Category Archives: Philosophy
Regret seems a very secular, and modern, emotion.
Regret is the desire to remake the present. To go back and take a different path.
But to repent is to acknowledge that we were wrong; a decision was wrong, a choice was wrong, a reaction was wrong.
Repentance does not, therefore, entail wanting to re-shape the present: It is possible, quite normal indeed, to repent past actions, yet be grateful for the present. Or vice versa.
What about the “Je ne regrette rien”/ “I did it my way” attitude which so typifies the modern Man?
If it was really about ‘regret’ then that would be fine – but the context tell us it is actually about repentance – the person is saying (in a Nietzschian spirit) I repent nothing.
They are saying: if I had my life over, I would do everything exactly the same all over again. Even knowing the full import and consequences – I would choose to re-live my life precisely, rather than any other possible life.
And that attitude is impossible to a Christian – is profoundly anti-Christian (which is of course why Nietzsche made having that belief the touchstone of existential sincerity).
Modern (secular) science tends to see things in terms of an infinite regress – but this is implicit, demonstrated by how scientists behave and not by their expressed beliefs.
Infinite regress means that A was caused by B which was caused by C – and so on forever.
This is very much a linear and causal view – linear causality is the primary metaphysical assumption about the nature of reality.
This is of course paradoxical, since if there were an infinite number of previous causes, then it would take eternity for them to operate – so nothing could ever be caused.
However, all ultimate explanations are paradoxical – so it is not as if there was any non-paradoxical alternative.
Mind of God
Mainstream Christan theology takes the (ultimately Platonic) attitude that the ultimate explanation is the mind of God – God’s will, God’s decision.
This is regarded as inexplicable, because in this conception of God He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent – causes everything and thus sustains the universe, and is free of all passions, impassive, unchanging – yet, somehow, Loves us and we are supposed to Love(as well as worship) Him.
(To worship and fear such a concept of God is easy; to Love Him and believe He Loves us – especially given that He is directly responsible for – wills – absolutely everything that happens… well that is not so easy.)
So asking about the ultimate cause of A may be followed by B and C but does not go on forever – sooner or later the causes come to terminus in the mind of God, in the uncaused direct will and action of God.
For this view, everything is necessary - absolutely everything.
Nothing could be other than as it is.
(Which leaves no space, not one Angstrom of space, for real, actual, free will. So Christianity is impossible…)
But this is not really an explanation – rather it is a limit to explanation. A stop sign.
So there is a paradoxical quality about using the mind of God as the ultimate explanation – especially for a Christian.
It just is
But there is another alternative, seldom given much attention but in fact the one to which I adhere; and which is the pluralist alternative; and it is like the mind of God explanation except that ALL causal pathways do NOT return to the mind of God, but some of them terminate in ‘It Just Is’.
So some ‘A’s do have a line of causality leading back to the mind of God (to God’s uncaused will and action). But other A, B, C sequences terminate in the assumption that that Just Is ‘how things are’ and presumably ‘always have been’ – in other words the nature of reality.
Therefore, two classes of explanation: two types of ultimate cause – God, and It Just Is…
(Implying a reality which contains God, rather than being contained-by God).
On this view, some things are ultimately caused by God, and other things are not.
(Some things are Good, and other things are not – either being neutral, such as forces and laws of nature and substance; or evil, which means anti-Good, destructive of Good.)
Reality is therefore not ultimately a harmony or stasis; but instead some kind of dynamic conflict or process, between ultimate realities, ultimate causes (of which God is one); there is ‘opposition in all things’.
Another way to contrast the mind of God from It Just Is, is to consider the origin of Forms.
Most philosophical and scientific analyses necessarily assume forms are real, and lie behind appearances. This applies to Plato and even more to Aristotle, to Thomism, is a recurrent and continuous feature of science (especially biology), and has reappeared in our time in the work of Rupert Sheldrake.
(The modern theory of evolution by natural selection depends utterly on assumptions about form, but its flaw is that it cannot see this, and denies and ridicules such discourse. Hence form is an unexamined assumption of natural selection, shaping all discourse but opaque to perception.)
But where do the forms come from?
The two answers are essentially: 1. They are present in, and a decision of, the mind of God (Aristotle, Aquinas); or 2. They Just Are (which has been the implicit view of most scientists interested in form, including Sheldrake.)
But how do we know about forms, how do we know how many there are and their characteristics, how can we detect a form or decide what form applies in a particular situation?
If forms come from the mind of God then we can assume God plants the necessary knowledge in our own minds (the view of Aristotle and Aquinas).
But if forms Just Are, then how would we know about them? And how could disputes about form be settled (even in theory) when there was any disagreement about the number, nature, identity, characteristics of form?
For the Just Is understanding, the implication is that we know about things like form partly by them being built-into us, by necessity – since these things are ultimate causes; partly by revelation from God.
But then how does God know?
I think the implication is that God must himself be a kind of philosopher and historian and scientist.
He is Himself one of the ultimate realities – but knows about the other ultimate realities only conjecturally; in terms of unrefuted hypotheses that seem to work.
So, God created (shaped, ordered) the universe, and knows what it is to work-with the ultimate realities – but He does not (on this view) know their number and nature directly or for certain.
He knows far, far, far better than we do what are the nature of the ultimate realities (perhaps matter, and the forces and laws of the universe, and the ultimate forms), because of his vastly greater (to put it mildly!) experience; but He does not know in the way a God whois himself everything would know about what went on inside himself.
The infinite regress view is respectable among scientists, and the God’s mind view is respectable among philosophers and mainstream among Christian theologians – both are respectable despite having big, big, BIG paradoxes and problems.
So also does It Just Is have paradoxes and problems. But It Just Is does have has the BIG advantages (for a Christian) of leaving space for real free will, and also distinguishing between the ultimate origins of Good and evil.
But, at any rate, some people – and I am one, and many tribal peoples and probably most children are others, are apparently satisfied to stop asking for further explanations when they reach something they can believe Just Is…
…The universe has always been, it has always had this stuff in it, the stuff has always operated and reacted and moved in this way and by these rules; God has always been, and we humans have always been and we always will be (some kind of thread of consciousness extending back in time forever, perhaps very thin at times but never severed, always continuous) – But we have changed; and we continue to change, according to the constraints of the stuff and the rules and in love and obedience to God; who, as Father and of his Goodness, shaped us and gave us self-awareness, personhood, godhood; all ultimately because we Just Are, God Just Is, and we and God lived and live among many other things that Just Are.
Get Off The Sinking Ship
This article was written by Pastor Chuck Baldwin and originally published atNewsWithViews.com
This column dated November 21, 2013, created a firestorm of outrage and venom from hundreds of pastors and Christians. It was a rude awakening for me, for sure. I have long maintained that the vast majority of today’s pastors and church members are smugly content in abject apathy and indifference. However, after the vehement reaction to the above-mentioned column, I can now state dogmatically that the problem is actually much, much worse than I realized. Today’s churchmen are not merely content to not being involved; they are absolutely committed to not being involved. It goes much deeper than apathy; it is apostasy.
See my November 21 column “This Pastor Proves My Point”
My email inbox and mailbox filled with vitriolic rebukes from pastors and Christians. I was called just about every dirty name in the book and relegated to the depths of the damned–and those were the mild ones. At the heart of these feelings of contempt is the rejection of Natural Law. It’s not only that today’s pastors and Christians have not been taught the Biblical principles of Natural Law and, therefore, don’t understand it; today’s churchmen have developed a willful and stubborn conviction against Natural Law.
I will even go so far as to say that the majority of our pastors and church leaders today are monarchists at heart. The lack of instruction and understanding of the Biblical principles of Natural Law have created a generation of churchmen who are more than willing to submit to the unnatural laws of tyranny and oppression. Until two weeks ago, I didn’t truly comprehend the depth of this volitional slavery.
The statements being made by today’s pastors and Christians are so nonsensical and asinine that it is extremely difficult to believe that any person, much less pastors and Christians, could even utter them. Here are just a few examples of what pastors have said:
“If federal agents or troops came to my house and put my wife on the kitchen table and raped her, Romans 13 tells me I could not interfere.”
“If government forces came to my home intent on harming my wife and children, I would not resist; I would simply tell my family to run.”
“America’s Founding Fathers were rebels against God. They had no right to fight a war for independence. Subjection to a king, even a tyrannical one, is God’s Will.”
“Anyone who resists civil government is going to hell.”
“There is no such thing as natural law, and anyone who promotes it is of the devil.”
Dear reader, trust me: the comments above are reflective of the majority of pastors and Christians I have heard from over the past couple of weeks. Truly did Jesus say, “Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?” (Luke 6:39 KJV) That is exactly what is happening in America today: the blind are leading the blind into the ditch of tyranny and oppression.
Last Sunday, I delivered a message entitled, Biblical Evidence For Natural Law. I invite readers to watch the archived video of that message: Biblical Evidence For Natural Law
Listen to the Scripture: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” (Romans 2:14, 15 KJV)
The great theologians and Bible scholars of yesteryear all understood the Biblical teaching of Natural Law. Here are a few samples of some of church history’s greatest Bible commentators on this passage in Romans 2.
Albert Barnes: “The expression means clearly by the light of conscience and reason, and whatever other helps they may have without revelation. It denotes simply, in that state which is without the revealed will of God. In that condition they had many helps of tradition, conscience, reason, and the observation of the dealings of divine Providence, so that to a considerable extent they knew what was right and what was wrong.”
John Wesley: “The Ten Commandments being only the substance of the law of nature.”
Adam Clarke: “Do, without this Divine revelation, through that light which God imparts to every man, the things contained in the law–act according to justice, mercy, temperance and truth, the practice of which the revealed law so powerfully enjoins; these are a law unto themselves.”
John Gill: “The matter and substance of the moral law of Moses agrees with the law and light of nature…which they have by nature and use, and which natural reason dictates to them.”
Matthew Henry: “They had that which directed them what to do by the light of nature: by the force and tendency of their natural notions and dictates they apprehended a clear and vast difference between good and evil. They did by nature the things contained in the law. They had a sense of justice and equity, honour and purity, love and charity; the light of nature taught obedience to parents, pity to the miserable, conservation of public peace and order, forbade murder, stealing, lying, perjury, etc. Thus they were a law unto themselves.”
Think about it: man did not have the written, revealed laws of God for some 2,500 years of recorded history. Yet, they did have the Law of God “written in their hearts,” or Natural Law.
Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England were, without a doubt, among the most influential writings upon America’s founders. In his commentaries (second section), Blackstone said, “Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being. A being, independent of any other, has no rule to pursue, but such as he prescribes to himself; but a state of dependence will inevitably oblige the inferior to take the will of him, on whom he depends, as the rule of his conduct: not indeed in every particular, but in all those points wherein his dependence consists. This principle therefore has more or less extent and effect, in proportion as the superiority of the one and the dependence of the other is greater or less, absolute or limited. And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will.
“This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.”
In that same second section of his commentaries, Blackstone further said, “This law of nature, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other–It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this: and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.”
Before Biblical Law said, “Thou shalt not kill,” Natural Law said, “Thou shalt not kill.” Before Biblical Law said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” Natural Law said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Before Biblical Law said, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” Natural Law said, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Before Biblical Law said, “Thou shalt not steal,” Natural Law said, “Thou shalt not steal.” How is it, and since when is it, that pastors and Christians do not understand this?
Natural Law, by its very definition, demands procreation, protection, provision, and prohibition. From the very act of Creation, Adam and Eve were given in their hearts (by God) the desire to procreate. Does anyone deny that those who produce children have a right and duty to protect and provide for their children? Does not all of nature have an innate desire to produce young then protect and provide for the young that they produced? The bird and the beast build a nest or den for its young; it catches or hunts food for its young; and it uses every means in its power to drive away predators from its young.
How, in the name of God, can today’s pastors and church leaders say they would not protect their own families from harm? How can they treat so flippantly the duty and responsibility to provide safety and security for home and community? Does a badge give a person the right to act like a predator? You mean to tell me that God would have us bring our children up in the “fear and admonition of the Lord” only then to sit back and do nothing while human beasts with badges devour and enslave them? What nonsense! What rubbish!
Beyond that, prohibition is as intrinsic to Natural Law as is procreation, protection, and provision. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were given great authority over the entire natural kingdom–yet, they were also given jurisdictional prohibition: they were not allowed to eat of the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. Even in that state of perfect innocence, when Adam was the absolute master of all that God had created on earth, he had limited jurisdiction. And when Adam violated that jurisdictional prohibition, there were consequences that had to be paid. And that was the pattern for all human authority.
There is only one Sovereign: the Creator-God. All human authority, be it vocational, familial, ecclesiastical, or political, is limited and jurisdictional. Anytime human authority oversteps its jurisdictional borders, Natural Law (God’s Law “written in our hearts”) demands resistance. And the amount and type of resistance is commensurate to the amount and type of usurpation.
When the “kings of the nations” seized property not belonging to them and kidnapped some of Abram’s family, he did not quote Romans 13 and sit complacent. He gathered his armed servants (who were already trained in the art of war) and pursued the oppressors. He put together a military strategy and attacked the predators and destroyed them. Not only that, when he returned, he was blessed by Melchizedek, who was “the priest of the most high God.” (Genesis 14)
Hebrews 7 says Melchizedek was a type of Jesus Christ. Many Bible scholars believe that Melchizedek was actually a Christophany, meaning a pre-Bethlehem appearance of Christ. Think of it: Christ Himself (or a priest who is clearly a type of Christ) blessed Abram after he attacked and destroyed the usurpers who had transgressed their jurisdictional authority. And exactly where was it written that Abram should do this thing? It was written in his heart. Again, the resistance was commensurate to the transgression.
And those who say that violent resistance to tyrannical government is unbiblical and sinful should tear the entire Book of Judges out of their Bibles. Where in the Mosaic Law were the laws of insurrection recorded? They weren’t. Yet, for a period of over 300 years, champion after champion felt the call of God in his heart to resist with violence the tyrants who were subjugating his country. Furthermore, Hebrews 11 places men such as Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah in the great “Hall of Faith.” And, remember, Romans 15:4 says that the Old Testament was written “for our learning.”
Western Civilization is rooted in Natural Law. Scholars in and out of the Church have historically accepted the Natural Law principles of the rights and duties of procreation, protection, provision, and prohibition as being “self-evident.” In his book, “Political Obligations,” University of Virginia political science professor George Klosko wrote, “[I]t is generally held that obedience to government is not unconditional. Though we have significant moral requirements to obey, these can be overridden by countervailing factors. For instance, a government that becomes tyrannical can lose its right to be obeyed, while obligations to obey specific laws that are unjust can also be not binding.” (George Klosko, Political Obligations, Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford, 2005, 11)
Klosko’s philosophy matches the philosophy of the vast majority of Christian and non-Christian scholars including Sir Edward Coke, Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, Emerich de Vattel, Samuel Rutherford, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and Thomas Aquinas (to name a few).
Compare the Natural Law teaching of history’s great scholars (many, if not most, of whom were Christians) to the teaching of so many of today’s pastors and church leaders. The differences are stark. The great preachers, theologians, and scholars of history produced a thirst for both God and freedom and gave birth to the greatest free land the world has ever known. And what are today’s pacifist preachers producing? An apathy and indifference that has brought our country to the brink of a modern-day Dark Ages. Everything that America’s colonial pastors such as John Leland, John Witherspoon, John Peter Muhlenberg, James Caldwell, and Jonas Clark fought so bravely to bequeath to us is being surrendered by the cowardice and apostasy of the modern pulpit.
As I said, after reading the voluminous pieces of correspondence touting absolute submission to the state, I am convinced that a majority of pastors and church leaders today are monarchists at heart. Accordingly, so many of America’s pastors today are not shepherds; they are slaves. They have repudiated the faith of our fathers; they have repudiated the inspiration and sacrifice of thousands of years of history; they have repudiated sound scholarship and reason; they have repudiated the values and virtues that protect everything that is sacred; and they have repudiated the Biblical Natural Law principles of liberty and justice.
Ichabod is written over the establishment church.
I am further convinced that the only way liberty and justice can be restored to America is for Christians to get out of these idolatrous government churches and form tens of thousands of independent, non-affiliated, non-establishment churches and home-churches. It must happen; it’s going to happen!
I pray that God will use whatever time I have left on this earth to be part of the prophecy that famed Bible teacher A. W. Tozer uttered before his death in 1963. Tozer said:
“I hear Jesus saying…Matthew 23:37, 38, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to her, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate.’
“As the Church now stands, the man who sees this condition of worldly evangelicalism is written off as somewhat fanatical. But the day is coming when the house will be left desolate and there will not be a man of God among them.
I would like to live long enough to watch this develop and see how things turn out. I would like to live to see the time when the man and women of God–holy, separated and spiritually enlightened–walk out of the evangelical church and form a group of their own; when they get off the sinking ship and let her go down in the brackish and worldliness and form a new ark to ride out the storm.”
I agree with Tozer. Get off the sinking ship, folks. Form a new ark to ride out the storm. Pastors and churches that have repudiated Biblical Natural Law principles–including the duty of self-defense–should themselves be repudiated.
At the end of November, Americans gather to celebrate the annual feast of Black Friday, a high holy day dedicated to the acquisition of various products cranked out by Chinese slave labor. On the eve of this festival, a time once known as “Thanksgiving”, citizens will habitually watch football on television and engorge themselves unto nausea. Then, with nightfall and the ritual about to commence, it is time to hurry off to shopping malls and big-box department stores, veritable temples of consumption that can be found in practically every corner of the country. Here at the temple doors they form lines, crowd and wait impatiently until that moment of climax. Unfortunate employees draw back the gates to be immediately slammed by the ecstatically furious oncoming mob. Through the store the shoppers swarm like locusts, grasping at anything marked a “bargain”, clawing at each other in desperation over the latest piece of electronics that supposedly renders meaning to existence. The news media is dutifully on hand to broadcast any deaths or incidences of violence, sacrifices in their own way, as well as imprint the frenzy into the public psyche.
Viewing footage of the Black Friday rite, we must conclude that it is one phenomenon among many uniting Americans of the most diverse ancestry into a common cause- the cult of Mammon. Look into the consumer throngs: here can be seen the uprooted children ofAfrica, Meso-Americans, Asians and the sad descendants of the Indo-Europeans. As editorial writers have informed us upon President Obama’s re-election, the United States has entered “a new normal” of cultural and demographic transformation. The old holiday of Thanksgiving simply did not extract the necessary profits desired by the corporate-financial priesthood, and so it was re-formulated to fulfill their wishes. In the same way the U.S.population has been subjected to several decades of Cabalistic processing through every available means: psychological warfare waged by the media-entertainment complex, indoctrination in academia and so many of the churches, and waves of immigration from alien lands. Black Friday marks the perfection of mass man, the “individual” consumer wholly divorced from generations of his faith, ethnic heritage and family, a slave to debt, technology and base impulses.
“Where did America go wrong?” many will ask, searching out some terrible error from the recent past in the hope of applying a remedy. An observer might feel as if he has been sucked into an absurd alternate reality similar to the narratives of popular science fiction. In the second installment of the Back to the Future films, hero Marty McFly finds his hometown, the quaint Hill Valley, in a state of anarcho-tyranny under the control of idiot-villain Biff Tannen. Marty’s antagonist managed to make himself a wealthy national icon through time travel and ruled his empire from the casino Biff’s Pleasure Paradise. Today we recognize the Pleasure Paradise as our own society, as large swathes of the country resemble a crime-ridden theme park of strip malls featuring taxpayer-funded Goodwill centers, massage parlors, liquor stores and check-cashing outlets. Yet there is no readily convenient culprit to accuse, no Biff to confound in order to make things right again. The elites of Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood are villainous to the core, but their ascent was guaranteed by the very tenets of American civic religion.
Degeneration is America‘s destiny; no other outcome is possible when a polity embraces the toxic, nation-destroying ideals of liberty and equality. For this reason we must look past the accelerated implosion of the past decade, the entirety of the 1960s or the Federal Reserve Bank’s incorporation in 1913. The United States was created as a rationalist republic and beacon for the progress of humanity, and its driving ethos has always been secular-pluralist.
The time has come to discard any lingering delusions relative to America‘s religious mission. All the florid entreaties to some generic Providence by the Deist-Masonic Founders were but rhetorical cover for man’s grand experiment in self-transfiguration and the re-ordering of the world according to his supreme will. This is revolution par excellence, the usurpation of divine sovereignty in the name of “We the People”, an amorphous and alienated mass useful in legitimizing oligarchic power. No less than the Declaration of Independence, that treasured document so matter-of-factly pronouncing all men created equal, was authored by an immeasurably proud intellect who wrote Christ’s divinity out of the Gospels. Why, then, should there be any surprise that America‘s Gospel is the Book of Mammon? Our land is ordained “the last, best hope on earth”, so that every nation may enjoy democracy, usury, pornography and abortion.
Behold our more perfect union! We witness humanism’s final revelation: an engineered andentertained sub-humanity is to be governed by inhuman predators who fancy themselves gods. And throughout this chaos, many well-intentioned Americans continue to call for a restoration of the Constitution, the ultimate Enlightenment project, a bloodless abstraction held sacred and infallible. Never do they see how the operation of this artificial regime, administering “rights” and “liberties” held by autonomous self-creating wills, has led directly to the Babylonian nightmare we inhabit at present. This, too, shall perish from the earth: after the orgy there is no freedom, just entropy and death. A people committed to survival, especially survival in eternity, will hold liberal conceits like the social contract in contempt.
Even Locke’s disciples, the revered Founders of the United States, would be shocked and horrified by today’s America, yet it was they who laid its ideological cornerstone. Brilliant statesmen the calibre of John Adams knew well of the inevitable slide toward decadence and despotism in democracy, but they considered their republic of reason to be a sublime enterprise. The common-law traditions of the Anglo-Saxons were pressed into the service of an arrogant, disembodied rationalism that subverted what the human heart always held dear: loyalty to God, an organic notion of authority and solidarity with one’s kin. Because of this the Constitution in its essence was a suicide pact. European man turned away from Christ the Savior and rejected his blessed patrimony to worship at the altar of reason, that prostitute to infernal passions. The 20th-century Serbian scholar and monk St. Justin Popovic apprehended what fate awaited a West glorying in its own apostasy:
In the world of man there is no even approximately equivalent value that could in any way replace the God-Man Christ. In all spheres of human life He is absolutely irreplaceable. All genuine values derive from Him and find completion in him. If human reason wishes to resolve any problem without Him or aside from Him, it will inevitably collapse into abysses of nihilism or the chaos of anarchism. And because in Western Europe the God-Man is supplanted by man, namely because of this European humanity dwells in chaos. Revolutions, anarchy, tyranny, massacres, cannibalism and murders serve as the only way out. That which is not built upon the God-Man is in itself destroyed. Full of the superman’s proud spirit of megalomania, mined with a virulent element of self-proclaimed ‘infallibility’, the body of Europe must explode and disintegrate into dust and ash.
Daily the Black Mass of the triumphant moderns is celebrated in rebellion against God, and the world cannot but wish its own destruction. The murderous vanity of the Novus Ordo Seclorum will not go unpunished. And what shall become of the ruined West? According to the desires of the materialists, it would be cast into darkness and utterly forgotten. Yet hope still resides in the few men who conquer through prayer and repentance, combatants who will be sanctified in struggle. Salvation is attained not in any temporal kingdoms, but only in our Heavenly Fatherland.
Originally published on Alternative Right on 15th December 2012.
From Alternative Right: http://alternativeright.com/blog/category/our-more-perfect-union2
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” — Ephesians 6:12
The politician must appeal to the vanity of low human nature, through the flattery implicit in all demagogic speech.
The class resentment, that is unambiguously at the heart of Marxism, is also at the heart of democracy in its less violent forms; the demand for equality because, “I’m as good as you are.” Finally it pulls down not only the rich from their stations — the landed, the responsible, the high-born — but with them every noble aspiration the natural hierarchy existed to serve. In its place, & to assuage their iconic longings, the crass are provided with a theatre of “celebrities” instead; of the morally worthless, “famous for being famous.” Monarchy, where it survives, itself descends to the Hollywood level, in the vagrant hope of appeasing this mob. – - Three horsemen : Essays in Idleness
Found at AD: http://americandigest.org/
In response to a comment left by me on a post by Stacy McCain over at his site where I, in effect, say that all Ideology is based on what JeffS labels accurately ‘flawed premises’, someone named Shawn Smith replies:
I disagree. An ideology is simply a set of beliefs about the world and how it works. It is good or bad as it reflects accurately or inaccurately how the world and human nature works.
As there are already well over three hundred comments on Stacy’s post and seeing this as an opportunity to gather some of my thoughts on Ideology and Ideologues in one place, I make my reply here [this is based partially on past postings]…
To do evil, a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good.
An Ideology is a system of ideas.
Ideologues are committed to their system of ideas and, therefore, carry said ideas to their logical ends [logic is neutral; it is merely a process of thinking and it is neither Good nor Evil in and of itself]. Logic will often take you away from Reason. It always follows it’s own course and that road is often different from Reason’s.
Ideologues are slaves to abstract principles that were developed in the sterile laboratories of the mind, far away from Reality [another definition of 'Ideology']. Such creations are fragile — they can shatter at any moment — and must be protected from the messiness that is Real Life. Therefore, the Ideologue is compelled to follow the logic of his positions [and demand they be followed by everyone else] and that requires he delegitimize the views of those who disagree with them, because, if he doesn’t, the whole structure of his Ideology comes tumbling down. Such is the fate of anything created and developed in a vacuum.
The Ideologue demands perfection because of the fragile nature of all ideas created away from Real Life. The trouble is: nothing in Life is perfect. Perfection can only ever be an aspiration for Human Beings, and the seeking of it must always be tempered with the knowledge that it can never be attained in Life.
Ideologues make a fatal error when they enslave themselves to ideas rather than their own experience and, more importantly, the experience of those who have come before us.
For the Ideologue every aspect of life is, indeed, political — it has to be for any Ideologue. This is because an Ideologue sees everything as needing to conform to the system of ideas they have accepted as being necessary for Life to be good and worthy.
The Ideologue designs a blueprint for how Life must proceed and every material to be used in it is governed by the design. Any deviation and the structure risks becoming unstable. Like a building plan, an Ideology must be followed to the letter and, therefore, it has to dictate the specifications for everything needed to make a building efficient [electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc.]. Thus, an Ideology must encompass every facet of Life. It must pervade every nook and cranny.
We non-Ideologues reject such an approach to life because we know that a grand design is the purview of a perfect being and we understand that no man is perfect or perfectible in this Life.
The Ideologues insist on interfering with every aspect of Life and the Leftist ones have made great gains in controlling The Narrative is every aspect of Life in America, to the point where we all, to varying degrees, think their way. In the past few years, the Libertarian ones have been making great gains, as well.
Ideologues have an unlimited variety of weapons they can employ because they are not bound by any Morality, feel any debt to our ancestors and the struggles they waged, or believe that any restraints should be applied to the means they employ. The Ideologue believes that the ends they seek — call it Utopia, Heaven On Earth, Egalitarianism, or what you will — are so wonderful, so noble, so good that anything — absolutely anything — that helps bring about the end-goal is permissible [the term for this is ‘Gnosticism’.]. That this Paradise they seek requires all existing institutions [the products of learning from thousands of years of triumph and failure in the Real World] to be destroyed, the slate wiped clean, gives the Ideologue license to do whatever it takes to speed the way to Nirvana.
This license permits the Ideologue to ‘fight dirty’. One way you do this is to take advantage of your opponent’s sense of honor, respect for tradition, and belief in The Golden Rule.
This is what they do.
In their pursuit of perfection, the Ideologues reject Right Reason, Prudence, Morality, and Tradition and set themselves up for the inevitable dissatisfaction and disappointment and depression [often sparking a descent into Nihilism]. As long as those results are restricted to the individuals who believe in the Ideology, that is fine. It is when they impose their Will To Power on others that they cause misery and death.
Ideology — that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors….
The greatest evil is not done now in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Dostoyevsky implied that it was precisely when the devil became a wit that the intellectual classes of the West succumbed to the most familiar form of diabolic temptation: the belief that men can transcend the limits of their condition and “be as gods”—demiurges with the power to heal the world’s pain and reshape it in accordance with a beautiful idea.
—Michael Knox Beran
Utopians, once they attempt to convert their visions into practical proposals, come up with the most malignant project ever devised: they want to institutionalize fraternity, which is the surest way to totalitarian despotism.
From Camp of the Saints: http://thecampofthesaints.org/
The whole left-wing ideology, scientific and Utopian,
utterly contemptuous of kings, governments, laws, prisons, police forces, armies, flags, frontiers, patriotism, religion, conventional morality, and, in fact, the whole existing scheme of things. Until well within living memory the forces of the Left in all countries were fighting against a tyranny which appeared to be invincible, and it was easy to assume that if only THAT particular tyranny–capitalism–could be overthrown, Socialism would follow. Moreover, the Left had inherited from Liberalism certain distinctly questionable beliefs, such as the belief that the truth will prevail and persecution defeats itself, or that man is naturally good and is only corrupted by his environment. Fifty Orwell Essays
Found at American Digest: http://americandigest.org/
“The experiment will fail…”
The World is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide. — T. S. Eliot, Lambeth Conference 1930
From American Digest:http://americandigest.org/
Russell Brand shatters hypnosis of mainstream media with hilarious, high-IQ domination of dumbfounded MSNBC hosts
Allow me to explain: MSNBC is a news show with a huge budget and almost no viewers. It is hosted by what can only be called a “band of retards” who have absolutely nothing useful to say… ever!
Today they made the mistake of inviting a guest on their show (Russell Brand) whose IQ exceeds the sum of all the other IQs of everybody else in the room. Brand proceeded to cleverly smash through their boring senseless chatter, take over the news reporting without using a teleprompter, profile the secret sexual fantasies of the female host, and mock them all without them even realizing they were being mocked.
“This is a hotbed of neurosis and psychosis… I’m grateful to be here,” Brand says to the other three hosts at one point, and they have zero reaction seemingly because they don’t understand the multi-syllabic words he’s using.
Watching this collision of one high-IQ individual with a band of “teevee tards” was a lot like watching Alex Jones and Piers Morgan… but funnier. Brand even managed to explain to MSNBC’s viewers (most of whom probably had no ability to grasp what he was saying) how the mainstream media manipulates the words of people in order to construct a particular agenda. He said that mass media was an operation in changing information “so it suits a particular agenda” and that MSM viewers were being manipulated.
In response, all three MSNBC co-hosts could come up with nothing better than to talk about Brand’s chest hair, or his fashion boots, or claiming they couldn’t understand him because he was talking in a British dialect. It was almost exactly like watching the movie Idiocracy by Mike Judge, specifically the courtroom scene.
Brand, meanwhile, continued to pummel the hosts with one quip after another, slamming home insightful, even philosophical observations about how stupid the media is and what a bunch of stooges the MSNBC reporters were. Watch it yourself at:
Russell Brand made these reporters look as dumbfounded and clueless as Alex Jones made Piers Morgan appear in their now-famous CNN encounter. It was one of the most refreshing things I’ve seen in recent memory. More! More!
Over at The American Spectator, Stacy McCain [tip of the fedora to Zilla][worth quoting at length]:
One of the seminal triumphs of the conservative movement was Phyllis Schlafly’s successful crusade in the 1970s that prevented ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Strange to say, Schlafly’s success has been almost entirely abandoned by conservatives who, evidently fearful of being called “sexist,” have embraced the culture of androgyny against which Schlafly rallied American women.
For years, I have sought to explain that this is why conservatives are losing — and now, appear ready to abandon altogether — the defense of traditional marriage. As I wrote in January 2009:
Are men and women equal in the fullest sense of the word? If so, then equality implies fungibility — the two things are interchangeable and one may be substituted for the other in any circumstance whatsoever. (La mort à la différence!) Therefore, it is of no consequence whether I marry a woman or a man. … This is why so many of those who would defend traditional marriage find themselves unable to form a coherent argument, because traditional marriage is based on the assumption that men and women are fundamentally different, and hence, unequal. Traditional marriage assumes a complementarity of the sexes that becomes absurd if you deny that “man” and “woman” define intrinsic traits, functions, roles. To declare men and women unequal, however, puts one outside the law— you are guilty of illegal discrimination if you say that there is any meaningful difference between men and women. Yet if you refuse to argue against sexual equality, you cannot argue effectively against gay marriage, and find yourself subjected to lectures about “accessing the positive social norms”with nothing important to say in reply.
A cowardly unwillingness to confront the egalitarian myth of feminism, therefore, has crippled conservatives in their confrontation with gay-rights radicalism. The history of this intellectual surrender has seldom been examined because the conservative movement evidently does not wish to remember its former successes, which contrast so starkly with its recent failures.
Because conservatives have surrendered to the culture of androgyny, they were ill-equipped to combat the absurd “war on women” theme that emerged in last year’s presidential campaign. Rather than interrogate the fundamental assumptions of this liberal madness (i.e., that taxpayer-funded contraception is the essence of “women’s rights”), the best that Republicans could do was to answer, “But we’re for equality, too!”
Good luck with that. Feminism Lite is not a popular brand.
Because there is no longer any organized and committed resistance to the radical egalitarian demands of feminism, American society has become increasingly anti-male, a phenomenon Dr. Helen Smith describes in her new book, Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — and Why It Matters.
One must truly pity the young fellow on today’s college campuses, where coeds are indoctrinated in misandry by Women’s Studies professors and performances of The Vagina Monologues. This deliberate demonization of masculinity is complemented by an assault on what used to be understood as the female prerogative. We can scarcely expect men to extend the traditional deference of courtesy and chivalry to militant trollops shrieking radical slogans as they march in annual “SlutWalks.”…
One could argue that the ‘traditional deference of courtesy and chivalry’ began it’s long and slow death march with the coming of the French Revolution. I do. I think Edmund Burke saw the future begin with it; he saw that it marked a disastrous turning point in the history of The West. Perhaps he would agree with me that the Revolution was the placing of the final nail in the coffin of Christendom and that the two hundred years since has been a series of hammer blows upon that nail’s head.
Here’s what Mr. Burke wrote at the time of the French Revolution:
…But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists; and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.
THIS mixed system of opinion and sentiment had its origin in the ancient chivalry; and the principle, though varied in its appearance by the varying state of human affairs, subsisted and influenced through a long succession of generations even to the time we live in. If it should ever be totally extinguished, the loss I fear will be great. It is this which has given its character to modern Europe. It is this which has distinguished it under all its forms of government, and distinguished it to its advantage, from the states of Asia and possibly from those states which flourished in the most brilliant periods of the antique world. It was this which, without confounding ranks, had produced a noble equality and handed it down through all the gradations of social life. It was this opinion which mitigated kings into companions and raised private men to be fellows with kings. Without force or opposition, it subdued the fierceness of pride and power, it obliged sovereigns to submit to the soft collar of social esteem, compelled stern authority to submit to elegance, and gave a domination, vanquisher of laws, to be subdued by manners.
But now all is to be changed. All the pleasing illusions which made power gentle and obedience liberal, which harmonized the different shades of life, and which, by a bland assimilation, incorporated into politics the sentiments which beautify and soften private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason. All the decent drapery of life is to be rudely torn off. All the super-added ideas, furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination, which the heart owns and the understanding ratifies as necessary to cover the defects of our naked, shivering nature, and to raise it to dignity in our own estimation, are to be exploded as a ridiculous, absurd, and antiquated fashion.
While we can point to many areas where Leftism has successfully caused the institutions of The West, both physical and spiritual, to implode, it is, perhaps, in the area of the Family that it has wrecked the most damage. And, as the wisdom of the ages tells us, the Family is the central core of any true civilization — certainly of the Western one and why it has triumphed in all areas over all others.
Feminism is merely one of the jump-off points for the offensive against the Family. It has helped rip it asunder. It is, by it’s core nature, anti-Family, believing as it does that the real differences between men and women and the key role those differences play in civilizing the Society, can be wished [and legislated away], as if they never existed. Once again we are confronted with the foolish belief that Human Beings can be re-engineered. Human Beings can be taught to defy aspects of their Nature, but they cannot be made to wipe their Natures from existence [this is why the Left ends-up engaging in mass murder].
Since they conceive of their ideas and schemes in the sterile laboratories of their own minds, far away from the Real World, the Left is able to fantasize, to wish into being that which, by the nature of it’s origins, is doomed to fail when applied to the world as it actually is.
The conservative believes in the Art Of The Possible, whereas the Leftist practices the Conjuring Of The Impossible.
Let me end with Mr. Burke:
On this scheme of things, a king is but a man, a queen is but a woman; a woman is but an animal, and an animal not of the highest order. All homage paid to the sex in general as such, and without distinct views, is to be regarded as romance and folly. Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege are but fictions of superstition, corrupting jurisprudence by destroying its simplicity. The murder of a king, or a queen, or a bishop, or a father are only common homicide; and if the people are by any chance or in any way gainers by it, a sort of homicide much the most pardonable, and into which we ought not to make too severe a scrutiny.
On the scheme of this barbarous philosophy, which is the offspring of cold hearts and muddy understandings, and which is as void of solid wisdom as it is destitute of all taste and elegance, laws are to be supported only by their own terrors and by the concern which each individual may find in them from his own private speculations or can spare to them from his own private interests. In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows….
Gallows that fill a vast carnival field of an Atrocity Exhibition.
From Bob Belvedere: http://thecampofthesaints.org/
Jihad has blown up The Liberal Utopia.
The visionary liberal land of political and social perfection.
President Obama is not happy – and he isn’t alone.
You know the place.
• The Liberal Utopia is a land where gun background checks prevent mass murder.
• The Liberal Utopia is a land where Islamic fundamentalists have changed their perception of America because the President travels to Muslim nations to give lovely speeches, believes that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere is a wonderful sign of an Arab Spring, and refuses to use the word “terrorist” whether his administration is investigating Ft. Hood, Boston, or Benghazi.
• The Liberal Utopia is a land where a 2009 presidential videoproclaiming a “new beginning” in American relations with Iran will halt the effort to build a nuclear bomb.
• The Liberal Utopia is a land where the good intentions of Social Security will never bankrupt the Social Security Trust Fund.
• The Liberal Utopia is a land where the good intentions of Medicare could not possibility result in trillions of unfunded liability.
• The Liberal Utopia is a land where the War on Poverty was supposed to end poverty – and instead winds up sending violent crime skyrocketing, and, in the words of Thomas Sowell, setting up the American black family for rapid disintegration in the liberal welfare state “that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”
One could go on… and on and on… spotting those will-o-the-wisp glimpses of The Liberal Utopia (Obamacare here, the Obama stimulus over there, the promise to close Guantanamo way back there) with example after example of this miserably failed attempt to find or create a Liberal Utopia.
Or what our friend Mark Levin deftly calls Ameritopia.
The search for this Liberal Utopia has been going on in this country since at least 1932 and in fact before that when one keeps going on back to Woodrow Wilson’s progressives and beyond to the late 19th century when the progressive movement began to gain political steam with the likes of William Jennings Bryan and a whole host of other if lesser known figures.
The idea is always the same. To quote Levin: “Utopianism is the ideological and doctrinal foundation for statism.”
Or, to simplify: if only Americans are made to do X, The Perfect Society will manifest.
What is X? The above list suffices: background checks, a video sending nice words to Iran, opening up to the Muslim Brotherhood, setting up a government-run Social Security or Medicare or Obamacare, declaring a government-run War on Poverty. The Obama stimulus.
And let’s not forget the Philadelphia abortion scandal where live human babies outside the womb were repeatedly killed – a direct contradiction of the entire Roe.v. Wade sacrament.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Let’s start with two stories that have dominated the news in the last week: gun control and the Boston Marathon murders.
Recall that after the Senate defeated the Toomey-Manchin background amendment, President Obama, outraged, took to the White House Rose Garden to say this:
“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of ‘big brother’ gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry.”
Next up was former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who took to the Op-Ed page of the New York Times to say “I’m furious.” Giffords accused the Senate of being in the “grip of the gun lobby” fearful of political consequences.
Gifford’s statement was filled with irony. There are people aplenty out there who have also discussed issues other than guns as being a problem in this area of violence in America. Indeed just this last Sunday Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley not only talked about guns but the role of abortion in what O’Malley called a “Culture of Death.” But did Gabby Giffords want to talk about abortion as a contributing factor? Did the president? Of course not – and for exactly the reason they attributed to those who oppose background checks. Which is to say, pro-choice politicians both, neither Giffords nor Obama have the guts to take on the abortion lobby.
But let’s stay focused on background checks and its role in the liberal Utopia.
Remember the Brady law? So named for President Reagan’s press secretary Jim Brady who was seriously and permanently wounded during the assassination attempt on Reagan.
The Brady law mandated background checks across the country. Challenged in the Supreme Court, the law was mostly upheld in 1997, with the exception of the mandate. States however, were free to do background checks. One of the states that picked up on this – as did most states – was, yes, Massachusetts. In 1998 Massachusetts, headed on that endless journey to The Liberal Utopia, passing what has been called “the toughest gun control legislation in the country.” Reported Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby – just two months ago on February 17, 2013 – the “toughest gun control legislation in the country” was signed into law by the-then Republican governor and praised to the hilt by the Democratic Attorney General, as well as a leading anti-gun activist. Jacoby quoted from the Globe story of 1998 that trumpeted the bill’s signing:
“Today, Massachusetts leads the way in cracking down on gun violence,” said Republican Governor Paul Cellucci as he signed the bill into law. “It will save lives and help fight crime in our communities.” Scott Harshbarger, the state’s Democratic attorney general, agreed: “This vote is a victory for common sense and for the protection of our children and our neighborhoods.” One of the state’s leading anti-gun activists, John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence, joined the applause. “The new gun law,” he predicted, “will certainly prevent future gun violence and countless grief.”
Catch all that? Massachusetts was “cracking down on gun violence.” This “will save lives and help fight crime” in the state’s communities. The new law was a “victory for common sense” that was a “victory for common sense” and “the protection of our children and our neighborhoods.” The law “will certainly prevent future gun violence and countless grief.”
Now let’s leave aside the point of Jacoby’s column – that in fact the law did none of that and that indeed, in Jacoby’s words:
…the law that was so tough on law-abiding gun owners had quite a different impact on criminals.
Since 1998, gun crime in Massachusetts has gotten worse, not better. In 2011, Massachusetts recorded 122 murders committed with firearms, the Globereported this month – “a striking increase from the 65 in 1998.” Other crimes rose too. Between 1998 and 2011, robbery with firearms climbed 20.7 percent. Aggravated assaults jumped 26.7 percent.
Let’s stay focused on the fact that the Boston bombers did in fact have guns.
That’s right, in addition to bombs, the brothers Tsarnaev had guns. And surprise surprise, in spite of all that “toughest” gun law in the country business – you guessed it.
The brothers didn’t apply for a license.
That’s right. As the Huffington Post has noted here:
WASHINGTON – The Boston bombing suspects engaged in a deadly firefight with police last week, possessing six bombs, handguns, a rifle and more than 250 rounds of ammunition. But the Tsarnaev brothers did not have proper licenses to possess the firearms, according to the Cambridge Police Department – a revelation that comes just days after the Senate voted against strengthening and expanding background checks for gun sales.
Cambridge Police Department spokesman Dan Riviello told The Huffington Post that neither Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, nor Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, appeared to have a license to own a handgun.
“The younger brother could not have applied as he is not 21 years of age and the older brother did not have a license to carry and we have no record of him ever applying,” Riviello said.
Got all that?
So in spite of the Brady law, which subjects law-abiding gun owners to all manner of rules and regulations, and in spite of the Massachusetts law, which was “the toughest” gun control law in the country, and in spite of the hundreds (thousands) of other gun control laws that bind the country, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, hell bent on murder and mayhem, never bothered to get a “proper license.” Brother Dzhokhar, of course, wasn’t permitted to have a license because he was just too young.
Yet somehow, without being licensed, the two managed to have “handguns, a rifle and more than 250 rounds of ammunition.” With which the unlicensed brothers shot MIT policeman Sean Collier to death – and came close to killing Boston Transit policeman, Richard Donohue.
Shocker, isn’t it?
Yet there is no more shock in listening to the reasoning of liberals on gun control than there is in listening to their reasoning on Islamic fundamentalists. The subjects may be different – although they happened to become two stories in one this last week – but the reasoning is always the same.
Let’s hear from Andrew McCarthy, who was the Clinton-era prosecutor of the Blind Sheikh, the brains behind the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Andy later wrote the more than aptly titled book Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad and nowwrites this from National Review in an article headed:
Jihad Will Not Be Wished Away: But willful blindness remains the order of the day.
“Outlook: Islam.” So reads the personal webpage of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who ravaged Boston this week, along with his now-deceased brother and fellow jihadist, Tamerlan – namesake of a 14th-century Muslim warrior whose campaigns through Asia Minor are legendary for their brutalization of non-Muslims.
Brutalizing our own non-Muslim country has been the principal objective of jihadists for the last 20 years. This week marks a new and chilling chapter: the introduction on our shores of the tactics the self-styled mujahideen have used to great, gory effect for the past decade in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Willful blindness remains the order of the day, as it has since the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993. It is freely conceded that, when the identities and thus the motivation of the Marathon terrorists were not known, it would have been irresponsible to dismiss any radical ideology as, potentially, the instigator. But in our politically correct, up-is-down culture, to suggest “Outlook: Islam” was unthinkable. So the most likely scenario – namely, that jihadists who have been at war with us for two decades had, yet again, attacked innocent civilians – became the least likely scenario in the minds of media pundits. Instead, they brazenly prayed (to Gaia, I’m sure) for white conservative culprits with Tea Party hats and Rush 24/7 subscriptions.
To borrow from the gun control debate, closing one’s eyes to Islamic fundamentalism is not just displaying a lack of common sense (to borrow a phrase from the gun control debate) – it is indeed, as Andy McCarthy accurately calls it, willful blindness.
And this particular willful blindness on jihadists is lethal.
It is exactly the same as the willful blindness that kept the State Department from understanding that there was a reason for the repeated pleas from the now murdered Benghazi diplomats for security assistance. When the attack came on those diplomats last September, the U.S. government had been willfully blinded – right from the top – that such a thing could be the result of Islamic fundamentalism
Ditto with the attack on Ft. Hood by the Islamic fundamentalist Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major. Shouting “Allahu Akbar!” – God is Great – as he opened fire, Hasan killed 13 and wounding more than 30. The response from the US government? To declare yet another mass murder in the name of Islam to be “work place violence” – and then have the then-Army Chief of Staff murmur aloud that to treat this as anything else would somehow hurt the military’s diversity push.
And so it goes.
From the promises of Obamacare that you can keep your own doctor to the massive indebtedness of Social Security and Medicare to the War on Poverty that wasn’t and the Obama stimulus that wasn’t either – and on and on and on – liberalism’s Achilles’ heel is that it isn’t about serious, common sense ideas that display an understanding of everyday human reality.
What liberalism is about is creating Utopia.
A Utopian world where gun control stops criminals, being politically correct with jihadists means they won’t attack, the value of helping the aging means Social Security and Medicare cannot possibly be in debt to the tune of trillions, that Obamacare will work just as the War on Poverty worked, and that forcing banks to give millions of Americans the money to buy homes they can’t afford can’t possibly crash the economy.
And on goes the endless parade.
Substituting sentiment for common sense, then watching the results crash and burn in a hurricane of dead Americans, impoverished Americans, massively indebted Americans or continually impoverished, jobless and hopeless Americans.
Does anyone really wonder why so many Americans listen to President Obama say that “the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill” – and believe it’s the President who lies? And that they believe this for the simple reason that all the other liberal Utopian promises haven’t been kept? With a lie just this last week about the results of Massachusetts gun control being all too painfully obvious? Who, based on hard real-life experience with these Liberal Utopians, would ever believe that the Toomey-Manchin bill will never result in what Obama calls “some sort of ‘big brother’ gun registry”? If you believe this, you believe the Boston bombers simply forgot to apply for a license to carry a gun.
The response by liberals to these repeated liberal disasters is to simply ignore the results and walk away. Then finding yet another “problem” on which to visit this same disastrous pattern of emotionally charged non-common sense.
Promising once again that if Americans just do this next X, Utopia will finally arrive.
The question here is whether a majority of Americans will ever come to understand the game.
To know that the real meaning of Utopia is not some visionary system of political or social perfection, as the dictionary says.
Utopianism is, precisely as Mark Levin documents, the ideological and doctrinal foundation for statism.
It is dumb. It is wrong. It is a call to mindless emotion instead of careful, logical thought. It can and will bankrupt. It can and will – and as we have seen this last week it does – kill.
Which makes the ideas of a Liberal Utopia not just wrongheaded.
It makes them dangerous.
Which makes it time to say enough is enough.
From The Daley Gator: http://thedaleygator.wordpress.com/page/3/
As originally posted on: FSK’s Guide to Reality
September 13, 2007
I’ve been reading a bit about the philosophy of agorism, and it seems attractive to me.
The philosophy can be summarized in one sentence: “I want to do useful work, get paid, and not have to report it for taxation, confiscation, and regulation.”
Let’s start with a specific example. Suppose you don’t like the US government’s policy of aggressive wars in Iraq and other countries. You can vote, but voting is ineffective due to various corruptions in the system. The income tax means that the government confiscates 50%-95% or more of everything I produce. Productive work supports the government, even if I disapprove of its activities. I am unable to do any useful economic activity without supporting things I find objectionable.
The government’s policy is completely ridiculous. Citizens may not perform work without reporting it for taxation, confiscation, and regulation. I object to that requirement.
The fundamental goal of an agorist revolution is the creation of wealth that the red market can’t confiscate. This is the only type of revolution that has a legitimate chance of succeeding, because the participants would be profiting and undermining the government at the same time. The red market derives its power by leeching wealth. Creating unconfiscatable wealth undermines the red market’s power.
Currently, the only type of grey market work available is low-paid unskilled labor. The agorist wants to create a grey market for highly-skilled, high-paid labor.
The agorist says that all governments are inherently illegitimate. A government is merely a group of people conspiring to take away my property and my rights. Government employees benefit handsomely from this arrangement, because the salaries and pensions they receive are higher than they would get in the private sector. The people who control large corporations benefit from this arrangement, because their market position is frequently endorsed by the government and its regulations. Wealthy campaign donors love the government-granted perks they get. The Federal Reserve’s policy of inflation benefits the financial industry at the expense of everyone else. Government is merely a group of people conspiring to confiscate the wealth of the productive part of society.
The agorist says that all the functions of government could be more effectively performed by the free market. You can have a private justice system. You can have a private police force. Everyone knows that government is up for sale, manipulated by the wealthy. Why not do away with the pretense completely? Let’s privatize everything.
Why should the government have a monopoly on violence and justice?
For example, instead of paying a 50% income tax, maybe I can pay 2%, or even a fixed fee, to a private police force who will insure my property is protected. The police force would utilize a private justice system, to make sure that they don’t use force needlessly. If two people have a conflict and are subscribing to different police forces, then the incentive is for the businesses to resolve the dispute peacefully rather than violently. If a private police force was misbehaving, then it would be perfectly acceptable for people to start seeking alternate vendors. Some people might pay for protection by several police forces simultaneously, to prevent monopolies from forming.
Suppose there’s no intrinsic legitimacy given to the government. It’s perfectly legitimate to use force to defend yourself, if someone attempts to confiscate your property. Imagine what would happen if tax collectors were met with armed resistance from everyone? What would happen if everyone ceased voluntary compliance with the taxation system?
Right now, the vast majority of people are compliant with the taxation system. That means that red market workers can afford to expend vast resources tracking down violators. It needs to make sure that violators are caught so that the penalty for tax avoidance makes the risk unattractive. However, with taxation rates of 50%-95% or more, tax avoidance starts to be attractive, if it can be done with relatively low risk. I’m not just counting direct noticeable taxes. There are hidden taxes and regulations, which also cost money.
What’s the real risk of getting caught? It’s hard to say. You only hear about the people who got caught. The people who get away with it don’t come forward and admit it, do they? There’s no source of reliable statistics, so you can’t quantify the risk.
How would you make the transition to an agorist economy? There is a problem, because people aren’t going to want to give up their government-granted perks. They are going to resist change as much as they can. People are reluctant to avoid paying taxes and following government rules. However, if there’s a profit to be made, people might be convinced.
The key is to develop a system that allows people to perform productive economic activity without reporting it for taxation and confiscation. The Internet is a useful tool for this, because it would allow people to share information efficiently. It wouldn’t be too hard to write software that would facilitate an agorist economy.
The standard financial system is designed to frustrate attempts to perform economic activity without reporting it for confiscation. Transactions larger than $10,000 must be reported to the government. Repeated small transactions are also reportable. Besides, who wants to trade with worthless paper money? An alternate financial system would need to be developed. This way, transactions can be performed without reporting them to the government. People could still settle transactions with paper money or silver or gold, if they really wanted to. I think the Social Credit Monetary System is the best solution.
Whatever system is developed would need to be as decentralized as possible. As much as possible, information should NOT be stored on a centralized server. A centralized server represents an attack point. As much as possible, communications should be encrypted.
Actually, some information needs to be public. A database listing who trusted whom would need to be public and shared to be useful. On the other hand, maybe a trust database should be private, because it would represent a list of people for red market agents to harass. All transaction records should be private. Ideally, transaction records should be destroyed when completed, so red market agents can’t confiscate them.
There would be an important check that ensures people follow the rules. Just like in the BitTorrent economy, any user who misbehaves would be banned and denied a valuable resource. New users would be admitted only if another user vouched for their trustworthiness. The distributed nature would make it hard to shut it down, even if spies did infiltrate it.
Suppose there was an effective system for facilitating productive work without reporting it for taxation. With such high confiscatory taxation rates, there would be a huge incentive for people to work under such a system. The goal would be to avoid government detection as much as possible. As more productive people started working in this grey market economy, the power of government would decrease.
If the system was sufficiently distributed, there would be low risk even if you got caught. Red market agents might find out about some of your transactions, but not all of them. You could pay back taxes and fines on some of the transactions, and still come out ahead overall.
An agorist grey-market economy would also benefit because it could avoid compliance with all government regulations. It would not need to spend productive effort on regulation compliance. Its only wasted effort would be that spent avoiding detection by red market enforcers.
Ideally, an agorist economy could offer lower prices and higher wages, compared to the white market or pink market. The ability to avoid taxation and regulation should cut expenses by 50% to 95% or more.
Some pink market practitioners have their salaries artificially raised by the red market. For example, doctors need to waste a lot of money on education and spend years training. The supply of doctors is restricted by the red market. A license is required to practice medicine. A grey market doctor would not need the licensing requirement. He would only need to spend a year or two learning what is really needed to help his patients. An agorist doctor would not earn as much as a pink market doctor, but he would save the hassle of years of medical school and a residency. An agorist doctor would not have to deal with HMOs, Medicare, and insurance companies. The free market would help people decide which doctors are good and which are no good; people will share information about their experiences. Currently, the supply of doctors is artificially restricted, so there’s no mechanism for incompetent doctors to be removed from the market. The agorist doctor won’t get busted for “practicing medicine without a license” if his customers don’t turn him in to the red market. Besides, patients can always go to a pink market hospital if they have a problem their agorist doctor can’t handle. Eventually, the agorist hospitals would be better than the pink market hospitals.
Switching to a grey market agorist economy might be necessary for survival. A hyperinflationary crash of the dollar could happen at any time. A substantial amount of untaxed economic activity would facilitate such a collapse.
It probably is not possible for a person to satisfy all their needs in the grey market. However, the larger percentage of their economic activity that they can hide, the more they will benefit. If someone operated both a white-market business and a grey-market business, that would facilitate concealing their grey-market activities. On the other hand, you might be better off not having any official business at all. The IRS frequently cracks down on small business owners; registering yourself as a business owner might just be making yourself a target.
The red market derives its power solely by leeching off the productive members of society. Without them to push around, its power would rapidly collapse.
An agorist revolution has a legitimate chance of succeeding. The agorist market participants would be profiting from their activity. They would be undermining the government and making a profit at the same time. They would profit more than white market participants, because they would be unencumbered by taxes, inflation, and regulations. In that sense, once an agorist movement gets started, it would be self-sustaining. With a leaderless organization structure, it could not be easily shut down by infiltration or force. The agorist needs tools for effective operation, plus a certain number of participants.
An agorist revolution would probably be a peaceful one. Agorist market participants can hide their activity. They would appear to be normal, productive, nonviolent citizens. Agorist market participants would tend to resolve their differences peacefully, both to avoid the attention of red market enforcers, and because non-initiation of violence is part of the philosophy. By the time the agorist economy is large enough to be noticed by red market enforcers, it would have viable systems for competing and replacing government institutions. The agorist market would step in smoothly as the government loses power. The violence would come from red market participants, trying to crack down to preserve their position. However, a large number of red market workers might simultaneously be employed by agorist protection agencies. Typically, corporations infiltrate government by subverting Congress and the President. An agorist movement would infiltrate government by subverting the low-level line workers.
An agorist revolution, once started, would be self-sustaining. The participants would be profiting from their actions.
A lot of websites I read are philosophizing and speculating. I am ready to start writing tools and start using them. I would like to be a participant in an agorist economy, if only I knew other people to trade with! My primary skill is writing software. That’s the skill I’d be offering in trade. Initially, I’ll just write the code I think is needed and release it into the public domain.
Summarizing, I want to do productive work, get paid for it, and not have to report it for taxation and confiscation.
The Wise Words of Churchill – It is Being Played Out Again By Those Who Will Render The USA Defense-less
THE MUNICH AGREEMENT – 1938
Excerpt of the speech given by Churchill in response to this agreement with Germany
Barrack Hussein Obama is willfully and purposely neglecting and dismantling the defense and protection of the United States of America and retreating from our enemies that he was sworn to defend this country from – the same way that politicians did in England prior to World War II and now the United States is being reduced to such a state of weakness that we may never recover. Obama is a lying tyrant and hell bent on the destruction of the United States of America. May God have mercy on us and raise up another Churchill to wake the people of this great country out of their, as Churchill put it, “Chloroformed acquiescence” and stupor administered by a state run press that Obama and his communist cronies control. It may already be too late. ZTW
…It is the most grievous consequence of what we have done and of what we have left undone in the last five years – five years of futile good intentions, five years of eager search for the line of least resistance, five years of uninterrupted retreat of British power, five years of neglect of our air defences.
Those are the features which I stand here to expose and which marked an improvident stewardship for which Great Britain and France have dearly to pay. We have been reduced in those five years from a position of security so overwhelming and so unchallengeable that we never cared to think about it. We have been reduced from a position where the very word “war” was considered one which could be used only by persons qualifying for a lunatic asylum. We have been reduced from a position of safety and power – power to do good, power to be generous to a beaten foe, power to make terms with Germany, power to give her proper redress for her grievances, power to stop her arming if we chose, power to take any step in strength or mercy or justice which we thought right – reduced in five years from a position safe and unchallenged to where we stand now.
… They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies:
“Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.
We do not want to be led upon the high road to becoming a satellite of the German Nazi system of European domination. In a very few years, perhaps in a very few months, we shall be confronted with demands with which we shall no doubt be invited to comply. Those demands may affect the surrender of territory or the surrender of liberty. I foresee and foretell that the policy of submission will carry with it restrictions upon the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, on public platforms, and discussions in the Press, for it will be said – indeed, I hear it said sometimes now – that we cannot allow the Nazi system of dictatorship to be criticised by ordinary, common English politicians. Then, with a Press under control, in part direct but more potently indirect, with every organ of public opinion doped and chloroformed into acquiescence, we shall be conducted along further stages of our journey.
From Winston Churchill.Org at: https://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/101-the-munich-agreement
Found at American Digest:http://americandigest.org/
A guest post by The Reverend David R. Graham, A.M.D.G.
“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
The Church and the churches are not the same. The churches more or less express the Church, which is the Spiritual Community, Bride of Christ, Pure and Elegant, but they are not the Church, as their more or less impurity demonstrates.
During the late 19th Century, the Germanic movement called Liberal Protestantism sought to remake Christianity as palatable to Erasmus’, Rousseau’s and Voltaire’s heirs in scientific humanism, aka, Marxism, which is historiography and planning on the horizontal (male) axis alone, ignoring or bending horizontal the vertical (female) axis.
To accomplish which, Liberal Protestants had to collectivize the thinking of theologians, clergy and laymen: turn Christianity into an expression of Marxism. Charging and converting scientists and humanists into Christians was not their goal. Liberal Protestants wanted to be wanted. Scientific humanism then was ascendant, where still it is, at least as a beneficiary of public and private finance and esteem.
Today no difference exists between thinking in the churches and thinking in, say, the university, media and government. All are collectivist, none is independent. All follow talking points handed down from a leftist political party, none swerves into private investigation of assertions. All believe what they see and hear in media, none suspects media as mouthpiece of university and government.
That is collectivization. Once it was called group think. Now it is called news you can use. Facts. Truth. Choices. For your benefit, no less. Fair and balanced.
There was a brief rebellion against Liberal Protestantism towards the middle of the 20th Century. It was called Neo-Orthodoxy. Barth, Brunner and lesser lights led it. They sought to restore the vertical (female) axis to usage and succeeded, partially and briefly.
When Neo-Orthodoxy reached America from its Germanic roots, it was taken up by Reinhold Niebuhr at The Union Theological Seminary in New York City, an affiliate of Columbia University. Niebuhr was a communist clergyman and labor union agitator with a huge, dominating personality and a wonderful, nimble gift of gab. Niebuhr turned the vertical (female) axis reintroduced by Barth and Brunner on its side so that it paralleled and then merged with the horizontal (male) axis.
(Remarkably, he criticized Liberal Protestants for doing exactly that. Niebuhr was not a self-critical or self-correcting man.)
Niebuhr considered this an accomplishment. His colleague at Union, Paul Tillich, did not. Tillich pointed out that Niebuhr never learned his theology and Niebuhr acknowledge that perhaps, indeed, he had not.
Barth’s and Brunner’s Neo-Orthodoxy was, in any case, top-heavy with Mohammedan-like, inscrutable and intractable “transcendent” dicta and diktats. And so, unsustainable.
With prominent politicians, including Hubert Humphrey, Niebuhr helped found Americans for Democratic Action. It was – still is – a vehicle for running the vertical axis of life as if it was horizontal and bringing American education, media and government into aggressive, messianic, collective conformity with scientific humanism, aka Marxism. Holding those three entities together was seen as the way to control the population and the course of events totally. Collectivism is the method of totalism (aka absolutism, totalitarianism).
Niebuhr anticipated in North America so-called “Liberation Theology” in South America. Both were collectivist, one from Liberal Protestantism (Niebuhr was German Reformed [Calvinist]) and one from Roman Catholicism. Both were generated in academe, which, post-Marx, is almost uniformly leftist.
Liberal Protestant collectivism (aka scientific humanism/Marxism) first made large-scale political force in the United States through Woodrow Wilson, a moral and intellectual superior, in his own mind, of the “common man” – and therefore the empowered director of affairs – if ever one breathed.
Marx was a theologian and a student of Hegel, as was Kierkegaard. The two successfully criticized Hegel’s totalistic system, despite its realistic elegance, but from different directions and with different results. Kierkegaard identified the vertical axis of the unexpected (paradox), which nullifies total systems. Marx identified the vertical axis of free (from historical determinism) intentional purpose (telos), which, also, nullifies total systems.
However, whereas Kierkegaard maintained paradox as an expression of the vertical (female) axis, Marx bent over telos to conform with the horizontal (male) axis. This made Marxism evil and predicts the genocide and misogyny of Marxists in education, media and government.
What Marx did earlier, Niebuhr did later. What Niebuhr did later, James Cone, at Union since 1969, continues through disciples such as Jeremiah Wright and “Barack Obama”: genocide and misogyny.
Collectivism is not a Christian idea or doing. It belongs to Marxism, not Christianity. Yet, the churches have been in its thrall since the middle years of the 20th Century. Since the later years of the 20th Century, the churches are indistinguishable from academe, media and government. The three sectors think alike, promoting government (collectivism/communism) as the universal answer to and refuge from VUCA.
The churches now are willing auxiliaries of government social engineering agencies, media/government propaganda technicians and academic troublemakers. They are secular organizations standing profanum, outside the door to the Sanctuary of the Holy.
No vertical axis. No femininity. No self-correction. No Church, only churches.
The parable of the good Samaritan is not a demand for forced charity. It does not promote collectivism by government edict, income redistribution at the muzzle of a gun. The nature of government is, essentially and rightly, penal. That is not the subject of the parable of the good Samaritan. Nor is its subject smug moralizing about charity.
The parable of the good Samaritan describes personal, voluntary and anonymous charity as desirable. Repeat: PERSONAL, VOLUNTARY, ANONYMOUS. The parable is descriptive, not prescriptive. Nor does it demand charity.
In fact, the parable of the good Samaritan is not about charity. The parable answers the question of who is the brother, that is, who is one’s equal in God’s eyes. It is not about charity. It is about living in gated “communities” and having armed personal security details. The parable condemns those activities. It’s about rich acting smug, superior to and separate from ordinaries.
The parable of the ten talents, on the other hand, does promote, directly and unequivocally, the Pauline, Christian principle, “No work, no eat.”
The voice of Hebrew and Christian Prophetism does not exist in the churches since at least the 1930s. It has been driven out by collectivists. Or, one may say, perhaps more accurately, it has seen historical developments transcend the churches in the direction of universal prayer and concrete Spirit. Religionless, omni-local, agile, unpredictable (as always), definite, practical and moral.
Two Avatars of the Lord have stridden the earth during the last two hundred years – one the x axis, one the x and y axes – and a third is coming – the y axis – I guess (!) in or before the next decade of the 21st Century:
Bear All And Do Nothing;
Hear All And Say Nothing;
Give All And Take Nothing;
Serve All And Be Nothing.
From Camp of The Saints: http://thecampofthesaints.org/
Found at Blazing Cat Fur
In a country run by moonbats, to impose your will on others you have to present yourself as a victim, even if you are the one doing the victimizing. For example:
A lawsuit that challenges the placement of the cross at the site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center alleges atheist plaintiffs have suffered serious physical and mental illness because the religious symbol has made them feel excluded. …
American Atheists … contends the placement of the 17-foot-tall symbol at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is making some atheists unbearably sick.
“The plaintiffs, and each of them, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross,” the lawsuit American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey states. “Named plaintiffs have suffered … dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”
If you don’t believe that the site of the Holy Cross can have this effect on moonbats, just watch what happens when Peter Cushing presents one to Christopher Lee in old Hammer movies.
Militant moonbats don’t need to see the cross in person to be affected:
The suit explains the named plaintiffs “have seen the cross, either in person or on television, are being subjected to, and injured in consequence.”
They want the cross removed completely, but there is a fallback demand in case they don’t get their way: erecting something next to the cross to cancel it out. Reports Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice:
“They even make a bizarre suggestion about erecting a ‘17-foot-high A for Atheists’ to promote their non-beliefs at the site.”
Or is that A for A-holes?
The group has been filing harassment suits against everyone in sight over the cross, including Friar Brian Jordan, who is being sued for having blessed it.
David Silverman explains his group’s behavior:
“As president of the American Atheists organization, I promise to make sure that everyone, even those who are indifferent to our cause … will hate us.”
If that’s his goal, Silverman knows what he’s doing.
On a tip from Jimbo.
Edward Feser from THE LAST SUPERSTITION:
“The mainstream Western religious tradition itself very firmly rests on and embraces reason and science.
“That tradition also insists that religious conviction and moral virtue must be adopted of one’s own free will, not imposed by force; and while it holds that some of the things people choose to do are morally unacceptable, secularists who also profess to believe that there is a difference between right and wrong, hold the same thing. The Protestant John Locke and the Catholic Second Vatican Council (to take just two examples) endorsed religious toleration and democracy, and on theological grounds at that, while secularists are none too happy with democracy when, say, it results in school boards that mandate the teaching of ‘Intelligent Design’ theory alongside evolution.
“So what, pray tell, is distinctively ‘secularist’ about reason, science, free choice, toleration, democracy, and the like? Nothing at all, as it happens. The fact is that secularists are ‘for’ reason and science only to the extent that they don’t lead to religious conclusions; they celebrate free choice only insofar as one chooses against traditional or religiously oriented morality; and they are for democracy and tolerance only to the extent that these might lead to a less religiously oriented social and political order. Again, the animus against religion is not merely a feature of the secularist mindset; it is the only feature.”
David Bentley Hart from ATHEIST DELUSIONS:
“I suspect that our contemporary ‘age of reason’ is in many ways an age of almost perfect unreason, one always precariously poised upon the edge of – and occasionally slipping over into – the purest barbarism.
“I suspect that, to a far greater degree than we typically might imagine, we have forsaken reason for magic: whether the magic of occult fantasy or the magic of an amoral idolatry of our own power over material reality. Reason, in the classical and Christian sense, is a whole way of life, not the simple and narrow mastery of certain techniques of material manipulation, and certainly not the childish certitude that such mastery proves that only material realities exist.
“A rational life is one that integrates knowledge into a larger choreography of virtue, imagination, patience, prudence, humility, and restraint. Reason is not only knowledge, but knowledge perfected in wisdom. In Christian tradition, reason was praised as a high and precious thing, primarily because it belonged intrinsically to the dignity of beings created in the divine image; and, this being so, it was assumed that reason is also always morality, and that charity is required for any mind to be fully rational.
“Even if one does not believe any of this, however, a rational life involves at least the ability to grasp what it is one does not know, and to recognize that what one does know may not be the only kind of genuine knowledge there is.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Edward Feder is that most rare of rarae aves an atheist philosopher who talked himself into the Catholic faith merely by the power of philosophical argumentation.
He was dissatisfied with the naturalist account of certain philosophical problems (cf. if it were true that the cosmos is nothing but matter in motion, how could we ever be certain that this were so?) and slowly came to the conclusion that naturalism has no sound philosophical foundation.
Upon a second and more thorough examination of Aristotle and Aquinas during his maturity, he came to the conclusion that modern philosophy dismisses much of the classical tradition without understanding it (I can attest that this is true — someone on my blog recently dismissed Anselm’s ontological argument on the grounds that Hume had disproved it). Then he began to realize the arguments were stronger and sounder, once understood in context, than they are first appeared, and finally was shocked to find that the arguments were sound.
On the one hand, I am mildly surprised, because my own conversion was not through philosophical argumentation but by divine intervention; but on the other hand, I am not surprised at all, because the Catholic Church holds and teaches as a matter of doctrine that man can reason his way to believing those truths about God which do not require revelation to reveal, such as His benevolence, immaterial nature, unity and simplicity, providence, omniscience, omnipotence, and necessity.
I came across Mr Feser’s account of his road away from atheism here:
From John C. Wright: http://www.scifiwright.com/2012/07/quote-of-the-day-4/#more-6059
Through the demand of nonjudgmentalism
the authorities of Western Civilizationhave taken away your sources of morale:
God, true religion, objective morality, knowledge of philosophically first things, beauty, higher culture, family, nation, honor, and so on. Because the existence of any of these goods requires one to make a judgment that some things are better than others, these goods are not allowed. Our leaders have therefore taken all these goods from you, and replaced them with the false god of nondiscrimination. — Why You are Demoralized and What You Must do About it ｫ The Orthosphere
From American Digest: http://americandigest.org/