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Our Lady's Secret
The Public Health Revolution, Part 3
Part 1: Our Lady of Public Health
Part 2: The Global Protection Racket
What is health? According to the WHO constitution, “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” That bears some resemblance to what we said in Part 1:
Health, construed in Augustinian terms, is wholeness or integrity—nothing missing or intruding, nothing misplaced or malfunctioning. The healthy person is rightly ordered and to that extent at peace. His rational soul obeys God and his body in turn obeys his soul. The whole man functions as a man was made to function.
If we take “mental” in the WHO definition to imply the rational soul, we should at least be open to saying all of that. But if we don't, then what?
Our Planet, Our Health
The 1992 Report of the WHO Commission on Health and Environment, chaired by Simone Veil, gives us some idea. Our Planet, Our Health incorporates a brief discussion of the meaning of health. It speaks of “a health-promoting environment where not only are health risks minimized but personal and community fulfillment, self-esteem, and security are encouraged.” From there it takes us straight to health as a communal responsibility that must be extended to every sphere of endeavour. Health is everyone's business.
The complex relationship between health and the environment extends the responsibility for promoting health to all groups in society. Health is no longer the responsibility only of doctors, nurses, midwives, and other health professionals who seek to prevent or cure disease or of those who seek to remove pathogens from the human environment and reduce accidents. It is also the responsibility of planners, architects, teachers, employers, and all others who influence the physical or social environment. It is the responsibility of health professionals to work with all groups in society in promoting health.1
Conversely, it is everyone's responsibility to work with the professionals charged with public health, which the CDC Foundation tells us is “the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing, and responding to infectious diseases”—the science, in short, “concerned with protecting the health of entire populations.”2
Health here becomes the domain of experts. Being distributed across a population, it is assigned to no one in particular apart from the experts—politically selected experts, such as those at the CDC or the WHO. Health thus becomes something to be governed and Public Health an instrument by which to govern.3 Health will be monitored, measured, improved, and approved. It will be protected, regulated, and controlled. The goal is a universal sense of well-being and security, for no one is safe until everyone is safe, no one healthy until all are healthy.
But all cannot be safe or healthy unless the planet itself is safe and healthy. So, among the experts proper to this domain, those situated furthest away from us are those in whose hands the most important decisions must be placed. Their task is to effect a transition to large-scale “health and well-being economies” without which none can flourish.4 To achieve that, they will intervene in everything necessary for as long as necessary. The subsidiarity doctrine will be reversed, as we observed in Part 2. We need a rebuild from the bottom up that must be conducted from the top down.5
Our planet, our health. Lay the stress on the adjective, rather than the noun, and the slogan they have chosen for the rebuild reads rather differently. It may even put you in mind, as it does me, of the 1555 Augsburg formula by means of which post-Reformation Europe, seeking respite from bloody conflict, briefly resigned itself to diversity of religion. That famous formula was cuius regio, eius religio: whose region, his religion. Nowadays we may substitute salus for religio, health and safety being our religion.6 But we are not to say cuius regio, eius salus, leaving the outcome to local rulers and regimes. Rather we must say cuius orbis, eius salus: whose planet, his health and safety. For we are no longer resigned to diversity. We are back on the path to unity. We are on the way to One Health for all and, just so, to one governance for all.
In Part 3, delayed by numerous rebuilds after trying for too long to say too much—a problem partly solved by extracting the material now posted under the rubric Plan of Action—I want to talk about the religious frame of reference that underlies the revolution, which is not as irreligious as some imagine. I also want to focus on the secret that Our Lady of Public Health ponders in her heart when she thinks about her revolution.7 A sword, the prophets have told her, shall pierce her own soul. For One Health convergence cannot be achieved without the culling of her children. Depopulation, her advisers all agree, is the price of a unified health and well-being economy.
The Path to Depopulation
Her advisers come from an old and venerable school built by the nominalists. Nominalism was a philosophical movement skeptical of natures. It emphasized particularity, haecceity—thisness rather than whatness or what-forness. That shift in emphasis produced results good and bad. Among the bad (to reprise Del Noce with a certain liberty) were the following. It made humans into mere individuals, before reorganizing them into collectives and corporations that rendered them less rather than more precious in their particularity.8 Breaking with incarnational theology, as Anselm had long before warned that it must, it eventually broke with revelation altogether and gave birth to secularism. Having at first been an aid to science, it corrupted that also. Unable to think teleologically, it fostered instead scientism. Finally, having detached both self-knowledge and knowledge of the world from knowledge of God, it left the human yearning for wholeness no outlet but that of eroticism. The doxological began to dissolve and the erotic to reduce to the pornographic.9
The secularist praised reason while pouring scorn on revelation. He was, very proudly, a man of science and he had forgotten that theology gave birth to science. Before long he was calling for scientifically organized societies without any reference to God, only to discover that they were being organized without much reference to man either. Not surprisingly, there were reactions against this, and not just from the religious. As France careened towards the Terror and England succumbed to the dehumanizing regiments of the Industrial Revolution, romanticism appeared, lauding “the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental.”10
Romanticism also nurtured a more mystical notion of history, personifying it as Evolution or Emergence. A sense of what-forness began to return.11 German idealism wove for Emergence magnificent philosophical robes, while nationalism supplied it with an admiring entourage. When Darwin had translated this myth into biology through his theory of natural selection, it became popular to speak of the ascent of man. The time was ripe for a new form of scientism, a form that not only confused change with progress—a weakness Chesterton and Lewis pointed out—but also supposed it the whole business of science to effect change, especially in man himself.12 Thus was born the pseudo-science of eugenics, through which the dark side of the myth most clearly appears, together with the prospect of a culling.
Eugenics put the fate of all in the hands of a few. Powerful men of state, aided by their experts in behavioural science and backed by still more powerful industrialists, would decide how to improve men, which men can be improved, and when it is time to improve them—emergency time! They would dare to improve them from the inside out, altering psyches and dispositions, bodies and brains, even the genome. They themselves were instruments of Emergence, priests of evolutionary progress. History had assigned them no lesser role than the organization of the masses. An asseveration from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, recorded by Jacob Nordangärd, illustrates their sense of responsibility: “We cannot escape, and indeed should welcome, the task which history has imposed on us. This is the task of helping to shape a new world order in all its dimensions—spiritual, economic, political, social.”13
So grand a scheme, so great a faith! Faith in what? In order, a comprehensive order. In history, as an order-inducing process, a providential process. In themselves, as those with shoulders sufficiently broad to bear the burden of Providence, of directing Evolution, of managing just about everything that can be managed.
That they might fulfill their task, they would teach the ordinary man to respect secular authority the way he had once respected religious authority. They would make of the state a new church, rendering the old one redundant. They would catholicize it, rendering it omni-present and omni-competent. It would become a global state, a planetary empire. Like the Catholic Church, its power would descend from above, not arise from below. It would move mountains and hurl them into the sea, or block out the sun so as to cool the earth.14 Not content to command men, it would command the gods as well. It would even make gods of men, or of certain men. The rest it would find some use for or simply discard. It would not hesitate to experiment with them or to commercialize them.15 It would not tolerate any doctrine of the Two. There would be one city only, under one leadership—a city of so many, and no more.
Counting the Cost
To found a city, after the fall, blood must be shed. If history is to be made, post lapsum, a sacrifice must be offered. In one unique and unrepeatable case—the city of God—the blood shed was that of the Founder himself, who knew that one should never begin without counting the cost. In the others, the blood has always been that of the brother. Abel could tell you about that, or Remus. Pity about Remus, pity about the Sabines. But Rome, Rome will be eternal!
Yet Rome was not eternal. It foundered in its founding, as Augustine pointed out. It ended as it began, with the treachery and fratricide that left it open to barbarian invasions. One cannot do evil that good may come. From evil only evil comes, save where the good, suffering evil, direct their suffering to good ends and so, by the grace of God, bring good out of others’ evil.
We should bear this in mind when thinking about the revolution or re-founding in which we are told we must now engage. Is it built on truth or on lies, on faithfulness or on treachery, on kindness or on cruelty? Pleasantries can be exchanged, a festival hosted, but the rape of the Sabines will take place on signal. Did a signal not sound in 2019? Is it not sounding still, in 2023, with the digitalization and securitization of everything? Let us adapt, some say. What else can we do? Count the cost, I reply. For one cannot adapt to evil without begetting evil and becoming evil.
A tale, told twenty years ago by Paul Raskin and friends in Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead, encourages us to count the cost, though not in quite that fashion.
“The widening, deepening and accelerating inter-connectedness that characterizes globalization,” its narrators explain, is creating “expanded categories of consciousness” through which we are learning to see “humanity as a whole, its place in the web of life and its links to the destiny of the planet.” New technologies are empowering the young to act on this vision, to mobilize against capitalist and colonialist excesses, pursuing peace and justice for all. Things, we may hope, will change for the better.
There will be fewer people, enjoying a simpler existence. They will dwell, as before the Industrial Revolution, in small communities, traveling on bicycles or by foot. The pace of life will be slower but richer. Pollution and disease will be much diminished. There will be ample opportunity to undertake a fundamental “reconsideration of human goals,” to seek a “more fulfilling and ethical” lifestyle, to rediscover a “sense of meaning and purpose.” Aided by a universal basic income, and leisure to explore good books, lives “rich in time and sufficient in things” will replace gadget-driven consumerism as the path to happiness.
Such are the possibilities for a healthier tomorrow, if only we will count the cost of our present excesses and open ourselves to change.16
World Health Day 2022
Now, it’s not entirely clear whether this fundamental reconsideration is to come before or after the great transition. Perhaps that’s because, as Augustine would surely notice, this narrative knows no fall but a fall of the shallow Rousseauian kind, the kind that reckons only with the faults of society and never with one’s own fault. Hence it doesn’t reckon at all with the problem of conversion. UBI, a few good books, and time to spare will suffice for that; and those are things that can be arranged for you, without you.
God, insists Augustine, “who made you without you, will not save you without you.”17 The Great Transitioners appear to lack God’s scruples. Yet they are not altogether naïve about the present human predicament. They foresee a period of real trouble, a period that looks uncannily like our own.18 They make very clear that things can go well or poorly from here, depending on the choices we make. Either way, they aver, “the transformation of nature and the interconnectedness of human affairs has reached a qualitatively new stage.”19 We have attained the point of maximum expansion. We must contract, if we hope to survive:
Growing human population and economies inevitably must butt against the resource limits of a finite planet. The increasing complexity and extent of society over hundreds of millennia must at some point reach the scale of the planet itself. That point is now.20
After long aeons of complexification, a necessary simplification is upon us, which we must somehow get right. However difficult it may be to effect “a transition to an inclusive, diverse and ecological planetary society,” we must put all our energies into it.21 A life of “unprecedented freedom, tolerance and decency” awaits us if we are willing to pay the price. Otherwise things look grim.22 The idyllic scenario that serves as the document's lure is set in 2068, when the troubles have passed, the population been thinned, and the planet redeemed.
There are moments, I confess, when my sympathies lie with those who would shorten the time of tribulation, lest all flesh perish—who would cut the costs, just a little, by moving the whole business forward a few decades. Agenda 2030, in that respect, is fine by me. Besides, it would be just in time to celebrate the 1600th anniversary of Augustine's death, a merit they may have overlooked. Whatever the timing, however, we are not dealing here with garden-variety Malthusian catastrophism, in which demand tragically outruns supply, but with a perverse kind of eucatastrophism that bears a striking resemblance, as Nordangärd notices, to that of Teilhard de Chardin.23 There can be no possibility of sympathizing with that, for it is a pact with despair, though it does not present that way. Indeed, it presents as religious optimism.
Gnosticism in Darwinian Drag
It is a curious feature of nominalism that its adherents keep trying to perfect something in which they don't believe; viz., human nature. One of the best accounts of this is still John Passmore's The Perfectibility of Man, in which he remarks that, had Teilhard not existed, it would almost be necessary to invent him in order to account for the way in which modern intellectual history converges on something like the myth of which we are speaking.24 In the form Teilhard lends it, noogenesis figures prominently. By that he .means the “ascent of the Universe towards consciousness” and the “drift of matter towards spirit.”25
This is gnosticism in Darwinian drag. In other hands, it becomes spiritualism, if it isn't that already. We will see in Part 4 that it can even become an adoration of Artificial Intelligence, as if in fulfillment of the prophecy of Barbara Marx Hubbard (the 1984 Democrat vice-presidential nominee who had a spirit guide she called “the Christ voice”) that Christ-consciousness would prevail in roughly half the race, leading them via technology to attainment of divine powers. Some would prove incapable of it, unfortunately—alleging incapability is a standard gnostic aspersion—while others would resist, with tragic results.26
I mention this for two reasons.
First, lest we make the mistake of supposing the technocratic realm truly materialistic. On the contrary, it is a realm in which the anti-materialism that tainted Platonism is vigorously pursued by material means. Even Origen found in the diversity of creation—a diversity Augustine praises with every ounce of his rhetorical skill as he brings The City of God to its climax—merely an occasion for the reform of souls rather than a permanent theatre for the divine glory. Teilhardians are with Origen and with Hegel. Their professed love of diversity is insincere. They praise its unfolding from some primordial unity, but they long for its folding up again into an ultimate unity. They wish divergence to give way to convergence, spirit to be distilled and matter to be dissolved.
The anguish of feeling that one is not merely spatially but ontologically imprisoned in the cosmic bubble; the anxious search for an issue to, or more exactly a focal point for, the evolutionary process; these are the price we must pay for the growth of planetary consciousness; these are the dimly-recognized burdens which weigh down the souls of christian and gentile alike in the world of today.27
Second, we must not overlook the implications for those who make themselves obstacles to convergence. They are to be left behind, whether by cancellation or by elimination.
I indicated earlier that nominalism deprived the person of his peculiar dignity as a unique instantiation of the nature dignified by the incarnation of the Son; that the person was at first isolated within himself as a purely autonomous individual, then gradually re-conceived as a part of some larger body in which he was merely a functional or dysfunctional cell. (See n. 8.) Where does that thinking lead? It leads, on the one hand, to absurd fictions such as the right of a man to declare himself a woman. It also leads to a doctrine of expendability. On the altar of History, as Hegel explained, must be laid many trifling particulars that impede the progress of the race towards ever-greater synthesis.
Nordangård draws our attention to this, in his own way, when he writes of Hubbard that her “voice of ‘Christ’ gave specific instructions on how humanity would be united and collectively transformed from Homo sapiens to Homo universalis. A new species was to be created, using cybernetic technology... In this way, a violent Armageddon could be avoided. Those electing not to join her and the other enlightened souls in stepping into the new era would, however, be eliminated.”
Acts of cancellation or elimination are deemed no more objectionable, morally speaking, than destroying a diseased cell in one's own body:
This act is as horrible as killing a cancer cell. It must be done for the sake of the future of the whole. So be it: be prepared for the selection process which is now beginning. We, the elders, have been patiently waiting until the very last moment before the quantum transformation, to take action to cut out this corrupted and corrupting element in the body of humanity. It is like watching a cancer grow; something must be done before the whole body is destroyed... The destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body.28
A strictly aberrant view? Nordangård observes that ‘Laurance Rockefeller, who funded the publication of The Book of Co-Creation, loved it and saw it as a catalyst to a Christ experience for all of mankind.”29
Here again is the dark secret harboured in the heart of Our Lady of Public Health, and in the hearts of her servants and ladies-in-waiting. How like it is, yet how very unlike, to the third secret of Fatima! They reference a common situation, but in entirely uncommon ways. In the latter, a sword pierces the Mother's heart at the persecution of her children. In the former, it is wielded on her behalf.
Barbara Marx Hubbard died about six months before covid appeared and the cold-hearted covid murders began—thousands killed with ventilators or midazolam cocktails, thousands by delay of treatment or denial of treatment, thousands more by lockdowns, experimental injections, or starvation. Yet these, and the Net Zero cruelties following hard on their heels—especially the attacks on farms and farmers and the food supply chain—seem to fit pretty well with what she heard from her familiar spirit. So do the efforts to stigmatize and anathematize “the destructive one-fourth” that refuses to get with the One Health, One World program.
Meanwhile, the assault on children—the mutilation of minds and bodies that extends the bloody logic of abortion to those who have escaped abortion—testifies as clearly as anything can that we are dealing with the demonic. So does the death-fetish of the euthanasia lobby, of which Hubbard approved. Irenaeus spoke of the Church sending forward its martyrs, like a eucharistic offering, into the presence of God and into his kingdom. Euthanasia advocates have produced their own parody of that, by sending forth the weak and the vulnerable to be dispatched by the servants of Public Health.
Forgive my frankness, friend, but only a blind hen supposes that convergence is optional. By its very nature, convergence is mandatory. Otherwise there is no convergence. Of what use, then, is the distinction between hard and soft totalitarianism? The plan is plain enough. One Health will justify, Central Banking will sanctify, and woe to the man who refuses either work of salvation! If the demons have their way, he will be as the Jew in Germany a century ago: selfish, filthy, a pariah, someone to be marked out and shunned, to be stolen from and starved. Hubbard's familiar spirits describe him thus. He is “self-centred” not “whole-centred.’ He is a hater of humanity, a blasphemer of the gods, a threat to Christ-consciousness. His rights will be denied and the full force of emergency law brought to bear on him.30 Violence will follow, as it always does.
Yet God is near him, a very present help in time of trouble. He has no reason to despair. It is the vanguard of the revolution who have reason to despair, whether or not their revolution succeeds. Let us say a word about them in conclusion.
The New Malthusian's Despair
The old Malthusian, while striving for restraint, could leave to nature any reduction of the excess population. The new Malthusian is inclined to take charge of it himself. He is obligated, really, because he has put himself in charge of Evolution. He is responsible for all future Emergence. To see to the requisite depopulation and reconfiguration, he must do things that once were judged (as by Malthus himself) gravely immoral. He must take in his providential hands the very lives of his fellow men, to bless them, break them, distribute them, and distribute to them. What an awful power, as James Joyce would say! What an awful burden, as Dostoevsky observed.
The new Malthusian has a feeling of déjà vu. He may think Teilhard too religious, or Hubbard a nut case. But he is astonished to find himself poised once again between the material and the immaterial, between the mundane and the spiritual. Like the Platonist of old—to whom Augustine remarked that there is, alas, no way to get from where he is to where he wants to go—he is a noble, yet tragic, figure. Only he is standing this time, not on the heights of some wooded mountain, gazing into the distance at a land of peace he cannot reach.31 He is standing on nothing at all, with the weight of the whole world on his shoulders, gazing into the abyss.
He is a man of Science and Science is providence. To be provident, he must do terrible things, such things as the authors of Great Transition barely hint at. He will look, as they advise, to his duties, such as “satisfying the unmet need for contraception.” He will see also to reproductive health; that is, to the killing of unwanted babies.32 But he will not stop there. Population management may require sterilization, overt or covert, and autophagous regimes for the disposal of diseased cells in the social body. It will certainly require lying to the people while taking control of their production and reproduction, deciding who can buy and who can sell, who lives and who dies. Acting responsibly entails blood-guilt.33 When they ask for bread, they must sometimes be given stones.
Otherwise put, the new Malthusian must be ready to do evil that good may come. No Greek or Hebrew or Christian ethic should restrain him—beyond, that is, his feeling of duty to destiny. Strip that away and what is left but the will for power? He wants us to think better of him, to think of him as he thinks of himself, as one upon whom a sacred task has devolved. The truth, however, is this: having been shown the path of humility by One who shed his own blood for the sake of the city whose founder and builder is God, he has taken the path of pride anyway, preferring to shed the blood of others while building the city whose founder is Satan.34
That is one of his secrets, the one most difficult to hide. He will do evil. Another is that he is weary of carrying his burden, the burden of Providence that is too great for him to bear, and there is no Simon of Cyrene to help him. This secret, too—his weariness—is difficult to hide. He is on the verge of despair, the sickness unto death. That was Kierkegaard’s diagnosis of him some time ago. Even at his most religious, realized the pensive Dane—and in that realization he suffered vicariously—this man was inwardly wracked by doubts, uncertain of his very certainties, a stranger to genuine joy and hope. Did Teilhard not speak for him, a century later, when he concluded that the “secret preoccupation of modern man is much less to battle for possession of the world than to find a means of escaping from it”?35
Our Planet, our Faith
Visionaries of the Great Transition variety are not quite ready to admit despair, however. Were they to do so, they might find themselves on the road to recovery. Instead, they plod on, first in false hope, then in increasing desperation.
In the critical years ahead, if destabilizing social, political and environmental stresses are addressed, the dream of a culturally rich, inclusive and sustainable world civilization becomes plausible.
If a planetary ethic takes hold, where once the Judaeo-Christian ethic held, we can avoid “the nightmare of an impoverished, mean and destructive future.”36 But we must act fast. We must reduce the population now. Open the Gates of Janus! Make war on the family, on sexual difference, on fertility, on the sanctity of life. Take charge of medicine, of money, of measures and counter-measures—the era of liberty and personal responsibility is over. It is time to complete the demolition of European civilization.37
The old alliance of faith and reason has been shattered. There is a new faith, to which reason is merely instrumental. By that faith other foes will fall. The very union of body and soul will be broken. A cybernetic substitute will take its place, making possible a health and well-being economy against which the gates of Heaven will not prevail. Centralized management of planetary affairs will at last be feasible. The faith is the Planet and the Planet is the faith. Our Lady has spoken.
I do not need to tell you, this time, of what I have been put in mind. Belloc’s notorious aphorism, “The Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith,”38 was like a red flag to an enraged bull. That bull is still charging hard, trampling everything in its path. Make what you will of the flag or the matador, Belloc knew that the dismantling of Europe—that is, of a civilizational structure “built upon the noble foundations of classical antiquity” and rebuilt on still more noble foundations by the Catholic faith—was an act of despair that arose from abandonment of that faith.
There, precisely there, not in an act of faith under conditions of abandonment (“Eli! Eli!”) but in an act of abandonment under conditions of faith, lie the roots of our despair. There, too, “lie the roots of so singular a contempt for our old order,” with its “chivalry and morals;” for so insane a drive for a new order, an amoral and thoroughly unchivalrous order in which the institutions built to serve body and soul are mocked and parodied.
“Europe will return to the Faith, or she will perish.” Yes, she will perish of the despair embedded in her new faith, of which the Public Health revolution is but one expression.39 In Part 4 we will take note, very briefly, of a remarkable extension of that faith—remarkable for its astonishing leap of faith—by Professor Vervaeke, before delivering the kind of answer I think Augustine would have us deliver: an answer not, on the surface of things, very sophisticated, but pointing the way to a genuine salus: to eternal health, safety, and salvation.
Read Part 4: Doctrines of Demons
See p. 5f., "The meaning of health." The promise of health for all, seen to by all, sounds good to the person who diets on the pablum of safetyism. No doubt it sounds to him very like the promise of jobs for all and a strong economy. He hasn't noticed that no one is making the latter promise any more, that a universal basic income is promised instead. Or that something similar is happening in healthcare, where what is deemed good for all is deemed good for each, bad for all bad for each. He hasn't reckoned with the fact that health is becoming population-based not person-based, model-based not patient-based. Soon it will be planet-based and his own health will be no more than a statistic.
With this CDC description, compare chapter 5 in COVID-19 and World Order: The Future of Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, ed. Hal Brands and Francis J. Gavin (Johns Hopkins 2020).
I am not questioning the scientific aspects of the study of public health, or the need for experts in that study, which is both a science and an art. I am questioning, as do colleagues in the present exercise, the politicization of this art and science. Politicization, even militarization, is all but inevitable in the combination of "protecting and improving," as it is in the bureaucratic syntagm, "health and safety."
Even the individual liver cannot flourish, unless it is protected from global threats such as climate change. "Climate change and resulting extreme weather scenarios (such as heat, fires, flooding, pollution, and droughts) can negatively affect agriculture, how food is grown, how our societies function, and the places we live in. Not only that, climate change can cause harm to our mental and physical health, including our livers. This set of knock-on effects is called the climate change–liver disease connection."
In its 2023 report, What We Heard: Perspectives on Climate Change and Public Health in Canada, PHAC offers to become an oxymoronic Department of Everything. It calls for a new "focus" on almost everything—"on decolonizing, justice, and equity, adequate funding, political commitment, and cross-sectoral partnerships, with the expectation that fundamental changes in our socioeconomic structures are needed to rebuild our relationships with each other and with our planet" (59; cf. 32f.). Who will conduct the rebuild? PHAC will. It will tackle climate change. It will deal with "white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, and racism." It will not restore the norm but change the norm. The norm is the emergency that must be addressed.
Salus means health or safety or salvation, or all this at once. Because one looks to the gods for such things, salus also has an ideational association with religo and religion. Even in a greeting such as Heil, a pious bond is being acknowledged. That is why Karl Barth refused to begin his theology classes with the mandatory Heil Hitler! and why I refused to wear a mask in the classroom or the church.
Her name, in Middle English, was Helen. But in Old English was it hǣlan (to heal, cure, save, greet, salute) or helan (to conceal, cover, hide)? Today, that would indeed seem to be a distinction without a difference. As Eugyppius observes, "life-Saving in one form or another is proffered as justification for a wide range of modern political pathologies," for selling "noxious political programmes to the masses."
The person, by virtue of possessing human nature and being a unique, unrepeatable instantiation of that nature, was once viewed as an integral whole, a marvelous microcosm within an equally marvelous macrocosm, capable of communion with the Maker of both. Being sexed, the person was also understood as capable of a union that produced another kind of integral whole, the irreducibly intimate society that is marriage, by means of which new persons would enter the world and find nurture therein. Gradually, however, under the influence of nominalism, the person began to be seen as an isolated integer, then (in mereological terms) as a part of a greater whole. Viewed organically, he was a cell in some larger body, a social or political body of a contractual or consensual sort. Viewed industrially and technologically, he was a node or module in some plug-and-play network. In neither case was he inherently valuable. His value was functional, not ontological. That helps explain, inter alia, abandonment of the primum non nocere principle and the punishment of those who still adhere to it. It also helps explain most of what N. S. Lyons has analyzed in his Substack magnum opus, The China Convergence, which is essential reading for those who wish to understand the shape our world is taking in the "managerial revolution" to which the Public Health revolution belongs.
Towards the end of Part II of The China Convergence, Lyons writes: "The counter-culture revolution of the 1960s and its 'anti-authoritarian' quest to 'liberate' the self from restraints therefore served the managerial regime perfectly. It swiftly broke down traditional informal bonds of stable, resilient communities that had for centuries helped to shelter individuals, and tore up moral norms that had helped them structure and discipline their lives without the aid of the state. So liberated, the self-expressive individual was made a king in name, but left far more isolated, alone, and vulnerable in actuality. Such an atomized individual proved far easier pickings for the mass corporation, which swooped in to offer all manner of ready-to-purchase replacements for what was once the social commons, and for the state, which acted on demand to guarantee the sovereignty of these liberated selves and protect them from their own choices. Their capacity for self-governance thus degraded, and encouraged to think of themselves as reliant on the state for their freedom, the public’s demands for management by a higher authority then only increased relentlessly. Not surprisingly, the 1960s produced a great explosion of bureaucratic administration in America, with the state happily taking on a series of grand social management projects, including the War on Poverty, the Great Society, and Civil Rights law." The Public Health revolution, I would add, illustrates more graphically than the others that "the securitization of everything" produces "a rule by law system" in place of the rule of law.
See "The Funeral of a Great Myth," in Christian Reflections (ed. Walter Hooper; Eerdmans 1967), 114ff. "Strictly speaking," says Lewis, there is "no such thing as ‘modern science’. There are only particular sciences, all in a state of rapid change, and sometimes inconsistent with one another. What the Myth uses is a selection from the scientific theories—a selection made at first, and modified afterwards, in obedience to imaginative and emotional needs. It is the work of the folk imagination, moved by its natural appetite for an impressive unity. It therefore treats its data with great freedom—selecting, slurring, expurgating, and adding at will" (115). During covid, alas, we witnessed the particular sciences themselves doing precisely that.
Scientism is not just the foolish belief that the only real explanation for anything is the explanation the scientist, working within a closed nexus of cause and effect, can give. It is also the correlative belief that, by giving it, he effects progress. Without a doctrine of the fall—and nominalism did not know how to think of the fall, for it did not know how to think of the race—that sort of error was inevitable. So was an error highlighted by Tara Isabella Burton in Self-Made: the prosperity gospel of the Rockefellers and other men of wealth who took the Social Darwinist's doctrine of the survival of the fittest as a moral mandate to effect progress by amassing fortunes on the backs of the poor. Scientism and profiteering go hand in hand.
Nordangärd highlights this messianic testament at the beginning of chapter 2. It is cited from Special Studies Project: The Mid-Century Challenge to U.S. Foreign Policy (1959), in Prospect for America: Rockefeller Panel Reports VI (Doubleday 1961), 88.
The idea may be preposterous, but the underlying assumption, which generally goes unremarked, is monstrous. No one but its Maker owns the sun or the earth.
Under the provocative title, "The Last Humans and the Next Brands," one author ventured this observation: "We are raising a generation of children whose reality is inextricably intertwined with technology, and who, gene edited or not, will challenge the definition of reality and what it means to be human. We are raising Generation Omega, the last generation that is 'only' human." His commentary falls into the genre advertising executives deploy from time to time, lamenting what is being lost while celebrating what is taking its place. The image that appears at the end of Part 2 of the present series captures the spirit of his remark with no mean artistry. Even the word "brand" does not seem out of place.
Qui ergo fecit te sine te, non te iustificat sine te (Sermon 169).
While touching on an economic and social crisis that shakes the world in 2015, the authors narrate something that might, with a few adaptations, describe well enough what has actually been happening (80f.): "Under the category 'what could have been,' it is worth mentioning here the abortive movement known as the Alliance for Global Salvation that arose at this time. The Alliance included a motley group of global actors from the corporate world, the security community and right-wing political elements. Concerned that the crisis could spiral out of control, they came to the conclusion, many reluctantly, that the vacuum of international control must be filled, and that they were the ones for the job. Ironically, this authoritarian threat served to further galvanize the reform movement that warned against the danger of a Fortress World 'solution.' A century before, a previous experiment in globalization had collapsed into the tragedy of the Great War. The forces for a democratic renewal were determined to thwart another return to barbarism." I hope they are right about this.
p. 6; cf. p. 2: "Naturally, the course of history is not neatly organized into idealized transitions. Real history is an intricate and irregular process conditioned by specific local factors, serendipity and volition. The historic record may be organized in different ways, with alternative demarcations between important periods. Yet, a long view of the broad contours of the human experience reveals two sweeping macro-transformations—from Stone Age culture to Early Civilization roughly 10,000 years ago, and from Early Civilization to the Modern Era over the last millennium (Fromkin, 1998). We are now in the midst of a third significant transition ... toward what we shall refer to as the Planetary Phase of civilization."
p. 1. This is what Raskin himself has done. He founded Tellus in 1976 on the working assumption that "creating a decent civilization in this century depends on human identity expanding to the scale of the planet." That's quite the condition, mind you, if it means solving the problem of the one and the many!
Aaron Kheriaty agrees that things look grim, though not on the reasons for that. In the epilogue to The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Bio-medical Security State (Regnery 2022) he offers his own gloomy musings. Just as his account differs from that of Raskin, so does his solution: Resist the lure, don't take the bait—rebel, don't retreat. I agree, for it is not rebellion but rather adherence to natural law.
I am purloining Tolkien's word, Eucatastrophism, coined in his essay on fairy stories. What I mean by it here is well-captured in an anecdote from Nordangärd. "Barbara Marx Hubbard," he writes in chapter 9, "explained with her typical blissful smile that the world was in a state of global emergency, and that this was good news." Earlier, in chapter 5, he notes that Hubbard "credited Pierre Teilhard de Chardin with her spiritual awakening" and that she herself would "later describe the emergence of a new species, Homo universalis, through the development of new technology and human control of evolution."
In Ascension and Ecclesia (T&T Clark 1999), at 198ff., I tried to show how insidious Teilhard's ideas are. Nordangård shows how influential they have been.
See my Nova et Vetera essay, The Problem with Teilhard. Nordangärd, in chapter 9, notes that “on June 26, 2009, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, officially declared the advent of the noosphere and praised Pierre Teilhard de Chardin."
Nordangärd cites from The Revelation: Our Crisis is a Birth (Foundation for Conscious Evolution, Sonoma 1993, 147) a passage that displays the saviour complex common to such myth-makers: "To work with me to save the world, you must develop your own Christ consciousness (love) and your own Christ capacities (transcendent technologies—astronautics, genetics, robotics, cybernetics, microtechnology, psychic powers). Accelerate the co-creative revolution." On her interest in AI, see Lee Penn, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-world Religion (Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis 2004), 66.
Hymn of the Universe (Collins 1965), 138f. Escape, he believed, would happen through the hyper-concentration of reality upon itself; a conflagration from which only spirit would float free.
The quotation is cited from Hubbard's The Book of Co-Creation: An evolutionary interpretation of the New Testament, New Visions 1980; see Part III, 59ff. Penn (False Dawn 320ff.) supplies us with the fuller scheme presented by her spirit-guide: "'Out of the full spectrum of human personality, one-fourth is electing to transcend with all their heart, mind, and spirit, One-fourth is ready to so choose, given the example of one other who has made the commitment, One-fourth is resistant to election. They are unattracted by life ever-evolving. Their higher self is unable to penetrate the density of their mammalian senses. They cannot be reached... They go about their business, eating, sleeping, reproducing, and dying. They are full-fledged animal/humans. One-fourth is destructive. They are born angry with God. They hate themselves. They project this hatred upon the world. They are defective seeds.'" (It is worth noting how closely this follows ancient gnostic teaching, which distinguished the noetic, who would attain the Pleroma, from the psychic, who would achieve a kind of limbo, from the sarkic, who would be destroyed. Here, however the third category is divided into two, so as to distinguish those who are like brute beasts, but not otherwise evil, from those who refuse to align themselves with Evolution and must be eliminated.) Penn then expands the picture a little further. "The spirit guide told Marx Hubbard in 1980: 'Fortunately you, dearly beloveds, are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death. We come to bring death to those who are unable to know God... The riders of the pale horse are about to pass among you. Grim reapers, they will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is the most painful period in the history of humanity.' Pronouncing the doom of half of mankind, the familiar spirit told Marx Hubbard, 'Before the book of life can be opened, the selection process must be made so that only the God-conscious receive the power of co-creators. We will use whatever means we must to make this act of destruction as quick and painless as possible to the one-half of the world who are capable of evolving.'"
His nephew, Steven Rockefeller, emeritus professor of religion at Middlebury and co-chair of the Earth Charter International Council, has a similar enthusiasm for Teilhardian ideas, though what he makes of Hubbard and the blood lust of her spirit guides, I can't say.
Take, for example, the revisions to the International Health Regulations adjunct to the proposed Pandemic Treaty. Article 3.1, having formerly read, "the implementation of these Regulations shall be with full respect for the dignity, human rights, and fundamental freedoms of persons," now reads, "the implementation of these Regulations shall be based on the principles of equity, inclusivity, coherence, and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities of the States Parties, taking into consideration their social and economic development." In this revision the person qua person is elided, together with his rights and freedoms. While Article 2 still incorporates a passing reference to individual rights, it does so only in the context of "equitable access to health products and health care technologies and know how"—code for ensuring universal market access for preferred products and procedures and for the removal of local barriers to access or uptake. More important in Article 2 is the change from "public health risks" to "all risks with a potential to impact public health," which leaves unelected bureaucrats the widest possible scope for enforcing their vision of "equity, inclusivity, and coherence." (Does use of "coherence" instead of "diversity" signal that the latter term is being retired as an impediment to the emergent monoculture?) Indeed, they are entitled, even obligated, to set up surveillance and reporting systems that will help them do so, and to create a standing army ready to launch pre-emptive strikes against targeted risks; among which may be you and things you mistakenly supposed you have a right to do. Article 18, already draconian in its licensing of infringements on your rights—including itinerary tracking and contact tracing, vaccine passport systems, detention camps, and forced vaccinations—has been strengthened still further. Article 43, on the other hand, has been adapted to minimize its impact on such infringements by a small but momentous alteration to the qualifying phrase, "not more invasive or intrusive to persons than reasonably available alternatives that would achieve the appropriate level of health protection." In place of "achieve the appropriate level" we now find "attain the highest achievable level." That leaves far less discretion in choice of alternatives. Once the highest achievable level of health protection has been defined by those with the power to define it, little or no discretion will remain.
Judas, who was a Zealot, not merely a greedy man and a thief, likely supposed that to be true. Hence his betrayal of Jesus; hence also his suicide.
See Confessions, book 8, and The City of God at 10.28ff., for example, both of which build on Philippians 2. On Anselm, see Theological Negotiations, chap. 7.
Hymn, 138. Teilhard’s own realization was not vicarious, in my judgment. He, not Kierkegaard, was a man of despair.
p. 11; cf. 89.
The demolition of WTC-7 was a perfect symbol of this. The substance can be found in attacks on living institutions such as marriage.
Hilaire Belloc, Europe and the Faith (1920), Introduction: The Catholic Conscience of History. The book’s famous final lines—“Europe will return to the Faith, or she will perish. The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith.”—must not be deprived of their context. Roger Buck provides some help, and some more help. Note that Belloc also says, “The Church is Europe and Europe is the Church,” for the Faith is concrete, not abstract. Without the concreteness it lends, the civilization that rested upon it can only dissolve.