Episode #1 – Originally recorded Sep. 4, 1981

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This is the very first episode of the Easy Chair recorded by R.J. Rushdoony while he sat comfortably in his easy chair. This episode was originally recorded on September 4, 1981. R.J. Rushdoony shares his point of view and comments on various books and magazines articles.

Fire in the Streets: America in the 1960’s – Milton Viorst
The Ministry of Culture Connections Among Art, Money, & Politics – Michael Moony
The Roseto Story: Anatomy of Health – John G. Bruhn, Stewart Wolf, Remsen Wolff
Margaret Sanger: Father of Modern Society – Elasah Drogin
Pivot of Civilization – Margaret Sanger
Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith – James H. Billington

(Magazine Articles)
Time Magazine (Sep 1981) – Growing Problem of Incest
New Wine Magazine (Sep 1980) – Covenant the Cornerstone of Community
Science Digest (1979) – A town Without Heart Attacks

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Transcript of Episode:

Speaker 1: The reconstructionist radio podcast network presents, The Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony.

The Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony is brought to you by the Chalcedon Foundation and the GCS Apprenticeship program. For more information visit Chalcedon.edu and GCSapprenticeship.com.

R. J. Rushdoony: This is R.J. Rushdoony speaking and I’m trying something with this tape that I trust you will like. If you do please drop a note to our audio visual ministry, let us know if you like this. Certainly I shall enjoy doing it, but I want it to be worthwhile for you. And we do need to hear from you. I should like to do this on a regular basis. Now what I propose to do and this is September 4, 1981 is to share with you some of my reading, my reaction to the reading and my thinking on an easy, informal, easy chair basis. Simply to talk to you. Some of the ideas you will hear in this tape may wind up in something or another in the report. Much of it will not. But these are things I want to share with you.

First of all, very briefly, I’d like to refer to a book that I think has a very interesting point. The title is Fire in the Streets: America in the 1960s by Milton Viorst, published by Simon and Shuester, 1979. It’s a very careful, very conscientious analysis of the student riots and non student riots of the 1960’s. What Viorst does is to try to recreate the entire era around the stories of 14 men whom he interviewed. Men who were very much involved in all the events. Alans Ginsberg, the beat poet, Tom Hayden, Bayard Rustin, Clark Kerr, then the University of California president Stokely Carmikle, Jerry Rubin, and others. So the men who make up this book are the militant activists of the 1960s. It is a very carefully written and thoroughly fair minded account. He presents the perspective of these men with empathy. But the thing that to me that’s important, important for you, important for all Christians to realize is final paragraph before the epilogue.

And this is what Viorst says and I quote, the last chapter by the way is about Kent State. And what happened at Kent State. Now, to quote, “At Kent State the country seemed to announce that whoever among the young felt deeply enough to continue the practices of the 1960’s had to be ready to die for them. On these terms radicalism turned out to have a less committed following than had once been believed. Few were ready to die and so the decade reached its end.” You get the point, do you not? The whole of the student movement ended when the issues of commitment came to a focus at Kent State. Were you ready to die for your belief? And the student radicals were not. That ended the movement.

I recall fairly recently in the late 70’s being told that the governor of one major state had said with regard to the demonstrators against a nuclear power plant that they were not a threat, that any smart politician had only to put them in jail and wait until the TV cameras and the reporters left. And then all these passionate demonstrators were ready to call it quits. If they were not going to be on the evening news nor on the headlines their commitment evaporated. Now this is why of course that movement failed. This too is the reason why the churches have been beating a retreat for a long time. The faith has not meant enough to anybody either to live for it or to die for it.

I’m glad to report, however, of late there are men who have been ready to go to jail and to stay there for their faith. Levi Wisner in Ohio, Dr. Lester Roloff in Texas, and now as of Monday of this week Pastor Sillivan in Nebraska. He went to jail this Monday, or was scheduled to go, I have heard nothing further. Because he was going to open his school when the state said you either submit your Christian school to control by the state or you go to jail. There’s no question in Pastor Sillivan’s mind. He called me last Friday, he could not surrender he felt.

Now it is sad that there are not many many more like these men. But there are enough of them turning up here and there across the country and it does indicate a tremendous hopefulness for the future. We do have Christians who are ready to live and die for Jesus Christ. Now you may never be called and I may never be called, Lord willing to die for him. But we are all called to live for him. That means to give him priority in our lives. The student movements and the radical movements of the 60’s disappeared when the test came. Now whether or not the Christian church stands under the present attack and all out assault by humanism is going to depend on us. Are we ready to live for the faith?

This is why Fire in the Streets struck me as so important. Perhaps no popular movement ever had more momentum in American history than the student and other radical rebellious youth of the 1960s. It was one of the most powerful, potent, revolutionary forces this country has ever seen. But it collapsed. And it collapsed because they were not ready to die for their beliefs. Their commitment proved to be shallow. What is our commitment like? One of the things that does distress me is well since I wrote the Institute of Biblical Law and Tiding and Dominion with Apal I have had the anger of a great many people, pastors and laymen, directed against me. Because I said the Tiding is God’s requirement of us. All too many people call themselves Christians don’t feel that God has any claim on our income. We give him the leftovers of our lives and of our money when we feel that we can do so. That says something about the life of the church today. Tiding is a good barometer by the way. It tells us where our priorities are.

Well now to another subject. A very interesting book also that came out in 1980, the title is The Ministry of Culture: Collections Among Art, Money, and Politics by Michael McDonald Mooney. Published by Windom Books in New York. This is an interesting book to me. It may not be important to the general reader but I think there are some important things that I can share with you. What modern man wants is a religion without God. Man feels the need for some kind of commitment, for something to unify people and to bring them together, something bigger than man. The modern state and patriotism have been tried, they have failed. What is it then that can bring men together? Well the modern world is establishing art. Very few people are aware of how much money today is poured into the art world by the federal government. This is what Mooney’s book is about. It is about politics and the art, about all kinds of organizations created to sponsor arts. He speaks of more than 300 alphabet agencies costing more than 20 billion, not million but billion, B as in boy, dollars a year.

Now Mooney is not altogether sure that humanism is a religion which of course the Supreme Court has said it is. What is apparent and what he does bring out is the very thoroughly humanistic basis of these art grants and of grunt arts. So that we are having the establishment of a religion by these grants to the arts. The result is that though few Americans know it, they are subsidizing poetry, opera, symphonies and much much more. Now some of the things that are subsidized you and I may like, I’m very partial to symphonic music. But I do not believe that the minority of us who enjoy symphonic music should have a subsidy when rock and roll does not. After all, on the basis of democracy rock and roll has more title to public funds, but I believe that neither symphony music nor rock and roll should get public funds. Those who want it, let them pay for it.

But we have powerful forces today that want a ministry of culture, even a cabinet dedicated to culture. Under the Carter administration Mrs. Joan Mondale, the vice president’s wife, headed up the Carter administration ministry of culture. Which has not by the way been dismantled. Mooney in the process of dealing with this problem says this about tyrannies and tyrant states and I quote, “To maintain power in a corporate technological state three conditions were necessary. First, continuing crisis, if not war than the threat of war. Because communities would accept the moral equivalence of war if these were claimed as necessary to community safety. Second, no real political or social change could be initiated because to do so threatened the entitlement of the officers designated to maintain order in the crises, designated in the first condition. Third, propaganda and lies both technical and cultural, had to be issued ceaselessly because otherwise the community of opinion might question whether the designated crises actually existed. It was always the questions not the answers that were dangerous to the new order.”

Well of course I believe that we have the same situation again and politics today is increasingly given to creating an order that is humanistic and that is designed to provide public funds to every group except those that are godly and law abiding. Mooney virtually speaks as politics as theft. We can agree with that. Modern politics has become a form of theft. Well so much for Mooney’s book.

Now I’d like to share something with you which is very grim. Unfortunately very, very true. The current Time magazine, September 7, 1981 on page 69 has a full page article on a growing problem, incest. What the article points out is that you have prominent anthropologists, sexologist, sociologists, family therapists and so on and on, psychologists who believe that incest is a moral necessity. This is being advocated in one scientific periodical after another. And it is actually stated by one such person and I quote, “We believe children should begin sex at birth. It causes a lot of problems not to practice incest.” Of course homosexuals and lesbians are very much involved in this movement. The sad fact is that every time the sexual revolution has taken a new and more perverted turn, you’ve had your little sir echos within the church community. Now no one within the church community to my knowledge has yet come out and openly advocated insect.

But I have heard as I’ve traveled back and forth cross country rumors and reports of a disturbing receptivity to the kind of thinking that goes behind what I just read. There are too many churchmen who feel that it is a proof of intelligence to be an avant garde person to pick up the newest of ideas that come out from the cess pool of humanism and to try to sprinkle holy water on them and to say, “Now this represents an extremism but if we Christians recognize that there’s a germ of truth in all of this then we can grow in terms of this, watch for it. Watch for it.” I have been distressed to hear that a number of Christian colleges and seminaries have while saying we are against abortion or we are against women elders or we are against homosexuality and so on, wanted to make sure before they have a new faculty member that he does not speak out strongly on these issues. That’s a very sorry fact.

Well now to much happier subject, the September 1981 New Wine magazine is a very wonderful issue. I think it is one of the finest by a considerable margin which has been put out. There are several good articles, for example Charles Simpson Covenant, the Cornerstone of Community which speaks about the need to recognize our responsibility to our own neighborhood. But there’s an article, a reprint from Science Digest of 1979, which is very important. As a matter of fact the reprint, the title is A Town Without Heart Attacks by Gloria Hoffman. And there is a book that has been published giving this data and I believe the University of Oklahoma Press has published it, yes, under the title The Rosetta Story and Anatomy of Health. I believe the authors are Bruhn and Wolf. Now it is a study of a small town of Italian Americans who are very much old country people for a very long time. They lived very much as neighbors, everybody’s door was open, people went from house to house. Family relations were very strong. And what did they find? No heart attacks. A remarkable degree of health.

And the writers, the doctors who made this study and studied the community for some time, said that they found and I quote from the article, “Family relations were extremely close and mutually supportive. This quality extended to neighbors and to the community as a whole. There was a well defined man/woman relationship where the man was the uncontested head of the family. The elderly were cherished and respected and they maintained their authority throughout life. The atmosphere was friendly and residents had an optimistic attitude. Most striking there was no keeping up with the Jones’. The Cornerstone, a Rossetian life was the family and families were tied to each other through intermarriage to form clans.” Now in the 1960’s sad to say Rosseto began to change. And the birth rate which had been high began to decline. Church attendance decreased. Women became more concerned about their appearances and they joined weight reducing programs. Men joined country clubs and initiated golf tournaments. And expensive homes were built in new neighborhoods. And so the happy community began to break down. And they began to have all the problems, including heart attacks, that the rest of the country is having. And the resistance which they had to heart attacks and to other problems disappeared.

I think that’s a remarkable story. It tells us that our faith has a great deal to do with our health. God ordained family life. He ordained that men should live as brothers, one to another, as good neighbors. To love our neighbors ourselves. That’s a commandment that goes back to Leviticus. And what happens when you have a group of Italians in this country who make up an entire community? They kept up those close ties and relations for a long time. And they had remarkable lessons. Some Christians have been talking of late of the need to reestablish communities on a Christian basis to try to strengthen a door by door Christian fellowship. Even to build together but certainly to rework their neighborhood. If they cannot convert everyone in the neighborhood to try to be friends to them all and to make the church a center for that kind of neighborly relationship. That’s wonderful. It does indicate that there’s a great deal of hope for the future when Christians began to think in terms of such responsibilities. I believe New Wine magazine is to be congratulated for reprinting that article. A Christian community needs to hear it. We alone can create such communities. No one else can.

It’s time we did. Well now to go on to something else. A little book was published in ’79 and reprinted in ’80 by a very dedicated Catholic woman who lives not too very far south of us. She is a Jewish convert to Catholicism and lives in a Dominican third order lay community in California. She is 33 years old. Alassa Drogin is her name. The title of the book is Margaret Sanger, Father of Modern Society. That title may be a little complicated because Margaret Sanger was a woman but in a very real sense she is the father of our world today. Or mother if you prefer. You can get this book from CUL, initials CUL Publications box 390, Coarsegold, California 93614. Now this is very important because there is data in this book that is not obtainable anywhere else. Margaret Sanger of course is the father of Planned Parenthood which today is a crusading abortionist group. It began as a crusading birth control group. Margaret Sanger has been presented as a woman who had a passion for foreign, downtrodden people who was concerned about the poor working women who were having baby after baby so on and on.

What Alassa Drogin documents very, very carefully is that Margaret Sanger was very, very different. Because her whole point of view was peaceful genocide. She held that seven out of ten people she saw walking down the street were feeble minded and irresponsible breeders who had to be controlled before they took over the world and staged a revolution. So she worked out a plan for peaceful genocide which she called a plan for peace. Now she wanted a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation. A strong policy of barring a great many aliens. She wanted to have birth control made mandatory in some way or another. And one of her associates called for the sterilization of 10 million Americans. One of the things that Drogin brings out very carefully here is that all those people connected with Margaret Sanger were delighted with Hitler. They praised Hitler for what he was doing in Germany. And Hitler was quoted, approved, and so on to a great extent. Now … by the way Margaret Sanger named a chapter, or titled a chapter of her book called Pivotal Civilization, the Cruelty of Charity.

What these people wanted was the elimination of most Americans through sterilization then birth control and then later abortion in order to create an elitist population of their own kind. It was racial genocide. As a result we get only dishonesty from those abortionist groups. Who today are very prone to praise Margaret Sanger and look back on her as one of the great women of American history and so on. But are unwilling to tell the truth about her and her character. She by the way very early in 1914 approximately developed a credo of women’s rights which included the right to be lazy, the right to be an unmarried mother, the right to create, the right to destroy and so on. Well she certainly practices Drogin the right to be lazy. I quote, “She found the task of child rearing boring and so took little notice of her three children. She deserted them at the slightest excuse claiming that she was seized with a nervous malady. The children were always writing her little letters begging her to come home to see them. Her son Grant said mother was seldom around. She left us with anybody handy and ran off, we didn’t know where.”

Margaret Sanger thus was hardly a model mother or a model citizen in any respect. She relied on astrology, numerology and various religious cults including Rosicrucian and unity when she was in a depressed mood. Although her first recourse according to Drogin was sex. She was given to dishonesty about her own background. She claimed to be a trained registered nurse although she had only a few months of training. She … well there’s much more in this book that tells us about Margaret Sanger’s faith and life. It is important for us to know this because this movement today is very much with us. It has not changed since Margaret Sanger’s day. It has become more brazen and more evil and we do have a problem with these people who are not honest about their positions. And are in more ways than one a very great threat to Christian culture and morality.

Well now to continue to still another subject. A rather remarkable book was published recently by James H. Billiton. It’s a $25 book and it’s 677 pages, the title is Fire in the Minds of Men; Origins of the Revolutionary Faith. Published in New York by Basic Books in 1980. This is a book about the origins of revolution in the modern world of socialism, communism. One of the remarkable things about this book is where as many, many writers have dealt with these issues and we have many who put the stress on the conspiratorial aspect of all these movements, Billiton does something very different. What he does is to put the emphasis as the title indicates on the faith of these men, fire in the minds of men. These men were fenatically religious. They were humanists to the core. They were anti-God. And as a result they were passionately concerned with overthrowing a culture and a civilization that was in some sense at least, or to some limited degree, Christian.

He traces the occult origins of the very organization of these conspiratorial groups. He deals with their attempt as it were to create a new faith, a new church, a new creed. The book is very important for this reason: in other words the emphasis of others on the conspiratorial aspect is, while often accurate misplaced, in that they fail to see that these men were moving with a passion of faith. A non-Christian faith, but a faith. We began I believe with Fire in the Minds … not Fire on the Minds but Fire in the Streets, by Viorst. Same thing. Fire in the Streets meant a faith that put these people in the streets, a humanistic faith. Now when the chips were down they were not ready to die for that faith. But the sad fact is that some Marxist have been ready to die for their faith, some revolutionists have been ready to die for their faith. And these radicals that Billington deals with have over the years manifested a dedication that the Christians have lacked. This is why they have succeeded to some degree where Christians have lost ground.

This is why Fire in the Minds of Men is important. We are in a religious war. The warfare is between Christ and Anti-Christ. Christianity and humanism. This is what all our politics is about. Our politics today with both parties is a politics of humanism. It is only the occasional man in politics who represents a Christian perspective.

Well our time is drawing to a close. There are other things I feel are very important and one or two that I was saving as a piece there was a stance. That are going to have to wait for another taping. I have enjoyed this, sitting, relaxed in an easy chair, and sharing with you some of the reading that I have been doing and some of my reactions to that reading. Let me repeat again, if you do find this kind of tape important or useful or interesting please let Mr. Charles Wagner of our tape ministry know. Because I enjoy doing it and there’s so much that I’d like to say that I don’t have time to write about. There’s no way I can sit down with all of you and share these ideas with you, but I can by tape. It’s a pleasure for me to do this.

If you like this, let us know. If we don’t hear from you we won’t go on with this kind of taping. But if you like it, we will do it and we may even expand this type of ministry. You have any suggestions of other things you’d like to see us take up, please let us know. Thank you, God bless you.

One final word, please don’t write to us to ask to buy these books because there’s no way we can go into the book business and you’ll have to go to a bookstore and order them. That’s why I gave you the specific data about the publishers. However I did not think to tell you where you could pick up the New Wine magazine. You can get it by writing to New Wine P.O. box Z, last letter of the alphabet, Mobile, Alabama 36616. I think if you send them a dollar it will cover the cost of the magazine and the mailing or perhaps send them a dollar and a half. It is New Wine magazine September 1981 and it’s the one that has the article Town Without Heart Attacks.

New Wine by the way is a publication of the Christian Growth Ministries which is charismatic but don’t let that scare you. It is a good magazine. While I don’t agree with everything that appears in it it is one of the better publications of our time. And this issue in particular is a gem. One of the forthcoming issues will have an article by me and some of our Chalcede material has been reprinted by New Wine in the past. I will try to in these series tell you just who the publishes are when I’m dealing with books and magazines so that you an get the materials more easily. Again, thank you.

Speaker 1: Thank you for listening to the Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony. Please visit Chalcedon.edu for more materials by R.J. Rushdoony and the Chalcedon Foundations.

R. J. Rushdoony: The Reconstructionist Radio Network brings to you a complete lineup of podcasts where you will hear practical and tactical theology. Our desire’s not simply that you consume our shows but also that you live out your faith in every area of life. We can talk all day long about these things. But if we fail to put them into practice then we fail as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, our King. Subscribe now to your favorite Reconstructionist Radio Podcast Network shows. Or you can subscribe to the Reconstructionist Radio Master Feed, where all of the content we produce, including the audio books and audio articles will pop up as soon as they are available. And don’t forget to visit Reconstructionistradio.com to volunteer as a narrator or to partner with this ministry financially. May the Holy Spirit stir you into action, for Christ, and His Kingdom.