I have already attempted to draw your attention to the philosophical roots of the looming crisis of the State, and wish to direct your further attention to the subject here. You are worldly men of action with precious little time for the luxury of reflection; as such, you may scorn philosophy as so much useless speculation, a fitting pursuit perhaps for some mousy ascetics in ivory towers far removed from the fray of practical affairs, but beneath the dignity of those tasked with getting things done in the real world. And I would readily concur, if there were nothing more to the liberal arts than that. But all practical action is informed by a philosophy. Contra the absurd “materialist” teachings of Karl Marx, the intellect regulates the actions of the physical body that acts, not the other way around; and the intellect, unable to rely on what is innate to it in affairs as complex as politics, is in turn regulated by a philosophy imbued in the intellect through outside learning. Read more
I am but a lowly private citizen, a nobody who represents nobody, who speaks for nobody, and who writes for almost nobody; but I am nonetheless taking it upon myself to point a finger of indictment at you, the public men, the “masters of the universe”, the incumbents of political power.
Please do not mistake my intentions here. I am not some kind of naive and unworldly moral crusader horrified to have discovered that men as we find them sometimes vie for power, prestige, and influence; I am not St. Augustine come to exhort you that Man was originally made for animal husbandry and not lordship; and I am no Utopian daydreamer urging you to step down and let the State wither away in the interest of human “liberation” and the establishment of a land of Cockaigne where everybody says and does whatever pleases them. Read more
Ideology is often thought of simply as factually false information: something that lies, distorts, cooks up non-existent data and then presents it as fact while suppressing actual fact, and so on. This sense of the word, “ideology” is synonymous with propaganda, considered as intentional and calculated efforts to deceive and disinform in the form of e.g. biased media coverage, junk science, disingenuous advertising, political rhetoric, etc. designed to mislead public opinion on this or that issue of the day.
At another, level, more profound and insidious than that of mere propaganda, ideology exerts its influence less by fabricating or suppressing facts than by shaping how the individual subject of ideology makes sense of the morass of facts given in sensory experience. At this level, ideology is less a matter of outright deformation of the factual than of its interpretation, and relies less on mendacious concealment of inconvenient facts than on shaping the perceived significance of those same facts. Read more
If you’re going to do something, the old metics said, you might as well do it right. By this they meant that even if what it is that you’re doing isn’t optimal with respect to your ultimate ends or purposes, you’ll still wind up better off if you do it correctly rather than incorrectly. If what you’re doing is in enough agreement with right Reason to be said to have a nature, by conforming to that rational nature in design and execution you’ll end up with something that has the image of the Divine in it; something that has its own proper virtues, even if those virtues aren’t exactly the most efficient means of getting you where you want to be; and, if nothing else, you’ll at least get to partake in the old metic’s pride in a job well-done.
From the start, the USA constituted itself as a Liberal democracy, and in the design and execution of both its formal written Constitution and its national customs and traditions strived to be as consistently Liberal as it could be. Liberalism, of course, is destined to end up at destructive cross purposes with the proper ends of State and society- and yet, done right, it has certain undeniable virtues all its own. Read more