Friday, May 06, 2011

Bleeding Brain Conservatism and the Human Margin

I much prefer "bleeding brain" to "compassionate" conservatism, the reason being that conservatism is already the height of compassion, at least if we examine results (which are objective and measurable) and not just good intentions (which are entirely subjective). Just look at India and China, where a billion or so people have been lifted out of poverty as a result of putting a brake on socialist compassion and inching toward the free market.

It is always possible to have boundless compassion, but only if one is a liberal. The moment we are dealing with the real world, compassion is not only bounded -- because scarce resources with alternative uses is a price of existence -- but fraught with unintended consequences.

To be a man means to have an envy-haunted imagination, which means that there is never enough stuff for anyone. This is proved by the fact that two-thirds of Americans go to bed hungry and fat. Or that half of them insist that the state isn't big enough. Or that my child is bored by Christmas afternoon.

If we consider only intent, then quite naturally pretty much everything is compassionate, from socialized medicine to the Islamic Jihad to purchasing another toy with which my son will be bored in five minutes.

I will stipulate that the majority of people who wish to impose state controlled healthcare believe they have my best interests at heart. But so too do the Islamic barbarians who wish to impose on us a Caliphate worse than death.

So everyone -- liberal and conservative alike -- should be able to agree that compassion as such, unleavened by deep and sophisticated thought, is a childish thing. Which doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing -- indeed, it is clearly a good -- if limited to the micro realm in which it evolved, i.e., to family and friends.

But if we try to systematically translate it to the macro realm, then trouble is in store (there are exceptions of course, eg. large scale and unforeseeable disasters).

"Love thy neighbor" is one thing. But to imagine it is possible to love 300 million strangers if only we can extract sufficient taxes is lunacy. The philosophists behind the French Revolution loved everyone, as did Marx and Lenin. America's founders, not so much.

Besides, the government doesn't love. Rather, as our Founders recognized, governments have powers and that is all. That being the case, they decided to create a government with clearly defined and strictly limited powers. This means that there are certain things it is forbidden to do, no matter how "compassionate" its vulgar representatives.

Conversely, a monarch -- or religious leader, for that matter -- can be guided by malevolence, or compassion, or any other emotion. There is no limit to feelings.

This preramble has been brought to you by our sponsor, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, which I read last weekend. There's not much in it that a libertarian or (classical liberal) conservative won't already know, but there is quite a bit that the religious believer might not.

As a result, a religious conservative might well have some residue of cognitive dissonance in enthusiastically embracing capitalism, since we are often told that there is something incompatible between the two. The purpose of this book is to disabuse us of any such notion, and to demonstrate that free markets are the only cosmically correct economic arrangement for the thinking Christian.

A key principle is evolution. All of the major religions were born and developed in static and unevolving cultures. Thus, certain doctrines will apply only to this specific type of culture.

Put it this way: limiting our discussion to Christianty, it has certain core principles that of course transcend history and culture. But certain other aspects are worked out at what Schuon calls the "human margin," and are not necessarily eternal. They are inspired and "sanctified," but cannot be applied universally when conditions undergo a fundamental change.

This is just common sense. We all know that lying is bad, but not if you lie to the Nazi who wants to know where Ms. Frank is hiding. Is this hypocrisy or inconsistency? Hardly.

"Divine influence is total only for the Scriptures and for the essential consequences of the Revelation"; but this "always leaves a 'human margin,'" where the revelation "exerts no more than an indirect action, letting ethnic or cultural factors speak" (Schuon).

It is generally the transitional area where certain exoteric pieties and practices emerge and crystalize, but again, these conventions can be counterproductive when terrestrial conditions change. A most obvious example is envy, which served a purpose under conditions of band-level organization, but is extremely counter-productive in the contemporary world.

The human margin is what allows the universal revelation to be tailored to this or that group. Most people are not esoterists, and therefore require the human margin as a point of entry into the divine.

As Schuon explains, if this were not the case, then "there would be no theological elaborations, nor would there be any divergences in orthodoxy, and the first Father of the Church would have written one single theological treatise which would have been exhaustive and definitive." There would have been no need for an Eckhart, an Aquinas, a Balthasar, and a host of other religious geniuses.

Schuon makes the subtle point that there are "men who are inspired by the Holy Spirit because and to the extent that they are Saints," but "others who are Saints because and to the extent that they are inspired by the Holy Spirit."

To put it another way, these two may be visualized as:


But in the overall scheme of cosmic recycling, these two movements break out into time and person and back into God and eternity in one deuscontinuous mattercycle ride (according to metaphysicians as diverse as Aquinas, Eckhart, and Maximus the Confessor).

In my opinion, nearly all of the traditional objections to capitalism were and are at the human margin. A quintessential example is the injunction against the charging of interest, which Richards deals with in chapter six.

The very concept of "interest" meant something entirely different in a static agrarian culture in which a handful of oligarchs ruled over a vast majority of subsistence farmers, who mostly bartered with neighbors and kin. No one had the slightest notion of a fluid and dynamic economy in which money is abstract, immaterial, fertile, and a key to unleashing human creativity, growth, and efficient allocation of resources.

In order to understand something at the human margin, we must try to apprehend the principle it embodies. Just as you wouldn't loan money to your wife or child at usurious rates of interest, it would have been wrong for, say, a wealthy nobleman in medieval times to trap peasants into a cycle of debt they could never repay.

This is still wrong today, which is why it was wrong for Jimmy Carter to ever sign the Community Reinvestment Act into law, and why it was wrong for private actors to exploit reckless or irresponsible borrowers through subprime loans. But we cannot generalize from this to say that "interest is bad." One can never condemn anything on the basis of consequences that flow from its misuse.

As Richards writes, "What's interesting about the Christian West is not that it once condemned all charging of interest, but that it eventually learned to make careful distinctions and develop vibrant, wealth-creating capitalist economies with sophisticated banking systems."

He quotes another scholar, who writes that "The scholastic theory of usury is an embryonic theory of economics. Indeed, it is the first attempt at a science of economics known to the West."

In other words, Christians began using their heads and not just their hearts to think economically.

Just as we shouldn't look to scripture to tell us about the laws of physics, nor should we expect it to reveal the laws of economics. But it reveals much about the purpose of physics and of economics. Which, oddly enough, converge upon the same Attractor.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

God Spends Most of His Timelessness Arranging Meetings and Marriages

In Money, God, and Greed, author Jay Richards visits some of the same themes we've been discussing, in particular, the relationship between Christianity and the free market.

Obviously, capitalism wasn't always embraced by Christianity, and in certain two-bit quarters it is still regarded with deep resentment and suspicion. Fortunately, in the long run Christianity is -- and must be, if it is to embody Truth -- self-correcting.

No one would deny that evil is and has been done in the name of Christianity. But this does not mean that the evil is compatible with, much less authorized by, it. The same cannot be said of other religions of our acquaintance, some of which go so far as to make it a core principle to wage war upon those who do not buy it.

The fact that Christians are required to evangelize -- i.e., spread the good news -- is a source of great irritation to its detractors, as if another man's free exercise of his First Amendment rights is an affront.

But the same people are rarely bothered by the fact that one of its primary global competitors requires adherents to spread the awful news by waging violent jihad.

I am not troubled by the sappy religious folk who come a-knocking the odd Saturday to propagate their faith. I just politely inform them that we are one people divided by a common deity.

One time I even mentioned that they are wasting their breath, because I am already a devout Jehovial Witticist. It seems that they are trained to deal with most exigencies -- i.e., angry or busy residents, touchy atheists, the occasional paranoid Jew burdened by family memories of European pogroms. But that was a real conversation stopper. Try it at home!

It would be different, would it not, if the evangelists came equipped with Korans & Kalashnikovs, the latter imbuing the former with a little more gravity if not credibility?

Then, if they inquired as to whether I might like to consider their brand, I'd betray a tad more interest. "No, I am a stranger to this delightful kornucrapia of allahgory of which you speak. Tell me more!"

Back when I was a prickly atheist, I was much more combative with these porch-dwelling idiobots, in the manner of our loonitarian trolls. Polymythic hack of all tirades that I am, I would unleash the full irehose of absecular certainties, secure in my manmode knowledge that Science had vanquished the mysteries of existence.

I would try to hang them up with the good noose of natural selection, bop them with the big bang, darken my doorstep with the arrogance of the Enlightenment, sometimes even depack them with the tired gnostrums of some windy Hindi or commie swami, but to no effect. It all went straight under their heads. Their faith was equal to mine, plus they wouldn't even admit that I had none!

Ironic, isn't it, that I now have more in common -- even if it isn't much -- with these naifs than with my former knave? How did this happen? How did the previous Bob turn out to be nothing more than a chrysalis presence with a big kookcoon inside?

That would be a long story, a soph-indulgent autobobography co-wrotten to the core principles. What was is none of my isness.

Now, as to the above-referenced book, it is an excellent corrective to the idea that capitalism is incompatible with Christianity. To the contrary, it is the only economic system that is (potentially) fully compatible with its principles.

And of course, it is only compatible to the extent that it is populated by souls within the Judeo-Christian historical stream, if not in word, then certainly in deed. Is the latter possible? Of course not.

It very much reminds me of our Constitution, which was hammered out by Christian men animated by Judeo-Christian principles (the Bible is cited far more often than any other source in the writings of the Founders), fully enmeshed in a Judeo-Christian civilization.

But actually putting the document into practice was a very different matter. In reading this excellent biography of Hamilton, it becomes quite evident that the whole thing would have gone to pieces if the right type of men had not been there at the start.

Forget party, ideology, philosophy. If a valorous, virtuous, and incorruptible man such as George Washington hadn't been there, our nation never would have left the starting gate. And if an insanely brilliant and hyperactive visionary such as Hamilton hadn't been there at his side, forget about it. Washington could never have done what Hamilton did, and vice versa.

And the trail of unlikely events and bizarre coincidences that links a singular Washington to a singular Hamilton is just too outlandish to contemplate. It's as if the only two men in the world capable of accomplishing what they did somehow bumped into each other. You are free to dismiss it as coincidence. I do not.

For I do not believe that something so cosmically profound, so fraught with world-historical significance, can be likened to a couple of billiard balls randomly pushed around in the void. (By the way, the same applies to the origins of existence, life, and mind).

I understand that the secular weltanscam is founded entirely upon the premise that the lower fully accounts for the higher, chaos for order, and meaninglessness for meaning.

Different yolks for different folks. I realize mine is somehow over easy and sunnyside up. If that makes me a free-ranging fertile egghead, then so be it.

Apologize for the abloviated post, but I have an early day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Why the Chosen Always Have Arrows in their Backs

Let's be honest. When we talk about American exceptionalism, we're really talking about Judeo-Christian exceptionalism, since we are literally the only nation founded upon, and imbued with, Judeo-Christian values and principles.

And when we say "exceptionalism," does this equate to triumphalism? Of course not -- any more than Jews being the "chosen people" implies some sort of crass self-aggrandizement.

To the contrary: chosenness is a grave responsibility from which most peoples would -- and did, in the oral tradition -- shrink: "thanks but no thanks." God only makes offers you can refuse.

Most worthless cultures can bumble along in the shadows of history and escape getting screwtinied, while the Israelights had to glow up in public and to this day cannot evade the slimelight of dimmer bulbarians.

No one expects anything of Chinese, or Arabs, or Eskimos. The UN holds them to no moral standard, and rightfully so. When Muslims desecrate an American soldier, we are appalled but not surprised. But mishandle the body of a genocidal Muzz-murderer? Day of rage!

It is very much as if the dark powers do indeed recognize Israel as chosen, hence their double standard in a psychopathic worldview that is otherwise devoid of a single standard. For the other nations, whatever; for Israel, perfection.

Thus, the UN's vicious defamation of Israel is a kingly title. As is the left's vilification of America. After all, how is the left supposed to react in the face of wanton and senseless goodness? With indifference? The left is under no moral obligation to turn the other cheek to decency, but will attack it with a vengeance, from the Boy Scouts to the ROTC to the sanctity of marriage.

This just in, a comment from Mizz E linking to Mark Steyn's take on Fukuyama. Let's see what he has to say....

Very good. It's just a short blast, but he points out the absurdity of holding out socialist Denmark as some sort of ideal toward which the cosmos is laboring:

'The Muslim world is certainly “getting to Denmark”. It’s also getting to the Netherlands, to Austria, to France, and beyond. In Scandinavia and in other advanced western societies, the state grows ever bolder in constraining freedom of expression and other core western liberties. In the interests of enforcing the state religion of a hollow and delusional “multiculturalism”, basic tenets of Fukuyama’s “rule of law” – including due process, the truth as defense, and equality before the law – are tossed aside in the multiculti version of heresy trials. As recent decisions in Michigan suggest, America is not immune to this trend.'

No. The question, as always, is how to get to America, both literally and figuratively. As to the former, is there any nation on earth to which more people would rather get? That was certainly the case for my father, who gettled here in 1948.

And why did he want to get here? Because he knew that he would have the uppertunity -- only the chance, mind you -- to embark upon the adventure of consciousness and be someone. Had he remained in England he would have likely stayed a no one due to the sclerotic and ambition-killing class system of the time. There he would have been a mason or mechanic; here he was able to leverage an eighth grade education into a corporate executive position.

When we say "class," it is really another way of saying "tribe." The more abstract notion of class is nevertheless superimposed upon the subterranean waters of blood and kin.

Thus, to escape from class or kin is to make a run for individualism, for a true individual is always in a class by himself.

Which is why the B'ob can neither follower nor followed be. Trolls who accuse him of failing to meet the requirements of some fantasied group are missing the point entirely. It is like telling a jazz musician, "hey, you just strayed from the melody! Get back in line!" But to paraphrase Einstein, to be in a marching band requires nothing more than a hindbrain.

Now, as we have always emphasized, the family is the penultimate basis (the Trinity being ultimate) of our unique identity, and all three -- God, family, and person -- are sacred. Different family arrangements result in very different kinds of people. This is axiomatic, but Fukuyama provides abundant historical evidence for skeptics who will not believe unless they can place their hand in the wound.

Each part of the trimorphic family -- Mother-Father-Baby -- is equally important to its evolution, which is why, for example, cultures that value the female will produce healthier children. Just look at the Arab world, where females are second-class citizens and the men are first-class nuts. (And of course we are speaking in generalizations, without which thought is impossible.)

It is an absurdly self-flattering myth of the left that the "feminist movement" somehow emerged from nowhere in the modern west. For one thing, the movement was an effect, never a cause of what it purported to seek. These bitter misandrists continue to throw themselves like lemmings against doors that are wide open. Or so my wife tells me.

At any rate, Fukuyama shows that in the West there was a more enlightned attitude toward women very early on -- certainly prior to the so-called Enlightenment. Even in the late Middle Ages, "Englishwomen had the right to hold and dispose of property freely and to sell it to individuals outside the family..." From no later than the 13th century, they could "sue and be sued, and make wills and contracts without permission of a male guardian."

This is an indication not of liberation from men -- since true liberation always involves a co-evolution of all members of the trimorphic family -- but "of the deterioration of tribal organization" (ibid.). While the latter may well have been "patriarchal," to suggest that the average man of 1000 AD gloried in his worldly power is just so much feminist piffle.

One critical point about the healthy trimorphic family is that it is future-oriented, a stance that is rife with implications. Fukuyama contrasts this with the Chinese, for whom the family was upside-down and backward: "Confucian moralists were clear that individuals had stronger obligations to their parents than to their own children, and Chinese law severely punished children who behaved in unfilial ways."

In profound ways, this created a backward-looking, static, and unevolving culture, which is a major reason why the transition to communism was really just more of the same, only under a modern ideological guise. It is the same with the backward-looking progressives of the left.

Since the family is the hinge of psychopneumatic evolution, it should come as no surprise that Job One of the left is to undermine the family in each of its three components.

It devalues fatherhood by replacing it with the state (and that's just for starters). It devalues motherhood by insisting that women should emulate men (so long as the men are safely neutered); and it systematically assaults childhood in any number of sinister ways. I won't even chronicle them here, for if you have a child and you are sane, you are already well aware of them. To be a responsible parent now includes protecting your children from the toxic soul environment of the left.

In these parts it began with Marx, who reduced the family from sacred soul-incubator to mere "money relation."

Indeed, one of the central arguments for the redefinition of marriage is its supposed monetary benefits. Thus, to even respond to such a vulgar argument is to concede the argument to the vulgarian who advances it. Marriage is a cosmic sacrament. Man did not invent -- and could not have invented -- this Fact.

Rather, we can only preserve and memorialize it through ritual and ceremony. "Homesexual marriage" simply cannot be without undermining the foundation of the cosmic spiritual economy. To imagine that two men can marry is to literally have no idea what marriage is. Conversely, to know what marriage is is to place a bullseye on one's back.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Obama

In a comment yesterday, ge linked to a review of Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order at Slate. Although there is nothing wrong with the review, it highlights the truism that a review is always as much if not more about the reviewer than the object under scrutiny.

In a serious review of a serious author, one mind is bringing itself to bear upon another, in a process that is simultaneously passive and active. In order to enter the author's world, we must passively allow him to enter our head and make his presentation.

But in the end, this is no more possible than, say, listening to a new song while forgetting what one knows about music, most of which is implicit, not explicit. In general, our implicit knowledge surpasses our explicit knowledge, certainly in significance if not "amount" (i.e., quality vs. quantity).

Through implicit awareness, we are able to instantaneously and transrationally intuit potential meaning and significance, i.e., those avenues that are worth the trouble of exploring in order to gain explicit knowledge. Any kind of cognitive endeavor is characterized by this complementarity of implicit/explict (or tacit/focal, in Polanyi's terms), whether scientific, philosophical, or religious.

It is a dangerous error to regard oneself as a rationalistic "blank slate," for the human mind is filled with preconceptions, the most important of which antedate our personal existence. Some of these are genetic, others cultural and linguistic, others what we call "archetypal," still others "principial" or metaphysical. For the average person, his deepest assumptions are buried beneath the conscious mind, and never clearly articulated.

The most bitter political struggles are generally taking place at one of these much deeper dimensions, e.g., the war -- and it is a war, only generally without guns -- between conservative individualism and leftist collectivism. For as we have been discussing, "individualism" is an extraordinarily rare, subtle and infinitely significant cosmic fact.

From our perspective, just as the left assumes the existence of wealth that needs only to be "distributed" "fairly" after the fact, they also assume the existence of the individual, as if there are not very specific historical, cultural, familial, religious, and other factors that give rise to it.

This latter assumption leads to any number of psychopathologies, both individually and culturally (and to even conjoin the words "cultural" and "pathology" is a no-no on the left unless dealing with conservative Americans). One especially glaring example is the destruction leftist policies have wrought upon the black family over the past half century.

This is inevitable, because if one actually believes that a family is just "anything," then one will exercise no caution whatsoever in messing with its delicate environment.

Indeed, leftists will exercise considerably more caution in dealing with tree slugs or sea turtles than human beings. Leftists never conduct "environmental impact studies" to determine what their laws will do to the human soul. They are much more concerned with second hand smoke than with third rate Marxist professors blowing smoke at our young adolts.

But this only goes back to one of their implicit assumptions: that there is no soul to be impacted. Rather, the left's unending social engineering assumes that they can shape and fundamentally change the human being through public policy. What we call the immortal soul they call "putty in our hands."

For example, if human beings are "greedy," the left proposes to simply punish this anonymous group with higher taxes in order to create a vast state to make them more "generous." At best, this merely transforms private greed into public greed, except that, ironically, we have less power to fight public greed than we do private greed.

The democracy of the free market ultimately mitigates the latter, but there are parasites lodged so deeply in the leftist state that they are virtually "eternal" and beyond our reach. Is there no way to rid ourselves of the Education Department, deference to the UN, agricultural subsidies, foreign aid for Palestinians who seek the destruction of our way of life, funding for state-controlled media propagandists, abortion mills hiding behind "family planning," etc?

The welfare state is like Islam. Once the latter conquers a territory, it is supposed to be forever subdued and part of the Dar al-Islam. And once the left conquers a portion of our liberty, there is no going back.

This is the great danger of the regression to socialized medicine, which renders our physical well-being -- our most intimate private property -- an extension of the Dar al-Obama. This is a cosmic monstrosity that has no right to exist. It is entirely outside the limited constitutional government -- the liberal republic -- established by our founders.

Remember, there was a time, not too long ago, that no wealth existed. This would be prior to the agricultural revolution. The latter brought with it wealth, i.e., surplus, but no understanding of how wealth is created.

There was also a time that no individuals existed. Man evolves first as a social being; this must indeed be the case, for the individual can only evolve in the dialectical matrix of communion with others, beginning with the (m)Other.

I'm getting way sidetracked here. My original point was how differently we engage reality, based upon our implicit preconceptions. I notice this every day, on a moment-to-moment basis, as random things are simultaneously illuminated by, and attractive to, my preconceptions.

But "preconceptions" sounds too clinical. In reality we are talking about a "soul attraction" that exerts its force -- and it is an ontologically real force -- in two directions. This is what a Raccoon calls the essential erotics of being, a phrase which I have playgiarized from Christopher Bollas.

When you get right down to it, human being -- the beingness of our humanness -- consists of a kind of rhythm and economy of attraction. We are attracted to certain things; and certain things attract us.

Likewise with repulsion, which has its higher and lower modes of operation. For example, vomiting is a primitive defense mechanism for ridding our body of a foreign invader.

But so too is the queasiness we feel in the presence of certain malevolent souls and ideas. If you should ever lose contact with this critical soul-defense, you will surely become lost and disOriented in the cosmos. If certain people and ideas do not make you want to vomit, then you probably can't be helped. Even Jesus himself occasionally spews, cf. Rev 3:16.

I am fully aware of the fact that I cause indigestion in our trolls. The question is, why? And why do they enjoy making themselves sick? As to the first, it is because I challenge all of their deepest assumptions about the ways and whys of the cosmos.

I will be the first to acknowledge that the left has this adverse effect on me. But I certainly don't seek it out. I don't have to, because it is everywhere. Rather, I try to avoid it.

Conversely, people have to make a special point of coming to visit me in the slackatoreum. I know of no one else who shares my specific world view. If I did, it wouldn't be so lonely here in Upper Tonga. Indeed, even the people I most admire would undoubtedly want to keep me at arm's length, to put it mildly.

Regarding my delicate digestion, I could only stomach about thirty seconds of Obama's vulgarly self-aggrandizing statement on Sunday night. And it wasn't just the pettiness and gracelessness that I found disturbing.

My aesthetic sensibilities were also wounded by his attempt to reach beyond the limitations of his eighth-grade level of prose. Where is Bill Ayers when you need him? Probably professional courtesy. He didn't want to get involved in dissing a fellow terrorist.

a bright September day was darkened... The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory... a cloudless September sky... The empty seat at the dinner table... a gaping hole in our hearts.... the American people came together... We reaffirmed our ties to each other... we were united as one American family...

Oh, c'mon. Here's what happened in the real world: an evil psychopath with religious delusions took out two of our buildings with 3000 human beings inside. Do this and we will destroy you. We will dispatch men of granite from the future who will reach down into your festering sinkhole of history and pull you out by the gonads. We will tear your evil ideology from the earth, root and branch. If you want to live like a stinking animal, hey, move to some desolate corner of Pakistan and go nuts. But don't even think about imposing this on the rest of us, because we will put a sunroof in your skull faster than a jihadi can hide behind his whore, and pass the rest of you through whatever sea creatures happen to find you floating by.

Jeez, I keep getting sidetracked. Let's get back to the subject at hand. Yesterday I was reading the March 2011 Hillsdale Imprimus and came across the following statement by the eminent economist Gary Becker:

"I am struck by the similarity between the [Catholic] church's view of the relationship between the family and the economy and the view of economists -- arrived at by totally independent means. Economic and spiritual concerns appear to point in the same direction."

What direction might this be? Well, first of all it is a direction. And only an evolutionary cosmos guided by an attractor can have a direction.

Obviously, the Darwinian world can have no real direction, nor can any materialistic metaphysic in general. And since progressivism is ultimately rooted in Marxian materialism, it cannot have a proper direction either.

Which should not surprise us, since progressivism is the very codification of principles that erode progress -- principles such as private property, the rule of law (e.g., the Constitution), the sanctity of the traditional family, religious ethics, self-discipline, delayed gratification, etc. -- or what the Raccoon refers to as "vertical capital."

In short, horizontal capital is predicated on vertical capital, more on which as we go along. At the moment I'm swamped with work, and must get to it.

Monday, May 02, 2011

God Hates Equality

I thought that might grab your attention. Yes, it is hyperbole. But it's not just hyperbole, for if God were partial to equality, he could have created a static and unevolving cosmos with no distinctions or levels whatsoever, just a big relativistic blob of multicultural goo -- instead of a liberating universe, a liberal university.

But our cosmos is nothing like this, thank God! That we are created equal, we know; but "equal" hardly means "equivalent."

For not only is it a full employment cosmos, each with his proper role to play, but it is characterized by an inward mobility through which we may ceaselessly develop and improve -- or fully actualize -- the gifts conferred by the Creator.

This latter characteristic is especially queer, for there is no other realm in the world that is subject to unlimited growth. Only the soul may continue assimilating reality and expanding forever.

Or at least no one has yet come close to reaching its limits. Even the cosmos -- paradoxically -- is closed and finite. And yet, it "contains" something that not only contains it, but is ultimately contained by nothing with the exception of O, which is extra-cosmic and beyond being.

One of the reasons Christianity is here is to annunciate and memorialize this metaphysic, and to render it operational.

Conversely, to the extent that man forgets this primordial truth, he is lost. He can be lost in a primitive way, as in the Islamic world, or in a pseudo-sophisticated way, as are the tenured, but he is nonetheless Ørphaned and adrift in a meaningless world, condemned to shout his inanities into the void.

Critically, this escape into the inscape occurred in only one place in history, in the Christian West (for our Jewish friends, we are naturally assuming the Judeo- component, since we are talking about a single "arc of salvation"). Fukuyama -- who is again clearly not coming at this from a religious perspective, but a disinterested sociological one -- documents how differently western Europe developed in comparison to China, India, and the Ottoman empire, each of the latter being rooted in very different metaphysics.

Now clearly, we cannot speak of "multiple" metaphysics. Of all the sciences known to man, only metaphysics can be truly "one," truly objective, and truly true (or "relatively absolute"). It is nothing like science, which has competing or tentative hypotheses for every phenomenon.

Science is a paradigm we superimpose upon phenomena, but it knows nothing of the noumenon beneath, behind, or above it all, for the phenomena are its shadow, so to speak. Plus, science can never be truly unified unless it sacrifices either completeness or consistency, a la Gödel.

But metaphysics is the "science of the whole," so to speak, so there can be no entity or event or theory or even religion (if the religion is to transmit Truth) that exists or takes place outside its purview.

In the past, we have spoken of Christianity not as a religion, but as the cure for religion.

This is only half-ironic, for in very important ways Christianity either contradicts what called itself "religion" prior to its emergence, or else it assimilates and sanctifies partial or garbled religious understandings in a higher Light (and again we are not speaking of Judaism, which is a special case).

One very obvious way that Christianity corrects and "cures" pre-Christian religion is in its emphasis on the sanctity and supreme worth of the individual. It cannot be overemphasized the extent to which the emergence of the individual marks an unprecedented and shocking Cosmic Fact -- the most important "fact" in all of creation.

This is a fact that cannot and will not be denied, for to deny it is to affirm it. In other words, the Knower of fact is obviously superior to the fact; either the Knower knows and therefore contains the fact, or vice versa.

"European society was," writes Fukuyama, "individualistic at a very early point, in the sense that individuals and not their families or kin groups could make important decisions about marriage, property, and other personal issues."

Cosmic evolution is very much rooted in the family, which is entirely conversant with what I know to be true of human psychological development: "Individualism in the family is the foundation of all other individualisms. Individuals did not wait for the emergence of a state declaring the legal rights of individuals and using the weight of its coercive power to enforce those rights."

"Rather," -- and this is a key point -- "states were formed on top of societies in which individuals already enjoyed substantial freedom from social obligations to kindreds. In Europe, social development preceded political development" (Fukuyama).

And what was true in Europe was and is even more so in the New and Improved World, which codified this metaphysical principle in its founding document. Men did not first figure out that they were created in liberty; rather, they first lived and embodied the freedom, and only then reasoned about its source, its foundation, and its ultimate purpose. Only posterior to this embodiment does it become cosmically "self-evident."

Prior to this, we must take it on faith that the Bible is telling us the truth when it affirms that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17).

Liberty and equality are inverse variables, and in critical ways define the distinction between contemporary conservative liberals and illiberal leftists.

Ever since the French Revolution, the cosmically reactionary left has vaunted égalité over liberté, while the conservative revolution of America was fought for our freedom.

Our founders were freedom fighters, not feudal fighters struggling to make everyone equally beholden to the state master. And they were passionate about the relationship between hierarchy and liberty, for nothing destroys liberty like egalitarianism (not even the system against which they were rebelling; to the contrary, 18th century England was the freest place on earth).

Like all primitive peoples, the pre-Christian west was originally organized on the basis of tribes. In the past we have discussed how, in order for economic development to occur, human beings must crash through the "envy barrier."

But in many ways, the envy barrier is simply a function of the tribal barrier, for envy is one of the psychic mechanisms through which the tribe imposes unity and survives through time.

The question is, how did we accomplish this? And why the counter-revolution of the reactionary left?

Gotta take the boy to school. To be continued...

Yeah, baby, gotta be me, even or especially if I'm the only swingin' black Jewish Nixon-hugging dwarf in existence:

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