In Rich Moral Soil Grow the Oaks of Great Ideas
Several months ago, a quote on a radio program struck me. My university town is a pretty (okay, toxically) liberal place, but the surrounding region is highly conservative and religious, and much of the radio stations run religious programming. Usually I turn them off when they start saying emotionalized nonsense, but one speaker (who’s name I still haven’t obtained), discusses Christianity from a philosophical and intellectual viewpoint. From what I now know in retrospect, the speaker paraphrased G.K. Chesterton:
“In order to get truly great ideas, you must grow them in a morally rich soil.”
As an engineer in research, getting good ideas is a must for me. But I often have immense trouble concentrating – and part of it is due to the accumulation of advertising “scum” in my mind – among other mental consumptions that have done little to improve my moral or intellectual health. I grew up in a “high conflict” household, where I have seen the dark side of human beings up close and personal. But this quote is so true. Peer into the lives of great scientists, mathematicians, and writers of Old Europe. What do you see?
At times you will observe carousing, boorishness, lawlessness, drinking, and lechery, these activities are exceptional. Instead you find, all too often, the life of a tortured genius who’s adherence to personal integrity brings them more harm than good. You find morally upright people, who care little for waging personal wars with those around them since the crusade in their head occupies all their spare divisions. Look at Josiah Willard Gibbs. Or Isaac Newton. Or Honore de Balzac.
Power and Progress: The Choice the Tyrant Must Make
Rulers often must contend with conflicting objectives in their statecraft. Examine Russia, pre-1917. Czar Nicholas (and his predecessors) wanted The Russian Empire to become the mightiest, wealthiest, most advanced country in the world. And they were willing to pay for it, by giving supreme educations to pupils that could handle the study of cutting-edge knowledge in subjects like metallurgy, petroleum extraction, coal mining, and other hard sciences. The Czar also however, wanted to maintain the iron grip of absolutism over his expansive domain, with no intent on sharing power with anyone – especially this new technocratic corps. We can see the irreconcilability of objectives of attempting to effect technological modernization by giving grand educations to powerful minds, while attempting to maintain autocracy. Of course, the czar lost his struggle, and that power structure was demolished.
Today, we observe a different dichotomy of goals for our rulers. On one hand, the rich libertines that occupy the seats of power and culture in our country want to spread the dysfunction of the Hollywood lifestyle across the length and breadth of America. Hollywood is much like a matador with his cape, tricking the working class youth of America into crashing head-first into the brick walls of the arena. What are the bricks?
- Encouraging young people to have aggressive attitudes, be quick to violence, intellectually unable to argue with those they disagree with, and likely to become felonized.
- Permanently disabling all attempts to fix black-white race relations. Riling up the historical resentments of blacks; heaping guilt on undeserving whites.
- Normalize the recreational use of mind-altering drugs, tattoos and other body modifications, as to make oneself unemployable.
- Elevating mass murderers and criminals, such as Che Guevara,Italian Mafiosos, and brutal black drug dealers to posthumous (or post-incarceration) fame.
- Glorifying aberrant sexual practices: homosexuality, fornication, sodomy, free love, group sex, experimental homosexuality, and never, ever using protection.
- Ascribing heroism to unplanned pregnancies and unwed motherhood, when it is the work of idiocy.
- Fostering the idea that no human interpersonal relationship is valid or worthwhile unless there is sex involved.
Such a lifestyle, despite the facade woven at enormous expense by the entertainment industry, leaves the lives of its practitioners in broken ruins. An angry, impoverished, felonized, demoralized, impotent people are the result of ingesting Hollywood’s potion.Furthermore, our power elite enjoy ruling a people that are hamstrung by poor moral choices, since it makes it easier to maintain the structures that grant them power and wealth. You can’t question and challenge the authority of would-be-Hitlers when you are always bailing the water out of a sinking life, or locked up in prison.
And yet, at the same time, the power elite want America to remain a technological superpower. They want America to have the strongest military, and be first in everything good, and last in everything bad. The problem of course, is that their sense of right and wrong is awry, making their definitions of good and bad incongruous to reality. People that ingest the entertainment industry’s toxic garbage,while easy to rule, become morally, intellectually and physically disabled. Their “moral soil” is sowed with salt.
Bringing Sodomy to the Stars?
Did Newton, Gibbs, or Balzac have their “rich moral soil” sowed with the salt of constant advertisements and endless lies from mass media machines? Did they have their concentration tortured by ridiculous jingles, and a culture of universal deceit to undermine their probity? Did they tear their lives asunder with sexual excess, disease, drink, and drugs?
No, they did not. And yet, wonder of wonders, those dreadful white, Christian (or quasi-Christian), heterosexual (or asexual for Newton) males are responsible for some of the best scientific and literary work in human history.
While more roundabout, the situation is very much the same as Czar Nicholas’s quandary: how do I technologically progress while keeping my grip on power? To reiterate, our ruling classes want technological progress, but also enjoy the security that moral degradation brings them. The paradoxes of this form of misrule become apparent upon basic questioning:
- Can a nation of moral degenerates build and design the rocket ships, warp drives, and life support systems needed to bring sodomy to the stars?
- Can a nation of casual drug users and alcoholics maintain their balance enough to stand on the shoulders of giants?
- Can anyone devote their full concentration to the study of difficult subjects like science and engineering, when they are preoccupied with their over-inflated sexual appetites, and weighed down by the psychological stress of chaotic romantic relationships, and physically crippled with sexually transmitted diseases?
- Can a nation build the advanced infrastructure needed for a competitive 21st century economy when huge swaths of the population just want to be kept as livestock, penned off in ghettos with handout checks arriving in the mail every first Wednesday of the month?
- Can a nation raise future scientific leaders to compete with the best-of-the-best from China, Japan, India, and Brazil when the next generation of children are mental cases before reaching puberty due to growing up in the drama-filled, chaotic homes run by unwed single mothers?
- Can a nation of cheats, liars, and scoundrels ever be trusted with the investment capital to build a company?
- Can a nation accustomed to effortless comfort and stupefying hand-holding produce the “rough men” needed to fight and win wars against aggressors?
- Are such a people even capable of learning or thinking up ideas important and beneficial enough to be worth fighting for?
I’ll let the reader draw their own conclusions.