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THE PRINCIPLED IMPULSE


July 20, 2011

The principled impulse to do the right thing transcends fleeting emotion.

There is a difference between the pique of emotion and the ardent feeling that comes with a principled impulse to act.

David Mamet, whether in his lauded Drama or his new book, The Secret Knowledge, has a gift for engaging the brain and the heart all at once.  He has beautifully articulated the differences in the modern-vs. classical-liberal impulse to force a type of justice through government intervention because of a sentimental feeling for the supposed victim of injustice.  This is different than the modern conservative impulse to adhere to agreed-upon rules-such as the Constitution-in order to dispassionately adjudicate purported wrongs through a process of justice.  It occurred to me that it is essential that conservatives understand this key aspect of our ideology, so we may frame it rhetorically, and so we may teach it to our children whom, we hope, will grow up to be Patriots: Emotion and sentiment; the visceral sensations that arise in response to any number of stimulations, whether they be physical or psychological, are not the same as the principled impulse to act, which may be called fervor or passion for a cause.  One is fleeting and based upon the passing conditions that move rhythmically and seasonally through our conscious and somatic states.

The principled impulse, in a person who is firm in his identity, is a powerful thing, and cannot easily be dissuaded, if at all.  It is of the very Nature of the principled individual, and has developed at a cellular level, incorporating a core belief system into his subconscious processes.  The principled individual responds through action to the sensation that accompanies the impulse to counter evil or cruelty or the demonic powers that would crush agency and individuality.  The sensation grows within the bosom, the fibers of the muscles, and as a keen thought within the mind, and a warmth of enlightenment to the spirit, simultaneously.  The principled impulse is neither rash, nor encumbered by indecision, but is tempered, patient, and waits for the correct time and context in which to act.  If an attacker hurts an innocent person, the principled impulse overrides the primal compulsion to run.  Since the mind (intellect) of the principled individual is engaged the possible bad outcome of such an attack, absent the intervention of the person who could help if he so chooses, is an intolerable thought.

Much has been made of “feelings” over the last few decades.  Some of this pop-culture/counseling dogma comes from a sincere desire to be more thoughtful and less inclined to inflict permanent harm to the tender psyches of others, especially children.  But so much of this intentional softening of the West is an effort to establish emotion as a superior reference point for action to that of thought.  It is the proverbial “dumbing down” of culture.  Many still buy into the drivel.  But a class of individuals, more (self) educated in the founding documents and principles of the United States of America, is drawing away from the psychobabble and toward those self-evident truths which actually work to strengthen individuals and the civilized society.

When we teach our children about the History of America-or about the wonderful human accounts in the Standard Works of scripture, for that matter-it is important to teach them that the people in the stories are just like us; they feel, they fear, they hurt, and they die, sometimes painfully.  And when we teach of courage, we must talk about the principled impulse that comes, not as a passing fancy or a thoughtless urge, but as a consummate devotion to an idea.  An example of such an idea would be that men have unalienable rights given to them by their Creator. This is an idea based upon truth-perhaps not an immediately provable, temporal truth-but upon eternal and God given principles which have been framed from the foundations of the Earth as the irrevocable conditions which pertain to the creation and plan of God, which was made for the exaltation of His children.

My admonition to my friends-and we call ourselves Conservatives and Patriots-is to understand and nurture the principled impulse, and share your knowledge with all you know and love.  We are, and will be, under personal and national assault by evils within and without our communities and our government for many years.  We have to stand firm in principle, discerning the rush of blazing emotions from the impulse to act when it is a principled thing to do so.  We may feel alone, we may be frustrated, and we will surely be exhausted.  But we cannot act frantically or in gut response to wrongs and hurts and slanderous torments from our adversaries.  We have no choice but to be the “adults in the room.” We must be in control. Acting with self-mastery and principle is the emblem of a truly liberated generation.

“Someday, the realm of liberty and justice will encompass the planet. Freedom is not just the birthright of the few, it is the God-given right of all His children, in every country. It won’t come by conquest. It will come, because freedom is right and freedom works. It will come, because cooperation and good will among free people will carry the day.”

*Ronald Reagan*

by Marjorie Haun  7/20/2011




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