Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Ultimate End of all Reformation
John Stuart Mill was a Reformer. He was continually (as we all have been since the Reformation) "reforming the Reformation" (Milton). Now, I am not a Catholic, at least not formally (although I frequently feel far more fellowship towards them these dark days than anyone else), but I have to chuckle at these autobiographical thoughts of JS Mill. For one thing did the man not ask himself why he became so depressed? It occurred when it dawned on him that, if all Reformation (secular or otherwise) was replete and complete, what would this do to him? And of course, he knew, it would render him unhappy. Because the Leftist isn't happy unless he is "changing the world" (preferably someone else). He recovered from his state by reading a passage from literature, and then the poetry of Wordsworth (whom it is worthwhile noting was the most "conservative of the Romantics" as well as the most like an English country parson). Anyone who has felt depression of an intense sort should feel some sympathy (which I do) with Mill; he is a human being, who struggled to live his life the best he knew how. And he certainly was a fine thinker and writer, in the abstract (his ideas On Liberty were derivative from von Humboldt, who in my opinion, was more subtle). Yet he recovered from depression, only to re-immerse himself in his Reforms. This may be therapeutic, but (as Keats would say) the "eagle of Truth is greater than the lyre of Apollo" (or the world-shaking "reformers" who wish to make a better mousetrap out of the world). Did the man never question himself? When he "got better"? Did he never consider that when Liberalism finally reigned supreme in every nook and cranny of the globe, and all men busied themselves with consumption in the pursuit of happiness (Bentham's body is still preserved, stuffed, in the British Museum, for all to see, like a religious artifact from ancient Egypt), that there would still be the eternal question of Man:
Not only who, but What, am I?