Men have long understood the special connection between words and the transcendent. Historians like John Lukacs have noted that virtually all of our reality is words. Novelists like George Orwell saw only too well how the mutilation of words by monsters could send reality into a hopeless downward spiral.
Leftists understand how well words fight evil, but the concept of evil is abhorrent to Leftists. People are "sick" or "ignorant" or "foolish" or "unlucky" but never evil (except, of course, anyone who ever notes that evil exists.) Small wonder that the Left also wages war on words.
Education is increasing anti-education. Images, like camouflage, naturally delude while words require the sin of lying to delude. Leftists demand that we read wordless comic strips and watch nighttime soap operas, rather than judge and reflect with words. The dystopia of Fahrenheit 451 is becoming the life of many people.
The illusion of normalcy in horribly disfigured lives is preserved through an army of makeup artists, constantly covering shattered lives with the narcotic of social conformity and the ephemeral popularity. That Hitler was once wildly popular does not matter: he is not popular now, so now - only now! - Hitler must have been a fiend.
When words must be used, Leftists want these words in fiction and in drama and not in fact or in history. Art has the power to inspire, but art has the greatest power to deceive. Small wonder that some of the greatest horrors in history have been done in the name of art.
Anyone who believes great film cannot also be great evil is a fool: the Ku Klux Klan was reborn in magnificent cinema; the Nazis appeared best in beautiful Nazi art; the Gulag Hell of Soviet Russia was made breathlessly seductive by artists who lacked souls.
When fiction must be replaced by fact, or purported fact, then the facts should be spoken and not written. So political speeches have become infinitely more important than political platforms. So interruption has become the most accepted way of making a point. So infantile denial of the obvious has become a placebo for serious discourse.
It is not accidental that the manuscripts of nighttime news programs look like Kindergarten arguments. Read today excerpts from the Lincoln-Douglass debates or Patrick Henry's stirring "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech. These written records of spoken words, although sometimes only a summary of remarks made, still read as great thoughts and great sentiments should read and should have sounded.
The intellectual deconstruction that is Leftism so infects our world that even a great genius at a great moment, like Winston Churchill in the Second World War, reads less clearly, less crisply, less cogently and less compellingly than Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address or his Gettysburg Address eight decades before.
Lincoln was not greater than Churchill: the Age of Lincoln was greater than the Age of Churchill. The tone and the cadence of Churchill are what we hear in his speeches, but in those two great speeches of Lincoln - those two very short and very pointed addresses - the words themselves pierce all the frauds of cultures and speak instead of nobility.
How did Lincoln's voice sound? Nothing as beautiful as Churchill or Reagan or FDR or Hitler or Mussolini. How did Lincoln appear? He looked like a graying gargoyle, an object of ugliness. Perhaps that is why the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural are so very short: people were listening to the words, and when they stopped listening then they would notice his superficial hideousness.
Leftists, when forced to use written words, very much prefer that these words be editable. Old books are no friends to any Leftist. Try to find Workers Paradise Lost or Capable of Honor or Witness if you doubt the lust of Leftism for book burning. Each of these masterpieces were bestsellers by great authors, yet most people could not even tell you who wrote the book or when they were written.
Even The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn's trilogy of the greatest holocaust in human history, a book which Time Magazine simply called "the greatest book of the 20th Century" is hard to find in most libraries and impossible to find in most book stores. Why? Murdering books or kidnaping books keeps all but a few of us in carefully hedged ignorance.
When Leftists write, they write in enormous and dull prose. The write not to be clear but to kill clarity. They dream up long-winded statements which boil down to nothing at all. They write tax codes and mission statements. They write word painful to read.
This is why the world today - America today - seems divided into those who hold things dear and those who hold things worthless. Words give meaning to life. Men die for words. Men created America with words.
These words, whether found in the Declaration of Independence or the Federalist Papers or the King James Bible speak easily across centuries while the Leftist next today door cannot write a single thoughtful paragraph. The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, grand tracts of Leftism, are tedious and dry.
Freedom is zest and slavery is most of all abominable boredom. Writing words intended to speak for centuries requires the courage of faith and conscience. Writing words intended to die soon in the memory hole simply requires the abdication of all that has value. Which is the soul of soulless Leftism.
Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.