Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Old Age is Dying; A New Age is Coming

ON BOARD GOLDEN PRINCESS IN GLACIER BAY I know I should be all excited about sailing into Glacier Bay National Park and go and listen to an over-paid over-pensioned park ranger talk about the wonders of global warming.  Because glacial retreat! But I'm not.

Instead I want to talk about nailing theses up on the church door.  That's because I'm reading a book about the Reformation and Martin Luther and the Huguenots in France in the 16th century. It's called The Beginnings of Ideology: Consciousness and society in the French Reformation by Donald R. Kelley.  The Big Idea is that Martin Luther was the First Ideologue, the first modern that mounted a revolutionary critique of the ruling class and swept the whole of society into an ideological fervor.

Luther achieved this because of the "German art of printing." It became possible for the first time to print and distribute millions of pieces of writing, as pamphlets, placards, propaganda: to touch a nerve in the body politic with the written word.  Since then, of course, we have seen nothing but an unending avalanche of ideological propaganda. Only now it's worse. Because the internet.

Luther's genius, like the genius of the Puritans, the preachers of the Great Awakening, the Marxians, the Fascists, the Environmentalists, was to propagate at the right moment when the world was ready for his message.  An old world was overripe, decayed, corrupt, and a new world was ready to be born.

That is why I come today to write about the old world, the world of the overripe liberal ruling class that we know because of its cruelty, its corruption, its injustice, its waste, its delusion, the old world that is dying.  And I write to prophesy a new world, the new world a-borning.

A ruling class that deserves to rule must do five things.

A ruling class must defend society from the predators and celebrate those who defend us from predation.  But liberals too often excuse the predators and denigrate the defenders.  That is the meaning of Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, Rotherham.  Liberals leaped to blame the police, the neighborhood watch volunteer, and in Britain the underage lower-class white girls.  Meanwhile they defended thug teenagers and their "rap" subculture and excused the "Asian males" that preyed upon young girls that didn't have their married biological fathers to defend them.  Then there is national defense.  Liberals wavered in the fight against communism, have been absent in the fight against Islamism.  Meanwhile they make war in the US on bankers, businessmen, and Christian enthusiasts. Because elections.

A ruling class must celebrate the workers and stigmatize the freeloaders.  By that, I mean that our rulers should celebrate the people that go to work every day without expecting or demanding economic justice or special favors through economic legislation.  And the rulers should sneer at the freeloaders that ask "what's in it for me" before they start the day's work.  Needless to say, liberals have spent the last century excusing freeloaders as victims and plundering workers of their wages so they can hand out loot to their supporters.

A ruling class must be merciful to the unfortunate and those who are heavy laden.  And it must quietly assist those who minister to the wretched of the earth.  But liberals have turned this work of charity into a burlesque, turning the relief of the poor into a racket for its supporters, and stripping many of the unfortunate of their dignity, or even basic protection, as in the violence-torn inner cities of the US and the preyed-upon underage "tarts" of Rotherham.  And those that minister to the unfortunate find that they must bend to the political agenda of their liberal masters or find that the government makes their work difficult or impossible.

A ruling class must defend virtue and the mainstream of life and sneer at vice and its suffocations.  But liberals have attacked virtue with the cult of the anti-hero, and they celebrate all kinds of marginal culture: I mean everything from the anti-social "rap" culture to the foolish enthusiasms of educated youth ranging from the cult of creativity to pot to the follies of LGBTQ.

A ruling class must be just, ruling with a light hand, moderating its own enthusiasms and tolerating the enthusiasms of others.  Liberals, we know, do just the opposite; they encourage enthusiasms in their activist believers to the utmost and actively persecute the enthusiasts of all other sects. And woe to those that fail to bow to the liberal household gods.

A ruling class must limit its power.  Power corrupts, and all systems -- especially government systems -- amount to domination.  We humans are social animals, and that means cooperating wherever possible as equals in trusting and intersubjective discourse.  We know that liberals utterly fail in this, as they succumb endlessly to the temptations of power and reduce all societal activity to the dominatory hell of bureaucratic system.

It's time to rise up and throw off the unjust rule of the venal liberal dynasty.  Because the old age is dying, corrupted by its power and its narcissistic self-worship, and a new age is dawning.  The old age of power and privilege, of dishonesty and dishonor, is shriveling before our eyes just like the ever-diminishing Obama presidency, completely demoralized and vitiated by its internal contradictions and its sophomoric delusions.

The new age is dawning, an age of fraternal equality, of freedom, of cooperation, of tolerance.  It will be dedicated above all to the proposition that power, particularly political power, is a dead end of sterility and inhumanity.  The point, the whole point of the human project is the space between the individual and the organs of government and political power.  It is the realm of civil society, where people meet and cooperate and work and dialog and trust as equals.  The catchphrase of the new age is give and exchange, utterly opposed to the liberal era's addiction to force and change.

The great problem of the new age, as in any age, will be dealing with the arc of folly, already perceived by Martin Luther, that young men are obsessed with pretty girls, that 30-year-olds are obsessed by money, 40-year-olds by honor and glory, and 60-year-olds by their own piety. Wisdom is the path of fidelity, of giving before taking, of humility before pride, trusting in knowledge of our hypocrisy and impiety to dissolve our conceit in our imagined piety.

This we believe: in defending against predators, in marginalizing freeloaders, in helping the helpless, in respecting virtue, in limiting power. These we honor: the defenders against the predators, the people that work and strive, the folk that give to the poor, the virtuous that do good when no one is looking, the exemplars that resist the siren call of power.

The time is now.

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