“Philosophers and ploughmen,
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality,
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart.”
Rush, Closer to the Heart
There is something to be said for learning from one’s enemies. How did we get into this mess anyway? Around the turn of the 20th century, the progressives seized control of the mythos of American politics. Once they had done that, their political victories were inevitable and even the blindest sot of a prophet could have foreseen their century of dominance.
Ron Paul at his address to the We Are The Future Rally spoke of a changing of eras and of a coming age of liberty and peace.
It can be ours if we can seize the mythos and mold it closer to our heart.
But what is a “mythos”?
Joseph Campbell wrote much on the subject. His work dealt with the symbols and archetypes that make up the collective human journey, writing once that “Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.” It is my belief that the evolution (or devolution up till now as it were) of politics is part of that journey and myth. If this is so, the symbols, the archetypes, the sorts of words and language we use are very very important.
This is how the progressives gained their century. It began with a bang with Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, but had subsided somewhat until the Great Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) managed a spectacular maneuver that destroyed and reassembled the American political mythos.
Up to this point liberals were what we consider today to be proto-libertarians. But FDR flipped the table around 180 degrees, snatching the word from our hands. He proclaimed progressivism to be just and Liberal and that anyone in opposition—what we’d now call libertarians—were anti-progress, uncaring conservatives. They are just in the way of our grand plans, so pay them no heed.
The plot worked. The Depression, though created by progressive polices, was awful and any immediate relief sounded great. So FDR secured three terms and cemented progressivism and Keynesianism as the dominant arbiters of the political mythos.
The new “conservatives” fought and squabbled, being so dissimilar apart from a common enemy. Though they occasionally took seats of power, keeping the pendulum of power swaying, the mythos was never once really touched.
Never. Until Ron Paul. Progressives, state socialists, and much of the Left are terrified of Ron Paul because of what he represents and what he has already done: raised a new army of the new “Conservatives” to retake the mythos. The expression “Ron Paul R3VOLUTION” means exactly what it says.
By two “unsuccessful” runs for President, Paul has already inserted a once laughable or unknown word into the political debate that creates the mythos: that word is libertarian.
Libertarian, in my mind, is the word the the pre-FDR liberals claimed as a new identity. Until the mythos is totally reclaimed by liberty, this label will do.
However, the end goal must be to restore the previous mythos. We must eventually reclaim the word liberal and cast defenders of statism as the real opponents of progress. If not in those same terms, we must be seen as the active force of liberalization of freedom and they, the servants and cog-workers of the stately machine, must be cast as the worshipers and conservers of an outdated aristocracy.
Political victories and endeavors must be sought and won with this in mind.
After a century of Progressives building their horrible non-functioning and self-collasping aparatus, and Barack Obama’s executive power-trip of a presidency slandering the name of modern liberalism, could there be a better time than now to reclaim the political mythos?
“You can be the captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart”
Rush, Closer to the Heart