Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Liberalism is in the Saddle, Lies are on the Move

It is interesting that lying has been so much in the news, but this is inevitable when liberalism is in the saddle. To cite a timely aphorism, "The lie is the muse of revolutions: it inspires their programs, their proclamations, their panegyrics. But it forgets to gag their witnesses" (Dávila).

But why should humanitarians like Jon Gruber shut up when they are doing God's work? Rather, it is in the nature of the Good that it wishes to radiate, to communicate, to share its goodness. This is why he is not only unashamed, but visibly giddy in the videos we have seen.

Now come to find out that his grubby co-conspirators not only want to gag him, but would be pleased to see him tossed into a shallow grave, maybe next to the guy who made the Mohammed video. What kind of strange goodness is this?

Above all else, human beings are wordlings. Language is what defines us, but what defines language? For the postmodernist, nothing defines language. Rather, each word refers to another, in an endless deferral of meaning. But they can't really say that meaning is deferred when they really mean it is strictly impossible.

Why then do we have the word? Apparently, if the postmodernists are correct, meaning is simply the word we use to refer to an arbitrary closure of its infinite deferral. It is precisely analogous to declaring an arbitrary end to pi, which otherwise goes on forever.

Let's try looking at this through the other end of the telos-scope: "It is not so much that the way language works helps us to understand the theology of the Incarnation, but rather that the theology of the Incarnation helps us profoundly to understand the way in which language works" (Jeffrey, in Green).

It seems that the way language works is that there is something about the world that enables it "to come to speech" (Gunton, ibid.). In other words, when we speak, it is as if speech is the "last word" of a spiroid process that must begin in God, or the Word. I would say that we can only pull words from reality because the Word is already there to be pulled.

In short, "To justify any sort of affirmation of the meaningfulness of language, we need to affirm that we really do live in God's created world" (Green): no creation, no meaning. And meaning deferred is meaning denied!

Think of how this works in practice, bearing in mind the principle that we are in the image of the creator. We begin with a silent thought, an invisible idea, which is then "uttered outwardly."

Isn't this a little like creation itself? Augustine observes that "our word becomes a bodily sound by assuming that in which it is manifested to the senses of men.... And just as our word becomes sound without being changed into sound, so the Word of God" becomes flesh without being reduced to flesh.

Even so, one never knows what will happen to an idea once it is let loose in the world (just ask God!). To speak the word is to incarnate the word, but it then must be re-incarnated in the listener, and, as in natural selection, there are mimetic errors along the way. This would imply that liberalism is analogous to an epistemological birth defect, a copying error -- assuming that somewhere in its genealogy there was an original truth, now turned monstrous.

But the issue is not just what *lies* behind speech, but what is up ahead. For example, "The notion of an ultimate telos to all language is what, of course, is missing in the deconstructionist universe..." This means that there are two ways for language that has gone off course to self-correct. The first way is to see to it that language refers to reality, i.e., to reaffirm the covenant between words and things.

But this is no assurance of ultimate truth, so we must also check our formulations against the telos of language, which can only be God: "God himself is the goal of all language," so to the extent that our ideas and theories don't point in his direction, you can be sure we have been derailed somewhere along the line.

Which is why language can be used to reach such a fallen person and lift him back up toward the Great Attractor. This itself implies that words must be accompanied by, or infused with, a kind of "generic" grace, which makes abundant sense if language indeed comes from (and returns to) God.

So, "words are instrumental in reaching out to the fallen man." They are "not an end in themselves," but "play a crucial role in leading people to" God, the "transcendental signified" (Green).

Which reminds me of something I heard yesterday on the radio. A caller mentioned how liberal elites regard voters as stupid, but the host cautioned him that conservatives do the same thing, what with our reference to "low information voters."

However, there is literally an infinite difference between the two attitudes. In the case of the left, they need to lie to us because we are stupid. Conversely, we believe that voters are only low on information, for which reason we desperately wish to communicate the truth and thereby remedy the deficit. Under no circumstances do we wish to deceive them, let alone coerce and control them. God forbid!

If words do not replace anything, only they complete everything. --Dávila

23 Comments:

Blogger Van Harvey said...

"... To speak the word is to incarnate the word, but it then must be re-incarnated in the listener..."

The Gong scoots aside to make way for the thunderclap.

11/18/2014 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

human beings are wordlings


That's good.

11/18/2014 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger JWM said...

Bob:
I just wondered if you've seen this. VanderLeun linked him a couple days ago.

http://www.anonymousconservative.com/blog/how-r-and-k-type-psychologies-affect-societies-and-what-this-means-for-our-political-dialog/

JWM

11/18/2014 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I dunno. Seems like they're trying to give reductionism a bad name.

11/18/2014 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Since nothing in human history has preyed upon more human beings than leftism, that seems to contradict the theory.

11/18/2014 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Nicolas said...

Witness officially gagged.

11/18/2014 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

the host cautioned him that conservatives do the same thing

This seems to be the defensive line the left is taking with regard to Gruber and Obamacare. "All bills are like this. No one ever tells the truth because you would never get anything passed."

Even if you are a Democrat consultant, don't the implications of that "truth" slap you in the face?

11/18/2014 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Besides, they had to lie, because conservatives were telling the truth about it.

11/18/2014 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

To speak the word is to incarnate the word, but it then must be re-incarnated in the listener, and, as in natural selection, there are mimetic errors along the way.

Ha - just thinking of the work parents must undertake to correct their children's speech. Today, I had to make sure they weren't saying "Vaggie Tales."

11/18/2014 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or Veggie Monologues.

11/18/2014 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I'm not digging the r vs. K for a number of reasons.

"K" types are usually cooperative and all for helping one another out on the local, individual scale. I would rather hand my money out to the local church to feed the poor than hand it to the IRS to feed portly bureaucrats.

Second, leftists do tend to believe that we are in a zero-sum game because they believe in the limited nature of resources. They believe the poor are poor because somebody else is rich, but they do not believe in infinite resources or an infinite source.

Third, and I'll quit, a lot of us have "evolved" from liberalism to conservatism. We haven't changed DNA. We have just seen how the world works. That may not be so likely to happen to those who live in the marshmallow world of government funding.

11/18/2014 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In the case of the left, they need to lie to us because we are stupid. Conversely, we believe that voters are only low on information, for which reason we desperately wish to communicate the truth and thereby remedy the deficit. Under no circumstances do we wish to deceive them, let alone coerce and control them. God forbid!

Yes, just so.

11/18/2014 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

I was definitely more predatory when I was a liberal. Now I'm practically a vagitarian.

11/18/2014 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom, agreed. That guy seems to have some interesting ideas, but his favorite tool seems to be the amygdala, and he uses it with great frequency.

11/18/2014 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger JWM said...

Julie:
Yeah with the "amygdala". I kept reading, expecting to get some clue as to what it meant from context. Had to look it up, and still it wasn't so clear. On the R vs. K. I noticed how seductive is the appeal to regard the leftard (or anyone you really really can't stand) as a whole 'nother specie that is totally beyond redemption.

JWM

11/18/2014 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Evolutionary psychology is an example of inescapable tautology if detached from God.

11/18/2014 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Surreal NYT article about Sharpton. The Times has such a weird style of writing. Imagine coming up with all those words, without being able to utter the most obvious and relevant ones, like "race-baiting criminal sociopath." Might as well write a story about the Pope without mentioning the word "Catholic."

11/18/2014 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow - he netted a million bucks for his birthday? Race-baiting criminal sociopathy pays off pretty well, alas. There is never a shortage of suckers.

11/18/2014 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

He is wholly a creature of white liberal guilt -- a monster given life by these racists. And I say racist, because imagine the person who thinks Sharpton is normative or speaks for the race he happens to belong to. If that is true, then it is like saying all members of his race are crooks.

11/18/2014 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

"I was definitely more predatory when I was a liberal. Now I'm practically a vagitarian."

How many servings of vaggies do you have each day?

11/19/2014 02:24:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Word have meaning.

11/19/2014 02:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Nicholas,
Looks like Gruber misplaced his smirk.

11/19/2014 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Those on the left that defend their preferrable lies with a "everyone lies" defense, are exposing themselves again.

Oh, I'm sure that's what they really believe but not everyone are perverts in the same vain as they are.

11/19/2014 02:36:00 AM  

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