Religion Magazine

Welcome to the Mental Ward

By Stjohnpa @faith_explorer

by Anthony Esolen

Chesterton once wrote that the madman is not the fellow who has lost his reason, but the fellow who has lost everything but his reason.  Such a person, seized by a single monomaniacal idea, loses his balance, as if under the weight of a mental hyptertrophy on one side.  Because a man may add five and six, and a cash register may add five and six, he discovers that a man is no more than a cash register.  He begins to dream dreams of cash registers, male and female he dreams them, coming together to make change.  If he is Mr. Richard Dawkins, he dreams of other worlds wherein cash registers, or card catalogues, spring up naturally among the lilies of the field.

But what kind of madness is it when one is simultaneously beset with that single idea, and yet one cannot remember what one has just said?  That would seem a monstrous impossibility, a stupidity far beyond the scope of normal perverseness and study.  And yet that is what we witness now, a sort of intellectual slapstick.  It would be like Mrs. Carry Nation raffling off baskets of cheer to fund Prohibition.

Perhaps it is sex that has driven us mad.  I think rather it must be boredom.  We are so bored, we not only cannot be bothered to remember what our opponents say.  We cannot be bothered to remember what we ourselves say.

So then, on Monday, the harridans of the National Organization for Women announce the great discovery, that it is a bad thing for men to beat women black and blue.  We wonder what took them so long to discover it.  APPLES FALL TO THE GROUND, runs the headline, with the helpful addition, Effects on Agriculture Undetermined.  So terrible a thing it is for women to be beaten, they must promote a national law, the Violence Against Women Act, to ensure the safety of women against the fist of a brawling boyfriend.

Then on Tuesday, the same harridans announce the great discovery, that it is a good thing for women to join the infantry, to confront not boyfriends, but enemy men who will be at the peak of their physical prowess, armed to the teeth, and filled with the rage of killing and plunder and rape.  The chivalry or plain common decency that once protected a woman against brawling—or war—is derided as a masculine plot to keep women in subjection.  Women must be free to be conscripted.  Women have long missed the joys of trench life, where table and bed and latrine are all the same mud.  They have missed the airy delight of seeing a brother blown sky high, or the wonderful tingle of an arm or leg suddenly missing or hanging by a thread.  They should then enjoy those experiences, and add to them the salt that makes it all worthwhile, the futility of loss, the unspoken knowledge that it has all been for nothing, and that your brothers and your country would have been better off without you.

On Wednesday, the keepers of our national morality inveigh against a priest or a coach who entices a teenage boy into sodomy.  On Thursday, the same keepers inveigh against the Boy Scouts, for shying away from scoutmasters who might do the same.  (Read more of this article here…)

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog