Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Tax
In turn, this is why religion is always the enemy of the state (but not vice versa), and the real reason for the left's antipathy to it. The elimination of religion is always at the heart of the leftist project, whether we're talking about communists, fascists, or the ACLU. The antipathy is not accidental, but essential, for the religious person is intrinsically at odds with the goals of the state, which is an autopoeitic system that, left to its own devices, slowly gobbles up more and more liberty; this system "eats" freedom and dissipates wealth, as we see in Obama's unprecedented expansion of government. (Insert countless other historical/contemporary examples here ________.)
[And please do not caricature our position, as we strongly believe in the necessity of the state, specifically, the one envisaged by our Constitution.]
This conflict has to do with the fundamental dialectic between our individual-ism and social-ism. There is nothing wrong with the latter, as we cannot be an individual in the absence of the group. The problem with the left is that they replace the "interior we" with the "exterior us," which means that they replace spontaneous civil society with state coercion. This is how to best understand, say, the attempt to undermine marriage (the fundamental "we" of civilization), or destroy the Boy Scouts, or eliminate conservative radio, or reduce the deduction for charitable giving. The left wants you to always look first to the government for help (and information, which is the purpose of the moonstream media), not fellow human beings.
Again, when I use the word "left," I mean it as a shorthand to designate any philosophy that conceives of our liberty in the opposite way -- as only freedom to -- say, to get an abortion, or to be paid a "living wage," or to receive free health care, or to "marry" someone of the same sex. These are not real freedoms, if only because they involve coercion of someone else. For example, a "living wage" simply means that the government must force someone to pay you more than you are worth, while "free" healthcare simply means that you want to force someone else to pay for it.
Likewise, the absolute "right" to abortion can only be grounded in a metaphysic that maintains that human beings are literally worthless. The absurd outcome for the leftist is that human rights are more precious than human beings (which we see replayed in the interrogation debate). For the leftist, the right to abortion is sacred, while the human being to whom the right is owed is of no more value than a decayed tooth. But stranger beliefs can be found on the left, the reason being that it is fundamentally rooted in the absolutization of the relative, which is the very essence of the absurd.
Furthermore, when I discuss leftist philosophies, I am not trying -- or only trying -- to be insultaining, but as accurate as I can be, so I don't know why anyone should take offense. It is simply a fact that if you believe you are entitled to "free" healthcare, then you have a very different conception of freedom than I do or than the American founders did.
Likewise if you believe it is appropriate for the federal government to make it a crime to be racially colorblind, then you have a very different conception of liberty than I do. Or if you believe unlawful combatants are entitled to Geneva Convention rights, we differ. All we can do is acknowledge our differences and go our separate ways.
I am hardly offended if someone simply describes my views accurately, so I don't really understand why leftists don't feel the same way. For example if you express the truism that Democrats wish for us to surrender in Iraq, they go ballistic [which they apparently no longer wish to do, now that George Bush is not president]. They seem to have a fundamental difficulty in simply saying what they believe in a straightforward manner.
But it's not really a mystery why they are so deceptive, for if they came out and said what they believed, they could never get elected. For example, if citizens are actually given the choice, they are overwhelmingly against the idea of a few elite judges redefining the fundamental unit of civilization, marriage. Likewise, sensible people have no objection to rough treatment of terrorists if it can save American lives.
In any event, assuming we have the "freedom from," what is freedom for? This question is at the heart of philocooniosophy ("The Mondello Sutras"), which has a very different answer than any illiberal leftist philosophy. For example, the so-called integralists commonly express anger at me because I am not "integral," meaning that I do not integrate left and right.
But here again, this is an incoherent philosophy, because it absolutizes the relative, placing "integralism" above Truth. In other words, I do not consider it a sophisticated philosophy that maintains that integrating truth and falsehood somehow leads to a higher synthesis. This is not integralism, it is merely incoherence.
Here's how one new-ageist describes me, and it is typical of the genre: "Godwin is a neocon of a particular nasty variety, his blog basically a place where he spurts acid at the much-demonized 'Leftists,' who are at the root of all of the world's problems.... Godwin's vitriolic hatred is to the point that he seems a borderline personality."
Since the writer puts "leftists" in scare quotes, one can only assume that he doesn't believe they actually exist. On the other hand, he calls me a "neocon" (without the scare quotes) while never defining the term. I personally don't believe it means much of anything. Rather, it has become a saturated term of abuse for anything leftists don't like -- like the word "fascist."
How could one not see the writer's projection? I precisely define the term "leftist" and describe why I think it is a dangerous and destructive philosophy, while he simply tars me with the meaningless term "neocon" in order to demonize and dismiss the substance of my ideas.
Elsewhere, the writer suggests that my "war against Leftism" is simply a "shadow project" representing an unconscious "hatred of where [I] once came from." Not only that, but my ego is "too densely opaque" to consider other points of view (which contradicts the first charge, since I obviously had to consider other points of view in order to slowly evolve from left to right, or down to up; likewise, if I were to believe the same things I did when I was in my teens and twenties, it would indeed constitute a kind of dense opacity).
The writer then preposterously suggests that Raccoon philosophy is "not that different from radical Islam, actually, where non-believers are infidels." So now I am a genocidal maniac who wants to murder people with whom I disagree. Again, who is doing the demonizing? Who is filled with hatred? Who is "spurting acid?" Indeed, who is taking acid? And Dupree wants to know if he can have some.
Then there is the ultimate non sequitur, the inevitable passive-aggressive namasté that always follows the "fuck you": "Anyways, thanks for the engagement. Even if we disagree on many things, and in spite of some seemingly harsh words, I appreciate many of your views and your overall offering."
The incoherence of this writer's mind is par for the coarse and unrefined. I have never read one integralist who is as angry at any leftist as they are at me. One would think that if they were truly integral, then they would either embrace my philosophy and integrate into theirs, or their anger would be split 50-50 toward leftists and classical liberals, but clearly it isn't. Show me the integralist who rages at the pathological lies of Al Gore or Obama.
So, when I use the words "left" or "leftist," I mean something very precise. If it doesn't apply to you, then you needn't get angry. Rather, just silently say to yourself, "I don't believe them things. The B'ob is not talking about me. Therefore, I'm in the clear. I am not being demonized."
Here is what the Raccoon believes, and it is very different from what the secular leftist believes: knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom. Therefore, if you adhere to any philosophy that maintains at the outset that transcendent truth does not exist or that man cannot approach it in knowledge, then freedom also cannot exist, or it is meaningless.
Thus, it is no coincidence that the same people who have undermined the concept of free will systematically undermine the quintessentially human capacity to know truth. For although truth is defined as that which we are compelled to believe, if we do not arrive at it freely, then it cannot be truth.
If you survey the history of philosophy, it can be seen as a sort of stream that split in half with modernity, each side going its separate way. You can conceptualize the split in many ways, but it ultimately comes down to realism vs. naturalism, or transcendence vs. immanence, or absolute truth vs. absolute relativism.
I came across a very pithy comment by HvB yesterday, to the effect that modernity is under the sign of the Promethean, which inevitably devolves to the Dionysian. That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? (See paragraph 1 above.)
One cannot integrate absolute truth with absolute relativism, for it is impossible. On the other hand, you can do what intelligent minds have always done, which is to integrate partial, relative truths into the whole, in light of the transcendent absolute. But what you cannot do is throw these relative truths together and imagine that you have integrated anything, or that their sum constitutes the total truth. No one engaged in "deconstruction" more than a Moses Maimonides, or Meister Eckhart, or even Saint Augustine, but they always did so under the presumption that it is simply a tool for arriving at a deeper truth, not a thing in itself -- not the ultimate reality, but a means toward it.
Once it is forgotten that knowledge of truth constitutes the mind's freedom, then we will no longer know what either word means, for freedom in the absence of truth is absurdity, while truth in the absence of freedom is hell.