Man is a Person in Order to Become One
You see? We are always standing "outside and above the system of empirical, individual and specifiable data." And this is not just one element to be placed aside the others that constitute man, but is again always above them. If I say "you are a bepedal ape" and you say "um hmm," you've just transcended apehood, however tenuously.
Which makes one wonder: why can't leftists see this? The whole enlightenment project of classical liberalism culminated in the notion that we are unique persons, not races, genders, classes, ethnicities, and all those other lucrative accidents of existence.
But no. Progressives want to turn back the world historical clock and devolve to a time when man identified with his contingencies. Which, among other problems, always leads to increased civil strife.
If you wanted to come up with a malign doctrine of unregenerate hatred and resentment, you could hardly do better than multiculturalism and "diversity" (in the diabolical leftist sense of the term, i.e., neo-Marxist materialists of different colors and sexual preferences). Obama and the left might not know much, but they certainly understand the principle of "divide and conquer."
People talk about Obama's failure to "heal" the polarization in the country. Well, doy.
When we say Obama is a wicked man who is unfit for the office he holds, this is what we mean -- that he not only stands by silently while his allies engage in the most slanderous racial and sexual demagoguery, but that he himself instinctively engages in it. Instead of healing it, he fuels it: the police acted stupidly, my son the thug, Trayvon Martin, incompetence is beyond the reach of blacks, etc. If Obama doesn't make you want to vomit, you may be morally retarded.
But more to the point, he participates in and even leads the campaign to render man a shadow of what he actually is and can be. Yes, these mephistofeel-your-painian statists will give you losers lots of stuff. And all they ask in return is your soul. It's that sucking sound you hear at the core of your desiccated being.
Remember, leftism doesn't explain man. Rather, it explains him away. It does this in a multitude of ways, for example, with respect to crime.
In a free society, man is responsible for his acts. I mean, I realized this by the age of six or so. But in the 1960s the left finally had the power to actually implement their crackpot ideas about crime and justice. In this view, people were simply creatures of their environment, lacking the ability to distinguish between good and evil that I, as a six year old, understood.
So, what happened with that experiment? As we all know, crime rates increased exponentially, most especially among the supposed beneficiaries of the new approach, e.g., blacks. Which is my point: if your philosophy regards people as animals, you shouldn't be surprised if they behave like animals.
You can also point to the economic crisis of 2008, which resulted from the state deciding that some people are just too stupid and helpless to develop the traits consistent with homeownership. How'd that work out?
Note also that such an infrahuman animal is no longer in need of redemption from above. Rather, he can get it from some quack psychologist who pardons him because -- well, in the words of West Side Story, because he's depraved on accounta' he's deprived!
"Being a person," writes Rahner, "means self-possession of a subject as such in a conscious free relationship to the totality of itself."
You must understand that this peculiar way of being is the prerequisite of little things like truth, freedom, and virtue. It is the antecedent "space" out of which we all operate, and the point is to expand this subjective horizon, not to shrink or negate it!
Oh peoples, I gots the anointin' this mornin'! Listen to what the almighty is tellin' you in yo' soul! And lord, help me shut my big mouth at tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner with the liberal relatives!
In contrast to the free person, the left offers us this... this bigbrained cosmic freak who is "totally determined from without," even if this is impossible, because a person who believes this nonsense has nevertheless chosen to do so. There is no escape from your freedom and responsibility, leftist assoul!
To say that man is a Person "means first of all that man is someone who cannot be derived, who cannot be produced completely from other elements at our disposal."
Yes, you can say that only God can create such a singular being. Or, if that makes you uncomfortable, just render it in the form of an algebraic equation: only X can produce such a being. But don't pretend you understand the nature of the variable before investigating it. In other words, don't be a jackass.
"Man shows himself to be a being with an infinite horizon." It's not just that in America you can "be what you want." Rather, the point is that you already are (as being), and because you are, you can make the choices you want, i.e., drive the cosmic bus over the subjective horizon:
"When freedom is really understood, it is not the power to be able to do this or that, but the power to decide about oneself and to actualize oneself."
And since the space is infinite, there is no end to the expansion: "The infinite horizon of human questioning is experienced as a horizon which recedes further and further the more answers man can discover."
Elsewhere Rahner writes that "A person is always a Christian in order to be one." But this is because a person is always a person in order to become one.
Conversely, a leftist is always a leftist in order to become less than a person in the full sense of the word. And yes, we mean that literally. Because we are trying to help.
But unlike the left, we only offer the help. It would frankly never occur to us to force it on you, backed by the threat of state violence.
If the more radical empirical psychology is, the less freedom it is able to find, that is perfectly consistent with its method... --Karl Rahner