Monday, March 18, 2013

Word War I

Well, I don't really have time for a proper post. Enough time for a good title, however. It reflects the fact that we really are in a three-sided war, with clowns to the left of us and jihadists to the right. But I'll have to get into more detail tomorrow. Meanwhile, in this post you will mainly learn what an incomplete post composed in about 15 minutes looks like.

Continuing with Friday's post on God's will and secondary causes, Schall points out that in normative Islam, "no objective distinction can exist between the right and wrong that Allah cannot change at will." In other words, rather than discovering objective moral truth, "All we have to do is find out whether he wills it or not." There is only the duality of authority <--> will/obedience instead of truth <--> intellect/knowledge.

Thus, Islam and Leftism are situated at either extreme of true morality, but they share the essential feature of being entirely subjective and arbitrary. This also makes them childish, because they are so wrapped up in will rather than reason.

In any event, "without logos, no reason remains for finding any distinction between right and wrong" (ibid.). In most of the Islamic world, "No academic space exists in which to examine the truth of a claim." Instead, there is "only violence in enforcing its stated and unexamined position" (ibid.).

But here again, this resembles the American university, minus the explicit violence: Schall notes "Islam has little place within it for a reasonable discussion of the truth of its own tenets." By way of compensation, both Islam and the Left simply persecute those who do have the temerity to examine their tenets, or who deviate from them. Neither has any real openness to the fulness of reality. It's the same inner pathology, just a different form.

In the Christian tradition, the cosmos is intrinsically meaningful, since it is created by God and infused with his logos. Therefore, everything that exists is truth, qua its existence.

In other words, you might say that with creation, God "doesn't deceive us," so to speak: "the world was not created before the Word, which was itself uncreated. The origin of the world is, in fact, Word" (and I believe that in Judaism one could substitute Torah for word).

For Schall, "the internal order of the cosmos presupposes the internal order within the Godhead." Obedience to God is obedience to Truth, but this Truth is not something totally apart from the Truth-logos that infuses creation.

But for the left, there can be no intrinsic truth in existence, while for Islam the truth of existence is entirely extrinsic and known exclusively to God. Both approches render existence as we find it in the herebelow absurd. (I might add that I am not discussing Islam as it is "supposed to be" or as it could be, merely as it is understood and practiced in predominantly Muslim countries, so blame them, not me. Prager's Still the Last Best Hope is very good on this point.)

Again, for us, word and being are inseparably conjoined. Not only does knowledge infuse being, but again, existence itself is a kind of truth: to exist is to exist as truth and to therefore be intelligible; or, to put it inversely, nothing intrinsically false can exist, for this would be an absurdity. Something can become false -- mostly human beings and their kooky ideas -- but this is to deviate from their prior truth. My word is my bond. Or His, rather.


julie said...

But for the left, there can be no intrinsic truth in existence, while for Islam the truth of existence is entirely extrinsic and known exclusively by God. Both approches render existence as we find it in the herebelow absurd.

In both cases, the locus of control lies somewhere outside the self: for leftists, it's in the genes or the matter or the neurons, while for Islamists it's the whim of a capricious god. Either way, the indivual is not really expected to exert self control; indeed, that would almost be counterproductive. Thus the leftist indulges and celebrates every passion and expects the world to hold him blameless, while the Islamist acts out every aggressive urge, likewise expecting to be held blameless. To the left, everyone is a slut, while to the Islamist, every slut must be punished.

mushroom said...

Obedience to God is obedience to Truth, but this Truth is not something totally apart from the Truth-logos that infuses creation.

Something like the Decalogue gives us the boundaries that define our playing field -- or battlefield as the case may be. The Constitution was meant to do the same thing -- for government -- limit it to allow for maximum individual freedom. Both say that we should stop at these points because they coincide with the boundaries inherent in the cosmos.

Like natural landmarks -- a man-made fence line can be arbitrarily altered so out in the country you will sometimes hear surveyors talk about things like "witness trees". The natural feature witnesses to the actual line so long as it stands or can be found.

John Lien said...

Fascinating stuff Bob, even for semi-post. This and Friday's post sheds more detail on a radio article I heard a few years back on why scientific progress pretty much ground to a halt at one point in Islamic history. The "will of Allah" faction won the theological debate.

julie, good thought. They have an excuse to ignore their conscience.

julie said...

Hah - Former feminist denounces women's studies:

The women’s studies crowd looked constipated. Fiamengo’s arguments weren’t going down easy, this one—her best—in particular: women’s studies “can’t be about the pursuit of truth” because it has an “ideological base.” Its goal is to push the ideology that women are victims and men are perpetrators. Therefore, any evidence to the contrary, regardless of its veracity, is unwelcome. In other words, ideology censors truth. “If you believe you are righteous,” she said, “you don’t challenge other views.”

julie said...

Also, this:

Almost every pro-women’s studies person who approached the mic last night, spoke another language, a jargon you might misconstrue as scientific–only the words they used weren’t shortcuts meant to simplify or summarize complex concepts, they were used to make simple concepts sound complex: Hegemonic, racialized, problematic, intersectionality. It was pure obfuscation, 1984 with tattoos and septum piercings. Some of the students couldn’t even string together a single lucid sentence. All they had were these meaningless, monolithic words. I felt like I was on a game show, the exercise being how many times can you say patriarchal, phallocentric hegemony in 45 seconds or less. It was frankly, for a feminist, depressing.

An important point, because the appearance of intelligence - those scientific sounding words - is enough to fool large numbers of people who either don't notice or can't understand that it's all nonsense. The equally nutty men in that room are obviously so, but the women's studies group uses language to hide their stupidity the way dresser crabs use whatever's around them to hide from whatever might be paying attention.

Gagdad Bob said...

Ace had a good line the other day: liberalism is for people who self-identify as intelligent but who in reality aren't terribly smart. It's a key to their whole marketing strategy -- that, and the idea that one can be virtuous by proxy.

River Cocytus said...

dovetails into narcissism perfectly though, doesn't it? Image-centric existence; you live by an image of what you think you are and are in love with it, and this image is confirmed to be real only by superficialities that don't require sublimation of the ego.

ted said...

and the idea that one can be virtuous by proxy

Huh, must be why I read this blog. Makes me beautiful by proxy. Snort.