatives." That is to say, if these suggestions were followed, diligently, by any number of people in our society, our world would actually become a better and more civilized place.

The first is, absolutely refuse to give obeisance to the various idols that the "politically correct" specially define and demand that we worship, such as "equality," "fairness," "human rights," and the other specious abstractions to which they attribute a gnostic and mystical power. And symmetrically, refuse to worship in the temples of the gods of money and power and coolness.

Second, make conscious, reverent references to God -- even to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- an audible part of our lives in the world, and love God in our hearts. Conversely, carefully avoid speaking of any divine thing in a cute or irreverent way.

Third, unfailingly attend Mass, each Sunday, and daily where we can; and let the Mass do its work upon our souls. (Non-Catholics should likewise be punctilious in their own religious observances.) Let the enemy see our churches filled. Observe and participate in all other sacraments, which includes, for Catholic Christians, the crucial one of making a good confession, frequently. In any event, prayerfully ask God's forgiveness when we fail.

Fourth, defend our families, by keeping as aloof as possible from the bureaucracies of Nanny State. Do not neglect the needs of our parents in their time of sickness and old age; do not fail to instill in our children, by our own upright and sincere behaviour, the respect they owe to us as their parents.

Fifth, do not participate in any way in what the last Pope so eloquently described as "the culture of death." Do everything in our power to streetproof ourselves and our children against its demands, and do not hesitate to spell out the basic facts of life, behind all life issues. Be sure our children understand them, and that they grasp the sanctity of all human life.

And rejoice, always, in the life we are given, and in the knowledge that what we leave upon the face of time can only be our example.

Sixth, reject sexual liberation in all its insidious forms. Do not even think about fornication and adultery. Truly respect and accommodate the opposite sex.

Seventh, be consistently honest and honourable in all business and social transactions, with everyone, regardless of race colour or creed, even when it must be at some cost to ourselves. Do not play with temptations to corruption, even on the office pencil scale. Yet assiduously avoid being "holier than thou."

Eighth, be truthful in speech, fair and even charitable in speaking of other people, and look constantly for whatever good we can find in them. Be encouraging rather than discouraging by habit, and most important, do not spread personal gossip and lies, even against our worst enemies, and even when we think they deserve it.

Ninth, be content with what we have in our family and religious life, make ourselves happy with the homes we have to return to, and do not look covetously upon the Joneses. Accept with humility our station in life; have ambitions, but make them unselfish.

Tenth, be content with our fate more generally, and trust in God to deliver His justice in the fullness of Eternity: "Thy will be done." Take only what comes our way, including all knocks, and use what we have been given, including all talents and skills, generously. Indeed, give, according to our means, a little recklessly. See and sympathize with need.

And rejoice, always, in the life we are given, and in the knowledge that what we leave upon the face of time can only be our example.



David Warren. "Ten suggestions." Ottawa Citizen (September 20, 2009).

This article reprinted with permission from David Warren.


David Warren, once editor of the Idler Magazine, is widely travelled -- especially in the Middle and Far East. He has been writing for the Ottawa Citizen since 1996. His commentaries on international affairs appear Wednesdays & Saturdays; on Sundays he writes a general essay on the editorial page. Read more from David Warren at David Warren Online.

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