Saturday, July 07, 2012

Who are the real H8ers?

This passage from a review of Summoning the Gods by Collin Cleary:

This mindset is, in fact, the essence of modernity. In a real sense modern people do not regard the things of this world as possessing any intrinsic being or nature. They are all pure potential, waiting for us to put our stamp upon them. Trees are potential pencils, a mighty river (to use Heidegger’s famous example) is a potential power source, and the men of today are, with proper re-education, the new and improved men of tomorrow. For modern people, therefore, things have no real nature of their own—their nature is always something that has yet to emerge, with our assistance. And so modernity always orients itself toward the future, toward a promise of perfection to come. 

Reminds me of a remark by a teacher of mine, Thomas Julian Talley, a liturgist, that the modern world had taken the three-decker universe's spatial metaphor of Hell Below, Heaven Above and made it temporal: Hell is the Past, Heaven is the Future.

From Ex Cathedra 2007:

I have also thought of the phenomenon of "liberal jaaliya". Jaaliya is the Muslim term for the times of ignorance, prior to a tribe's or nation's embrace of Islam, pre-enlightenment. For most liberals I know, Western history, prior to 1965, is largely a saga of evil, a "jaaliya". The New Dispensation of the oikophobic* progressive demands distancing oneself from it. Hence all the breast-beating and kowtowing and apologizing and scolding, etc. It is designed to show that even if a liberal looks like a bad old-time Westerner, s/he is converted, illuminated, and pure. 
And those who represent or embody "home and inheritance" --the white male American Christian businessmen, soldiers and consumers-- are The Enemy. Osama and his ilk are not really taken seriously as a danger or, less, an evil to be fought. As I have often said, hang out with liberals and listen for what really makes them angry. It is never the murderous thuggery of Muslim jihadis. It is alway George Bush, right-wing Christians, Republicans, and Corporate America. 
What they hate is the representation of their own demonized past.


*Roger Scruton's oikophobia: "rejection of home and inheritance, the disposition, in any conflict, to side with ‘them’ against ‘us’, and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours’"

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