Itxu Díaz: This World Is in Need of Good Thinkers


Some may disagree that what we lack most are good readers, but they’re wrong.

Centuries ago, citizens with the ability to read and write were a minority, and yet that didn’t stop great philosophers from handing down magnificent interpretations of life and existence, even before some of their phrases became famous memes on Instagram and seemed like they could’ve been taken from a cereal commercial.

In addition to having good books, it would be nice if we had a lot of people willing to read them. But remember, everything that becomes mainstream ends up ruined, including the most basic ideas of conservatism.

I fear that we have raised a generation of conservatives that has never even read Chesterton and, for the most part, hasn’t read much more than a lengthy video description written by a YouTuber with blue hair and far too many ear piercings.

Those militants of the hollow right, the same ones who stormed the Capitol, who became famous because of a tweet, we can throw straight into the same swamp into which we would launch the last batch of collectivists and, in general, the postmodern nihilists, who are much more tiresome than classical nihilists because instead of believing in nothing, they believe in everything.

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Be that as it may, while I was poking around my library looking for a subject with which to captivate the hearts of my dear readers, the “Summa Theologica” fell on my foot — it was the closest thing to an apparition of St. Thomas Aquinas that I have ever experienced, the only difference being that instead of rejoicing, I just shouted out in pain, contemplating my inflamed big toe.

And since everything in life is providential, I came to the realization that today the old friar would be 795 years old — a very good age to philosophize. He’s already overcome the crisis of the 740s, which, I heard, is terrible and even the most learned thinkers wear sneakers and sagging pants and send friend requests on social media to young girls 300 or 400 years old.

And in this time of world distress, now that we know that 2021 is not what it seemed it would be, we should take a step back from the day to day that politics offers us and look to the best long-term vision given to us by thinkers.

With our focus on the present, we will probably fluctuate between stages of anger and outrage, but neither mode is conducive to the expansion of the intellect and the cultivation of the soul, which are the two things that will ultimately serve us well when old age opens our eyes for the first time, thank the Lord, to the reality that we are not in charge of the world.

Do you think the world needs more readers and thinkers?

If conservatism renounces its destiny, which is eternity, it will lose its origin. If the conservative is unable to look beyond the disasters of each day, he’ll end up losing the perspective that makes this way of seeing life pleasant. Thus, we should not live in the political argument.

We cannot live in finitude. We cannot forget about the classics. We cannot stop cultivating the mind. We cannot stop requiring more of ourselves, because unlike the left, we know that the only way to make a better world — assuming that we desire to achieve such a thing — is by demanding more of ourselves.

We believe in the individual much more than the left believes in the mass. And we believe in the individual because he is free, because he is a being capable of thinking on his own.

Three months before his death, Thomas Aquinas told his confidant, Friar Reginaldo, “Everything I have written seems like straw by comparison with what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” And in this way the scholastic philosopher showed us the way forward: We have never learned enough.

In the end, between Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas, we were left with the hallmarks of what should govern our life, even beyond the beliefs held by each one. They taught us how to love the truth, to be contemplative, to discover the meaning of happiness, to always seek beauty and so many other good things that life gives us.

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It’s only natural that we get muddy in today’s arena. After all, we live in this world. I make a living off of romping through that pond week after week.

But at night when a lighthouse is lit in the port in the middle of the gloom, and silence slowly conquers the city, we must set aside some time for the careful reading of all those who forged our way of seeing life, and also of those who today still follow their path. From time to time we need to turn off the light, to look inward in order to grow outward.

This article first appeared on The Western Journal en Español.

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Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music or smart appliances. He is a contributor to The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, National Review, The American Conservative, The American Spectator and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an advisor to the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website