Wednesday, April 05, 2017

We Hold these Twerks to be Self-Evident

My point is this: it used to be said that we shouldn't discuss politics or religion in public, or at least with casual acquaintances. Why is this?

Because people feel passionately about these subjects, and because there is no way to resolve disagreements. Therefore, we'll just get into a passionate disagreement and our enlightened liberal friends will disown us.

But if the Founders are correct, then there is most certainly a way to resolve political disagreements, at least fundamental ones.

That is to say, our entire political system is rooted in ontological truths that are said to be self-evident. And someone who is incapable of recognizing a self-evident truth is what they called a "jackass." How and why would you bother arguing with such a person?

Now, being a human is difficult. And if we don't have access to truth, then it is just a nuisance, an annoying imposition.

Another way of putting it is that because God has created us, we are "entitled," so to speak, to truth. This no doubt sounds impertinent or presumptuous, but think about it. If you bring a child into the world, that child is absolutely entitled to your love, protection, and eventually education. It is not presumptuous for the child to expect these, for they are "in the nature of things."

God is many things, including Creator, Person, Father, and Spirit (or presence) of Truth. We are the way we are because He is the way He is. Accusing God of creating beings who love truth while denying them access to it, does no credit to God, for it renders him a deadbeat deity.

Back to our main point: that in both politics and religion there exist self-evident truths. Which is not to say they are evident to everyone at all times. For example, there are countless self-evident truths in math and logic, but we nevertheless have to be exposed to them and cognitively adequate to grasp them.

The classical liberalism of the Founders is rooted in a commonsense realism through which the "unfettered intellect" may "appreciate how divinely endowed freedom is innate to the human condition" (Curry).

But the modern left has jettisoned this self-evident truth in favor of a "counterfeit doctrine" that assumes "the state's right of almost limitless power over the individual to ensure equality of result," simultaneously ignoring human nature while trying to alter it. The result is a kind of inhuman, anti-human, or infrahuman monster.

Why monster? Many people, going back to the Bible, have observed that Hell is a place where reason is inoperative. Raccoons will have noticed that any time they have been in a hellish relationship with someone, it has been because reason was impotent.

Indeed, isn't this the meta-theme of our contemporary political scene? Here's an example of a monstrous vision of hell well beyond Dante's most perfervid imaginings: a man dressed in short shorts twerking in public to get his way. (Refer back to paragraph four above: how and why would you bother arguing with such a person? At best, you can mount a counter-twerk.)

So, the classical liberalism of the founders, in which humans have access to self-evident truths by virtue of being human, has given way to a gnostic political cult whereby an elite cadre of "self-appointed experts could explain all the mysteries of man's physical and spiritual existence."

How could it be otherwise if human beings have no access to the self-evident truths that ground and orient our lives? Modern liberalism makes no effort to conceal its lack of "confidence in the individual to think and function freely apart from government coercion." It assumes "that only properly coached and powerful elites and their technocrats [can] curb unhelpful personal expression and misguided individual choices to achieve more cosmic goals of equality and perceived collective fairness."

Lincoln made a very frightening prediction, that "the philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." D'oh! These leftoid monsters inculcated an entirely new set of foundational truths while our backs were turned! It is no exaggeration to say I spent the first half of my life assimilating those anti-truths, the second half trying to extricate myself from them, the third half ridiculing them.

It occurred to me while reading this book that, just as we need a Christian apologetics, all citizens should be equipped with an American apologetics. Peter said to always be ready to give a logical and coherent defense to anyone who asks you to account for your faith. But all Americans should be equally ready to give a logical and coherent account for their faith in our political system.

Might be a good idea to toss this into the "extreme vetting" procedures. Just ask applicants to give a logical and coherent account for their faith in our political system.

As an aside, we've had a few comments from a Muslim guest who believes we are being unfair to Islam. I certainly don't want to be unfair, just accurate. And there is no Islamic state, nor could there ever be one, that is founded upon extra-Koranic self-evident truths available to man by virtue of his humanness. Rather, to my knowledge, every Muslim state is rooted in a sharia law that transcends and negates (if it doesn't deny altogether) the natural law that is our common earthright.

Curry quotes the philosopher Thomas Reid -- whose commonsense realism was a major influence on the Founders -- who wrote of "certain principles or dictates of common sense" which constitute "the foundation of all reasoning" and without which we descend into contradiction and incoherence.

Reid's "fundamental insight was that our ability to make sense of our experience presupposes certain first principles." These principles "are implicit in our conduct and our thought," such that "to deny or even doubt any of them is to involve ourselves in absurdity." It is in this sense that they are self-evident. As Schuon was saying the other day about religious truths, they are recognized by a kind of perception as opposed to being "conclusions."

It comes down to asking ourselves what we are doing when we are thinking. Whatever it is, it cannot be seen directly, but rather, is implicit in the very act of thinking. What's a good analogy... I suppose it's like twerking in public, which presupposes a transcendent ability to make an ass of oneself.

8 comments:

julie said...

It occurred to me while reading this book that, just as we need a Christian apologetics, all citizens should be equipped with an American apologetics. Peter said to always be ready to give a logical and coherent defense to anyone who asks you to account for your faith. But all Americans should be equally ready to give a logical and coherent account for their faith in our political system.

For a time, that was part and parcel of any school curriculum. These days, history and civics have been swallowed up by social studies in grade school, and social justice studies in college. End result: twerking in the street to protest... something??... in front of a house where the intended... recipients??... of the twerk were not home to see it in person. A shame, I'm sure. No doubt Ivanka and Jared would have been so amazed by the blinding beauty of this display that they would have renounced their Trumpness and cisgendered heteronormativity and flung themselves passionately into the loving embrace of alphabetsoupism and all things Leftist.

mushroom said...

Wow. I really don't see how we get back on course outside of Divine Intervention, and I believe that will happen. But it is likely to be messy.

julie said...

Yes, unfortunately. There is no hope in man. The fruits of all the worst failures of mankind are bursting with rottenness all around us, and yet a significant number of people are determined to make sure the same happens here; preferably on the heels of both hell and high water.

Prager had a video up today on Venezuela and socialism: the starvation, the violence, the utter destruction of the middle class. And yet even those living through it, many of them still think socialism is great.

Anonymous said...

"As an aside, we've had a few comments from a Muslim guest who believes we are being unfair to Islam. I certainly don't want to be unfair, just accurate. And there is no Islamic state, nor could there ever be one, that is founded upon extra-Koranic self-evident truths available to man by virtue of his humanness. Rather, to my knowledge, every Muslim state is rooted in a sharia law that transcends and negates (if it doesn't deny altogether) the natural law that is our common earthright."

The "unfairness" lies in the absurd generalization from lowest common denominator as representative of the norm, without contextualization and room for nuance. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world that span may different countries, cultures, socio-economic conditions, governments, etc. If the victims of ISIS are mostly Muslim, i.e., the adherents of Islam, how can people logically assert that this is due to Islam? While every human being is granted access to the Intellect in principle, this can be occluded by external factors, e.g., education, socio-economic factors, the actualization of the human potential in the body, etc. The Koran is an alleged Divine Revelation revealed to Muhammad, and as Schuon put it (I'm paraphrasing), 'Revelation is to the macrocosm what the Intellect is to the microcosm'. The Koran has numerous verses that urges its audience to use their "aql", or reason. That it does this means it presupposes such a capability in its listeners. Revelation's purpose is to save a soul no matter their intellectual capabilities. Not everyone is gifted with the aptitude to understand metaphysics, to distinguish between the "exoteric" and the "esoteric". Also, I would argue that there is nothing in an Islamic purview that is antithetical to Natural Law.

Gagdad Bob said...

Off the top of my head I can only think of about a dozen. Two seconds of googling found lots more, including this. In any event, I am empirically correct until the day a Muslim majority country founds a secular and limited government with enumerated and divided powers in order to protect natural rights that inhere in the individual. I just don't see how that is consistent with Islam, but I would love to be proved wrong.

julie said...

Agreed. Isn't that what we - that is, the majority of those who supported the war in Iraq and Afghanistan - were honestly hoping would happen after 9-11, that where there had been despotism and terror, instead Muslim majority nations respecting human rights and freedom would flourish? I know I did, anyway. Seems hopelessly naive now, but in truth I still wish that for them, even as I doubt very much it will ever happen.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

Thank you for the hospitality and I do appreciate your refusal to be unfair and your inclination to be accurate. In the context of the accurate, one has to remember the Syskes-Picot treaty and how the british and the french divided the arab land between them with the approval of the russian and appoint whom they want to rule under their supervision and the story continue only to be culminated by the ill-fated invasion of bush and company when the ruler of irak no longer obey their dictate, the ruler whom they have brought to the phony thrown. The stories of broken promises makes one vomits, Mr churchil writes to percy cox, the british appointed supervisor in irak, the same churchil who c.s. lewis refused to accept his honoring. In 2002 the foreign secretary of britian at the time observed that a lot of the problems we are facing are a consequences of our colonial past. The stories are ugly and despite the time is a continuum one has to move to the common sense realism of the scottish reid to save ourselves and others. God only solves our differences that is why we hear repeatedly that he will settle our differences. The divine program is a long-term program that consumes all the life span of each individual. The winner he who sticks with truth,what a difficult task. We have to remember we are guests in the god house despite the illusive appearances that we are guest in each other house. There is no sharia in the moslem land and there is no honest free rulers in the moslem land, anothe unhealthy generalisation which we can not avoid in the face of the perversive subjection of the islamic landscape. The judio-christian alliance, that to say not all jews and christian, who is ruling the world. only look to the bases of america across the globe.Let us at lest play fair with each other in a world, which is going to face terrible coming years.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

Sorry there is a sentence fall, the falling sentence is, to give the irakis promises but not to fufill them, after the appointed british supervisor in irak.