Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Defending Greatness while Defending Against the Great

Let's hearken back to that political pneumagraph of a few weeks back. Recall that the vertical axis runs in the direction worldly ↑ spiritual , while the horizontal runs from collectivity → individuation. When we toss in the lower vertical infrarational/unconscious, there are six main modalities, the infrarational collective, the worldly collective, the spiritual collective, the infrarational individual, the worldly individual, and the spiritual individual.

Looking at it in evolutionary terms, you could draw an arrow from the lower left to the upper right ↗, plotting man's movement from a primitive infrarational collective with no individuation, to a culture capable of nurturing and sustaining the saint, the sage, and the creative genius of whatever type.

This is the identical arrow that would apply to one's own personal development, as we all start out fused with the environment, learn to become relatively rational individuals (at least in the modern West), and then continue developing into the post-egoic planes of spirit. Of course, there is much overlap, and the process is not actually linear. And there are obviously fixations, arrests, and regressions. But give me a break. This is a map, not the territory. Plus, it's not that easy to plot hyperspace in two dimensions.

Now, how does this apply to Lincoln? I don't know. Let's find out, shall we?

While revering the ideal that all men are created equal, Lincoln would have been the first to acknowledge that not only do Great Men exist -- men whose gifts far exceed the average -- but that these men are often responsible for the forward movement of history, i.e., progress. America's founders would be prima facie examples of this. The problem is how to reconcile human greatness with the leveling tendencies of democracy, which can result in a tyranny of the mediocre, whereby the lion is treated the same as the lamb, and forced to eat grass.

I believe that this was one of Schuon's main objections to democracy. Not only did he feel that it undermined human excellence, but that it did so inevitably. I certainly appreciate his concerns, as do all conservatives. Indeed, one merely has to draw a descending line from Lincoln to Obama to understand his point. At the same time, however, you could say that this collective "longing for heroic greatness" is what ushered in Hitler. If we want to cut a Heidegger (and so many other fascism-loving liberals) some slack -- which I don't -- I believe that this might have been a big part of his motivation in embracing nazism.

There's nothing wrong with embracing the heroic per se, so long as it is in service to the proper ideals. The problem, of course, is distinguishing the narcissistic tyrant from the self-transcending statesman. There is an infinite difference between a Churchill and a Hitler or even a Reagan and an Obama. Man has an innate need to revere what is superior, so we have to be exceedingly careful that the object is actually worthy of our reverence.

Just yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill creating a special day of commemoration for Harvey Milk. Why? Why force the population to revere someone so eminently unworthy of reverence?

It is the very converse of Lincoln's concern. Democracy can not only create mediocrity, but then enforce it with the authority of the state. The Milk Day is just a trivial example, but more pervasively destructive examples can easily be found. For example, in California, it is actually against the law for a public school textbook to depict any human group (in reality, any victim-group as defined by the left) in an unfavorable light. Thus, children must be systematically lied to, and then forced to place human greatness on the same plane as human depravity.

But it's actually even worse than that, for the real point is to undermine Western civilization and to place it on a lower plane than the rest of the world, e.g., Columbus below the native Americans.

Watson discusses Lincoln's concern with how we might "take account of the passions of the few -- those especially talented and ambitious individuals who exist in most regimes and belong to 'the family of the lion and the tribe of the eagle.'"

If someone is great and knows it, why shouldn't his will become law? Why should he have to put up with a bunch of dittoheaded creationist bitter-clingers? Why can't the people responsible for our problems just get out of the way? Can't we just shut down Fox News, the only TV network holding state power to account?

"As the threat from the mob came from below, so this threat comes from above. These 'lions' and 'eagles' feed on the lesser animals in a reflection of natural hierarchy. The implication is that the rule of such individuals is by natural right, unlike the rule of the mob" (Watson). The great man "thirsts and burns for distinction" and "will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves of enslaving freemen."

This is why the left always longs for a secular savior such as Obama. The leftist leader requires the led, but a special kind of led; the last thing he wants is a nation of spiritually awakened upper right quadrant individuals, because they cannot be led by the likes of Obama. Therefore, all of his policies will be geared toward creating more dependence, more passivity, more autohypnosis -- in short, people of the lower left. They are the ones who can be led by the nose and relied upon to support the powerful autocrat who promises to take care of them.

To "reduce the threat from above," the "greatest and most ambitious minds" must be inculcated in the values of the Founders and "in the renewal of the republic rather than its subversion." It is absolutely no coincidence that Obama -- and all similar elites whose values are at cross-purposes with the Founders -- holds America in such low esteem. The two attitudes go together. In order for the left to achieve its ambitions, it must first carry out a sustained assault on the past, on history, and on our traditions, since who controls the past controls the future, and who controls the present controls the past. To create Harvey Milk Day is ultimately the attempt to control the past, present, and future of marriage, the very foundation of civilization.

Great men want to be revered. And they should be. This is why it was a mistake to eliminate the federal holidays of Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, and replace them with "Presidents' Day." Yes, it might again seem like a trivial thing, but what could be more radical than forcing children to put a Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton on the same plane as a Washington or Lincoln? It's not just confusing, but diabolical, for it inverts the values required both for the nation's birth and its survival, i.e., rebirth -- a rebirth that must recur with each generation of potential citizens or serfs, individuals or drones, makers or takers.

To be continued....

33 Comments:

Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Ironically America may be the only nation sporting a Harvey Milk Day before long. As Steyn has so powerfully demonstrated, Europe will be effectively Muslim within 40 years. The pendulum will swing abruptly away from one pole of the depravity scale to another.

Meanwhile Christianity burns brighter in China, South America, India and Africa than anywhere in Europe or the Leftist portion of North America.

10/13/2009 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Just caught up on yesterday's comments: Coongratulations Julie!!!

10/13/2009 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"To "reduce the threat from above," the "greatest and most ambitious minds" must be inculcated in the values of the Founders and "in the renewal of the republic rather than its subversion." "

Definitely. Any political 'victory' conservatives may get, is at best a temporary stop gap, a crumbling foothold against the slide downwards.

Unless we manage to spread understanding of what America means, and what must be understood in order to understand what it is that it means... the slide will continue.

The only way to stop sliding, is to begin climbing, and that requires True Education, and that is not going to be found in any public school system anytime soon.

We've got to do it on our own, and help others understand how very important it is.

10/13/2009 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Two of the most entrenched enemies of liberty are the public employee unions and the education-state complex.

10/13/2009 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In order for the left to achieve its ambitions, it must first carry out a sustained assault on the past, on history, and on our traditions, since who controls the past controls the future, and who controls the present controls the past. To create Harvey Milk Day is ultimately the attempt to control the past, present, and future of marriage, the very foundation of civilization. "

Exactly correct.

"Great men want to be revered. And they should be. This is why it was a mistake to eliminate the federal holidays of Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, and replace them with "Presidents' Day." Yes, it might again seem like a trivial thing, but what could be more revolutionary than forcing children to put a Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton on the same plane as a Washington or Lincoln?"

Yep, which of course is exactly why they are not allowed to be singled out, that would demonstrate their Quality... and the proregressive purveyors of quantities are ever in opposition to that. Far from being trivial, it goes to the very core of the leftist anime ('soul' seems inappropriate). The obliteration of One, and the elevation of many... discarding what Is, for what they would prefer it to be.

10/13/2009 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger debass said...

"Two of the most entrenched enemies of liberty are the public employee unions and the education-state complex."
I saw on the news that 62,000 teaching jobs were saved in CA by the stimulus. Who would 'a thunk it?

10/13/2009 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thanks, Northern Bandit!

***

Speaking of the narcissistic tyrant, Spengler has a new piece up at First Things which Asia Times refused to publish. I wonder why?

10/13/2009 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "Two of the most entrenched enemies of liberty are the public employee unions and the education-state complex."

Not surprisingly, they were the first entrances into American life by the proregressives - 'education' and unions - mind and body - and through them, they have split us deeply.

10/13/2009 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Given the shapers of our culture's minds, is it any wonder anniversaries such as this are glossed over?

And speaking of the diabolical elevation of the trivial and trivialization of greatness:

The consensus Year of Revolution for most of our lifetimes has been 1968, with its political assassinations, its Parisian protests, and a youth-culture rebellion that the baby boomers will never tire of telling us about. But as the preeminent modern Central European historian Timothy Garton Ash wrote in a 2008 essay, 1989 “ended communism in Europe, the Soviet empire, the division of Germany, and an ideological and geopolitical struggle…that had shaped world politics for half a century. It was, in its geopolitical results, as big as 1945 or 1914. By comparison, ’68 was a molehill.”

10/13/2009 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

"’68 was a molehill.”

Well, maybe on a world scale, but monumental for the US. We still have the traitor Hanoi Jane running around free. War criminal and traitor John Kerry almost became Pres. A man who voted to defund the war in Vietnam, leading to the deaths of 2 million people is now Vice Pres.
We won every battle in Vietnam but were told we were losing by Walter Crankcase, forever changing the way news is reported by the leftists in the media. Our education system and lamestream media has been taken over by the left making it a propaganda wing of the left. Watching the left do the same to Afghanistan as they did to Vietnam seems like '68 all over again.
Having watched my freedom and liberty slowly eroded over time, 1968 means a lot to me.

10/13/2009 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Thanks for the Spengler link, Julie. Don’t know how I missed that one.
I’d like to read Dr. Bob’s assessment of Spengler’s assessment of …

10/13/2009 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

1968? 1989? 1870's? I suspect that the real point may be that Greatness, and the effort to undermine it, and the weighty issues involved, is timeless.

I just put up a short post, about my trying last week to escape thinking on weighty matters for awhile, by reading Louis L'amour's Sackett - it laughed at me and whacked me in the head with those Great 'weighty' matters real meaning - and they are timeless.

What I thought would be escapist, shoot 'em up fun, turned out to be a Western plot that converts William Blackstone's commentaries on The Law, into a 'real life' plot, as applicable then as now, as are our responsibilities to understand what that greatness really means. At one point, Cowboy Sackett sums up that responsibility admirably,

"Only, the way I figure, no man has the right to be ignorant. In a country like this, ignorance is a crime. If a man is going to vote, if he is going to take a part in his country and its government, then it's up to him to understand. "

The Truth of the Law, whispered down the ages, from Cicero, to Seneca, to Blackstone, to the Founding Fathers, to a 'fictional' American Cowboy's lips in the 1870's, still sounds the same in 1968, 1989, and 2009... - what we need to do is take less heed of the particulars and particular years involved, and pay more attention to what is driving them. Revolutions in 1776, the 60's, 80's or 00's, will ultimately mean nothing, if we law abiding citizens don't give the Law (in its full meaning) a place to abide and thrive.

10/13/2009 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(hmmm... that looks a bit snippier than intended... it just struck me)

10/13/2009 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Debass, you make an excellent point. I've lived within that particular stream of "progress" my whole life, and so it's easy to forget the long-term, often subtle consequences of the things that happened then.

But for a more sobering look at some of the fruits of revolution see this post today by Neo: Reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” and understanding revolutions

10/13/2009 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

Julie,

Thanks for the link. I always had a difficult time understanding violent peace protesters. The devaluing of life for the cause. I guess I value human life so much that I would never think of doing anything where someone would get hurt. I don't like crowds and am usually dissappointed by people's behavior. There must be a disconnect from reality like people wearing Che t-shirts. I don't get it.

10/13/2009 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

That's one thing that sets the tea party protests apart, I think. They're not calling for death and violence, they just want America back.

10/13/2009 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Off topic, what in the name of all that is holy is this country coming to?!?

Just had to ask. Speaking as someone who is about as approachable and affectionate as a porcupine, with a couple of exceptions, this just kind of makes me want to gag.

Anyway...

10/13/2009 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "That's one thing that sets the tea party protests apart, I think. They're not calling for death and violence, they just want America back."

Julie and Debass, you guys saw the Washington D.C. aftermath pictures comparing the Inaugural, and the Tea Party marches, right? The 'love humanity' crowd left a sea of trash behind... the 'angry biter clingers' left little sign that they'd ever even been there.

Says a lot about the heart of each.

10/13/2009 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

blink

omg

apocalypse might be preferable.

10/13/2009 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Julie,

Ah man, JUST as I was about to write that it's all heart-melt in the comments to your blog! Oh great... Well I guess I'll hold my tongue. Oops... I guess I didn't. What's really funny is that in my haste as I looked at the link and clicked back, I thought it said in the Middle East!! The mental images of that for a minute were very interesting. I clicked again and stood corrected - TENNESSEE. Okay.

10/13/2009 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

"That's where Cuddle Parties come in. For the uninitiated, these are basically pajama parties where you cuddle with strangers in a non-sexual way."


That's disgusting.

10/13/2009 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

And, "...a Cuddle Party facilitator."

Too much.

10/13/2009 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

Julie,

As one porcupine to another, I'm with you. Creepy.

10/13/2009 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Even creepier:

"In fact, Grupke said, some people go just to practice saying no."

Okay anyway...

10/13/2009 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Last comment, I promise.

"Ralph Childs, a Nashville licensed professional counselor, isn't a fan either. His advice: Don't cuddle with strangers."

Don't take candy from strangers, and don't cuddle with strangers either. How basic do things need to get??

10/13/2009 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Anna -
JUST as I was about to write that it's all heart-melt in the comments to your blog!

:D

That's different, you guys are all practically family. And some of those were family.

But as far as the physical touchy-feely stuff goes, kids, dogs and DH may get as close as they please, and friends and family are welcome to hugs. But strangers? Cuddling? Ugh, the horror...

10/13/2009 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Okay, to make up for the disturbing imagery, how about this? Now that's a picture to warm the cockles of the heart.

10/13/2009 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

In passing:

LA Times: Faith and Belief: 'The Evolution of God' by Robert Wright and 'The Case for God' by Karen Armstrong

10/13/2009 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Aside from those cuddle scenes being the perfect setting to stage a Freddy Krueger revival... I've got to wonder....

What kind of deadness exists... what absolute zero comprehension of real affection and closeness, allows you to behave as if complete strangers are appropriate people to get in intimate contact with and behave as if an actual basis in history and actual feelings existed there?

Creepy in the extreme.

10/13/2009 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van,
What kind of deadness exists...

I can't help thinking it is connected, the flipside of the coin perhaps, to the world described here. (The essay in the first link is the interesting part, but in a horrifying train wreck sort of way. Also, very very graphic, which is why I'm not linking directly to it. I got there via Instapundit.)

The behaviors are opposites in one sense, but still they express a serious disconnect between physical and emotional closeness. I can't help wondering if overexposure to the porn side contributes to the excessive physical neediness of the cuddling side.

Or, maybe I'm just talking out the wrong side again, that's always a possibility...

10/13/2009 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Van said...

"...allows you to behave as if complete strangers are appropriate people to get in intimate contact with and behave as if an actual basis in history and actual feelings existed there?"

Oddly enough, I was talking to one of my card-carrying lefty acquaintances last night and I mentioned Cuddle Parties, kind of in an assumptive mode at how silly it seems. His face immediately lit up almost as if to genuinely say "Really? Those exist? Where? Maybe there's hope." I switched gears from joking about it and asked if people are that detached, and he said in a quick affirmative tone with a small gasp, "Yes". I wonder if materialist politics leads to isolation, or it could be local to his case. But his response, given the fact that we usually disagree about the state of the world - politics, economics, yea, life in general - was interesting.

It had me thinking kind of along the lines of what Julie said (I just got to that comment after writing the above paragraph) in the previous comment. This guy's dating views are messed up as well, because he has no spiritual basis or direction for it.

Following the conversation about Cuddle Parties he brought up and gave a full-hearted endorsement of Michael Moore's new movie that he just had just seen.

10/14/2009 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

And I think emotionally he liked the idea but also conceptually thought it was cute and warm and fuzzy. Because people would be coming together and cuddling. Sort of a 'cuddle don't bomb', or these days, 'cuddle don't warm the planet' kind of thing. Or something.

10/14/2009 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

And no he didn't say all that, it was my subtitle interpretation of face + some 'aww' 's.

Anyway...

10/14/2009 10:45:00 AM  

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