Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Saturday, January 10, 2004


Terence Moore at the Claremont Institute:
Wimps suffer from a want of manly spirit altogether. They lack what the ancient Greeks called thumos, the part of the soul that contains the assertive passions: pugnacity, enterprise, ambition, anger. Thumos compels a man to defend proximate goods: himself, his honor, his lady, his country; as well as universal goods: truth, beauty, goodness, justice. Without thumotic men to combat the cruel, the malevolent, and the unjust, goodness and honor hardly have a chance in our precarious world. But two conditions must be present for thumos to fulfill its mission. First, the soul must be properly ordered. Besides thumos, symbolized by the chest, the soul is composed of reason and appetites, symbolized by the head on the one hand and the stomach and loins on the other. Reason has the capacity to discern right from wrong, but it lacks the strength to act. Appetites, while necessary to keep the body healthy, pull the individual toward pleasures of a lower order. ...

The second condition that must be present is a sufficient level of thumos to enable the man to rise to the defense of honor or goodness when required. Modern education and culture, however, have conspired to turn modern males into what C. S. Lewis called 'men without chests,' that is, wimps. The chest of the wimp has atrophied from want of early training. The wimp is therefore unable to live up to his duties as a man. ...

Furthermore, wimps vote. As Aristotle pointed out, to the cowardly, bravery will seem more like rashness and foolhardiness than what it really is. Hence political and social issues that require bravery for their solution elicit only hand-wringing and half-measures from the wimps. Wimps are always looking for the easy way out.
Is it really a surprise that a Democratic party increasingly unwelcoming to males, increasingly unwilling to defend proximate places against barbarian threats, increasingly attracted to internationally-approved half-measures, would find itself rushing to nominate Howard Dean, Mad How, Dr. Pugnacious himself, poster boy for thumos unbound? He symbolizes what they themselves lack, as he castigates Washington Democrats for their failure to stand up to the Unelected One. Unfortunately, the party is no longer "ordered," properly or otherwise. It's abandoned Reason for thirty-five year old ideology, and Appetites are now believed best left untamed and unrestrained.

I've felt for some time that most of today's Left's responses to events (and they rarely act but only react) are best understood in terms of projection rather than actual thought or analysis. Armed Liberal's formulation of Kimmitt's Law is a prime example of the way anti-war talk tends inevitably to the psychosexual - because that approaches the real issue they themselves have unresolved. And like all unresolved issues, it seeps into and affects everything.

The psychodrama going on in the soul of the Democratic party may leave a great disaster in its wake - and not much of a party behind. People forget that, even with the delegate selection rules stacked in McGovern's favor in 1972, George Wallace was a real threat to prevent a first-ballot nomination before Arthur Bremer shot him in Maryland. Another free-for-all convention so soon after '68, on the cusp of the coming party realignment, might well have damaged the party beyond repair. (And left Carter and Clinton unemployed ex-Governors from a still-suspect South.) This year, in a time of war the party refuses to acknowledge as actually existing, the Wallace from the left may complete the job.

posted by Kelly | 2:08 PM link