There is always order, and there is always change. Analogously, character is who you are when no one is looking. Likewise, order is what exists even if no one sees it: it can only be discovered, not created or imposed. It is what exists despite anyone's opinion about it.
For example, this is obviously the purpose of philosophy: to find the real order in things -- not just of material reality, but in ethics, aesthetics, and thinking itself. Science deals with quantitative order, but that isn't the only order in which we find ourselves.
In The Rational Bible, Dennis Prager reminds us that the Ten Commandments are not intended to apply to just a particular slice of humanity, but to everyone: they disclose a universal moral order.
Thus, either the Torah "has something to say to everyone or it has nothing to say to [even] the Jews." In other words, it either reveals a universal order or it reveals nothing. There can be no in between. You might even say that there is truth and there is autobiography, and that most philosophy is little more than a glorified memoir or diary. Again: universal or nothing.
What we call wisdom is a pool of knowledge about the Changeless. Wisdom exists along a spectrum and eventually shades off into the human margin and beyond (or below). In other words, some wisdom can be truly universal, while much of it may indeed be culture-bound. Philosophy ought to be a quest for the former.
My eyes just lit upon the following passage: "As I show in my discussion of secular education as a potential 'false god,' the best educated in the West have often both lacked wisdom and been among the greatest supporters of evil ideologies and regimes."
Now, what were (and are) these ideologies but the systematic effort to impose a false order upon human beings? The result? Communist regimes alone "murdered about 100 million people and enslaved and destroyed the lives of more than a billion."
This quest for order is a serious business, perhaps the most serious. Get the order wrong, and the result is catastrophe: "The two missions -- promoting goodness and attaining wisdom -- are linked, because it is almost impossible to do good without wisdom."
The entire history of the left can be summarized in a single wise sentence: "All the good intentions in the world are likely to be worthless without wisdom." Actually, worthless if we're lucky. If only leftist schemes were neutral and not deadly!
In the United States we are absolutely in a civil war. It is as real as the one in the 1860s, with the stakes every bit as world-historically consequential. And if we dig down to the ground, what we really see are two different and irreconcilable orders, both then and now.
Speaking of the search for order, in November 2016 I remember Rachel Maddow and other progressives reading up on 1930s Germany in order to comprehend what was going on in the United States. Yes, that is crazy -- among other reasons because conservatism and fascism are at antipodes -- but it goes to the intensity with which human beings will grasp at order, even if there is no truth to it at all.
Me? I find much more useful parallels with the period leading up to the Civil War. I recently read a couple of books that document what it was like for the average person to live through the era, In the Presence of Mine Enemies: The Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1864 and The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America.
What we have here (and there) are two very different ideas of order: political order, constitutional order, human order. Quite simply, we could not go on being one nation with two orders. A nation, in order to be one, must have one order. We cannot abide states with radically different orders, whether we're talking about slavery or illegal immigrants. In both cases it really comes down to the illegitimate usurpation of power rooted in a false order.
In the margins of the books I often highlighted passages with an N/C, for No Change. For example, I was thinking of the parallels between the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and how contemporary leftists treat blacks who stray from the liberal plantation. They are not permitted to do that, on pain of surrendering their human status.
Nor are they subtle about it. Just the other day on CNN, some dim pundit of color said it was perfectly acceptable to tar black conservatives with racial epithets. Conversely, we are not even permitted to criticize a black progressive such as Obama or Maxine Waters without being called racist. Or, see how the left reacted when someone in Trump's cabinet said he cared more about merit than "diversity." Democrats are no less obsessed with race today than they were during slavery and Jim Crow.
Different orders. In our order, all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. In their order, people are... well, first of all, they are not created. Rather, they evolve, I guess, with unequal races, genders, and classes, and it is up to the state to equalize these. Is it any wonder that This is War?
Prager also reminds us of how America's founders were deeply rooted in the Biblical order, or the order disclosed by our Judeo-Christian tradition. You might say it is the vertical macrocosm in which our political microcosm is rooted. In the past, we've noted how Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin proposed a design for the Great Seal of the U.S. depicting Moses leading the Israelites from slavery to freedom, with the motto Resistance to Tyrants is obedience to God.
Which it is, but why? Because the tyrant imposes a false order, while God reveals the true one. Which is why the loony "resistance" to Trump is hardly obedience to God. If anything, it is defiance of God, which is one of the definitions of fascism: the violent rejection of transcendence.
No, I am not conflating God and Trump. Please. Again, the subject is order, and which one we will live under, the constitutional one or the disordered one imposed by progressives.
Here is a critical point mentioned by Prager: "these two events -- the Exodus and the giving of the Ten Commandments -- are the two seminal events (other than Creation itself)," such that "liberty and morality are the twin pillars of the Torah."
Schematically we see Creation --> Commandments --> Liberty. Creation-as-such is the first order; it is the macrocosmos in which man is situated. Of all the creatures -- both living and nonliving -- man is the only one created with free will. But what is free will if it isn't grounded in the permanent order reflected in the Ten Commandments (and elsewhere)?
It is nothing, precisely. Therefore, freedom and truth/order are intimately related. As are the oppression and nothingness of the left. Freedom requires truth. Slavery needs only power.