Wednesday, September 02, 2015

We Can Deal With the Problems of the World -- It's the Solutions that are So Devastating

Ah: one of our problems is affluence, which leaves grumblers and malcontents with too much free time: "Where there are minds with time to spare, there seems no way of avoiding it." Today this noxious tradition persists, with academic "sub-Marxism" and its perverse relatives "still thumping away."

Indeed, think of Obama, who spent his life nurturing dysfunctional thoughts in the liberal kindergorgon, and who, for the past 6.5 years, has merely been putting the fruitiest of these monsters into practice.

History teaches that when intellectuals seek political power, it's time to reach for the second amendment. This is not to imply that Obama is particularly bright, much less informed, only that he is a man who values ideas more than human beings. And to paraphrase Socrates, the unexamined community organizer is not worth letting near the presidency. (If his community gets any more organized, it will rival the Mafia.)

But Obama is representative of a tenured class that is "simply not aware of any general attitudes but its own" (ibid.). Which makes disagreement with them a matter of class conflict, and we're back to sub-Marxism: we are wrong because we are not members of the proper class. (I believe we are seeing a similar class conflict play out in the Republican primaries, i.e., the Establishment that is a priori correct vs. actual conservatives and other outsiders.)

The state produces a class of unproductive people it then employs via the state; but they are not actually unproductive, in the sense that they produce the very statism that employs more of these unproductive and unemployable idlers. This is Vacuous Jerk Circle of the state-academia complex.

Conquest reminds us of Orwell's comment to the effect that "the man on the street is at once too sane and too stupid to fall for the fads of the intelligentsia."

Given our affluence and the slack it brings, one shouldn't be surprised at the combination of intelligence and un-sanity we see in our tenured class. However, "insanity is itself a denial of intelligence" -- assuming, of course, that the mind has a function and a telos, AKA to know truth. Many if not most tenured fölkers would deny this connection between mind and reality.

Jesus has a lot of bright ideas, but he clearly values people more than intellectual abstractions. And when the Hostile Scatterer (Satanas-diabolos) offers him vast political power, he declines.

Nor does Jesus tempt God or try to turn matter (stones) into spirit (bread) -- which is to reduce spirit to matter, a la Marxism. This latter is in turn related to our primordial catastrophe, the persistent Error that doesn't just occur Once Upon a Time, but rather, Happens Every Time. (Note that Genesis doesn't just touch on the genesis of the good, but also explains the genesis of the bad.)

If this post seems a bit scattered, don't worry. We're always up against the anti-cosmic forces of diabolos, aren't we?

So, "The crux is less intelligence than a failure to confront that intelligence with reality -- and even a drive to use that intelligence to deny or pervert reality" (Conquest). Or in other words, intellectuals using their fallen minds to twist reality is our crux to bear. Omniscience for them comes cheap, but we pay the price.

As we said yesterday, assuming we have a right to think, then we have a prior obligation not to bear false witness. Seems obvious, but if it were, then we wouldn't need to have it etched in stone by the finger of God.

Clearly, if man were naturally oriented toward truth, lies wouldn't be so prevalent. We wouldn't propagate them, nor would we be so easily seduced by them. When man falls into a lie, it is generally because a part of him wants to believe it. In short, the intellect is infected by the will -- the will to not know or to know what is not. This again goes to our primordial c., for it is always the same shitty utopia, only the vocabulary changes.

I'm going to be shifting if not grinding gears back and forth between Conquest and Barron, just to show some reader(s) that one cannot separate Christianity from its political consequences. Indeed, Barron explicitly asks the same question we were asking yesterday, "What would political philosophy look like" given "the Trinitarian assumption that relationship is ontologically basic...?"

Again, Jesus is not an intellectual but a... how to put it? For he is not just person, but even prior to that, relationship: there is no person prior to his relating, for a person is the very possibility of relationship. Thus, the cosmos is infused with personhood, as we shall see.

Conquest doesn't come at things from a religious perspective -- which scarcely matters, because to speak truth is to touch God. At any rate, in this other book, Reflections on a Ravaged Century, he writes that the Disaster Area known as the 20th century was disastrous precisely because of the Bright Ideas of intellectuals. In short, we could deal with the problems of the 20th century. It was the solutions that were so destructive and resistant:

"Ideas that claimed to transcend all problems, but were defective or delusional, devastated minds, and movements, and whole countries...." These are abstractions "whose imposition on reality reveals an incompatibility, as engineers say of parts that do not fit, and that can only be made to fit by force, and even then ineffectively and ruinously" (ibid.).

Liberalism: that moment you realize there is no problem that can't be solved by good intentions backed by the coercive power of the state.

But the point is this: to discover what a society worships is to discover what it values most highly, seeks to imitate, and considers ontologically basic. Rome's worship of violent and antagonistic gods thus gives away the game....

Rome is a [read: any] social order based upon the libido dominandi, the lust to dominate, which is so characteristic of the gods Rome honors.... Precisely because God is who he is, the social practices of Communism are dehumanizing. --Robert Barron

3 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Ah: one of our problems is affluence, which leaves grumblers and malcontents with too much free time:

Not for nothing are idle hands the devil's playthings.

In short, the intellect is infected by the will -- the will to not know or to know what is not. This again goes to our primordial c., for it is always the same shitty utopia, only the vocabulary changes.

Our old friend envy is always all too happy to help us to know what is not, perhaps especially if it's something unpleasant about someone decent, and of course something wonderful about someone despicable.

9/02/2015 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...but they are not actually unproductive, in the sense that they produce the very statism that employs more of these unproductive and unemployable idlers.

Perfectly stated.

9/02/2015 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Tim Keller has a sermon about the historical Jesus that makes the case that one cannot present an inoffensive Christ to the world. On several cultural levels he expertly defends that thesis, but the best he saves for last: you cannot create an inoffensive Jesus without destroying your relationship with Him. If you are never offended, you have no relationship with Christ but a god of your own making. Ours is a God of relationship. Prior to creation, the Trinity exulted in the beauty of their relationship and we are called to exult in it as well.

I appreciate Bob being ahead of the curve as I watch so many Christians in the U.S. struggle to articulate their stance on politics and suffer such abuse at the tongues of the Left. They struggle to be fair-minded and moderate, but they don't struggle for the Relationship or the need to defend their immortal being in the light of the Left's nihilism. The answers they are seeking are not politically apt. They must judo the conversation back into reality as we experience it, life as we encounter it, and the questions that are primal.

9/03/2015 04:39:00 AM  

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