Friday, July 30

Orwell, Kerry, and Wilson

I have been trying to put into words my thoughts and feelings about the Democratic National Convention. It has not been an easy thing to do. The last time I successfully completed such a task was 1992 and the result was the infamous little book, Hillarious. As I was wrestling with this conundrum earlier today, I visited Douglas Wilson's blog site. Lo and behold, he had already put into words my roiling passions, so I thought I'd just offer my heartiest "amen" and leave it at that. As per usual, Douglas has said it all far better than I ever could have:

"One of the problems that Orwell had in his classic 1984 is that of a disjunct between the inhabitants of the world he was describing and the inhabitants of the world in which people were reading his book. In other words, while Big Brother held everyone in thrall with propaganda that was believable to them, Orwell did not make the compelling nature of this propaganda obvious to the reader of the book. The reader does not feel any seductive tug or lure -- rather, the sensation is one of being repelled and appalled."

"I say all this with the Democratic National Convention fresh on my mind. My sample sizes are small because frankly I cannot abide those hypocrites, and so I can only take the bloviating in small doses. But nothing is more apparent than the fact that normal people, with drivers' licences and everything, eat this stuff up. All they have to do is throw in everything in that is so persuasive to the modern political mind, things like falling balloons, and the deal is sealed. Then there is the animal excitement of large crowds, and docudramatic falsified Vietnam footage (taken by Kerry himself in Vietnam with his future in politics in mind), and you have reached what I would describe as the utter frozen limit."

"Just as in 1984, the image is what counts, and substance can go down the memory hole. Only we don't need a memory hole, because everyone acknowledges that the bullets in the water were an added Hollywood feature. The substance just lies on the floor, and nobody cares anymore. It doesn't have to be hidden, because the image is so much more fun. And this is the feature that Orwell missed (and Huxley grasped obliquely). It is fun being lied to."

Thank you, Pastor Wilson. Amen and amen.

By the way, Douglas has written yet another very fine book on the family, My Life for Yours. I highly commend it to your attention (surely now it can be said with some authority that he really has no unpublished thoughts)! I read it this past month and found it helpful, edifying, challenging, convicting, provocative, and delightful. Fellow husbands, fathers, and grandfathers, this is a particularly important book for us to read.

The Truth and Nothing But

"The Modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; but their truth is pitiless. And thus some humanitarians care only for pity; but their pity--I am sorry to say--is often untruthful." G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

"Truth: that long, clean, clear, simple, undeniable, unchallengeable, straight, and shining line, on one side of which is black and on the other of which is white." William Faulkner (1897-1962)

Opinion is a flitting thing
But truth, outlasts the sun;
If we cannot own them both,
Possess the oldest one.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

"All heaven and earth resound with that subtle and delicately balanced truth that the old paths are the best paths after all." J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers.
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

"Error lives but a day. Truth is eternal." James Longstreet (1821-1904)

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. Such is the essence of wisdom." Johann Goethe (1749-1832)

"Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more." William Cowper (1731-1800)

"The strength and glory of a land does not depend upon its wealth, its defenses, its great houses, its powerful armaments; but on the number of its gracious, serious, kind, and wise citizens." Martin Luther (1483-1546)

"What you do when you don't have to, determines what you will be when you can no longer help it." Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

"Wisdom is oft times nearer when we stoop than when we soar." William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"He that is warm for truth, and fearless in its defense, performs one of the duties of a good man; he strengthens his own conviction, and guards others from delusion; but steadiness of belief, and boldness of profession, are yet only part of the form of godliness." Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

"Those who have not discovered that worldview is the most important thing about a man, as about the men composing a culture, should consider the train of circumstances which have with perfect logic proceeded from this. The denial of universals carries with it the denial of everything transcending experience." Richard Weaver (1910-1963)

"The nation should be ruled by the Ten Commandments." Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919

"If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments." G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

"The enemies of the truth are always awfully nice." Christopher Morely (1890-1957)

"Tis strange but true; for truth is always strange--stranger than fiction." Lord Byron (1788-1824)

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