I drew this piece, which is of course inspired by Goya, during a particularly trying time. Only now, with all the talk of 2016 being a struggle for all admirers and inheritors of the Enlightenment*, I thought I would share it, restyling it as my modest, and modern, take on The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Demons.
Also: Christopher Hitchens’ words are just as apposite today – where more leftists are taking the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mantra to heart.
Goya did not idealize “the people” and was more inclined to notice savagery than nobility in human nature. The “human nature” argument has been allowed to waste a lot of liberal time, and keeps emerging the subtext of contemporary arguments about crime, race, evil and other areas where reactionaries feel that the instinctive gives them the upper hand. It is the special achievement of Goya to have been a radical pessimist; to have forced our attention upon the base and the ghastly aspects of the human personality while not surrendering to them ceasing to protest their official instatement. He had few illusions to lose-fewer perhaps than many liberals of today, whose optimism would have buckled if forced by a circumstance like that of Spain in 1812.
*And I make no allusions to the nauseating “New Atheist” cult here. “Enlightenment – with or without the capital E – has unfortunately become a buzzword in that electronic circle-jerk.