Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Answering a Troubling Question: Man, Woman, or Whatever? -

By John Horvat II

A friend of mine recently rejoiced because he had finally found a job after being unemployed for a few months. It was an engineering job with a good company comparable to the one he had before. However, there was one thing about the final interview that bothered him. He was asked: “What is your gender?”

My friend is an outdoorsman with a wife and children. It is evident that he is the man he is, so he was understandably offended and embarrassed at the same time. He was perplexed that this query was presented as a serious question that he had to answer for a job that is all about physical observable reality. The fact that it is now part of the standard operating procedure of a reputable engineering firm is a disturbing omen of terrible things to come.
Worse yet, I can imagine that some liberal readers might even look with sympathy upon the question that I view as troubling since they see it as somehow making amends for the centuries of “oppression” suffered by those who think themselves transgendered — long before the term or notion was invented. Such sympathizers have always prepared the way for the acceptance of absurd trends.
The simple fact is that this question did not just happen. It is the fruit of a long process. It also points to the appearance of future existential questions that will cast doubt on just about anything.
We can take the sexual revolution of the sixties as a point of departure for what we are experiencing. This revolution sought to install a culture that leads people to resent the very idea of restraint and scorn the spiritual, religious, moral, and cultural values that serve to order and keep society in balance. It declared that all morality is a mere “construct” of society that can be and should be “deconstructed” to make room for new levels of freedom.
As a result, the sexual revolution has done much to break down the barriers between the sexes. It has ushered in a wave of promiscuity that has led to the proliferation of divorce, contraception, abortion, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, unmarried couples, and pornography everywhere. All this has contributed to destroying society’s moral fiber and mainstreaming every type of sexual disorder. It has to a large extent succeeded in obtaining this particular goal.
We are suffering the consequences of this revolution in the tragedies of shattered lives, broken families, and empty churches that litter the social landscape and are tearing the nation apart. The “freedom” offered by the sexual revolution has yielded disastrous consequences that weigh heavily upon all society and the public purse.

However, even with the generalizing of promiscuity since the sixties, it proved impossible to be rid of all restraints. Those who pushed forward the sexual agenda had to admit the undeniable physical reality that the male and female categories still exist and carry with them their respective restrictions. They still had to work inside the complex parameters of a male/female world.
Moreover, inside this male/female reality, there always exists the possibility of forming a family and the re-establishment of a morality that would undermine the “gains” of the sexual revolution.
That is why this next phase of the sexual revolution — the transgender revolution — is so threatening and bizarre. The agents of this change need no longer be anchored in physical reality, logic, or biological science. Reality becomes what you imagine it to be. In such a fantasy world, one can ignore the obvious and ask: Are you a man? Woman? Something in-between?
That is to say, we have entered the reign of fantasy where concrete reality is forced to conform to delusions. This is not the action of some isolated and confused individuals that want attention and that does not affect the population as a whole. No, the official business establishment is now institutionalizing fantasy and making it part of their reality. It involves schools, universities, and government institutions that are abolishing sexual pronouns, inventing new ones, and penalizing those who make mistakes in their use.
And that is the troubling part of the question. No society can function inside such a framework of fantasy. Modernity is based on a rational foundation and amaterialism that needs predictability, statistics, and real-time data to work efficiently. Since fantasy abstracts from logic, it must use force to compel people to adhere to its erratic and irrational rules. When the obvious man can no longer be considered a man, the obvious woman can no longer be considered a woman, fantasy rules. Any new imagining (beyond transgenderism) can become the norm. And that is dangerous, for fantasy is the stuff upon which tyranny is built.
How would you answer the troubling question?
As seen on

Answering a Troubling Question: Man, Woman, or Whatever? -: Answering a Troubling Question: Man, Woman, or Whatever?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Manliness of the Prodigal Son

The parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most memorable and moving of all Our Lord Jesus Christ’s parables. Many who cannot name all Ten Commandments can nevertheless give a rough outline of the story. It has been widely represented in Christian art since the Middle Ages, and even today is often referenced in literature and film.
Its divine themes—grievous sin, terrible suffering, true repentance, and unconditional forgiveness—are like the finger of God touching the very heart of the human condition. No matter how often we see others follow the same path of perdition as the Prodigal Son, our pride fools us into thinking that our lives will end differently. No matter how much we are warned, we fall into sin. No matter how much we sin, we repent only when we encounter suffering. And no matter how virtuous we think we are, we are all Prodigal Sons in need of forgiveness from an all-merciful Father. These themes touch Americans very deeply.
On the one hand, we are a nation that maintains a good and healthy regard for justice, especially towards unrepentant evildoers. We cheer the policeman who arrests the rogue criminal and find satisfaction in his just reward of a long jail sentence. We still support, by a large majority, the death penalty for our very worst criminals. We instinctively fight back against Islamic terrorism and—to the horror of liberals everywhere—cheer when unarmed American civilians beat unconscious would-be terrorists on a French train, or when an American Navy warship blows Somali pirates out of the water.
But something has changed in the American soul over the last few generations. Although we still have a love of justice, we increasingly refuse to take responsibility for our actions. We shirk our duties and obligations. We have the tendency to blame everyone and everything except ourselves for our faults and failings. And worst of all, we feel no shame for assigning blame and even cheer those who do so.
This mentality dominates in so many parts of our culture. Our legal system is overwhelmed with frivolous lawsuits from people who often take advantage of their own mistakes to extort money from others. Husbands and wives often blame each other for their marital disputes and prefer divorce to working through difficulties. Hollywood glamorizes characters that live for themselves and shirk responsibility, and even portray idealistic and self-sacrificing people as stupid or naïve.


We teach this mentality to our youth. When “helicopter parents” berate their children’s teachers for daring to give them a less-than-stellar grade, or when they confront a referee who made an unfavorable call in a sports game—regular occurrences today—those children learn that actions have no consequences. When able-bodied fathers sign up for food stamps rather than earn an honest living, or when career women abort their unborn children so they can continue to climb the corporate ladder, children learn that irresponsibility pays off.
A generation of Americans has grown up immersed in this ethic of irresponsibility. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out. Without a widespread conversion, a culture of irresponsibility naturally falls into a death spiral. Selfish, irresponsible people corrode their own culture, economy, and family structure, which leads to further selfishness, finger-pointing, and irresponsibility.
That brings us back to the Prodigal Son. In His infinite Wisdom, Our Lord Jesus Christ’s parables were given as supreme examples for all times and all peoples. Indeed, the parable of the Prodigal Son has many striking similarities with the specific situation in which America finds herself, and provides a clear path to repentance and conversion if we are willing to take it.
For a little while at least, he spent his father’s inheritance enjoying all the delights the world had to offer. Food, drink, and prostitutes were his new idols. Secure with his inheritance and new “friends,” he likely scoffed at his father’s paternal advice. When he talked about his father—if he did at all—he may have even mocked his former life at home.The Prodigal Son certainly didn’t leave his father’s house thinking he might end up herding swine. Although he walked away from immense wealth and happiness, he probably thought that he could enjoy the pleasures of the world while avoiding the pitfalls that befell other, less “enlightened” young men. His father, no doubt, warned him of the dangers of the world, but even he was unable to sway his son’s determination.
In spite of all his father’s paternal advice and love, it was only through suffering that the Prodigal Son began to seriously consider the folly of his life. A great famine came upon the land, making life expensive. The Prodigal Son soon ran out of money and was reduced to herding swine. Worse than any physical suffering must have been his public humiliation. His new master may have known him before the famine struck, saw him frequent the local taverns, and stagger back drunk to his comfortable lodgings. If so, he probably didn’t let him forget it, as he went about his daily tasks taking care of his master’s pigs.
As he sat watching the swine devour the husks that he so ardently wished to eat, many ideas must have flashed through his mind. He may have been tempted to wallow in self-pity. He could have spent his days, telling anyone willing to listen, all the gory details of how “they” caused his misfortune.The Prodigal Son likely had many legitimate grievances against others for his predicament. The famine that exposed his bad decisions was not his fault. Our Lord did not give a cause, but it could very well have been a man-made disaster. Perhaps the “ruling class” of that country, like the Prodigal Son himself, made bad decisions, which destroyed the local economy. There might have been a war that exhausted the whole country and crippled agriculture. As a rich man in a foreign country, he was certainly a target for thieves and hucksters.
This is the effeminate response to a crisis. Effeminate men are unable to do the two things that define manliness: take responsibility for their actions and to do one’s duty regardless of the difficulty. They blame others for their own faults, create intricate justifications for their irresponsibility, and above all criticize men who don’t make excuses (behind their backs, of course).
This timeless parable has many lessons for us Americans today. Our culture, economy, and society are in crisis. As John Horvat points out in his book, Return to Order, we are spending our inheritance like passengers on a great cruise ship without any consideration for tomorrow. While we are enjoying ourselves, our government is paralyzed, our economy is plunging full speed into bankruptcy, and the traditional family is disfigured almost beyond recognition. A modern-day famine in the form of an economic crash would plunge the whole world into chaos.The Prodigal Son, on the contrary, reacted to his predicament with true manliness. It took courage to confront his failings directly, to say the words “I have sinned” and to ask for forgiveness. To be sure, there certainly were factors outside his control that contributed to his misfortunes, but he recognized that he alone bore ultimate responsibility. It took manly heroism to humiliate himself in front of his father, older brother and their whole household after he had so proudly defied them and suffered the consequences.
Like the Prodigal Son, we have a choice. We can listen to the many voices of irresponsibility coming from both the left and the right. They place the blame exclusively on others, be it “Wall Street”, the Chinese, or the “1%.” These outside forces, to be sure, have indeed played a role in undermining our economy. But to place the blame entirely on them is akin to a man who blames a casino for taking his money. The casino certainly was dishonest in its dealings with him, but no matter how one may spin it, the blame for his loss lies entirely in his disordered tendencies and vices.
We must reject this effeminate response and imitate the manly example of the Prodigal Son. Like him, we must look inward very deeply and ask ourselves if our vices, and not some faceless external enemy, are the root cause of our predicament. How much do I participate in the “frenetic intemperance” of our modern economy? Have I participated in the cruise ship mentality, spending as if there were no tomorrow? Do I grieve for our beloved nation, or do I shrug my shoulders at her destruction as if it were the bankruptcy of a Fortune 500 company (a pity to be sure, but no real loss)?
Do I live according to the Rule of Money, which elevates all that is vulgar, egalitarian, and materialistic, or the Rule of Honor, which admires the sublime, heroic, and noble? Do I embrace the restraining influence of Christian morality in economy, with its natural checks and balances rooted in the Ten Commandments, or do I participate in the modern mania for destruction of every barrier and restraint? If so, am I willing to turn away from this path and return to my Father’s house, or do I care only for myself and for today, with no regard for tomorrow?
Our society and economy will return to order only after we take responsibility for our actions and do our duty to God and country, no matter how difficult. The father of the Prodigal Son was willing and ready to receive him at any moment, but he was powerless to help his son until the day when he stopped blaming others, admitted his guilt, repented of his sins and returned to his father’s house. But no matter how sinful he had been, the father was willing to forgive and forget in an instant all the evil his son had done, and to even rejoice in his return. Our nation is that Prodigal Son. May we respond to God’s grace and muster the courage necessary to imitate his manliness and return to the house of our most loving Eternal Father.

Friday, September 2, 2016

'Return to Order’ Earns Tenth Award: Underscores Book’s Broad Appeal

SPRING GROVE, PENN (Aug. 27, 2016) – The book, Return to Order, has just won its tenth award, a milestone that underscores the author’s message is resonating with an America that needs to find its moral compass. The book, written by John Horvat II, vice president for The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), earned first prize in the 2016 CIPA EVVY Book Awards in the social science category.
“The award is a great honor,” Horvat commented. “I think it shows how the book’s message speaks to our confusing times with answers that appeal to a broad range of people.”
Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society —Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go is reaching readers and driving discussions nationwide as Horvat speaks to groups, talk show hosts and leaders. He has been inspiring listeners with his candid and motivating messages making the necessary links between the economy, faith and moral values. He demonstrates that society’s secular, materialistic culture is causing social and economic ruin.
The CIPA EVVY Book Award is significant because it is one of the oldest independent publishing competitions in the country. It is sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF). It attracts writers in 39 categories from all over the world.
The award comes as nearly 240,000 copies of Return to Order are in circulation in print, e-book and audio formats. Horvat has given presentations in more than five dozen cities across the nation and in Europe and has participated in more than 350 media interviews in the past three years. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous national news outlets including American ThinkerCrisis MagazineImaginative Conservative,TheBlaze and others.

“The mediating institutions that once allowed for civil debate are wearing down, The unifying principles that set the groundwork for a governing consensus no longer unify. said Horvat recently in an article on “That is why a return to order is so important.”
Return to Order has received dozens of endorsements from church, military and political leaders. It has ranked #1 on Amazon/Kindle in four countries.
“This book proposes a revitalization of long-standing Christian practices as an antidote to current economic discontinuities. Using practical-minded recommendations to resolve massively complex societal issues, Return to Order is a proposal that should be welcomed by those looking for a path to economic recovery and a tempering of future disruptions,” says Chicago Daily Observer President John B. Powers.
For more information about Return to Order, to receive an electronic media kit, or to schedule an interview with John Horvat, please call 717-309-7147 or email

'Return to Order’ Earns Tenth Award: Underscores Book’s Broad Appeal: ‘Return to Order’ Earns Tenth Award: Underscores Book’s Broad Appeal