Friday, July 17, 2015

God Save Us from the Lovers of Humanity

In order for good to flourish, freedom is required. Conversely, in order for evil to be really productive, it needs a state.

This occurred to me while rereading Williamson's PIG to Socialism. I don't recall ever hearing it put that way, but I doubt I'm the first to notice.

After all, more death and misery have been caused by the state than all other unnatural causes combined. On the other hand, goodness cannot be coerced in a top-down manner. Rather, it can only be permitted, encouraged, and modeled.

And even then, it is never really secure unless and until it is loved for its own sake, and the state certainly cannot compel love. It can punish failure to love -- as in the IRS harassment of conservatives -- but that's not quite the same.

A long time ago -- well, ten years ago, to be precise -- I decided to conduct an experiment in childrearing, whereby I would teach the boy to love the good rather than, say, just punish the bad and make him fear the punishment.

One can encourage a well-behaved child via the alternative modes of positive punishment, negative reinforcement, or negative punishment, but those won't necessarily send down deep roots. Plus, they're going to create resentments, temptations, compulsions, and sometimes even perversions -- as in those Christian ministers caught with the S & M hookers or gay escorts.

To the extent that these fellows were "good," it was rather brittle, to put it mildly. The bad was simply banished to the shadows, where it took on a secret life and was nourished by hidden springs, which can foster a kind of longing for the dark side.

How to bring about a robust goodness? That's the question.

But why is this the question this morning? I'm not even awake yet, and I didn't intend for the post to veer off in this direction. Rather, it started with an innocent comment about how socialism interferes with moral development, and now I am forced to think things through from the ground up. It's not fair!

Let's start with what is close at hand. I marvel at what a good person my son is. What I mean is, I see evidence of his spontaneous goodness all the time. He is a much better person than I was at 10. I was by no means a bad person, but if I'm really honest, part of this was because I was simply afraid to be bad. That's what I mean about temptation. I might have been worse if I weren't such a coward.

Part of me admired the naughty boys, but my son isn't like that at all. Rather, he strikes me as "courageously good." He would be willing to be mocked for his goodness, whereas I would have been much more likely to cave under peer pressure. In contrast, he is irked and repelled by jerks and pseudo-rebels. There's no attraction at all.

So far, anyway. For two years running he's won the "people of faith" award -- whatever that is -- in his school by simply doing what comes spontaneously. He is not remotely repressed. To the contrary, full of life.

It very much reminds me of something Harvey Mansfield said in his Manliness: that in order to be a gentleman, one must first be a man. Otherwise you're just a gentlewimp. And the gentlewimp is often just a mask of the barbarian, as in Obama and his ilk. Poke the wimp, and out comes the cloven hoof, as when that reporter spoiled the party by pointing out that Iran is still holding kidnapped Americans.

I can't say that I came up with the parenting strategy on my own. Rather, I first got the brainwave from Schuon, although I applied it to parenting. Let's see if I can dig out some examples. His pithiest book is Echoes of Perennial Wisdom, and there's a little bit of everything in there, from cosmology to ethics, in concentrated form.

"Love of God is firstly the attachment of the intelligence to the Truth, then attachment of the will to the Good, and finally the attachment of the soul to the Peace that is given by the Truth and the Good."

Here again, there is nothing negative, repressive, or punitive in this. Rather, it starts with loving truth, and who doesn't want to be in love? And when one is in love, certain behaviors follow spontaneously, such as not wanting to do things that damage the love relationship.

It reminds me of how private property spontaneously encourages responsible behavior, because -- as alluded to in yesterday's post -- one is going to be much more careful with one's own property and money than with Other People's Moolah. Thus, the state must always struggle against a built-in moral hazard. Except it doesn't put up much of a struggle.

Likewise, to realize one "belongs to God," and vice versa, in a love relationship, triggers all sorts of consequences. "Wisdom begins with fear of God."

Am I afraid of God? Yes, in the same way I'm afraid of my wife, in the sense that I wouldn't want to do anything to damage the relationship. It's a figure of speech, but then again, there is obvious truth to it. You could say that bodily wisdom begins with fear of gravity, or of fire. It doesn't mean it ends there. ("[T]he integral attitude of man before God" is "made of reverential Fear and confident Love.... for the absence of fear is a lack of self-knowledge.")

We're rambling again, aren't we? If so, it can't be helped. Rambling is how you get to a point you don't yet know. If you already knew it, you'd get straight to it, wouldn't you? See Oakley for details.

"Virtue consists in allowing free passage, in the soul, to the Beauty of God." Thus, "To give oneself to God is to give God to the world." So it's a win-Godwin.

Here is an example of a temptation or snare alluded to above, in that "Virtue cut off from God becomes pride, as beauty cut off from God becomes idol..."

This is why the Good and True must be loved for their own sake, not for any secondary gain. But in so doing, "the repercussions are incalculable." In fact, it works both ways: either love truth or deny truth, but there will be no end to the trouble.

Ah, here we go: "Do not believe that 'it is I who am the virtue'; do not personalize it. The humble man is attached to virtue as such, and consequently to the sentiment that all virtue comes from God and belongs to God."

Which is why "At the bottom of all the vices is found pride..." Therefore, at the bottom of the virtues must be humility. Pride cometh before afall, humility before arise.

Another good one: "Every man loves to live in light and in fresh air; no one loves to be enclosed in a gloomy, airless tower. It is thus that one ought to love the virtues; and it is thus that one ought to hate the vices."

And "If we want truth to live in us, we must live in it."

Nothing good in man is of any value if detached from God. Likewise, love of man is monstrous if not a prolongation and consequence of the love of God. God save us from the lovers of humanity!

[W]ithout a good character -- one that is normal and consequently noble -- intelligence, even if metaphysical, is largely ineffective.

So, Let the world be what it is and take refuge in Truth, Peace, and Beauty, wherein is neither doubt nor any blemish.


Blogger Leslie said...

"It very much reminds me of something Harvey Mansfield said in his Manliness: that in order to be a gentleman, one must first be a man. Otherwise you're just a gentlewimp. And the gentlewimp is often just a mask of the barbarian, as in Obama and his ilk. Poke the wimp, and out comes the cloven hoof, as when that reporter spoiled the party by pointing out that Iran is still holding kidnapped Americans."

I love this. It shows exactly who is in power. There is not a man among them.

7/17/2015 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"Virtue cut off from God becomes pride...

My oldest has been going through a phase of mild tattling, which we are working to nip in the bud. I've been mulling over what it is, exactly, about tattling that is so horribly grating, when what they are doing, technically, is letting someone in authority know when someone else does something wrong. I've realized that tattling is so ugly because it consists of both this type of pride and a desire to bring the force of authority to bear upon someone else; in fact, it is a wish to cause suffering by proxy, with a veneer of righteousness to absolve oneself of any guilt about one's own vindictiveness. Normal for young kids, but downright evil when seen in adults.

It's also a part of a spectrum where one expects authority to step in and handle all difficulties, so that one need not dirty one's hands (or bloody the fists, as the case may be) by taking action in a serious situation (such as, for instance, the cowering crowd who hid in the corner of the subway car while another man was murdered at knifepoint).

7/17/2015 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Warren touches on some related things.

7/17/2015 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, just so. Ultimately, all we can do is try our best with the circumstances we have at hand, whenever and wherever we find ourselves. So long as we love and serve what is True - and try to germinate that love in our children - then we are on the right path.

7/17/2015 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

[W]ithout a good character -- one that is normal and consequently noble -- intelligence, even if metaphysical, is largely ineffective.

Yes indeed. Speaking of which, enjoying Brook's The Road to Character these days. Maybe not a raccoonmendation, but well written.

7/17/2015 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Must be the last word in barbarian wimpery

7/17/2015 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Encourage the positive and the negative will extinguish itself.

There is a grain of truth to the popular conception of the evils of "repression". I was acquainted with a prominent public figure who was really a good guy. He got busted for shoplifting a bottle of wine because he didn't want anyone to know he had become an alcoholic. I can see how it happened.

7/17/2015 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Imagine getting into a debate with people who can't tell men from women. Madness.

7/17/2015 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Shows how intolerant the left is of tolerance.

7/17/2015 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I'm sorry. Bruce Jenner and Bob Tur are male. Of that I am sure, of what species not so much.

7/17/2015 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A woman wouldn't threaten to put a man in the hospital like that, nor would a normal man. Ergo, he is a sick man.

7/17/2015 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Don't know anything about these guys, but I loved the sign the protesters hold up. "The queer shall inherit the earth."

I'm not sure they've thought that through.

7/17/2015 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I knew I had seen Bob Tur somewhere.

7/17/2015 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Ah, here we go: "Do not believe that 'it is I who am the virtue'; do not personalize it. The humble man is attached to virtue as such, and consequently to the sentiment that all virtue comes from God and belongs to God."

Probably, this is why those who think they can be moral people "without all that God nonsense" fail.

julie, good analysis of why tattling is bad. I had that problem as a kid. The Cooley kids, remnant rednecks in Montgomery County MD when I was growing up, would start smoking on the bus, or cursing, or whatnot and I would get all indignant because I knew that was wrong and I said so... and I got beat up.

7/17/2015 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Captain Obvious said...

Re. Tur, wow. Apparently, he has all the feminine gentility of an angry bull dyke fighting with her partner over a dildo. Except with the added delicacy of a 1980s-era German women's Olympic swim team member.

7/17/2015 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dildo fights are no laughing matter.

7/17/2015 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt said...

Sometime (often, actually) Schuon packs so much Truth into such a small space it brings tears to my eyes. Like standing on a mountaintop, the crisp wind blowing in your face, and you can see all the way to the edge of the world...

7/17/2015 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's how I feel. Standing atop a windswept and snowcapped mountain with clear skies and a 360º view. Or like live reports from heaven.

7/17/2015 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

""Virtue consists in allowing free passage, in the soul, to the Beauty of God." Thus, "To give oneself to God is to give God to the world." So it's a win-Godwin."

That is magnificent!
Who says punny ain't an art?

7/17/2015 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt said...

The first time through 'Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism' some days I had to take it a line at a time, just trying to unpack everything he said in a single sentence, like: 'The Transcendent is immanent in the world, otherwise the world would not exist, and the Immanent is transcendent with respect to the individual, whom otherwise it would not surpass.' (SOME, 4)

Yeah, that'll leave a mark...

7/17/2015 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Austin Powers said...

MsTur is all man baby.

7/17/2015 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good point:

"Conservatives had one job: to preserve order and western civilisation from a loose coalition of secularists, scroungers, unmarriageable women, militant sexual deviants, ghetto blacks and third world immigrants. That’s all they had to do, and they have failed utterly."

What's plan B?

7/18/2015 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, that is the question.

He makes some good points, although at the end you can see the crazy eyes showing a little bit...

7/18/2015 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I'm not prepared to go full reactionary. Just a defiant Fuck You at this point.

7/18/2015 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

I can't find fault with any of his points. He sounds like Guenon and Evola.
He's also right about Africa. We may have been "created" equal 100,000 years ago, but we are far from equal now, and this fact has to be recognized and dealt with.
Basically, he's advocating traditional Christian fascism.

7/18/2015 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

One thing that makes me tired and sad about many of the people on our side is the ugly, full-blown racism that is coming out lately. I'm not talking about a realistic assessment of the fruits of "urban" culture, or even realistic concerns about demography and yes, the predicted population boom of Africa, but the guys who feel comfortable talking about blacks in general as subhuman and being worried about the "mongrelization" of the white race, etc. Fuck those guys, too. I don't know what the future will look like, but I do know that what will matter then is what always matters: whether or not people live their lives in alignment with truth, beauty and goodness.

7/18/2015 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Blacks are not subhuman any more than Ashkenazi Jews are superhuman.
They ARE different, though, and until these differences are accepted, this pretended leveling won't go away. It's not racist to recognize that race and culture is real.
It's not racist to notice that half the violent crime, more or less is from African Americans and statistically zero from East Asians.
What is the cause, that's what has to be sorted out.

7/18/2015 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, I agree. Not everybody is the same, and to pretend that there are not differences between racial groups is a huge mistake. But I also think that, perhaps particularly in America, the effects of culture are discounted simply because it is easy to see how different ethnic groups have different cultural identities. The two are intimately intertwined, but nevertheless it is the culture which determines what behavior is acceptable.

If you go over to a less "diversified" place like England (setting aside for a moment the massive immigration of recent years), there are still large populations of thuggish brutes who commit most of the violent crime and are every bit as awful and aggressive as you'd find in an American "urban" neighborhood. And every bit as likely to be continuing a fine upstanding family tradition of fatherlessness, welfare dependency and ignorance. They are also every bit as white as their upper class, better-behaved neighbors.

Meanwhile, here in the states, my mostly redneck-leaning family now consists of, I think, pretty much every human race except maybe Australian Aboriginals and Middle-Easterners, though we mostly appear white. In my family, the races don't matter; it's the culture that ties us together (and sometimes drives us apart, depending). As far as behavior goes, being a big family we cover the spectrum. IQ, too. What we absolutely don't see in my family is that stupidity and awful behavior come with a darker or more ethnic skin tone, but again has everything to do with fatherlessness, family instability, welfare dependency, and so on.

Culture matters. It really does. It doesn't take a high IQ to live by a few simple guiding rules to direct your life; it does take parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends who live by the same standards and know how to bring the young into responsible maturity. The West in general has been abandoning that responsibility in droves. Europe, for all of its historical beauty and all the benefits it has bestowed upon mankind, has decided that it has nothing much to live for and that the past is not worth preserving. Many are ready to forego any claim on the future; they aren't having kids, they want doctors to decide when they should die, and all too many think mankind is a scourge upon the earth.

Frankly, I am starting to wonder just what about European culture is really worth saving at this point, considering where it has lead.

I'll say again as I have said before: all we can do is conform ourselves to what is Good, True, and Beautiful, and try to raise our children to do the same. That is the culture that needs preserving and protecting. Whatever race picks up the mantel.

7/18/2015 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Besides, the real civilizational catastrophe is not a result of blacks with below average IQs but white liberals with average or above IQs.

7/18/2015 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Exactly. It takes a real visionary genius with a profoundly broken background to come up with a plan to create the perfect utopia, then get everyone else to go along with it (no matter how many people have to die in the process).

7/18/2015 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

White liberals are also vital to the pathologies of black culture. It's as if the deterioration of black culture is just a symptom of the white liberal disease. The last decent liberal, Moynihan, said as much over 40 years ago.

7/18/2015 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Yep. One thinks of Stalin, Mao, and Roosevelt.

7/18/2015 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's hard to think of a slimier pit of reptiles than Carville, Begala, Podesta, Blumenthal, Reich, and the Clintons.

7/18/2015 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob @ 9:23, yes, I was thinking of that earlier but my comment was running long. If white liberals weren't so set on "fixing" what's wrong with blacks - both here and abroad, I might add, given how much of Western humanitarian aid seems to bring out the worst in its recipients - black culture would probably be in much better shape today than it is.

7/18/2015 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Black culture was in MUCH BETTER shape prior to the interventions of white liberals. Sowell has many chapters and whole books devoted to this subject.

Actually, one has only to listen to the music blacks produced between 1925 and 1975 -- a world-cultural highpoint -- and compare it with today's aural nightmares.

7/18/2015 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


7/18/2015 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of white liberals, check it out: a relative wrote a novel. I read the preview and couldn't stop cringing. Is it just me, or is it really that awful?

7/18/2015 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, man, that's bad. "Latina extraordinaire" would be a good alias for snarky comments, though.

7/18/2015 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Amazing that Shakespeare wrote all those plays without once using the term "butt crack."

7/18/2015 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Latina extraordinaire?" Isn't that racist? It implies that other Latinas are ordinary.

Besides, it sounds like the name of a new breakfast burrito at Taco Bell.

7/18/2015 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

When a book starts with an epigraph by Gloria Steinam, that's a signal to set it down and slowly back away.

Why not Jane Fonda or Bernadette Ayers?

7/18/2015 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger John said...
PC Dukes of Hazzard

7/18/2015 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I love this post and these comments.

7/18/2015 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie, nailing it all the way.

7/18/2015 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "...Is it just me, or is it really that awful"

Well, yes, it is that awful, but consider the poor guy's background,

"... Jack Godwin is a former Peace Corps volunteer and a five-time Fulbright scholar. He has degrees from the University of Hawaii, San Francisco State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. ..."

I mean, how do you possibly get a fair shake in life, with the deck That stacked against you? Poor little leftie feller... not that I'm prejudiced younnerstand, some of my best friends are lefties, but, still, facts are facts.


7/18/2015 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

He's always had delusions of adequacy.

7/18/2015 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Which is why I never lie to my son about something he's done. If something sucks, I tell him, so he trusts me when I tell him it doesn't.

It's been highly effective in cultivating his sense of humor. No lame jokes are tolerated, no courtesy laughs given. Now he's the funniest person I know.

7/18/2015 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. the humor, I'll have to remember that. My boy loves to make people laugh, but he's still figuring out what's funny. He told a joke yesterday that wasn't really, and when nobody reacted to the punchline he said, "Hey, you're supposed to laugh!" Of course, then we did because his reaction was funny.

I'll have to clarify next time...

7/18/2015 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I always point out to him how lame the other kids' humor is, so he'll be aware of it. If his is weak, I'll say something like "you sound like you're stealing material from Jacob." Jacob, who is 11, has gone straight from the child fart stage to the adolescent genital/boobie stage of humor without a hint of wit.

7/18/2015 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, dear.

L actually has a pretty good sense of humor; the girl he has a crush on says he makes her laugh whenever they play together. We have been trying to curb the fart and poop humor, which seems to have worked pretty well.

7/18/2015 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Making people laugh is definitely a guy thing, because it is so physical. It's why so many comedians are so angry and aggressive under the surface, but it needn't be that way. There can be just the joy of triggering the physical reaction of laughter. It is a strange thing, when you think about it -- the use of words to provoke a convulsive release of energy. I wonder how it got here?

7/18/2015 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh, that's right. I forgot. Eckhart: "Do you want to know what goes on in the core of the Trinity? I will tell you. In the core of the Trinity, the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son. The Son laughs back at the Father and gives birth to the Spirit. The whole Trinity laughs and gives birth to us."

7/18/2015 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, that must be true :)

7/18/2015 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Leave it to Meister Eckhart to get to the root of divine humor. God can really knock 'em dead.

7/18/2015 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Maybe we're due for a Meister Eckhart update.

7/18/2015 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This is so creepy I couldn't get very far.

7/18/2015 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Maybe it's just a pre-emptive spin on what goes on in homosexual "marriage."

7/18/2015 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yeah. There's just so much wrong with that. Poor bastard; that's right up there with the girl over at the Federalist a couple weeks back who talked herself into the polyamorous lifestyle, and thinks it'll just be great for her, her boyfriend, and their toddler.

What could go wrong?

7/18/2015 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Why call it "marriage"? That's what gets me.

7/18/2015 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That's gonna be really bad for their children.

7/18/2015 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's positively crazy-making for children. They won't even have a crack at psychic unity with such proudly fragmented parents.

7/18/2015 07:11:00 PM  

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