Imagine if the founders had behaved like this. A quantitative analysis of their writings counts exactly 3,154 citations, with over a third of them to the Bible, followed by Montesquieu, Blackstone, Locke, Hume, and Plutarch (Novak). Now, these sources are all Deeply Problematic. The writings of Plutarch, for example, mention nothing about transgender bathrooms.
Which comes first, the rights or the person who possesses them? Obviously the person comes first, because only persons can have rights. Which highlights the absurdity of various Supreme Court decisions, from Dred Scott v. Sandford, to Roe v. Wade, to the recent Gorsuch v. Biology. In each case, rights are invented and conferred while undercutting the basis for their inherence in persons.
For example, if a woman has a right to infanticide, this right can't inhere in persons, because it grants the right to destroy persons, precisely. Likewise, if a person has the right to own a person, then a person has no right to property in himself, which is the basis of personhood. Etc.
Now, if everyone is the same, then killing someone isn't morally problematic. This is why, for example, no one thinks twice about stepping on an ant or eating a chicken, because there are billions just like the deceased, and nature will never stop cranking out more identical copies.
But I know for a fact that there is no one like me. Gagdaditude, whatever it is, inheres in me -- I, rather -- alone. I have a monopoly on it, nor do I predict we will ever see my likes again. Or anyone else's likes.
The discovery of personhood is one of the blessings of Western civilization, AKA Christendom. It is why it would be a racist slur for one of us to claim, for example, that "Chinese all look alike," whereas in China they have no compunction whatsoever about murdering and oppressing Chinese by the millions.
Those damn communists are all alike, in that they insist, at the point of a gun, that persons are all alike. For them, people are just gears -- or sand -- in the Machine. It doesn't matter how many they kill, because they'll just make more, the only limit being the one child law.
It can scarcely be sufficiently emphasized that the metaphysics of the left not only denies personhood but renders it impossible in principle. You could say that this is the ground source of the left's pneumopathology.
And no, we are not exaggerating: either unique persons or interchangeable collective ants. And show your work: don't pretend personhood is real while holding an ideology that denies its very possibility, e.g., Marxism, scientism, Darwinism, etc.
Crosby highlights the fact that to be an individual means to be incommunicable. Yes, we can communicate with one another, but our actual selfhood is known only to ourselves. No one will ever know what it's actually like to be you or I. If our personhood were fully communicable, then it would be just a general concept rather than a unique particularity. Truly, Homo sapiens is a kind of paradox or contradiction in terms, since it is a species of individual instances.
This leads straight up and into another key question, which is to say, by virtue of what principle is the principle of unique human personhood possible? Correct: the utter uniqueness, unrepeatability, and incommunicability of the Divine Person. To understand that we are in the image of the Creator is to see that human persons (because they are persons) share these divine qualities.
Does this imply that God does not or cannot communicate? Of course not. We are ceaseless recipients of vertical murmurandoms. We have only to amble to the shore -- the shore between immanence and transcendence -- and find another message in a bottle tossed from the other side. Yes, revelation as such is just that -- a message in a bottle -- but so too is the intellect itself.
Of course, this is not to imply that your body is a bottle and your soul the message inside. Rather, your body is an important aspect of the message, or the Incarnation is utterly superfluous. Rather, a book or pamphlet would be sufficient to convey the message.
STUFF I CAN USE
That was going to be the original title of this post, before it was immediately hijacked by other considerations. The title has to do with a certain well-known (to me) phenomenon whereby things literally jump from the page and yell out THIS IS SOMETHING YOU CAN USE! For what? Often I don't even know, but the knowing of it is a vital aspect of knowing what it might be referring to.
It reminds me of the title of one of Dávila's books of aphorisms: Footnotes to an Implicit Text. I am constantly being bobarded with footnotes. Where is the text? Well, I'm in the process of discovering it by paying attention to the constant clues as to what it's about.
For example, yesterday I was rereading a plump Volume of Voegelin, and various passages screamed out YOU CAN USE THIS! When this happens, I highlight the passage, but I have various ways of highlighting, depending upon how loudly the passage is screaming at me.
Here are just a couple of particularly loud examples:
[P]alpably one and the same reality is illuminated in philosophy and in Scripture, the one more heavily accenting questing reason, the other responsive faith.
The old (↑↓) dynamic, which applies to deep knowing of any kind.
"Reason [or the intellect, AKA nous] is itself a revelation," as the Logos "is no less the rational Ground for apostles than for philosophers." It is only for us to see -- or to experience, rather -- the connection. The connection is lived more than known; to the extent that it is only known, then it isn't truly known at all (going to the distinction between mere [k] and [n]).
Or the following passage, so relevant amidst the contemporary soul sickness of BLM and other diseased forms of identity politics: "Against the stifling secularism," the "collectivist tendencies," the "brutal authoritarians" of our age, abides the Person:
Such a man, whenever and wherever we find him, diagnoses the existential maladies that deform reality, and resists as best he can the disorders by invoking higher truth, perhaps only vaguely known.
I only mention this because sometimes there's a man -- I won't say hero, because what's a hero? -- but sometimes there's a person, and that's enough to trigger the left and make them want to cancel him.
A couple of random thoughts, or lucends:
If ignorance of history is collective amnesia, then the left has given itself an auto-lobotomy.
But they'll never know it, for an irony curtain has descended on the left.