Time again for a provocative ZGram series. This one consists of four parts and is written by S Michael McMillen who holds the copyright but has given me carte blanche to take whatever I please of his writings.
This essay is entitled "A Heretic's Hope" and pleads for an open reassessment of politically convenient villains and times:
Ordinarily, heresy is not something to be relished. It is normal to want to be orthodox. But alas, these are scarcely normal times. Orthodoxy, after all, means right opinion, or correct belief. It doesn't mean a lucky spin on the roulette wheel of philosophy or an intellectual wardrobe of designer notions.
Nor is it supposed to mean subservience to dictated fashions. Since A is A, and even God can't alter last year's harvest, one should seek the facts and draw valid conclusions from them. He who is thus right-thinking has no business epistemologically or ethically "tolerating" error and falsehood.
Orthodoxy struck the heretics of old as oppressive because those who knew-or thought they knew-the truth were unwilling to allow the wrongheaded to bask in the ephemeral bliss of their error and suffer the inevitable consequences. The orthodox seemed to view Truth as a fragile flower in need of much protection. Drawing no distinction between the ethical and the political, and often heedless of the epistemological basis of both, they sought to change opinion at the point of a sword.
The tactics haven't changed; they've just shifted sides.
Those who tilt quixotically at orthodoxy today while bemoaning its "oppressiveness" are the ones more likely to enforce their views at swordpoint. Ours is an age weaned on selective scepticism, an era certain of nothing except that there are no certainties. It is considered good social form to claim that nothing is absolute.
If nothing is absolute and we couldn't know if it were, putative equality of persons and ideas becomes an article of faith. Careers and reputations are made and jealously defended in the pursuit of the egalitarian mysteries. To assert that one thing is better than another upsets the pieties of our bland yet cheekily informal secular religion.
Consider the following quotation. (The name of the speaker can wait a while.)
"[T]he Bolsheviks know so well that they can never bring the communist idea to triumph except in an age that is distracted and skeptical."
God knows the Western peoples today are distracted: by sexual scandals in high and low places; by mass-marketed gadgetry, enticing state lotteries and consumer debt; by entertainment, instant nostalgia, round-the-clock sports and a tickertape parade of trivia. Beneath all this clutter there swirls a smug miasma, the net effect of which is to paralyze people's will and moral judgment.
Who are we to criticize, for who are we to know?
This popular scepticism is not the cautious reserve of the scholar who waits for all the facts before pronouncing a judgment. It is instead the timorous evasion of sheep who simply don't want to stir up the flock.
The standards have been turned upside down, and today a dearth of firm beliefs is lauded. Right beliefs may be scarce in any era, but there is always a prevailing (even if counterfeit) orthodoxy.
Today it goes by the threadbare name of Political Correctitude. The hallmarks of those who practice it are an ostensibly pugnacious ignorance, a high-toned, professed squeamishness about passing judgment (against certain types of people) and an inquisitorial censoriousness towards those who run afoul of the party line.
The tentacles of this twentieth century orthodoxy curl and twist into almost every crevice of daily life. Let us look at one.
We are told by the scoundrels in Washington that Communism is dead and that our way of life triumphed when we "won" the cold war. Of course, our overseers hasten to warn, that doesn't mean we can return to the "unbridled freedom"and "rugged individualism" of an earlier America. What we need, they tell us, is to reinvent both government and business and make them "partners."
The word socialism is seldom heard; what raps insistently at the door is decked out in the ersatz costumery of "compassionate capitalism" or "capitalism with a human face." The stress is on cooperation, compromise and consensus, not independence - which has somehow been tarred with the odor of "racism" among the PC pontificate.
Call it hat you will, but the social and economic system that is said to have replaced communism is simply more of the same old internationalist redistributionist tyranny. It's the same old communism with a yuppie facelift grinning from a glossy four-colour process ad awash with multicoloured extras. Sheer Madison Avenue.
For decades we heard about the battle between capitalism and communism. There was some validity to the dichotomy - if you take capitalism as individual freedom and private property. Is it not amazing that many CEOs and corporate executives are volubly left-wing in their thinking?
Among small businessmen, there are some patriots who know their rights and deplore the occupation government. Yet the boardrooms of the corporations are full of men who genuflect before th ADL, the NOW and the NAACP and sing hosannahs in the highest to intrusive legislation.
These executives don't seem to mind abasing themselves before their own avowed enemies. In fact, they help underwrite them!
Since they do not appear to be stupid, we must assume that they have other, more self-serving objectives to pursue. They must view the help they give our enemies as an investment expected to pay off.
For a long time, the financial and Wall Street movers have felt more affinity with the vipers in the International than with the families on the farm and on Main Street. Today it is chic to be "globalist" in outlook. Anything else will get one branded a backward reactionary or - that dreaded curse-racist.
There are, however, people in the West who reject the global scam and cling to their own nations or what's left of them.
The occupational government is not ignorant of such sentiments. To hear the pieties regularly spouted by our politicians, one would think the US was the greatest bastion of nationalism in the world.
Nationalism, that is, independence from other peoples, is a prerequisite of any form of government, including one of freedom. The United States has always promoted itself as a beacon of freedom. Long ago, the claim was valid.
In spite of the blemishes that invariably soil any product of the hand of man, America was baptized with the holy water of liberty. During the past century, however, what has America done to further the national independence and sovereignty that is the prerequisite of free constitutions?
Someone's going to shout, "We beat the Nazis!"
Yes that's true. The United States can take much of the "credit" for beating Germany into submission and inviting Soviet Russia to swallow Eastern Europe, even as the gate was pried open in China for Mao Tse Tung and his Reds to take over that ancient nation.
Out of the ashes of that war crawled the UN, that mad architect's model for a new world plantation. Under its machinations came forth Israel and its roving marionettes who dun the West for reparations and foreign aid while monitoring every hiccough to ensure that anything "negative" uttered about the Jews is quickly condemned.
There followed the wars in Korea and Viet Nam and the hordes of unwashed hippies trashing our colleges in the name of "free speech" and "peace." By beating those Nazis, we helped build the un-American bandstand upon which the likes of Clinton and his crowd today dance the night away to the requiem of Western civilisation.
Tomorrow: Part II of "A Heretic's Hope"
Thought for the Day:
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, We make our world."
(Miguel de Cervantes)
Back to Table of Contents of the Nov. 1998 ZGrams