Battles and Wars
Reply to a dear friend.— The battle is lost, I’m afraid. But every war has lost battles, and it is narrowminded to succumb to despair over one loss, however severe it may seem to us in the moment. The war is much longer than we can conceive from our most immediate, self-interested perspectives — which is why we easily mistake a lost battle for ultimate defeat — and that long war is never lost, partly because life, contrary to the progressive dream, is cyclical, but mostly because reality does not bend to the will of illusion, however eagerly ignorance tries to assert itself as the king.
Today, the friends of communist totalitarianism (“democrats”) seek to cancel — from society, from history, from all experience, and from the great conversation that constitutes human life in its deepest sense — every artist, thinker, or private citizen, past or present, who might in some convoluted fashion be accused of transgressions against current progressive certainties (i.e., absolute truth for a day).
And I, a lover of freedom and of the foggy search for being that constitutes the rational life, would like to “cancel” everyone, past or present, who espouses views that, to the extent they are put into practice, would directly annihilate unrestrained thinking, rational discourse, private property, individual choice, civil society, tolerance for and accommodation of human imperfection, and the teaching methods and spiritual aims of liberal education.
The friends of communist totalitarianism have undoubtedly won the day, to the immediate detriment of us all. But what is a day, against the perspective of history, being, and the great conversation? In their progressive seek and destroy mission, they have necessarily veiled the ennobling lessons of history and the immortal attractions of the beautiful from themselves. This is their fatal folly, the Até that will be their eventual downfall.