Monday, December 11, 2006

Let's Hear it for Dead Amber Males

I’m just going to try to get as far as I can this morning, knowing full well that the baby is about to go off like a bomb....

Back to the discussion of Ken Wilber’s Integral Politics that we started last Friday. Again, I’ll just provide my spontaneous thoughts and reflections. A character named Charles is at a press conference, outlining the theory. He says,

“Let’s begin our story by noticing that in this country, mainstream Republicans or conservatives have very strong amber/traditional values. Hence, when they say that ‘character counts,’ or that they want to ‘instill values in people,’ or that they are ‘the party of values,’ they almost always mean amber values only, traditional values, ethnocentric values: nationalism, family values, militarism, patriotism, patriarchalism, good ole Biblical injunctions and command morality. They do not mean green values, red values, teal values, turquoise values, etc.”

Here’s where things start to make no sense for me. First, the usefulness of the whole color-coding paradigm escapes me. Secondly, I know of no conservative who values nationalism, or patriotism, or militarism for their own sake. Usually it is because of an awareness that the United States is by far the greatest and most decent nation that has ever existed. In other words, to feel patriotic or nationalistic about the United States is simply based on objective reality. It’s not the same as feeling patriotic about some crappy little country like France, where shame would be the more appropriate emotion.

Wilber seems to conflate patriotism and nationalism with bad patriotism and nationalism, as if they aren’t worlds apart. Iranian nationalism: bad. Palestinian nationalism: bad. Nazi nationalism: bad. If I were a citizen of those places, assuming I wasn’t completely brainwashed, I would hardly be patriotic. Again, this would be an objective assessment of the situation. Those are bad and evil governments that do bad and evil things on purpose.

One of the reasons these color schemes hold no appeal for me is because my primary values are truth and decency. The latter follows from the former, because evil on a widespread scale is usually only possible if it is rooted in massive lies. Nazis murdered Jews because they believed lies about them, just as Islamists want to kill Americans because they believe lies about us. If people simply believe the truth and behave decently, everything else will pretty much take care of itself.

You might argue that everyone is patriotic, so that American patriotism is no different than, say, Mexican or Canadian patriotism. In other words, we have a second rate country to the north of us and a third rate country to the south, and the majority of their citizens are probably just as patriotic as Americans. But this isn’t true. Not everyone is hypnotized by bad patriotism. My father, for example, had the good sense to get the hell out of England and make his way to America just as soon as he was old enough to do so in 1948. He was not blinded by sentimental patriotism for England. He knew this was a much better place. He wanted to live in the greatest country on earth, for which I am eternally grateful.

LIkewise to say that conservatives simply value “militarism” outside a moral framework is seriously misleading. Yes, I would like America to have the most powerful military in the world, for the simple reason that I want the most moral and decent nation to be the most powerful. It’s the same reason why I want the police to be more powerful than the criminals. To suggest that I am merely “pro-violence” would be another serious distortion. I am pro moral violence and anti immoral violence, a distinction that is often lost on the left. Yes, I want to kill bad people before they murder more good people.

Wilber seems to be treating Christianity with some contempt in the remark about “good ole Biblical injunctions and command morality.” If by command morality he is referring to absolute moral standards such as “do not bear false witness,” “do not steal,” and “do not murder,” then I suppose I am for “good ole Biblical injunctions.” They seem infinitely more wise to me than the morally relativistic blather you will hear on the typical college campus.

“But that sort of traditional, conservative political movement -- grounded in mythic-membership and the amber value system -- was the dominant form of governance for most of humanity’s civilized history, East and West, from the great Axial Period (around the 6th century BCE) up to the Enlightenment in the West.”

Oh? Ronald Reagan was no different than a pre-democratic emperor or king? Here is a presumably amber -- or possibly even “red,” God forbid -- man who helped to liberate more human beings than any other ruler in history, and he is lumped together with all the butchers and monsters that preceded him, merely because he had “conservative” values? If we had fought the Soviet Union with green values, we’d all be speaking Russian now.

“This amber value structure, and the governance systems that it supported, were those of the great Republican empires and ancient nations, East and West, North and South, Rome being one of the mightiest. These were agrarian societies..., and therefore typically they had a corresponding mythic-membership culture of amber or traditional values.... At their best and healthiest, and for their time, these cultures were a thing of beauty and wonder.”

Yes, if you like tyranny, slavery, human sacrifice, widespread illiteracy, cruelty to women and children. What these “amber” values have to do with modern conservatism escapes me entirely.

Charles continues: “Beginning around the Renaissance and culminating with the Enlightenment, an entirely new level of values began to emerge -- namely, the orange, modern, worldcentric value system -- and with it, a radically new type of political philosophy was born: liberalism.”

SEMANTIC ALERT: This is also where modern illiberal leftism was born, so be aware of the tendency to conflate the two. There was the radical Enlightenment of France (bad) and the skeptical Enlightenment of Scotland and America (good), and the two were as different as can be, resulting in very different societies and value systems.

“Liberalism reflected many things at once: a move from ethnocentric to worldcentric perspectives; from monarchy/aristocracy to democracy; from slavery to equality; from a society informed by myth to one informed by science; from a role-identity to an ego-identity; from duty and honor to dignity and recognition; from ethnocentric values to universal values (especially freedom, equality, solidarity).”

If “informed by myth” Charles means “informed by Christianity,” then he is dead wrong, at least in so far as the skeptical enlightenment. It is true that the radical enlightenment attempted to throw out all tradition, reinvent man, and base all of their ideas on their narrow notion of “reason,” and we can see the terror and barbarism that resulted.

The American founders were not particularly motivated by the pursuit of equality -- much less “solidarity” or “fraternity” -- as were those of the radical enlightenment. Rather, they recognized that equality and liberty were inversely related, and came down firmly on the side of liberty. Europe went down the other road, and we can see what resulted: perhaps more equality -- since everyone has less -- and far less liberty. In the radical trinity, “equality” and “fraternity” are paramount. In the clasically liberal trinity of America “life” and “liberty” are emphasized, with very different consequences.

Here again, I believe the following statement to be deeply incorrect: “Liberalism grew up in the same flatland atmosphere, the atmosphere that recognized only exteriors, only matter, only things you can see ‘out there’ -- which is precisely why, to this day, most liberals can only comfortably think about what needs to be fixed in the exteriors (such as economics) in order to make society a better place.”

The classical liberals who founded America didn’t think this way at all. But contemporary leftists (who are not really liberal) certainly think in this limited and dysfunctional way. Remember, when that great French classical liberal, de Toqueville, visited America, he was most impressed at how deeply spontaneously religious our citizens were. I suppose Wilber would dismiss them as being primitive, mythological “amber” types, but that seems to me to be a European-leftist prejudice against true American liberalism, which has always been informed by spirit (until the 1960’s, anyway).

“To think about fixing interiors would imply that some interiors are better or worse than others, and liberals usually recoil at the implication -- thus inadvertently paralyzing any effective interior development and focusing almost exclusively on the exterior engineering of social systems.”

I can only assume Wilber is being ironic here. No one is more obsessed with remaking mankind than the typical leftist-liberal. Of course, leftists always deny they are being judgmental, but no one is more prone to nightmarish social engineering to try to remake human beings in their image. These leftist wacktivists have taken over virtually every professional organization, including my own, which is why there are so many things I am not permitted to think. Nowhere is speech less “free” than on an elite liberal college campus.

“But there is also a very positive reason for the liberal reluctance to discuss interior development, and it needs to be carefully noted, namely: the separation of church and state.”

Here again, America was different. Thankfully, there was nothing about “separation of church and state” in our constitution, much less our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, which specifically declares that God is the source of our liberty and that it is the task of Government to protect and preserve that sacred liberty. Far from being at odds with it, government is here to preserve and protect religious liberty. Religious liberty is “higher” than government, as it is its source of legitimacy.

Obviously, what our constitution actually says is that “congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It is just flat wrong to say that our founders wished to go beyond “ethnocentric governance to worldcentric governance based not on religious mythic values or conventional family values, but on postconventional freedoms extended to as many individuals as possible.” As if the founders were a bunch of leftist, U.N. loving, politically correct, one-world cultural relativists who thought, say, the Koran was just as good as the Bible!

“The liberal stance that says all people are equal is itself an elite value reached only by a minority of the population at most times. Liberalism is the product of several major hierarchical stages of growth that then turns around and denies the importance or even the existence of hierarchical stages of growth. Liberalism thus denies the very path that produced liberalism.

Well, not this liberal, nor, I suspect, the vast majority of my readers. We deeply want leftists to understand that there is a superior political philosophy that can only be founded upon emotional maturity, and that will always be attacked on all sides by those who are less mature. It is not classical liberals such as myself who “vigorously deny interior hierarchies and thus effectively dissolve the path to its own genesis.” Rather, it is leftists who do this. Again, they pose the greatest danger to the preservation of classical liberalism. Where they prevail -- as in Western Europe -- the situation is more or less hopeless, as per Mark Steyn’s America Alone. Leftists are more concerned with fanciful theories of global warming than in protecting the fragile conditions that preserve and promote real liberalism, including a powerful military to take on the true “red barbarians” who wish to impose their theocracy on the world. But leftists really do believe that “red” George Bush is no different -- perhaps even worse -- than “red” Osama bin Laden. This is maturity? These are the spiritual elites of our society?

Please. Give me a guy with a “good ole Bible” who knows the difference between right and wrong and knows how to shoot a rifle. God save us from the world-centric, morally post-conventional, post-patriotic green pacifists. If that’s “reality” or “evolution,” then give me myth. At least I’ll live to mythologize another day.

Remember that sniper in Saving Private Ryan, the sharp-shooting country boy who would kiss his crucifix every time he blew away a nazi? That's who I want on my team.

To be continued....

58 Comments:

Blogger NoMo said...

After looking closely at Wilber some time ago, I had to conclude he was another case of making stupidity sound brilliant and pagan values sound fresh. There is formidable power potential for the very few who can get the very many to buy into “equality”. The few don’t even have to be intelligent or wise, just persuasive.

12/11/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Paul warns against 'vain argumentations'. In other words, those who merely use persuasion to attractively repaint (color being a big thing for Wilber) the old pagan things.

Interestingly (to me) with the birth of the notion of the importance of 'self' comes also the imposition of an attack from the lower vertical- self as a stronghold, a principality, a power. It is a valley of the shadow of death that we must walk.

There's no way around it!

12/11/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Wow! Bravo!!! Your past few days of posts have left me speechless...and that's a huge feat/feet ;0)

12/11/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

This is like being able to watch a master surgeon work when I'm only a basic butcher. Ham fisted versus surgical precision.

A cool thing, though, is that we bobbleheads would not be able to realize the quality of Bob's writing if we all didn't have a bit of the same in us - and I see it everyday in the comment section here.

12/11/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“But there is also a very positive reason for the liberal reluctance to discuss interior development, and it needs to be carefully noted, namely: the separation of church and state.”

Hmmm...If social welfare programs are the responsibility of the Church...

...and the leftists demand government involvement in social welfare programs...

...Then in reality, aren't they the ones blurring the lines between church and state?

12/11/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

While reading Wilber (Mr. Ed has to be around here somewhere, because something is creating a unique olfactory experience when reading Wilber's writings), I almost thought he was referring to classic Amber, the fossilized kind, preserving amazing truths about our life on earth.

Pity. That would have made for a great word-picture for classical liberalism being the preserver of the past for the benefit of the present.

12/11/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

His unwitting choice of wordings might be that the words themselves still contain wit enough to transfer a bit of truth.

The author is sometimes doing a bit of Ghostwriting for the Author.

And when its really inspired, its HolyGhostwriting! Hallelujah!

12/11/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger geckofeeder said...

Although I thought I saw much of worth in Wilber's writings, there was always much that didn't ring true and reading your words daily helps all the bits and pieces come into focus.
You are a yogi master with language and thought and I love how you share your process with us.
Ditto, Lisa, he is awesome - kinda renews your faith.

12/11/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Bob,
Reading your last few posts, and I apologize for being slow-witted, I realize one of the fundamental areas where you seem to part ways with Schuon is your view that modern man is quite different from pre-modern man, and that this difference represents a step in human evolution. Further, you seem to be saying that only the Judeo-Christian upaya's anticipated that evolution, a fact that makes that tradition superior. Am I understanding you properly?

One of the key assumptions of Schuon, is the idea that humans have always been more or less the same. Couple this with his interpretation, borrowed from Guenon, and conforming to their general pessimism (as opposed to your general optimism), of the Hindu theory of yugas--and that we are in the last throws of the Kali Yuga--and one can easily see how he arrives at the conclusion to fundamentally reject the modern world and accept the idea that all the major world religions and also the shamanic traditions were "salvific".

12/11/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

>>“But there is also a very positive reason for the liberal reluctance to discuss interior development."<<

The reason being that leftists are clueless as to what integrity and character development are and are in complete denial of their own egocentric, self agrandizing ulterior motives.
In other words,they wouldn't know what to discuss.

Yesterday, when I read your post, I was wondering why algore would be attracted to a guy who made so much sense.(I had heard algore was a big fan of Wilbers) Today I see why.
Wilber totally misses the distinctions you've provided today, substituting instead for shallow political thinkers, a color scheme where they can pick a color, self define, and fantisize about how much of a good "green" enlightened guy they are when in actuality, they are nothing of the sort.
I too will hang with George, Thomas, Ben, John, James, Samuel..., the most sophisticated and enlightened Ambers the world has yet seen.

12/11/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Liberal Dude said...

What burns me up about the lefties is their restrictions on substances that I would like to get ahold of.

Used to be a person could buy cocaine and heroin at the drugstore, until those commies passed the Harrison Act.

I say repeal that bull**** so that I can get a proper buzz on. I'm an artist and I need it.

12/11/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous robinstarfish said...

my good ole bible
sharper than osama's sword
liberty or death

12/11/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

With regard to those shameless French -they've authorized drone flights to prevent Israel from overlights in Lebanon. (Source: Drudge) -Le Morons.

Someone so weak they only could be anonymous said..

[Hmmm...If social welfare programs are the responsibility of the Church...]

They are not. Traditionally, Churches have had programs to help various types of people in trouble. However, if you do your homework, you will see they were never welfare programs, they were get-your-act-together-and-live-your-life programs.

This is not the same as "welfare" where we subsidize ass-sitting and then call them vicitims who are untouchable with respect to getting them off their butts.

[...and the leftists demand government involvement in social welfare programs...

...Then in reality, aren't they the ones blurring the lines between church and state?]

Non sequitors masquerading as monumental (liberal) points of argument.

(Huge snore -nearly fell asleeep at the feebleness of such a remark)

Here is your pail, go back to the sandbox.

River, interesting you brought that up RE: Paul. In his commentaries on Collosians, John Eadie really exposes this kind of thing (discussing Paul's letter of course -at approximately chapter 2 verse 16).

It is part of an envelope of discussing two things we've discussed here. 1) Deceptions, and 2) The penchant of people to seek "mysterious" things in lieu of the truths they already know.

-back to woik,

-Luke

12/11/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Biker Lady said...

Dr. Bob, our very own "Preacher Man" and we are your congregation. Through your blog postings I've come to realiaze I'm a classical liberal and have always been one. Never a democrapic nor a republish, but By God, don't tread on me, a classical liberal.
Let's all join in prayer together to thank God for Dr. Bob, he's doing the Lord's work.
And believe me, when you get into spiritual battles the devil will go after you. Add Dr. Bob to your prayer list.

12/11/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous GeorgeD said...

Liberal dude:

I will be very happy to let you smoke, toke and dope all you want when we make it possible for a hospital to say show me the money before they let you in the door.

That is the hell of socialism. even a libertarian like me will sign up to take away someone's rights if he figures that he is going to be paying for the person's exercise of them.

12/11/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Someone so weak they only could be anonymous said..

[Hmmm...If social welfare programs are the responsibility of the Church...]"

You're an idiot. And I'll post anonymously if I feel like it.

Stop being argumentaive just for the sake of arguing. Moron.

12/11/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you misinterepret a staright-forward any more thoroughly? Your ignorance and self-righteousness is disgusting.

Don't respond. Unless it's an apology. Just be ashamed of your foolishness.

12/11/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous J said...

Liberal dude, you've got it backward. The Left wants to legalize pot and prohibit tobacco - and I can't be in favor of both of those at the same time.

12/11/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

Anon,

I am under no obligation to apologise or post/not post based upon your demands.

You presented a correlation that lacked historical perspective.

I apologise for hurting your feelings, but suspect you might need to separate yours from your thesis. Not doing so, bespeaks liberal tendancies.

I also suspect your self righeousness was wounded, and not your feelings.

I am not arrogant, but do separate my emotions from my thinking process. This can often be mistaken for being a callous ass, but is actually precisely why people hire me for my brain.

The Church is not a charity, nor are the funds given to the Church by its members charitable donations.

Although this is how many see it (in and out of the Church) it is not sound doctrine.

A Church's participation in any social service activity is an auxillary function against the prime function of the Church.

Your posit may have made perfect sense to you, however placing the Church out of its scope as a social service institution, and laying it alongside the Government which has certainly made being a social service institution a prime purpose in recent history, comes across as a knee jerk comparison with anti-religeous bias, or as one which is just shoot from the hip -for the sake of it.

If you took this as a slam against you, then thats too bad. You will have to deal with yourself, I am not responsible for how you feel about yourself or anything / anyone else.

If you would like to enlighten me or the group with further information about why you thought your remark made so much sense, then by all means, say on.

Nobody stops you from talking but you.

-Luke

12/11/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

Someone e-mailed me today, and told me of this website. I searched it a bit, and is it ever an example of some of the things we speak of -in an internet sort of way.

For those of you interested in strange behaviors -see tribe.net

Sheesh!

-Luke

12/11/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

I feel compelled to say
puerility.

12/11/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke,

Please do not misinterpret my mild disgust for your arrogant smugness as wounded pride.

And please do not mistake my bluntness for emotional attachment to my position or to this argument.

You are just wrong. You are also arguing sematics and other meaningless trivialities - as do most people who think they are very smart, and want to show off their greatness.

I think it's fairly self-evident that one of the primary and defining responsibilities of The Church throughout history has been charity and social welfare.

This point is so blatantly obvious that I can't even imagine how to address your claim to the contrary.

Progressives, on the other hand, want to take social welfare out of the hands of The Church and transfer this responsibility to The State.

This obviously isn't a matter of much dispute either, given that progressives would readily admit that this is one of their objectives.

I was merely making the point that, by conferring the traditional duty of charity onto The State, the leftist are actually blurring their own "sacred" line between Church and State.

Again, nothing I have said here is remotely radical or difficult to understand. And there is no logical reason that any proponent of classical liberal values would disagree with this point.

Except maybe that you like the sound of your own voice.

Feel free to respond and continue to demonstrate how intelligent you are to everyone. But you won't hear from me again. I'm done troll-bashing for the day.

And btw, I've been having trouble posting as "Other." That's the only reason I am posting anonymously.

12/11/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Sigh...

12/11/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S.

You called me weak, my arguments feeble-minded, and compared me to a child playing in a sand-box.

Are these ad hominem attacks not directed solely at the emotional level?

And when I respond in kind, you act surprised?

Sorry for falling into the little game you set up. I should have seen it for what it was.

12/11/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Sigh...
again

12/11/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep sighing. You're obviously far superior to the rest of us. The smugness is getting pretty thick in here.

12/11/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Yawn...

12/11/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Anonymous, I actually had written a long response to your original observation because I thought it was spot-on. But it was lunchtime here on the East Coast and I wasn't satisfied with my comment so ditched it for teh funny.

Seeing the later unfortunate mis-application of the intent of your comment, I am compelled (an inside joke here) to speak up!

I did not get any negative vibes from your observation at all. Perhaps the "welfare" hot-button got pressed, to the exclusion of other considerations. That happens some times. And it's easy to get trigger-happy after so many real trolls.
:)

At any rate, your more lengthy response confirmed what I took to be your original meaning, and further points out the leftist intent on having it both ways.

Could you just hear the howls if the Church finally said, "'k. You guys want this job? Fine by us. We can use the money to send out hundreds of missionaries to the Middle East."

:)

12/11/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

for "Progressives",
the State either is (or "will BE")
molded into their "church".


otherwise known as "Statism".

what other form can
modern tribalism take?

meet the new boss...same as...

12/11/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Amadeo said...

Hello, Bob:

Got to your site from an initial link at the Belmont Club more than a month ago. In the meantime, I have been tirelessly going over your present and past postings.

Have printed into hard copies the entire 2005 archive commencing from Oct. 5th, and have archived files formatted as MS Word documents. All comments have also been printed and archived.

Had also initially printed all of October 2006 and half of November 2006, with corresponding archival of files.

Thus, in order to catch up, I still have 10 months of 2006 to go. In the meantime, I have read and re-read almost all the printed copies with the comments and am greatly impressed and have benefited from the very insightful ideas on spirituality liberally spread all over. You and the reader participants do a very valuable service. I have even suspended my daily readings from such sources as the New Testament and an abridged and translated version of Aguinas’ Summa to attend to this.

When I am all done, updated and have read all, my next item in the agenda is to secure your book.

I had initially decided to stay in the background and remain a lurker. After all, access does not need any registration and introduction. But in one of your December 2005 entries (The Electrical Church of Perpetual Rock, December 17th), mention was made of Elvis. One might say I am a very ardent fan of Elvis and his singing, having collected maybe all the songs he ever recorded or not recorded, including out-takes, alternate versions, and home recordings.

Let me just then narrate something relevant to your above-cited entry:

Elvis was very solicitous and zealous about his singing. I read in one of his many biographies that one somber night in Vegas, sitting alone in front of his TV, toying with his six-shooter, and watching Robert Goulet perform on TV, he suddenly jerks up and shoots at the TV set. He was noted to have followed with this remark:

“Singing is not about style and technique, but about “pouring” yourself in your songs.”

Or words to that effect.

Man’s innate need to be spiritual in the things that he does?

12/11/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the term, "Amber Alert" don't it? ;)

I thought you were done Troll bashing?

Joan, you are correct, I would have liked the clarification closer to the front end.

Anon,

[You are just wrong.]

Am I? Take a look at the Bible, giving is elevated to a high status as a Eucarist to God. This is not charitable giving.

[You are also arguing sematics and other meaningless trivialities]

I hate to break it to you, but when discussing epistomological issues, philosophies, history, truth, etc. it can all be about semantics, placement of commas, accent marks, and other silly useless things like these.

For it has to do with rightly parsing information to understand meaning, original intent, context, etc.

I am sorry if you think such things are trivial. In programming if you do that -it just does not work. In life, we get away with it, because we can -and use our fuzzy logic to cover the errors.

[ - as do most people who think they are very smart, and want to show off their greatness.]

You are making me chuckle now. There is one person in here who knows me personally, that person would probably say I can be wrong (I can) and am sometimes an ass, but am not disposed to showing off.

But it is nice of you to generalize me if it makes you feel better, but I don't suspect thats good therapy.

[I think it's fairly self-evident that one of the primary and defining responsibilities of The Church throughout history has been charity and social welfare.]

It seems self evident if this is how you view the Church -as having a purpose of social welfare. It is the reason and purpose of the Church which differs from your definitions that I took issue with.

Interesting choice of words, "Responsibilities". This is true -as it is done towards God and his will, but it is in no wise true as it pertains to the Church having a "primary" function as a social welfare system.

To compare that to the government is not correct in that light.

It is a rhetorical link based upon the use of the word "welfare" and a mixed meaning.

Similar to the Warren court's understanding of the word "welfare" in the constitution was the gateway for the money to move out -to provide for the "general welfare".

This is another topic of discussion, but should not be had without discussions of the historical frame in which it occurred -post the October revolution in Russia and how we got to such lame conclusions.

-But that would be spliiting hairs?

[This point is so blatantly obvious that I can't even imagine how to address your claim to the contrary.]

The point, based upon your assumption that doing good for the communities in which the Church resides, is equivalent to social welfare is the problem I have with your statements.

You seem to presume the two are equal. They are not.

The reasons the Church has done things is different -and not as social welfare system.

Although at times larger sections of the Church (say the Catholics) have pretty much dove into that at various times. But this does not change the scriptural perspective.

[I was merely making the point that, by conferring the traditional duty of charity onto The State, the leftist are actually blurring their own "sacred" line between Church and State.]

They confer it upon their false God.

(Oh sorry, too many Stargate reruns)

;)

This only follows if you assume the Church is a social welfare agency, and thereby comparable in this context to the state -based upon outward actions. -but I digress.

[Again, nothing I have said here is remotely radical or difficult to understand.]

Well, except for semantical wannabe smarties like me huh? ;)

For the record, I only wished to clarify the actual position of the Church -that although many people just view them as yet-another-charity it is not so in terms of the scriptural definitions of why and what they do.

In that sense, what they appear to have done over time that is apparent or obvious to you, may not actually be the events in the proper context.

It was this difference I sought to point out.

[And there is no logical reason that any proponent of classical liberal values would disagree with this point.]

Nice appeal to the crowd.

[Except maybe that you like the sound of your own voice.]

Nice ad-hominem attack.

[Feel free to respond and continue to demonstrate how intelligent you are to everyone. But you won't hear from me again. I'm done troll-bashing for the day.]

Bitter, party of one, your table is ready..

[And btw, I've been having trouble posting as "Other." That's the only reason I am posting anonymously.]

Hmm, try FireFox or Knoppix -IE has been finicky with the code on this site lately. Or, you could get your own blog? ;)

-Luke

12/11/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so lost in your deconstruction, I can't even attempt to formulate a cogent response.

Perhaps, "Fuck You" will suffice.

12/11/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

About Elvis..

There is an All Elvis channel on the Sirius network! :)

About Anon,

Nice clear use of words! Way to go! Did that require a Ph.D?

See? That wasn't so hard, was it?

-Luke

12/11/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

Amadeo,

Makes me wonder what data mining Bob's blog would reveal? Hmm..

-Luke

12/11/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Luke, friend, you are just wrong on this one. Don't let the word, "wrong" set you off further. You're wrong in spirit since your first riposte to anon's post and you are the lesser man for not seeing it. That he spanked you for it is no reason to continue in your intractable attitude.

Also, I needed no clarification since anon's first post, but was only glad to see it after your knee-jerk trip to the edge. So leave me off your "go-to" list because I resent being used to prop up your vanity. My comment in no way implied what you construed for your own purpose. Bad form!

You seem to be tilting at windmills and creating controversy where there is none. Do you not realize this?

Anon, you're quickly becoming as tiresome by not realizing your advantage and shutting up.

Ya'll both need to quit for the night. Or you can both target me. Either way will be better that what you've created here.

Petey? Cousin Dupree?

12/11/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joan,

Don't tell me you're offended by a little offensive language?

I hope the playful spirit of my crudeness didn't get lost in tone-deaf cyberspace.

Just trying to keep the mood light...and crass.

(But how would you know that?, lol)

12/11/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Thanks Joan,
I just fell in love with you more, if that were possible.

12/11/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Speaking of semantics, you won't find any such fish when you check out:

Scully's catch of the day!

Now posted on aisle 2, under snarky.

Or, onecosmos.wordpress

for those who wish to use the drive-in.

12/11/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Correction:

That's Skully's catch of the day.

Whew! Someone got up on the wrong side of the hammock today!

Pirates have no sense of humor when it comes to their name.

12/11/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Joseph--

Your question regarding evolution vs. static human nature is an excellent one that is worthy of an entire post. In fact, somewhere back there, I believe I have already posted on it.

I'm very busy this week so I don't have much time to respond, but this was one of the issues I struggled with in writing my book.

I am very uncomfortable with the whole evolution idea when applied to human nature. I solved this problem by breaking it down into horizontal and vertical. Bottom line: our vertical essence does not change. However, various changes in the horizontal allow more people to realize the vertical.

For example, a Shankara or Eckhart will never be surpassed. But if you look at what life was like for the average human back then, it was horrific, with no opportunity to realize the vertical.

So it's not that we're "better" or "more evolved," just that, for a whole host of reasons, people today have a better chance to realize the insights of a Shankara or Eckhart. I think Schuon vastly underappreciates just how much of a nightmare life was in the past.

For example, assuming you love your children, just think of what it would be like to lose at least half of them because of the high infant mortality rates. There's much more I could say, but as I said, I'm a bit swamped at the moment....

12/11/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, I want to kill bad people before they murder more good people."-Bob

Something i would tell Ghandi is,"If Peace is worth dying for, then it follows logic (mine anyways)that it is worth killing for".

And a little aside directed at no one in particular.
Even 'Satan' believes in 'G_D'.

Don't forget, it's party time when the Son returns to the Father. 8;^]

(if you believe in forever/then life is just a one night stand/
if there's a Rock & Roll heaven/
...)
Dougman

12/12/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Anonymous f-reed said...

Anonymous:
I really liked your first post. Because I share your statement completely. I thing most democratic leaders are closeted preachers - of the worst kind. Just listen to Al Gore or Ted Kennedy, even Hillary Clinton. They all scare me. Adding to the equation their natural paranoia and auto-punishment trips (ups and downs), their mind must be struggling hard trying to defeat their personal defects by 1)accusing the other sane opposition party of their own crime, and 2)then try to stop it from happening.

Never trust sickos. Now they are running us. The good has been eradicated. The bad has been empowered and became the official Truth/Law. And all the useful idiots are happy.

God created Devil. The day he sent Him to talk to Mohammed He, God, has written the script. So all the words are important if one is interested in understanding Devil's Mind. Just read the Koran in its entirely. There is one great anecdote about the relationship between Devil and God - great material for psychoanalysts, so for everybody. It explains how God who just created Devil, giving him all his power and all his knowledge, is after it's done, betrayed by him who tells the world: HE is God. The second part of the story is about God not letting his Kingdom accessible to Devil no more and how Devil forever will be dreaming of God's company and God's Love. Something like that.

If anything, I believe if churches could play the role of the magical world and humbly help the poor and the lost with all the money donated to them by the rest of us, they would have achieved their first primary role. Not like socialist states, not like mafiosi, not like Nasrallah, the gangster, unconditionally, lovingly, abstractly. For nothing in return, especially brainwahing of the worst kind.

12/12/2006 03:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

"Don't tell me you're offended by a little offensive language? "

You were tedious long before you were profane. A far greater offense.

I'm not above poking a dead dog with a stick, just to see if it yelps, but the amusement factor wears off after the first five years of USENET.

12/12/2006 04:21:00 AM  
Anonymous GeorgeD said...

Bob,

With all due respect I am not sure we can say that man has evolved in his spiritual capacity. When God breathed into Adam (whatever that means to you) he created a race that was fully capable of the vertical as you call it. To be sure he has chosen a people out of all people (the seed of Abraham) that have a more developed capability for the vertical but if he has created us (moderns) with more vertical capacity he has only done it with an expectation that we will realize it. As a prophet said " where much is given much is expected."

12/12/2006 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Excellent post today Gagdad! You know you hit all my hotbuttons right out of the park!

Wilber said "“The liberal stance that says all people are equal is itself an elite value reached only by a minority of the population at most times. Liberalism is the product of several major hierarchical stages of growth ..."

The only growth likely to result from the idea of " all people are equal ", is exactly what did result from it, socialism and tyranny. The English and American branch of the Enlightenment arrived at the infinitely (literaly - the difference between flatland horizontal, and all points Vertical) higher conception that all people had equal Rights before the Law and to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Since the days of He Who Shall Not Be Named, I've made a few stabs at that color coding scheme-theory, and I just can't force myself past square one. It so obviously misses the mark of Principle and Truth... it's like coming across broken shards of glass, carefully noting & graphing their pattern of distribution, color coding the various circumferences, and ascribing the breaking to their inherent ‘circumferencesness’ - missing the ideas completely of the once unity of a single glass, the force that originally shattered the glass, and the idea of restoring the pieces to a single glass once again.

Ugh.

I hadn't heard the quote by Tony Blair before “A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in... And how many want out. Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: 1) Jesus Christ 2) The American G. I. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.” makes be want to go out and hug a Britt!

12/12/2006 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger HV said...

Would that
Robin wax
While others wane

12/12/2006 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

joan of argghh! said... "While reading Wilber (Mr. Ed has to be around here somewhere, because something is creating a unique olfactory experience when reading Wilber's writings)"

Joan!!! So elegantly stated!

12/12/2006 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said... "Thanks Joan, I just fell in love with you more, if that were possible. "

Ok, I'm getting jealous now... late for work and have to read on....

12/12/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

"you were tedious long before you were profane"

Epitaph for a whole leftist generation.

I hope someone is editing the Collectible-Argghh Anthology.

12/12/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph, I had a similar initial twinge to the static/changing evolution question, and thought the solution was as Gagdad notes "I solved this problem by breaking it down into horizontal and vertical. Bottom line: our vertical essence does not change. However, various changes in the horizontal allow more people to realize the vertical. "

It's an interesting essential of the (forgive me for the term) 'human condition'. I've started a few posts relating to it as well at my site. With any luck I won't have to work again tonight & can continue it.

12/12/2006 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

dilys,
;-)

12/12/2006 06:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secular Leftist make the same mistake with their view of traditional religions as the devout fundamentalist does. There is little difference in reading scripture for its literal flaws or for its literal facts. Both are stuck to the metaphors. Examining in detail the metaphors. Manipulating the content of the metaphors. Thinking the whole thing rides on human language metaphors.
SteveH

12/12/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

I'll have to agree with Luke on this one: the purpose of the Church is to make saints.

Now, one of the ways you can co-operate in your sanctification is by performing acts of charity for the love of God.

It probably is *the* main way for most of us exoterics, which is where the notion that it's the Church's primary job arose.

But there are different gifts and you have to be true to your vocation, once you discern it. St. Thomas A. is not St. Vincent dePaul. And there is nothing wrong with that.

The spiritual Works of Mercy are equally important as the Corporal Works, but secular society only thinks of the latter.

12/12/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Bob,
I don't think Schuon would disagree that pre-modern life was quite difficult for the majority. He does tend to examine the material culture (i.e. the craftmenship, art, buildings, etc.) for evidence of human happiness. Further, I think he would argue that though modern man can live longer, and in less danger, he has lost nearly everything (qualitatively) for which to live. Pre-modern man lived for salvation. I would also think he would argue that the modern world is actually only suited for the esoterist, one who can make sense of the topsy turvy modern world and take advantage of the conveniences offered by technology.
Your entire cosmos view, one which I am finding more and more enthralling, sees the evidence differently. You can accept evolution, because you turn the cosmos upside down. Schuon keeps it right side up, and therefore, there can be no evolution. Any advantages offered by the modern world are more than negated by disadvantages in the modern world, and so on.
On a related topic, I had an interesting discussion with my daughter last night, while reviewing with her for an earth science exam. I asked her if she was familiar with the term "fossil fuel". She replied, of course, a fossil fuel is any fuel that will eventually get used up--like oil. I brought it up because recently I have been reading Thomas Gold's theory of abiotic origins for oil. I have no idea as to the accuracy of the science, but the idea fascinates me. If we came to know that the earth literally produces, organically, if you will, oil, what kind of effect would that have on our view of so many things? Your writings have done a similar thing for me, at a spiritual level. What if Bob is right? I can say one thing, your view is certainly more, all-encompassing. More optimistic. Less fearful of the future, etc.

12/12/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger dicentra63 said...

You might argue that everyone is patriotic, so that American patriotism is no different than, say, Mexican or Canadian patriotism. ...the majority of their citizens are probably just as patriotic as Americans. But this isn’t true.

I experienced this in Colombia, where it struck me that people weren't all that warm and fuzzy about Colombia the nation, but they were pretty loyal to Catholicism. There is also loyalty to one's hometown (salsa songs often praise a city or region), but that is more a function of nostalgia than patriotism. This despite the fact that Simón Bolivar used the US Constitution (with which he was enamored) as a model for the nations he liberated.

I also have an internet friend in Australia, and she says that they see patriotism as something that Americans do, but it isn't all that popular in Oz, e.g., people don't buy clothing with the Australian flag, etc.

If anything, people in other countries are loyal to something other than their nation, such as their religion, their tribe, or their ideology. Or their welfare benefits. Or the fact that they "aren't the USA" ::coughCanadacough::

You hit it on the head, Bob, in distinguishing between how the Left characterizes us and how we see ourselves. Couldn't be a bigger chasm.

12/12/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Sal, thanks.

While waiting for Tues Bobpost, reread Mon's comments. Although it devolved into a p*ssing contest, with plenty of bloviating "I'm right, no I'm right" on both sides, there was a large elephant in the room, signaling valid questions.

What is the Church's role & primary function? Social welfare? Are we talking "programs"?

To my understanding, there are many "traditions", adhered to by various institutional entities. We could argue about that.

What is the role of tithing & "giving"? Who does the money "belong" to? Who gets to say where the funds go & how they are used?

Is this "giving", for our personal spiritual benefit? Is it buying "indulgences" of some kind?Is it because we are told "this ye should have done"? Does tithing release us from obligation to other kinds of "charity"? How much is this whole thing really about ego, our own or that of others involved?

These are just a few questions I have. I'm not at all satisfied with the various traditions' take on this. When there's money involved & vested interest in continuing flow of said, there is likely also, all too human mischief & motivations.

12/12/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh said...

Dilys,

It would be better for all of us to read more of thee and less of me.

:o)

12/12/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Masters Anonymous and Luke, the compromise which you are searching for is this:

Christ says: "That which you have done for the least of my brothers consider that you have done for me."

The only way that this isn't a 'social service institution' is that it is what 'social service institutions' are poor reflections (as in a mirror, darkly) of.

And yes, the object of the church to this end is to produce saints. However, I will digress extremely with the Catholic view and say that a believer is a saint. As believer on Christ you are a new creature. Whether you sin or not, your new identity is Saint, not Sinner. You are saved by God's grace through faith for the doing of works.

Through faith is the key, grace is the key, and unto works is the third key.

The grace needs to be accepted.

This mirrors fairly effectively what Paul said.

If you start FROM God and work from there it makes a little more sense, rather than starting from existing human institutions and trying to reason it out horizontally.

12/12/2006 10:30:00 AM  

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