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Klavan On The Culture

Our Great Age

September 1st, 2013 - 7:03 am

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I don’t usually comment on comments because I feel I’ve had my say, the reader ought to be able to have his without my coming back at him. But I was struck by one sneering response to a post of mine last week. “Spoken,” said the commenter with evident disdain, “like a true modern.”

I read that and I thought, “Wait, is that what we’re against? Modernity?” Are we conservatives philosophically obligated to object to the world as it is and to long to restore it to some previous state? What state, I wonder? When men were men? When hard work was a value? When women waited for marriage? When knighthood was in flower?

Because I have to tell you, dude: I don’t feel that way at all. I love the modern world! Are you kidding me? I love the internet, I love smart phones, I love cars that don’t break down all the time, I love recorded music and books I can download at three in the morning when I can’t sleep. I love medicine that actually works and scientific exploration into the deepest mysteries of matter. A guy in his fifties used to be old: I love the fact that I’m on top of my game because of better nutrition and exercise advice and a fuller understanding of the human body.

I’ll tell you what else I love:  women who can choose the direction of their lives, blacks who can use whatever freaking bathroom they want, and gays who can have the solace of romantic love like the rest of us no matter what you think of it. I love the fact that I can believe in Jesus Christ with all my heart and the guy next to me at the bar can be a nihilist and we can watch the 49ers on TV together without worrying about burning each other at the stake. I love jet planes that take you to other countries, and Skype calls that let me see people I love who are far away, and special effects in movies that make it look like New York is exploding. Truly, it’s an age of wonders.

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Top Rated Comments   
“Tellingly, Humpty Dumpty admits to prosopagnosia — the inability to read a human face. He suggests it would be some help to re-arrange the face of Alice: to put, for instance, both eyes on the same side of her nose, or the mouth on top, to make her easier for him to recognize. That is the voice of Power.” -- David Warren

The matter of re-arranging Alice’s face reminds me first of Picasso’s cubism, and then Derrida’s deconstructionist propositions. One of the tricks of cubism is to present the eyes of a person like in Maya and her Doll by Picasso both on the same side of the poor subject’s face. That promotes perhaps the “one sided” view of the Progressives.

The fall of Humpty Dumpty reminds me of the Tower of Babel and also of the end of so many human political and philosophical projects along the way from Babel to our days. When the Progressives enforce artificial laws in violation of natural principles, that unnatural tension accumulates and eventually unleashes a destructive backslash. “Cursed is the ground because of you.” God could have easily said to Adam: you have acted in a destructive way and now the matrix of nature will kick your bottom.

This whole Progressive project within the frame of the Modern Age is bound to crumble like any of its previous incarnations.That perspective will not stop their promoters. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.”

To the insanity of the world we oppose this simple statement: 2+2=4. That has been decreed so by Authority. There is no theoretical way to demonstrate that truth, it simply is in all its glorious empirical way because God made it so. Father knows best.

We are not living in Post-Modernism but in the apotheosis of Modernism. That has nothing to do with blacks sharing restrooms with whites, IMHO. Modernism is a sort of fever that took over the West sometime between 1492 and 1517. It is essentially a rebellion against fatherhood: Popes, Kings, Nobility, Bourgeoisie and lately life itself. It happens within the frame of a profound moral crisis in the West and military pressure from Islam in the East. Its perfect expression is the battle of Lepanto which is still raging.

The Modern Age is a crisis and it is all about the erection of all-controlling state that will eventually take the place of God in the Western mind. Capitalism, Fascism, and Socialism-Communism are mere versions of that same godless drive against individual freedom.

In the last five centuries only the American Revolution offers a touch of sanity and common sense within that age of misery. Unfortunately the American Revolution and the wonderful system it created are gone but while they lasted they were the last refuge of liberty for Mankind. Ahead of us is the imminent death of Modernism and the Rediscovery of Man. I will not see it but I know that's coming.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doom and Gloom.
We have a government that keeps running up deficits and creating a National debt of 17 TRILLION dollars with another entitlelment(?) shortfall projected to be aroud 30 TRILLION dollars.
We have politicians ignoring our free fall into insolvency and more interested in the next election and swapping favors for political contributions.
We have a majority of our electorate who will vote in anyone that promises more freebies.
We have a President that thinks the job he holds is a part time position that interferes with his golf game,vacations and fund raisers.
We hve a country where are high schools are graduating students that do not have the basics in reading,writing and math.
We have government agencies and unions that make manufactuturing hurdles so high that they are forced to move their factories out of the country
We have turned our military from a fighting force to one that is dedicated to so called diversity and combat readiness secondary.
I am 87 years old and served in the infantry in World War Two and lived during the great deppression and I have never been so frightened for the future of our country
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
If God does not exist and humans do not have eternal souls and all we are is extra smart chimps no more valuable than any other bit of space dust in the universe then there is no compelling reason to perpetuate the species. If all this life is is a prison sentence until death obliterates everything then we might as well live a fun, pleasure, hedonistic life (publicly subsidized, and declared a RIGHT of course) while we're here.

But if humans are created in God's Image and called to imitate the Creator and rise above our human brokenness then we are called to do as He did and create more life as He created our lives. One can either imitate the earth and regard oneself as cosmic space dust or one can imitate the transcendent and thus escape the cycle of perpetual death.

And wonderful piece, Andrew. Your polemics against nihilism are much needed. And I'm a fan of the concept of post-post-modernism. Would love to see you talk on that more...
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (48)
All Comments   (48)
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Nice two-facedness there. Saying you support womens' rights and gay equality and all that, then turn around and cater to people who absolutely positively do not share your views. Nice try, Andrew.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with you, Klavan. Post-post-modernist here, too.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you even know what a post-modernist is or are you just agreeing with Andrew that "modernity is GrRREEEATTTT! So I can't wait for the after party ... which is post modernism!"


49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, Skype is nice, but having all my emails and posts syphoned off and stored to possibly be culled through later is not nice. Especially if the person looking at them is the same one who will decide if I get that heart valve or a bottle of pain pills. Jet planes, internet, all good; drones and a new governing elite who could care less what I believe or want... not so good. Black entertainers making millions, black people seeing all the obstacles to their equality and achievement blow away... damn good. Mobs of feral inner city black youths taking down whites with 'the knockout game,' not so. Am I a pessimist or an American. I like to think American, but one that thinks that now's a good time to watch where you're going, what you say, sadly, and keep your powder dry.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
You compared stuff and ideas. Do you read yourself, Andrew Klavan? Americans aren't in the dumps because stuff is bad. Then you end with a pep rally, nothing more. Nothing to go on but rah-rah B.S. Your age is no advantage to me. I look at your pic and don't see one who has an experience advantage on me. Every president since Reagan has been a mess. Every congress in that period has been a mess. You are also telling the entire staff at PJ Media they're just a bunch of sour pusses. Do they know you are the gadfly in the group? Talking American has always been about optimism where the people are concerned, pessimism where government is concerned. You don't know that, young'n?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sometimes I look at the current political situation and I feel despair. Then I look at what scientists, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs still manage to do despite the best efforts of our leaders and I begin to feel hope.

Andrew, I miss your funny videos and I thank you for the optimism.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Tellingly, Humpty Dumpty admits to prosopagnosia — the inability to read a human face. He suggests it would be some help to re-arrange the face of Alice: to put, for instance, both eyes on the same side of her nose, or the mouth on top, to make her easier for him to recognize. That is the voice of Power.” -- David Warren

The matter of re-arranging Alice’s face reminds me first of Picasso’s cubism, and then Derrida’s deconstructionist propositions. One of the tricks of cubism is to present the eyes of a person like in Maya and her Doll by Picasso both on the same side of the poor subject’s face. That promotes perhaps the “one sided” view of the Progressives.

The fall of Humpty Dumpty reminds me of the Tower of Babel and also of the end of so many human political and philosophical projects along the way from Babel to our days. When the Progressives enforce artificial laws in violation of natural principles, that unnatural tension accumulates and eventually unleashes a destructive backslash. “Cursed is the ground because of you.” God could have easily said to Adam: you have acted in a destructive way and now the matrix of nature will kick your bottom.

This whole Progressive project within the frame of the Modern Age is bound to crumble like any of its previous incarnations.That perspective will not stop their promoters. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.”

To the insanity of the world we oppose this simple statement: 2+2=4. That has been decreed so by Authority. There is no theoretical way to demonstrate that truth, it simply is in all its glorious empirical way because God made it so. Father knows best.

We are not living in Post-Modernism but in the apotheosis of Modernism. That has nothing to do with blacks sharing restrooms with whites, IMHO. Modernism is a sort of fever that took over the West sometime between 1492 and 1517. It is essentially a rebellion against fatherhood: Popes, Kings, Nobility, Bourgeoisie and lately life itself. It happens within the frame of a profound moral crisis in the West and military pressure from Islam in the East. Its perfect expression is the battle of Lepanto which is still raging.

The Modern Age is a crisis and it is all about the erection of all-controlling state that will eventually take the place of God in the Western mind. Capitalism, Fascism, and Socialism-Communism are mere versions of that same godless drive against individual freedom.

In the last five centuries only the American Revolution offers a touch of sanity and common sense within that age of misery. Unfortunately the American Revolution and the wonderful system it created are gone but while they lasted they were the last refuge of liberty for Mankind. Ahead of us is the imminent death of Modernism and the Rediscovery of Man. I will not see it but I know that's coming.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you John and Dave. I did not mean to be pessimistic. All of that and I forgot to mention that segregation is a product of Modernism via the East India Co. and other motives. In fact the end of slavery and segregation produced one unintended consequence: the birth of early Progressivism--Wilberforce, Huxley, Darwin, Marx, Keynes are part of the Progressives primordial soup. I would love to invite Mr Klavan to a couple of beers and chat with him about all this. With his talent to synthesize ideas in a video we could start setting the record straight on those issues.
Regards,
Carlos
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, maybe pessimism is not exactly the correct term. Long term, some of these things will correct themselves. But these corrections in the past have involved civilizational collapse and recovery over the course of a dark age. It's hard to get cheerful about that kind of a process. Let's just say I think I know what post -republican Rome must have been like.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Catino:
I enjoyed your post. I'm not sure I saw some of the links you see, but it was well written. As dire as the picture you paint (and the reality it reflects) it rings true and in that sense is actually refreshing to read. Bravo.
Regards,
John
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope so, though, like you, I don't expect to see it. I'm afraid all I'll see of it will be the chaos of the transition.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Little by little, as far as the eye can see, the Universe holds together. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just for starters, nobody believing in Christianity can possibly believe that most people are good. The entire point of Christianity is to give mankind a chance to overcome and redeem inherently evil Human Nature. Original Sin as a doctrine, you can beleive or not. Histroy demonstartes that humans behave as if they were stamped with Original Sin, whatever the reason. The biggest non-reality-based philosophy in history was the Enlightenment. which was based on the denial of any instinctive component in human behavior. Wrong, and every idea that flows from that initial axiom is also wrong -- completely, 100% wrong. Make no mistake; The french Revolution was the product of the Enlightenment, as was every consequent version of ZLeftism. Being based on the fanatasy that human behavior is infinitely malleable if you can just get complete control over the environment. When your entire world-view is detached from reality, experience isn't a factor in your cognition. That's why leftists never learn. BTW, it's also why they never quit; never rest; never stop chopping away at society's cornerstone. Also why they must be killed or expelled. No compromise with somebody who wants to destroy you and your society. Tolerance is a moral flaw.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
What a remarkably...well...unenlightened rant. Anybody who is a Christian believes that all men are made in the image and likeness of God, that the price for the wages of sin were paid by His Son, and that, in His good time, He will have victory. Human nature is not inherently evil- it was created by the Father and, while stained by sin, original and personal, what He made is good and beautiful and true. The Enlightenment was poisoned by human pride, but was also marked by tremendous insight into His will. If it begot the French Revolution, marked by hatred and foolishness, it also begot the American Revolution, a Revolution by Enlightenment men who still believed in their God.

Your brush is too broad and too garish. If many in the Enlightenment, in their pride, rejected God, many also recognized the continued validity of religious and philosophical wisdom. Yes, you had de Sade at the end- and Jefferson, you also had Aquinas at the beginning.

You need to get a little broader sense of the history of the Enlightenment.

Your sense of the divorce Leftists had with reality, however, is right on. The roots of it may be in the French Revolution, but the fullness of the ideology took a bit longer to develop.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jacobite is basically right. You miss the fact that our American Revolution is fading to black, that the imprint of sin on the human soul is coming to the fore exactly because so many reject the grace of God and all that power of restraint of the human tendency to wage sin with it. You can't carry the good parts of the Enlightenment to the present when they're in precipitous decline. They're glorious, lost history, for the most part. We fight to restore but the fight seems lost. Klavan is happy with his iPhone, though.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spend some time with a bright child and you will return to being an optimist. They still believe in the inherent good of mankind. He or she will learn in spite of the failure of schools. There are still things to be discovered or built. A grandpa who specialized in building tree houses asa a kid, can fix just about anything. Obama's influence will not last long. Someone ...maybe a child....will discover that he is the emperor wearing no clothes..
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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