VICE, VOLTAIRE, AND VEHEMENCE
(3 V words for 2 choices)
Well, if some of you went ahead and read yesterday’s post in spite of my warning not to, you’ll understand that there are two Junes to choose from this year. One of inexpressibly strong Love for you ending in such wonderful good and happiness that we don’t even have words to express it; and the other “June” of the degradation of human dignity and worth . . . ending in unspeakable horror and fear.
(Well, that lays it out. Two choices. No confusion there.)
Funny, but the first June of Love gives absolute freedom; the other June leads to more and more uncomfortable restrictions – and things will happen which you do not choose.
In the second “June” you are caught – as in a vice.
When I was a young girl I often had to “help” my Dad in his workshop. I had to hold something while he worked on it. My little girl muscles were often not strong enough, so my Dad would go get his “vice grip” as he called it, to hold the thing down. I was often astonished at how firmly the vice would hold onto something. There was no getting free!
I’d also read many stories of pioneer days in our country’s history, trappers and explorers, cowboys and settlers. Occasionally there would be a description of animal traps – bear traps. The trap would hold the bear in a vice-like grip, and it would work. the troublesome, man-eating bear could be dealt with.
There is another use of the word “vice.” — ouch!
City police departments used to have a Vice Squad, made of officers and detectives who were experts in rooting out the vice of their city.
So what is Vice? Any deviant or unlawful or unhealthy behavior which traps a person like a vice grip so strongly that the person will do anything – even commit a crime – in order to repeat that behavior.
Vice brings us to Voltaire… one of the most famous promoters of Vice. This famous man of the 18th century who, when we’re given only half the story, is a man held up as some kind of cultural hero of his day: the man who spread the values of the misnamed En”light”enment and of the consequent French Revolution, all the atheistic “-isms” of the 19th century, and the following most vice-ridden, murderous century of all, the 20th.
If you educate yourself further than what textbooks present to you, you would see that Voltaire was a man of great vices, including all of the sexual behaviors which become vices, such as that recently promoted by the politician put in the office of the American presidency.
It was Voltaire’s stated intent to break down the social and moral barriers of Western Civilization — and specifically of the Christian values which allowed Western Civilization to exist. All Christian values. He did it with such amazing boldness and with such skillful, enticing writing and conversation, that it seemed as though he was a “gentleman” of great worth.
No gentleman, he. The exact way that Voltaire and like thinkers influenced their Age and Ages to follow is a fascinating history. It’s like watching an army of workshop Vice Grips march into human society, corrupting the culture, ruining lives and religious faith wherever it succeeded. All in the name of being New and Modern and Courageous, of course.
The Final end of Vice? Like the final end of Voltaire.
It is frightening. To those who witnessed his dying days, it was horrifying. Voltaire died with anger and hatred on his lips, shouting out in pain and fear all manner of blame and blasphemies against the God he hated and had convinced himself did not exist! It was a hard death. He knew things now, and he fought against that which he was knowing. (I believe similar “endings” were witnessed as Nietzsche died and . . . was it Kant also? These “giants” of Modernist philosophy died shouting out their terror and hatred toward God — and interestingly, toward their own fathers.)
Oh, yes, heroes of 20th century textbooks.
A life of vice leads to a terrible dying, if it’s a slow and conscious one; but, at any rate, to a terrible ending for all caught up in unrepented vice.
“with strong and violent force”
That leads to the last dictionary word: vehemence. Those who are dedicated to the ways of “freedom from moral restraint” sometimes display the most surprising and unexpected vehemence somewhere in their conversation.
I’ve seen it. I’ll be in a group that is simply talking, conversing, exploring ideas, when suddenly someone will take great offense — or rather: GREAT OFFENSE! — at what someone said. They CANNOT BELIEVE that anyone would dare to call such and such a thing wrong! How INSULTING! How WRONG of you to say something is wrong!! It seems totally out of character of the person who was part of our group. That vehement anger must have been lying in wait, to strike out at the first mention of moral goodness, God, self-restraint, self-discipline, or religious values.
The vehemence comes with insulting accusations and character assassinations that would knock over a whole forest of trees. It is a rhetorical tactic used to shut up one’s conversational opponent. Violent words, violent actions. No reasoning.
This “other” month of June, a month ordering us to honor those trapped in vice and moral turpitude (which Voltaire would, of course, call “freedom”) is certainly a choice that American citizens have available to them.
How DARE we not go along? How DARE we object? Our response may be “prudent silence” — but it’s hard to distinguish silence from timidity.
Qui tacet consentire videtur.