One of my favorite books is Peter Drucker's Adventures of a Bystander. In "The Monster and the Lamb," one of the many page-turning essays about the people and events that shaped his life, Drucker reveals the actions he took in 1933 to assure that he could not back out of his determination to leave his promising and comfortable life in Germany, should Hitler come to power.

I also made up my mind to make sure that I could not waver and stay. ... I began to write a book that would make it impossible for the Nazis to have anything to do with me, and equally impossible for me to have anything to do with them. It was a short book, hardly more than a pamphlet. Its subject was Germany's only Conservative political philosopher, Friedrich Julius Stahl—a prominent Prussian politician and Conservative parliamentarian of the period before Bismarck, the philosopher of freedom under the law, and the leader of the philosophical reaction against Hegel as well as Hegel's successor as professor of philosophy at Berlin. And Stahl had been a Jew! A monograph on Stahl, which in the name of conservatism and patriotism put him forth as the exemplar and preceptor for the turbulence of the 1930s, represented a frontal attack on Nazism. It took me only a few weeks to write the monograph. I sent it off to Germany's best-known publisher in political science and political history.... The book, I am happy to say, was understood by the Nazis exactly as I had intended; it was immediately banned and publicly burned. Of course it had no inmpact. I did not expect any. But it made it crystal-clear where I stood; and I knew I had to make sure for my own sake that I would be counted, even if no one else cared.

That passage has been on my mind lately. I have a strong feeling that I need to follow his example, albeit in my own, minor way. Whether big actions or small, doing the right thing is still doing the right thing. I don't have a well-known publisher ready to print whatever I might send them, but I have the internet, and a blog platform that is not subject to the censors of YouTube, Facebook, or any other Big Tech platform.

I have a duty to stand for the truth. For Truth. 

Not my truth, but the truth as I see it. The former implies that there are many personal truths, but no real, independent, objective Truth that can be sought, found, and trusted. "The truth as I see it" instead means that I leave open the possibility that I might be wrong, or—as in the story of the blind men and the elephant—at least not seeing the whole truth. In fact, I'd say it's pretty much guaranteed that I'm not seeing the whole truth. But what I do see, from over seven decades of experience, and a reasonable amount of both intelligence and education, I will say.

Because the world has been turned upside down, and an astonishing number of people either don't see what is happening, or don't have the time and the resources to care, or truly believe that the inversion is finally putting the world to rights.

If the whole world says that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength, I'm going to reply, No, it isn't. Fortunately, it's not the whole world that's saying such things, just those with the biggest megaphones. More and more people are noticing the emperor en déshabillé, and are speaking up, and when I find someone who makes a point better than I can, I'll share it.

I don't expect this blog to change much; I've never been known for keeping silent when I have an opinion. But now these thoughts have their own category: Here I Stand. It is related to my Last Battle series, which I tried to start in 2018; it finally got off the ground in 2020, but is still struggling. I don't usually have trouble putting my thoughts into words, but this category makes me think there might be something to Stephen Pressfield's idea that there is an active force (he calls it "Resistance") that opposes creative activity. All too often, the more important I think an idea is, the harder I find writing about it. If this one works out, maybe I'll merge the two categories, or connect them somehow. But first things first.

I see my mission as to seek and speak the truth. I'm not going to argue, I'm not going to debate, I'm not going to insist. I must speak, but no one is required to listen.

If you have read C. S. Lewis's story, The Silver Chair, you may recall that after the Prince is freed from his enchantment, the Witch attempts to get him and his liberators to deny all they know about the world they came from, and what they remember from their former lives. (It's in Chapter 12, and you can read that here.) If my writing smells like burnt marsh-wiggle to some, I hope that others will find it helps to clear away some of the enchanting smoke. If nothing else, I want to be able to say with Drucker, "Of course it had no inmpact. I did not expect any. But it made it crystal-clear where I stood; and I knew I had to make sure for my own sake that I would be counted, even if no one else cared."

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 6:47 am | Edit
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