Michael Walsh’s new book The Devil’s Pleasure Palace is pivotal in its explication of how poor and purely evil ideas have subverted America, and eaten away at the pillars of Western civilization.
While we often hear the refrain “ideas have consequences,” too frequently we attribute the decline of the American system to politics or particular political figures, while giving the power of ideas short thrift.
But as Walsh’s important work illustrates, ideas are everything, and if you lose the war of them you lose all of the other battles too.
One such idea that has trumped to date deals with “History” — which you would not dare be on the wrong side of — as if some metaphysical Berlin Wall.
Here is what Walsh has to say on the matter:
Progressives like to throw around the phrases “the arc of history” and “the wrong side of history.” Martin Luther King Jr., quoting the abolitionist Theodore Parker, formulated it this way: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But when you stop to think about this, it’s simply a wishful assertion with no particular historical evidence to back it up. Such sloganeering emerges naturally from the Hegelian-Marxist conception of capital-H History. The only teleology they can allow has to do with abstract, ostensibly “moral” pronouncements of a chimerical, ever-receding horizon of perfect “justice.” The moral universe must not and will not ever admit of amelioration in our lifetimes, or indeed any lifetimes, they insist. It is a Faustian quest, at once admirable and yet a fool’s errand; no means will ever suffice to achieve the end.
Isn’t it interesting that there can be some form of moral judgment in a morally relativistic, largely if not entirely amoral secular progressive system?
Walsh has some questions for the arc-ists too:
What evidence is there that there is an arc of history and that it bends in any particular direction? One would think that the Unholy Left would be the last to assert such a grand pattern given their disbelief in the Deity. Whence comes this “arc?” Who created it? Where did its moral impulse toward “justice” come from? What is “justice” anyway, and who decides? And if the word “justice” bears a bien-pensant modifier (as in “environmental justice”), the only “justice” is likely to be the “justice” of revenge. The word “justice,” in the hands of the Left, has come to mean pretty much any policy goal they desire.
One point that cannot be repeated enough: Justice needs no modifier. To modify it is in fact to tip the scales of justice towards an end, thereby mutilating actual justice.
Moreover, I agree with Walsh that frequently “justice” today actually means revenge, in which people are cast as guilty for sins real or imagined until proven innocent and before we know any of the facts.
Justice in this time of renewed racial strife sadly conjures up images of mobs rather than a blindfolded lady holding a scale.
Walsh continues to the rub:
None of this matters, however, when the purpose of the assertion is not to offer an argument but to shut down the opposition via the timely employment of unimpeachable buzzwords and to advance a political agenda that has little or nothing to do with the terms deployed for its advancement. Indeed, martial metaphors, not moralistic catchphrases, are the key to understanding the modern Left and its “scientific” dogma of Critical Theory: Theirs is a Hobbesian war of all against all (bellum omnum contra omnes), of every man’s hand against every other man’s. As Orwell, who knew a thing or two about the intellectual fascism of the Left, wrote in 1984: “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.” These three aphorisms are the official slogans of the Ministry of Truth in 1984, and the truth is whatever the Ministry says it is. Truth is malleable and fungible, a function of day and date. The Devil will say what he has to say and will quote such scripture as he requires in order to achieve his sole objective: the ruination of Man and his consignment to Hell.
Truer words have not been spoken of our Sophistic progressives.
Featured Image Source: TheCripplegate.com.