In an earlier column, I noted that, even though the Left have no pastimes and no hobbies and no ability to discuss the public policies of the day aside from their one mental trick of argumentum ad cloaca—ratiocination via filth. All they do is heap opprobrium on the person voicing the ideas opposing their own, savaging the person, never mentioning the ideas, in hopes of deterring those who want to examine the ideas from doing so.
They spend all their time condemning people as evil, but ‘evil’ is the one term they rarely if ever use.
Why in the world would they not condemn their conservative and Christian opponent as evil when we have done what they clearly think to be a grave evil?
Frequently we on the Right gore the most sacred of the sacred cows of the Left. So why can they not leap up, arms outspread as human shields to protect the great bovine idol, and call it sacred?
This odd reluctance to come to grips with their foe, or call things by their right names, is a quirk of Leftist psychology that crops up often enough to form a pattern. (It is a pattern only, not a rule without exceptions.) For example, many a commenter on the Left smirked and sneered when George W. Bush dubbed the terrorists of 9/11 “evildoers.”
Is that word inapt? I can tell you that as a writer of hack space opera, whose job is to invent impressive space villains and their enormous space crimes, even I cannot think of an evildoer more evil than one who, for no worldly reason, kills himself, and a towerful and a planeful of innocent men, women and helpless children, without warning, without reason, without making any demands, sparing no one, destroying himself in the process, to put himself beyond any worldly reward or retribution.
It is a completely evil act, including not merely mass murder, not merely sneak attack, not merely dishonorable and craven ambuscade, not merely random and innocent victims selected precisely for their innocence, but also suicide, the unforgivable sin.
To add insult to injury, this unforgivable sin is in the name of a God who (even in the writings of the Mohammedan heresy) expressly forbids such acts, in order earn the name of a martyr, the name reserved for those who patiently suffer, not those who randomly inflict, pain and death in the name of all that is holy.
If you cannot call this evil, nothing can be called evil.
But the spokesmen of the Left disdained Bush for use this word. They sneered their practiced sneers and scoffed their practiced scoffs.
Why? Because their moral philosophy, inspired (whether they know it or not – and most of them, uneducated yahoos that they are, do not) by Marx and Hegel, occupy a materialist universe of ever-evolving standards, which means they have no metaphysical underpinning for any kind of standards at all.
These are not honest Ayn Randians, fiery with righteous rage, who know enough to condemn evils as evil. These are not upright pagans, solemnly bowing to inescapable fate, willing to condemn those pollutions and acts of pride or cowardice the gods of Olympos or Asgard condemn. Rand takes reason as the measure of Man. Pagans know there is a cosmic order which will not heed human tears, and no man escapes his weird, and that cosmic order is the standard, fate that even gods cannot defy. Both Randians and Pagans believe in an external standard.
Not so for the modern Left. The spokesmen for the Left are postchristians, philosophical nihilists, whose axiom is that all standards are man-made, which means, not standards at all.
There infinite nuances of postchristian philosophy, and since these groups vomit up printers’ ink like a squid to further obscure their meaning and their motives, a nicety of distinction between them is difficult. We must speak in generalities, keeping in mind that generalities are composed of exceptions and deviations.
In general then, the only way to condemn evil in a universe where there are no standards, is either to refer to a neurological defect, that is, call the man crazy, to a deficiency of personality development, that is, call him immature, or to a dearth of book-learning, that is, call him ignorant.
You can call him morally deficient only if you use a word that does not refer directly to morality: you can call him biased or prejudiced (which, technically speaking, refer to errors in the reasoning process only, namely, filtering judgment wrongly, or indulging in hasty or overgeneralized judgment; it refers not to a sin).
Or you can say his emotions are disturbed, can call him a hater.
If he shows no evidence of hatred or bigotry, you simply assume he is afflicted by these and invisible things at a subconscious level, like a man possessed by evil spirits, and that he is too dull or self-absorbed to be aware of his own defects.
Another condemnation is to say that he broke an admittedly merely local social custom: to call him rude and boorish.
Since the Left has crusaded against civilized standards of decency and decorum for decades, of course the new standards of political correctness they have successfully imposed cannot be labeled as standards of courtesy and decency, so must be called something else. The Leftist will usually employ the empty and elliptical phrase ‘inappropriate’ or ‘insensitive.’
Now, anyone with a regard for the insight of General Semantics, even if he does not accept the whole of Korzybski’s conclusions (as I do not), still must acknowledge the basic idea: The map is not the territory. The word is not the thing it represents.
Calling wage-earning “wage-slavery” does not make wage-earning a bad thing. Calling a sexual perversion an “alternate sexual orientation” does not make sexual morality a neutral thing, merely a matter of which way you point. Calling a baby a fetus does not make him subhuman. Calling a Jew an ‘Untermensch’ does not make him subhuman.
Changing the names of things simply does not change the properties of the things.
Does it change our perception of the things renamed?
Only among the gullible.
Don’t miss Part 1 of this three-part series.
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 Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’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.
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