Tagged: Democracy

Reflections on Language and Tyranny

There is a bias today in favor of simpler, easier-to-understand language. We see it in education systems, in word processing programs’ auto-correct protocols, and in the rise (clever business in an age of school-indoctrinated illiteracy) of for-profit proofreading companies such as Grammarly. Though seemingly apolitical in nature, this ubiquitous impulse to verbal and written simplicity comes from the same ultimate source as the...

How Is That Cold War Victory Feeling These Days?

I have always scoffed, publicly and privately, at the fanciful notion that the United States “won the Cold War.” No. Ronald Reagan won a battle in that war, but by no means the final battle. Since Reagan’s achievement, the U.S., along with the West in general, has left Russia to freely rearm and develop its strategy for long-term renewal. We are seeing the...

Three Forms of Government

Tyranny is a gossip whispering anxiously about his neighbors. Democracy is a crowd alternately screaming its envy and singing its lust. Freedom is a lively and unconstrained conversation among equals. The tyrant and the democrat are therefore united in their hatred of the free man — the former, because the free man appears impervious to gossip, and is therefore a threat to the...

Anti-Elitism

Hatred of “elitism,” with its inherent suspicion of anything that seems to imply a standard of human superiority, follows inevitably from long immersion in political and moral egalitarianism. Democracy, the political product of the principle of equality run amok, is the fertile soil of egalitarianism’s most spiritually invasive weeds, gradually fostering a general, almost instinctive anti-elitism. In practice, this anti-elitism constitutes a most...

Public Advocacy and Hypocrisy

I saw a headline from Fox News (where else?) declaring that Mark Levin — former “conservative radio firebrand,” now Republican establishment populist for cash — has said that Joe Biden is the closest thing to a dictator that America has ever had. That’s rich, coming from a man who, just five years ago, publicly sold his soul and his former Tea Party audience...

On the Politicians

Can one be a successful politician without actively giving up the higher spiritual pursuits? That is, can one pursue a political career — in which effectiveness is built on the appearance of certainty, the rejection of doubts, and the reduction of all matters to action, agreement, and funding — without forsaking the love of the beautiful, the longing for truth, and the quest...

The Meaning of Life

Meaning is definition. The meaning of life is therefore essentially the definition of life. Hence, the search for the meaning of life is a search for a definition that will tell us what we are really doing when we live, or (if we believe in freedom of the will) what we ought to be doing. I emphasize the point that meaning is definition...

Thoughts On Populist Politics

Modern politicians smile for the cameras because they want to look normal and like “one of the people.” When they smile — at nothing, as a pose, to present themselves as smilers — they look like idiots who do not take life or politics seriously. Hence, they achieve their end perfectly: They look eminently normal. They look exactly like “the people.” Today’s political...

Two Things to Wonder At

What was the democratic world fifteen months ago? Clearly, it was not what it appeared to be, even to the most hardened skeptics and cynics. It is one thing to believe, as the skeptics and cynics did at that time, that most men, if push came to shove, would choose comfort over freedom, and would succumb to promises of security at the expense...

Democracy and Community

A society in which the great mass of the population has no shared idea of what human life is supposed to be is not a community. If that social division includes fundamental disagreements about the proper relationship between citizen and government, then the society is in faction. If, in turn, this political divide consists of one or more large parties seeking to use...