“Calamities of a bloody war … approach us … Unless we humble ourselves before the Lord … we may be chastized with yet heavier judgments”-Ben Franklin, General Fast, Pennsylvania Gazette, 1747

In 1731, a Spanish commander cut off the ear of British Captain Robert Jenkins and told him to take it to his King. This began the War of Jenkins’ Ear. British Admiral Edward Vernon recruited 400 American colonists, including Lawrence Washington, George Washington’s half-brother. They sailed to Panama and captured the port city of Porto Bello. Porto Bello was the most prosperous Spanish city in the New World as all the gold of Central and South America flowed through it to Spain. British Admiral Edward Vernon also attacked Cartagena, Columbia, but was unable to capture it. Lawrence Washington returned to Virginia as a 25-year-old war hero. Lawrence served in Virginia’s assembly and militia, and named his farm Mount Vernon in honor of Admiral Edward Vernon. After Lawrence died, George, at age 20, inherited Mount Vernon. In 1742, the War of Austrian Succession began when Marie Theresa became the first woman to take Austria’s throne. This pulled Prussia and France into the war, which combined with the War of Jenkin’s Ear to become King George’s War in America. The threat of war shook colonists out of complacency and contributed to the spread of the Great Awakening Revival. The British took the French city of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, in 1745, which was the third busiest seaport in America, behind Boston and Philadelphia, and was New France’s second most important commercial city...

Read More

Archbishop Chaput – “About Those Unthinking, Backward Catholics”

Back in 2008, in the weeks leading up to the Obama-McCain presidential election, two young men visited me in Denver. They were from Catholics United, a group describing itself as committed to social-justice issues. They voiced great concern at the manipulative skill of Catholic agents for the Republican Party. And they hoped my brother bishops and I would resist identifying the Church with single-issue and partisan (read: abortion) politics. It was an interesting experience. Both men were obvious flacks for the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party — creatures of a political machine, not men of the Church; less...

Read More

How Tyrants Arise

How Tyrants Arise – a fascinating, in-depth explanation by Plato. Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived in the city-state of Athens. In 380 BC, Plato wrote The Republic, where he described in Books 8 and 9: “States are as the men are; they grow out of human characters.” “Like State, like man.” The Republic is written as a collection of conversations of Plato‘s teacher Socrates. It gives insights into human behavior which is amazingly similar to today. Plato described government going through FIVE STAGES: “The constitutions of States are five.” The FIVE STAGES are: “We count as one Royal and Aristocratical…” followed by “Timocratical, Oligarchical, Democratical, Tyrannical.” Plato‘s FIRST stage was called ‘Royal’ or “Aristocracy…whom we rightly call just and good.” This is government by hard-working, virtuous LOVERS OF ‘TRUTH’ and ‘WISDOM’. These responsible individuals know how to run farms and businesses, and they know how to run city government. “A ruler considers…always what is for the interest of his subject…and that alone he considers in everything which he says and does.” The SECOND stage Plato called “Timocracy,” This was a government run by LOVERS OF ‘HONOR’ and ‘FAME’. Plato wrote: “Now what man answers to this form of government… He is a…lover of honor; claiming to be a ruler… Busy-bodies are honored and applauded…” These may include a popular actor from the Greek theater, or a famous...

Read More