Saturday, June 11, 2011
Celebrate the 5th Anniversary of The Hesperado!
I just realized: my first posting here is dated June 11, 2006. As of this morning, The Hesperado has been going for five years!
My five or six readers can join me for a celebration -- champagne, Ritz crackers and cheese, and a few lame party whistles (I don't like big parties anyway).
All seriousness aside (as Steve Allen used to say), I now mark the occasion by reproducing my very first essay which explains the meaning of this blog, as well as a follow-up essay published just a couple of days later.
The Reverberations in the Name
The name of this blog implies a few associations: the first that comes to mind, of course, is the desperado—the gunslinger whose Spanish sobriquet meant literally “a guy who’s lost hope”. The hesperado, by contrast, and by its assonancy with esperance (hope), would be a guy who has hope.
That’s not all: the “hesper” part comes from the Greek Hesperos, which means the evening star, the setting sun, and by extension, the West. The hesperado has hope in the West.
A further ripple in this linguistic pond is the Hesperides of Greek mythology, who were “daughters of the Evening”, dwelt on a Western island of the ocean, and guarded a garden of golden apples: a pre-Christian echo of the symbolism of Paradise—symbolizing the eschatological basis for the existential experience of hope and its transcendent source.
Then we recall the “Wild West”, the fabled stomping ground of the desperado, a place and an era evoking the “Manifest Destiny” of America, and some of its virtues of freedom, independence, pluck and individuality. The Wild West in many ways symbolized the ongoing creation and progress of America—not a static polity frozen in time with the Founding Fathers, but moving, growing, dynamic, organic; yes, often violent and blustery, but full of a spirit that would come to nourish a culture that valued fairness, tolerance, flexbility, a wide open mind, fun, inventiveness, and a common decency.
The Wild West also symbolized a long fight against regression, stagnation and savagery—taming the Indians of America, most of whom sadly—and often quite brutally—refused to accept the invitations to move forward with us and civilize. (And though the early Americans often retaliated brutally as well, we would ask of our fellow Westerners who tend to be hyper-self-critical of their own West that, at the very least, they accord those pioneers the same exculpatory apologies which they often bend over backwards to accord most other non-Western cultures and non-Western eras whenever their struggles are brought up for critical review).
Put this all together, and you have the Hesperado: a courageous supporter and champion of the modern West, whose writer recently—almost too late—became conscious of another culture representing not only regression, stagnation and savagery, but also an inveterate enmity against the West, from at least as early as the 7th century A.D. to the present: Islam.
The Hesperado's Guiding Theme
1) The modern West is superior to all other cultures and civilizations in world history.
2) The descriptor “superior” does not mean “supreme”, nor does it mean “perfect”. It simply means better, in some meaningfully overall sense.
3) The modern West developed out of Christendom—which, in turn, developed out of the Classical Graeco-Roman West. Just as the Classical West was not obliterated by the new synthesis of Christendom, but was assimilated by it, so too the modern West has not risen upon the ashes of its Judaeo-Christian past, but is a beneficent, organic development out of that past.
4) The modern West is currently threatened by two nebulas:
a) an Islam Redivivus, and
b) an anti-Western pathology of Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism that is, paradoxically, itself Western in origin as well as in continuing expression.
This blog, The Hesperado, is predicated upon the hope that the West can recover the rationality of its Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian roots in time to dismantle Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism sufficiently in order to deal with the dangers of Islam.
Often I struggle with a sense of desperation that the West is doomed, but nevertheless I hold on to the hope that it will prevail. Who knows, there might come a day when I announce in an essay here that I have given up hope. Every day that I encounter fellow Westerners responding with irrationally silly, morally bankrupt, and dangerously reckless “respect” for Muslims and their Islam, I move that much closer to abandoning hope. And yet, I continue to hold on to a tenuous filament connecting me to the greatness of the West. I hope that my hope will have been worth it.