This is the home of the 'serious' a4g. To visit my dark side, go to Point Five. (The dark side seems to post every day... Why do you think that is?)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Black Pit of the Human Heart

In Arrogance Supreme, I mentioned the tension between the two schools of thought on either side of the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding 'juvenile' executions. With the echoes of that juxtaposition fresh in my head, I seemed to hear an extra emphasis on talk radio lately about the factoid of 'common knowledge' that the defining difference between the right and the left is the dichotomy of Locke and Hobbes -- that is, that the left believes man in nature is essentially good, and that the right believes man in nature is essentially a brute.

That explanation seems me as insufficient to encapsulate the true difference in world view. I believe, instead, that the true fundamental difference of outlook is far more ironic. The secular left believes paradoxically that mankind, although an essentially material being, is nonetheless free of his materialism via the intellect, a blank slate capable of infinite flexibility of being if only cocooned in the proper social structure. Thus if only trained, contained, and constrained properly, the great Utopia can be achieved.

Conversely, and equally as paradoxical, the right believes man, though made real by the breath of God, and hence a creature whose metaphysical reality is much more emphatically spirit than soil, is yet a creature whose essential nature is fundamentally staid, concrete, and immutable.

So the left, far from believing in the good of all men, rather puts faith in the programmability of all men-- it is not the men who are good, but the programmer (as long as they get to decide who writes the code). Mankind is potentially good because of the collective utopia that will be poured forth into the waiting clay pots. War and punishment is not necessary because the man can be rearranged.

The right, on the other hand, sees man as Cain, wandering the earth marked with the stain of his sin, unable to be redeemed until the enveloping arms of Death pull long sleeves of darkness around his cold, lifeless form. There is no utopia for this man, only the rule of law to rein in his base desires. And when he flies wicked over the world, he is to be brought down by force of arms, because it is not the context that has made him a tyrant, but the black pit in his own heart. A heart that cannot be turned by others, only stopped.

Which view of man is true?

If man is a vessel for context, then every totalitarian state should be a shining example to the world. Utopias designed with the acumen of planned communities. Yes, behind gates, but what nicely manicured yards of color-coordinated perfection.

But if man is sinner, then what would happen if this untamed feral beast were to run loose in Utopia?

Would it cost 100,000,000 lives? History has a comment on this subject.
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