I would put it more starkly: if the latter doesn't occur, then mankind is doomed. I say this for two reasons: first, Islamists are not about to abandon their insane revolutionary hopes for a worldwide caliphate. And second, the spirit of leftism cannot be eradicated from the human memome, since it is one of the consequences of man's fallenness.
More generally, the left will always be with us, because any human being with a little imagination and a lot of envy can attack and undermine the present in light of an imagined future unattainable by man. The main brake on the left has never come from conservative liberals, but from the self-consuming nature of socialism, which weakens and eventually destroys the host. But just because the left destroys itself, it doesn't automatically mean that something better will replace it.
For one thing, the destruction isn't just economic. Rather, if anything, the psychological and spiritual consequences of unhinged leftism are even worse. As mentioned yesterday, it begins in the mountain springs of purely intellectualized envy, but eventually flows into the sewers of journalism and public education, contaminating everything. Its end-state is a "collection of disturbing, disorderly appetites" -- a Joe Biden, with his "preening exhibitionism," "smirking rudeness," "egotistical exuberance," and "bullying condescension." Name a prominent person of the left who doesn't fit this description.
Even so, we haven't hit bottom. As the Sultan writes, "There is no reason to think that Barack with his Third Culture image and his fake veneer of culture is going to be the endpoint either. If the left has taught us anything, it is that its narrative of cultural destruction is always able to conceive of more and more horrifying worlds than anything we might behold today."
"Revolutionary” today means an individual for whom modern vulgarity is not triumphing quickly enough. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms
As mentioned in yesterday's post, Plato -- what with his pure love of thought -- "has never had success as a revolutionary and never will do so." In contrast to Plato, Karl Marx has enjoyed over a century "of astonishing success and has revolutionized the world. He has swept away millions -- those who went to the barricades and trenches in civil wars, and those who went to the prisons, either as jailers or as prisoners" (MOTT).
Really, can you name another philosopher who has enjoyed such a smashing and grabbing success in such a short span of time? But you -- yes, you there -- "as a solitary human soul, a soul of depth and sobriety, what do you owe Karl Marx?" (ibid.).
No man can answer that question. Not until April 15th, tax day.
The point is, "Plato illumines, whilst Marx sweeps away" (ibid.). Indeed, Marx said that, unlike other philosophers -- who merely illuminate reality -- his goal was to change it. This particular soul-sickness has decimated our universities, where activism has displaced the quest for truth.
Obviously, it is impossible to imagine a person of any spiritual insight or stature getting caught up in the Obama hysteria. But it is equally impossible to imagine such a person being caught up in any kind of political hysteria, politics being what it is. It is one of the reasons we can never match the diabolical energy of the left. Since the leftist is condemned to the horizontal world, he channels his spiritual energy into politics.
Transforming the world: the occupation of a convict resigned to his punishment. --Don Colacho's Aphorims.
The project of the left is to make us all useful to the collective, when the only possible justification for the collective can be in its usefulness to the individual -- not in a horizontal, egotistical sense, but in a vertical sense. Assuming that life has a transcendent purpose -- and you cannot be human and not make this assumption -- then the purpose of society should be to help human beings achieve this purpose -- i.e., to be useful to others by being faithful to their created archetype, so to speak.
But horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. There is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris as the leftist social engineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted wounds. Such persons, to paraphrase Eliot, dream of systems in which it will be unnecessary for anyone to be good.
Likewise, "the moment we talk about 'social conscience,' and forget about conscience, we are in moral danger. Eliminate the idea of moral struggle," and "you must expect human beings to become more and more vaporous" (Eliot). Since man is placed at the crossroads where he is free to choose between good and evil, to forget this is to abolish liberty, conscience, and transcendent meaning and purpose in a single stroke.