Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

I am visiting with family this Thanksgiving, and hope most of my readers are as well.

Most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as a family feast. Millions of people take on the expense and inconvenience of traveling to be with relatives they don’t normally see. It can be a tense as well as a joyful occasion, but we would never dream of calling it off.

I, for one, get a little tired of the endless discussion of turkeys – the Presidential pardon of the turkey and all that. It seems to be the only external symbol of Thanksgiving that we, most of us, are comfortable with. Well, my family has turkey too, but I wish we’d talk about the “thanks” part more.

Every year one encounters some article explaining that most of what we know about the history of Thanksgiving is myth. The Pilgrims didn’t dress as they are portrayed; they didn’t call themselves Pilgrims; they weren’t crusaders for democracy; Pocahontas didn’t really save Captain John Smith; etc., etc. It seems to me this is mostly beside the point, since I’m sure children have not been taught the Thanksgiving tales I grew up with for several decades.

In recent years, our arbiters of culture have taken to claiming that Thanksgiving symbolizes the ideal of “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” in our multicultural, immigrant society. Brenda Walker chronicles some extreme but not atypical examples in VDare today. Englishman Godfrey Hodgson succumbs to this vice in his recent account of the American Thanksgiving, A Great & Godly Adventure: The Pilgrims & the Myth of the First Thanksgiving.

It is a festival that comes even closer than the Fourth of July to the deepest of all American national feelings: gratitude for God’s special providence for the United States as a nation of immigrants who have lived for the most part in peace and plenty under the rule of law as established with the consent of the governed. (p. viii)

Although Hodgson emphasizes repeatedly that the Pilgrims’ intentions had little to do with later American nationhood and democratic ideals, he seems to conclude that it is best that Thanksgiving be understood this way. I beg to differ. It has indeed developed as a holiday celebrated by the American people as a nation, but for this to have any meaning there has to be a nation, which by definition cannot be composed of immigrants.

Thanksgiving is certainly culturally specific. Many cultures have harvest celebrations, which are often rowdy, alcohol-soaked occasions, but America’s subdued celebration, which has never completely lost the idea of giving humble thanks, is distinct to our Anglo-Protestant heritage. Many families make a point of inviting someone from outside the family who is unable to be with relatives. The foods we eat at Thanksgiving remain those that are hardest to find outside of the country.

We do have much to be thankful for in these perilous times. I wish all my readers a very happy Thanksgiving. And I would also like to take this chance to express my own thanks to the readers and bloggers who have supported The Heritage American in the first few months of its existence. We have lots of work to do, so let’s use this weekend to recharge.

Update: Let us pray for the safety of our countrymen, and for all those affected by today’s jihad attack in India. No news yet on American victims.

Notes

(1) Godfrey Hodgson, A Great & Godly Adventure: The Pilgrims & the Myth of the First Thanksgiving, New York: Public Affairs, 2006.


A Peek Into a Girl’s Book: Little Women and Traditional Womanhood

November 22, 2008

little-women-cover

“I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good; to be admired, loved, and respected; to have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married, and to lead useful, pleasant lives, with as little care and sorrow as God sees fit to send….”
– Marmee in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (Chapter 9)

I am sure any boy who grew up reading books, and had sisters, occasionally borrowed one of his sister’s “girl’s books” to see what they were about, whether he would admit it or not. This was how I read the Little House books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This week I decided to take a look at a “girl’s book” I had never gotten to, Little Women. To a boy the title of the book alone would probably be enough to put him off; but as a traditionalist American I thought it would be worth seeing what the book had to say about the American Woman.

Until a few decades ago, Americans lived and expressed themselves within a white and culturally Christian society with clearly defined gender roles. Now that immigration, multiculturalism, and feminism have destroyed this norm, it can be hard to imagine what life was like under it. Many younger people, I am sure, are convinced that America was a backwards and bigoted society. Older people, too, have mainly accepted the “progress” we have made since their youth (if not, they have at least decided not to say anything). Yet sometimes, when we encounter our past in history, film, or literature, a strange feeling nags at our hearts and tells us that it is not so.

I believe that though this feeling lies hidden in our society, unformed and inarticulate, it is real and part of all of us, even those too young to have direct memories of the traditional America. I have sensed it in my mother, who has spoken nostalgically of playing in her wooded neighborhood with other children, free of adult supervision but secure in the nearby presence of mothers and a community one knew well. I saw it in the response of an older woman to a musical about the life of the Andrews Sisters. Nothing explicit, just words like “They don’t make music like that anymore.” But the real meaning went so much farther. They don’t make society like that anymore. They don’t make women like that anymore. That’s why they don’t make songs like that anymore.

Of course, I don’t mean literally that today’s women are of lower quality than our grandmothers and great-grandmothers! But girlhood, womanhood, and femininity lack a cultural expression today, outside of rare occasions like weddings. In education and culture of the present day, the ideals held up for women are the same as those traditionally applied to men: leadership, independence, assertiveness, adventurousness, athleticism. And we have lost utterly a picture of an ideal woman – an image of feminine beauty, modesty, taste and sensitivity, nurturing care, and other qualities that could be expressed through language, dress, and behavior and embodied in the culture.

The same can be said, of course, about men and the masculine virtues. However, while it is not so hard to imagine making changes in our society along traditionalist lines to improve the quality of our men, it is more difficult to envision the form in which feminine virtues might be restored. Few women would want to return to the cumbersome outfits of the past or be limited to the roles played by women in 19th century farming families or 1950s nuclear families. For this reason, my view of women’s role in a revived traditionalist society is minimalist and fair. Namely, that a woman’s life course should involve a traditional, lifetime marriage and children. (This notion is by its nature reciprocal, since it would have to apply equally to men.) I believe that to implement this in practical terms would mean the restoration of certain gender differences and inequalities. I do not believe it would lead to the loss of most of the career opportunities that exist for women today, although we might well return to male (and female) dominance of certain professions and leadership roles.

While it is impossible to go back to the past, the art and literature of the past can help us to understand what is possible. Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1868) portrays a group of sisters representing idealized types of girl, each with her own type of beauty and particular virtue, and also with her particular weakness which she battles throughout her life. Thus Meg is nurturing and beautiful but vain; Jo enterprising and creative but quick to anger; Beth musical and self-sacrificing but shy; and Amy sweet and artistic but spoiled. The book is composed of various episodes, each of which typically involves one of the girls learning a life-lesson on the need to control one’s temper, avoid envy and pride, work hard, be charitable, and so forth. (Little Women actually uses Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress as a reference for the girls’ journey through life.) Alcott herself was a kind of feminist and “literary spinster” who identified with the “tomboy” character Jo and expressed dissatisfaction with churning out “moral pap” for girls. Despite this, the book conjures up a sweet and beautiful world, where expectations for future lives as wives and mothers give a meaning, shape, and kind of sacred quality to the girls’ work, play, and education.

A critic could, of course, call the book false, a romantic fantasy. Even if this is so, the type of fantasy a society creates says something real about its soul. And in Little Women one sees a deep love between sisters and between mother and daughters that is utterly free of feminist distortion and resentment towards males. So, too, it was innovative as an early form of the American “domestic novel.” In the words of Madeline Stern:

Little Women is great because it is a book on the American home, and hence universal in its appeal. As long as human beings delight in “the blessings that alone can make life happy,” as long as they believe, with Jo March, that “families are the most beautiful things in all the world,” the book will be treasured. (1)

The values held by the March family amount to a uniquely American conglomeration of stern Calvinism and English bourgeois values: a strong work ethic and a dislike of the pursuit of money, ostentation, and habits like drinking and gambling; but a very worldly enjoyment of art, music, games, nature, and conversation. Here we find the moral values at the core of America’s greatness, but also the seeds of America’s future sacrifice of everything it has and is to non-Western “humanity.” When the March girls sacrifice their Christmas breakfast to a poor German woman with six children, we see the native American sense of charity in all its sweetness, but we may also note how easily such an impulse could morph into suicidal liberalism.

Most delightful in reading this book is to experience the drama of life, love, and family as it plays out in a world lacking the distortion of multiculturalism. The girls can be themselves and can sort out their friends and suitors on their own merits; there is no discussion of the need for “tolerance” or “diversity,” themes which doubtless would feature prominently in any novel written for the same age group today. The same could be said of most pre-1960s art and literature of the West. There are no racial tensions whatsoever in the book because there are no racial minorities present in the society of the Marches – even though they are the sort of family that would probably invite a poor “colored” man to dinner; even though the father is away from home serving as a chaplain in the Civil War! And though modern critics would attack the book for “suppressing” the black, American Indian, homosexual, and other “marginal” viewpoints, the truth is that the March girls are just being themselves. They live their own lives in their own society, and it is because their society is relatively homogeneous that they are able to live with a sense of higher meaning, struggling to do good and develop as women, within the common understandings of that society. Such, at least, is the thought that strikes me in reading Little Women, a story set in a world that is so far away from and yet so close to our own.

Notes

(1) Madeline B. Stern, “Louisa May Alcott: An Appraisal,” The New England Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Dec., 1949), p. 476.


W.H. Mallock on Aristocracy and the Crisis in Faith

November 16, 2008

It may be the case that a strong religious faith, learned in childhood, forms the foundation of the political and social views of most traditionalist conservatives, but my own traditionalism began in the social and political sphere and only gradually progressed to the spiritual. I prefer not to go into my own beliefs in this blog. However, it is surely true that religious faith or some sense of a reality transcending the material world is essential to true conservatism.

For me, the issue might be summarized as follows. The type of society I am a product of, love, and want to live in, is historically rooted in the Christian faith. Remove that and what is left is a society of fragmented individuals, each one left to create some kind of guide to life out of the cultural scraps that surround him. They do so in various ways. Many people I know seem to subscribe to “liberalism as religion,” with therapy replacing prayer and “diversity” and “progress” replacing God or morality; others try non-Western religions or other non-traditional spiritual practices. Meanwhile, the society itself begins to go to hell, as ours is today, with the collapse of morale, confidence, and ambition among white Americans, and the invasion from without by alien races and religions. At that point does it not make sense to look back at the world of our forebears – still visible in so many ways – and ask whether, if their society seems truer than ours, it may not also be the case that their faith was also true? Ironically, this may have nothing to do, in any conscious way at least, with a desire to save one’s own soul. No, it is the baseness, ugliness, and viciousness of life on earth itself that drives one to seek solace in higher matters.

As I was waiting in line to cast my protest vote this past November 4 (an hour and a half – what is going on in this country?), I was reading W.H. Mallock’s The New Republic (1), which first came to my attention through an excerpt in Russell Kirk’s The Portable Conservative Reader. [Update: a reader, in the Comments section, supplies a link to the text.] (I highly recommend Kirk’s excerpt to those who don’t have time to read the whole thing). This now-forgotten novel from 1878, sensational in its time, consists largely of conversations among an assortment of aristocrats, scientists, and other intellectuals gathered in an English country manor over one weekend. The host of the party assigns a “menu” of topics to discuss, such as the “Aim of Life,” “Art and Literature,” “Love and Money,” and so forth. The conversations evolve into a loose attempt to describe the ideal society, in the manner of Plato’s The Republic.

The main theme of The New Republic is the crisis caused by the rapid loss of religious faith among the English upper class in the late 19th century. Much of the interest of the novel came from the author’s parody of famous figures such as Benjamin Jowett, T.H. Huxley, Matthew Arnold (Mallock gives a funny parody of “Dover Beach”), and others, all of whom espouse post-Christian philosophies, ranging from the universalistic Christianity of Dr. Jenkinson (Jowett), who gives a sermon beginning with a quotation from the Koran (!), to the militant atheism of Mr. Saunders (W.K. Clifford). All of this is countered by a lone figure, Mr. Herbert (representing the views of John Ruskin as well as of the author), who in a dramatic final speech excoriates all present for their complacent evasion of the most important questions in life:

…you [the nominally religious people] who are so busy with your various affirmations, with your prayers, your churches, your philosophies, your revivals of old Christianities, or your new improvements on them; with your love of justice, and humanity, and toleration; it is to you that I speak. It is to you that I say that, however enlightened and however sure you may be about all other matters, you are darkened and uncertain as to this – whether there really is any God at all who can hear all the prayers you utter to Him, or whether there really is any other life at all, where the aspirations you are so proud of will be realised, and where the wrongs you are so pitiful over will be righted. (2)

We get a sense in this work of how early a profound irreligiosity had established itself among the upper class and the intellectuals in England. Four decades before the Great War, the members of the party agree with virtual unanimity that “the world” (meaning, really, Britain and the West) has undergone a profound change for the worse, that the old faith is dead and that society seems to be careening toward some kind of unknowable disaster. In the United States, the same intellectual trends (evolutionary thought, materialism, etc.) were also working their way into society, but their effect would be delayed in this more prosperous, optimistic, and still-religious country.

Mallock presents, according to John Lucas,

…an idealized portrait of the English aristocrat…[of] men who are rich, considerate, witty and urbane, besides being unfailingly accomplished poets and/or musicians: embodiments of those virtues which Mallock appears to have thought were the essence of civilization and to be found in the aristocracy and nowhere else, and which he saw as coming under constant threat from social upheavals and changes in the order of things. (3)

Mr. Herbert does devastation to the “progressive” notion of helping the poor through education, telling his listeners their moral darkness disqualifies them to do so:

You are rich, and you have leisure to think of things in what light you will, and your life is to a great extent made easy for you by the labour of others. I do not complain of that. There can be no civilisation without order, and there can be no order without subordination. Outward goods must be apportioned unequally, or there would be no outward goods to apportion. But you who have the larger share of these are bound to do something for those who have the less. I say you are bound to do so; or else sooner or later that larger share will be taken away from you. Well, and what is it you propose to do? I know your answer – I have heard it a thousand times. You will educate them. And truly, if you know how to do that properly, you will have done all you need to do. But…that is just what you do not know…You can agree about teaching them – I know this too well – countless things that you think will throw light upon life; but life itself you leave a blank darkness upon which no light can be thrown. You say nothing of what is good in it, and of what is evil. Does success in it lie in the enjoyment of bodily pleasures, or in the doing of spiritual duty? Is there anything in it that is right for its own sake, or are all things right only because of their consequences? And seeing that, if we struggle for virtue, our struggles can never be quite successful here, is there any other place where they may have, I do not say their reward, but their consummation? To these questions only two answers can be given, and one must be entirely true, and the other entirely false. But you – you dare not give either; you are too enlightened. But for the poor man surely it is not so…[if you teach him modern “Utilitarian” principles] you will but be removing a cataract from his mind’s eye that he may stare aghast and piteous at his own poverty and nakedness, or that he may gaze with a wild beast’s huger at your own truly noble prosperity which he can never taste, save in the wild beast’s way. (4)

Mr. Herbert confesses, in the end, that he, too, is a religious doubter, but that “[m]y only consolation in my misery is that at least I am inconsolable for His loss.” (5)

I believe that the restoration of a traditional order can only come about when people learn to see the truths of that order intuitively, something that becomes harder and harder when we are surrounded by a relativistic and false culture. So much has been lost; and though we can’t reverse history or “put the toothpaste back in the tube,” we must recover continuity with our past in as many ways as we can. Or as Mr. Herbert says:

…when the old fabric is all dissolved, what then? When all divinity shall have gone from love and heroism, and only utility and pleasure shall be left, what then? Then you will have to content yourselves with complete denial; or build up again the faith that you have just pulled down – you will have to be born again, and to seek a new Self.

(1) W.H. Mallock, The New Republic: Culture, Faith and Philosophy in an English Country House, with intro. by John Lucas, Leicester University Press, 1975.

(2) Mallock, 349.

(3) Lucas, in Mallock, Introduction, 19.

(4) Mallock, 351-3.

(5) Mallock, 359.


The Sin of Liberalism

November 8, 2008
timon-meets-alcibiades-and-prostitutes

"More counsel with more money, bounteous Timon."

TIMON: 
Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen, I would be good to thee.

APEMANTUS: 
No, I’ll nothing. For if I should be bribed too, there would be none left to rail upon thee, and then thou wouldst sin the faster.

– Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, I.2

As someone who grew up in a liberal family and town, I sometimes wonder why I was so fortunate (and I do mean this) as to turn out conservative. People in my family, with whom I rarely discuss politics, seem to think it comes from my personality or my genetic makeup. Alternatively, they have suggested that it comes from the desire to rebel against the norms of the liberal community – something that is plausibly true for me and the handful of friends I have who also turned out non-liberal.

My journey to conservatism or traditionalism took a long detour through libertarianism. This certainly did not make me conservative, but it did set me against the welfare state and affirmative action by the time I began college, and I have never been in the least bit tempted to reconsider my opposition to those since then. However, beyond a belief in individual freedom and limited government, I would say that one of the core experiences I had that forever alienated me from the liberal mainstream was realizing the wrongness of giving benefits to those who do have not earned, or do not deserve, them.

I believe that among other things, modern liberals are people who have lost the ability to understand this truth and its implications for how we run our society. Sure, in their personal lives, liberals, like everyone else, select who they give help and money to based on their moral evaluation of people. But when it comes to social policies, they are never able to resist the general expansion of government entitlements or to the granting of benefits to ethnic and other grievance groups. At most, they will concede that social spending needs to be monitored and accounted for by objective tests and audits of some kind. But never, never, will they oppose in principle the bestowal, through government legislation and spending, of any benefit or privilege which could conceivably do somebody some good.

A libertarian like Ayn Rand might condemn the giving of unearned benefits in the form of, say, welfare entitlements by citing a principle of free exchange for mutual benefit, which makes a kind of intuitive sense:

We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit—his love, his friendship, his esteem—except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect.

This makes sense as far as it goes. But modern individualistic thinkers were hardly the first to condemn social welfare entitlements. Throughout American history, a belief in equality of opportunity has been balanced with a general acceptance of existing social distinctions and a disapproval of governmental social welfare programs. The acceptance and disapproval came not from a libertarian worldview, but from a Christian one, and this accounted for the great hostility in America towards socialism and communism.

Why is the giving of unearned benefits wrong? Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens is the story of a man of “right noble mind” and “illustrious virtue” who showers the lords of his city with extravagant gifts, bought with borrowed money, until he bankrupts himself. At this point, he asks his friends to lend him money and is turned down by every one. His disillusion turns him into a raging misanthrope, and he leaves the city to live in a cave, eventually killing himself.

The theme of this play cannot be reduced to a condemnation of ostentatious liberality, since Timon’s general goodness is repeatedly attested. The corrupt society of Athens, which views human relationships entirely in terms of balances and figures, is perhaps the main culprit. Still, as the quote by Apemantus above suggests, there certainly is sinfulness in Timon’s behavior. Timon, a prominent citizen of Athens who, it is implied, has in the past saved his city through his military skill, believes in a polis held together by bonds of loyalty and friendship, whether in the equal relationship between lords or the unequal one between master and servant. However, his giving, being indiscriminate, serves not to strengthen these bonds but rather to corrupt them. Even those whose intentions were good cannot resist goading Timon into giving them large gifts by giving him small ones:

If I want gold, steal but a beggar’s dog
And give it Timon, why, the dog coins gold.
If I would sell my horse and buy twenty more
Better than he, why, give my horse to Timon,
Ask nothing, give it him, it foals me straight
And able horses. (II.1)

Once abandoned by his friends, Timon falls into complete hatred of mankind. In the scene famously quoted by Marx, he digs in the ground for roots to eat, and miraculously discovers gold, just the thing that would solve his present problems. But he no longer wants it, and instead gives it away to prostitutes and bandits, in hope that they will use it to wreak further havoc on society.

What is here?
Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold?
No, gods, I am no idle votarist;
Roots, you clear heavens! Thus much of this will make
Black white, foul fair, wrong right,
Base noble, old young, coward valiant.
Ha, you gods! why this? what this, you gods? Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads.
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless th’ accurs’d,
Make the hoar leprosy ador’d, place thieves,
And give them title, knee, and approbation
With senators on the bench. This is it
That makes the wappen’d widow wed again;
She, whom the spittle-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To th’ April day again. Come, damn’d earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that puts odds
Among the rout of nations, I will make thee
Do thy right nature. (IV.3)

Timon thus jumps from blind liberality and trust to its opposite, blind hatred of mankind. He is later compelled to admit that his servant Flavius is an exception, but this neither cures him of his misanthropy nor saves him from his fate.

This Catholic website defines liberality as “a spirit of generosity for a proper and worthy charity that may involve the donation of our time, our money, or other possessions.” It adds that “Liberality is completely different from the political philosophy of liberalism. Liberality is personal rather than social, and consistent with a well formed Catholic conscience.” I am not a Catholic, but this is a useful definition. Modern liberalism perverts the virtue of liberality into a sin. When one gives without accountability, one is not only wasting one’s resources, but actually fostering evil. In the receiver are cultivated dependency, a sense of entitlement, irresponsibility, and inaction. As if this were not enough, the receiver also develops a hatred and contempt for the giver. People hate being under the power of others, so they convince themselves that they are entitled to what they get and resent the giver for not giving even more. The character of the person giving improperly suffers as well. When charity is conducted through government intervention, the effects are an order of magnitude higher. Such is the dynamic that is destroying the American national character.

If you understand this you will not have any illusions that electing a black president, a supporter of increased entitlements, will improve racial relationships in this country. More broadly you will understand that our president-elect’s promise to fix American society through government redistribution of wealth and dialoguing with our enemies is not even a romantic dream, the sort which, though difficult, may have some chance of being realized. It is a lie through and through; it is a priori impossible. Will more Americans begin to see this in the next four years?


Our Last Election?

November 4, 2008

seal-of-president-of-the-united-states

The Heritage American strives to discuss current concerns but usually not “current events,” which are handled so well by other writers in other formats. Still, on the eve of our presidential election, true Americans cannot help but feel their hearts tugged and moved by this great event, however cynical we may have become about it. Our President is not only our chief executive but also the nearest thing to royalty we have, a personal representative of the nation to itself and to the world.

In our first election, in 1789, George Washington was chosen unanimously by the 10 states that participated: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. Despite the contentiousness of the Constitutional Convention, the people of the United States were in astonishingly close agreement about who should be President.

[W]ho were to be voted for when the electors should meet? Washington, of course, was to be one of the two persons equally to be voted for by the electors, – he who had the highest number, being a majority of all the electors, to be President, and the candidate receiving the next highest number to be Vice-President. But there was no formal nomination and no agreement among the electors, even among those belonging to the Federalist party, that Washington should be chosen. It was simply regarded as the obvious and proper course to make him the first President. Nor did the Anti-Federalists at any time come to the point of deciding to oppose him. Probably they never even seriously considered the propriety of so doing. (1)

Washington’s election was not at all democratic by today’s standards, but his election truly accorded with the will of the people, and they were blessed by a truly great President and great man. Today, though Americans by heritage could still, in principle, use their numbers to fight for their own interests, the electoral system is increasingly a tool for disempowering us. Every Muslim vote, every “Hispanic” vote, is a cancellation of the vote of one of us.

To traditionalists and lovers of the American nation, the election of 2008 feels like the last election, the one in which those who decisively reject the “heritage of ordered liberty under limited government with individual rights” in favor of “group rights and identity politics,” as this commenter put it, may prevail openly for the first time. This writer remembers liberal acquaintances describing how they cried and wore black when George W. Bush was elected in 2004; but they know not of the grief this election will bring to some of us – and we will be weeping for them, our misguided compatriots too, even as they celebrate.

Following the election, if the worst comes to pass, we may be surprised to find ourselves relieved. The world will keep turning, our lives will go on much as before, and we will learn to accept what seemed an impossibility six months or a year before. We may even be disappointed to find that no great battles come to us immediately. The humiliation we expected to feel may not sting as much as we thought.

That will be the time to resist the urge to rest from the struggle, to gird ourselves to keep fighting and keep reaching out to each other. Prayer and humility, too, will be needed to keep us from squandering our love and our resources.

In this difficult time, I believe in a great future for our people. We will get through this and survive, though we cannot know what form our future is to take. It is too much for men to ask that they not be tested, and I for one would not have it any other way. Let us arise for the test. As one figure of my youth put it, “Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today.” George Washington is on our side.

(1) Edward Stanwood, A History of Presidential Elections, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1892, p. 11-12.