Principle Wonks and Policy Wankers
I think this is because it is analogous to being a tree wonk and thereby systematically missing the forest. What we need is more righteous principle wonks. Ronald Reagan is an obvious example of a principle wonk: freedom, low taxes, strong defense, limited government, etc.
Obama is often described as a policy wonk, but, like Reagan, he is and always has been a principle wonk. It's just that his brand of ideological wonkery champions false and deviant principles: income redistribution, expansion of the state, weakness abroad, racial grievance, feminist penis envy, climate change, illegal immigration, etc.
I'm guessing that so-called wonks on both sides start with principles (either explicit or implicit) and then find the data they need to support them. Which is unnecessary if you simply begin with the correct principles, and let reality take care of the rest.
For example, we don't need a study to prove whether, say, equality before the law is a good idea. Even if someone were to come up with data showing it to be a harmful idea (for example, because it provokes envy of people who accomplish more with their freedom and equality), we still wouldn't reject it.
But for several decades now, the wonkers of the left have been busy eroding the very principles that uphold our civilization, under the guise of "policy." They then elevate policies to principles, which renders them incapable of thought (because they are excluded from the ground of reality).
To cite an obvious example, marriage is perhaps the most important pre-political principle of civilization. Until just a couple of decades ago, no one considered it to be in the realm of political policy. Even if someone showed us data suggesting that it isn't harmful to deprive a child of a mother and father, we would reject the whole idea on principle, because it is self-evidently loony (not to mention in defiance of biological reality).
The minimum wage is another example. If one understands the principle of supply and demand, then it is impossible to be fooled into believing that an increase in the cost of labor will have no effect on its demand.
Likewise socialized medicine: it does not work because it cannot work. Why? Among other reasons, because it destroys the information necessary to rationally calculate prices and thereby allocate scarce resources. No amount of government benevolence can replace the information it destroys through socialism, because, for all practical purposes, the amount is infinite (and certainly unknowable by any human being or group of human beings).
An economy is an infinitely complex, self-organizing, information processing organism. The ham-handed, truth-destroying, visibly grubby hand of the state sees to it that prices cannot reflect costs, which creates further distortions from which the state then proposes to rescue us. Same deal with the college bubble. Subsidization by the state increases demand, which increases cost, which calls for more subsidization.
In The Gospel and the Mind, the author demonstrates how the abandonment of Christian principles leads directly to intellectual insanity. This no doubt sounds polemical, but the insanity is here, and it has a rational explanation. It didn't "just happen." Rather, it happened because certain principles were abandoned and others adopted.
Beginning at the beginning, we must ask ourselves if the human mind is capable of knowing truth. If it isn't, then there can be no rational principles at all -- or no rational reason to put our faith in them.
To put it another way, we must inquire into whether it is possible for our minds to be "saved." As Green writes, if we are redeemed by Christ, then this must include the whole man, including the intellect. I would go further and say that, since the intellect is what truly defines man and sets him apart from the animals, then salvation bloody well better include it!
What is the alternative -- that Christ redeems our bodies but not our minds? No, that is the way of the left: the so-called "sexual revolution," for example, liberated the body (as if it can be isolated from the person). How did that work out? Any time a leftist uses the word "liberation," it's time to reach for your revolver, because your intellect is being liberated from your soul, in preparation for your power being liberated from your person and your money from your wallet.
The state not only has a vital interest in our being unable to think things through, but in denying access to the very principles that make this thinking-through possible. Or just say public education. If you don't believe me, then believe the refreshingly candid Jonathan Gruber. An honest liberal could never do all these wonderful things
for to us.
A public, secularized education deprives us of the overall vision whereby knowledge finds its proper place. Absent this hierarchical vision, knowledge can just as easily become demonic, or even just sterile, and certainly dis-organizing.
As Green writes, the Christian vision of God, man, and cosmos "provides the necessary substructure, or precondition, for meaningful and enduring intellectus (understanding)." This doesn't necessarily mean our principles are correct, but it does mean that they are explicit and consistent.
These principles touch on ontology (the nature of being), on anthropology (the nature of man), and on epistemology (the nature of knowledge). Is a liberal politician ever explicit about his principles? If he is, then he cannot be consistent -- and certainly not electable -- which is why he doesn't go there.
"Without certain key theological realities and commitments," writes Green, "the cultivation of an enduring intellectual and cultural life becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible." Of note, this does not imply that the left is beholden to no "theological realities and commitments." Rather, we just have to find out what they are, because these strange gods will explain the falseness -- and resultant dysfunction -- of everything else about them.
To be continued...