home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

The Power of the Liberal Taboos Big Ed Fights Back Against For-Profit Colleges

print view

I Gotta Right to My Illusions

by Christopher Chantrill
September 25, 2005 at 5:02 pm


A FELLOW at work recently told how his relative was planning to sue her former employer, a well-known national retailer. Suffering from a particular affliction, she frequently absented herself from work up to, and sometimes over, the limit established for leave without a doctor’s note. So her employer had fired her, but not for unexcused absence. Instead it had acted on a complaint received a while back from a customer, who had been offended by her rudeness in telling the customer that the store was closed. The injustice of it!

It is to defend such people that Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pressed Judge Roberts to defend the peoples’ rights—fighting for the people against the powerful even when the people abuse their rights damnably. They couldn’t vote for Judge Roberts’s nomination to be Chief Justice if it seemed that he lacked a commitment to defend those rights.

So the great divide between the political parties does not turn ultimately upon the question of the right to an abortion or legislating from the bench. Those are just the topographic details of the chasm. One party believes in the sanctity of the rule of law as the arbitrator of disputes between equals. The other party believes in human rights as a defense against oppression, fighting for the people against the powerful.

Which is more important? The rule of law or the protection of the weak? It comes down to faith, not evidence. We live in a world of “events, dear boy, events,” but the events are mute, and tell us nothing until we weave them together with a narrative of theory and, when theory cannot serve, call for help from God, natural law, or history.

We cannot live a single instant without breathing meaning into the world, that is, breathing meaning for “myself” in the world. The head of the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, Sir John Lawton, declares that Hurricane Rita is very likely evidence of global warming. Pastor Jerry Falwell declares that 9/11 is God’s punishment to New York for its dissipation. Composer Aaron Copland declares that “So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.”

Of course they do. For the environmental administrator the meaning of life is to fight environmental degradation, for the TV pastor it is to fight Satan, and for the composer it is to find meaning in music. Otherwise, what’s the point?

But suppose it is all an illusion? Suppose that the worship of the rule of law prevents society from responding in a healthy way to change? Suppose that raising human rights into a sacrament creates an underclass of shifty chiselers? Suppose that global warming is saving the planet from a new ice age? Suppose that the sinners of New York are saving us from the boredom of dull conformity? Suppose that music were a harmful aural narcotic? (No, no. Not that!)

Don’t talk about facts. It is narrative and faith that breathe meaning into human life.

We learned about the importance of illusion centuries ago in the adventures of Don Quixote, that good-natured consumer of medieval romances who believed and lived a preposterous illusion of knight-errantry. He drove his family and friends to despair as he and his servant stumbled across Spain leaving mayhem and disaster in their wake.

At last, after three grand adventures in illusion that gave entertainment to millions and livelihood to his creator, he succumbed to sickness and sanity. Suddenly emerging from years of hallucination, he charged his niece in his Will never to read a line of a book on knight-errantry, and promptly died. For after all, when illusion is dead, what’s the point?

For you avant-gardistes here’s an idea for a work of art that will surely challenge society and test the limits. A twenty-first century professor of political science builds a career researching the political tracts of the nineteenth century. Driven to madness by his obsession with extravagant nineteenth century political manifestos he determines to become a political activist and right the wrongs of the world: smite the robber barons and save the poor from starving.

But the robber barons were replaced by faceless corporate CEOs 50 years ago, his colleagues over at the Economics department insist, and today the poor are fatter than the rich. And all those manifestos were a narrative of power, his postmodernist friends in the English department waspishly sneer, an apology for the rule of the new class of educated experts.

Never mind. He would still have a grand old time tilting at windmills and mistaking sheep for vast armies.

After all, he has a right to his illusions. They might turn out to be true.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

print view

To comment on this article at American Thinker click here.

To email the author, click here.



What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact