Liberal Academia and False Memory Syndrome
Likewise, to be decisive and resolute in the absence of proper deliberation is no longer virtuous -- say, the way Obama was resolute in ramming through his misguided healthcare and "stimulus" bills. (One could hardly imagine a better example of imprudence than "you have to pass it in order to find out what's in it.")
In the absence of the prior apprehension of objective reality, we see how resoluteness merely devolves to stubbornness. A mule possesses that, but we don't call it a virtue. In short, in order to radiate Paul Anka-like integrity, one must first appreciate The. F*ucking. Way. It. Is! before making one's move and slicing like the proverbial hammer.
But then, Peiper notes that the perception of reality breaks down into three prior modes, which we will call memory, openness, and objectivity, especially in unexpected situations.
First, memory. Clearly, Pieper means more than mere mechanical "recollection." Everyone "remembers," but Pieper is referring to "true-to-being" memory, which means that it must be cleansed of self-interest, wish-fulfillment, mind parasites, ideology, and all of the other things that distort recollection of the real.
To cite one obvious example, for the past 40 years or so, the left has developed an academic-industrial complex (which we call the mullah-terror & nasty old leftist complex) that involves a systematic distortion and re-writing of the past -- which is why our anonymous troll always has a worthless link at his grubby fingertips that can crockument how, say, the barbaric Palestinians are really the righteous victims of the Israelis, or how America was the aggressor in the Cold War, or how Democrats haven't always been the party of racism.
The list is endless. I know, because I briefly fell under the spinfluence of this festering sump hole of debased anti-scholarship back in my addled daze as a leftist. In my case, my motivations weren't the least bit cynical, because I innocently assumed that I was dealing with virtuous and prudent men. Only now do I realize the extent of their moral -- and intellectual -- depravity.
Memory can have nothing to do with prudence unless it is actually capable of retaining and understanding "the past." The doctrine of deconstruction and the cynical practice of historical revisionism are explicitly founded on the idea that this is impossible, and that what we naively call "history" is just a narrative invented by People of Pallor, rooted in power for the purposes of oppression and control. It couldn't be more simplistic, because it all reduces to raceclassgendersexualorientation. It's their answer for everything.
Thus, for example, the readily available historical facts that document the genocidal intentions of Israel's Arab neighbors are dismissed as racist "orientalism" or some other such wackademic nonsense. This is pure projection, because leftist "scholarship" begins and ends with the manipulation of reality for the purpose of accruing political power. "Truth" doesn't even enter into the equation. If it does, it is merely as an accidental means, not the essential end, that guides thought at every step of the way.
For example, I have a relative by marriage who is a highly respected leftist historian. He wrote a well-received book on how there is nothing special about the Holocaust, except in the calculated manner that Israel has cynically used it in order to consolidate political power.
But one cannot imagine a leftist writing a book on how, say, the "Palestinians" were invented by genocidal Muslims for the very purpose of being a permanent dagger aimed at the heart of Israeil; or how sociopathic shakedown artists such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson cynically manipulate guilt-ridden white liberals in order to accumulate wealth and political power; or how lying demagogues such as Al Gore have done the same thing with environmental hysteria; or how woman-hating feminists manipulate statistics to make it appear as if (biological) females are a repressed and persecuted group.
But "the virtue of prudence lies in this: that the objective cognition of reality shall determine action; that the truth of real things shall become determinative."
Again, the left is almost excluded from objective cognition due to the pervasiveness of political correctness, which makes certain perceptions impermissible and drains language of meaning as soon as a word accumulates unwanted content. For example, once "liberal" became too tainted with noxious associations, they changed it to "progressive"; once "global warming" no longer worked, it became "climate change"; once racism faded into the background, it became "code words" and "institutional racism"; once racial quotas were recognized for the evil they are, they invented "affirmative action" and now "diveristy."
The list goes on and on, but in each case there is a systematic attempt to place a barrier between language (and therefore thought) and reality. Thus, the falsification of recollection renders thought dysfunctional and action imprudent, for "memory is the spiritual proto-reality from which thought and volition take their origin.... There is no more insidious way for error to establish itself than by this falsification of the memory through silent retouches, displacements, discolorations, omissions, shifts of accent" (and bear in mind that Pieper wrote these words before the left had taken over academia and institutionalized their assault on the possibility of history as a real container of truth).
And Pieper mainly addresses the falsification of horizontal truth. He doesn't even get into the left's actual denial and obliteration of vertical recollection, which is even more catastrophic (both intellectually and spiritually).
To cite one particularly obvious example, the very book we are now discussing -- The Four Cardinal Virtues -- is nothing less than an exercise in vertical recollection (or verticalisthenics), whereby we are re-collecting the distillation of some 2500 years of accumulated collective wisdom embodied in western civilization. But if you attend an elite university, you are more likely to learn about Indian sweat lodges, aboriginal dream time, or transexual wiccans than you are about the cardinal virtues.
Please note that true recollection is irreducibly infused with virtue, for Truth is the virtue of Intellect (just as, morality is the virtue of action, or beauty the virtue of art). Thus, "the honesty of the memory can be ensured only by a rectitude of the whole human being which purifies the most hidden roots of volition." It is no coincidence that the great universities were founded by religious orders, and that even America's most debased elite universities were once associated with particular religious denominations, for it is strictly insane to try to sunder the vital relationship between God and Truth. Eliminate one and you destroy the other; first comes anti-scholarship, then Anti-Civilization.