In contrast -- to paraphrase one of my favorite aphorisms of Don Colacho -- leveling is the barbarian's substitute for order. Which is why -- to paraphrase another aphorism -- in order to understand leftism, a vocabulary of ten words is sufficient.
In other words, relativism is another word for leveling, which is why leftist is another word for barbarian, and barbarism the end result of leftism.
What is the uni-versity? Or rather, what was the university? For starters, it was a way to cure our barbarism by elevating the intellect and perfecting the soul.
"The university," writes Schall, "grew out of the structure of the medieval Church." Thus, for example -- and it is not my intention to induce vomiting -- the dean of a university is analogous to the pope, while the professors represent a priesthood of knowledge and truth, for the purpose of both forming and saving young souls.
This is still the case, except that when one's first principle is relativism, then one's pope is actually an anti-pope whose main task is to enforce leveling so as to ensure barbarism. Which is why universities are secular seminaries whose tenured apes churn out so many well-programmed chimps.
Best popetweet I've heard so far: Francis has been linked to an anti-Marxist organization -- the Catholic Church.
"Unless some objective criterion of truth is available and acknowledged, unless some reality in fact exists, freedom means little" (Schall). Why is that? Because to insist that "my freedom" consists of "my truth" (and vice versa) is to again collapse the hierarchical space in which truth is sought. In other words, it eliminates any meaningful vector to our cognitive and psychospiritual lives, so there is no direction om.
It is no different than if we could somehow eliminate desire from the soul. If there is nothing to desire, then there is no reason to so much as move. This is typical of Major Depression, a central feature of which is anhedonia, or loss of pleasure. In the absence of a sense of pleasure, the world goes "flat," and the person literally doesn't know which way to turn, since it doesn't matter. Since nothing induces pleasure, why bother?
The resultant apathy and withdrawal can culminate in a kind of interior implosion analogous to a black hole. All because the psychic hierarchy has collapsed in on itself.
I am not being polemical when I say that the identical thing occurs in various cognitive pathologies of the left. The left talks about "academic freedom," but in the absence of transcendent truth this is just whistling past the slaveyard. In reality it is quite literally academic slavery, for one is beholden to something less than truth -- whims, inclinations, intellectual fashions, career advancement, political correctness, etc.
What is the point of knowing if it is not to know truth? If we don't know truth, then what is knowledge? Freedom unbound from its proper object reduces to mere will -- just as, say, sex unbound from its proper object is nothing but a selfish impulse.
Indeed, a good wanking definition of "perversion" is any impulse detached from its proper object, whether we are talking about sex, intelligence, art, religion, politics, etc. Just as there are sexual perversions, there are artistic perversions, perversions of justice, perversions of philosophy, etc.
Among other things, God is Logos-Word-Reason, which is why he is intelligible (not in total, of course, but within the forms of our sensibility), and indeed why there is both intelligence and intelligibility in the cosmos, the one mirroring the other. Schall (actually, Benedict, on whose lecture he is commenting) contrasts this with Islam, which has no such conception.
Rather, the latter "implies a Godhead whose power is not in principle limited even by the principle of contradiction, the principle that governs reason.... Any such restriction would be seen as a denial of the omnipotence of God" (and you will have noticed that this is the same aberration that afflicts certain Christian fundamentalists).
It seems that normative Islam (not, say, the esoteric Sufism of Schuon) is not addressed to our reason, but rather, to our will: "This position affirms God is not Himself bound by His own truth. It would limit His glory to impose any restrictions, even of contradiction. The effect of this view is to eliminate any secondary causality which would attribute to non-divine things an inherent order" (ibid., emphasis mine).
Now, what is this beautiful order of secondary causes but the cosmic hierarchy? Yes, God is at the top, but this doesn't negate all of the intermediate levels, any more than our own free will negates the relative autonomy of the atoms, molecules, cells, and organs that constitute us. The One doesn't negate the many, any more than the One reduces to the many. Or, just say transcendence and immanence, the latter a consequence of the former.
But Islam eliminates secondary causes, and insists that everything that happens is directly caused by God. Therefore, there is no reason to study the world, because God does what he wills, with no guarantee of reason, law, predictability, or consistency: "His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality."
Things couldn't have developed more differently in Christendom, as the logos wended its way through history, resulting in such benefits as science, natural law, and the preciousness of the individual. As such, Allah, "in the Christian view, cannot be reasonable. Indeed, he cannot be God.... Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's name." No offense, but simple as. The two positions are irreconcilable.
(And this is not to imply that God never does things we cannot comprehend, nor that everything in God is comprehensible in human terms; rather, we're just refracting the mirroraculous analogy between macrocosmos-God and microcosmos-man.)
So: "if God is understood to be only power or a will that transcends reason, then reason is subservient to will." That's right: fascism by another name.
And now you understand the alliance between Islamists and the Left, because their ways of thinking are so similar. In his lecture, Benedict discusses the three stages of what he calls the "dehellenization" of the West, which, as you have no doubt noticed, results in a creeping hellification of culture, hell being defined as any place where Reason is impotent. You know, like the New York Times editorial board, or the womyn's studies department of a major university.
More on the deep connection between Islam and the Left as we continue....