Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Victory of Modernity Over Nature

In the excerpts taken from this post, one can learn why an earlier post (on females in the military) has been somewhat controversial, even among alleged 'conservatives.'

Dreher comments:

...Simply put, we have chosen to throw aside tradition and traditional virtues as a sure guide to how we should live our individual and collective lives. Paleoconservatism (and its besandaled cousin, crunchy conservatism) is premised on a recovery of that older understanding and orientation. [In contrast, the Modern Man] value[s] individual freedom over virtue, and ha[s] for a long time.

And quotes Deneen, who makes plain the origins and the methodology:

Presented in this way, we must understand the eventual abandonment of old forms of life not as the eager and wholesale rush to escape pre-modern forms of virtue, but a long-term and concentrated assault by the progressive and elite agents and proponents of modernity upon the limits that pre-modern culture enforced. This long and ferocious battle required three victories.

First, it required an understanding of nature as an opponent which we rightly sought to master.

Second, it required the redefinition of human beings away from the pre-modern conception as creatures of and in nature whose flourishing required cultivation in keeping with our nature, instead to an understanding of humans as fundamentally self-interested and utility-maximizing creatures - homo economicus.

Lastly, it required the displacement of God by man and the prospect of humanity achieving the creation of heaven on earth.

While there were many proponents of this assault, three of its generals (respectively) were Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes and Friedrich Nietzsche. What these, and many other modernist thinkers share in common, was a shared objective of assault on the limits that had traditionally been imposed by a long-standing culture which rested upon longstanding belief in the central necessity of human virtue. While such ancient conceptions could not have exactly predicted our contemporary and frightening confrontation with awesome and irresistible limits, pre-modern humans well understood that the consequences of unrestrained appetite were severe and inescapable. Icarus may fly high for a time, but his plummet to earth is swift and merciless.

Let it be clear: both the Left and some elements of the Right share in this attempted re-construction of nature, morality, and limits. The Left attempts to remove moral constraint; and some elements of the Right capitalize on same--happily so--because it is profitable to do so--or for other equally base reasons.

So with the case of "females in the military." That happens to be an attempt to contradict nature, and the consequences were laid out in lavender in the (linked) supporting news story.

"Conservatives" who object to the post clearly accept as 'normative' the militarization of women, which is the direct cause of using quotation marks when characterizing their philosophical bent.

Liberals are so blinded (or intellectually bereft) that they actually see the post as some sort of endorsement of assault.

But do not limit the Dreher/Deneen essays to matters military. It has far greater application to the worldwide situation regarding food and energy. And when one contradicts Modernity, straddling History and shouting "Stop!!", one can expect to be somewhat lonesome.

1 comment:

Disgruntled Car Salesman said...
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