Thursday, February 02, 2012

Thank God Almighty, I'm Unfree at Last!

I'll be honest. I'm distracted by Eric Holder's dramatic (in a soap opera sort of way) testimony before congress. Very difficult to listen to it while blogging. It's not something I've ever before attempted. Kind of giving me a headache. Probably not healthy to divide one's attention in this manner.

We've already established that human beings have an intrinsic right to freedom. But freedom in the absence of limits reduces to nihilism, just as, say, absolute musical freedom -- in which there are no scales, no melody, and no rhythm -- can produce nothing more interesting or involving than sonic chaos.

But sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between chaos and a very high degree of order.

For example, Sun Ra himself, the interstellar ambassador, said "I can write something so chaotic you would say you know it's not written. But the reason it's chaotic is because it's written to be. It's further out than anything [my musicians] would be doing if they were just improvising."

In fact, when a new player came into the band, he first had to serve time in the "Ra jail" and learn the cosmo-musical rules: "Freedom wasn't Ra's bag. In his view, the rhetoric of freedom was the downfall of black America" (John Corbett, When Angels Speak of Love). Could a brother from Saturn have been correct about this? What can he know of the struggle of black people on earth?

In 1970 he said: "I couldn't approach black people with the truth because they like lies. They live lies… At one time I felt that white people were to blame for everything, but then I found out that they were just puppets and pawns of some greater force, which has been using them… Some force is having a good time [manipulating black and white people] and looking, enjoying itself up in a reserved seat, wondering, 'I wonder when they're going to wake up'" (wikipedia).

What Ra was talking about is the mind parasites that can only operate because man is free. To put it another way, they exploit man's freedom and hijack the host in order to do their will.

This is not some type of neo-Gnosticism, at least as far as I am concerned. Rather, it is a very objective and experience-near description of what's happening here on earth.

Since they aren't free, other animals can only do so much harm. But man's capacity for evil is as (relatively) infinite as is his capacity for freedom. Thus, if we don't recognize the divinely authored limits to freedom, then limits will be imposed by lesser forces and factors of which we often aren't aware, say, "political correctness."

Leftists often pride themselves on being "free speech absolutists." That they can say this with a straight face only shows the extent to which they are unaware of the constraints they are under.

For example, a white man from saturn could never get away with suggesting that he "couldn't approach black people with the truth because they like lies. They live lies." In fact, the other day, a black man from Florida said something similar, which resulted in a white man from Virginia revoking his blackness.

The third of Spitzer's three universal principles of justice and natural rights goes to this question of the limits to freedom: One person's (or group's) freedoms cannot impose undue burdens upon other persons (or groups).

An immediate corollary of this is that "governments should not grant freedoms to one group of individuals that will likely create undue burdens for others or threaten the safety of others."

For example, does Roe v. Wade, in granting a new constitutional right to women, result in an undue burden being placed on the condemned children who will be deprived of their lives?

Spitzer reminds us that our rights do not emanate from government but from the Creator. Is it possible that the Creator meant for us to have the intrinsic right to kill our unborn children? I suppose it's possible. But that would argue for the Gnostic idea of a renegade, evil god that rules this world. Frankly, I wouldn't trust him.

18 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"We've already established that human beings have an intrinsic right to freedom. But freedom in the absence of limits reduces to nihilism, just as, say, absolute musical freedom -- in which there are no scales, no melody, and no rhythm -- can produce nothing more interesting or involving than sonic chaos"

Yep. Without those limits, you don't have Liberty, only freedom. But in an OT ref on sonic chaos, I just saw this & couldn't help posting for the vinyl audiophiles:

Neil Young: Steve Jobs listened to vinyl

One word of caution, Neil Young looks even more like his inner self today than ever before. Ugh.

2/02/2012 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Not to jump ahead too much, I noticed in one of the parts of Roe v. Wade that Spitzer includes in his book, the language of it actually refers to the pregnant person as "the mother". This seems like a strange word to use to describe her when arguing whether the unborn is or is not a person. (Roe v. Wade, 3A-3C)
Freudian slip?

2/02/2012 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It's further out than anything [my musicians] would be doing if they were just improvising

When I used to teach in church a lot, I never said anything really outrageous (no matter how true it was) when I had to speak extemporaneously. But when I had time to write everything down, I could get a lot further from the dock because I had a map to get back.

I still love Neil Young, but he is the Picture of Dorian Gray.

2/02/2012 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

But freedom in the absence of limits reduces to nihilism, just as, say, absolute musical freedom -- in which there are no scales, no melody, and no rhythm -- can produce nothing more interesting or involving than sonic chaos.

Heh - if I didn't know better, I'd think you'd been listening in on my son's "music" class.

For example, does Roe v. Wade, in granting a new constitutional right to women, result in an undue burden being placed on the condemned children who will be deprived of their lives?

Along those lines (and perhaps I'm getting ahead of the post), I was reading last night where Spitzer uses the example of "assisted suicide," and how it so easily goes from being simply an option to a duty, because after all one life can, near its end or its beginning, be awfully inconvenient to other people, and it might make life a little easier the others if the one was just dead. Just as a terminally or chronically ill person may be encouraged by family or doctors or any number of others to off himself, how often are pregnant women encouraged to get abortions by those around them? How often is the "choice" something more like coercion?

2/02/2012 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "...it so easily goes from being simply an option to a duty, because after all one life can, near its end or its beginning, be awfully inconvenient to other people, and it might make life a little easier the others if the one was just dead."

Yep. Which is what went through my head as I read:

"Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, a professor of practical ethics from Duke, and Franklin Miller, a senior faculty member in the NIH Department of Bioethics, state in their abstract ”What makes an act of killing morally wrong is not that the act causes loss of life or consciousness but rather that the act causes loss of all remaining abilities.“ They argue that if no abilities remain then the ”dead donor rule,” which is the ethical practice that a person must be declared dead before removing vital organs, should apply to patients whose hearts have stopped and are being removed from a respirator."

Only '♫ ♪ ♬ a step to the left♫ ♪ ♬', from "if no abilities remain" to " if no useful abilities remain", in order to justify 'harvesting' a pers... er... subjects organs.

And only such thought can result from making the infinitely long leap down from Principles to Particulars, from Quality, to Quantity.

2/02/2012 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes - thanks, Van, you beat me to it. As I understand it, it's already disturbingly common for organ donors with the "right" sorts of injuries to be declared dead by very different - and far less stringent - means than are used for non-donors. I can't remember where I first heard that, but it was a few years ago, and when I did I realized that even if I needed, say, a heart transplant to survive, I don't think I could in good conscience go through with it, anymore than I would choose a life-saving procedure that requires embryonic stem cells. Quite simply, my desire not to suffer does not trump anyone else's right to live.

2/02/2012 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

Would stopping idiot liberals from voting be considered a sensible restrain on liberty?

2/02/2012 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

All we have to do is say if a person gets a government check, they are ineligible to vote.

Another nice feature would be to require positive photo ID for voting. Everybody has a photo ID for driving or collecting welfare benefits. Oddly enough when our state legislature passed a photo ID bill, even allowing provisional ballots to be cast by those who could not show an ID, our Democrat governor vetoed it. He said it would unfair to disenfranchise the zombie voters in St. Louis City.

2/02/2012 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

General alert: Charles Murray's new Coming Apart is great. It chronicles unprecedented cultural changes over the past 50 years -- changes of world-historical significance, since it is not at all clear that a culture that has acquiesced to these changes can survive. I hope to discuss it in detail in the near future, although I will be out of town most of next week for the annual in-law pilgrimage.

2/02/2012 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, yeah - I think it was New Criterion that had a big excerpt from that up a couple of weeks ago. Looks really interesting, though also very troubling...

2/02/2012 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

Charles Murray was actually just featured in Imprimus. That's worth a read as well.

2/02/2012 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

"Is it possible that the Creator meant for us to have the intrinsic right to kill our unborn children? "

Mabe so... the same God who hates the Egyptians, stopping the sun in the sky to allow more daylight to enable Joshua to kill more Amorites and ordering King Saul to commit genocide against the Amalekites. Psalms promises happiness to the defeated and exiled Jews only when they can dash the heads of Babylonian children against the rocks. This IS the word of God.

2/09/2012 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Actually those are the words of John Spong, proving once again that William isn't even capable of original ignorance, only second hand.

2/09/2012 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

When you consider that most people plagiarize from those whose quality they can only aspire to… and then note the (to put it politely) mediocre quality of those he steals from… it almost causes feelings of pity to well up for poor willian.

Almost.

2/09/2012 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It is wrong to steal ideas without attribution, even vapid ideas.

2/09/2012 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

... but then I repeat himsoph.

2/09/2012 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

willian whined "Perhaps I should I quote verses? Would that be a high enough authority?"

For the person who relies upon others for their 'own' words, authority is all they can resort to.

2/09/2012 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Welcome to "The Van and Bob Skirt the Issue by Ad Hominem Attack Association."

2/10/2012 11:23:00 AM  

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