Power Politics vs. Truth Politics: How to Tell a Clenched Fist from an Open Mind
However, I'll try to liven things up with some parallel aphorisms of Nicolás Gómez Dávila (NGD), since the two were often on the same page, and he can say in a pointed sentence what Voegelin can in a dull 600 page book. (The ideas aren't dull, of course, but to paraphrase NGD, the writer who doesn't torture his sentences ends up torturing the reader.)
Yesterday we mentioned that it is a scientific fact that man, qua man, forever exists in tension toward the divine ground-attractor. In a letter, Voegelin writes that "the creation of the gods has something to do with true humanity." In fact, "the meaning of humanity was fixed in the process of separating the human from the divine," so "as soon as the meaning of the divine becomes unclear again, the meaning of humanity becomes correspondingly confused."
Voegelin calls the distinction between man and God a movement from compaction to differentiation, which is why the Hebrew discovery of the one God is such an important development.
In other words, prior to that there is no differentiation between the cosmos and the gods (e.g., wind, water, fire, fertility, etc.), with the result (among others) that history cannot be discovered (or created, if you like). History still "happens" of course -- in that time doesn't really stop -- but the ancient Hebrews were the first to see it as playing out in the tension between man and the divine ground, instead of just going around in immanent cosmic circles.
Which is why no form of dogmatic atheism can represent progress, because it expresses the backward movement to a de-differentiation between man and God. God, however, hardly disappears. Rather, he simply reappears in Gnostic man. Dávila:
"The radical negation of religion is the most dogmatic of religious positions." Such atheism "does not dispute the existence of God, but rather His identity." Which is why "He who does not believe in God" generally lacks "the decency of not not believing in himself."
Speaking of Obama, History's Greatest Orator, "Not being an orator amounts to not being able to speak about anything except what one knows about" (NGD).
Oh, and Obamacare? Don't worry, "With the generosity of the program does the democrat console himself for the magnitude of the catastrophes it produces" (ibid.).
In the end, "as long as we do not arrive at religious categories, our explanations are not founded upon rock" (ibid.). To turn it around, this is why it is impossible to talk to liberal rockheads, because they express religious emotion in the absence of religious insight, due to the de-differentiation of spheres alluded to above.
About that de-differentiation: when the terrestrial and celestial are re-fused and the vertical thus de-faced, then "doctrinaire totalitarianism is justified." Indeed, "the Gnostic is a born revolutionary" -- the serpent being the archetype of this downward movement -- "because total rejection is the perfect proclamation of his divine autonomy."
Reader ge has suggested that Voegelin can't be right, because too many disciplines and movements fall under the heading of "Gnosticism." I don't necessarily see this as problematic, because it's just a consequence of the deeper principle of collapsing the vertical.
Thus, Gnostic systems "develop without exception in opposition to the creator-God... and transform him into the evil power over against which the new man-made god is is placed in the position of savior." The Obamensch is just the latest iteration of this pattern, but it is a universal temptation of fallen man.
A critical point is that when reality is collapsed in this manner, politics indeed devolves along with it to a crude struggle for power (since the true and good have been excluded).
This is "in radical opposition to the classic conception of Aristotle," whereby politics is rooted in common access to, and participation in, the nous. In the absence of the Logos-Nous dialectic, then man is indeed reduced from the political animal -- the animal with Reason in pursuit of the common Good -- to an animal who engages in politics in order to obtain power over others. (The rejection of the common Nous-Logos is also the hateway to multiculturalism, bogus "diversity," ideological feminism, and all the rest.)
The problem for the normal man is that, just because he is not interested in power over others, it doesn't mean others don't want power over him. It doesn't matter whether it's leftists or Islamists, they just don't want to leave us alone.
Which of course goes to the disconnect between liberals and conservatives, since the former are by definition engaging in horizontal power politics, while we are attempting to conserve at least a remnant of the vertical. But this is a little like trying to play chess with a barbarian, who elevates
"the repudiation of reason into a principle. The common world of the Logos is destroyed," which soon enough descends "to the level of violence and brutality which, in the sphere of action, reduces all questions to the one question: who will draw the revolver first."
No wonder they hate the second amendment.