Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Let the Dead Bury the Tenured

"All beings naturally strive towards God -- not explicitly but implicitly" (Thomas). Since atheists are beings too, this goes for them as much as anyone else. But how can someone who rejects God be simultaneously striving for God? Let's think.

Well, most atheists of my acquaintance reject God on the basis of their intellect. But what is the intellect, and why can it be trusted, especially regarding a subject so vastly transcending its scope, its reason for being (which is biological reproduction)? Well, you have to put your faith in something. An atheist presumably puts faith in himself and leaves it at that.

But if you don't stop arbitrarily with your own mind -- if you refrain from the cosmic onanism for a moment -- then you are soon enough led into one of the classical proofs of God, to something certain, unmoved, eternal, etc. In short, your own thinking must have the backing of an eternal sponsor, or it is nothing.

We know and judge all things in the light of the first truth, for the light of our intellect, which is either natural or a gift of grace, is nothing other than an imprint of the first truth. This interior light of the mind is the principal cause of knowledge.

This was obviously the approach of our founders. They did not say, "in our opinion, people should be free to pursue their own interests & stuff." In this regard they foresaw the future fascist snowflakes who would say, "in our opinion, you are not free, especially Ben Shapiro. He triggers us, therefore he is violent, so we have the right to violently shut him down."

You see from where leftist principles always come and to where they inevitably lead: quite literally, they come from nothing and lead nowhere. These people are anarchists. Nihilists, Donny. Cosmocrats of the Dark Aion. Who cannot see it? And why not?

I'm old enough to remember when conservatives were free to speak in our Temples of Truth without $600,000 in police protection. Churchill once cracked that "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." In our current civil war, truth needs a bodyguard, period. An army of them if it ventures near a liberal campus.

It's not only that truth requires police protection. The reason it needs the protection is that it is under violent attack. Now, there is nothing more sick than attacking truth. Rejecting it is one thing. That's amenable to correction. But preemptively assaulting it is another matter entirely. For it is the negation of the very purpose of the intellect, which is to know truth in an objective and disinterested way.

Therefore, it is an attempt to violently sunder man from his very ground -- from his reason for being. It is the end of humanness, the end of all meaning except that which is violently superimposed by the requirements of leftist ideology.

The science is never settled. But nor is the religion, and for the same reason: "The reason we are called wayfarers is because we are striving toward God, who is our end and beatitude."

Likewise, science strives toward a truth it can never attain, on pain of Gödel coming to your house and slapping you around. And truth is the beatitude of the intellect.

For "The love of God has the power of uniting things." Indeed, God is the principle of unity, without whom there would be none. Here again, science is the reduction of multiplicity to unity. Therefore, it is always implicitly seeking God, at least when rightly practiced.

Conversely, "Love of self... divides up human affections and diversifies them." Those with ears, let them hear! Those with graduate degrees, remove those ideological truth-cancelling headphones!

There are only two vertical directions, up and down, toward God and unity or toward a futile cosmic dispersion and fragmentary selfhood shouting nonsense into the void, AKA the liberal media.

Truly, "The last end is the first principle of being." AlphOmega. We are wayfarers on an inspiraling journey, not from nowhere to nothing, but from ground to nonlocal destiny. And "when the first cause in which all else can be known is reached, the quest of the spirit comes to an end."

Note that the first cause of the left is matter, or nothing, or ideology, which amount to the same thing. It is why their journey is over before it begins -- a zombie-like quest for the impossible. Let the dead bury the tenured.

Does this mean everyone is the same? The precise opposite! For it is the very basis of our individuality:

"God is one in reality but is multiple according to our minds; we know him in as many ways as created things represent him." But if we do not know God, then it is as if everyone knows nothing, which truly renders them as unique and valuable as an ant.

Friday, September 15, 2017

On the Rights of Man and Obligations of God

No doubt an ill-sounding formulation and not to everyone's taste, but it is meant somewhat ironically, and is more or less half-true besides.

This zinger by Thomas is a good one, because it shows the insufficiency of a sola scriptura approach, and the necessity of an integrated vertical-horizontal metaphysic:

It is quite clearly a false opinion to say that, with regard to the truth of faith, [that] it is completely indifferent what one thinks about created things, provided one has the right opinion about God; [for] an error about creatures reacts in a false knowledge of God.

We know that a false belief about God results in false knowledge about the world -- which amounts to saying that an inaccurate conception of the Absolute redounds to a skewed perspective on the relative.

Indeed, I don't even think we can speak of the One without giving the Many its due. This is my own personal belief, and therefore not an ex cathedra teaching from the Seat of Toots -- but I don't believe there can be a One without a Many, which simply means that God cannot help himself from creating. It's what he does; or rather, is: man can be creative because God is creativity.

A God without creation would be like the Father without the Son, i.e., unthinkable. God is omnipotent, but within the constraints, so to speak, of his own nature -- a nature that is being, love, truth, beauty, freedom, unity, and creativity. IMO.

Now, when we say "give the Many its due," it is obviously possible to go too far in this direction, which amounts to divinizing the world, AKA pantheism. Materialism is just covert pantheism, again, because it gives totally unwarranted godlike powers to matter. A little sense of proportion, please.

But also, a belief in God without reference to the world ironically results in an over-materialized view of God. Think, for example, of Islam, which is all-God and no-world: everything is a direct result of God, with no mediation or secondary causes at all. Ironically, this redounds even to a materialistic conception of the afterlife.

It is interesting that Churchill noticed this way back in 1898 or so, but only based upon his direct experiences with Islam and its faithful, before political correctness came along to block and deny what is present before our eyes: "A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity" (emphasis mine).

Among the "dreadful curses" which "Mohammedanism lays on its votaries" is a "fearful fatalistic apathy" that is only the logical corollary of predestination. "Insecurity of property exist[s] wherever the followers of the prophet rule or live," no doubt because everything belongs to God, nothing to man.

Except when it does: "every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property," and "the final extinction of slavery" must await the day that "the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men."

Why the slavery and misogyny? Because once you have determined that God is everything and man nothing, then it scarcely matters how you treat a person. Perhaps this will one day change, but not until such a time as they develop a correct conception of the limits of God (in the sense that he is constrained by his nature, as above) and the rights of man, i.e., the proper place of the Many in the overall scheme of things. (Note also that prior to man's rights are his duties, including especially those toward his Creator!)

The world is not nothing. It is not just maya (illusion), nor is it just God's footstool. To treat it that way is actually to mistreat God.

By the way, must Islam be the way it is understood and practiced in the Muslim world? No! Lest anyone accuse me of Muslim bashing, first of all, I'm only trying to help. Second, the mere existence of Schuon proves the point. Everything I have said above (before the Churchill material) is straight out of his playbook. Let me see if I can quickly back that up...

This is from the first book I grabbed, Logic and Transcendence. On the one hand, "Relativism reduces every element of absoluteness to relativity while making a completely illogical exception in favor of this reduction itself." As with any form of existentialism it "postulates a definition of the world that is impossible if existentialism itself is possible."

Thus, a sole focus on the Many without reference to the One is a total non-starter. Tweaking what Schuon says above, it is literally the case that if atheism is possible, then it is impossible. QED.

What about the opposite error, of denigrating the legitimate rights, so to speak, of the creation?

"Man is what he is, or else he is nothing." And if God is what certain people believe he is, then Man is nothing on stilts. In reality our "capacity for objectivity and absoluteness of thought" prove that we have one foot in the divine reality; or that we are "in" freedom while being oriented toward the truth that surpasses us.

You might say that we have the right to freedom, but only on account of our obligation to truth. This is the very structure of the zigzag -- for all lines are straight in a deterministic cosmos -- journey we call Life. Freedom is nothing without truth, just as truth is unattainable without freedom. And God would not -- could not? -- give one without the other.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Satan is Always Working on a Better Louse Trap

Let's return to the Human Wisdom of St. Thomas. A couple posts back we pointed out that there can be no such thing as pathology in the absence of a proper order or function. Physiological pathology is generally easy to recognize, since various organs have distinct purposes. When one fails to achieve its purpose, then you're sick.

But what about the mind? What is its purpose? If we adopt a Darwinian approach and treat it like any other organ, then its purpose is to survive. But does anyone short of a psychopath actually regard his mind in this manner, as a survival machine?

For Thomas, a being "is perfect in the measure in which it reaches up to its origin." Ah, but where is the origin? For the Darwinian -- or any other materialist -- it is necessarily below. But where's the perfection in that? In fact, that is the elimination of progress altogether.

It reminds me of the Freudian idea that the purpose of an instinct is to discharge tension. The infant, for example, doesn't love his mother; rather, he only cares about the elimination of tension caused by being hungry or cold or frightened or whatever. In this view, the human links between mother and infant are eliminated, and the person is reduced to a hedonistic atom instead of a trinitarian community of love.

But the origin is not, and cannot be, below. Rather, it is above. Note that both perspectives are vertical in nature. It's just that the false view turns on itself and eliminates verticality. It is literally a case of using transcendence to deny transcendence, which is obviously a contradiction, a form of the old all-Cretans-are-liars gag, i.e., "all verticality is horizontal."

For Thomas, "The highest perfection of human life consists in the mind of man being open to God." Is this not axiomatic? Obviously the mind is situated in a vertical space, or between O and Ø. Equally evident is the fact that we can move closer to or more distant from O.

Thus, in the ultimate sense, the object of life is conformity to O. The only alternative is conformity to Ø, which is a kind of cosmic suicide. Not only does it deny the purpose of life, it denies -- again, necessarily -- purposes altogether.

In reality, "Every rational being knows God implicitly in every act of knowledge." Boom. In the absence of God, neither reason nor knowledge would be conceivable, let alone achievable.

Some atheists are honest about this, but not many. In truth, it's God or anarchy. The an-arche is literal, in that there is no order: no beginning, no origin, no source, no ground, no basis for action, no first principles of knowledge -- and each of these is a reflection of the same First Principle.

Instead of regarding the cosmos as a tree with its roots aloft and branches down below, the materialist drives his roots deep into matter. Which of course turns him into the sap.

"Nothing is knowable except through its likeness to the first truth." No doubt true, but what is the first truth that all truths resemble?

Hmm. I would have to say Trinity, which is the last and therefore first truth. I may be wrong about this, but it is as if the structure of Trinity is Subject, Object, and Intelligibility. It is a dynamic spiral in with the Incarnation allows us to participate. The Son is the real-ization of Being, and Being radiates (or glori-fies) the implicit Intelligibility of the Father.

"The natural desire for knowledge cannot be satisfied in us until we know the first cause." Really, this goes triple for any scientific discipline. It's just that each discipline (except theology and philosophy) arbitrarily stops short of the first cause.

YOU MUST HAVE A FIRST CAUSE, whether or not you call it God. But if it is not God, then you are elevating something less than God to godhood. An atheist is just someone who confers godlike qualities on matter.

"God, however, is the first cause. Hence the last end of the creature endowed with a spiritual intellect is to see God in his essence." Alpha and Omega. You can't have one without the other. The only alternative is a static and closed circle, or an absurcular tautology. If you find yourself in one, you need to get out more often. Windows and doors are everywhere, but no one can force you to take the look or leap of faith.

Returning to the vertical space between O and Ø, we have termed the former the Great Attractor. We could never even know about it unless we were lured in its direction. Conversely, we are not lured by Ø. Rather, the operative word there would be "seduced" or "hypnotized" or "ensnared."

"Liberation" -- the truth that sets one free -- involves freeing oneself from these lower vertical snares. You are not so much in need of information as dehypnosis. In the hypnotic state you can't understand the information anyway.

Lately I've been catching rats in the backyard. It's amazing how effective peanut butter is in luring them to the rattrap. The other morning I went to check out the trap, and the peanut butter was missing, even though the trap had sprung. Lucky rat! Or clever.

This strikes me as a useful analogy to the lures that surround us. The clever ones are able to snatch the peanut butter, and yet, keep on thinking. They are like zombies who are psychically dead but alive, AKA the tenured, the fake news media, and the plague spreading Democ-rats more generally...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Leftism: Come for the Messianic Fantasies, Stay for the Sadism

Regarding spiritual sickness, we agree with the Aphorist that Conservatism should not be a party but the normal attitude of every decent man.

You can take this quite literally, in that the first function of a society is to perpetuate itself. When Obama promised to "fundamentally change" the nation, he was not only serious, but giving voice to an ideology that perceives a vast system of oppression that must be dismantled from top to bottom.

Speaking of demons in democracy, Legutko reminds us that communists and socialists "sternly and ruthlessly criticized -- just as liberals did -- existing communities with long traditions, and after seizing power, ruthlessly destroyed them."

Leftists everywhere and everywhen are especially contemptuous of what is known as "flyover country," being that more rural areas are "seen as the mainstay of tradition" and "strongholds of conservatism and bigotry"-- bitter clingers, deplorables, white supremacist Trump voters, etc.

Exaggeration? I won't bother tracking down the links, but consider liberal luminaries such as Bill Maher and that actress person who regard the hurricanes in Florida and Texas as just deserts for their ideological deviance. Gaia is a jealous god!

The process described by Legutko is similar to how Democrats use blacks as vote farms while pretending to help them. Just so, communist regimes "systematically did their best to wipe out rural culture while at the same time" appearing to defend them "as victims of exploitation." Even on the face of it, how can a Democrat party that wants to import millions of unskilled laborers to suppress wages, be a friend of the working man?

But the ideologue doesn't deal with the real world, let alone real human beings. Rather, he sees only his projected ideology. There is a word for this: insanity. Except this is a kind of ready-made, off-the-shelf insanity, as opposed to the custom made kind. Give the latter credit: they may be crazy, but at least they think for themselves.

This point is worth belaboring: just as traditional religion provides a way for the average person to be wise, ideology provides a way for even the most intelligent person to render himself an idiot. Let's stipulate that Noam Chomsky has a higher IQ than, say, Margaret Thatcher. Who is the wise one, who the malevolent idiot?

For communists, "the 'proletariat' was an abstract term to which no real community corresponded; it was nothing but a requirement of political strategy" -- like an empty placeholder. Likewise, there are no flesh-and-blood little people who correspond to the left's blather about the Little Guy. To the extent that they exist, they are only there to fulfill a role in the left's existential passion play.

The same can be said of "women," which is just "an abstract concept that does not denote any actual existing community, but only an imagined collective made an object of political worship among feminist organizations and their allies." Actual women aren't even women if they deviate from the abstract ideological ideal. The same can be said of blacks, Latinos, homosexuals, etc. You will have noticed that what the left calls "multiculturalism" is the last word in homogenization -- of herding everyone into the same ideology:

Never before in human history did we see a similar phenomenon when millions of people, indistinguishable from each other, using the same patterns of thinking, politically homogeneous and oblivious to any other way of viewing the political world except according to the orthodox liberal-democratic version, are not only convinced of their own individual and group differences and proclaim the unchallenged superiority of pluralism, but also want to enforce the same simplistic and tediously predictable orthodoxy on the entire world as the ultimate embodiment of the idea of multiplicity.

Something in there sounds familiar... ultimate embodiment. Yes, just as the Incarnation is Word made flesh, the left has its own inverted version of this, in that they want their insane ideological word to be embodied in everyone, without exception. What else to make of UC Berkeley, which absolutely cannot tolerate a Ben Shapiro in its midst?

When we speak of the "body of Christ," we are adverting to a capacity for embodiment that must exist prior to this or that particular case. To make an obvious point, it is possible for the same body to embody something other than Christ; think, for example of cults, which collectively embody lies of various kinds.

Antifa is the embodiment of a (sick) word, just as was Nazism. Therefore, to say that Christianity is the ongoing embodiment of the Word is not in any way some one-of-a-kind miracle. Humans are always embodying abstract ideals. Occasionally these ideals are even true, but not often. Which is precisely why man is in need of revelation. Left to his own devices, he is clearly vulnerable to the embodiment of anti-Words of varying degrees of malignancy.

In a certain way, history is a catalogue of anti-Words made flesh. Clearly, our founders recognized this -- for example, with Madison's crack about government being "the greatest of all reflections on human nature."

This recognition of the priority of the word does not go unnoticed by the left. Indeed, it is why, in the words of the Aphorist, Rather than an ideological strategy, the Left is a lexicographic tactic. In short, their motto might well be: "in order to embody the word, we had to destroy the word."

Words like marriage, truth, normality, freedom, man, woman, constitution, first amendment, etc.

"An intellectual's sharp eye and perceptiveness will always recognize what is politically dangerous: a sentence, a metaphor, a proverb, an incorrect text on the bulletin board, a work of fiction.... there is no shortage of people who ecstatically become involved in tracking disloyalty and fostering a new orthodoxy" (Legutko).

Think of nosy Lena Dunhams everywhere, monitoring ideological conformity, "a moralist, a commissar, and an informer rolled into one." These conforming nobodies help embody the left. They "develop a sense of power otherwise unavailable," and cannot "resist the temptation to indulge in a low desire to harm others with impunity." All with the best of intentions!

There is a Simpson's episode in which Homer dreams of a job that combines his desire to help people with his desire to hurt them.

What is leftism but a way to reconcile an unhinged passion to redeem mankind with a sadistic desire to harm human beings, the former providing ideological rationalization for the latter?

Friday, September 08, 2017

Psychopathology and Pneumopathology

An annoyingly rambling post that asks more questions than it has time to answer. In my defense, it's a Big Subject, perhaps the biggest.

No, it's the biggest: how a man ought to be.

As always, it's a little difficult to locate the thread after having let it go for a couple of days. Oh, there it is: instead of being wise as serpents and innocent as doves, the left recommends being cynical as a psychopath and credulous as a child.

This credo has always guided the left, but is especially vivid these days due to Trump Derangement. It is the difference between neurotic and borderline personality structure.

I don't like to get pedantic this early in the morning, but broadly speaking, there are four main categories of adult patients, and you generally know within seconds which one you're dealing with. First there are people with organic problems ranging from dementia to closed head injuries to hormonal disorders. They don't have any psycho-political relevance.

Speaking of which -- it's all coming back to me now -- yesterday on the way to work, Dennis Prager mentioned that leftism is... I forget the exact phrase, but essentially a spiritual sickness. That may sound polemic, but I've been listening to him for a couple of decades, and it is a considered opinion based upon years of examining the patient. He means it literally, not as an insult.

However, two things: first, spiritual illness presupposes spiritual health. Any normal person has the ability to intuitively diagnose spiritual illness, but he may not know how he is doing it, nor on what implicit criteria he is basing the diagnosis (nor on what basis he presumes himself to be normal!).

Second, this means that we must distinguish between psychopathology and something like pneumopathology.

Thus, the entire innerprise is based upon a distinction between mind (or psyche) and spirit. However, profane psychology either conflates the two or denies spirit altogether.

The problem is, the more intellectually rigorous the psychology, the more spiritually purblind it tends to be (for example, materialistic approaches that know -- so to speak -- everything about the brain but nothing about the person).

On the other side we have squishy and intellectually vapid new age approaches that make both psychology and religion appear stupid. And either approach can easily be mastered by morons with political agendas. I know this because when I was an agenda-driven liberal moron, I used psychology to bash conservatives.

Back to our other three categories of mental illness: they are 1) neurotic, 2) borderline, and 3) psychotic. The last one doesn't interest us per se, except insofar as the borderline individual is vulnerable to a "psychotic core" that he is always attempting to manage with various primitive defense mechanisms. The neurotic person is subject to various psychic conflicts, but not to the point of frank loss of contact with reality.

I've been out of the loop for awhile, but back when I was in grad school -- this would have been between 1982 and 1988 -- there was a lot of research and writing on borderline phenomena. There seemed to be a general consensus that we were seeing a lot more of it, because prior to the 1960s, most of the psychoanalytic literature dealt with neurotics.

But after the 1960s, we saw an influx of more seriously ill patients for whom the model of neurosis didn't fit. Which led to a great deal of research and theorizing on borderline psychic structure. Of course, it is difficult to know if we are seeing a new phenomenon, or just taking notice of an old one (as with autism or attention deficit disorder).

Another confounding variable is the general loosening of cultural controls. As a result, people are more "free" -- which includes the freedom to be as crazy as one wants to be. Prior to the 1960s, these various forms of madness, deviance, and perversion were suppressed and stigmatized, whereas afterwards they weren't only allowed open expression but even "normalized." Feminism, for example, offers a woman many novels ways to act out her mental illness that were unavailable in the past.

So in a generation or two we have gone from marginalizing mental illness to actually celebrating it. And if you are not on board with the celebration, then you are the deviant one!

Recent example plucked from the cultural pneumosphere: Twitter Bans Activist Mommy for Tweeting Her Dislike of Teen Vogue’s Anal Sex Guide.

Such a headline begs for a psychological interpretation, but that would be too easy. Besides, we're well beyond what psychology can explain, although, at the same time, I think we need both views -- the psychological and spiritual -- in order to comprehensively understand the phenomena. Although psyche and spirit permeate one another, there are also ways in which spirit is situated atop psyche, depending upon whether you look at it vertically or horizontally.

Recall the other day, when we suggested that traditional religion is a way for the average person to be wise. Conversely, leftist ideology provides a way for the intelligent man to be an idiot. But it also provides an excellent way for the crazy person to appear sane, and for the spiritually disordered person to appear "elevated" and "evolved" -- e.g., Deepak Chopra or Jeremiah Wright.

In the normal course of development, psyche comes first. However, we know from our Aquinas that what comes first ontologically is last existentially; in other words, the final cause is the last to appear. For example, the adult toward which the child is developing is present as telos before actualizing in time.

No one ever put it this way in graduate school, but clearly, the entire category of psychopathology presumes a proper developmental telos. In other words, if there is no right way to be, then there can be no wrong way.

Now, over the past 50 years, the left has been preaching that there is by definition no right way to be. Indeed, pretending otherwise is just a way to legitimize power over the oppressed and marginalized (as if, for example, heterosexuality is a conspiracy against homosexuals!). Therefore, a leftist should be the last person in the world to call someone crazy -- or evil -- for supporting Trump.

The left has systematically destroyed all standards and hierarchies, and here they are appealing to a standard of some kind. If they were sane, we would call them hypocrites. But what is hypocritical for the neurotic is standard operating procedure for the borderline person who lacks the psychic integration to maintain intellectual or emotional consistency.

To what timeless and universal standard does the left appeal? Just leftism. This is what the left has always done -- for example, in the Soviet Union you were either a Marxist or mentally ill.

No one ever thought this would happen in the U.S., but here we are.

"The liberal-democratic man, especially if he is an intellectual or an artist, is very reluctant to learn, but, at the same time, all too eager to teach.... he assumes and never has the slightest doubt that he is in possession of the entirety of the human experience" (Legutko).

This leads to the ideological flatulence that surrounds us, from fake news to fakademia, an awareness that we are "always surrounded by non reality, i.e., artifacts fabricated by the propaganda machine, whose aim [is] to prevent us from seeing reality as it [is]." We are "living among phantoms in the world of illusion," or rather, in a cloud of projected mind parasites (a "cloud of witlessness") known as the Narrative, AKA Ideology for Dummies.

These dummies never suspect that there is more to realty than what their ideology permits them to see -- and less than what it compels them to imagine.

Eh. We'll try to pick up the thread next week...

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Innocent as Ted Kennedy, Wise as Maxine Waters

Let's begin with some metaphysically sound bites from Thomas that have a bearing on the Demon in Democracy.

For example, Man cannot possibly be good unless he stands in the right relation to the common good. And Just as the right use of power in ruling over many people is a good in the highest degree, so is its misuse in the highest degree evil.

This implies that the hottest precincts of hell are reserved for rulers who misuse power. Note that Thomas understood this long prior to the appearance of 20th century monsters such as Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, et al.

Now, this is weird, but extremely telling. I just did a quick search of the most evil rulers in history, and this was the first that popped up: on it, George Bush is #2, Ariel Sharon #4. It proves Dennis Prager's adage that "Those who don't fight the greatest evils will fight lesser evils or make-believe evils."

For example, this is why leftists get far more worked up over innocuous statues than genuine evils such as inner city black-on-black violence; or the make-believe science of AGW than third world poverty that can't be overcome without a larger carbon footprint.

The purpose of the intellect is to know truth. Obviously. But "the purpose of ideology," writes Legutko, "is not to disclose intricacies and ambiguities but to make a clear statement." The MSM Narrative (which is again Ideology for Dummies) is rarely in accord with reality, but always loud and clear.

This reminds me of the distinction between, say, the metaphysics of Thomas and Bible stories -- but with a big difference. Few people have the time or aptitude to study metaphysics. Which is one of the principle reasons for revelation, in that it provides a way to implicitly understand the same truths, only available to one and all. You might say that it is a way to make the average person wise.

For example, as we've said before, even the person with a literal understanding of Genesis has superior wisdom to the credentialed atheist who imagines the world came about by accident. The latter is "learned stupidity," while the former is more akin to "naive wisdom."

It is the other way around with ideology, which has two functions: on the one hand, it makes the idiot feel superior to the wise, while turning the most intelligent man into an idiot. Regarding the former, even the dimmest college student can assimilate enough cliches and insults to render him a Democrat for life. It is the whole basis for the appeal of Bernie Sanders, and of the leftward lurch of Democrats more generally:

The race to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020 will be a race to the left. The Bernie Sanders agenda has taken root. By the time the Democrats’ nominating process was complete in 2016, Hillary Clinton had become Bernie Sanders-lite... the next Democratic nominee as likely to be Sanders on steroids.

Economic polices will consist of government giveaways and anti-business crusades. Social causes will give no quarter to moderate positions, and LGBT special interests, labor unions, global warming fanatics and factions such as Black Lives Matter, along with other grievance industry groups, will face no moderating counterforce.

In other words, thanks to college, people are increasingly dis-oriented: the stupid ones imagine they are superior, while the intelligent ones are the most readily indoctrinated into the stupidity. Similar to how all you need is a little menstrual blood and a lot of bitterness in order to call yourself an "artist."

Of course, if you criticize college they will call you "anti-intellectual," which is itself part of the indoctrination. In short, they will call you a name. The left never argues. It accuses.

But the purpose of philosophy is not to accuse. Rather, it is to lead persons to the Light, one assoul at a time. It is to help him exit the cave of contingency (and of historicism) and into the wide open space of truth, AKA O. If you don't know that O is far vaster than your puny ideology, then you don't even know nothing, because what you think you know is all wrong.

"No wonder that those contaminated by ideology" have such "a deep suspicion toward ideas" (Legutko). The irony is that there is no one as anti-intellectual as the leftist who fancies himself an intellectual. Let's take the example of Bill Maher. Everything about him cries out that he wants you to know that he's a Smart Guy.

If that is the case, why does he only pick on such easy targets? I'd like to see him go toe to toe with a Thomas Aquinas or Frithjof Schuon. But an insult is not an argument, and smugness is not actual superiority.

Speaking of which, "In a certain sense humility is man's readiness to approach spiritual and divine things." Indeed,"Humility prepares the way for wisdom" and "makes a man capable of knowing God" (Thomas).

Those qualify as the most important things one can know, being that they are a prerequisite for knowing the most important things. But how many people learn this at a liberal university? Any? If so, it is only in reaction to the pestilent nonsense that pervades the atmosphere. Experiencing a place that has been sanitized of God can be a very effective source of conversion. When the cave fills with toxic gas, get out!

Jesus counsels us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves, a combination of discernment and humility. The left has a twisted version of this -- something like "cynical as a psychopath but credulous as a child."

Monday, September 04, 2017

Why You Oughta

Just finished a book called The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies. I skimmed a lot of it, so I'm not sure if the author came right out and identified this demon. But the demon is obviously man.

Or, if the temptation is totalitarianism, the temptee is us. (We won't delve into the identity of the tempter behind the temptation today.)

Not all are equally vulnerable to the temptation, for "conservative totalitarian" is a contradiction in terms, being that we believe in the freedom of individual over and above the state, while the left believes in the power of the state over and above the individual (because the individual is likely to abuse his freedom and not want what the left wants him to want). It's a question of the locus of power. In the words of the Aphorist, As the State grows, the individual shrinks.

Speaking of aphorisms, let's begin with a quip from St. Thomas that could generate reams of commentary:

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.

Now, there is no man -- or no humanness -- in the absence of the Ought. The worst man nevertheless feels there are things he ought to do. It's just that, in reality, he oughtn't do them.

I know it's early in the morning for Godwin's Law, but Hitler obviously felt he ought to murder all Jews, just as the Soviet Union was under the imperative that it ought to liquidate all class enemies. Members of ISIS feel they ought to kill anyone who isn't, just as Antifa goons feel they ought to bring violence upon those with misgivings about liberal fascism. And so on.

The Ought is very much like any other drive or instinct. Just as, say, sexual desire has its proper object, so too does the Ought have its.

You will have no doubt noticed that a central feature of the left is the insistence that there is no such thing as on objective or disinterested Ought -- that there is no Ought built into the nature of things. Which is why they believe a man can be a woman, or marry a man, or even wear a man bun. You are not permitted to point out that these are things a proper man ought not do.

The irony, or course, is that the left is essentially saying that you ought not ought: or else! There is a word for this. I know there is, because I made it up: totolerantarianism. It ultimately reduces to absolute relativity enforced by absolute power; or in other words, the Lie backed by Force.

Which is why Thomas can say that "Moral virtue presupposes knowledge," because if you don't know what IS, then you will have no idea what to DO. If you really think that men and women are interchangeable, then you will literally have no idea that members of the same sex cannot "marry."

The name for truth-in-action is prudence. Which is why prudence is the pre-eminent virtue: "Without prudence," there can be no "discipline, or moderation, or any moral virtue." Which ultimately means that the Ought is again rooted in something prior: the IS. Thus, "All sins are opposed to prudence, just as all virtues are ruled by prudence."

Now, the left is the very essence of imprudence; which is another way of saying that it is always intemperate. Anyone can turn on their television and see images of leftists behaving intemperately. Why? Because they are out there on the street doing things they ought not do, because their Ought is completely screwed up, bearing no relationship to what IS.

With that little preface out of the way, let's return to the Demon in Democracy. The best chapter by far is called Ideology. Looks like I highlighted nearly every sentence. Let's find out why.

Wait. I think I know: if the Ought ought to be conformed to the IS, the left makes the fundamental error of conforming the Ought to Ideology. Deviation from the latter constitutes thought-crime, punishable by anything from banishment to job loss to murder. Marx is a jealous god!

Here is a timeless passage about the left:

Contrary to what most of us think, prevailing opinions, theories, and convictions that we consider timeless and self-evident are neither timeless nor self-evident, but are the product of economic and political arrangements peculiar to a specific phase of historical development. Whoever thinks otherwise and claims he speaks from a non-committed absolutist perspective is cheating himself, failing to notice that his supposedly disinterested consciousness has been fabricated by material conditions.

There it is, in all its vulgar glory: there is no truth, and we are its prophets!

Now, what conservatism wishes to conserve first and foremost are precisely those timeless and self-evident truths which the left insists don't exist. Rather, they say that these so-called truths are just pretexts for a naked power grab.

Which brings to mind Goebbels' advice to always accuse the other side of that which you are guilty. Certainly the fascists of Antifa have taken this to heart, but this is simply what the left does, every time.

As a matter of fact -- speaking of timeless truths -- the book begins with a comment by Dostoyevsky to the effect that

I have found from many observations that our liberals are incapable of allowing anyone to have his own convictions and immediately answer their opponent with abuse or something worse.

Something worse, like bottles of urine.

And again the crude trick: the left promulgates timeless truths about how there are no timeless truths to a human animal who is simply a product of history. Wha'?

There is no truth to the left's ideas. But they more than make up for this with their perverse power. The left's ideas "vaulted to unprecedented popularity," largely because they provide "a most convenient tool in political conflicts," allowing one to discredit "one's opponent without entering into substantive argument."

Quite simply, without slander there would be no left left. Think of the attempts thus far to slander President Trump: treason, misogyny, Islamophobe, racist, anti-Semite. Thus far nothing has stuck. Next up: tax cuts for the wealthy!

We'll leave off with another timeless truth about the left: "Ideology is always inherently simplistic and simplifying as its function is instrumental, not descriptive." With leftist ideology you always know what to do: identify and slander enemies. Physically assaulting them is just ideology by other means.