A winsome reflection on place, profit, and Protestantism…

The following is my brief review of E. Michael Jones’s brief essay, “Escape From Globalism: Meditations While Rowing Down the Danube”.

Jones - Escape from Globalism cover

Having done my share of hiking and bicycle tours, as well as six years of crew in my teens, I loved the narrative aspect of this booklet, and would have loved to hear more. This not being a travelogue, however, Jones focuses his anecdotes on a couple key points which have the potential to germinate in the Americanist mind as the yeast for a paradigm change about the warped use and abuse of nature in a capitalist world.

Although Jones does not use these exact terms, I would summarize his thesis like so: a country’s aesthetic connection with nature is a symptom of its underlying view of human flourishing, which can either be sacramental (Catholic and incarnational) or voluntaristic (Protestant and dualistic). Worth a read.

I also recommend Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences, Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Joshua Meyrowitz’s No Sense of Place.

And here are few excerpts which I have not (yet?) included in the review at Amazon:

“[I]n Europe, man and nature are not two mutually exclusive propositions, which is what they have become in America.”

“Calvin felt that man had ceased being what we would call human, which is to say a rational creature capable of choosing the good as his final end, because of the fall. … What both Calvinism and the Transcendentalist repudiation of Calvinism has in common is the belief that human beings are both different from and compatible with ‘nature.’ Both reject the notion that grace perfects nature, either because nature cannot be perfected [without being annihilated] or because nature has no need of grace. America would oscillate between these two poles.”

[Citing Bill Bryson:] “In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature and either/or proposition–either you ruthlessly subjugate it, … or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart….”

“If there ever were empirical p[roof that grace perfects nature, it can be seen in a wine-producing region like the Wachau in Austria.”

“The project [to return America to a state of total wilderness] is not only utopian and stupid, it bespeaks a self-loathing of people who are deeply involved in sexual sins against nature. Sins against nature invariably lead to the deification of nature. Abortion and animal rights are two sides of the same coin.”

“Austria resisted the revolution of the religious sort in the 17th century and the political sort in the early 19th century. The COngress of Vienna bequeathed Europe unprecedented peace and prosperity for 100 years, and no country benefited more spectacularly from this peace than Austria, which resisted religious revolution more successfully than Germany, who was torn apart by the 30 years war, and much more successfully than England, who took the wealth which it had plundered from its monasteries and turned it into the engine of cultural subversion that would eventually be known as capitalism, the engine which found its home away from home in America. … Austria … has been a bulwark against revolution and the crackpot schemes of religious revolutionaries of the Anglophile sort, which is why Woodrow Wilson hated Austria and saw to it that it was chopped up into little unstable pieces at World War I, peices which were so unstable that they all but guaranteed the return of war 20 years later. So there are now two paradigms for development in the world. The Austrian/Catholic/Benedictine paradigm and the American/Protestant/Dualist paradigm, which sees man and nature as mutually exclusive possibilities.”

“[A]s an American, I have learned that whenever I see the word freedom, I instinctively reach to see if my wallet is still in my back pocket. Freedom, in the American sense of the word, means the ability of the ruthless to exploit the naive. ” [“I drink your milkshake!”]

“Ted Turner culture promotes the sexualization of children because sexualization is the first step in exercising its control over them. A sexualized child is one who does not listen to his parents, who in turn are unable to convey messages of moral self-restraint, religious piety or ethnic solidarity to their children. … Freedom, according to this system, which is now the system intended for the entire world, means gratification of appetite…. Music and fashion go hand and hand in this regard in the formation of pseudo-ethnic groups based on consumption of one item or another which confers group identity and belonging on the person who buys it.”

Once the Catholic Church gets over its misguided idea that it has nothing to fear from the media, it might once again find itself in a position to influence the culture on its own terms.”


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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