Friday, December 15, 2017

Unavoidable Truths and Inevitable Lies

Before moving on, a loose end. Recall our Supreme Court's sophomoric take on the meaning of freedom: At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Now, no one denies that one has the "right" to be stupid. But the Court covertly turns this right into a kind of obligation, because if the essence of liberty is whatever anyone wants it to be, then liberty is essentially reduced to nothing. My freedom, say, to keep my own money, is indistinguishable from your freedom to take it. Some freedom.

It's equivalent to saying that "the essence of truth is the right to believe whatever we want," which is another recipe for nihilism. Worse, it's the recipe for leftism -- for multiculturalism, moral relativism, and "diversity." As Schuon puts it in one of his most important books, Logic & Transcendence,

Relativism reduces every element of absoluteness to relativity while making a completely illogical exception in favor of this reduction itself. Fundamentally it consists in propounding the claim that there is no truth as if this were truth or in declaring it to be absolutely true that there is nothing but the relatively true; one might just as well say that there is no language or write that there is no writing.

Now, that is what you call the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is as true today as it has always been and always will be. Imagine if we had such lucid minds on the Supreme Court, instead of those four or five pompous and over-educated tools?

Education should consist first and foremost in being acquainted with truths that cannot not be. Instead, children are indoctrinated into the diabolical principle that absolute truth absolutely cannot be.

Put conversely, to systematically deny the mind knowledge of, and access to, the absolute, is the worst form of abuse. It is to undermine the very reason why we have a mind, the purpose of which is to conform itself to the true -- to distinguish reality from appearances, the real from the un- or less real, the essential from the contingent.

As Schuon puts it elsewhere,

The prerogative of the human state is objectivity, the essential content of which is the Absolute. There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence; there is no freedom without objectivity of the will; and there is no nobility without objectivity of the soul.

And in his most concise but no less penetrating book (good for keeping by the bedside to seed one's dreams), he writes that "The worth of man lies in his consciousness of the Absolute."

Think about that one: we all -- those who aren't soul-dead -- know that man is somehow "different," and that he is of ultimate value. Why? On what basis? The Golden Rule? Yes, that's a good start, but there is a deeper principle involved, which Schuon enunciates. It's another way of saying that man is in the image of the Creator, AKA the Absolute. Why love our neighbor? Just because some authority told us to? Or did the authority tell us to do this because it reflects the truth of things -- that our neighbor is as much a reflection of God as we are?

As we've discussed before, there is obviously a horizontal continuity between man and animal. However, there is also a kind of -- literally -- infinite discontinuity on the vertical plane. No animal can conceive of the Absolute, or love his neighbor, or freely choose good over evil, or know truth, or be objective and disinterested.

Schuon says something above that dovetails nicely with our ongoing discussion of diabolical liberty, that "there is no freedom without objectivity of the will." You will note that this is precisely the opposite of what the Supreme Clowns say -- that freedom is 100% subjective, with no rational telos whatsoever. They might just as well say -- again, literally -- that "at the heart of law is the right to do whatever the hell you want to."

Which comes very close to what a modern liberal would say -- that we are permitted to do whatever we want to do -- that nothing is forbidden -- so long as it doesn't hurt someone else. Either way, it entirely drains liberty of any meaning whatsoever.

Furthermore, once down that path, it's easy enough to justify any monstrosity, from Dred Scott to Roe v. Wade. Both decisions are based on an arbitrary -- which is to say, subjective -- interpretation of freedom. Put conversely, neither decision is rooted in the Nature of Things -- those things that cannot not be.

"Separation of church and state." There is a sane principle buried in that cliché, so long as we interpret its meaning in terms of truths that cannot not be. One truth that cannot not be is that man is religious. I'm no doubt thinking about this because of another book I'm reading, called No God, No Science: Theology, Cosmology, Biology. But the type of vulgar atheism with which we are so familiar, for example, is just a banal Christian heresy. Therefore, if a leftist wants to be true to his principle, then he must also maintain a separation between atheism and state.

But that is not how the Supreme Kooks see it. Scalia writes of how, over the past half century or so, the Court has gone from neutrality toward religion to overt hostility. But since man cannot not be religious, this only ends up privileging the secular religion of the left, conveniently hiding behind the subjective "evolving standards of decency" gag.

That's about it for today. The end. No, wait. Here's a juicy passage from Chesterton, cited by Schindler:

We are fond of talking about "liberty"; but the way we end up talking of it is an attempt to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "progress"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "education"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good.

So, "Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it." In short, let us all live in the comfort and safety of our own delusions, and call it freedom. After all, it is the Law of the Land.

6 comments:

julie said...

Which comes very close to what a modern liberal would say -- that we are permitted to do whatever we want to do -- that nothing is forbidden -- so long as it doesn't hurt someone else. Either way, it entirely drains liberty of any meaning whatsoever.

Ironically, the definition of "hurting someone else" is also completely relative. Thus it is okay to violently assault wrongthinkers because their wrong thoughts are hurtful, but we shouldn't criticize wrongdoers if they claim the right thoughts.

Ergo, for instance, MAGA hats are assault, and it is perfectly reasonable to try to destroy the life of anyone who would wear one.

Gagdad Bob said...

You know you're cosmically wrong when it generates infertile absurdities, self-refuting contradictions, and bad paradoxes.

Gagdad Bob said...

For example, "L.A.’s genius solution to unaffordable housing is to make it more expensive to build new housing which will in turn make the housing itself more expensive, all in the hopes of raising money to support more affordable housing that will be more expensive than ever because of the new developer’s fee."

julie said...

That's insane.

I wonder how many neighboring cities will try the same tactic?

Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of absolute truth, Thomas Sowell relates two:

"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."

Van Harvey said...

Big boom from Chesterton at the end there.

"We are fond of talking about "liberty"; but the way we end up talking of it is an attempt to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "progress"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "education"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good."

Yup.