The last six articles in this space were written with one purpose: to show the intellectual roots of the Conservative worldview are based on six sound ideas. Those ideas are (1) that truth is objective; (2) the virtues are moral truths, necessary for life and happiness, and are not a matter of arbitrary personal preference; (3) beauty is real, and points to a divine truth beyond the grind of daily suffering and disappointment; (4) human reason is sufficient to tell us that truth is objective, virtue is strength, and beauty is real, and to make other correct judgments about right and wrong, regardless of race; (5) Romance, love and marriage are true and virtuous and beautiful, whereas sexual selfishness, seduction, sodomy and divorce are vicious and ugly; (6) Tyranny promises utopia, safety from reality, and all its promises are lies, whereas Liberty promises the hard truth that you are responsible for your own life, if you are man enough to be free.
Three of these Right Ideas are self evident.
- Someone who says there is no truth, either speaks an untruth or a self contradiction.
- One who says there is no virtue is either lying or has no objection to lying, and in either case cannot be trusted.
- One who says logic is untrustworthy is confessing his own statement to be illogical or untrustworthy, or both.
Three of these ideas are abundantly confirmed by experience.
- The idea that beauty is real is a truthÂ â€” beautiful things testify in silent witness more powerful than any words I could say.
- The idea that romance is better than the cold calculus of sexual predation or the warped unnatural passions of sexual perversion needs no proof aside from the beauty of romance. Everyone romance touches knows its divine power.
- Political Correctness makes the promise that it will protect you from reality if only you surrender your liberty. The falsehood of the promise can be easily seen from the fact that tyrants always attack and undermine the sacrament of marriage. They hate the family as a concept, or anything which might divide the mindless subject’s fanatical loyalty to the Glorious Leader.
The Wrong Ideas on which Political Correctness is based are the opposite: solipsism is the belief that truth is whatever you decide, relativism rejects objective moral rules, subjectivism says beauty is arbitrary, multiculturalism undermines the objectivity of reason, feminism and sexual perversion abolish romance, utopianism invites and excuses totalitarian government.
The final foundational idea of Conservatism is so mysterious, potent and profound, that it depends on a total commitment from a man’s whole soul.
Matters that demand the loyalty from the whole of a man cannot be proved or disproved: they are matters of faith. In the modern West, there are only two worldviews which make such a demand. One is Christianity; the other is the anti-Christian Leftwing bizarro-world of nihilist socialist pervertarian unreason called Political Correctness.
This final Right Idea is faith.
Faith is as impossible to define in fullness as love, but it includes the idea that you owe a personal loyalty to truth, virtue and beauty, and that the mysterious source of truth, virtue and beauty will reward that loyalty and faithfully reciprocate.
Faith is the opposite of nihilism, which is the idea that there are no metaphysical truths, no supernatural reality, no innate purpose to life.
The point of faith is often misunderstood, and, frankly, often lied about. Matters of faith are neither illogical nor do they lack evidence.
The confusion comes because no other decision in life (even such all-embracing decisions as the decision to marry or to join the army) requires loyalty from every part of your soul and every nook of your psychology; including the part that decides.
All other decisions but this one allow you a place to stand, a neutral ground, a judge’s bench, where you can weigh the arguments for and against and make the decision according to rules that are themselves not part of the decision. But in this case, whether you become a Christian or become a Political Correction Cultist, there is no neutral ground.
You cannot make the decision based on the truth of the claims, because Political Correctness rejects the concept of truth whereas Christianity says Christ is truth.
You cannot make the decision based on the virtue of the claims, because Political Correctness rejects the concept of virtue, and says that all moral good or evil is a human invention, or the imposition of mindless genetic processes.
You cannot make a decision based on the beauty of the claims, because Political Correctness rejects the concept of beauty as trivial and trite, and rejects the concept that beauty reflects truth.
You cannot make the decision based on the rationality of the claim, because Political Correctness rejects the idea of objective reason whereas Christianity says Christ is Logos, a Greek term which means, among other things, reason, account or logic. We worship a rational God who created a rational universe in which he placed men to whom he granted the gift of reason.
You cannot even use your free will to make the decision because Political Correctness casts grave doubt on the freedom of the will, or denies it altogether.
Between the Christian universe and the anti-Christian universe, there is no way to be objective and dispassionate between the two universes. There is no third universe in which to stand while you make the choice. Either you are a member of one or a member of the other.
Once you make the decision, you either keep fidelity with the decision or you betray it. That is where faith comes in. Faith is not the method of deciding; it is the power to stick with your decision.
It is simply a lie that Christianity is blind faith and Leftwing beliefs are scientific and enlightened. Lefties are ignorant in all basic matters of economics, history, law, philosophy, and nearly every intellectual discipline. What they have is a cult belief based on faith.
Once they accept part of the Politically Correct universe, such as the idea that there is no truth, they accept part or all of the rest on faith. They will not abandon the illogical conclusion of their axiom, because they keep faith with the axiom.
Once you accept any part of the Christian universe, such as accepting the sovereign power of reason, you can of course find rational reasons for accepting the rest of Christian teachings.
Please note that most people these days accept part of the Christian view, two or four of the Seven Right Ideas that these columns explore. Only a saint entirely accepts the Christian view and lives it.
In the same way, only a suicide bomber accepts and lives out the logical implication of the Political Correctness view of the Antichrist. Most chumps accept one or two of the Seven Wrong Ideas to suit his personal convenience, and merely has a fondness for the others. These intermediate positions are not stable, since an unspoken need for logic in one’s worldview drives someone not in one camp or the other in the ever closer to the center of the camp he has chosen.
Most American Jews, for example, are more loyal to Political Correctness than to the traditional teaching of the Law and the Prophets, despite the open enmity between Political Correctness and the Jewish homeland of Israel. This is because the logic of the Seven Wrong Ideas works powerfully to uproot the idea of God once the chump has accepted other progressive ideas.
Please note that nihilism is the belief that one should put faith in nothing. It is not the belief that life is not worth living or that life is not fun. It is the belief that there is no divine or universal reason to live: you invent your own reason to live using your godlike power of being totally arbitrary.
Nihilism is a total belief like belief in Christ. It is, of course, a faith of its own. (But the fact that nihilism blatantly contradicts itself does not bug nihilists. They don’t have faith in logic either.)
In the nihilist universe, since everything is totally arbitrary, political power is totally arbitrary as well. There is no justice, merely your group and your enemies, so you might as well grab all the power you can for the good of your group. In Marxism, your group is the Proletarians; in Leftism, your group is minorities; in Feminism, your group is women. It really does not matter who the group is. The point is to hurt the enemy by grabbing power.
All power is arbitrary; the only question is who gets to work his will on whom? Hence, nihilism cannot coexist with American notions of limited government.
But once you accept the Christian universe, the idea of letting one group of men, expert or not, having total and arbitrary power over the rest of us becomes absurd. We are all Sons of Adam, and, like him, prone to temptation, enslaved to sin: who would be insane enough to give a Fallen Man absolute power over his brethren? Not even the monarchs of the Middle Ages, nor the Emperors of Byzantium, arrogated to themselves the kind of absolute power routinely exercised by the Mandarins and Dictators and Glorious Leaders which the political philosophy of Socialism, when applied consistently, elevates to power. No emperor ever changed the definition of marriage, for example, an enormity that judges of the Political Correct persuasion routinely commit.
Limited government is the only logical outcome of the Christian universe, which teaches to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and no more. Unlimited government — tyranny either open and bloody or slow and bureaucratic and creeping — is the only logical outcome of the Politically Correct universe.
Likewise, romance is a Roman invention, that is, marriage based on mutual consent, unmarred by the shadow of divorce, unperverted by contraception and abortion. Only in the Christian universe is romantic love, days of wine and roses, suitors and betrothals and all the panoply of romance possible and encouraged, nay, demanded. In the Politically Correct universe, there is coupling like an animal, and mutual hatred and recrimination, because romance is the enemy of feminism. Political Correctness hates the family unit, demands no fault divorce, and wants all children to be raised by the state.
Likewise, reason has no place in the Politically Correct universe, nor does beauty, nor virtue, nor truth.
The final great idea, and the one from which all other great ideas flow, is the idea of the divine.
In our world view, there is a reason why truth is true, a reason why the universe is reasonable and why the human animal has the gift of reasoning, and a reason why human nature craves beauty and the natural world displays beauty. There is a reason for love and romance, a reason to hold the rights of man to be sacred. The reason is that the same creator who made us in His image created the world around us for us.
That reason is God.
With God, the great Democracy in America is possible if not inevitable. Without God, the senile socialism seen in Europe is inevitable, and Democracy is impossible.
(By “democracy” I mean modern democracy. This does not include the kind of mob rule that killed Socrates and condemned Melos. I mean a constitutional and limited form of government that protects the rights of even the widow, the orphan, the poor or even the unpopular gadfly philosopher.)
In our universe, things generally make sense and there is a reason to call freedom sacred. In their universe, nothing is sacred, and nothing makes sense. Our universe is called reality, and the price is that you must foreswear all folly and falsehood to see reality and live in it. You must have fidelity to reality. You must keep faith with truth.
Their universe is called unreality. It is darkness.
John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program“). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisherâ€™s Weekly as “this fledgling centuryâ€™s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.