Affirming Reality by Rejecting the Lie

Sep 24, 2020 by

by Daniel J Mahoney, Public Discourse:

All “dissidents” and men of good will need to give serious thought to the ways they might resist the regnant ideological lies all around us. In this task, Rod Dreher’s Live Not By Lies will remain indispensable for what might be a long time to come.

In a thoughtful essay on the failure of twentieth-century political philosophy to come to terms with that century’s totalitarian assaults on liberty and human dignity, the French political philosopher Pierre Manent suggested that this intellectual and moral abdication could eventually have grave consequences for democracy itself. Totalitarianism simultaneously entailed the radicalization and the subversion of democratic modernity. Its paradoxical lessons therefore needed to be learned and passed on to future generations. Its lies and violence stemmed from an unbounded confidence in “progress,” a facile rejection of the natural moral law, and a blind contempt for the limits and complexities that mark political and human life. A political philosophy truly attentive to the ideological tragedies of the previous century needed to recover a rich sense of the diverse motives that animate the human soul, as well as a realistic appreciation of the totalitarian temptation that haunts modernity itself.

Such a recognition, however, would have demanded considerable intellectual insight and civic courage. It would have required the willingness to recognize that the emancipation of the human will from restraints and the repudiation of traditional philosophical and religious wisdom are premises shared by totalitarianism and powerful currents of democratic modernity. Interpreted in the least wise and humane ways imaginable, Enlightenment and modern progress were complicit in the lies that defined twentieth-century totalitarianism. That is a sobering truth that partisans of democratic modernity have yet to really face.

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See also: The Coming Social Credit System, by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

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