Skip to comments.Bill Whittle Essay: RAFTS
Posted on 06/19/2006 7:02:10 AM PDT by Lando Lincoln
Humans are animals. I do not mean that in a negative way. But that is what we are: creatures capable of great good and great harm, susceptible to animal fears and passions, lower than angels but not without grace. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn a man who has seen a fair amount of both good and evil wrote of that fault line, that line separating good and evil, passing not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties, but right through every human heart.
As animals, we are wired to live in a state of nature. In the long marathon of our history, our civilizations are only the last two or three halting steps. It took millions of years to design and build the human animal. It will likely take that long again to design out all of the passions and furies that brought us here.
Until then, we live with a choice: to live in a state of nature, or a state of law. The state of nature is the default condition that the huge majority of human lives has lived under, and continue to live under to this very day lives solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short in Hobbes memorable phrase. Or, we can chose to impose upon our internal fault line a series of laws and customs, a Civilization, that imperfectly attempts to keep as many of us as possible on the side of the angels.
(Excerpt) Read more at ejectejecteject.com ...
As most of you know, Bill asks that we excerpt his essays. If you are unfamiliar with his work, I suggest you make a pot of coffee and enjoy - he has a lot of his work available on his website. Definitely a "Lando" recommendation! Start with Courage and you'll be hooked.
Meanwhile, since I have been somewhat offline in recent months, I will try to fully recreate my Bill Whittle ping list.
Hi, Lando! I used to be on your Bill Whittle ping list. Please add me to the new one. Thanks!
Sure have missed Bill...
Put me on the list:)
Thanks for posting this and please add me to your ping list.
Excellent, excellent essay. Do you know if his book is out yet, or if not, when it will be published?
This is the exact analogy I would use with liberals in the the seventies after the demonicrat congress sold South Vietnam down the river. I would ask them, "are the boat people fleeing from Vietnam or fleeing to Vietnam. "
Thanks Lando and a bump for the Afternoon folks
Been waiting for new work by Whittle! Always time well spent.
Thanks for the ping!
This is the introduction to a new book entitled AN AMERICAN CIVILIZATION. Regular readers -- and thank you for your support and patience these past long months -- may notice that there is in this chapter some recycled material, although none from the SILENT AMERICA essays. In this one case, I could not think of a better way to express an idea I had played with back in 2004.
...... That Civilization is not a natural state. It is highly artificial and daily runs into our proclivities for murder, greed, pride and mayhem. And because of that artifice, it is a structure that not only must be built, but one which must be maintained, only once, and that is constantly. Victor Davis Hanson -- whom I deeply admire -- described this as rust build-up on an iron structure, rust that must be regularly removed if the structure is to remain standing. That seems exactly right to me. And so here is my poor attempt at providing us with something no more or less important than a small wire brush.
The maintenance of that Civilization requires many prerequisite tools, and in the following pages I hope we can examine some of them. But the elbow grease, the one indispensable element, is that belief: belief that this work is worth doing. It is the belief that we can drain the open sewers of our most base impulses, and in their place build lives of decency and civility. It is, in the long run, the belief that we can make Tinkerbell fly.
Now there are people who do not much admire this iron bridge we have built, this bridge from the terror and anarchy of the jungle to the distant shores of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There was a time when these forces were strong enough to tear down that bridge. That time may again come. But for now, they lack the power to pull down this Civilization. But they do have the power to get us to forgo the wire brush.
In the pages that follow, I will do my flat-out level best to try not to generalize, to confine my anger specifically to those who daily unscrew the bolts and drill out the rivets of this magnificent Civilization. We are past the point of name-calling now. The hour is late. This is too important for arguments between Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, or Hawks and Doves. There are villains and heroes aplenty on all sides, and we are going to need every hand that we can get ......
...... It doesnt seem to take much arguing to conclude that Western Civilization, if not on the path to utter destruction, is at the very least somewhat frayed around the edges. ...Everywhere Ive looked and Ive been looking around a lot I get the sense of powerless frustration, of standing on the beach as the Thousand Foot Wave rises up to block out the sun and take everything we have built and fought for with it.
The forces of ignorance and barbarism bearers of ruin and despair wherever they make camp are growing in confidence. But beside their will to destroy and die they have nothing. These Death Cult barbarians think this is all they will need that, and an initial alliance with the forces they most despise. I still hold out hope that they will crack open a second book a history book, say that might at the eleventh hour give them some insight into the avocado nature of the Civilization they seem determined now to assault: soft and pulpy on the outside, impenetrably tough and hard within. They are going to do more than chip a tooth on us, these raving, bloodthirsty lunatics: they are about to make, I think, the same mistake that others have made before them to see the Cindy Sheehans and Michael Moores as representative of a corrupt and dying culture, rather than what they really are: somewhat entertaining animal acts we Westerners use to pass the time while waiting for the next opportunity to pull the gloves off, and kick some new inhuman, barbaric horde onto the ash heap of history, where reside Aristocracy, Slavery, Fascism and Communism, holding in common only the mark of our boots on their asses ......
...... There was a time, an age ago, where the differences between what we call the Left and the Right seemed more or less academic; maybe the distance from one high-rise tower to its twin close enough to see the coffee mugs and family photos on the other sides desk.
Then something happened.
Now we peer across a divide so wide that we can no longer see the other side; where the residents of the opposing camps as not viewed as having a difference of opinion so much as being considered insane.
Two worldviews this opposed cannot both be right (although they could both be wrong). I was about to write that one of them must be closer to the truth, but I stopped myself, for often people will define truth as conforming to their ideology, rather than the reverse. But surely one of these positions must conform better to reality, to the evidence, for anyone with an open mind to see?
Which one? And how do we tell?
People of good will on both sides value peace and freedom, yet we have diverging choices to make, and we have to make them now. We have to chart our course, a course for our country, and ultimately, a course for the entire world.
We need a map. Several are for sale. How do we choose? ......
Moral Clarity BUMP !
This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately on my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.
I read all the essays on-line, but I just ordered the book as well. Good call. Thanks
Please add me to your new list... thanks.
Could you be so kind as to add me to your Bill Whittle ping list? Thanks.
I am smiling at the possibility of some good reading coming up soon.
Remember, Rust Never Sleeps