Wednesday, August 07, 2013

What has Two Legs and Slithers on its Ideology?

Better yet, what do you call a tenured hack chained to the bottom of the sea?

A good start.

That dark yoke is in reference to yesterday's aphorism, that "No one should dare, without trembling, to influence anyone’s destiny."

Which prompted commenter Rick to wonder if this might be "carved into a millstone somewhere" -- recalling Jesus's suggestion that people who spend their lives twisting the minds of children ought to have millstones hung around their necks and be cast into the sea. Which he didn't mean literally, but rather, to emphasize the seriousness of the crime of soul murder, which is analogous to postnatal abortion.

It is ironic that the left conceals the impulse to commit soul murder behind the principle of "academic freedom," when denial of freedom -- which is either spiritual, or it is nothing -- is their explicit goal. For example, my child attends a Catholic school, where he learned by the age of five or so that he always has a choice between alternatives, between good and bad actions.

But for decades, liberals have been seducing children into the opposite view, that behavior is a consequence of circumstances, and that evil (which is relative anyway) choices are simply a reflection of the environment. Conversely, good consists in embracing the correct ideology, irrespective of personal faults.

This is simply Marxism writ small -- the idea that man is a function of his class and nothing more. Again, it is just an attack on the vertical -- on man's intrinsic transcendence -- via ideology.

And it is difficult to defend ourselves from the attacks, for the same reason it can be difficult to defend ourselves from infection by airborne virus: the whole drama is taking place on a scale that is invisible to us.

To take one example, last year conservatives were systematically accused by the media and its political arm, the DNC, of waging a "war on women." Never mind that there is no such war, and that we have no earthly idea what they're even talking about. We still must rouse our defense mechanism -- our immune system, as it were -- and fend off the ridiculous attack.

But defending oneself against a risible attack -- "when did you stop beating Sandra Fluke?" -- risks making oneself appear ridiculous. As Don Colacho says, "The inferior man is always right in an argument, because the superior man has condescended to argue." Thus, in a perverse way, "Defeating a fool humiliates us." On a more subtle level, "Even in opposition to the intellectual language of a time, one cannot help but write in it" (ibid.).

So conservatives are always playing defense, often reduced to using the terms and even the narrative of the left. And since leftism may be expressed with a vocabulary of a dozen words or so -- so long as it is expressed with the appropriate sanctimony, outrage, and hysteria -- it's like trying to be a parent in a world in which children are on the identical level as the grown-ups. This is a world in which reasoned opinion is forced to operate on the same plane as the collective tantrum (e.g., the George Zimmerman show trial).

In other words, the world is drained of legitimate authority, leaving only a vacuum for power to fill. The final common pathway is government by the ungovernable, i.e., people who cannot master themselves presuming to master others (i.e., takers ruling makers). That's pretty much the tipping point, the very eventuality our founders worked so hard to avoid by shielding us from direct democracy, AKA mob rule.

Leftists may be childish, but they are not childlike, the latter connoting openness to the broad spectrum of reality, genuine curiosity, and innocence. It is this that Jesus warns us about messing with. But leftism cannot operate in an open system, which is the real motive behind the attack on religion (i.e., the vertical).

Voegelin has analyzed the "prohibition of questions" that forms the walls around any ideology. Certain conclusions are forbidden, so entire lines of questioning are cut off. We all know how children are forever asking why?, and if we are honest with ourselves, we soon realize that we really don't know -- in other words, children remind us of the mystery that adults can only pretend to have solved.

But after four or five such questions, we soon enough reach the alphOmega point aphorized by Don Colacho: "Everything in the world ultimately rests on its own final just because.” Or in other words, "Metaphysical problems do not haunt man so that he will solve them, but so that he will live them." Indeed, even God adopted this strategy to show us how it's done: in-carnation, not in-doctrination.

Some people predict it will all be over by 2041, when atheism replaces religion. If so, Don Colacho will have been right again, for "There are times approaching in which only one who crawls will be able to survive."

Sounds grim, doesn't it? Not to worry: "The fun consists in gaining a pseudo-identity through asserting one's power, optimally by killing somebody -- a pseudo-identity that serves as a substitute for the human self that has been lost" (Voegelin).

13 Comments:

Blogger Magister said...

The "prohibition of questions" sounds a bit like "civil religion."

Speaking of which, Robert Bellah has died: http://tinyurl.com/ly75p85

8/07/2013 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

He left us with the classic, Habits of the Heart. A favorite of mine!

8/07/2013 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Crawling: are we there yet?

8/07/2013 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

I'd say we're pawing the earth, Bob.

8/07/2013 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

It's amusing that a google search on "batin" turns up this: "Batin is defined as the interior or hidden meaning of the Quran." Well knock me over with a feather.

8/07/2013 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I doubt that anybody could be an evolutionary psychologist without a radical ironyectomy:

Research has shown that religion declines not just with rising national wealth but also with all plausible measures of the quality of life, including length of life, decline of infectious diseases, education, the rise of the welfare state, and more equal distribution of income.


So -- surprise, surprise -- if one is sucking on the government teat, one loses interest in El Shaddai?

If that's true, and if I were an evolutionary psychologist, I would think that means that atheism is just the religious preference of the insulated and comfortable and that there really are no atheists in foxholes.

8/07/2013 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

...children remind us of the mystery that adults can only pretend to have solved.

With that in mind, I find the article predicting the diminution of religion to be particularly interesting, assuming the author is at least somewhat correct:

"Research has shown that religion declines not just with rising national wealth but also with all plausible measures of the quality of life, including length of life, decline of infectious diseases, education, the rise of the welfare state, and more equal distribution of income."

Interesting, first, that he considers the rise of the welfare state and "more equal distribution of income" to be positive measures of quality of life. But then, the type of education most people receive in most of the world is the sort that you've been posting about this week. More to the point, though, all of these factors also lead to a demographic death spiral. In the very same nations he chooses as his best examples, the quality of life is apparently "so good" that hardly anybody thinks it worthwhile to pass that life on to future generations. If he is correct that economic development leads inevitably to mass atheism, then economic development must naturally be a Darwinian dead end.

Children can only remind us of the mystery if we remember to actually have them; those who believe there is a mystery worth rediscovering are far more likely to have children.

8/07/2013 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"The fun consists in gaining a pseudo-identity through asserting one's power, optimally by killing somebody -- a pseudo-identity that serves as a substitute for the human self that has been lost" (Voegelin).

Apropos, at TheSultan's:

"And so the measure of sacrifice comes again. The ceremonial release of terrorists with blood on their hands commenced this festival of negotiations. Some of the freed terrorists had been notoriously talented sacrificers; claiming the lives of women and children. And in reward for their service, the Moloch of Peace smiled upon them and commanded that they be set free."

8/08/2013 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Is there a Kurt here? i guess i'd listed my JESUS PURUSHA for amazon sale and it just did to a Kurt in the SW...Curious that the only two recommenders of this are the Scorp's Bob & Da, can we get a Badda-bim?

8/08/2013 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kurt said...

GE,
I just ordered 'Jesus Purusha' from Amazon. Twice, in fact. First seller didn't have it so I am hoping the second one comes through. Bob seems to have gotten something out of it so I thought I would give it a spin. Also ordered 'A Christian Pilgrim in India'. Late-summer reading, indeed!

Kurt

8/08/2013 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Kurt, re. Christian Pilgrim, I quite liked that one. May have to read it again sometime soon...

8/08/2013 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yeah, I wouldn't call Jesus Purusha mandatory reading. I think we wrung from it all we could.

8/08/2013 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

shipped today Kurt!! small universe--
btw i meant the only 2 recommenders i know of are Da + Bob [which made for another 'small world' in ref to Davie's book]

8/08/2013 11:37:00 AM  

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