Anti-Religious Bigotry and the Cultivation of Stupidity
Just as behind all religion and all spiritual philosophy there is a metaphysical assent -- the affirmation of Being -- so behind materialism... there is a metaphysical negation -- the denial of Being -- which is the ultimate and quasi-mystical ground of the materialistic position. --Christopher Dawson
What if the ultimate purpose of education were not simply to receive the state's idea of knowledge (k) but to nurture and strengthen the Light which makes it possible to know at all? For if one cannot know what it is important to know -- and why -- it hardly matters what one does know.
Knowledge always exists in a context -- a container -- and if the context is false, it renders the content dubious at best. For example, the left can never understand America, because the container of its "adversary intellectuals" distorts the country into one that is fundamentally racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or greedy, or what have you.
I suppose there are still some people who bitterly cling to the idea that Obama is unusually intelligent. But even if this were the case, his container is so messed up that whatever native intelligence he does possess is steeped in the Lie. I think this becomes more evident with every passing month -- that Obama has a deeply flawed vision of America and of reality more generally (i.e., economics, religion, science, history, psychology, etc.).
As it so happens, the purpose of a (classical) liberal education is, as the adjective suggests, to liberate the mind from various contingencies -- i.e., to truly adequate oneself to the diverse manifestations of the Real in a disinterested manner. Therefore, those who run our educational establishment are mainly engaged in something else entirely. They may be ideologues, or propagandists, or technicians, or mechanics, but they are anything but liberated from their narrow agendas.
It is no wonder that young adolts are generally more stupid coming out of a liberal university than they were going into it. Because if one is not exposed to the Light, one will simply assimilate the darkness and try to use it to illuminate one's life. I am convinced that this is one of the primary reasons why the left is so confused, and why its adherents cannot argue or even think logically. They value education but not the Light from which it derives its value -- just as they value art without beauty and the maintenance of politically correct beliefs without individual virtue.
The dehumanized and anti-intellectual climate of our university system is obvious to us today, but Dawson noticed the problem some fifty or sixty years ago -- that it was starting to become disturbingly illiberal, un-scholarly, and post-literate because anti-religious. This wackademic mania "arose among the half-educated and gradually spread both upwards and downwards."
Among other distortions, the upside-down education of the left emphasizes such impossibilities as knowledge without truth, rights without duties, self-esteem over self-transcendence, and the antihero over the hero, since the former is the authentic nihilist who sees through the sham of authoritarian hierarchy, oppression, perennial values, and first principles.
The left idealizes these monsters because they have the courage -- i.e., violence -- to permanently solve the annoying problem of classical liberals and their delusions of freedom, private property, and individual conscience. (And anyone who thinks I'm being polemical ought to read the extensively documented Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.)
A genuine hero is only heroic to the extent that he risks life and limb for a real and permanent good that transcends himself. Since transcendence doesn't exist for the secularist, the hero must therefore be an idiot or a manipulative liar. One saw this deep moral confusion in the torture debate. Even if one regards waterboarding as torture, only a moral imbecile cannot see that it makes all the difference in the world whether it is in the pursuit of evil ends -- just as there is an infinite difference between an American violently killing a nazi and a nazi killing an American. Same act, different context.
The religiously super mensch differs from the Nietzschean superman, in that the former "is free from some of the practical implications of morality only by identifying with the intelligible source from whence morality arises" (Bolton). He is free not just to do anything, but to do good, which is the only real freedom -- just as freedom to know truth can be the only real intellectual freedom.
Another way of saying it is that the hero is free to defend reality, while the antihero is "free" to be hostile to spiritual reality and to therefore live in fantasy. Leftist intellectuals are certainly free within the constraints of their two horizontal dimensions (who, because of the tamasic inertia caused by the absence of grace, also inevitably fall into a third dimension, the lower vertical), but in the absence of the transcendent, their freedom doesn't even have the value of animal freedom, since it will always be tainted by a guilt-stained recollection of the Real, or what Joyce called the agenbite of inwit.
Yes, the left has its heroes, but when you scratch the surface, you will see that they are always worshipped for their destructive, not creative, capacities. For example, one of the reasons I was against the MLK holiday is that I knew the left would simply turn it into a partisan anti-holiday celebrating anger, bitterness, envy and division -- the opposite of what a holy-day is supposed to accomplish, which is the facilitation or recollection of the wholeness or transcendent unity that makes a nation possible.
The problem isn't with King, at least to the extent that he was simply trying to make America comport with its first principles, which are so obviously rooted in the transcendent, i.e., "all men are created equal." The problem is how the left cynically uses King to advance principles that have nothing to do with American ideals. Ultimately, the left is a revolt against the vertical order, or "defiance of the cause of their own existence," i.e., pneumacognitive cluelesscide.
Why do leftists instinctively and unreflectively embrace the environmental hysteria of the climate change fanatics? It is because in the absence of mature spirituality, they have no metaphysical bullshit detector, so they essentially convert a spiritual crisis into a weather crisis -- the externalization of inward evils. In the hierarchy of being, Man is above the natural environment, not an entity that is reducible to it. Nature is not actually our mother, unless balanced with the transcendent male principle, i.e., immamanence + patranscendence.
But if "liberated" from transcendence -- i.e., the Father -- we are swallowed up in the infra-rational realm of the Great Mother. Free of the One, we simply fall back into the orbit of the (m)Other. If this were ever completely successful, the result would be, in the words of Bolton, "an opting out of [Man's] place in the cosmic hierarchy, while retaining a dominance over nature based on human powers and techniques alone. Nothing further from truth and stability could be conceived, nor anything better calculated to result in a stampede into the jaws of Fate in its most inhuman form." In other words, leftism in itself is an environmental crisis of the first magnitude.
This reminds me very much of depressed patients who cannot bear their depression and therefore experience it only in the body, i.e., the "physical environment." I recently evaluated just such a woman, who was clearly profoundly depressed but consciously unaware of being so. However, she had pain in nearly every part of her body, in the absence of any objective medical findings to account for it.
In her case, her conscious mind very much existed on a two-dimensional plane that excluded emotional (and therefore intellectual) depth, so that the only way she could "think" about her depression was through the body. In other words, one can no more deny the unconscious than one can pretend one doesn't have a body. To the extent that it is denied, it will simply return in some other misrecognized form.
It is no different with Spirit -- both good and bad. To the extent that it is denied, it will simply return in some disguised form. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind, for how could it not be so? To cite just one obvious example, if we are nothing more than materialistic Darwinian machines, then there could be no way for us to know that truth. All truth, by definition, is transnatural and could never have come from mere matter. Nor could goodness or beauty come from nature -- unless nature is not what you think it is.
This is why we can say that all good comes from God, even if indirectly -- which is almost always necessarily the case, given the hierarchical complexity of manifest existence (just as your brain must work through so many layers and systems to accomplish even the simplest goal; it doesn't accomplish its ends by magic -- except that it actually does). Real power is always spiritual power, the ability to make an idea manifest in the material world. In this sense, we are all mirrorcles of the absolute, in that we have the capacity to make the word flesh. Civilization itself is nothing but word made flesh.
What, you think dirt just becomes flesh and flesh becomes Word on its own? Then you're a moron and you desperately need to know it, which is the only reason why I say it. Believe me, it doesn't give me any pleasure to do so. Dupree, that's a different story. Nevertheless, extremism in the defense of reality is no vice, just as tolerance of the intolerable is no virtue.