Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Have these people ever come clean about where, precisely, we're all supposed to be progressing to?

If "mankind" (has anyone ever actually met that guy?) is all in a big procession moving forward, can we please all be given some hint as to the actual destination? What is the actual, final goal of all this? Where are we going? I think, however, if we were given a hint as to the final destination of the train, no one would be compelled, no matter how many guns were pointed at us, to get into that cattle car.

Of course, we have all read Marx, or at least read about Marx, and anyone over age 20 has been witness to all the changes in the world and in society that are on a sharp acceleration curve. So we all have a hint. But the sections of Marx's writing, his utopian dream - the "withering away" of the state and the glowing fantasy in which everyone has everything he needs and there are no hierarchies, people go happily off to work, the "monogamous family" and religion, are a dark dream of the oppressive past and everyone and everything belongs to everyone else - are his least convincing.

I'm not sure that even the most dedicated Utopians actually believe or even think about the Marxian fantasy. At least, not the ones who pretend to a measure of respectability. Thoreau is for dreamy-eyed undergraduates, and the urge to go off to some remote woodsy part of North America and live in a communal long-house, is supposed to be something one grows out of. (And trust me, you grow out of it pretty quick. I've lived in the woods, and the arctic, and it's not something to undertake in a haze of idealism.)

Certainly a creature like Emma Bonino would never dare to drop a hint of such hazy soft-focus goals. A politician has to be seen to want things that are concrete, reachable.

I don't know really, what people like her actually think the final goal is. I suspect that they do not really give it much thought. I have heard from them many times that the "journey is the goal".

But C.S. Lewis gave a memorable description of the final result of the "progressive" utopian vision. In That Hideous Strength, he puts a description of the real goal into the mouth of one of his denizens of the N.I.C.E. I cannot find the quote online and haven't a copy of the book presently, but I remember that it was a description of a moonscape, in which all life, all softness, all hope and all joy are entirely extinguished. This was described as a "clean" environment in which the enlightened, disembodied beings who were able to rise above the salacious entrapments of the flesh could endlessly hover and brood on their own sterility and the emptiness of the world they had created.

I've been following the Bonino candidacy for president of Lazio, and the more I look into her, the more it becomes clear that she is just another of the same ilk. What did my friend Eric call it? Utopian Nihilists?

But not everyone is going along with the Great Progression.

This amusing, and somewhat scandalous story comes from a fellow ex-pat refugee in Rome:

So my Franciscan priest friend tells me that he and a confrere (both wearing the full franciscan habit mind you) were accosted on the streets by a Boninite asking them to vote for her. Once the initial shock wore out my friend started to explain why they could not vote for her--but was interrupted by the troglodyte who said 'Why do you care so much; you're all fags aren't you? Bonino supports you." To which the other Franciscan responded (quite inappropriately but still very funny) "Bring me your sister right here and now and I'll show you who is the fag." Ahh, Italy, where even a large portion of the clergy is not PC.

There are a lot of ways that Italy drives me up the wall. But the ability to say or think anything you happen to want to say or think is a big part of the reason I intend to stay a while yet.


Martial Artist said...

I beleive that Fr. John Corapi, S.O.L.T., would suggest that they are merrily (or not so merrily) dancing their way to Hell. I an inclined to agree with him. But, of course, if they, themselves, were to admit that, they would probably have a spot of difficulty attracting converts.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

Havoc Jack said...

If I recall That Hideous Strength correctly, we actually heard several different views as to what people were attempting to accomplish. I got the impression that all the mid level minions in the organizations had different goals for what the world would look like once they're done, and they all sounded pretty detestable if not outright silly when they were actually verbalised. (Probably also why nobody tells us where we're progressing to; if it isn't terrible it's laughable). But hey, I don't have a copy of That Hideous Strength in front of me either.

The picture of the progressed future that I always come back to is the evil planet from "A Wrinkle in Time". Where all the girls jump their rope at the exact same time and where every last aspect of life is bureaucratized. Excuse me while I shudder.

Steven P. Cornett said...

Re: Havoc,

The image of the progressivized future from That Hideous Strength that stands out in my mind is that of the inhabitants of Sulva, or the Moon. Those that aren't sterile, bodiless entities brooding over their dead world perpetuated themselves by having sex with the robotic simulacra of each other. A loveless artificial "people" described by Merlin as "dainty in their perversity."