Idealism is a creation of mankind, not nature

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Though he professed neither faith nor disbelief in God, Civil War veteran and famed orator Robert Ingersoll was certain about man’s relationship with nature. “In Nature,” he said, “there are neither rewards nor punishments: There are consequences.”

Is this true of politics? Maybe so, but political consequences often manifest themselves only after the ruse of blaming a previous politician has survived in the beating-a-dead-horse stage for so long that putrefaction’s stench repulses even the most prevaricating beaters.

Before and after the 2008 presidential election, conservative commentators were demonized, their integrity excoriated, character trashed; they were called racist and unpatriotic, mental and moral poison for young people who might innocently consider —and (God forbid!) even accept — their viewpoints.

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The mainstream media listened, and in most cases, illustrated their phony allegiance to freedom of speech by silencing the voices of those the left-wingers skewered, or by letting them continue voicing their conservative views, but in a more tepid manner — either way a victory for the skewers, whose speech freedoms weren’t impaled.

If Ingersoll’s comment on nature can be applied to politics, the American people may be wearying of the fallacy of beating dead horses, and are visualizing future consequences.

In nature, weakness is always eliminated. There is no Kum-bay-a live-and-let-live state. The strong survive. If an entity is organic, it’s predator or prey. There is no neutrality option.

In nature, idealistic philosophies that espouse multiculturalism, diversity, political correctness affirmative action, and entitlements would amount to no more than a sated burp by a killer whale, having just ingested a baby harp seal.

But because human beings are rational, they aren’t like those savage beasts in the unending feast-famine, survival-of-the-fittest, flesh-bone-to-fecal matter cycle.

They aren’t? Weakness is weakness — in all spheres. In the same quick manner that a vicious, hungry natural predator senses weakness, it is identified and seized upon by human beings whose rationality is subservient to baser, glandular, quasi-instinctual urges that, if necessary, will be satiated by the worst sort of savagery.

Until recently, in global relations verifying that only the strong survive, America scorned appeasement, compromise, unilateral agreements, passivity and timid acquiescence. Weaker players on the world scene recognized her strength and resolve, and allied themselves accordingly.

But now, the consequences of weak leadership are eroding those alliances. Not long ago, a photograph flashed around the world provided impetus to the global repositioning of weaker nations.

In the photo, three men held each other’s hands above their heads in a victory salute. The man in the middle, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a savage beast whose virulent hatred of America is surpassed by no one. With him are leaders whose allegiance to America is evaporating: the president of Brazil and the prime minister of Turkey.

Perceiving the USA as not only impotent, but also in retreat, weaker nations are gravitating toward rising powers, hedging their positions in what may become a post-America world.

They may be seeing what America’s leaders refuse to see, but what Americans are beginning to see: consequences.

Jimmy Reed lives in Oxford and teaches college there. E-mail reaches him at