We possess art lest we perish of the Truth.Nietzsche
In his wandering meditations on German thinkers and artists, Erich Heller asks, “Has the ugliness of the ugly truth increased so drastically since Plato’s time that now anyone associating truth with beauty commits a philosophical felony?”
The weak in spirit might say “yes” to Heller’s question. But the right answer is “no.” It is not that truth has become uglier; rather, it is the growing ugliness of today’s ruling lies. Indeed, a doctrinaire falsification of reality prevails in our media and with our political elites. (Look at the Russia collusion hoax as a recent example.)
The doctrinaire falsifiers of our time are on the left. They believe, wrongly, in definitive solutions to man’s social and political problems: poverty, war, disease and disorder. But there are no definitive solutions to these problems. Those who believe in such solutions end by setting up a worse problem; namely. The problem of arbitrary, despotic government.
Because we are mortals living in a universe bounded by death and tragedy, nobody gets out of this world alive. Poverty, war and injustice will always be with us. The solutions offered by the left are minted in false coin. Theirs is the demagoguery of impending tyranny. And tyranny solves nothing. It merely increases man’s share of poverty, war and injustice. The human condition can only be mitigated by political prudence, by checks and balances that hinder prospective centers of absolute power. But the left seeks to build those centers of power, decrying every check on its utopian ambitions. .
The left adheres to socialism — vaguely defined — as a flexible and secular dogma with shape-shifting tactical propensities. This dogma, like all dogmas, promotes intellectual laziness and dishonesty, moral degeneracy, economic decline and political despotism. History shows us this again and again. Yet we fail to learn from history as the intellectual disease metastasizes in our midst. We appear unable to stop its progression through our schools, our media and our government. Therefore we are continuously subjected to conceptual out-gassings of egalitarianism, Darwinism, scientism — the fashionable bilge that propels this degeneracy forward.
The ugliness of this worldview, which makes man into a kind of monkey, produces in its wake an ugly art and a cultural malaise. People are increasingly turning to antidepressants because the ugliness, triviality and faithlessness of the new materialist worldview, is depressing — and soul-rotting. So-called “scientific” socialism, of course, doesn’t believe in the soul. It is soulless, despite its humanitarian pretensions. The wise see through the false good intentions of the leftist mainstream. The foolish cannot see, but participate by adding their genuine good intentions to something that is founded on fraud. Thus we have the confusing situation of good people backing an evil cause. It seems that this evil is not recognized because of the ignorance of what Nietzsche called “the many, too many.”
The end product of all this is an ugly culture mediated by ugly pundits and uglier politicians. The ugliness here is spiritual, moral, and intellectual. The sycophants of “progressivism,” are acolytes of the ugly. As opponents of truth, they end as purveyors of the ugly. In fighting them we also may become ugly, because enmity is reflective as well as reflexive.
Unlike the aristocratic order of previous centuries, the new order, infused with the psychopathies of the lumpen-proletariat, hasn’t the wherewithal to prettify itself (however artfully it tries). The contemporary “artist” who joins with the social justice warriors, may overcome ugliness at moments; but the inner malaise of the whole cannot genuinely celebrate the beautiful silver lining in the dark cloud of reality — except as a canvas covered in vomit. Such is the artistic imperative of the subversive, the criminal, the revolutionary. Not merely an artistic revolt, but also revolting.
With the advent of Bolshevism, with the advance of the Big Lie, art became perverted. It has gradually turned toward a celebration of the vile and grotesque. Today’s art galleries have shown us a crucifix in urine. In the topsy-turvy world of the Revolution, under the Epiphany of the Wicked, amid the woeful howling of nihilists, the faux artist joins the legion of the dammed. Here is the “pathologically closed consciousness” that Eric Voegelin warned against: the culture system of the deliberate betrayers, inverters, subverters — of human order.