RUSH: Now, Victor Davis Hanson was on Fox last night with Laura Ingraham talking about Notre Dame. Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist. He is a Peloponnesian War expert, ancient Greece, and that entire era expert. And, as such, he’s also an expert on religions. Not theology per se, although he’s quite learned.
But he is a perfect person to talk to about the situation with Notre Dame in Paris and what is to become of it. He’s the perfect person to ask to analyze what’s being said about it, particularly the rebuilding. So the question, first question: “Victor, you say there’s an irony in the history here, in the aftermath of this tragedy in terms of what we’ve lost in church history. What’s the irony?”
HANSON: After 800 years we were the steward of this iconic representation of Western civilization, Catholicism, Christendom. And of all years, 2019 at the height of our sophistication and technology, we were found wanting. We didn’t protect this icon. And we don’t build them anymore. There’s great churches and cathedrals that go up all over the world, but they’re in Poland, they’re in Cairo, they’re in the Ivory Coast, they’re in Brazil, they’re in India.
It’s almost as if the places that are less affluent without the technology of Western Europe and the United States are like we used to be. They still believe in transcendence, they still believe in something other than this world. And so it’s gonna be very hard in our society to ever build a cathedral again, much less to repair them, because we don’t believe in what they represented.
RUSH: This parallels a note that I got from a guy yesterday said, “Rush, all this talk about rebuilding, they never going to be able to rebuild it, not really. Because that cathedral was built with a searing love, a searing love for Jesus Christ and his mother, a searing love of Christianity, a 100-year project of searing, devoted love.”
He said, “I don’t care what they do to rebuild this, they’re never gonna be able to put the heart back in it that built it. They’re never gonna be able to restore the heart, the beating devotion and searing love that has been destroyed by the fire, if it has been.”
Now, Mr. Hanson, folks, I think this is such an important comment. “After 800 years, we” — meaning Western civilization — well, and even more fine-tuned, we Americans — “we were the steward of this iconic representation of Western civilization, Catholicism, Christendom. And of all the years, 2019, at the height of our sophistication, at the height of our technological ability, we are found wanting. We’ve lost what we had that enabled these great places to be built. We didn’t protect this icon, and we don’t build them anymore. There’s great churches and cathedrals that go up all over the world. They’re in Poland” — and he lists the countries here.
“It’s almost as if places that are less affluent without the technology of Western Europe or the United States, they’re more like what we used to be. They still believe in transcendence,” meaning they believe there’s a lot that is much larger than ourselves out there. Today’s left does not believe in that kind of transcendence. Today’s left does not believe there’s anything larger than themselves. And anybody who wants to believe or does believe in things larger than themselves that you can’t touch, like God, they’re dangerous.
They’re dangerous because people like that are going to put faith in things the left can’t control and can’t touch. The left wants faith to be placed in their symbols, largely government and the people that they populate to lead the government. That’s who they want worshiped. And they’re scared to death of people who worship something that can’t be seen, something that is transcendent and explains all of this. Liberals want you to believe that everything that is could be explained by virtue of them and their existence.
I fear he’s right. It’s very hard in our society to ever build a cathedral again, much less to repair them, because we don’t believe in what they represent. Some of us do, but the country is trending away from that. The country is trending away from believing in what these cathedrals represent.
Look at the church of the Duomo in Florence, 1,000 years to build, 1,000 years. What kind of devotion would that be? I remember once I was talking after I first saw the Sistine Chapel. I took a trip to Italy back in the late eighties, and I got back and I was talking about the trip and how moved by it I was on KFBK Sacramento, the station I worked at prior to this program. And I said I was in awe of what people will do in worship and belief in their God.
And I got cynics, “Rush, come on, they did it for money. You try to tell me that Michelangelo — it was all about money, Rush. It’s always been about the money. There wasn’t any devotion that went into that.” I should have recognized then what was happening. But this is where we are.
But my buddy’s point last night, yeah, you’re gonna rebuild the cathedral, but it’s not gonna contain what it was. The people rebuilding it are gonna be basically a bunch of atheists or agnostics, is the point. We’ll see. Hope not.
Along the same line, remember yesterday, my friends, I pointed out to you the way the news media now does things. A story that looks bad for the left is ignored and instead the story becomes the right’s reaction to the bad story for the left. I have some examples here.
Washington Post. Kathleen Parker, Never Trumper, delusioned, superiorist. This is really what these Never Trumpers are. They just think they’re better than everybody. Anyway. “Notre Dame Burning Was Almost Too Much to Bear. Still, Trump Tweeted.” That’s the story? “Notre Dame Burning Was Almost Too Much to Bear. Still, Trump Tweeted.” See? Story that’s so bad, gotta turn it into Trump.
And the Washington Post, Eugene Scott. “Trump and Pence Tweeted About Notre Dame Fire But Said Nothing When Three Black Churches Burned.” See how this works. Trump and Pence tweeted about the Notre Dame fire. No credit for that. “We’re not gonna tell everybody they’re big-hearted. We’re not gonna give ’em any attaboys for compassion because when black churches burned, Trump and Pence didn’t say anything.” And this is how it works. Not gonna change. I just want you to be able to spot it. Whatever it is, folks, it isn’t news.
RUSH: One more illustration of how the media, when a story is potentially bad for the left or is bad, that story then becomes the right-wing reaction to what’s bad for the left. Republicans seized on blah, blah, blah. Republicans attempted to capitalize on blah, blah, blah. So I’ll give you two sound bites. This is about the Notre Dame fire and how it’s being covered. And we’ll give you one example. Here is Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business Network last night.
DOBBS: French prosecutors opening a criminal investigation into the cause of yesterday’s devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. One thing authorities are ruling out, however, within just a matter of hours, arson. Perhaps overlooked since yesterday is that 875 Catholic churches in France were vandalized in 2018, 875. In a single week last month, 12 churches were vandalized, including a fire deliberately set, also located in Paris. This is context. This is not speculation. This is the situation right now in France.
RUSH: So there you have it. Lou Dobbs not backing away from the issue of possible arson, and if it is arson, who could be behind it. You know, 875 Catholic churches in France were vandalized in 2018. I think a lot of people would be surprised that there are even are 875 Catholic churches in France. But there are, and 875 of ’em were vandalized, and there were 12 churches vandalized, including a fire in Paris last month in a single week.
But over here is Notre Dame, the biggest, “No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, no. Discarded cigarette. No, no, no, no. There’s no arson here. None whatsoever. Perish the thought. How dare you.” Okay. Now, here is the dumbest man on TV, Don Lemon on CNN, and this is the way CNN is covering the Notre Dame fire last night.
LEMON: Donations have been pouring in to help rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral. But yesterday’s fire is also causing a spike in donations for the three black churches in Louisiana that were destroyed by arson just a few weeks ago. A crowdfunding campaign for the small churches received nearly $500,000 after social media users pointed out that the Notre Dame had been pledged hundreds of millions of dollars but the Louisiana churches, well, they were still struggling.
RUSH: So, see? Notre Dame, billions. Three black churches, peanuts. Not fair. Racist Americans. Racist whites around the world eager to rebuild Notre Dame, couldn’t care less about three black churches in Louisiana. That’s CNN’s angle. So you always turn — it’s a good story that so many people are offering so much money to Notre Dame. It’s a very uplifting story.
CNN can’t allow that. Got to tear that down. Have to put that in perspective. That’s actually racism! That’s actually white superiority! That’s white nationalism! Only white people building Notre Dame. But paltry donations to three black churches Louisiana. And this is just the latest technique and the latest way that left-wing media bias is performed. Because technically in Lemon’s report there’s nothing incorrect.
There’s a lot of money that’s been donated to Notre Dame and the amount of money in comparison donated to three black churches is much smaller. So all of that’s true. It is the tone. I mean, even juxtaposing these things together, the purpose here is to smear white donors, wealthy white donors, to smear whites as racist and uncaring.
So you take what is a really good story, and you turn it into a negative on the people who are making it a really good story. You impugn the donors. You rip ’em a new one. You imply what a bunch of racists they are and how they really don’t have big hearts. ‘Cause they didn’t care when three black churches went up. But when their church did — and that’s how CNN does it. And it is a purposeful technique that’s being used every day on practically every story.
RUSH: Here is Louis in Winston-Salem. Great to have you on the program, Louis. How are you?
CALLER: Hey. Good. Rush, thank you, sir, and God bless you. Thank you for all you do. I’m a painter and do work for the Catholic Church. At least I try to. And I agree with a hundred percent of what you said in the first hour, and I just really felt I need to call in and just confirm that as a painter to you. You’re doing what you were meant to do. I’m trying to do what I was meant to do, which is bring that beauty that you’re talking about back into the church. And I agree, beauty points to something higher. You know, you can’t just throw money at stuff and say we’re gonna have it done. You know, there’s something more to it.
RUSH: The guy that sent me the note had an analogy. And, by the way, I want to just specify that it’s not so much me you’re agreeing with, although I understand the trend, but I was actually quoting from a thought I received from a friend in an email.
And his point was that, yeah, they may be able to rebuild Notre Dame, but they’re not gonna be able to put the heart and soul back in. It was built by people who believed in a transcendent world and believed in a searing, was his word, searing love and devotion to Jesus Christ and his mother. And everything that was built into that church came from the heart and the soul of the people who were doing it.
He said, what’s gonna happen here, this little Macron guy, “We’re gonna rebuild it in five years.” So they’re basically gonna get a bunch of Hollywood set designers to get back in there with their computer-aided design programs and try to recreate what it was and get close to the wood and so forth and make it look like it did as much as they can.
Victor Davis Hanson’s point, we simply do not have the heart, the mind-set that we had at the time these great cathedrals were built. Look, that’s a sociological observation, not so much a comment on whether the church can be rebuilt and made to look good again.
RUSH: I erred earlier by leaving this out of the mix in discussing the rebuilding of Notre Dame. I have here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers (shuffling paper) a piece from Rolling Stone magazine: “How Should France Rebuild Notre Dame?” The theory is that Notre Dame ought to be rebuilt with a deemphasis on polarizing Christianity and religion. The author of the piece is somebody named EJ Dixon. This claims that the cathedral is already “overburdened” with a Christian identity, in this modern era and day and age.
Let me read to you an excerpt. “[F]or some people in France, Notre Dame has also served as a deep-seated symbol of resentment, a monument to a deeply flawed institution and an idealized Christian European France that arguably never existed in the first place. ‘The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation,’ says Patricio del Real, an architecture historian at Harvard University.” That quote comes from Patricio De Real, an architecture historian at Harvard! “‘The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation…’
“‘If nothing else, the cathedral has been viewed by some as a stodgy reminder of “the old city — the embodiment of the Paris of stone and faith — just as the Eiffel Tower exemplifies the Paris of modernity, joie de vivre and change,” Michael Kimmelmann wrote for the New York Times. … Although [French President “Macaroni”] and donors like Pinault have emphasized that the cathedral should be rebuilt as close to the original as possible, some architectural historians like Brigniani believe that would be complicated, given the many stages of the cathedral’s evolution.
“‘The question becomes, which Notre Dame are you actually rebuilding?’ he says. Harwood, too, believes that it would be a mistake to try to recreate the [cathedral] as it once stood, as LeDuc did more than 150 years ago. Any rebuilding should be a reflection not of an old France, or the France that never was — a non-secular, white European France — but a reflection of the France of today, a France that is currently in the making.”
Do you realize what this is? This is a bunch of leftist, stuffed-shirt, arrogant snobs from Harvard and the architectural community saying that Notre Dame was always a fraud, that it was always phony, that there never was this “white Christian France” in the first place, and it doesn’t deserve to be rebuilt as such. Notre Dame needs to be rebuilt as a secular cathedral and should reflect the modern-day France, not the France that really didn’t even exist when it was built. They say, “‘The idea that you can recreate the building is naive.
“‘It is to repeat past errors, category errors of thought, and one has to imagine that if anything is done to the building it has to be an expression of what we want… What is an expression of who we are now? What does it represent, who is it for?'” So the cathedral is “overburdened” the meaning of Christianity. I’ll tell you what this is. This is an attempt by people to say, “If you’re gonna rebuild that cathedral, it better have something in it that represents the Muslim population of Paris now, the Muslim population of Europe, ’cause that cathedral was a phony baloney Christian bugaboo from the get-go.”
Folks, to understand this, it really would be helpful to understand what the overall target is. It’s not just sufficient to say that “white human history” is being targeted here. This is the whole concept of Western Civilization — Christendom and all of it — and the actual target is the American founding. If you can overturn and erase the American founding, then you will have wiped out Western Civilization. They think they’ve already made great inroads in erasing elements of white and Western Civilization in Europe already, what with the massive migrations.
So here you have something that was obviously with, as I have quoted, the searing love and passion for the Christ and his mother that went into over 100 years of building that cathedral. Now the modern thinking is (summarized), “That was never real. It was always phony! France was never a white country! It was never a Christian country. We don’t want anybody remembering it as such. We need to take the opportunity of this occasion and make that cathedral secular, reflecting all the people of France and all the people of Paris here.”
Now, if that happens, what’s gonna happen to all these people making donations to rebuild it? What’s the pope gonna do? What’s the Vatican gonna do? But, you see, this effort is worldwide. It’s not just confined to the United States, but it’s focused here because if the United States’ founding can be erased, overturned, obliterated, or if — better than that — the founding can be reported on and misrepresented so that in a lot of people’s minds, America was unjust and immoral from the beginning, then they will have effectively succeeded in wiping out Western Civilization, which is the objective.
It really isn’t any more complicated than that. Freedom. Freedom is where opposition to liberalism lives. Can’t have that. That’s why these people run around shouting, “Equality!” Equality is a vague premise. Equality of what? There is no equality. Everybody’s different in every way you can imagine. So equality is something that gets to be enforced by the people that get to define it, and that’s why equality and freedom are gonna be at loggerheads. You can’t have equality and freedom at the same time. But yet that’s what a bunch of young people think freedom is, is equality.
It’s how their minds are being corrupted. Equality is more important than freedom. Everybody the same, treated the same, has the same, wins the same, loses the same. Nobody loses; nobody wins. Everybody just “is,” and in that sense, everything’s fair. But that circumstance or set of circumstances cannot coexist in freedom. Freedom is the great threat to liberalism. It’s the great threat to totalitarianism, authoritarianism. It’s the great threat to the Democrat Party. Freedom is where opposition exists, or can.
It has to be wiped out. The roots of it have to be wiped out. The whole idea that human beings are created in freedom, that freedom is God-given, not man bestowed. liberals want to be in charge of who’s free and who isn’t. They want to erase this idea that there is a God and that God created human beings and in that creation is a yearning to be free. Gotta wipe that out. The Soviets did it. Communism’s basic tenet?
No God, no freedom. The state is it. When there’s no God and when there’s no faith and when there’s no freedom, there’s no opposition. But, see, they can’t wipe out freedom because freedom is part of the way we’re created and built, and that’s why they eventually have to build walls to keep people in. In liberal-dominated societies, communist countries, they have to build walls, have to have armed guards to keep people in. ‘Cause after a while, the natural yearning is to get the hell out.
RUSH: It turns out the Catholic Church does not own Notre Dame. It seems like the French government does, best I’ve been able to tell here, and that the state, the French government lends the building to the Catholic Church.
So, folks, don’t be surprised with this Macron guy if in fact Notre Dame does get rebuilt under a secular identity and for a secular purpose. That’s who this French leader is, after all. We’ll have to keep a sharp eye on it. But don’t be shocked.