Thursday, July 2, 2015

Raising a glass to truth

No sooner do we decide we must carve out a larger space of life, free of politics, than politics intrudes anyway. Perhaps that's a definition of tyranny. I was going to write a long blog post on the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, but after all what does the Court care? What does Tito's vodka care? That's not a non sequitur. Tito's sponsors Chicago's Gay Pride parade. Pandora has a an entire channel of "PRIDE" music. (I hope they include "Ballroom Blitz.") Sometimes I watch old reruns of Seinfeld -- what a dull show -- and in last night's episode, Elaine was already buying presents for a "lesbian wedding" in the mid 1990s. As Andrew Breitbart said, politics really does seem to be downstream from culture.

Our problem is to maintain individual dissent. That's a problem you have under tyranny. Boycott Tito's vodka? Pandora? What do they care? And one more thing occurred to me. What gay marriage does is to strip from all of us our right to the dignity of our observations of reality, the dignity of our reason. It strips from us, or it attempts to, human truth. Marriage is what it is, gays cannot marry and activists know it, which is why they don't pursue the logic of it to incest and polygamy yet. It would be the same as if some council of cave men ruled that we shall now hunt spears with mastodons, or agree that fire is cold. Human beings cannot live in a world in which reality is not permitted, unless all agree to be mentally ill. Isn't one of the sorrowful things about mental illness precisely the ill person's being cut off from truthful observations of reality? Don't we peer at them knowingly, and regret among other things the loss of dignity for them?

Luckily we have a store of wisdom from previous ages, in this case from every moment of every previous age there ever was on the planet, to fall back on. Here are two. I'm sure you could find your own, practically at random. The first is Shakespeare.

Which reformation must be sudden too
My noble lords; for those that tame wild horses
Pace 'em not in their hands to make 'em gentle,
But stop their mouths with stubborn bits and spur 'em
Till they obey the manage .... 

(Henry VIII, Act V, iii)

The second is Thomas Carlyle. He writes about the French Revolution, but reminds us in an uncanny way that we have other problems, too.

"Lies exist only to be extinguished; they wait and cry earnestly for extinction. Think well in what spirit thou wilt do it ...not with hatred, but in clearness of heart ... almost with pity .... 
"Honour to Bankruptcy; ever righteous on the great scale, though in detail it is so cruel! Under all Falsehoods it works, unweariedly mining. No Falsehood, did it rise heaven-high and cover the world, but Bankruptcy, one day, will sweep it down, and make us free of it. " 

Let's raise a glass to truth. Champagne. Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve. Retail, about  $40.

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