Concerned as he rightly is with the pollution of the physical environment, the liberal yet cannot seem to muster much moral enthusiasm over the pollution of the cultural environment, if he's even aware of it. Hillary, you will recall, cozied up to Jay Z. If you don't know who he is, good.
A man hereabouts with a passion for chess got my number. We've become friends.
He told me he took a course in the philosophy of religion way back when. I pressed him on details. All he remembers is the old professor walking into the room, flipping a switch, and intoning "Let there be light!"
The chess player's forgetfulness reminds me of a story.
An eager young nun and a wise old nun were discussing teaching. The young nun was waxing enthusiastic over the privilege, but also the responsibility, of forming young minds. The old nun took a glass of water, inserted her forefinger, and agitated the water. Suddenly she removed her finger and the water immediately returned to its quiescent state.
"So much for the forming of young minds," said the older and wiser one.
The spark that ignites populist movements is not so much disparities in wealth and status (they are not always French Revolution or Bolshevik-like class-driven attempts to grab power) as rank hypocrisies: Elites condescendingly prescribe nostrums to hoi polloi, but always on the dual premise that those who are dictating will be immune from the ramifications of their own sometimes burdensome edicts, and those who are dictated to are supposedly too dense to know what is good for them. (Think Steven Chu, the former energy secretary, who either did not commute by car or had a short drive to work, while he hoped that gas prices for the nation’s clueless drivers might climb to European levels of $9–$10 a gallon.)
We’ve already seen Trump’s anti-doctrinaire approach to jobs, trade, and the economy: his notion that the free-market in reality can often became a rhetorical construct, not a two-way street when it comes to trading blocs. Free-market purists might see the outsourcing of jobs and unbridled importation of foreign subsidized products as a way to toughen up the competitiveness of American companies and trim off their fat; but people who take this view are usually the ones who benefit from globalism and who are in little danger of having their own job downsized, eliminated, or shipped overseas. Few of us often ask whether full professors are very productive, whether op-ed writers are industrious and cogent, whether Hollywood actors are worth millions per picture, whether politicians are improving the nation’s lot, or whether journalists are disinterested and competent. Instead, we assume that because they all have well-compensated jobs, they are qualified, essential, and invaluable to the economy.
The Christian is a Platonist about one man, Christ: he pre-exists both his conception and his birth. But there is no Platonism about any other human. The rest of us enjoy no Platonic pre-existence. We are literally nothing until we are conceived. One could say that orthodox Christians are anthropological exceptionalists with respect to one man. And he is indeed a man. If he is fully God and fully man, then he is fully man.