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The Fight For Moral Conscience

March 27, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By PAUL KRAUSE

(Editor’s Note: Paul Krause has written several articles that have appeared in The Wanderer. He is a senior contributor to The Imaginative Conservative.)

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Sen. Chuck Schumer’s recent blatant and explicit threats to two sitting Supreme Court justices were met with a faux revision — not even an apology. Politicians are proclaiming the coming war on women. Celebrities are claiming that we are living through The Handmaid’s Tale. And the resurgence of Never Trump “conservatives” becoming the mouthpieces of moral nihilism over Trump’s prospective battle with Joe Biden reveal the moral vacuity of American liberalism and the self-claimed conservatives who have joined in on the idolatry of disordered liberty.
In Mr. Sammler’s Planet, Saul Bellow’s titular protagonist engages in an important conversation with his niece, Margotte, concerning the banality of evil. Mr. Sammler, discussing with college-educated Margotte — who is a reflective embodiment of the morally confused university-educated young adult generation — says what all moderns and relativists cannot swallow. That the ancients were just as wise, if not wiser, than those of us living today, “The best and purest human beings from the beginning of time, have understood that life is sacred. To defy that old understanding is not banality. There was a conspiracy against the sacredness of life. Banality is the adopted disguise of a very powerful will to abolish conscience. Is such a project trivial? Only if human life is trivial.”
Bellow may be forgiven for adopting a morally sound and definitive outlook through Mr. Sammler. Of course, when Bellow published his award-winning novel in 1970 cultural and moral norms were still largely intact in the United States (though waning in Europe). But moral relativism and nihilism had always been a uniquely European problem that had yet to invade the shores of the United States.
Only three years after the publication of Bellow’s novel, the United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the killing of human life was permitted by the U.S. Constitution and this was universally imposed over all the individual states. Roe v. Wade was the erection of the Temple of Baal in the heart of the American nation which, since then, has become the most sacred institution in the United States.
If banality was the disguise of a powerful will to abolish moral conscience and the sacredness of life, then liberty has been the even more powerful disguise to achieve this project since 1973. Morally empty Christians, Jews, and Muslims who hide behind the idol of liberty will see their moral conscience, and soul, utterly eviscerated by this all-consuming poison that destroys what the best and purest humans from the beginning of time have always known, and that which all three of the Abrahamic religions maintain as a central tenet of their faith. Neither liberty nor choice is the highest good in life.
The concept of Summum Bonum is completely absent in Hobbes, Locke, Mill, and the rest of the classical liberal writers who are the mortal prophets of disordered liberty. What are the hysterical arguments already being proclaimed by those who feel threatened by the return of moral clarity and conscience? “Liberty and choice.” The highest goods established in the classical liberal philosophers and remain the highest good, however corrupted, by modern liberals.
If liberty is the new disguise to trivialize human life (and life more generally), then privatization has surely become the banality associated with the abolition of moral conscience. How often do we hear that one’s private beliefs are exactly that, private — and therefore the public matter trumps private concerns? The privatization of moral conscience has become the partner in crime alongside liberty in the conspiracy against moral clarity and the sacredness of life.
This, coupled with the tired and trite “liberty” and “choice” defense of murder, is all rather banal.
The fanaticism of the left accentuates their wish to abolish moral conscience — to entirely “privatize” it out of public life and law. Current discourse and weak-willed responses to such a morally clear issue, a human issue, do reveal the vastness of the conspiracy against the sacredness of human life. Moral nihilists who worship at the Altar of Liberty with the sacrifice of unborn children understand the severity of the situation.
It is not so much the case, despite their hyperbolic language, that the left sees Roe v. Wade at risk of being overturned. What they fear is that their project of abolishing moral conscience from public life is threatened; abortion is simply the most pernicious false sacrament to which they latch their morally vacuous ideology. If the Supreme Court chips away at certain advances made since Roe v. Wade, then the veil is torn asunder and the nation as a whole will see the great diabolical evil that has enslaved it for nearly half a century.
The best and purest of humans know that murder is wrong and that life is sacred. This is a universal of the human condition that humans have known, as Mr. Sammler excoriated to Margotte, “since the beginning of time.” The perniciousness of banality is that it creates mindless and morally empty ideologues who allow themselves to be the homogenized cogs of wider political ambitions and goals often without the foresight to see the great evils that lurk over the horizon because of this.
The banal recourse to “liberty,” “choice,” and “private beliefs” to defend an evil practice is reflective enough of this problem. Slow growing time is the friend of the nihilist project of the left. This is why they are revolting with the prospect of the Supreme Court challenging a depraved project — which is what the desacralization of life through abortion is; a privation of the good, true, and beautiful contained in the gift of life through a willful privation of life itself.
Christians, conservatives, and religious peoples of all stripes, who hide behind the altar of liberty or legal precedents show themselves for what they truly are inside. They are banal defenders of evil, individuals who are morally tepid and who have been broken to become empty defenders of a vile disease that plagues America and the former lands of Christendom.
Liberty in today’s me-me-me consumer culture, where everything is cheaply consumed and discarded (which should not surprise us as to why life is cheaply consumed and discarded), is the liberty not to know who you are and the liberty to be irresponsible for all actions and choices. Modern liberty leads to ignorance and irresponsibility as the highest realizations of liberty. However, liberty, in its Latin root, does not mean free choice and movement as Hobbes and Locke defined it.
Liber, in Latin, was the name of the god of fertility. Liberty, etymologically, explicitly means human flourishing — life. The sacredness of life is what true liberty entails, life is the highest manifestation of liberty. And it is a liberty that has been denied to at least sixty million souls under the guise of a corrupted understanding of liberty.
The continuation of this guise has only one end in mind: the abolition of moral conscience.
This is why the left is in revolt over the prospects of the Supreme Court merely hearing serious legal cases concerning the evil to murder as a constitutional right. Public morality does not trivialize life like “private belief” does; upholding public morality eliminates the moral confusion and tepidity that nihilism thrives on. The moral nihilists on the left know this, and so they have drawn their line in the dust for all to see and hear.
We ought to be reminded, here, of the wisdom of Alexis de Tocqueville, “The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law and the surest pledge of freedom.”

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