On the feast day of St. Catherine de Ricci, an Incorruptable, Feb 13, Sarah A Hoyt has penned a fascinating piece on the decision to speak the truth while dwelling in the Empire of Lies: http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/02/13/and-shame-the-devil/
To speak or not to speak?
Imagine that you are in a situation where everything you hear around you, all the points of accepted truth are carefully manufactured from above. From your own experience, from the things you’ve seen yourself, you know that they’re not true.
Can you say anything?
Of course you can’t. People will think you’re crazy. In fact, you might start thinking you’re crazy yourself.
For years I seesawed on this point. I knew that there were things I’d seen, things I’d lived through that no one in the US would believe if told (I imagine it’s much like someone who is for a democratic government in the Arab world now trying to tell the truth in the US about the Arab Spring. Even with blogs, unless he’s very lucky, people will think he’s crazy or a supporter of a repressive regime. Because everyone they hear about the Arab Spring tells them how chocolatesprinklesawesome it was. And how it was populist and pro-democracy.) Heck, most people in Portugal, save the few who’d been there with me would believe it. And even SOME of those had gone into believing in the official version. Because it’s easier. Because then you don’t feel crazy. And even if you can’t bring yourself to believe in it, you talk as if you do, in public, because you don’t want anyone to think you’re crazy.
This subtle disconnect followed me to the US, where I found that to get ahead in life you needed to be as far left as you could be, or at least make noises like you were, and yet where every single TV show and TV report and book and magazine shouted that the left was downtrodden and the right firmly in control of government and everything else. Oh, and the rich were all right wing. (Guys, for those people who are my age, this was never the truth. Not even in Europe. The rich are more likely to be extreme left. And it’s not guilt. It’s that they know what is the end result of communism: a sort of techno feudalism. They want that. In its end stage, communism is a complete reversal of the anti-nobility revolutions of the eighteenth century. And that’s why the upper classes support it. By their fruits, etc, as a wise man once said.)
By all means read the whole thing.
Let us first say Bravo to the courageous heart of Hoyt, but also shed of tear of farewell for the days now long past.
In my youth, which perhaps is not so far past, her kind of talk was everywhere. Everyone said one should defy the odds and defy the world to speak truthfully and think sanely. The whole idea of doublethink, political correctness, and self-imposed bafflegab was a matter of mockery: something done by lunatic Soviets in the East, or deliciously skewered by George Orwell in a brief novel of nightmarish gallows humor. Doublethink was not something Americans did. Hating the Truth was not something a Christian nation did.
Those days are gone.
Ironically, she is braver than I am. I was never faced with a choice nor suffered the temptation not to speak the truth. It does not require any courage on my part to defy them: there is nothing to defy. There is no argument to counter. There is no ‘there’ there. They are hollow men. I stand on the battlefield with my sword unsheathed, and I see their tattered banners but no one beneath them. There is no one to fight. I am alone.
You might wonder if I have lost sales due to my intransigent and uncompromising outspokenness. Well, I might wonder if I have any intransigent and uncompromising outspokenness, when compared, let us say, to Socrates. The answer is that I do not.
What I say is merely normal, merely common sense, merely traditional wisdom, and it would be true whether I said it or not, so I might was well say it.
Lost sales? I do not want the money of people I cannot entertain with my humble space operas, because that would not be fair. I may not be one of the metal-faced steel-eyed adulterers so admired by Ayn Rand, but, like them, I do try to give value for value.
And it is not the case that I could entertain the sad and demented gargoyles we call Leftists and choose not to: I could not entertain them even if I would. It is merely the case that to the normal, the abnormal is abnormal, whereas to the abnormal, the normal is abnormal.
My jokes don’t strike them as funny; my heroes don’t inspire their admiration; my villains do not make them shiver and hiss; my visions of the future do not expand their imagination. Leftists do not approve of things like jokes and heroes and villains and visions.
Gollum cannot eat the bread of elves because his tongue is as corrupted as the rest of him: all good things and fine are naught but dust and ashes.
* * *
Now you might object that not all Leftists are so far gone. They are human, like us, and love and laugh and have the same ideals and therefore can sing the same songs, and those shared things all men have, falling in love, seeing a sunrise, rejoicing in a new birth, we share with them.
To that I answer that the Shadow has spread wide, and some are merely on its edges, some nearer its empty heart, and some are falling toward the core from one direction or another, and some are inching away, and most are only in the twilight at the edges. There is no one at the heart of the Shadow: nothing could live there.
Nothing lives there because Leftism is not a political philosophy or a way of thinking; it is a social mechanism for enforcing uniformity of opinion, and a psychological mechanism for accusing others of one’s own flaws in order to award oneself unearned moral superiority.
In order to be logically self consistent, a Leftist would have to reject all values, all thought, all life, and accuse all things. No one can do this. Hence, there is no such thing as a pure Leftist, a complete Leftist or a logically-consistent Leftist for the same reason that there is no such thing as a disease without an underlying organism at one time healthy which contracted the disease. The Leftist embraces hypocrisy, and accuses some things and not others, some people and no others, even though logic sees no difference between what is pardoned and what is condemned.
They are all illogical, all arbitrary, all hypocrites, because no one can consistently serve an anti-human death cult and remain alive. A consistent Leftist, wild with overpopulation fears, would kill himself on the instant by withholding his breath, so as not to breathe out carbon dioxide and ruin the world. An inconsistent Leftist spend his life accusing others of the dangers of imaginary environmental disasters, and flies around in a jet, lives in an energy-absorbing mansion, and so on.
So when I speak of ‘Leftism’ I speak of the idea, or, to be precise, the anti-idea. I do not speak of the people semi-loyal to that idea. And all Leftist people are only semi-loyal.
Because they are semi-loyal, they can still take a vacation from Leftism, and indulge in those things of which Leftism disapproves: escapism, adventure, romance, knights slaying dragons, super-scientists destroying vile invaders with super-weapons, spacefarmboys saving space-princesses, and so on.
Occasionally a fit of Leftism possesses them, and they accuse, and accuse, and accuse, and say that romance is sexist and dragon-slaying is ecologically unsound and super-weapons are fascist and portraying invaders as vile is racist and saving space princesses is classist and lookist and sexist AND racist, especially if the space princess and the farmboy are both Caucasian.
While the fit is on, they are lost to science fiction, and indeed lost to all literature, high and low, and all poetry and epic, vulgar or Latin.
But the fit can pass. To the degree that a reader is loyal to some Leftist talking points and nonsense-phrases but disloyal to others, to that degree honest story-telling can still reach him and entertain him: but it is entertaining him qua his common humanity not qua his Leftism, which is decidedly and deliberately anti-human.
And being on the Left does not protect a writer from accusation. They eat their own.