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A Plea For The Moral Imagination

31 May 2013 @ 20:58

Quo Vadis? – where are we going?

What road shall we take?

America finds itself in the situation Arthur Balfour described in 1906 regarding England:

National character is subtle and elusive; not to be expressed in statistics nor measured by the rough methods which suffice the practical moralist or statesman. And when through an ancient and still powerful state there spreads a mood of deep discouragement, when the reaction against recurring ills grows feebler, and the ship rises less buoyantly to each succeeding wave, when learning languishes, enterprise slackens, and vigour ebbs away, then, as I think, there is present some process of social degeneration, which we must perforce recognise, and which, pending a satisfactory analysis, may conveniently be distinguished by the name of ‘decadence’.

I think the Earl is right on the mark and would only quibble with his use of the word ‘decadence’.  I think it should be ‘depravity’, which captures better the sorry state that over one hundred years of Leftist infiltration into The American Culture has produced.

While we are not yet physically enslaved to the mutated state, our hearts and minds, our souls, have been clasped in the manacles of Leftism.

As Edmund Burke stated in his Reflections On The Revolution In France:

All the decent drapery of life is to be rudely torn off. All the superadded ideas, furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination, which the heart owns, and the understanding ratifies, as necessary to cover the defects of our naked shivering nature, and to raise it to dignity in our own estimation, are to be exploded as a ridiculous, absurd, and antiquated fashion.

On this scheme of things, a king is but a man; a queen is but a woman; a woman is but an animal; and an animal not of the highest order. All homage paid to the sex in general as such, and without distinct views, is to be regarded as romance and folly. . . . On the scheme of this barbarous philosophy, which is the offspring of cold hearts and muddy understandings, and which is as void of solid wisdom as it is destitute of all taste and elegance, laws are to be supported only by their own terrors, and by the concern which each individual may find in them from his own private speculations, or can spate to them from his own private interests. In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows . . .

Every institution in America is degenerating.  Virtue is a rarity.  Right Reason has been demonized and, more importantly, delegitmitized.  The center, the core of who and what we are, is in collapse — hurtiling down into the depths of a Hellish Circle, plunging ever deeper as the days pass.

What is needed is a revival of The Moral Imagination.

Russell Kirk defined this as follows:

The moral imagination is the principal possession that man does not share with the beasts. It is man’s power to perceive ethical truth, abiding law, in the chaos of many events. Without the moral imagination, man would simply live day to day, or rather moment to moment, as dogs do. It is a strange faculty—inexplicable if men are assumed to have an animal nature only—of discerning greatness, justice, and order, beyond the bars of appetite and self-interest.

To possess a Moral Imagination is to not deny man as he is; it is the rejection of the idea that man can be perfected; it is the acceptance of Reality and the striving to make institutions reflective of time-tested Truths.

We must seek and find our Moral Imaginations again.

As Mr. Kirk wrote in 1981:

If a public will not have the moral imagination…then it will fall first to the idyllic imagination; and presently into the diabolic imagination—this last becoming a state of narcosis, figuratively and literally. For we are created moral beings; and when we deny our nature, in letters as in action, the gods of the copybook headings with fire and slaughter return. I attest the moral vision of men like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; some have begun to make a stand, in the republic of letters, against the diabolic imagination and the diabolic regime. A human body that cannot react is a corpse; and a body of letters that cannot react against narcotic illusions might better be buried. The theological virtues may find hardy champions in these closing years of the twentieth century: men and women who remember that in the beginning was the Word.

We must reawaken The Moral Imagination that lies within each one of us [perhaps, God’s greatest gift] because t is our duty to those who came before us and those who are yet to be born to wield that Sword Of Imagination that keeps Humanity alive.

6 Comments
  1. 31 May 2013 @ 23:13 23:13

    Wasn’t Balfour also the mastermind behind the “Balfour Declaration” which was the basis for giving Palestine, ( the original Jewish homeland), back to Israel?

    • 31 May 2013 @ 23:40 23:40

      It was issued under his name, but there has been some debate over the years just how much he had to do with the final draft.

      • 31 May 2013 @ 23:49 23:49

        I’ll have to re-check this book I’m reading right now called “The American Prophecies” by Michael D. Evans.

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