Gods of the Copybook Headings

Slated on Backbone Radio, March 2 Listen every Sunday, 5-8pm on 710 KNUS, Denver.. 1460 KZNT, Colorado Springs... and streaming live at 710knus.com.

If only pigs had wings and wishes were horses. If only water wouldn't wet us and fire wouldn't burn us. If only. Wishful thinking may sustain an open borders policy, a blind eye to radical Islam, cheap money, Obamania, and other fantasies of liberalism -- but reality won't. Kipling diagnosed all of it long ago in "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (see below). That classic conservative poem is on my mind this week with the passing of William F. Buckley Jr., one of the greatest Americans of our time. For half a century, Bill Buckley brilliantly showed how the old truths and virtues remain essential to current politics, even when others "found them lacking in uplift, vision, and breadth."

** This week on Backbone Radio we'll talk about his legacy with Charles Kesler of the Claremont Institute, conservative activist Richard Viguerie, and James Humes, speechwriter to five Republican presidents.

** Latin American expert Thor Halvorssen will report on Castro's Cuba and Chavez's Venezuela.

** Plus Mike Riebau on illegal alien crime and the Cory Voorhis case, and Mike Littwin on Hillary's last stand in Texas and Ohio.

WFB and National Review were willing to stand athwart history yelling "Stop!" when too many sheeplike Americans were content, as Kipling put it, to "follow the march of mankind. He didn't halt history, of course, but he changed it markedly for the better. To help all of us follow his example, even a little, is the goal of Backbone Radio. Please join us.

Yours for conservative renewal, JOHN ANDREWS

The Gods of the Copybook Headings By Rudyard Kipling, 1919

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn: But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind, So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace, Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place, But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch, They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch; They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings; So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife) Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.