March 28, 2012
It’s ubiquitous. Everywhere you look today, you see infantile attempts to acquire imaginary, inaccessible Intangibles.
The Proglodyte penchant for government-imposed “order” to make a collective forward goose-stepping stride down the “shining path” has been well documented here, and its philosophical underpinning was peeled back in “Ameritopia” by Mark Levin. Those sources alone lay out the case on the inaccessibility of this imaginary Intangible of “Utopia,” and much more eloquently than I could ever hope to.
On my radio programs, I spend the majority of my time on philosophy, and the fierce nature and primary importance of ideological warfare. A quote from Ayn Rand (in the 1973 essay “What Can One Do?”) sums it up nicely – “A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets; a philosophical battle is a nuclear war.” To this I generally add, “Proliferate!”
That so many continue to see this as a *political* battle is alarming. When engaging in any debate over policy, it is crucial to understand and articulate the philosophy backing your position. When it is approached merely as a political bone of contention by one side, the opponent can easily win, with a superficial mixture of philosophy and sophistry (what I’ve dubbed “philosophistry,” because it can ONLY win by this default).
And this has been the main failing of the GOP, for over 2 decades. The philosophical debate was left on the table, and Proglodytes took it. While “mainstream” Republicans played politics, putting off their base, Progs carried on the culture war, with their indefensible philosophy only holding sway because they were not being forced to even mount a defense. This led to superficial slogans of “hope” and “change” translating to electoral victory, without ever having been defined. The GOP failed to resist, philosophically.
Which brings us to today, on the heels of a blue state victory by an uninspiring candidate, with record low voter turnout. Yet, we are being told, by the very same people who allowed the travesty of abandoning the philosophical debate to take place, that we must now coalesce and rally around yet another political musketeer. A man who has proven, at every turn, that he lacks the testicular fortitude to enter the launch codes, and press the red button to engage, for once, in this “nuclear” warfare.
Why are we told we must abandon this “philosophy” foolishness? For the sake of the almighty “swing” vote. As if the Making Stuff Up, Advanced Alzheimer’s, Jayson Blair media will somehow be less craven in their coverage of a “moderate.”
This “swing vote” has acquired the moniker for a reason – they can be swayed easily. So, the establishment reasons that the less contrast there is between “our” candidate and “theirs,” the less extreme “our guy” looks, the better the chance of snatching those pendulum-like voters as they swing to our side.
But don’t those voters have the capacity to comprehend core philosophy, if it is well articulated? Does the GOP establishment give them that little credit? And, if so, why do they still pander to them? They aren’t smart/savvy/sophisticated/aware/attentive enough to understand philosophical arguments and contrast, but they will be able to detect the nuance of a mere ten degrees of difference between the R and the D?
Obviously, someone in the establishment has forgotten history, or willingly ignored it. Those maps don’t look like Dr. Che’s courtyard wall because the “dangerous actor cowboy” abandoned philosophy. Quite to the contrary, he articulated his philosophy, and very strongly, at every opportunity. The maps reflect the fact that his philosophy turned out to be America’s philosophy, and Americans responded in kind.
What does that say about the sheer arrogance of the current establishment, to say that we should abandon philosophy for the sake of a few more votes? “WE know what’s best for ALL of you.”
How is that mentality any different from the Fatal Conceit of the central planners and cultural Marxist ladder-pullers of the “left”? Truth be told, it’s not much different at all. Most notably, in that it, too, is demonstrably false.
And that’s the point. There are Progressives on both sides of the aisle, going all the way back to… well, the Founding. The desire of man to rule over other men did not start with Marx and Engels, it’s part of human nature. That desire can be held in check, to an extent, by just (as in, “moral”) laws, but it can only be truly suppressed by the individual himself.
In a society where the culture has been coarsened to such an extent that even something as fundamental and definite as virtue is seen as “subjective,” the individual not only has no incentive to be virtuous, they are, in fact, expected to lack self-restraint and self-control. When the virtuous citizen is mocked as an anomaly or, worse yet, a religious “zealot”, a self-fulfilling prophecy has been stitched into the fabric of that society, with depravity as the end result. See: Rome, Greece, Weimar, etc.
Before you accuse me of starting down the “religious zealot” path myself, take note: Even Ayn Rand, an adamant and committed atheist, lamented moral decay. Morality is just as much (if not more so) a philosophical concept as a spiritual one. Whether you believe nature had a Creator or not is irrelevant to whether or not laws of nature exist and, being laws, must be obeyed.
To bring this full circle, then: virtue is intangible, as are the laws of nature. The difference is, unlike the Progressive clamoring for an imaginary and inaccessible “Utopia,” or the tested and busted notion of a “swing” voter that will be swayed more by Moral Grayness than standing firm on core philosophy, virtue can and has been obtained, and the laws of nature must be grasped to avoid serious adverse consequences.
There is a poignant scene near the very beginning of The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri’s 14th century allegory of the afterlife and God’s poetic justice. Dante and his guide, Virgil, are about to enter into Inferno. Before they enter the skiff, Dante observes lost souls hovering about the banks of the Acheron. These are described as “The Uncommitted” or “Futile.”
Their sin, it is explained, was that they refused to pick a side (some of them were angels who remained neutral in the Revolt of the Angels and the subsequent War for the Heavens, and some simply ignored good and evil in their lives on Earth, neither standing for the former nor against the latter, and vice versa). These souls, being technically “neutral” (or “UncomMITTed,” sorry, couldn’t help myself), are neither condemned to the Inferno itself, nor allowed to enter Purgatorio and eventually redeem themselves to Paradiso.
The most interesting part, to me, is the just punishment they receive: they are made to chase banners (like “self-interest” or “apathy” or whatever caused them to avoid making a firm choice of good or evil. A modern version of this scene might list “American Idol” or “NCAA Brackets,” etc.). These banners, of course, can never be caught. As the Futile souls give chase, for eternity, they are likewise pursued by wasps and hornets which continually sting them (representing the sting of the lost soul’s conscience, just a bit too late). Maggots, leeches, and ticks also cling to their bodies, drinking their blood and tears, representing their life force draining away, which could have been expended, instead, in choosing good and fighting for it, in their mortal lives.
My point in all of this is that we must understand the consequences of being uncommitted. Will we choose to “go with the flow” and accept some party leader’s call for us to abandon principle for the sake of the eternally pursued, but never caught, Intangible “swing voters”, despite the fact that “swing voters” were the darkest part of the red in those maps above? Will we join the eternal Proglodyte pursuit of the inaccessible and Intangible “Utopia”, despite the fact that history has shown us the bloody results which always accompany that pursuit? Will you abdicate your choice and, nonetheless, make a real and consequential choice in doing so?
That is up to you, reader. I made my choice years ago, when I ran for Congress, saw the dark underbelly of “major party” politics, and began to pursue a banner of my own. A banner inscribed with this simple phrase – signifying unwavering commitment to the core philosophy of liberty, to the virtue that is its foundation, and to natural law, which reinforces it all –
“Stand on Principle… or Stand Aside!”