Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Degrade and Conquer

[T]he major alternative to God in the modern world can be conceived, and often has been conceived, as a political order. Such an order claims complete independence of any natural or divine influence in its judgment about what is to be done in the political order, which looks to nothing higher than itself. This deformed regime then claims to be able by itself to make men happy in this world, which, in its own way, is itself a divine claim. --James Schall

Back to the topic at hand, the relationship between the order of the soul (the interior individual) and the order of the state (the exterior social). Again, these reflections are sponsored by Schall's The Order of Things. I should add that I take full responsibility for the post, and that any errors are entirely his.

When we talk about the use of force, again, it is only legitimate when it is a tool of order, or when "it represents an effort to keep order within the polity against those forces that would cause disorder." Furthermore, force only becomes necessary when ordered reason -- i.e., persuasion -- won't do the trick. And even if one's reasoning is perfect, human beings aren't. As often as not, their passions blind them to reason, so that coercion becomes necessary.

One of the true miracles of the human situation is that we have discovered a way to convert men's passions into common goods that benefit us all, i.e., the free market. Merely as a result of men doing what they do, the pool of wealth grows without limits. Conservatives don't see a problem with this, and would like to let the pool continue growing. But the left says, "that's enough. Let's stop now and divvy up the booty, which was stolen by Anglocentric racist homophobes anyway."

Thus, as some honest Democrats have acknowledged after the fact, Obamacare is hardly about improving what is already the finest healthcare in the world, but merely a Trojan Horse for the purposes of income redistribution. Obviously, the billions in new taxes it generates will be poured straight down into the general sump hole, where they will be used to sustain our bloated government and forestall its bankruptcy for another week or two.

Again, the market is a natural way to transform what moralists regard as "bad" impulses without in any way controlling them. No government entity has to force me to engage in economic transactions I think will benefit me. But third parties who run the state have their own ideas of what constitutes the good, so that they feel morally entitled to interfere with my free choices.

It is critical to bear in mind that a state that employs force to punish goodness or create disorder is intrinsically illegitimate (although there are obviously degrees of illegitimacy). And every state will engage in some activities that are not legitimate, but that doesn't mean that the entire state lacks legitimacy. Rather, the whole purpose of political philosophy is to understand the conditions of the ideally just state, even though the reality can never absolutely conform with the ideal, if only because man is everywhere man.

Schall points out that there are two kinds of happiness, one of which is "political," the other having to do with man's proper end. Clearly the two are related, because it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for a man to achieve his true end in the wrong kind of polity. To take an extreme example, imagine the difficulty of actualizing one's true potential and "becoming oneself" in the old Soviet Union -- or in any totalitarian regime that tells you what a man is and what his life is for.

Clearly, such a view was antithetical to the vision of America's founders, who were not just political philosophers, but more importantly, moral philosophers. America was conceived in liberty, which for them meant ordered liberty rooted in right reason accessible to any uncorrupted man.

What is the end of man? Schall writes that "Political happiness is its own natural good, while at the same time it is ordered to the good of contemplation. Contemplation [or what we call cʘʘntemplation] itself is ordered to what is ultimately worth contemplating, for its own sake."

Here again, this converges on the true meaning of liberal, in that we are most free (or slackful) when we are free to contemplate and enjoy the absolute in all its diverse modes, e.g., love, truth, beauty, friendship, creativity, unity. For men, it is this "useless" knowledge that is the most useful, for it is precisely what elevates our lives and makes them worth living. It is what makes us human instead of a just another pleasure-seeking animal, and implies the "full blossoming, inasmuch as that is possible, of the human being in all his mortal potential."

An alternative to this is the warped progressive ontology which sees man as a material means to a material end conceived by third parties. Thus their devaluation of liberty and a consequent preoccupation with economic, not spiritual, equality. This is one of the master keys toward understanding the disordered soul of the true leftist, for he literally doesn't see what we see, and obsesses over things we don't think about -- for example, that some citizens in a free society will have more stuff than others. My son, for example, has many more toys and clothes than I have. But I'm not jealous of him, since I have some invisible and infinitely precious things of which he has no awareness (or rather, they have me).

You might say that Job One of the left is to first despiritualize man. And once a man has been materialized, it is child's play to convince him that the state can make him happy -- or that the reasons for his unhappiness are exterior to himself.

This is truly a diabolical inversion, for it is not only absurd, but it also systematically prevents a man from understanding and actualizing his transcendent purpose. The true conservative knows that we must "prevent politics from being something other than it is. We do not want politics claiming to provide a transcendent happiness that is beyond its nature." For when the political order "places itself between the human being and his end, it violates the most precious purpose of its own existence..." (Schall)

Indeed, as the Pope has said, the loss of transcendence provokes the flight to utopia -- for example, our new utopian healthcare system, soon to be followed by our utopian climate-control system. These follow on the heels of the left's utopian educational system, along with the utopian poverty-control system they implemented in the 1960s. Thus, as anyone can see, our nation is very close to actual political utopia. Two more years of Obama, and we should be there.

But why are people angrily rejecting Obama's imposition of liberal utopia? Is it ingratitude? Racism? An outmoded belief that the Constitution means what it says? Bitter clinging to one's own ideas of the transcendent good?

Jesus and Socrates, two of the archetypal fountainheads of Western civilization, were men who lived in the Light of the transcendent Absolute, and were murdered for it by the state. I believe that these myths (in the higher sense of the term) are in our bones, so that the left must first uproot them in order to impose their own magical myth of Sugar Candy Mountain on earth.

It is surely no coincidence that Obama is our first non-Christian and "multicultural" (in the philosophic sense of seeing nothing special about the West) president, whose perverse version of "Christianity" is so beyond the pale that it contains far more heresy than valid theology. We have to imagine the spiritual condition of a man who sat in those pews week after week, year after year, hearing vile and lunatic things that would have sent any of us (trolls excepted) running for the nearest shower.

52 Comments:

Blogger NoMo said...

We are Obama.
You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.

Degrade and conquer underway.

wv: detom (works for me)

3/31/2010 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger will said...

>> . . . the left must first uproot them (sacred myths) in order to impose their own magical myth of Sugar Candy Mountain on earth<<

I don't think it any coincidence that while Obama was shredding the Constitution with his leviathan HC Bill, he was also trashing another sacred covenant, our alliance with Israel. All in a week's time. Two sacred birds killed by one stone-head. What a cosmic tragedy.

3/31/2010 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Too Che!

3/31/2010 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous njcommuter said...

I just finished Martin Malachi's Hostage to the Devil. It's not healthy reading, whether you are skeptical or not. But it occurs to me, based on what I read, that while Satan may have fallen through pride, part of what keeps the gates of Hell "locked fron the inside" is envy.

Envy, we are reminded, is the only deadly sin that brings no pleasures at all. And envy is the great tool of the Left. If Satan is working to turn Earth into Hell, socialism and the socialistic impulse are fitting, horrible, and for now, effective tools.

I fear our road now leads through the Valley of the Night.

3/31/2010 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Hmmm, cosmic tragedy indeed. Or, foretold?

In this fallen world, it's either rule by law or rule by power. Why do I keep going back to II Thessalonians 2? Perhaps its the grand scale of the what we are currently witnessing - deception, apostasy, lawlessness, the open reviling of Israel.

3/31/2010 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

NJC--

Absolutely correct. Neither spiritual nor economic development can occur until the individual or group have overcome the internal "envy barrier," which is either innate or an acquired feature of our fallenness.

3/31/2010 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Wasting Time in Sing-Sing said...

Well this post is all a bunch of bull#$%^.

How do you defend your viewpoint?

Where is the evidence?

You are like a juggler with so many generalities in the air, you're bound to drop one.

Although no one would notice.

I know, I know. If I don't like it I can go elsewhere.

But why, oh why are you wasting your talent on poor exposition?

Can you not use proper journalistic technique in stating your case?

3/31/2010 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I could, but Keith Olbermann pretty much has that area covered.

3/31/2010 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Second Thessalonians 2 is applicable, certainly.

I would also suggest the 62nd Psalm.

Especially note verse 9ff: "Men are only a vapor; exalted men, an illusion. On a balance scale, they go up; together they [weigh] less than a vapor."

And if you are in need of a smile try The Message version --
'There's nothing to you, any of you—
rotten floorboards, worm-eaten rafters,
Anthills plotting to bring down mountains,
far gone in make-believe.
You talk a good line,
but every "blessing" breathes a curse.'

3/31/2010 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Thus, as some honest Democrats have acknowledged after the fact, Obamacare is hardly about improving what is already the finest healthcare in the world, but merely a Trojan Horse for the purposes of income redistribution. "

Yep, and even more to the point, it is merely a Trojan Horse for the purpose of abolishing Rights, and replacing them with privileges & benefits to be distributed by the bights in order to make our lives a perfect living (hell).

3/31/2010 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Remember back when dissent was patriotic?

3/31/2010 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Here again, this converges on the true meaning of liberal, in that we are most free (or slackful) when we are free to contemplate the absolute in all its diverse modes, e.g., love, truth, beauty, friendship, creativity, unity. For men, it is this "useless" knowledge that is the most useful, for it is precisely what elevates our lives and makes them worth living. It is what makes us human instead of a just another pleasure-seeking animal, and implies the "full blossoming, inasmuch as that is possible, of the human being in all his mortal potential.""

And which was the first target of modern proregressive education (hello again and thanks again to Rousseau... punk), removing all that is valuable to the Human from the humanities.

Ugh.

3/31/2010 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"For when the political order "places itself between the human being and his end, it violates the most precious purpose of its own existence..." (Schall)"

Yes, and unless the person is very self aware, it sets them on the path to tearing down their own existence, via the,

"...Thus their devaluation of liberty and a consequent preoccupation with economic, not spiritual, equality. This is one of the master keys toward understanding the disordered soul of the true leftist, for he literally doesn't see what we see, and obsesses over things we don't think about..."

3/31/2010 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Will said "I don't think it any coincidence that while Obama was shredding the Constitution with his leviathan HC Bill, he was also trashing another sacred covenant, our alliance with Israel. All in a week's time. Two sacred birds killed by one stone-head. What a cosmic tragedy."

Not to mention the take over of educational (such as it is) funding.

And... not to get all fundie on ya or anything... but anyone else think it was a bit creapy that he made his 'triumphant' entrance into Afghanistan, in the dead of night, on Palm Sunday?

3/31/2010 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

GB-

A trip down memory lane! I love it!

I have to say that the first step in recovering my sanity from being lefty was seeing the insane rhetoric from lefty friends in relation to Bush.

It wasn't merely disagreement--which is part of the process. It was these very assertions of Bush = Hitler that made me realize I was dealing with people in the grips of a delusion.

That and the obvious glee some took up the notion of the CIA being behind 9/11.

But thanks to this video if any of my lefty friends deny the insanity of the left...I've got something for them to watch. The more of it the better!

3/31/2010 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Ms. Sec o' State said...

When I said, we have a right to disagree with any administration!!!1!!, I meant "we" as in "we". The other we. Not your we. My we.

3/31/2010 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I think I thought I saw Tupac, I mean, Depack in that trip. I mean, clip.

3/31/2010 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob,
Do we really need to get all we-weed up?
'cause I don't know what that means.

3/31/2010 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Fr. Schall's book is great. I think you described his writing as in a postion say between Schuon and UF. I think that's a good way to put it.
Unless, you didn't say it and, in which case, you should agree with me.
Actually, I tend to forget this is not an ancient book, or at least an old book. Until he says, internet, or something, and I'm thown out of eternity again..
I can't tell what page I'm up to because I bought the Kindle version.

3/31/2010 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Julius said...

Van said: "Yep, and even more to the point, it is merely a Trojan Horse for the purpose of abolishing Rights..."

Weird that you had no issue with the venerable PATRIOT act. Same story, different crisis. "Give me liberty or give me death" and "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both".

3/31/2010 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Julius:

Nobody here ever said that Republicans don't do despicable things from time to time. However they tend to do them when they go off their rails. Democrats do them when they are ON their rails.

3/31/2010 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Julius said...

NB,
You are a politically naive one, aren't you. It's cute. Repubs love to talk the conservative yammer, but their rails are the same ones the dems ride. In some ways, its actually more insidious.

3/31/2010 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

NB,
I like that.

Reminds of:

“The Conservative acknowledges that there are occasions when it is difficult to discern the legitimate and preferred demarcation between the different parts and levels of government. But unlike the Statist, he earnestly endeavors to find them.”
Mark Levin ~ Liberty and Tyrany

3/31/2010 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

julius said "Weird that you had no issue with the venerable PATRIOT act."

Weird that you've know idea what you're talking about... well... not so weird actually. Patriot Act was pushing things to the edge... would have been ok, if we had actually declared War - we never did - That did, and still does, disturb me greatly.

The problems we face are not such that can be resolved by passing or repealing any one or two acts, rather nearly all of the 20th century... but even before that, We The People need to become Educated, need to understand WHY that is necessary, or the entire exercise would be pointless, and reenacted by other means before people even realized they were going along with the same damn path.

No shortcuts.

"Give me liberty or give me death"

Love Patrick Henry, Give me liberty or you have given me death.

"People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both"

Tired of untangling this one for the latest wizguy who fresh from skimming the latest page of (out of context) cool quotes. Why don't you google up the full document and correct your own self.

3/31/2010 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

orange julius said "You are a politically naive one, aren't you. It's cute. Repubs lo..."

Oh jeez, even worse than a leftie, your an anarcho decapitationist aren't you.

3/31/2010 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

"Thus, as anyone can see, our nation is very close to actual political utopia. Two more years of Obama, and we should be there."

Enough is never enough. Envy knows know limit. Shoosh, we are importing poverty and ignorance just so the left can amuse themselves with another social engineering scheme. They figured out they couldn't hold on to the diminishing elderly and now are looking for dependable dependent reinforcements.

Viva Obamao!!!

3/31/2010 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Rick re:

"I can't tell what page I'm up to because I bought the Kindle version."

Just got a kindle for my birthday. No more schlepping a couple of pounds of books on airplanes anymore. Love it.

3/31/2010 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog & Ricky enthused "I can't tell what page I'm up to because I bought the Kindle version."

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you young whipper snappers enjoy your Kindle... in all it's crude gray scale glore... and I'll enjoy my full color MS Reader on my PocketPC - how big a deal is that? Well... depends upon whether or not you're reading a book about Michalangelo or not.

And when reading isn't convenient, I can listen to Audible books, or lectures, or Mozart... or browse the web, or make a phone call.

Do I want to make a phone call? Noooo... but it gives me an excuse to always carry my 600+ books & who knows how many lectures, books on tape, mp3's wherever I go, and whenever I go there.

Try explaining you your wife why you're taking your book with you to family dinner at your MIL's, or wedding, or you fill in your blank.

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-hah!!!
Bwah-ha-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAHHH!!!

(Come Pinky, lets finish our plan to rule The WORLD!!!!!

ahem.

3/31/2010 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Van re: Kindle

I was a bit apprehensive regarding the Kindle's lack of back lighting, but have found it very readable. I asked for specifically for travel. You are correct that it is not the vehicle for art books.

3/31/2010 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Uh Van... I bought the Kindle version of the book that runs in the free iPhone app.

:-)

I can't tell what page it is compared to the print book cause you can resize the text in the app. It says I'm on page 2300 or something. There are better ebook apps, this ones free so, what's not to like?

Btw, it downloaded in like 30 secs. What a country for old men.

3/31/2010 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Happy Birthday Tig!

3/31/2010 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Hey kids!
Do you have $4 of your parents's money burnin a hole in your pocket? Well if you're like me, you too can dowload and pretend to understand my crummy book in about 24-48 hours. Ask for the Kindle version at your local Amazon.com near you.
You can tell 'em, Ricky sentcha.
But it'll still be $4. Until I can figure out how to change the wizbang to $0 since I hit the 4 by mistake.

3/31/2010 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Rick re:

Happy Birthday Tig!

Thanks, its been a good one. I'm still 29! I think my odometer is broken or something,

3/31/2010 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

You too?
I'm on like my 15th anniversary of my 29th birthday.

3/31/2010 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky said "Uh Van... I bought the Kindle version of the book that runs in the free iPhone app."

Ahhh!!! NOOOOOO!!!! Evil Mac turncoat type!

Ah! I said it!

Evil Mac zombies...

Ah! I said it again!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo

3/31/2010 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ahem.

Ricky said "I can't tell what page it is compared to the print book cause you can resize the text in the app. It says I'm on page 2300 or something..."

I know, same on mine.

"Btw, it downloaded in like 30 secs. What a country for old men."

I know, same on mine.

"...There are better ebook apps, this ones free so, what's not to like?"

Uhm... how about the fact that I can use a Word template and covert any htm, txt, or whatever file into a MS Reader ebook... and include pictures if I want?

Hmmm?

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-hah!!!
Bwah-ha-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAHHH!!!

(yes dear... taking my meds dear)

3/31/2010 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Oh yeah? Can it do navigatiowneeownee and brew a great cup o joe while it simonizes yer bunny slippers? Hmmm? Well, can it?

3/31/2010 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger sehoy said...

NJc, re: "Hostage to the Devil." Wow. The whole book is online:
Link: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vatican/esp_vatican27.htm#contents

3/31/2010 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky said "Can it do navigatiowneeownee "

YES! Two different GPS app's (why two? Because more is always BETTER!!!), in fact, as I was outside on the back porch, Bar-B-Q-ing Pork Steaks and Chicken Breasts, I zoomed in on satelite and could actually see where I was standing in the about 2 year map pic. How useful is that!

"...brew a great cup o joe..." Nnn ooo... but then I'd never let a computer brew the sacred bean.

"...simonizes yer bunny slippers?"

Ok, you got me on that one.

sigh.

But I did just walk outside to mail a letter, on an absolutely perfect night... stars shining bright... breeze... chirpping critters... and found no need to use the PocketPC for anything (but I still had it in my pocket).

wv: foomb
No idea, but I like it.

3/31/2010 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog, Happy reoccuring B-Day!

3/31/2010 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous A beautiful mess said...

Does OC come on Kindle? That would be cool.

3/31/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Van: Luckyyy!

"An alternative to this is the warped progressive ontology which sees man as a material means to a material end conceived by third parties."

"Let us make man in our own image"--depends on who's saying it, whether it inspires hope or shudders.

3/31/2010 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Hey, happy birthday from me too, Tigtog! What a great present!

3/31/2010 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Van, you might be interested: Common Core State Standards Initiative (i.e., push to nationalize educational standards).

http://www.corestandards.org/

You can leave a comment, I believe, until April 2.

Bad news for homeschoolers if we continue on this track.

Also, this was amusing.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/increasing-number-of-parents-opting-to-have-childr,17159/

3/31/2010 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

We should bear in mind that all these various wingnuts mean well. They sincerely wish to make the world a better place in numerous ways.

The problem is that they JUMP. Despite not having achieved order, or happiness, or peace, in their own lives, they jump into what seems to them a different domain, politics. They feel confident that they will be successful there, since it is entirely theoretical to them and therefore they have no memory of shortcomings.

Unfortunately, they are mistaken. Politics is NOT a different domain. It is merely a much larger and more complex extension of what we all have to master. This would be obvious to them if they had organically expanded the radius of their... majesty, is probably the best word. From ordering their own heart to ordering their own home, their work, their social relations, their neighborhood, their city...

To even have some sane opinion on what goes on politically, it is an absolute requirement to have ordered one's own mind to align, like a compass needle, with what has lasting value.

To have bitterness, envy, giddiness or unrestrained desires in the heart and even vote - much less being voted for - is like drinking methanol and driving. You may feel good for a short time, but you have no idea what disasters you may instigate.

4/01/2010 02:12:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

What Magnus says:

Which is why no one under the age of about 25 with perhaps exceptions for the military should be allowed to vote, particularly those under the malign influence of the wakedemia.

4/01/2010 04:06:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Magnus said "Unfortunately, they are mistaken. Politics is NOT a different domain. It is merely a much larger and more complex extension of what we all have to master. This would be obvious to them if they had organically expanded the radius of their... majesty, is probably the best word. From ordering their own heart to ordering their own home, their work, their social relations, their neighborhood, their city..."

Spot on, and excellent comment Magnus.

4/01/2010 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Speaking of ordering oneself first, here's some copywork one of my children did one year. He's a fine example.

4/01/2010 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "Van, you might be interested: Common Core State Standards Initiative (i.e., push to nationalize educational standards)."

Yep, and it's getting worse as the Govt gets even more involved in defining the 'material' to be taught Feds to Meddle with College Textbooks; another item handily begun by Bush, along with 'No Child Left Behind' (and TARP... sigh), which Obamao is working to capitalize on.

And speaking of zombies and vampires, the Race To The Top program which we stopped in Missouri, is getting a revival by the School Czar (well... same thing) is making a bid to get in on the second go around.

Monsters. No matter how many times you kill them, they just keep coming back to unlife.

4/01/2010 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "Van, you might be interested: Common Core State Standards Initiative (i.e., push to nationalize educational standards)."

Yep, and it's getting worse as the Govt gets even more involved in defining the 'material' to be taught Feds to Meddle with College Textbooks; another item handily begun by Bush, along with 'No Child Left Behind' (and TARP... sigh), which Obamao is working to capitalize on.

And speaking of zombies and vampires, the Race To The Top program which we stopped in Missouri, is getting a revival by the School Czar (well... same thing) is making a bid to get in on the second go around.

Monsters. No matter how many times you kill them, they just keep coming back to unlife.

4/01/2010 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Well, anybody who wishes to help us out, please feel free to leave a comment in support of educational freedom. Increasing federalization of schools gives ammo to those who want to regulate and strangulate homeschooling, especially as it puts the lie to progressive notions of education (imagine, non-certified individuals--parents, no less--doing a better job than a state institution!).

4/01/2010 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience."

4/01/2010 07:59:00 AM  

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