Obama, the Avatar of Anti-Slack, or Sales of a Deathman (3.24.10)
As I explained in my book, as recently as a few hundred years ago, mankind at large was mired in a slackless existence that hadn't changed all that much for the average geezer in thousands of years. It was war, famine, plague, tyranny, oppression, stupidity, poverty, illiteracy, backbreaking toil, early death, very bad smells, and repeat as unnecessary.
However, one place on earth took a great leap forward into the realm of slack, a realm that too many medullards take for grunted today. The engine that drove this expansion of our slack was the free market, accompanied by its enablers such as private property, civil rights (founded upon the sanctity of the human person), and the rule of law.
There are a number of good books that analyze this miracle, so I don't want to review the whole story here (for example, Macfarlane's The Riddle of the Modern World: Of Liberty, Wealth and Equality, or Mead's God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World, the latter of which I discussed over several posts in 2007). The point I would like to make is that slack is the awesome and numinous "something-for-nothing," or the "free launch" we all long for. Some say it doesn't exist, and that we are condemned to a world in which everything averages out to zero. This is the attitude of atavistic leftists who constantly whine about "tax cuts for the rich" or "income inequality." As a result, they know nothing about creating wealth, only redistributing it.
But the magic of the free market is the engine of slack, since it endlessly creates wealth that wasn't there before, simply as a result of people doing what they do. Leftists are again opposed to this notion, since they think slack results from you doing what they want you to do. But clearly, this eliminates your slack right up front.
Dennis Prager cited a typical example the other day. Let's say I need brain surgery. I want my brain surgeon to be self interested, not motivated by kindness or empathy. After all, if I just want sympathy, I could have my neighbor do the job for free. Rather, I want a surgeon who cares about his reputation and wants to make a good income. And I certainly don't want a surgeon who is bitter about how little Obama is paying him to cut open my skull.
The penultimate lie of the left -- following on the heels of absolute relativity -- is that the state is the source of our slack, or that it can even create slack, which is an odious metacosmic blasphemy. Look at Obama's oft-cited claim that he is going to create or save x number of jobs. But the government can only "create" jobs by taking money out of the job-creating private sector, so he is truly selling us false slack, an entirely meretricious something-for-nothing, or "turd made flesh."
The state can surely protect slack. In fact, that is the president's primary job. His oath is to preserve and protect the Constitution, which is the guarantor of our pursuit of slack. But with FDR a line was crossed, and people began looking to the state as the source of slack, and we can all see what has resulted. And it's only going to get worse, because the state can only transfer slack that it has been appropriated from someone else. Thus the preposterous lie that Obama is going to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, when some 50% don't pay any federal income tax at all.
So he's not giving them a tax cut, only purloined slack. But when people depend upon the state for their slack, the pool of slack is gradually dissipated in one way or another. For the state only has three sources of slack: taxation, printing money (as if slack grows on trees!), or borrowing. Two of these come down to outright theft, while the third is simply deferred theft from future generations. My son will have less slack because of Obama's larcenous actions today.
The bottom lyin' is that Obama is trying to increase the slack of the left by stealing it from the right. This was obviously the point of the Porkulus bill, which is the greatest transfer of stolen slack in human history, most of it to liberal interest groups. Note the fiendishness of the plot. The economy will recover on its own, unless Obama does too much damage to it at the outset. Therefore, the Porkulus project steals most of the slack in future years, after the economy has recovered. Obama and the left will then claim that Porkulus saved the economy, when the great slack robbery is just about to get underway. Brilliant!
In the real slack-generating economy, nothing happens until someone sells something. But in the anti-slack world of the left, nothing happens until some clever pinhead has sold you a bill of goods. You get stuck with the bill, while someone else gets the goods.
< abrupt but then surprisingly smooth segue >
That went on longer than anticipated. Back to the subject at hand. Which was? That "mystery is an abiding property of truth itself" (HvB). In other words, the possibility of knowledge depends upon there being a mysterious "gap" between being and appearance. This gap is hardly unrelated to my opening blast, since it is the ontological source of slack. Without it there would be no slack at all, because we would not be separate from the environment, but at one with it. Yes, we all want at-one-ment, not with matter, but with God, or O -- the cause, not the effect.
When I say that this space is the source of our slack, what I mean is that it is the place -- the only place -- in the cosmos where truth, or beauty, or goodness, or liberty, or harmony, or love, or unity, can take place. Consider beauty, for example. HvB says that it is "the inexplicable active irradiation of the center of being into the expressive surface of the image, an irradiation that reflects itself in the image and confers upon it a unity, fullness, and depth surpassing what the image as such contains" (emphasis mine).
You see? There it is again, that divine something for nothing. Can this be created by the state? No, of course not. Look at the monstrosities funded by the cretins at the National Endowment for the Arts. Most of them demoralize and denigrate. They do not elevate and liberate, which is the very purpose of art.
Ah, here you are -- great minds think alike (by which I mean HvB and Schuon): "because of beauty, truth is always intrinsically a matter of grace. Something of this grace surrounds every truth insofar as it is an original disclosure of being. It is lacking to purely logical truth, which has been explicitly siphoned off from being; the truth it contains is altogether finite and perfectly comprehensible...." (HvB).
Thus, we see that Obama and the left will lavishly waste more money on the dysfunctional educational establishment, so long as all of the funds go to programs that explicitly siphon off truth from being, i.e., the absecular brainwash we are all subjected to by the state "for free" (to be exact, it only costs you your soul).
This is also the nature of anti-intellectual Queegism, in that the essence of metaphysical Darwinism is its "cheap comprehensibility," which only comes at the expense of any deep understanding of man as such. Again it is false slack, for it gives its nerdish bearer a totalistic vision of man, but no genuine understanding at all. It does not liberate, but saturates. It is intellectual security at the price of spiritual liberty, a fatal form of cardiomyopathy. It is a heart attack, which is to say, an attack on your own heart resulting from hardening of the categories.
HvB perfectly describes the ontological dimension of primordial slack (emphasis mine): "The excess transcending all that we can grasp by conceptual analysis, delimitation, and cataloging, this eternal "more" belonging to every being, saves the revelation of things and the knowledge of of them from immediately becoming insuperably boring."
And Obama, the Avatar of Anti-Slack, is nothing if not insuperably boring. But don't let that fool you. Passive boredom is only the residue of active Death. When I am in the presence of a boring patient, I always know that a soul murder has taken place.
More on the left's sinful theft of slack from our children:
"The Left rules by constant fear, but none of its predicted catastrophes come true. Ever notice that? Instead, we do have real things to worry about, all right -- but half of them are the results of the Media Pandemonium Machine itself. Like one third of the little kids in our world who are now convinced -- by cynical or deluded adults -- that they won't live long enough to enjoy a healthy adulthood. That is a terrible burden imposed on little children by the Left, in its never-ending grab for power.
"There is an element of sadistic cruelty in the Leftist Pandemonium Machine. "Pandemonium" is the imaginary Hell of devils, and there is something truly demonic about the torrent of media madness we have to tolerate every day."
Again, this is why we must laugh at them. It is usually the only appropriate response.