Unbelievable Hubris posted in Eleison Comments on February 19, 2011
Prophets of doom do not make themselves popular, but if they are ministers of God, they must tell the truth. Now some people say that such ministers should not concern themselves with politics or economics. But supposing politics have become a substitute religion, necessarily a false religion, as they put man in the place of God? And supposing economics (or finance) are about to make many people go hungry? Are ministers of God not allowed to ask, with Aristotle, how people are going to lead a virtuous life if they will be lacking in the basic necessities of life? Is the virtuous life not the business of such ministers?
Therefore I make no apology for quoting a remarkable paragraph from a reporter of the prestigious Wall Street Journal who relates how in the summer of 2006 he was rebuked by a senior adviser of then President Bush for having written an article critical of a former communications director in the White House. He says that at the time he did not fully comprehend what the adviser was saying to him, but afterwards he saw it as getting to the very heart of the Bush presidency. Here are the adviser’s own words, as quoted by the reporter:—
People like the reporter, the adviser said to him, are “in what we call the reality-based community, meaning people who believe like you that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” The reporter should forget about yesterday’s principles of respecting reality. “That’s not the way the world works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality – judiciously, as you will – then we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” (See www.321 gold, Feb 2, “We are Victims of a Financial Coup d’Etat,” by Catherine Fitts.)
This is not me moralizing about how the modern world runs on fantasy. This is a Washington insider of insiders, positively boasting of how the modern world is run on fantasy. Do not his words correspond exactly to the fabrications, for instance, of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” “created” to justify policies otherwise impossible to justify? The arrogance of such a scorn for reality, and for people respecting reality, is breath-taking.
The classical Greeks were pagans with no knowledge of the revealed God, but they had a clear grasp of that reality which is the moral framework of his universe, governed, as they saw it, by the gods. Any man, even hero, who defied that framework, like the Bush adviser, was guilty of “hubris,” or of rearing up above his proper human station, and he would be crushed accordingly by the gods. Catholics, if you think that grace does away with nature, you had best re-learn from the pagans of olden times those lessons of nature which are more than ever needed today. Study Xerxes in Aeschylus’ Persae, Creon in Sophocles’ Antigone, Pentheus in Euripides’ Bacchae. Pray the Holy Rosary for sure, but also read the famous classics, plant potatoes and pay down debt, say I!