Alan Keyes
Pragmatism and the demise of statesmanship
By Alan Keyes
February 3, 2015

In a recently published article, I allude to the critical role of American statesmanship in crafting the "confederal international system established...after WWII." I observe that it is statesmanship that the political class spawned by America's present corrupt political process no longer seems willing or able to provide. Readers would be mistaken to think that the phrase "willing or able" is simply a rhetorical trope. It refers to a profound consequence of the elitist faction's corruption of America's political process.

The elitists have abandoned the uniquely thoughtful understanding of politics that characterized America's prevalent founders. The founders focused on the responsibilities of decent citizens. The elitists instead promote an ideology that focuses on the power of government.

This shift from "understanding" to "ideology," and from citizens' affairs to government affairs, corresponds to the elitist faction's goal of transforming the character of the American people in order to establish tyranny over them. From a nation of responsible individuals who establish government to preserve and perpetuate their common life (res publica), Americans are being morphed into pliable masses. As such, they will be more easily subjected to manipulation and exploitation by those who secretly believe no one is responsible for anything but achieving and maintaining superior power.

The shallow, tendentious philosophizing of Marx and other by-blows of Hegel's deformed Kantianism clothes this power-mad "pragmatism" in ideological fancy dress. Yet it simply reiterates the age-old opinion Plato alludes to in "The Republic," which holds that right is whatever those who prove superior in power declare it to be.

Though derived from thinking that strives to impose the dialectical paradigm on all existing things, the ideology in question drives truly dialectical discourse from every stage of human conversation, including the one that directly perpetuates humanity. As professor Louis Beres observed recently, "From Plato's time onward, dialectical thinking has required the disciplined asking and answering of certain questions." But what does that discipline require? Among other things, taking care to make sure that we "know what we do not know," so we put the right question to a person whose answer will help us to remedy the deficiency.

This is not the least important illustration of Christ's famous conclusion: "For he that hath, to him shall be given" (Matthew 4:25). But the "pragmatic" elitist faction ideology mimics empirical science in taking a view of human affairs that forces truth to wait upon results. It must say, like Macbeth in the play (Act 3, Scene 4), "Strange things I have in head, that will to hand; which must be acted ere they may be scann'd." But when it comes to human actions, "there's the rub." If Nazi Germany had ended up in America's position after World War II, and Hitler had dictated the peace, would that have made the extermination of so-called "inferior" races, which would very likely have ensued, right and just? God forbid!

In human affairs, moral atrocity cannot be endured on the excuse that we cannot know right from wrong until we see who proves to be victorious. The experiment that cleanses the world of those some regard as noxious vermin in human form ought simply to be forbidden. But by what empirical data can this conclusion be verified unless and until the experiment is carried out? Moral judgment thus literally requires that we know what we do not know; that we have some way of testing the true nature of the actions we "will to hand" before we carry that will into action.

By whatever name it is said to be justified (historicism, scientific materialism, progressivism, evolutionary growth, etc.), the elitist faction's "pragmatic" ideology for government involves pretending that human beings are best governed by those who "get things done," even though that pretense discards the moral premises for thinking about whether such things are rightly done. Absent these moral premises, it's easy to maintain that people must "wait and see" before making any judgment. Thus advances the illogic of totalitarian control over thought and behavior. Thus pragmatism prepares for the assertion that those who criticize, resist, or interfere with what is to be done are to blame for the evils entailed by the execution of policy, or its bad results.

I am at a loss to understand why any Americans not yet bought and sold by the elitist faction's "powers that be" are taken in by the thoughtless disregard for moral reason involved in the new regime the elitists seek to impose. Such Americans simply have no excuse for supporting politicians who champion the perversions of libertarianism and/or social conscience now being held up as façades to mask the destruction of liberty and prepare for wholesale moral and material atrocity, including the persecution of good conscience in heart and thought, in fact and action.

People inclined to understand and agree with the thoughts here expressed need seriously to consider the thoughts' implication for our agenda as citizens. Many of you still believe in the logic of our nation's founders. They had the wisdom and decency to acknowledge what they did not know and look to their Creator God for guidance in the search for it. They rejected the false notion that experiment can replace experience as the discipline for judgment about human affairs. And they rejected the notion that experience could be judged by facts alone, with no regard for God's provisions.

Looking back upon the experience of the United States in the world, and the world's experience of the United States, what fair minded-person willing to imitate the decency and wisdom of the founding would willingly discard the premises of God-endowed right, and of liberty defined in light of it, that guided, constrained, and matured this nation's development? Those premises brought us to a pinnacle of success that greatly benefited the world, before the ripe machinations of elitist ambition set us on the road to ruin. If we mean to live on the premises of our founding, one conclusion is inevitable: We must discard the corrupt, elitist party sham that presently seeks to overthrow them.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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