I’ve been accused of being a mindless promoter of anything and everything written at “Cambria Will Not Yield”. I’m not ashamed of that, if true. Nor do I care much for the opinions of those who ridicule me for it.
Before discovering Cambria, however, I was greatly influenced by Reformed Evangelicalism, especially the presuppositionalism of Cornelius Van Til (as expressed by his disciple, Dr. Bahnsen).
On the one hand, Cambria continually presents an anti-rationalist theme, while on the other, Van Tillians seem to be hyper rationalists. This makes for a neat fracturing in my worldview, that’s caused no end of frustration for the past few years.
I’ve recently finished Donald Davidson’s “Still Rebels Still Yankees” and I think I’ve been able to right my situation.
I’ll take this opportunity to offer a public apology for something that’s been eating at my conscience, and while doing so, I hope to exemplify the problem and in future posts, discuss how it might be addressed:
Yesterday, in class, the teacher asked us all to provide three reasons why we were voting for our chosen presidential candidate.
I spoke up and admitted to being a principled non-voter, which elicited giggles throughout the class (they were used to my eccentric outbursts).
“How could anyone be so absurd as not to vote?” it was asked.
The class was eager to hear from me, so after the allotted time, I was called on to present my position. A fire was ignited in my gut! I had, behind me, all the support of the libertarians and kinists! I was standing in front of a group of indoctrinated democrats, to tell them about the evils of democracy!
And, I did. I argued my case passionately.
Everyone completed their papers and turned them in. The teacher tallied the count, and surprise of surprises, the majority of the class agreed with me! My speech had made an impact.
Romney came in a distant second (my class is made up of mostly rural whites), with Obama barely making the board. Gary Johnson received one vote, as did Batman.
I was elated with victory until I thought of a few of the kids in class who may have looked up to me as a defender of conservative values. I’m older and more experienced, and often, not afraid to break the silence by articulating unpopular conservative opinions. Would they feel abandoned by my public disdain for Romney?
I thought further: was my zeal for promoting a political position overshadowing my love for the white folk who may have been looking up to me as a champion of their cause? I hope I’m not arrogant in thinking that way. Likely no one in the class would self-consciously feel my wrong, but maybe, on some level, they’d feel like they’ve lost an ally.
I should have taken it easier on my family and friends (which translates to: I should have taken it easier on Mitt Romney, their chosen hope). Even though I doubt his worth, I broke ranks with the Conservative populace. I deserted and they have to face their loss this morning, alone. (Obama won the election by all the accounts I’ve read this morning).
I apologize publicly for breaking with the Conservative esprit de corps.
The Irish poet Yeats was famous for saying that “all art should be a Centaur, finding in the popular lore its back and strong legs.”
Davidson disagrees with this illustration, saying instead that we should conceive of art (by art, he means, roughly, the intellectual life of the community as displayed in high culture) as more of a tree, with the relationship between the high art (or in Yeats’ illustration, the centaur’s head) and folklore (the back and strong legs), being in a symbiotic relationship with each other.
“It is easy to say what the ideal relationship should be – as easy as it is to draw any other ideal picture. The popular lore ought to pass readily and naturally into the art; it ought not to have to be sought out by specialists in special corners, collected, edited, published, and reviewed; and then, perhaps only through some accident of taste or fashion, be appropriated, at long range, by a very literary poet.”
In the South, Davidson claims, the human psyche isn’t fractured such that a man’s feeling and connection with his people is distorted by zeal for an intellectual position. The intellectual positions are fueled by zeal for people and heart-felt truths.
The villains Davidson appreciates the most, are those, like Sherman in “So Red the Rose” who exemplify the dark trait of logical rigor, and cold-hearted calculation.
Have I been a Sherman to my fellow conservatives?