|Babel, Gustav Dore|
It’s funny; no matter how hard the prevailing winds of groupthunk deterministic relativism blow, they still can’t get away from morals, from right and wrong, the Christian ethic. All of Western civilization is based on the rule of law, and the foundations of law in America are most accurately described as Biblical. There’s no getting away from it; it’s a fact. And I submit that the current impotence of our politically correct social culture and our newly resurgent desire for some kind of bedrock on which to live our lives is showing up in the strangest of places.
In our movies, for instance. How many remakes of old stories are we going to lap up until we tire of the same-old same-old? Superheroes, fantasy epics—it kind of started way back in the seventies with Star Wars and Superman, and it really hasn’t quit. Have a look at the Lord of the Rings movies, Captain America, on and on. And how about design in consumer goods? The retro fad is more than a fad by now. It started with Radio Flyer’s reissue of the ubiquitous Little Red Wagon some years back, gained momentum with VW’s New Beetle, Kitchenaid’s art deco toasters at Williams Sonoma, and now everyone with skin in the game has something that harks of ye oldene dayes, like the Fiat 500. The Ford Mustang, the Dodge Charger, the Chevy Camaro—all are alive and well, vicious rumors of their demise notwithstanding.
Why is it, I wonder? Could it be that post-postmodern society has nothing left to give? Could it be that if anything good ever happened on the anti-hero's watch it was because of those heroes who refused to cow to their demands? The anti-heroes insisted they were smarter than us, and in threatening language they hissed at us lies. They said that art exists in a vacuum, can only be art if it is ars gratia artis, art for its own sake, that in order to be art it must be declared to be so by some puffed up pretentious jackass from some ridiculous and absurd ivory tower on the east coast. Well they were wrong before they ever started. For the greater part of one hundred fifty years, they have been wrong. Art is simply this: an act of worship to the only wise God, eternally worthy.
The disease of our thinking—though it is a huge contradiction in terms to call it thinking—began with Hegel, Marx, Kant, Darwin. It birthed socialism, communism, Nazism, progressivism, scientism, relativism, eugenics, the myth of evolution, the survival of the fittest, the U.S. Department of Education, the lobbyist, The hijacking of capitalism, Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Castro, Khrushchev, Ahmadinejad, and Obama; and it has spilled more innocent blood than any other crisis humanity has ever faced. It was, and is, the Grand Experiment… and We the People are the lab rats.
And that brings us round to dignity. It is a positively Christian concept. If we turn to sources that predate most of the sickness of our thinking, we may begin to find an answer. Noah Webster’s Unabridged (1890) defines dignity as follows:
Dignity n. [Lat. Dignitas, from dignus, worthy] 1. The state of being worthy or honorable; elevation of mind or character; honorableness; nobility of sentiment and action; true worth. 2. Elevation of rank; honorable station; degree of excellence, either in estimation or in the order of nature; honor; preferment; high office, whether political or ecclesiastical. 3. Quality suited to inspire respect or reverence. 4. One holding high rank; a dignitary. 5. Fundamental principle, axiom or postulate.
I find it beyond absurd as I recall that I attended college and took a class on ethics in which we were not allowed to discuss any stance on right or wrong as defined by the Bible. Well! I understand that it may offend those among us who protest, all the same, that they are more tolerant than we. Therefore in the magnanimousness of their tolerance for us we are to shut up. We are to stop trying to wrestle everyone back to the stone age. Perhaps there will be no need for that—the anti-hero has already dragged us back there (just read the headlines) by denying the very essence or possibility of truth, morality, right or wrong… and even of dignity… and the truth is beginning to show, old girl.
The intellectually bankrupt thinkers that have been at the helm of society since the nineteenth century have outlawed reason in the name of progress. And We the People have abandoned all that we are made of in favor of what we have been made from: mere dust. We are an unapologetically material generation. We have the crass audacity to wonder why we are so empty, too. The answer is right in front of us: our thinking is utterly corrupt. We have no dignity. We are not men, but beasts. We serve not God, or even some optimistic concept of good. No. We serve only the Self and its perverse sovereign, the State. I see in it what smacks of antiChrist.
We can’t begin to define dignity if we first can’t begin to understand that such things as right and wrong have meaning and are manifest in our actions. One cannot begin to understand absolutes in a world that protests to the ends of the universe that truth itself is relative. However, I beg to differ that truth, if relative, cannot be truth. No, it is mere opinion. The anti-hero protests that “everything is relative; there are no absolutes,” not realizing that because of the depth of his willingness to be deceived the very statement he just made is an absolute.
Words and phrases that appear in the definition from Webster’s, such as: worthy, honorable, nobility of sentiment and action, character, true worth, the order of nature, inspire respect, reverence… these have all been rendered meaningless under the currently dominant thinking. Why do we adhere to these crusty rules of political correctness that espouse tolerance while being ruthlessly intolerant, protest that they are progressive while being dogmatically regressive, feign righteousness while bearing, for season upon season now, the fruit of wickedness and iniquity? I still wonder that there can be so few of us who see how obviously contradictory it is for people to adhere to progressive thought while simultaneously proclaiming themselves to be Christians. From my point of view it is not possible. But that’s the prostitutionally hideous beauty of relativistic philosophy; literally anything is possible, and pretty much everyone has fallen for it. Good can be redefined as evil at a whim. And of course, at least to a reasonable person, the inverse is also possible. How my Christian friends fail to see the connection between this thinking and the father of all lies is, well, unbelievable.
|The hero stands resolute in the face of manifest evil.|
When we have utterly abandoned all connection—or indeed positive restraint—with the Biblical Judeo-Christian absolute concept of morality (from which the rule of law springs forth), why should we be surprised to see everything falling to pieces around us? Some of us want to party on through it. Some of us desecrate the truth in other ways, and we slip the needle of denial into our veins day after day because it feels good, and we manage to get through to tomorrow. Still others are purposing to advance the darkness actively, and for whatever perverse reason they can find.
But some of us are awakening. Some of us can see that we have been stripped naked of all human dignity as a people, as a generation, as a nation and tribe, as a culture and as a society. Our arts and thinking have long been dead. From there, over the course of the twentieth century, the contagion spread into the marketplace, into our goods, our production, our values, our schools, our politics, mixing and blending it all into one horrible machine that required the blood sacrifice of millions upon millions in combat, that lusted in a frenzy over the meatgrinder dawning of the atomic age, that even now feeds on the flesh of the collective and defecates their remains on what is left of the individual, the hero. We have become mere slaves who are born to live and die at the good pleasure not of God, but of the State.
And now there are but two ways forward:
- Death, either slow and tortured or quick; or
- Resurrection and renaissance.
My fervent prayer is that we choose, by our actions, the latter, and usher in a return to the heroic. To dignity.