Monday, October 27, 2008

Personal Aside: If an Obama Victory Comes, It Will Be Exactly What This Nation Deserves. Decadence Not Mere Loss of an Election Will Have Produced It.

My best guess is that John McCain still has a chance. While Barack Obama leads in every indicator I’ve seen, the needles are fluctuating wildly. Harold Macmillan’s original theory of politics…that they are caused by “events, my dear boy, events”… has proved out thus far with one international event and a domestic one. The international event that rescued the McCain campaign was the assassination of Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan last December 27, 2007. From that time on, John McCain’s stature as a leader in his party and nation anent foreign affairs took hold. The domestic (spiraling later into global) which sent all Republican fortunes reeling including McCain’s was the economic meltdown of Oct. 1, 2008. Frankly, only an episode of significant intensity—most probably an international crisis involving possible war—can rescue McCain now. But don’t discount one. I remember the last days of October, 1962, an off-year, when Republican fortunes were on the rise only to be short-circuited by the Cuban Missile crisis. My own Republican governor of Minnesota was rated a distinctly probable victor in a tough state. What happened to revivify John Kennedy then can work the other way now. Can.

The way crises are popping like firecrackers, one could easily happen as late as 50 hours before election and still change the equation. If it doesn’t and Obama is elected what is likely to happen? The one thing not to do is to blame McCain or the campaign. The sweep of history is far-far more significant than that. It will be the last chapter in a long decline.

In the long view, as Allan Bloom has said, the West started its moral decline with the so-called Enlightenment where science began to spring free from religion and then challenged it with great projects of science and the law. Thereupon a secular consciousness and material well-being began to rise to the extent that the Church could not put the genie of God-centered thought back into the jug. Where philosophy had been based on Thomistic melding of reason and faith, Jean Jacques Rousseau began to assail such belief. Nietzsche followed by concluding that such faith-based rationalism cannot defend itself theoretically. Thus where does reason turn when men insist that faith-based reason cannot be discovered? It turns to MAN. Nietzsche in a real sense relegates man to the role played by Satan in Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Nietzschean nihilism becomes nihilism: American style. From this came Max Weber, the German sociologist. His book “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” when translated into English dropped a bomb on the old certainty that built this nation.

Thus Nietzschean nihilism reached these shores in Weberian disguise. But earlier Hume’s skepticism was eroding British philosophy culminating when Ludwig Wittgenstein moved to England and linked arms with Bertrand Russell. But from the standpoint of what Barack Obama will bring to us, consider that he would represent the first president who will officially smite asunder the old relationship of common law and natural law. Even Bill Clinton paid lip-service to the old relationship when he declared that while abortion should be legal, it should be rare. Up to now it could be said that whether presidents knew it or not, they basically followed the Old Order which is to believe the basic inclinations of man are five:

1. To see the good which is ultimately the highest good which is eternal happiness; 2. to preserve himself in existence; 3. to preserve the species, i.e. to unite sexually; 4. to live in community with other men; and 5. to use his intellect and will to know the truth and make his own decisions.

Barack Obama by coming of age in a nihilistic age rejects these considerations. Whereas our past presidents, good or bad, knew it or not they embodied the fact that ther is a real world out there, created by a loving God who wants us to choose to be with him eternally in heaven. We can really know this world and the nature of the things in it, including ourselves. We can really know what is right and wrong. If we act according to our nature especially by faith in God, we can obtain our final desirable end. Moreover the human law is part of God’s plan and only through adherence to natural law and divine law can a society reach lasting justice and peace.

Obama is a man of this age…and would be the first president of our nihilistic age…by rejecting the old truths. Remember when he said he could not calculate when life begins because it’s beyond his pa grade? Remember when he said he would not want his daughters “punished” by a child conceived out of wedlock?

A committed secularist he is a follower of Jeremy Bentham who said the purpose of law is to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. Good is defined as pleasure. In law that view has been inculcated by Hans Kelsen [1881-1973] who exerted a tremendous influence on American law in the same way that John Dewey (who lived at the same time) gave us relativism in philosophy and education. Kelsen, born in Austria, author of his country’s constitution between the two world wars, rejected the possibility of natural law and as a renowned professor at Columbia denied the “metaphysical view that there is an absolute reality, i.e. a reality that exists independently of human knowledge.” He adopted philosophical relativism which he described as the “empirical doctrine that really exists only within human knowledge and that, as the object of knowledge, reality is relative to the knowing subject.” The Nazi rule of law came from Kelsen despite his best intentions. When we remove absolutes, remove natural law, you substitute human convenience for law.

Philosophical relativism, taught Kelsen, which has become an accepted part of contemporary legal studies (so accepted that it is granted without attribution), teaches that “what is right today may be wrong tomorrow.” He stated, “the minority must have full opportunity of becoming the majority. Only if it is not possible to decide in an absolute way what is right and what is wrong is it advisable to discuss the issue and after discussion submit to a compromise.” The problem, of course, is that when the majority is in control of the political process decide to oppress the minority there is neither moral nor legal recourse. We are seeing this now even before the campaign is over. We are seeing it in the declared intention of Obama to enact a misnamed “Freedom of Choice Act” which would negate all laws passed heretofore to curtail abortion. We see it in Nancy Pelosi’s acknowledged intention to pass a misnamed “Fairness Doctrine” that will curtail the rights of conservatives on talk radio to the labor of finding spokesmen from the Left to have “equal time”—despite the fact that in the marketplace of free ideas they cannot muster a popular following to deserve a hearing. It is Kelsenism.

Mark my words, under this nihilistic Kensen legal philosophy the legislator decides what law will be useful and in accord with the basic norm as determined by himself. There is no higher law of nature or of God and the ultimate criterion is force.

More later. But what is coming in an Obama election is the advent of another Dark Age. We have all but elected Obama because of our own indolence and the, up to now, materialistic luxury that has given way to decadence. Learning like purity of morals have faced great decline. Education has largely failed; the Church…mine particularly… has failed greatly. Too many bishops have become parsing parsons, flaccid, weak, intimidated by political power. The lack of trained minds and precise language…so replete at our nation’s founding…is glaringly obvious today. The Dark Age of Obama will lead us to great suffering. With respect to unborn…and born…life, it will be like the coming of another Herod. Remember his thorough examination of then State Sen. Patrick O’Malley who introduced the Born Alive bill only to have it throttled to death by Obama: his cold, almost Nazi-like questioning of life and his cold detachment…exhibited four straight times…to killing the possibility that born human life shall have the benefit of nourishment or medical care. Herod is not an inexact description of this man who comes to us with a smiling face under the guise of civility. And there is a punitiveness to his followers. Already one Catholic bishop who wrote that Obama is another Herod has been hauled before a court because he has violated “the separation of church and state.” Are they kidding us? When Fr. Pfleger struts and endorses Democratic candidacies in full view of the altar?

This Barackian coldness, enveloped in a figure of grace and sophistication, is the embodiment of another Great Herod. But the victory shall not be caused by Obama alone. All the institutions that otherwise should be counted upon to deter this usurpation have failed: journalism which has prostituted itself to a fawning supplicant…the Church which has surrendered much of its authority to recognize practical politics (witness “Fr.” Andrew Greeley replete in photo attired in roman collar who writes of the god he adores, the Democratic party)…higher education…much of business (Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett who support Obama).

In short, ladies and gentlemen, we are in for it. Coming unless an event will detour it, will be the living representation of Jeremy Bentham. Man’s “only object is to seek pleasure and to shun pain…Evil is pain or the cause of pain. Good is pleasure or the cause of pleasure.” And of course the majority shall determine what ought to be done to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. This is what this Great Experiment in democracy has produced for us—and much of it predates Obama. The principle of utility is the sole rationale for legislation. Man has no intrinsic worth. His only end is the attainment of pleasure. That and the avoidance of pain.

That’s all for now. More sometime soon. Sleep well tonight. Few will realize it when it hits on November 4. Remember, from the Dark Ages there came a rebirth and the gateway to Christianity’s most glorious age. The hitch: you and I won’t be around to see it and there will be much suffering…by us, our children and progeny…until the fullness of time is realized. We’re likely to be in the desert a long time. Most of us will die there.


  1. While there is much political corruption throughout our USA, only in Chicago where Daleys have power-drunk control for 40 of 50 years, could an extreme leftist (I'll argue socialist,anti-American and anti-Christian) such as Barack Husein Obama have incubated.
    - Carl Segvich

  2. I've tried three times to post a comment to this blog but it hasn't worked, so I'm going to try this and see what happens.

  3. "In the long view, as Allan Bloom has said, the West started its moral decline with the so-called Enlightenment where science began to spring free from religion and then challenged it with great projects of science and the law"
    Yep, Allan Bloom, there's a great MORALIST for you. LOL.

  4. If Obama is elected, he can't be president forever -- 8 years is the max if he should be reelected. A lot can happen in 8 years to turn the public as strongly against Obama and the Dems as they have turned against Bush and the GOP now. Or as Illinois has turned against Blago.

  5. And didn't you say recently that David Axelrod has a history of backing popular Black candidates who, once they take office, fail -- sometimes in spectacular fashion -- to live up to expectations?

  6. I can't say enough good about this piece. Tom has connected, in one essay, all kinds of things I knew before but never quite saw the connections among. Thanks, Tom!