Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Perpetual War on History

In yesterday's post we discussed the Abrahamic idea that history is "broken" and needs mending. This has had a huge influence on American and British political attitudes, both left and right, leading to a kind of "crusader" attitude. While this has worked out well for classical liberals, it has been a disaster when filtered through the left, since they embody the fervent energy of the religious crusader without the wisdom and guidance of tradition and revelation.

Michael Polanyi felt that the secular left had succumbed to the two diseases of modernity, which are rooted in two false ideals, 1) detached objectivity as the ideal of knowledge, which eventually leads to the denial of the role of tradition, belief, and faith in the acquisition of all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, and 2) a strident hunger for moral perfectionism with regard to social and economic conditions, or Judeo-Christian religious impulses in the absence of religious structure.

You will note that these are contradictory ideals in the first place, being that belief in (1) undermines the basis for any belief in (2), that is, objectively knowable moral imperatives. This is one of the enduring contradictions at the heart of leftism, but as always, they are clueless to the fact. They are always "in your face" with their insane moral demands, even though they have no epistemological or ontological basis for having such demands.

Polanyi's term for this ubiquitous phenomenon was "moral inversion," and it is one of the things that makes the left so annoying. For example, if there is no objective morality and human behavior is simply guided by the lust for power, on what basis can they condemn Israel for merely defending itself from Arab savagery? Likewise, if President Bush is engaging in war merely to somehow advance the interests of his "corporate friends," isn't he doing exactly what their simplistic worldview predicts?

Another case in point is the redefinition of marriage. Suddenly, in the last decade or so, leftists have come up with the crazy idea that "conservatives" have been preventing members of the same sex from getting married, when this is simply the way it has always been. There has never been a culture that sanctioned homosexual marriage, because such a thing is obviously impossible by definition, marriage being the sacred bond between a man and woman.

When normal people respond to the pressure and bullying of the left, the left calls it "oppression" or "homophobia," in classic passive-aggressive fashion. The left wishes to radically experiment with the very foundation of society (which is necessarily rooted in the sacred), but projects this into conservatives, as if they are the ones pushing for change. And the left grounds their crusade in an appeal to an objective morality which cannot exist for them to begin with.

They have done the same thing with President Bush, whose foreign policy has been completely in accord with our long tradition of fighting evil and advancing liberal ideals as a pragmatic way to increase our security. You can certainly disagree with specific implementations of policy or with his administration's handling of the war without vilifying him and inventing all sorts of kooky notions as to why we "really" went into Iraq.

The reason the left does this is again because of their moral inversion. Since they subconsciously see themselves as morally superior, the motives of President Bush must be morally evil, therefore he is worthy of condemnation of the most hysterical and sadistic type from a psychotically detached and corrupt superego. For the left, he is the very embodiment of evil, even though one of the main reasons they hate him is that he believes in the objective existence of evil. Only a moral imbecile would argue that Saddam was not profoundly evil but that President Bush or Dick Cheney are.

And when I say "moral imbecile," I mean that literally -- even as a diagnosis, not as an insult. As Dennis Prager has mentioned, just as one can be mentally or mathematically or musically retarded, it is quite possible to be morally retarded -- to be incapable of soundly reasoning within the realm of morality.

And please, this is not to say that all leftists are moral retards, only that the movement is, which in turn makes it much more difficult to think with moral clarity if you are a leftist constrained by the paradigm of leftism (just as it is much more difficult for a Palestinian to be decent within the context of his indecent culture).

This retardation is responsible for the passionate moral energy that causes the leftist to, say, fight to save the lives of mass murderers, or for the right to kill the unborn, or to be hysterical over the physical environment but care not a bit about the much greater danger of soul pollution -- of maintaining a psycho-spiritual environment fit for humans. In the absence of such an environment, human beings will become sick, probably even physically.

As Mead writes, "The Anglo-American tradition of the war against evil shifts very easily into the idea of a war against history." Again, this idea of setting history aright is hardly new, but "has deep roots in Anglo-American culture. From the time of the Reformation, English popular feeling... identified the national cause with that of true religion -- fighting against evil -- in a simple and straightforward way.... Those who try to thwart this progress are fighting God's will or blocking human nature from its right to fulfill its aspirations and achieve its justly deserved freedom -- and that is the essence of evil."

Virtually every American president has implicitly believed this, that the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17). This freedom-loving God is the God we're stuck with, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Which suits me just fine.

Now, you can say that Muslim culture is incapable of adopting the liberal values of this freedom-lovin' God, and you may well be right. However, a leftist cannot really believe this, for it would be at odds with his own belief that people are basically the same, that they are guided by reason, and that they all want the same things. I have no problem saying that the average Palestinian prefers murdering Jews to liberty, democracy, and economic development. But a leftist is not permitted to have such a thought, because it is somehow "racist" in his worldview.

It is not the policy, or broad attitude, that has changed. Rather, it is the left that has changed. In other words, the impulse to fight German Nazism or Japanese fascism is the same as the one to fight Islamofascism. It's very simple, really. It generally takes a highly educated mind to fail to see this, someone so imbued with hateful neo-Marxist brainwashing that they are no longer in contact with reality, only with the projection of their own fantasies.

It is critical to understand that leftists are every bit as committed to this idealistic "war on history" as are classical liberals. As Mead writes, the question up to now has revolved around "how best to define and then how best to win the war against history, not whether to fight one at all."

For example, the contemporary left has largely displaced this war to environmental concerns, projecting both sin and potential salvation onto that quixotic crusade -- as if it will have any impact whatsoever on mankind's main problem, which is the existence of human evil. But this is why they subconsciously shift the whole environmental debate to a moral plane. Al Gore will not debate anyone on the merits. Rather, he simply castigates and dismisses them in moral terms, as venal liars on satan's payroll. It's the same war on evil and on history, except that evil is redefined in their upside-down world. And from this follows the wise Talmudic saying that those who are kind to the cruel will always end up being cruel to the kind.


Rick said...

Easily, easily, easily slated for the greatest hits album. Looking like a boxed set lately.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm with Gore. Anyone who impedes the movement towards environmental purity is a moral imebecile.

It IS all about the environment. Human evil is a product of poor diet and environmental toxins. These produce impaired family dynamics which in turn produce impaired people.

Fix the environment and all other problems fall like dominoes.

Get with the program, Mister.

walt said...


Anonymous said...

Grew up in a Superfund site did ya?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of impaired family dynamics,
it's funny (sad actually) how the most dysfuctional among us are the ones pushing the agenda. Ted Kennedy, Pathological Hillary and her sex addicted husband Bill, algore and his depressed wife Tipper etc.
Makes a person wonder.

julie said...

" be hysterical over the physical environment but care not a bit about the much greater danger of soul pollution..."

The funniest thing about this one, to me, is the fact that, generally speaking, people who have faith based strongly in Judeo-Christian values (as well as a few other religious value systems) do care about the environment. We like the idea of using fewer resources, and practicing good stewardship (we learned it as Scouts). In fact, we consider it a duty, being the highest critters in this mostly horizontal plane. The bears, monkeys and elephants aren't likely to bother, nor are the dolphins, after all.

But we don't get hysterical about it. We don't value a rare species of flea (which just so happens to be identical to a prolific species a couple acres away) more than we value the right of an individual to build what they want on their own property. We know that the earth is resilient; it's survived much worse damage than humans have ever done - meteor strikes, solar flares and volcanic eruptions, for instance. We also know that the best way to improve the world's environment is to help bring other countries up to our standard of living. We have the luxury to care about the aforementioned fleas. People in third-world countries are too busy struggling to survive to worry that their grazing practices are turning their grassland into desert, or their poor farming practices are destroying the rain forest (and untold numbers of rare critters, no doubt).

Fix the souls first, and the world will follow.

Van Harvey said...

What Ricky said.


"For example, if there is no objective morality and human behavior is simply guided by the lust for power, on what basis can they condemn Israel for merely defending itself from Arab savagery?"

Wouldn't you just pay to see pasty face Harry Reid, Nancy Pullowsee or Bill Mared dance to that question?

Van Harvey said...

BTW, anyone else getting the 'bX-tgu0qs' error from blogger?

Seems like wordverif is slowly seizing power....

robinstarfish said...

Both barrels today, Bob! Direct hit.

danger in the field
helicopter spins around
young gun sets and shoots

CO said...

I have enjoyed today's and past posts on history (and the revisionism thereof). Given the limitations of human perception and human understanding, is it ever justifiable to label an historical account as "the official history of X"? The mere term "official history" seems like an oxymoron. I sometimes get the feeling that in our current age of hyper-information, people want to achieve a consensus on current and historical events. Is it ever possible to view any event holistically from a single, "official" perspective?

Gagdad Bob said...


That's a very good question that I've been meaning to address in a post. That is, if knowledge is neither subjective nor objective, what exactly is it? Basically, it is situated on a gradient of deepening coherence, and therefore meaning, and evolves by being able to synthesize more and more particulars in its vision of the whole; it is always converging upon real Truth, even if it never techincallly arrives there.

Just as you cannot simultaneously look at and through your glasses, you can either look at history, which is what historians do, or look through history at what it is converging upon, which is what a Raccoon does.

Lisa said...

Just started reading Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender by Kenneth Timmerman. It is amazing the lengths people in our own government will go to in the name of ideology and petty revenge. I think I may be even more amazed that our country runs as well as it does. As usual, it all boils down to faulty intelligence. It is a very dense book with extensive footnoting. It isn't really surprising to the average coon though. The book also does a great job of fairly implicating our media in their willful spread of misinformation. How anyone could want to work for the government or make it larger in any way is beyond me.

Mizz E said...

Bob wrote: "Just as you cannot simultaneously look at and through your glasses, you can either look at history, which is what historians do, or look through history at what it is converging upon, which is what a Raccoon does."

A few weeks ago my eyes beheld the Grand Canyon for the first time.

During the course of dawn breaking, as the sunlight became brighter and brighter, I began to see deeper and deeper into the depth of that immense expanse until, at last, I could see the bottom and through it and understand that Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

NoMo said...

" has been a disaster when filtered through the left, since they embody the fervent energy of the religious crusader without the wisdom and guidance of tradition and revelation."

and, I might add, without love:

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (sound familiar?). If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

I Cor 13:1-3 Whew!

Read on, it gets even better!

Ahhh, worked in a little love again today.


Stephen Macdonald said...

In the air today, but caught the column and had to say it was superb.

Back home in Nova Scotia a couple days ago my golfing pal's dad Ron decided to do a prolonged slide down the runway in his brand new $10 million personal jet.

Seriously though, everyone was unhurt, thank God.

It made today's rough landing in Toronto a bit of a white-knuckle affair for me...

Stephen Macdonald said...


I got a call shortly after that last post. You can tell I'm not a guy who can afford to buy one of these things. $10 milion apparently represents perhaps a 20% down payment on a Global 5000.

Yikes. I knew Ron was rich (we always just said "multi-millionaire") but that's, um, damn rich. He got rich by owning more stock in Wendy's than even Dave Thomas did.

Well, this tale has nothing to do with anything here, but I guess maybe it's a little interesting...

The guy would have died if the plane touched 20 feet sooner. I think I'll mail him a copy of OCUG. And a Bible.

Anonymous said...

>> . . . it would be at odds with his (leftist) own belief that people are basically the same, that they are guided by reason, and that they all want the same things<<

Might this not be said, to an extent, of G. Bush and his hopes for a flourishing democracy in Iraq and elsewhere in the muslim-dominated mideast? I'm afraid such a thing leads, has led, probably, to "limited warfare" in the face of evil -- and that is a prescription for complete disaster.

And in some ways I think it's led to the suicidal folly of this upcoming Israeli/Palestinian "peace conference." Are there any doubts among the sane on how that's going to turn out?

Make no mistake, I think the leftist camp actively colludes with evil, which I can't accuse Bush of doing, but land 'o goshen, my heart sinks . . .

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I concur.
Mere democracy without liberty can easily turn into a tyranny: mob rule, with no respect for rights or dissent of the minority.

The Palestinians are a prime example of this, as is Lebanon, Turkey and Pakistan.

I think President Bush is naive to believe that democracy without liberty will work in the long term.
Maybe he thinks it will still "change" those muslim countries for the better, and that they'll eventually adopt liberty.
Perhaps in stages.

Unfortunately, I don't think that'll happen, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

That's not to say I'm against the war. I'm all for it, including Iraq, but we must DEMAND liberty for all the folks we liberated.
I do think this will work better in Iraq than in Afghanistan, at least in the Kurdish territory, because they truly want peace and they respect other religions, for instance, as long as they aren't threatened.

The same goes for free trade. I disagree that free trade will democratize and bring liberty (in and of itself) to countries like China.
I believe that free trade should be equitable, in our best interest, and only with countries that value liberty.

We don't even have to discuss the illegal immigration fiasco or the LOST treaty.

However, despite these differences, I have a great respect for President Bush, and I know he's much better than any leftist Democrat.
I know he has a good heart and loves our Heroes.
Heck, I love the guy!

Yet, I hope our next President communicates better and realizes these timeless truths more clearly.

Rick said...

Hear, hear, Ben.
And add TVs and unrestricted access to American broadcasting – all 500 channels (just not the naughty stuff like CNN, etc.) Once their kiddies see how good the other kiddies have it over here, they’ll morph into them without even realizing it. They’ll want their MTV too. Oops. I guess I should be careful what I wish for. But that will take a generation at least.

Van Harvey said...

Will & Ben,

Yeah, me three.

The basic idea of replacing the mid-eastern despots with American style gov't's isn't so bad, but mistaking American style gov't for 'Democracies' is a big boo-boo. The Palestinian situation is a perfect example of democracy in action and cause enough to send em to oblivion.

Given that you can't export Liberty, but we also can't allow things to remain the same, we should have faced that between bad and worse and foolish choices, we should have gone with the bad one: follow the MacArthur/Japan format. Impose a constitution and gov't upon them, and stay there several decades to see that the roots have taken, before even thinking of moving on.

Course for that to work best, they needed to realize that they'd be defeated, utterly and completely, first.

Tough to look Nicey-nice for the press, while pushing the 'road to baghdad'.

"And from this follows the wise Talmudic saying that those who are kind to the cruel will always end up being cruel to the kind."

Rick said...

I like your plan better. I was thinking of Japan also.
But can we still get the TVs? I mean I bought all that Dish Network stock…

Anyway, I want to add, that unlike all lefty ‘plans’ for world peace, mine actually ends in world peace and it goes something like this…

…eventually, they will come to appreciate Seinfeld (ok, two generations) and when I’m 185 years old I can scratch “but I’m not gay” in the dirt and someone will reply “not that there’s anything wrong with that” and I will have someone to play Trivial Pursuit: Seinfeld Edition with besides Bob and all will be right with the world once again.

And for all the lefties who may argue with my plan, I say, since when are reality and success ever factors in any of your equations.
Since when.