December 24, 2012
Perversity, or Why I'm Ever the Optimist
End of the year musings...
I tend to wax philosophical at the turn of a new year; bear with me!
November 6th last, too many Americans made a terrible mistake: They voted for a Progressivist antiAmerican, a man obsessed with nightmare fancies of neocolonialism, who envies the action-action-action! of the French Revolution and the Terror that followed. Barack H. "You didn't build that" Obama appears to aspire to the values, such as they were, of that dark era: liberté (by which he would mean giving everybody the liberty to obey his orders), égalité (of outcomes, regardless of effort and intelligence), and fraternité (in the sense that since everyone is your relative, everyone can hit you up for a handout).
We know why Obama is a Jacobite; but why did the people vote to reelect him? Was it through sheer perversity, deliberately doing the exact opposite of what you know is right, moral, and effective?
No. That accurately describes the Progressivist leaders; but I believe the voters who reelect them (again and again) are quite ignorant of the great political struggle that led to the founding of our nation of freedom and true liberty, and why that means a damn. They have no inkling why the American Revolution stands alone, exceptional, the only uprising for individual liberty and Capitalism in the history of the world. Nor do they understand the distinction; to most folks, one revolution is as good or bad as another, just another power grab from the haves to the have-nots.
But why are the people so ignorant? Because the schools no longer teach civics, no longer teach honest history, no longer teach any formal logic at all. You go to public school for thirteen years, but you learn not a thing about those tumultuous, ideological arguments between democracy and kingcraft.
If it's mentioned at all, it's "taught" without authority or conviction. If mentioned at all, it's contrasted, unfavorably, to the French counterpart, where the narrative better fits the "story" that the Left wants to tell: citoyan-soldiers manning the barricades, a la Les Miz, to the accompaniment of stirring music and liberal subtext. Delving any deeper is counterindicated, labeled propaganda, mocked as "moral philosophy," and hushed in public schools.
All right, so why don't schools teach moral philosophy anymore? Because the axis of propaganda -- teachers, administrators, educational unionistas, presstitutes, and corrupt politicians -- never believed in either the cause or the street-level practice of the triumvirate of actual liberty: individualism, property rights, and equality under the law.
And last, before you ask, the axis doesn't believe in liberty because it wants, not to free mankind, but to shackle it to Progressivism's "inevitable progress"... a future of an endlessly expanding and intruding State that engulfs and devours the world, a totalitarian Leviathan.
The gift of moral reasoning waxes and wanes in society; it was strong right after the Revolution but dwindled before the Civil War. The grand argument over slavery revived the practice of moral debate, but it faded as the nineteenth century drew to its close in the Gilded Age, when ultra-materialism ruled and Gatsby was great. During the next half-century, two world wars drove us to think clearly about individualism and its opposite, totalitarianism; but a protracted, ambivalent, secretive "cold war" led an entire generation to question the fundamental premise that there was any difference between Us and Them. (Cf. John Le Carré.)
Moral clarity roared back following the attacks on September 11th, 2001, but we have lost focus again in the Obamic moment. Yet this very history of oscillation gives hope that today's moral apathy can reverse gear yet again. There is no reason to suppose that such "boom and bust" behavior anent moral reasoning has ceased, or that we Americans will never regain our ecstatic visions of divine liberty.
But not if Progressivism has its way. Everything in that perverse creed depends upon Americans' continued ignorance and willful blindness. However, we know from history that eventually, the sleeper wakes. And when he does, when something bursts his soap-bubble of somnolism, when he draws his first waking breath in decades, American culture can turn on a pinhead... and turn against the present pinhead.
The most important task for lovers of liberty is to keep making the moral argument for liberty, for decency, and for fairness... meaning treating everybody equally under the law, not singling out unpopular minorities -- the rich, Capitalists, businessmen, the Jews -- for a national "two-minutes hate." So long as we do that, we are primed for the long-awaited Unexpected, that unpredictable incident that yanks America's attention away from all the "free stuff [euphemism]" the government dangles then snatches away, and towards a true calculus of freedom.
And that is why I'm an eternal optimist: It's never too late to cast off the chains of intellectual atrophy and servitude, never too late to rediscover the revelations of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and yes, even Abraham Lincoln.
So no matter how bleak the playing field at the moment, quitting is not an option; defeat is a communal act: If we never surrender, we can never fully lose.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 24, 2012, at the time of 2:10 AM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
Brilliant piece and most welcome. Permit me two small quibbles:
1. "...deliberately doing the exact opposite of what you know is right, moral, and effective?" does not describe progressives (nee' modern liberals). They don't know anything; they "feel" that something is right and moral, and effective never enters into the picture for them.
2. "...the axis doesn't believe in liberty because it wants, not to free mankind, but to shackle it..." They DO believe that they are intellectually and morally superior to everybody else, and driven to power because they believe THEY can "perfect" humanity. But of course, humanity in general being intellectually and morally INferior, this perfection is only attainable by wielding absolute (benevolent, of course) power over every detail of our lives.
In short, in true liberal fashion, aka doublethink, they believe that our ultimate happiness and freedom requires we do exactly as they say.
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