The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rampage Notes

Now Playing: Far Cry, the first single from the new Rush disc, "Snakes and Arrows," due out May 1 - can't stop listening to this tune...

I had intended to do a post on the increasingly-fascistic tone of the Democrat-Socialist Party, but that particular type of rampaging irrationality was eclipsed earlier this week by a more direct counterpart...

There's been wall-to-wall commentary on the Virginia Tech massacre, and an incredible amount of it consists of variants on the line "Nobody can make sense of this." I never know what exactly is meant by that and I doubt whether those uttering it do either. There is perhaps no making sense of exactly what went on (if anything,) between the ears of the predatory animal who committed the crimes, but yes, in fact we can make sense of this.

What we know about this particular predator is that a.) like most other such mass-murderers he was ruled by emotion rather than reason, and b.) like most other such mass-murderers he directed blame at others, not himself, for whatever frustrations he was experiencing in life. At some point this human turned that inner chaos outward, and transformed himself into an animal.

So long as human beings possess the faculty of volition (which would be: permanently, since it's hard-wired into our cognitive apparatus,) some will choose evil and choose to inflict that evil on other people. It's a metaphysical given, "sono cose della vita," as the Elton John of Italy once put it.

In that sense the presence of evil is forever outside of our control. What remains within our control is twofold:

On one level, we have it within our power to cultivate the attitude that training in self-defense is as vital to one's education as basic grammar and mathematics. This is something I picked up from writings either by or about ('forget which) Miyamoto Musashi, the 17th century sword-saint of Japan. What stuck in my mind was Miyamoto's attitude - common-sensical but rather alien to modern America - that going through life incapable of defending one's own physical person with reasonable competence is flatly irresponsible. Yes, one hopes and works for a level of civilized society in which physical conflict is never encountered, but in context of the aforementioned "metaphysical given," Miyamoto's is a good attitude to adopt, I think.

No, a legally disarmed student or teacher has limited options against an armed assailant, but a fighting chance can tip a life-or-death difference to the "life" side, as the now-legendary actions of unarmed passengers aboard United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 demonstrated. Had Virginia Tech not fought only a year ago to forbid lawfully-licensed gun owners from carrying their weapons onto the Virginia Tech campus, readily-available training in weapons and live-fire combat would doubtlessly have saved dozens of lives before they were snuffed out.

What remains within our control on another, "macro" level, is precisely that work of establishing - or re-establishing - a civilization in which man lives and acts as man, not as a predatory animal. That, of course, is the province of philosophy and of its application in politics, in art, in the entire fabric of Western Civilization. The fact that the word "philosophy" will inspire in half of the people around you a blank stare, and in the other half vague thoughts of old men in white flowing beards and robes on mountaintops, contemplating their toenails - is suggestive of some of the elements that have made homicidal rampages far more common than they ought to be.

Western Civilization's intellectual foundation has been undermined for decades by the corrupt skepticism/subjectivism/relativism axis in philosophy - which has manifested itself more recently as the "PC" (Philosophically Corrupt) movement, now fully entrenched in academia, media and culture-at-large. The skeptics have been teaching generations the standard line "nothing can be known with certainty"; the subjectivists and relativists have followed up with "facts are only opinions" and "every idea is as valid as any other."

As a result, not only has the distinction between good and evil been intentionally blurred, the very idea of making such a distinction is militantly suppressed by the "PC" brownshirts marching around today's colleges and universities. The graduates of these schools now run key institutions within our culture, so our culture has become fertile ground for people who, having been indoctrinated with the idea that reason is powerless to apprehend the perpetually-uncertain, gravitate to the more readily-perceivable faculty of emotion as a mode of cognition. The result is creatures who grant to their emotions the status of ethical determinants and act according to their emotional whims du jour. The results are massacres like this one and the one that happened at Littleton, Colorado some eight years ago.

In addition, the standard collectivist idea that we are all undifferentiated appendages of a collective blob means that our cultural valuation of individualism - of the priceless nature of an individual human life - has been nearly obliterated. Therefore, in modern America there are far fewer cultural inhibitions to barbaric behavior than existed prior to the '60s decade, when the philosophical dry rot first began to take hold in America.

So expect more of this, and expect it to get much worse before it gets better.


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