The Self-Evident Truth of the Founders and the Progsplaining of Monsters
In short, there is no way around an extra-rational judgment; the attempt to ground truth in reason alone quickly ends in tautology.
As Schuon puts it, "There is no faith without any knowledge, nor knowledge without any faith." That's just a fact. Any failure on your part to assent to its truth renders you a stone cold idiot, for "Faith is the intuition of the transcendent; unbelief stems from the layer of ice that covers the heart and excludes this intuition."
Now, there are two related kinds of extra-rational judgment; let us call the one "intuition," the other "faith." Each of these is a mode of perception of invisible realities.
To put it conversely, in the absence of faith and intuition, we wouldn't be able to see anything other than what we see physically, and would thereby be reduced to animality; or, we would see surfaces -- appearances -- only, with no access to underlying realities, whether scientific, aesthetic, or religious.
Faith is the implicit perception of an impending (vertical) discovery: not only will it be "rewarded" with the knowledge of which it is a foreshadow, it is already a kind of knowledge, in the same sense that a flower turning toward the light is already a kind of prelinguistic "knowledge of the sun."
Or, to quote Schuon, "The mystery of faith is in fact the possibility of an anticipatory perception in the absence of its content; that is, faith makes present its content by accepting it already, before the perception properly so-called." Faith is never static, but always on-the-way.
It seems to me that faith may be thought of as a kind of formalized intuition, whereas intuition is an informal faith.
In a way, these two have the same relationship as revelation and intellect: somewhere Schuon equates revelation to exteriorized (divine) intellect, and intellect to an interiorized revelation. Indeed, the existence of the intellect may be the most accessible miracle available to man.
The point is, a small minority of human beings are "intellectual" in the non-debased sense of the term (i.e., there are countless debased intellectuals, AKA the tenured).
But the Good News is that God is fair, such that the non-intellectual nevertheless has access to the highest wisdom available to the intellectual, via faith.
To be clear, the intellect is by no means superior to faith, for, to paraphrase Schuon, the latter involves intuition of the sophsame "intellectual object" that is the reality behind appearances. Both are ways to penetrate more deeply, from the surface to the ur-Face.
Faith is "to say 'yes' to the truth of God and of immortality – this truth which we carry in the depths of our heart," and "to see concretely what apparently is abstract." It is "a priori a natural disposition of the soul to admit the supernatural; it is therefore essentially an intuition of the supernatural, brought about by Grace."
Not to grind gears too abruptly, but all of this is just by way of a pre-ramble to discussion of another book I read over the weekend, Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea. One might be tempted to think the ideas presented above are excessively abstract or impractical, but it turns out they are the very essence of common sense.
Recall Madison's gag about how government -- or, let's say "political science" -- is "the greatest of all reflections on human nature." The reason this is so is that if we don't get human nature right, then our political system will be either stillborn or monstrous; and if we don't get our political system right, then it will produce stillborn or monstrous humans.
It reminds me of that line about how the problem with capitalism is capitalists, whereas the problem with socialism is socialism. Analogously, the problem with Christianity is Christians, whereas the problem with Islam certainly appears to be Islam, given how every majority Muslim country is such a trainwreck.
Back to my main point, which is that America was founded upon an ontological common sense that cannot be surpassed, only denied, eroded, or attacked. Which is what the left does, all day long, especially since Woodrow Wilson, who said as much quite explicitly (for progressives were more honest about their agenda in those days).
Wilson was nothing short of an American Monster. As far as he was concerned, "the Founders' propositions were only relevant to the time of the Founders," and "because history had moved on those propositions had been rendered obsolete."
Thanks for the tip, assoul!
In other words, what the Founders regarded as "self-evident truths" amounted to nothing more than historically conditioned illusions and/or expedients.
Let Wilson progsplain it to you rubes: although "a great deal of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual," we now know that this was just a lot of "vague sentiment and pleasing speculation." Thanks to the pretentious bloviating of Hegel, we know better: the state is the March of God on Earth.
"For Wilson, history had moved on and, as a result, the thinking of the Founders had become, as he says in the quote above, 'nonsense.'"
What kind of person presumes to reduce the undeniable truths that permit human flourishing to mere nonsense? A demonically inspired monster, that's who.
The "self-evident truths" propounded by the Founders were the precise opposite of historically conditioned beliefs subject to future revision. What they meant by the term "self-evident" was that the power to understand these truths was available to all human beings, by virtue of being human. They are "no sooner understood than they are believed," the reason being that "they 'carry the light of truth itself'" (Arthur Herman, in Curry).
I think I'll stop here. On the Raccoon calendar it is the Feast of Opening Day, and I need to finish my work before the sacrament of the First Pitch at 1:00.