The Long-Range Outlook
If an elected government can sweep away a nation’s founding principles, pride, and moral essence in three months, then that nation’s principles were already reduced to sand, its pride no better than a dust ball, its moral essence just a bit of dead skin. Joe Biden and his communist puppeteers have achieved nothing, in fact, that was not effectively a fait accompli. That seventy million Americans believed — fifty million of those as a matter of religious faith — that a lifelong carnival barker and New York progressive would be their best protector against a communist takeover, is evidence of this condition.
How long does it take an idea to wear out? This depends, of course, on the inherent strength and durability of the idea. For an idea is a carpet the mind rolls out between Now and Forever. What happens when subsequent men, with their careless plodding in dirty shoes, track their weight and mud over that carpet? How many lives can the idea withstand before its fibers wear thin, fray, and eventually tear to shreds?
Taking seventy years as a standard human lifespan, we may say that only thirty-four men have walked over Socrates’ idea of dialectical reasoning — we ourselves are the thirty-fifth. And yet Nietzsche, the thirty-third trespasser, had already attacked Socrates as an enemy, and slandered dialectic as the source of man’s diminution. Even the very essence of the Socratic teaching itself — the philosophic life as the erotic striving for true definitions — could withstand no more than thirty-three men trampling over it before becoming threadbare. And yet has there ever been an idea more durable and everlasting in its substance? The lesson is clear: Nothing, no one, no attempt at completion, can ultimately survive its material instantiation. There is nothing a man can give his fellow men that they cannot, and will not, finally destroy.
The gold in this awareness, however, lies in the fact that this awareness itself was also part of the Socratic teaching. The Republic is Plato’s testament to the idea that no truth, however perfect, can ever survive practical application. That is what his teacher taught him, and that is what he is still teaching the few of us willing to follow the remaining threads of the annihilated Socratic carpet all the way to their natural destination, which lies beyond the effects of men’s dirty shoes. Plato saw the trajectory of “progress” centuries before that modern notion took hold of the political imagination of men too immature and vain to grasp the bracing wisdom of the ancients, namely the knowledge that any real “evolution” must be spiritual, whereas all earthly manifestations will tend in quite the opposite direction.