We all know that contemporary liberalism is a secular religion -- only the most successful one ever -- and that man, as homo religiosus, cannot not be religious, but rather, only pretend not to be. Kristor implicitly argues that this is because we come into the world with certain universal archetypes that shape our experience:
"Not only is there always a state religion, but there is always a king of some sort, a father of the country. Likewise there is always a class of priests and judges, always a class of warrior nobles, always a class of merchants, always monastics and hermits, a market, a language, families, patriarchs, prophets, sex roles, etc. These things are built into man. They can be suppressed for a while, or injured, but not permanently eliminated from the constitution of human society. You can’t get rid of them, any more than you can get rid of the pancreas or the spleen. The functions they mediate must be mediated, and one way or another they will be mediated."
Actually, you can get rid of the spleen. But no sane person asks for it to be removed. Rather, it usually follows some terrible accident. Likewise, there are some archetypes we can dispense with, but this usually results from a terrible developmental accident of some kind, say, sexual abuse.
First of all, what is an archetype? I would say that they are to the vertical what instincts are to the horizontal. Our minds are not "blank slates," any more than our bodies are. Rather, our bodies have built in needs, expectations, and abilities. Similarly, we come into the world expecting, say, a mother and father. Thus, we are also entitled to a mother and father, just as infants are entitled to milk and not bourbon.
You could also say that an archetype is an "empty category" awaiting experience to fill it out. While it has a general outline, it has no specific content until we encounter it in life. It is the blueprint (or clueprint), not the building materials or finished project. Therefore, it is a kind of final cause. Archetypes operate as attractors in the subjective phase space of the interior world. Kristor alludes to several: father, judge, warrior, hermit, prophet, sex roles, etc.
In a subsequent series of posts I hope to discuss the classic Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. While doing a little research on the author, I came across an interview in which he speaks of how the Law is built into us. Yes, we are all little lawyers:
"Belief in law comes from early childhood," he said. "A child says, 'It's my toy.' That's property law. A child says, 'You promised me.' That's contract law. A child says, 'He hit me first.' That's criminal law. A child says, 'Daddy said I could.' That's constitutional law."
From the same piece: "Berman's main contention is that law is a foundational principle of Western society that derives its moral and religious dimension from God as the first lawgiver." Thus, any law must be grounded in the Law, just as any truth is a reflection of the One Truth.
So, because there is Law, there are promises, contracts, private property, justice, injustice, and a supreme court, or a final court of appeal.
And in fact, although we appeal to this court in this life, our real hope is that it is still very much in session in the next life -- in other words, that in the end, justice will prevail and the scales will be balanced.
I suppose we could say that social justice warriors imagine that the scales can be balanced in this life. Like all leftists, they immanentize the eschaton, in this case eschatological justice. This results in the "divine judgment" taking place right here and now, only promiscuously mixed with the demon-haunted wrath of the social warrior. This is why, when the radicals succeed, life looks like a vision of Hieronymus Bosch, as in the French, Communist, and Nazi revolutions.
Just as truth implies a truth-giver, law implies a law-giver. Kristor points out that language is only a kind of prolongation of this primordial Truth. Language cannot not speak of truth, because its substance is truth. It reminds me of a current in the ocean: the current is distinct from the ocean, and yet, nothing more than the substance of the ocean. Likewise, a word is distinct from the truth while being composed of it. Language converges on truth; or, truth is its alpha and omega.
Back to our religious nature. Since the leftist denies his religiosity, it naturally expresses itself in a covert and subconscious manner. For us their religiosity is transparent, whereas for the leftist it is hidden, because it must be denied by the person who regards himself as superior to religion. In other words, the leftist has a hypertrophied vertical defense mechanism deployed to repress spirit.
Today's holiday is only peripherally about the human being named Martin Luther King. Rather, he has been swallowed by his projected archetype, just as other leftist icons have been eclipsed by theirs -- FDR, JFK, Nelson Mandela, etc. So thick is the ideological penumbra surrounding these icons, that the actual person can't be seen at all. And if you try to point to the man beneath the projection, the left's reaction bears an uncanny resemblance to how Muslims react to cartoons of Muhammad.