Friday, September 7, 2012

I seem to have gone all batty.

Dear Gadfly,

Of course, this is part, or signal, of the problem:

Peoples, please! He's a politician! A successful politician! You think he tells us the truth? You think he thinks he can get elected by telling us the truth?

For she is absolutely right. The strict correctness, from a strategic point of view, that democratic elections anywhere these days demand the winners ... reserve their mind? ... engage in verbal misdirection? ... well, exaggerate and waffle are two current words for it, anyways --- the correctness of this proposition is irrefutable. And what's more is that just about everyone so expects the candidates on offer to speak at variance with their eventual behaviour, that it almost achieves the innocivity of the English "good open lie system" we've all been reading about lately. You have, haven't you?

The main difficulty I can see in this hopeful view of the matter is that people do seem to believe enough of what their candidates suggest. One can tell this by the offense taken and outcry returned when eventual behaviour is other than (even honestly so) that predicted on campaign.1 There are, of course many reasons why a person might predict incorrectly what he means to do for the coming seven years (or whatever). Maybe he forgets. Maybe forceful unforeseen contingencies arise. Maybe he independently changes his mind. Bl. John Henry did, and then had to answer books with books on how he wasn't actually a deceitful scoundrel --- and he wasn't even holding or seeking public office! And, yes, sometimes it's he-really-lied-to-us.

One of the nifty things about a healthy dictatorial monarchy is that, occasionally, it is possible that subordinate officials are appointed on their actual merits; consider St. Thomas More's term as Chancelor of England. I sometimes dream that a similar thing may be possible, and even in a more stable way, in a democratic state, but it would demand something of all citizens. In particular, if a people really wishes for true self government, enough of them must first learn to govern themselves. It's one thing to be your own master; it's quite another to achieve self-mastery. This, more than the love for other-life-than-mine, is what seems to me most lacking, in the republics, in the Commonwealth, anywhere in the West as much as in the East.

For all the laws against frivolous divorce will do no good if folk still make frivolous marriages --- or neglect the forms of solemn marriage altogether. All the laws specifically against the taking of life-in-utero will do no good if folk still hate the ordered progression from love to regeneration. It matters not that those places where the law has already degraded are democracies; their peoples have rebelled against God, why should they not rebel against man?

But let us not close gloomily. The duty of a Christian is what it ever was, and he ought to judge as he ever has judged; nor are good and evil one thing among Christians and another among Saracens and Zulus (though what they know of it may vary). Let we who can and will live upright and noble lives; let those who love and marry live in exemplary fashion --- like B.A. and Seraphic; like John and Sheila and Marko and Michael; I had news recently of a poet friend's engagement, and have nothing but good hopes for that alliance, too. Let those who are single live joyous and upright lives (and sometimes help Save The Storks and such-like) --- I do my meager best, and plenty of others do very well, too.

Let the World see how happy we can be, and perhaps they might believe it, too!


1) Now, if I were a scholar of politics I'd pull out some references to news articles on such-like things, but I'm not such an historian, so you'll just have to rely on your own anecdotal recollections.


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