Truth of Blood and Time

Here's my wisdom for your use, as I learned it when the moose
And the reindeer roamed where Paris roars to-night:—

There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
And — every—single — one—of— them — is — right!
—Rudyard Kipling, "In the Neolithic Age"

When I was a college student in the late 1980's, the obsession of conservative activists in academia was summed up in the buzzword relativism. By the early 90's, that term had been paired with nihilism, understood to be relativism's darker and more foreboding big brother. Come to believe that the expression of truth is affected in any way by time, by place, by civilization, and you would eventually wind up believing that there is no basis for morality. And those influenced by the disciples of Leo Strauss (or those who had simply glanced at a copy of Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind) often threw a third term—historicism—into the mix. There is truth and falsehood; philosophy and history; white and black —and anyone who suggests that human life is characterized by shades of gray secretly yearns for Auschwitz and the Gulag.

The "success" of conservatism politically in the 1980's undoubtedly had much to do with such a simplistic view of reality....

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