A Sort of Revenge

There is a sort of revenge vented on the progressive spirit for the fact that its proponents deprived one of one’s faith; one’s intuitive, therefore spontaneous, natural-feeling, instinctual–and so, by some account, health inducing and health sustaining relationship to the world around them. At the core of progressivism is the operation of a basic dis-embedding gesture; horizons, which are assumptions, which are prejudices, which are the clothing of a secured and self-confident life, have to be dispelled and one’s simple trust in what they know (and perhaps what they are and know themselves to be) has to be broken. Why? So that the tenets of the progressive faith can have room to be planted, grow, and feel plausible. If delicately done, one faith can be gradually supplanted with another without the organism’s over exposure to the cold, chilly winds of the Nothing that are necessarily, if but momentarily, felt in the exchange. Values in general are suspended through the operation of the scientific mode of knowing, but only in order that some select, un-progressive values can be finally neutralized, while others must be put in their place, and then be given sunshine and rain to grow as impartiality is cast off and a moralizing/ valuing posture resumed. For example, the historical critical method is employed to disabuse Christ of his divinity, but quite another method used to preserve his status as moral exemplar; in this case, morality had to be separated from worship so that it could be purified of transcendence but not itself destroyed.

Often indelicately done, by unskillful surgeons with blunt knives, there are subjects in whom the process is simply an abortion. Do these doctors know what they are doing, sewing together limbs? Oh how these fish will resent being plucked from the water and yet not given legs like the other new amphibians around them! But when such a one realizes that the progressive spirit is its own creed, has its own simplicity, its own secretly self-pleasing faith, he might begin to take his revenge through the same operation– perhaps with the wish to implant back in values precisely opposite to the progressive creed out of a love of irony. If this is not possible, he will delight in drawing attention to the baselessness of this politic faith, he will want to make the believer see not only the great abyss around him, but also the fact that he has wings, and that they’re delicate, and feathered with the unhistorical, unnatural, and unreasonable. He will perhaps want to make him wonder if the part can be sustained, if it is sensible; he will want him to become afraid and doubtful and, like Peter, suddenly begin to sink. He will want to hear him cry “Lord!” so that they may follow the direction of his voice and see who this Lord is– that the question of the principalities, powers and dominions may once again be heard aloud.

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