Restatement of the Obvious


Orwell the man was apparently a profound misogynist. However, Orwell the prophet and visionary still offers us many important insights. I'm not excusing him--he is going to have to account for his misogyny, indeed I am sure that was one of the first topics of conversation when Orwell got to the other side.

At any rate, I've come across one of his sayings that really hit me this week: "We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

Wow. Yes. 100% THIS. This is where we are in the timeline; we have forgotten it all. Or as someone else has put it, "some things which should not have been forgotten were lost."

As I grow older, I am increasingly amazed at all that has been forgotten. It is like seeing buildings of stone crumble into dust before one's eyes. Or as Marx put it, "all that is solid melts into air."

I know, as a student of history, that civilizations often go mad. Orwell's most famous books were written as a response to the twin terrors of Nazism and Stalinism. That so many people could go along with what was patently, obviously evil was Orwell's fixation in these books. Yes, sometimes people were beaten or tortured into going along. But most needed no such coercion. Some even became true believers, not just people keeping their heads down.

Born in the late 50's as I was, we were taught carefully about such madnesses, and we were also told we needed to stand up when we saw these things creeping into our society. We also were made to believe that our society was very strong, with redoubtable institutions, and that because of these and our redoubtable citizens, our civilization would definitely not go mad.

I recount all this because it really it utterly shocking to someone of my age to see (mostly) younger folk appearing to march off the very same cliffs that we (mostly) older folk had been warned and warned about.

I grew up reading Solzhenitsyn. I read the entire Gulag Archipelago when I was an undergraduate--not for a class, but because I wanted, like Orwell, to understand what was happening in the then-Soviet Union. The cruelty-to-a-higher-cause gambit would never work on me as a result. The other tactic that would not work was "keep your head down, don't stand up because you'll get your head chopped off." And, of course, as a believer, I knew there was a Truth that stood independent of what all others thought.

I really think God engineered that post-WW2 generation to be immunized against major nuttiness. There was, of course, some: I think the sexual revolution was major nuttiness. There was always a feeling, though, that personal nuttiness was unrelated to political nuttiness.

I'm not so sure of that anymore. I tend to now believe that the sexual revolution was indeed the worm in our roots that has led to our current political nuttiness. I would have to sit down and think carefully about how to make that case, but I know people have made it before: the book Libido Dominandi: Secual Liberation and Political Control by Jones comes to mind.

Whatever the roots, we are here now in a time where apparently we must restate the obvious and defend it. Those of us who had let our defenses of these positions rust because the obvious was so, well, obvious, need to pull them out and polish them up. Some of us never even had defenses in the first place because why does one need to defend the obvious?

It is time to acknowledge our obligation and act on it. Consider a few obvious things that we must now act to defend:

-- children should be safeguarded from sexual predators

-- women need to be be given the tools to safeguard themselves from predatory men

-- the male and female binary is not a social construct, and has enormous effects on all our lives

-- assuming no abuse, children do better when raised with their mother and their father

-- casual sex leads to deep personal costs and deep societal costs

-- childbearing is not a punishment, but a gift

-- embodiment is not a punishment, but a gift

-- death is not a punishment, but a gift

-- societies based on equality, respect, and love between men and women fare far better than those based on inequality, disrespect, and even hatred between men and women

--porn, prostitution, and surrogacy undermine society, for they do not lead to equality, respect, and love between men and women

There are many other things that could be said. The AEROW manifesto says many of them. I have worked on several of these understandings in my career. I feel moved to talk even more about each. I understand now this saying of Paul, "How shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14). We must open our mouths, we must use our pens and keyboards.

I do believe our civilization is dying, and that cannot be stopped. But in the meantime, there are souls to be saved from drowning in the insanity of our time. Let us not be weary in standing up, speaking out, and writing unceasingly.

Restate the obvious, and restate it again and again. The obvious is a lifeline, and we need to keep it available to our brothers and sisters.