The pending death of reason and the new Dark Age
By F. Paul Valone
The following column, published in The Charlotte Observer on December 2, 1997 under the title “Liberalism flings nation back to the Dark Ages,” finished my first twelve month stint as an “Observer Community Columnist” and was intended to summarize the goal of my previous writings.
“Now take a look at the state of the world. The signs and symptoms of the Dark Ages are rising again all over the earth.” - Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged.
In columns past, I’ve described how twentieth century American “liberalism” erodes individual freedom. On issues ranging from guns to schools to animal rights, the self-anointed impose their enlightenment on all who allow it.
Despite claims that the labels “liberal” and “conservative” are no longer relevant, liberal perspectives generally rely on appeals not to reason, but to the whims of raw emotion. That irrationality threatens to arrest the cultivation of western logic in ways unseen since the Dark Ages.
Consider, for example, how phony altruism exploits children for political gain. When Republicans shrink the federal leviathan by letting states administer school lunch programs through block grants, they’re accused of stealing food from children. And when Sarah Brady pushes her gun control measure du jour, she implores us, “Do it for all our children.”
Rational decision-makers who survive charges that they lack compassion face a second layer of defense intended to deny them accurate information. Government-funded “research” often ignores scientific method, instead - in the words of some academics - “systematically inventing, misinterpreting … or otherwise manipulating data to validate preordained conclusions.”
Although gay activists, for example, cite studies claiming a “gay gene” determines sexual orientation, a recent bioethics report suggests the research suffers from basic methodological flaws. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control promotes gun control by deliberately obscuring the fact that among most demographic groups of American children, homicide rates are on par with other industrialized nations.
Many liberals seem unable (or unwilling) to admit that objective reality exists at all. To them, truth is malleable, depending on perspective. During the heat of debate, a liberal radio host once told me, “You have your facts and I have mine,” utterly oblivious that facts - as opposed to opinions - are neither “yours” nor “mine,” but merely facts.
When you’re not being bludgeoned with irrationality, the stiletto of guilt is slipped between your ribs. Liberals demand guilt for achievements in your life, your culture, your very species. Hence, animal activists insist you renounce not only wearing fur, but using animals for medical research - even as we stay but a half-step ahead of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia, tuberculosis, and plague.
Our self-loathing makes us so afraid of pronouncing our culture right and others wrong that we become morally passive when faced with “diverse” cultural practices like, say, genocide. At my alma mater, a professor described a student who epitomizes the trend: “Of course, I dislike the Nazis,” said the student about the Holocaust, “but who is to say they are morally wrong?”
Elsewhere, the Smithsonian warps history with an exhibit of the Enola Gay depicting America as the aggressor and Japan, the victim. Meanwhile, the National Center for History in the Schools devises American history curricula which ignore Paul Revere and the Wright brothers, while highlighting McCarthyism and the KKK. As George Orwell aptly observed, “Who controls the past … controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
We’ve denounced the creators of the world’s most successful culture and surrendered reason to emotional rubbish. Toss in a little New Age mysticism and we’re back in the land of faeries and dragons.
In King Bill’s feudal vision, Camelot lies within the moat called the Beltway while beyond, the serfs of the welfare state - unable to tell freedom from servitude and dependent on the good graces of His Majesty for food and shelter - vote away their last vestiges of control.
Unlike the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, heresy against political correctness isn’t punished by burning at the stake (except perhaps in the “Observer Forum”). But when a college student is expelled for violating a campus “speech code,” the objective remains the same: To ensure he conforms.
When next a liberal applies twentieth century standards to brand Thomas Jefferson a “racist,” remind them that Sweden built its “enlightened welfare state” by forced sterilization of 60,000 “racially inferior” women in a program which ended only in 1976.
And when next you see socialism masquerading as “compassion,” see through the charade. Cold, clear, western logic cured disease, built cities and created free societies. Let’s not discard it.
You can hide in the darkness, or step into light. “Man has been called a rational being,” said Ayn Rand, “but rationality is a matter of choice…”