Consider this famous saying of G.K. Chesterton:
“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of their birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.” – Orthodoxy
Of course, not everyone honors tradition, just like not everyone is a democrat!
The opinion of our fathers is useless to those who could care less. It’s also useless to those who have no coherent concept of history.
So, for these two sets of people, I submit, that appealing to the wisdom of our fathers on matters of race is a futile effort.
If Van Til has taught us anything, it is the non-existence of brute factuality! Even if we prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that John Calvin, for instance, condemned miscegenation as sin, this wouldn’t phase our egalitarian brothers at all! “Calvin was obviously mistaken”, they’ll say! These people play fast and loose with God’s word; do you really think that they’ll have moral qualms about doing the same with the words of our Christian fathers?
No sir, they won’t!
When told that the vast majority of Christendom (up until the last 60 or so years) had a dramatically different view on racial issues and society than the majority of people today, our egalitarian brother shrugs and says: “prove it!” Which elicits a volley of quotes and historical fact mining on our part; all of which falls on deaf ears.
Every historical fact, and every quote will be challenged. When one is explained away, the next is waiting and that one as well, will be explained away. When all the quotes are exhausted, then all the facts of history must be gone through and explained away. Once all the facts of history are sufficiently interpreted, then all the facts of human experience must, likewise, be re-interpreted!
And that, my friends, is a never ending process since human experience is never-ending.
So, I submit that we give up using this historical argument in the usual ways. We must reduce our egalitarian brothers’ worldview to absurdity and logically surpass their desire to reinterpret all the brute data of experience. This can easily be done by appealing to God’s nature and His image that resides within us; we are to build up order and take dominion over the world within Godly bounds. This is, of course, diametrically opposed to the ends of the Satanist who wants to abolish all God-ordained order in the world and ring in an egalitarian Hell, where all distinction in human experience (be it among races, or among letters) is abolished in favor of the fiat word of the state!
I’ll expound on this apology in a future blog.
For now, I’d like to clarify one way that the historical argument can be saved, and indeed should be utilized!
Mr. Cambria says that the best way to reach people is to tell them a story. This certainly worked for me. When I read Jane Austin’s “Mansfield Park” I was transported to a beautiful world that no longer exists; but I wished for it to exist! I wanted it to be real so badly. The same is true of John Buchan’s “Witch Wood.” The noble and eccentric folk he describes really lived! Maud Ruthyn and the high-society of cousin Monica(as Le Fanu describes in “Uncle Silas”) were real people, despite their being fictional!
Telling stories is one way to surreptitiously argue from history. These novels promise to grab even the most calloused of egalitarian hearts and not let go! They communicate the passion and romance of our fathers that simple assertion fails to transmit!
If Hell is the London of Dickens, and Heaven, the mocha-colored dream world of today’s D.C. metro area; then condemn me to the most despicable hill in Britain!
This sort of argument from history is a profoundly beneficial polemic and simultaneously inspires hope.
If God created that sort of place once, He will do it again.
We just have to be steadfast and believe in a world that was, and could be once more!