I was pleased to find Orthosphere friend Bruce Charlton among the commenters at the Z Blog, and to see that he had donned the armor of God and was laying about with some deft strokes of the sword of the spirit.
The question of the moment was the nature of conservatism and the superabundance of spurious answers to the same. In the United States, for instance, and as we all know, a “conservative” is actually a liberal, a “liberal” is actually a socialist, and anyone who cannot be so classified is a deplorable.
I hope you will forgive a digression on this word deplorable. To deplore originally meant to “give up as hopeless,” as the word is derived from a Latin root that meant to weep over a loved one who had been lost and would never return. It was originally, in other words, an expression of grief rather than scorn. Regret is an exact synonym that also has the etymological meaning of weeping over someone (or something) that was loved and lost.
I do not suppose that Hillary Clinton ever loved the lost sheep that she designated as deplorables, but believe she would have loved their votes. That she (and the Democratic party) had no hope of securing these votes certainly caused them to gnash their teeth, but their governing emotion seems to have been hatred rather than grief. Clinton’s deploring of the deplorables was like the grief of the jilted lover that curdles into a homicidal thirst for revenge.
To Mrs. Clinton and her ilk, deplorable means odious. And they deplore as odious something that exists, rather than something that exists no more. Under the old meaning, a man deplored (or regretted) a person or thing whose absence left the world a poorer place. Under the new meaning, a man deplores (or regrets) a person or thing whose presence renders the world a poorer place. To deplore a man once meant to weep at the thought of how much better life would be if he were here, whereas it now means to weep at the thought of how much better it would be if he were gone! To deplore once meant to cry out
“Please come back!”
whereas now it means
“Please go away (and die)!”
This digression is not altogether irrelevant to Charlton’s comment on the Z Blog, which was that the true nature of conservatism is to defend the claims of reality against the assaults of overweening humanism. Charlton correctly identifies defense of supernatural or transcendent reality as the schwerpunkt of conservatism, but I trust it is obvious that humanism has also launched flanking movements against the reality of nature and human nature. This is because a humanist must see God and Nature (sometimes nowadays known as Gnon) as deplorable in the new sense of that word.
To the humanist, Gnon is deplorable because the world would be a better place if Gnon did not exist. To the humanist, Gnon is an affront to what Charlton calls “the hedonic states of mortal persons,” and that is why the humanist says to them
“Please go away (and die).”