Similarly, any leftist who imagines he's a "free thinker" is simply unaware of the fences. A conservative is someone who ventures out a little further and notices all the barbed and electrified fences with snipers standing by ready to prevent escape to the NorthWest. A PC liberal, like the East Germans, would call the fence an "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart."
Fortunately, I wasn't really paying much attention in school, so I never fully assimilated the perverse ways of the Conspiracy. Therefore, I never internalized the Wall, or at least it remained rather porous. Now it's just a tourist spot, like Hadrian's wall.
It started yesterday, when I glanced over at Thomas Sowell's doorstop, Basic Economics. It's one of those books that is so full of ideas and information that it's impossible for the non-specialist to take it all in. So I thought I would thumb through it and try to refresh the old memory.
But then I got another idea from left field (or right brain), which was to scan the book from a higher perspecive. In other words, the first time around it was necessarily a view from the ground. But what if we take flight and reframe it from the perspective of metaphysics? This is something Sowell himself would never do, and yet, the book is so full of "essential truth" that it would be a shame to confine it to economics.
Indeed, even though they have nothing else in common, Sowell and Schuon do share the characteristic of being so extraordinarily essential, meaning that they always get right to the essence of things, with no extraneous equivocating, excess verbiage, or academic BS. As a result, they provoke a similar sensation in my nonlocal resonator thingy, despite the radical difference in subject matter.
"I wonder," asked Bob, "if one essential truth speaks to another?" One difference between them is that Sowell is describing the exact dimensions of the real fence that surrounds us, being that we are unavoidably clothed in finitude.
On the other hand, Schuon is clearly speaking from beyond the fence, or better, deploying the forms of universal metaphysics to express formless insights that transcend it: he is using language to say what cannot be said, whereas Sowell uses it to say the most that can be said on this side of the Wall.
But even Sowell would say it's not really an impermeable wall. Rather, one of the points he makes in the book is that the state fails (among other reasons) because it imposes binary or categorical law in an incremental universe. Therefore, it can never reflect the reality of things.
As for Schuon's essentiality, Nasr captured it well, writing that his works "always go to the heart and are concerned with the essence of whatever they deal with. Schuon possesses the gift of reaching the very core of the subject he is treating, of going beyond the forms to the essential formless Center."
As such, "To read his works is to be transplanted from the shell to the kernel," or "from the circumference to the Center."
Now, this is utterly at cross purposes with the left, in that it insists there are no essences and certainly no Center, no Absolute, and no Universal -- with a few incoherent exceptions, for they do regard homosexuality and "whiteness" as essences, the former a sacred one, the latter demonic.
Let's consider Sowell's rock-bottom definition of economics (via Lionel Robbins): Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses. That's it. Can't get more essential than that.
Why is it essential? Ironically, he alludes to the Garden of Eden which, whatever else it was, wasn't an economy. Why? Because there was no scarcity. Therefore, one of the consequences of the fall is to plunge us into economics! Which gives new meaning to the "dismal science."
Now, the first thing you clever readers will notice is that the left, in denying the fall, also denies economics -- or economic reality, to be precise. You can't actually deny economics because the ineluctable truth is that the things we want are scarce and have alternative uses. Or in other words, this isn't Eden or Heaven. You could even say that Genesis 3:17 introduces man to grim economic reality, i.e., toil and sweat if you want to eat.
Back when I was a liberal, I was sadly influenced by a loon on the radio named Michael Benner. This was back before meaningful talk radio, and when radio stations had to devote a portion of their airtime to "public service." They would do this during hours no one was listening, usually between midnight and 5:00 or 6:00 AM on Sunday and Monday mornings.
Being that I often worked the graveyard shift in the supermarket, I would imbibe his political and spiritual wisdom while stocking shelves. One of his key principles was that there is no such thing as scarcity. If I recall correctly, he said something to the effect that scarcity is just a mental limitation produced by the capitalist mindset.
Sounded good to me! For it meant that I was entitled to be prosperous, but that someone was just stealing it from me. Indeed, it looks like he hasn't changed one bit since I listened to him in the late '70s and early 80s. Speaking of essential truths, one of his is that -- and this is weird, because he even clothes it in a Schuon-like appeal to the Perennial Philosophy, Esoteric Philosophy, and the consensus wisdom "from all cultures and all times about the Spiritual Reality."
In any event, one of the essential truths is that we may magically "manifest and refine form," or turn wishes to horses. For example, the only real challenges to abolishing world hunger forever are "fear of change and the will to do it anyway."
Not only is there no scarcity in his world, but he also has the secret to ending war. How? "The Great Dichotomy of Life is not so much a conflict between good and evil as it is a choice between harmony and discord, between Unitive Love and separative fear." As such "We must feed and educate our 'enemies' — give them bread and books." ISIS is not evil, just in need of a happy meal and a good summer read.
Enough of that grotesque nonsense. Here is Sowell's pithy definition of scarceness: "It means that what everybody wants adds up to more than there is." Simple as.
However, what is the real source of this disconnect between "want" and "have?" It is that human desire is infinite, while the objects of this desire are finite. Therefore, all economics, from Adam Smith to Barack Obama, is a way to allocate the resources. If it isn't done via prices, then it will be done in some other way, e.g., rationing by state bureaucrats.
Liberals like to ridicule "supply-side" economics, but consumer-side economics is just a mob of open mouths and empty hands. In other words, What I Want does not magically transform into What I Have. If that were the case, then Haiti would be the most affluent place on earth.
In order to get from want to have, there is a little thing alluded to in Genesis which comes down to being productive. The things we want don't produce themselves, as in Eden.
You could say, with the the left, that we have a "right" to healthcare. No doubt true in a sense, in that you have the right to take care of yourself. But you do not have the intrinsic right to compel someone at gunpoint to care for you. The trick is to induce this person to, get this, voluntarily do something for your health, i.e., to get him to produce the desired output without placing him in chains.
Well, we didn't get far, and now I gotta get some WORK done. To be continued....