By ROBERT HARKINS
The Oxford dictionary defines reason as the power of the mind to think, understand and form judgments based on logic. The definition is too narrow. Reason is too often betrayed by a logic steeped in false premises, superstition, ideological fascism, and an overweening pride the Greeks called hubris—that state of mind which precedes annihilation by the gods.
Reason shorn of virtue becomes corrupt. The ancient Greeks believed that life should be consecrated to Arête, to the practice of virtue and rational excellence. They believed that commitment to the practice of virtue and reason sculpts from base stone a well-tempered, virtuous and ennobled heart. For the man who seeks arête, his wife, family, people and country will be his beneficiaries. But “aye there’s the rub.” For, however great may be his powers of reason, where man fails in virtue he fails himself, all things and everyone.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin were men of powerful intellect. George Washington breathed into being an American nation by his defeat of a British and Hessian army. Thomas Jefferson drafted a Declaration of Independence, in words resonant with power, enlightenment, virtue and rational excellence.
Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin, destroyed a budding Russian parliamentary government, slaughtered their own people wholesale, engaged in a policy of unspeakable terror, enslaved and finally killed, by starvation, execution, forced labor and exposure tens of millions of Russian men, women and children.
Last weekend, in a One Nation rally, a few thousand Americans, unions and socialists rallied at the Lincoln Memorial there to call for unity, espouse their political neutrality and celebrate the works of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto, Das Capital, the now ubiquitous photos and pathetic theories of the Cuban murderer, Che Guevara, and the scribbling of a string of socialist sycophants and killers.
One cannot read Trotsky, Marx or Lenin without acknowledging their powerful intellects and remorseless logic. Their logic however, is corrupted by a poverty of moral force. In the state they conceived and imposed to usher in a materialist Valhalla, they gave to humankind terror and torture, the gulag and the gun, misery and horrific death. Their books sold well at the Lincoln Memorial in an event One Nation billed as non-partisan.
While the American Founders embraced the practice of virtue and rational excellence, Lenin and Stalin embraced the intellectual ideology of the French Revolution, the construction of falsehoods pitched in sonorous propaganda and the well-calculated use of rapacious terror. We have repeatedly seen their like in Pol Pot, Ho Chi Min and Mao Ze Dong, in Fidel Castro’s island prison, Manual Noriega’s Nicaragua, Kim Jong Il’s North Korea, and lately, still in its infancy, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. All that need be done to measure the infamy of reason shorn of its moral foundation is to count the dead and dying, the nations raped and wrecked and the once free peoples still savaged in the name of one socialist dystopia or other.
Thomas Jefferson, and the Founders, in their drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, fused with its intellectual conception of limited government the moral principles of freedom and justice, prudence and equality. “We hold these truths to be self evident,” wrote the splendid genius Thomas Jefferson,
That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness—that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….
In order to safeguard American liberties the Founders intended by their plain words to so unalterably vest political power in the people and their states that the central government, restricted to the few specific and enumerated powers they granted it, would be powerless to usurp the sovereignty of the states and the people—hence Amendment 9 and 10 by which the Founders mandated the Constitution be construed strictly to constrain the power and reach of central government.
Amendment IX. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
In their grand effort to secure a new and free and just American civilization, the Founders did not fail Americans. But the American “Intelligencia” failed the Founders. Post-modern intellectuals reject the idea of virtue and rational excellence. In its stead the post modernist uses the police powers of government, the propaganda of Hollywood and academe, the subtle and blunt strategies of intimidation, and the obfuscation of plainly written constitutional words, to lay waste the practice of virtue and reason. In its place he intends to impose upon a silenced and sedated American people, the ideology of cultural fascism.
The philosophy of cultural fascism rejects the idea of individual virtue, objective truth and universal moral principles. All ideas are declared relative, subjective and tentative. Its fatal flaw lies in the fact that reason, shorn of the foundations of virtue, is pointless, corrosive and, as the mass tragedies of the 20th century attest, perverse, deadly and ultimately insane.
The purveyors of cultural fascism pitch a siren’s song to the presumably unwashed masses. They send this message by sophistry and florid rhetoric, by appeals to fear and prejudice, by force blunt and subtle and the outright patronage and bribery of a welfare state. It is better to act out of emotion than reason. Reason, in any event, proves that virtue is the chauvinist creation of dead men, and exhausted poets; that values are indistinct, easily acquired, or abandoned, profoundly subjective and barely relevant. In fact, values are defined by transient emotive states. Values exist precisely as they are defined by anyone, and therefore are of little force, effect or use.
Cultural fascism, however, has a more subtle and pernicious message: The cultural glitterati will do the thinking for the masses. They will define precisely the ideas that Americans will be permitted to think about and believe and those which are strictly forbidden. For men and women who insist on the right to think and conceive of life, virtue and reason according to moral and rational traditions— unconstrained by the bonds of political correctness— there will be punishment and banishment. The post modernist does not seek to prove anything through the explanation of first principles (other than that there are none). Instead, by the expedient of political force, he will teach that nothing is true, worthy or rational unless he says that it is so.
The postmodern cultural fascist exacts a fearsome price: In return for freedom he mandates servitude, for greatness, mediocrity, for virtue, decadence, for moral strength, impotence, and for hope, despair and chaos. The post modernist, treading the same bloody 20th century path, seeks again the accretion of political power, the silencing of dissenting voices, the repeal and suppression of free thought and speech, and the imposition of yet another miserable, brave new world.
The half million Americans who attended the rally Restoring Honor, sang patriotic songs, listened to lectures honoring Americans, their common tragedies and triumphs, their great leaders living and dead, and of course the American Constitution. They left the Lincoln Memorial and its grounds spotless.
Videos filmed following the One Nation rally showed piles of trash: Discarded signs and leaflets, half-consumed junk food, coffee cups, cigarette butts, coke cans, and other flotsam cluttering the Lincoln Memorial park all the way to the statue of the seated Abraham Lincoln.
A fitting symbol, I think, for a dying ideology: Trash everywhere.
Robert Harkins’ new book will be published later this year. You may find it at Amazon in e-book or hard cover, and at all major bookstores. Its title:
America, Sweet Land of Liberty. Of Thee I Sing.