Cosmic Shrinkage: From Wisdom to Knowledge to Facts to Stupidity to Liberalism
Now, if you don't know exactly what the first aphorism means -- for example, if you attended graduate school or have been otherwise warped by the spirit of the times -- you are directed to Richard Weaver's CoonClassic Ideas Have Consequences, because that is its theme.
After reading the latter, I typed up and printed out a handy summary of the contents. For example, "Without imagination, the world is reduced to a brute fact -- there is nothing to 'spiritualize' it, to give it depth. And when matter is placed above spirit, quantity displaces quality. But QUALITY IS NOT JUST ANOTHER QUANTITY, DUMMY!"
Indeed, "What ceases to be thought qualitatively so as to be thought quantitatively ceases to be thought significantly" (DC).
But this is one of the Original Metaphysical Sins of the left, and we see it everywhere, i.e., reality being reduced to statistics (which are themselves conditioned and selected by the left's dysfunctional organizing principles). Especially "in the social sciences, one generally weighs, counts and measures in order to avoid having to think."
After all, science is by definition what anyone can know. It is radically egalitarian, and therefore (if elevated to a metaphysic) anti-individual. In that perverse sense, progressives -- shudder -- do indeed "believe in science" -- and that's a threat!
Which is why "Nothing is as alarming as science in the hands of an ignoramus." But then "everything that can be reduced to a system ends up in the hands of fools" (DC).
The good news: progressives also fervently believe in man. The bad news: "The worship of humanity is celebrated with Human sacrifices" -- abortion mills being only one facet of this.
A real system, if that is what you want to call it, does not proceed in a linear manner from conclusion to conclusion. Rather, it grows from the center out, so the first task is to locate the Center -- both His and ours, since the two are as mirrors held to one another.
Where fact becomes our only criterion, knowledge -- let alone wisdom -- is rendered unattainable. The vertical roads that lead upward are barricaded. Which is why every attack on religion is an attack on mind -- and on man. A humanism without God is just a kind of absurdly narcissistic animalism.
The word was made flesh, not vice versa. Flesh can only pretend to become word, let alone the last word! But as we ourselves have said in so many ways, the left is less an "ideological strategy" than "a lexicographical tactic" (ibid.).
So beware: "Whoever accepts the lexicon of the enemy surrenders without knowing it." Leftism Revisited is all over that problem, beginning with the preposterous misnaming of leftists "liberal," a contradiction in terms.
We should hasten to add that in our incarnotional metaphysic, we have the deepest respect for the human animal. And it goes without saying that we respect the other end, the unique individual soul.
But we have no patience for, or interest in, the vast "middle zone of an animal with opinions," where the tenured spend their lives trying to confine us in their verbal prisons. But the human-animal is a beautiful thing, for as Elder Don says, "the sensual is the presence of a value in the sensible," i.e., the word or idea or spirit in the flesh.
Facts do not speak for themselves. At the very least, they require a principle of selection that no fact can provide. This principle is "out of this world," i.e., not in the world of facts. But to reduce semantics to syntax -- or meaning to structure -- is to deny language its ontological referent.
In other words, in a properly right side up cosmos, the purpose of syntactical structure is to converge upon and reveal meaning -- and meaning lives among the gods, not the facts. One cannot live a human life among facts only without asphyxiating or freezing or being compressed to stone.
Bottom line: the liberal gulag has walls, but can have no ceiling that prevents vertical escape, since they don't even know about that dimension.
Don't worry: he's not looking out but looking in with a combination of curiosity and pity: