Friday, June 25, 2010

More Than Just a Witness

Fascinating book review at the Caller site. It is about a bio of Whittaker Chambers, entitled Whittaker Chambers: The Spirit of a Counter-Revolutionary.

...It is Chambers’ religious insight that Reinsch examines in The Spirit of a Counterrevolutionary, which is written with real grace and perspicacity. To Chambers, man had gone wrong during the Enlightenment, thinking, as Reinsch puts it, “that man constructs his own reality through an overarching reason.” [A line infamously echoed by SCOTUS' Kennedy.]

Chamber' thoughts on the Benedictines are very significant and penetrating:

For those who obeyed it, [the Benedictine Order] ended three great alienations of the spirit whose action, I suspect, touched on that missing something which my instructors failed to find among the causes of the fall of Rome. The same alienation, I further suspect, can be seen at their work of dissolution among ourselves, and are perhaps among the little noticed reasons why men turn to Communism. They are: the alienation of the spirit of man from traditional authority; his alienation from the idea of a traditional order; and a crippling alienation that he feels at the point where civilization has deprived him of the joy of simple productive labor.

Chambers' thought on materialistic capitalism led to his famous (and correct) denunciation of Ayn Rand--who is a heroine to Glenn Beck, by the way.

He felt the same way about capitalism—that used wisely and by a virtuous people who accepted the limits of being human, it was the only workable system. It was when capitalism became a utopian dream, and when people grew too fat and greedy, that it became like the lie of communism. Chambers felt that people in the West had grown too spiritually atrophied to resist communism, or at least the ever-expanding state. He pointed to the Catholic Church as the one unflinching defender of Western religious tradition.

One is reminded of Solzhenitsyn. Good company. It's no surprise that Solzhenitsyn is, like Chambers, relegated to a dustbin by the Modern Establishment.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Great comments about a great man.

Witness definitely changed all of my thoughts on life and existence.

Can't wait for this book to come out!