[This out-of-the-park hit is the last word on the Polanski debacle. Courtesy of bookseller/writer Craig S. Maxwell at the ever-indispensable Maxwell’s House of Books, my primary source for reading material.]
During the course of his debates with Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln wisely observed that, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who molds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”
Today, however, Lincoln’s insight is troubling–especially given Hollywood’s influence over the nation. Regrettably, this small, sordid suburb of Los Angeles is one of the world’s most powerful molders of “public sentiment”, and the recently focused attention on acclaimed director Roman Polanski should serve to remind us of of this fact. Over the years, movies have increasingly relied on the extreme, the perverse and the profane to sell themselves. But this is far from being the mere commercial exploitation of controversially “racy” material by cynical, yet otherwise bourgeois studio execs who “know better.” It is, rather, a clear reflection of the morally denuded minds of its makers–the producers and directors–those unwitting, third-hand consumers and distributors of the philosophical corrosives contrived by Rousseau, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Sorel, Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, et al. For over one hundred years, their destructive ideas have filtered down from academe and into popular culture. What “lesson” did they teach? Primarily, that truth and morality have no objective, universal content, and are nothing more than the arbitrary expressions of cultural bias, or the individual’s will to dominate. Thus, for their disciples, it followed that to free oneself from the fetters of traditional morality was to undertake a bold adventure in self-discovery, liberation and “progressive” thinking.
Traces of this “enlightened” perspective can be seen in the conspicuously calculated, dismissive and self-exonerating remarks of Roman Polanski who, when questioned about the thirteen year old girl he drugged and raped, told the interviewer that he was no aberration, and that (in truth), “everybody [deep down] wants to (four-letter obscenity deleted) little girls”; or in those of Woody Allen who, when questioned about the propriety of the affair he was having with his wife’s adopted daughter, blandly replied, “The heart wants what it wants.”
Our world was built on the solid pillars of three, great civilizations: Jerusalem, Athens and Rome. The first taught us to pray; the second, to think; and the third, to govern. Yet as strong as they are, these pillars require our respectful study, contemplation and defense, if they are to continue bearing the tremendous weight of the West. Absent this attention, we will continue to witness our ongoing decay, and eventual collapse.