America's Founding Avatars: Back to the Future (with updates from mankind's progressive past)
The second variable to be considered in Integral Politics “involves the levels themselves: what general level of development is the political party or movement coming from, emphasizing, or acting from?”
The question I have is whether any of any of this integral theorizing of about human nature and the role of the state is in any way superior to what America’s founders already worked out some 225 years ago. I cannot see any advantage whatsoever. In my view, the founders combined timeless truths about human nature with a deep understanding of the dynamics of progress, both material and spiritual, collective and individual. Clearly, they regarded the individual as sacrosanct, and I do not regard any form of leftist collectivism as developmentally “higher” than classical liberalism. More often than not, it is a regressive move backward, dictated by the desire for maternal comfort and security. Occasionally they are on the right side of history --e.g., the civil rights movement -- but not because of any respect for indvidual interiors. In fact, for the past 40 years the left has been the regressive defender of racial discrimination and ethnic and gender spoils.
Perhaps one of the differences between the integral movement and the American experiment is that the former seems to be steeped in Buddhist metaphysics, while the American founders could only have come from a Judeo-Christian perspective that regards the interior and exterior as equally real and valuable. America’s founders, although liberal -- again, classically liberal -- were in no way analogous to modern day “flatland” secular liberals who deny interiors, blame society for their problems, and need a large federal government to help them get through life.
As John Adams wrote, “I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” In other words, at its core, America is all about the possibility of interior evolution. This has been its very purpose from the start. Leftists have perverted that purpose and taken America further away from its founding ideals and principles. Should they ever prevail, they would eliminate the very idea of America, that “last best hope of earth.”
As I have mentioned before, human beings have a horizontal aspect that develops and changes through time, and is largely conditioned by the environment. However, they also have a vertical nature which it is the purpose of life to actualize or “realize” in the horizontal. You might say that we have a genetic blueprint (the horizontal) and a divine blueprint (the vertical). This is a distinction of which the founders were fully aware. For example, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” Does this vertical awareness sound anything like a contemporary leftist liberal? Hardly. One cannot imagine Howard Dean making such a statement, while George Bush has made any number of statements that parallel the words of Hamilton.
From the start, America’s founders believed they had forged a new compact with God, in exactly the same way the ancient Hebrews had. They were fully conscious of being chosen for a divine evolutionary mission. In his second inaugural address, Jefferson pleaded for the assistance of “that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them” in this new world. This goes completely against modern secular myths that suggest that America was somehow set up to protect us from religion -- from the great interior.
One scholar undertook the task of counting the citations found among the writings of the founders. Of 3,154 references, nearly 1,100 of them -- 34 percent -- are to the Bible. Nothing else comes close.
Like the ancient Jews, America's founders regarded time as linear and progressive, not cyclical. But the operative word is progressive. They did not, like the modern progressive, regard time as linear and going nowhere except toward increasing materialism and collectivism. Rather, as Michael Novak writes, the founders “believed history had a beginning and was guided by Providence for a purpose.... Time was created for the unfolding of human liberty, for human emancipation.” Again, the purposes of time and history were not merely for exterior emancipation but, more importantly, interior emancipation. Or, one might say that the purpose of exterior liberty was for the purpose of interior, vertical development, so that history becomes “a record of progress (or decline), measured by permanent standards, God’s standards...” (Novak).
As Novak notes, “Without this metaphysical background, the founding generation of Americans would have had little heart for the War of Independence. They would have had no ground for believing that their seemingly unlawful rebellion actually fulfilled the will of God -- and suited the laws of nature and nature’s God.” But the founders, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, specifically appealed “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the Rectitude of our Intentions.”
Modern secular liberals often cite the words of Jefferson or Franklin to support their erroneous ideas about the founding of America, but, as Novak writes, “the greatest of all American historians, Gordon Wood.... has not found a single atheist during the Founding period (not even Tom Paine), and certainly not among the Founders. Second, he finds even the least religious of the Founders considerably more religious than the average professor at American universities today. Ours is a far, far more secular age, our leaders and our people are far more ignorant of religious ideas. Third, he finds that Jefferson -- the Founder most attended to today -- was an outlier among the Founders.”
In that same article, Novak cites a letter written by Benjamin Franklin, who, like Jefferson, was one of the least orthodox of the founders. And yet, he wrote that “I believe in one God, creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.”
Even Thomas Paine -- whom many mistakenly regard as an atheist -- “was so hostile to atheism that he sailed to France after 1789 to fight against it, holding it responsible for the bloody massacres of the Terror.” This hostility to atheism “was nearly universal in America, on the ground that where there is no omniscient Judge, political power knows no moral check.” Atheism is the exterior philosophy par excellence, completely denying even the possibility of interior evolution.
The founders categorically rejected atheism because it violated all common sense -- and America’s founders were nothing if not common-sensical. As Washington wrote, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.” Moreover, as Novak writes, the founders were aware that “a free society demands a higher level of virtue than a tyranny, which no other moral energy has heretofore proven capable of inspiring except Judaism and Christianity.” Novak retraces the simple logic of the founders:
Liberty is the object of the Republic.
Liberty needs virtue.
Virtue among the people is impossible without religion.
Again, I do not see “progressives” as having progressed beyond Washington’s understanding. Since what Washington said is eternally true, one can only deviate from it and move backward, which secular and atheistic ideologies have proved time and again. Keep in mind that dreadful figure -- 200 million souls murdered in the 20th century due to atheistic and anti-Christian ideologies.
Yes, things have not turned out as we might have hoped in Iraq. But the “progressive” left sees our mission there as an entirely ignoble, fundamentally evil enterprise motivated by purely venal interests. They see this because, in their flatland view of the world, this is all they can see. Instead of seeing in George Bush an idealist with flawed execution, they see a greedy and self-interested religious fascist. For the left there is no vertical.
It’s not easy to bring the vertical world of liberty to a resistant hellhole such as the Muslim Middle East. Tocqueville wrote that “Fixed ideas about God and human nature are indispensable to men for the conduct of daily life,” even if these fixed ideals are difficult for most men to reach. But eliminate them, and you descend to the horizontal wasteland of the contemporary leftist liberal. “Democracy,” wrote Tocqueville, “favors the taste for physical pleasures,” i.e., the exterior and the horizontal. But “this taste, if it becomes excessive, soon disposes men to believe that nothing but matter exists.” Thus, the downward pull of secular “progressivism” must be actively countered by each generation anew.
*Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from Michael Novak’s On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at America’s Founding
The reviews are in from our enlightened green spiritual superiors at an "Integral" website. As you know, the political correctness that suffocates the left is even more pervasive among the hordes of new age moonbats. I must post on why that should be so. In any event, I think I can confidently predict that my days as a new age guru are OVER. Deepak's job is secure in his interior compound. Wayne Dyer can sleep soundly on his vertical pile of moolah:
"I was surprised to see an interview with Robert Godwin in the current issue of What Is Enlightenment?... The interview didn't get too much into politics, so many readers of WIE? will stop by One Cosmos and be blown away by his hatred of all things liberal." [He means leftist, of course.]
"I was really quite surprised to see him in the pages of WIE? I could say a lot of harsh things about him, as I have in the past, but lets leave it at that. I don't see much value in presenting his views in a magazine about enlightenment. Enlightened he is not."
"I think the said Bob is appallingly ignorant even more so when he writes a book titled One Cosmos. His rantings on OneCosmos have no relation whatsoever to the many themes promoted by WIE magazine. None. He is totally embedded in flatland and a full on apologist for the dominant descender/dominator meme.He certainly isnt enlightened nor is there any trace whatsoever of a Heart awakened intelligence in his work. He uses Reagan,Steyn,Novack et al in support of his arguments. Novack & Steyn would be appalled at most of the contents of WIE magazine---an exercise in confused "relativism". They are also both full on apologists for the Pentagon/Capatalist death machine which is grinding everything to rubble. Both humankind and the planetary ecosystems that support life" (sic).
"Gaddag doesn't know Wilber at all. Who could know Wilber and write such drivel? I could cite a dozen incoherencies in the same blog post. AND YET ... it's a useful post because it shows that Wilber's communication style obviously isn't helping him to reach folks like Dagbad."
Let it be said that I am humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as Mark Steyn.... Let it also be said that in the unlikely event that something happens to my brain, whereby my writing somehow becomes popular among these types, any one of you has my permission (assuming Dupree is indisposed) to TOBASH me (Take Out Back And Shoot in Head -- it's a sacred service Cosmic Raccoons perform for one another.)
Hey, it's our very own dashing cosmonautical navalgeezer, BEN:
"This pic was taken a year later aboard my second ship, the USS Duluth (LPD-6). Here I am in my dungarees, by the 02 weather deck railing."