Lord Save Us From the Bullshit!
The law is self-evidently true, but why? Why is it so difficult -- if not impossible -- to correct people? I no longer even try, at least with most volks. I had never thought about it before, but it must be because I intuitively understand the Law -- that to set them right will require a major commitment of time and energy.
Now that I think about it, when I was a liberal, I was pretty much oblivious to the Law. Indeed, I assumed that people were quite susceptible to correction with the usual simplistic leftist memes. But in reality, calling someone racist, sexist, or homophobic is rarely convincing. It is emotionally satisfying to the liberal, but merely off-putting to most everyone else.
In a way I envy my son, because he will not have to spend half his life refuting the bullshit he spent the other half assimilating. When I look back at the bullshit I once believed, it's appalling. Why did my parents not protect me from the bullshit? No doubt because that was when the culture and educational establishment were just beginning to take on their present outlines of being the primary transmitters of bullshit. Who knew then that our entire reality was being systematically turned upside-down and inside-out by the left?
A few prescient people, but they were on the fringes. But there is no doubt that a number of 20/∞ visionaries began noticing it by the 1950s, which is precisely when the modern conservative movement got off the ground. The movement is indeed reactionary, in the sense that it is a reaction to all the bullshit.
I just read a book -- not recommended -- on this very subject, called First Principles: Self-Governance in an Open Society. The reason it is not recommended is because the primary sources discussed by the author are so much better than the author's own analysis, which is on the banal side. However, he cites all the right people: Hayek, Weaver, von Mises, Kirk, Buckley, Paul Johnson, Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, Gilder, etc., each of whom, in his own way, attempted to cut through the bullshit.
But why does it take so much energy? I was thinking of this yesterday morning on the way to work while listening to Rush. He was discussing the wikileaks material that is so devastating to Clinton, and was, as usual, full of passion (in a positive way; there was no hysteria, anger, or resentment, as with the left).
I thought of the energy it requires to rouse this level of passion day after day, year after year. But as alluded to above, I no longer wish to do that. I want to have a calm and tranquil life. I don't like the tension. I am pleased that lightning rods such as Coulter, Milo, or David Horowitz exist, but I certainly wouldn't want to be them.
The other day in a comment, Rick asked a question about my transition from left to right, but my response was lost in the digital ether. I remembered that back in the 1990s, when writing about politics from a liberal perspective, I came to a number of conclusions that not only contradicted the party line, but pretty much blew up the whole thing -- although I didn't realize it at the time.
Specifically, I remember writing something about the noxiousness of political correctness, about the intellectual incoherence of relativism, about the bizarre conclusions of feminist extremists, and about the left's magical use of language to alter reality. In each case I naively assumed that I was just saying ideologically neutral things with which any reasonable person would agree. I mean, who could support the linguistic tyranny of political correctness, or believe that men and women are identical, or think there is no objective morality?
Right away I was in violation of Brandolini's law, as I had no idea how much energy it takes to refute these things. Indeed, you could literally spend your entire life doing so, to little wholesale effect. For example, I'm thinking of the hundreds of hours it took for Dennis Prager to get through to me. Just to refute the simple bullshit! But I'm not sure that anything short of this would have succeeded in penetrating my thick skull.
Back to the book alluded to above; in fact, back to the thread we were on prior to that, which was "principles of history."
Actually, I am more interested in Principles as such. I often think of putting together a list of simple, straight-forward principles which not only cut through the bullshit, but permanently inoculate the mind against taking it on board to begin with. Any intellectually honest person would be compelled to assent to these principles, on pain of logical incoherence, absurdity, or self-refutation. Merely to utter one would be to slay a spiritually and intellectually destructive dragon -- like holding the Cross before a vampire, or the Enquirer in front of Hillary.
Where and what are these Principles?
As I have mentioned before, the first one is surely that Truth exists and man may know it. What is the alternative? That truth doesn't exist? Or that man cannot know it? Either one is the end of all rational thought, for it is to condemn man to an absolute and irremediable cosmic stupidity.
Now if Religion is true, it seems to me that its very purpose would be to incarnate these Principles without which our minds cannot be saved -- especially from themselves. Or in other words, religion is here to save us from the bullshit, precisely. Or, let us say that a religion is true insofar as it conveys to us the Principles and cuts through the bullshit.
I want to say that Thomas Aquinas did this, but again, think of the energy he expended to get the job done! How many millions of words did he write? You could literally spend your entire life studying him, but is there an easier way, a Raccoon way, a Tao te Slack?
It seems to me that the Ten Commandments would be a fine way to start. The first three, in one form or another, are absolutely essential to mental hygiene, that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; that Thou shalt have no other gods before me; and that Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
For me, this is all really a way of saying that Truth exists and man may know it: that Truth is what saves us from slavery and sets us free; that we are not It; and that attempts to fashion our own truth separate from the one Truth are doomed to failure.
There is another principle we've often discussed, which happens to be the founding principle of the United States: that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thus, our founding document takes Principle One and Commandments one through three for granted. For example, recall that Jefferson's original idea for the design of the seal of the United States was Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt; or Hamilton's crack that the sacred rights -- and I would add principles -- of mankind are written in human nature "by the hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased by mortal power"; or Jefferson's gag that "the God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time."
It only makes sense, because truth and freedom must be complementary. That is to say, an unfree being could never discover truth, and if truth doesn't exist, then we are hardly free -- rather, just condemned to meaningless horizontal drift through the cosmic bullshit.
To become cultivated is to understand that a particular class of questions is meaningless.
The leftist emulates the devout who continue venerating the relic after the miracle has been proved to be a hoax. --Aphorisms of Don Colacho.