Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14

Ralph Hancock at Postmodern Conservative on Bastille Day and the triumph of Reason:
As I awoke this morning I was treated to a most light-hearted remembrance of Bastille day on NPR. Nothing is so merry, it seems, as stringing up a few “aristocrats” from light poles. Not that the jovial announcers at NPR are particularly to blame; their casual notice of what could be considered the political beginning of radical modernity is thoroughly typical of the complacency of our late modernity: an unquestioned secular rationalism, but without bearing any of the weight of reason’s responsibility. At least Lenin, a very conscious heir of the Jacobins, had some sense of the gravity of the decision by human beings to take over the sovereignty that had belonged to God. Now, however, reason rules with unbearable lightness.

Here are some thoughts I framed long ago, for the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the taking of the Bastille: [snip]

…. If politics is all there is, then politics must be everything, it must hold the key to fulfilling not only the ordinary needs but even the deepest longings of humanity.

Those who propose to liberate human beings by reducing them to their naked individuality and destroying the bonds that connect them with principles understood to reside beyond human power risk arrogating to themselves the right to forge new and tighter chains. If there is no Truth above the People, then the People are led to create their own truth – in effect, of course, some revolutionary elite must create it in the name of the People, whatever the human cost. The violence of the Terror appears thus to spring from a theoretical violence to human nature… [more]
Postmodern Conservative — A First Things Blog

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