Friday, September 05, 2014

Hope is Theological, Not Political

CRB: On the slaughter bench of history | Power Line:

This is the second time in less than a month that I've run into Hegel's term "The Slaughter Bench of History" I'm concerned that events both domestic and foreign may make that a trend.

Maybe this will be the winter when I finally buckle down and read both the 3 volume biography of Churchill acquired from my father and some of his key works. He was part of and wrote of the tragedy that was WWI and it's even more horrible doppelganger, WWII, which destroyed much of the fabric of civilization that had gone before.  My reason for desiring to study this time is to try to understand how much of the godless nihilism operating in the tatters of Western Civilization today finds it's roots in the horror of the World Wars, and especially how we slipped from a time of relative goodness to a time of near total evil so quickly.

I found this quote from the linked article especially beguiling:

It wasn’t just lives that were destroyed: the very foundations of civilized life were splintered. Valiunas chronicles this in some of the best of the writers who experienced the carnage: “Many writers saw that men ground down by this combat of unprecedented savagery often ceased to care about their solemn vows to duty, honor, and country that had propelled them eager and heedless into war. These soldiers felt the pull of a new nihilism.” Convinced of the pointlessness of their sufferings, the writers “laid the foundation for a wholesale rejection of political life: men were no longer morally obligated to fight for the nations of their birth, or indeed to profess any loyalty whatsoever to these discredited relics.”
"The very foundations" -- in this I read the spirit, the "theological core" that was at the center of man and civilization for thousands of years, but has been corrupted by the idea that the political can replace the theological -- The State can take the place of God. The following gives the lie to BO's pronouncement of "Hope" -- hope if it comes at all, comes not from man, and certainly not from the state -- it comes from God, or we are indeed hopeless.

 "Too many remained unconvinced. For most the supreme value was now life itself, splendid peaceful life, preserved at all costs, never again to be sacrificed to the Moloch of national pride or the Baal of individual vainglory. The civilized world averted its eyes as in Germany the worst of the immemorial passions revived and assumed a demonic intensity never seen before. Men of good will could only hope that the evil would not touch them; but hope is a theological virtue, not a political one. The supreme tragedy of the Great War is that it neutered the multitudes of decent men who ought to have prevented the rise of the foulest regime ever, and the eruption of another war so devastating that the evils of the erstwhile Great War came to seem acceptable by comparison. Never such innocence again, but with a violent turn of the screw: not the innocence of 1914 but that of 1918 and some years following, the innocence of believing that a war of attrition conducted by incompetents is the worst that men can do.​"

'via Blog this'

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