Essays on various subjects

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

How is it possible?

I often wonder when encountering an old fool how someone can live so long, and still be incredibly idiotic. Let's take five justices of SCOTUS who all but rewrote the First Amendment regarding Freedom of Speech, by allowing Congress to outlaw certain donations and the timing of ads in political campaigns.

I mean, if I were in the room where the justices meet to discuss the cases, I would be pounding the table with my fist, shouting deprecations at the five, and threatening to blast holes in their heads. (Well, maybe I wouldn't do that, but I would let them know in no uncertain terms what incredible idiots and fools they were. And more than that, I would denounce them from any bully pulpit I could find as incompetent clods deserving of impeachment.)

Why be polite? We are only nice to each other, after all, because it matters. Bad things happen when we aren't nice. But the worst things are happening in small rooms by arrogant elites who depend on their fellows' civility to destroy all the substantial rights of individuals and their associations.

Back to the topic, though.

I hardly go a week where I am not seriously examining my behavior and my beliefs (which inform my behavior and judgments). My most cherished and core beliefs have been radically altered in the course of my life many times by profound experiences, crushing adversities, the problem of pain (severe illness, abuse, despair, and poverty), the exaltation of Beauty, the observation of others, the difficulties or marriage and child raising.

My principles and opinions have so rarely been set in stone that God could not chip away at them, and demonstrate that I stood on sand. My respect for Truth has always been so great that any notion or experience which might unravel my presumptive logic has always been welcome as a joy rather than as a threat. (For what greater joy is there than further discovery of essential truths and a deeper understanding of being?)

Yet, can anyone imagine what anyone could say to a Ruth Bader Ginsburg or John Paul Stevens which would appreciably cause them to reject any belief they now possess? The certainty of their opinions - easily refuted, easily demonstrated as illogical, contradictory, and basically puerile (for they are adolescent in nature) - are impossible to dislodge.

Fear of Death is the beginning of wisdom?

Someone once said that death ceases to be feared after 50. There may be a great deal of truth in that. I think there is a weariness which comes into life which makes submission to death more welcome than resisted. I know after my heart attack that if I'd ever had any fear of death, it was now gone. I attributed that to my religious faith - that I had no doubt of God and heaven.

Now, I tend to think that losing one's fear of death may be as much a function of age as faith. Otherwise, how do you explain all these aged fools who have no consideration "for He who can destroy not just the body but the soul, too"? All those who have gained the world at the cost of their souls?

For it seems that a man or woman can believe anything when they are certain that they shall not meet their Maker. Some might argue that all these aged jurists are actual sages who are sincere in their principles, compassionate in their actions, justified and rational in their analyses and judgments, serving the greater good unselfishly; and with an eye toward the sacred and divine in their search for justice and fair practice.

Who's fooling whom?

After all, I am no reader of souls. Who am I to condemn them as fools?

Fruitfulness. You can only judge the tree by its fruit. Thus, when we study the effect of these judgments do we find a better society, a more civilized and just society, a freer people more secure in their liberties; more robust institutions like marriage, the justice system, the schools, churches, and civic associations?

Instead we find a national swamped in pornography, slander, abortion, confiscation of property, experimentation on involuntary humans, divorce, loss of individual rights, vagrancy, vandalism, and vulgarity.

Have we not been granted license for any and every vice, while losing liberties to choose the way of life and values for our communities?

This is why I judge them to be aged fools, for their actions lead to evil, and not to responsible and moral freedom. And they can only make such judgments based on both delusional thinking, and fearlessness towards God.

But they are such decent neighbors.

What if they were to say they believe in God, but do not fear Him (because he is all good and forgiving)? That they are spiritual but not religious and dogmatic?

I would say they clearly know nothing of Him, experienced nothing of Him, have no insight from Him, for nothing they say conforms with millennia of the human experience of God. No one can say they have an inkling of God's Beauty, Truth, and Goodness (his holiness) and not begin their relationship with Him in some fear and trepidation. The experience of God convicts us of guilt, and no guilty person isn't afraid of a just reckoning. Fear fuels prayer, repentence, and purgation as much Love draws one on to the kingdom of heaven.

There are may serious, determined, self-assured, erudite, and confident people in the world who will always be the "wise and learned" from whom the kingdom of heaven is hidden from, while revealed to drunkards, whores, rapists, thieves, the lonely and rejected - and to little children.

What's wrong with being cosmopolitan?

These wise and learned are so much smarter than you and I, because they have never been afraid that everything they think could possibly be wrong. They live on the easy, smug, psuedo-intellectualism of soft thoughts, accepting attitudes, ironic detachment and quizzical amusement regarding culture because the great artists have taught them that the most profound of all feelings is ambiguity. They despise intolerance, except for those they judge intolerant, fearful of nothing except hurt feelings, while they swoon over the laments of people overcome by tiny hardships, and the unfairness of life - certain they could rectify all given enough laws and money.

They are the real epitome of petite bourgeois morality. Many call them an elite because they form a sub-culture which inhabits the higher echelons of the courts, the schools, the legislatures, the bureaucracies, the media - and that is so; but do we really call the shoppers of Wal-Mart, the soccer moms and NASCAR dads, the SUV and minivan owners bourgeois? Even most people with degrees are just part of the hoi polloi, because they're unpretentious and don't read much.

And those who do are generally cranks and crackpots.

No, the real stinking bourgeoisie, people confirmed in their cleverness, urbanity, sophistication, and tolerance - is that elite - so confident in their right to power, so unafraid of death and final judgment, so old without ever having really lived (for even if they had been great sinners, they might have learned something; and having no interest in sainthood, they dismissed all such discipline as ascetic folly).

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?