Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Democrats Without Chests

The Catholic journal "First Things" has news of recent statements by Democrat activists that give pause. Now, I would not think the remarks so significant had I not been on vacation this last weekend whereupon I had occasion to reread my copy of the C.S. Lewis novel, That Hideous Strength.

Civil discourse requires the interlocutors to put their partisan aims under something larger than themselves. The ancient Greeks of Plato's Dialogs thought that Reason, qua, Reason must be ultimate. Theists in general must put the will of God over their own will to power. Historically, American political conflicts have taken place within the framework of the Constitution. When that framework proved inadequate Civil War took a half-million lives on its battlefields.

We have recently seen low-life's who would have a hard time knowing which end the round comes out of a gun proclaiming their willingness to perpetrate any crime to bring about the "greater good" as they see it. Happily, all of the NRA members are on the other side of this debate. The First Things essay speaks of bloodshed. I don't think we've come to that.

I think that if someone publicly says that he believes the ends justify any means necessary, remember that this includes violating the Constitution, the Bible, the Koran, the laws of the land, and the rules of civil discourse. You should believe his every utterance to be a lie until someone you know to believe in absolutes confirms it and you ought to attach the maximum skepticism to it when you hear it repeated. The "big lie" theory depends upon it being repeated so widely that people lose track of its source.

That Hideous Strength is a story of how men without chests find themselves completely unprepared to handle evil. The antagonists start with things that seem good, but take this same "ends justify the means" approach. The result are a few lies to "cut the red tape" and those lies are doubled and tripled until all correspondence between words and reality is lost. What meaning is communicated grows more and more vague. In the climactic confrontation between N.I.C.E. and Merlin all meaning is lost.

There are no policy goals so valuable that lying about them is justified. There are no policy goals that destroying innocent people is justified. If you think otherwise, I will not trust you and we cannot have a civil discussion.

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