There Is No Truth, and Progressives Are Its Guardians
But for Lincoln there is one truth, and it is the task of a nation to approximate it. Not the task of leaders, mind you; that is again the leftist view, that with sufficient expertise and good intentions, a handful of elites at the top can transform Man. Not to mention the fact that "a desire for leaders creates followers," and it is by no means clear "that a nation of followers is capable of self-government" (Watson).
Think of how this applies today: for a person to actually believe that Obama will radically and fundamentally change the world for the good requires such passivity and dependency -- to say nothing of naivete -- that no such change will be possible. Conversely, imagine the transformation that would occur if individuals actually embodied the creed of the Founders, and valued liberty and self-reliance tempered by virtue and reciprocal obligation (instead of invented rights and entitlements).
Overwhelmingly, the problems of the nation and of the world are a result of bad values, not an insufficiently intrusive and pandering state. As Dennis Prager has said, the pathologies of Democrat-controlled urban America would vanish overnight if their inhabitants adopted the values of, say, Provo, Utah instead of Sharpton, Al -- just as the problems of the Middle East would disappear if Muslims adopted the values of the Jews.
Conversely, those problems and pathologies will never be resolved so long as we believe that governments can resolve them. Here's a novel idea for you: why not let the Palestinians bugger themselves with dynamite until they not only acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, but beg them to stay?
It's an insidious case of vertical alzheimer's disease, that's what it is: "The fall of a republican people from grace comes gradually, not precipitously; it comes not from an act, but from a slow loss of collective memory" (Watson). Obama did not happen overnight. Rather, it took a hundred years of creeping cultural dementia for him to even be so much as a possibility in this country, a ghastly twinkle in Bill Ayers' jaundiced eye. It's like how one goes bankrupt: very gradually and then all of a sudden. And Obama is bankrupting us in more ways than one.
For make no mistake: the Nobel was awarded for his forceful and conspicuous rejection of the principles upon which America was founded, principles which have always formed the main obstacle to the ambitions of the transnational left. The prize is for a job well done -- or to lend him the courage to see the job through to its bitter conclusion, as America completes its auto-castration and submits to the terrestrial Lord of Falsehood and his Cosmocrats of the Dark Aion.
Lincoln knew that "something more than reason is needed to attach a people firmly to a republican regime" (Watson). Thus, he proposed a "political religion... whereby every American would 'swear by the blood of the Revolution'" of our Founders. "Everyone must at least imagine himself a descendent of those who fought in 1776 for the Declaration" (ibid). It reminds me of a kind of Holy Communion, in which each of us renders the vertical past present by pledging "his life, his property, and his sacred honor" to the universal principles upon which our nation was founded. Watson:
"This proposition would be quite unintelligible to a model of politics based on self-interest, personal growth, or individual freedom alone." Rather, mere reason needs to be bolstered by a kind of real faith in our founding principles.
This is transnationalism in its true sense, in that it is situated at the top, not the bottom, of the cosmic hierarchy. For the same reason, it is situated at the end, not the beginning, of human history; it is the "point" of history, whereas progressivism is specifically a backward-looking metaphysic that sanctifies and preserves our superficial multiplicity, while preventing any evolutionary movement toward the Universal and Absolute.
The latter begins and ends at the terminal moraine of the senses -- in passions and in the simultaneously dangerous and silly idea that "perception is reality." This is why the "reality-based community" can't be, because reality for them is reduced to time-bound beliefs of this or that person or culture. And there is no way out, no appeal to universal and inviolable truth. In short, it is hell -- the hell of the UN, or the Nobel Committee, or the Pelosi-Reid congress, each of which can only conduct it evil business under cover of metaphysical darkness. John Bolton in the UN is a secular version of Jesus in hell.
"A society cannot be maintained if it is dedicated to ignorance" of both man and man's proper end (Watson). Again, if your anthropology is wrong, then your political philosophy will be stillborn. That is, it can still be applied, but it will only work with dead people -- or, it will have to render them spiritually dead in order to work (and often physically dead -- cf. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al).
Lincoln's political religion "is aimed at illuminating the moral and political things that do not change" (Watson). For Americans, these are like the central sun around which we revolve, and as Lincoln said, "to add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it" (quoted in Watson).
To be continued....
Reader Erik just left a perfectly apt quote on a previous post, attributed to Henry Jaffa:
"[I]n our time, truth has been disarmed by the opinion that reason is impotent to know what it just or unjust, right or wrong, true or false. If there is no truth, or if the truth is beyond the power of the human mind to know, then free argument and debate as means of arriving at the truth are meaningless. Truth is thereby disarmed of her natural weapons a priori. This challenge to the principle of a free society is one that neither Jefferson nor Lincoln anticipated. Nonetheless, we assert categorically that the common sense of the subject as it appeared to Jefferson and Lincoln, although it has been denied by the mainstream of Western thought for more than a century, has not been refuted."