(… You might have already figured it out, the “degrading slavery” part —  but confirmation from Scientific American is rather dismaying.)

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GK Chesterton was asked  why he,  a renowned literary figure of great intelligence and perceptive wit,   had converted as an adult (a seemingly sane and responsible adult!)  to the Catholic Church.

His answer is both instructive and universally true.

Here’s the beginning of his answer:    “The difficulty of explaining, ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. I could fill all my space with separate sentences each beginning with the words, ‘It is the only thing that…’”

‘It is the only thing that…’      and he proceeded to list a few examples.    As a historian,  by avocation and by six years of university education,  my favorite example is this:

” It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

That instantly made sense to me.

Because God doesn’t like us to be in mental slavery,  not in command of our own intellect; psychological slavery, not in command of our own emotions;   spiritual slavery,  not in command of our own free will – to do good and to choose God.    That is,  as human beings,  we have souls, and our souls are free and we must act from this freedom.

Chesterton observed that those who are informed mainly by the thoughts and activities of their own (generation)  become entrapped by their own (generation).       Without any effort at all we absorb information  by watching and imitating other people,  by giving subconscious assent to the attitudes around us,  and  by  absorbing the content of the media we choose:

tv watching

That’s why an education always includes a knowledge of the history, the philosophies,  the challenges,  of ages past,  as well as a thorough knowledge of the rules of grammar, logic, and rhetoric – that is, how to think and how to express yourself and how to recognize when   someone   is  feeding  you  a line of  . .  .

Think these guys are dead and gone and irrelevant?

school of athens

Maybe dead,  but not “gone” nor irrelevant.     In fact,  their ideas and the problems they worked out are vital  to the decisions we make today.      (If you don’t want to be held in mental slavery by our current Rulers.)

Again, Chesterton  says that 90% of what we call “new ideas”  is simply the old errors coming back again,  and the Church  (not the neo-Church, but the original one)   has for one of her chief duties to prevent people from making the same old mistakes.

Here’s an “old idea” –   a “new”  prejudice from the  19th century,  at least.     I recently had a woman come into our class, just to say Hi,  and then  she stayed and talked to us for the next 2 1/2 hours!    She is a modern,  extreme-liberal,  feminist of the New Catholic Church, superior in every way, and she proceeded to instruct us in the new and better ways of the modern world – in a most friendly way . . .  sort of.


Among the things that the bad old Catholic church had done was to suppress the “rights and opportunities” of women.   Just because they were women!    They were disrespected and their talents were ignored!

She was so steeped in the contemporary attitudes of the 19th and 20th centuries, that she could not even “think outside of”  that Box.

Fortunately,  my educational credentials had come up sometime earlier in that conversation  and so she listened while I smiled and  told her about my respect and affection for Queen Etheldreda …  a Catholic  woman of centuries past.

Queen Etheldreda was intelligent.  Well-educated.   Married.   And she was also the administrator of a large population in a major religious center and surrounding “city area.”     She was like the authoritative presider over a very large number of men and women.

She is one of many women who were well-educated and well-respected leaders of people throughout the “Dark”  and “Middle”  Ages.  And she is recognized as a saint.

But our new friend,  our lecturer in the ways of modern superiority,  would not hear of any further examples.   It is sometimes painful  to “think outside of” your Box.   You would have to break with your fellow slave-thinkers.     You would have to defy your slave-masters – and risk the consequences.

I insisted on all of us  laughing a lot during our 2 1/2 hour long near-confrontation,  keep it light,   find lots to laugh at;  when someone said, “Well, we’ll just agree to disagree,”  the whole class burst out laughing.   I even heard myself invite her back to our class sometime.   Hmmmm.

” It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

Oops –  almost forgot the Scientific American magazine.      Well,  I’ve been reading more Douglas Preston novels,  so I turned to Scientific American for  current thought on some issues in physics.    To my dismay,   here are some of the titles of the latest articles:  “Trump Administration Seeks Big Budget Cuts for Climate Change.”    “The Real Reason Autism Rates Are Up”  (and it does not encourage vaccine research!)  – “This Is Your Brain On Poverty”   (for all you SJW’s out there)  –  “Maps Show Where Americans Care About Climate Change”   “What Apple Cider Vinegar Can and Can’t Do For You” (and if you’re  “educated”  you won’t seek out natural remedies.)     “Climate Deniers –  You’re Climate Deniers, Deal With It”   –  (huh?   are we supposed to feel inferior?)    “Ten Solutions For climate Change”  (aw gee . . . )    

I got excited when I finally saw a hard science headline,  I thought.   “The Most Important Idea About the Universe.”     But no physics.   No hard science.   Just a promotion of energy conservation and Darwinism.   

Do you know how dated and old-fashioned these articles will be in a few short decades?  Are these guys wearing bell-bottom trousers?     Are these women wearing corsets?

The Catholic Church “is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

Once you catch on and once you can recognize when someone is speaking merely as a child of his own age,   you can almost feel compassion for his slavery.

And mental slavery is the most degrading kind of slavery of all.


I have never experienced such mental freedom since I entered into the church.


So,  if you’re interested, and if you’ve been told that “physical”  slavery is the worst kind of all,  I’d invite you to consider the life of African-slave-then freedman  Pierre Toussant – one of the men in this world I look up to.

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Pierre Toussant is in Wikipedia,   but I’ve also written about him  here in the Spruce Tunnel.

He is a Catholic.   A slave, but not a degraded type of slave.   (“. . .  for Christ has broken down the divisions between slave and free,  male and female   . . . “)  When he received his freedom,  he moved to New England during those colonial times, opened up a business,   became wealthy, and used his wealth to create orphanages and homes for the unfortunate.

He is on his way to Catholic sainthood.

Which, to the Church,  means only that his life is worthy of a “second-look” on our part.


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  1. larryzb Says:

    Science has been politicized. “It is accepted science . . . that man’s activities cause global warming . . . ” Any dissent from those in science is rejected. Yes, that is a kind of slavery, a mental slavery to an all-knowing elite (that truly is not all-knowing).

  2. Jon Says:

    Thank you. You’re spot on! And, good luck with your new friend.

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