“progress”

“The average man of the present age [1948] has a metaphysic in the form of a conception known as “progress.” It is certainly to his credit that he does not wish to be a sentimentalist in his endeavors; he wants some measure for purposeful activity; he wants to feel that through the world some increasing purpose runs. And nothing is more common than to hear him discriminate people according to this metaphysic, his term for less worthy being “unprogressive.”  Richard M. Weaver

The operative metaphysic for many became the environment, which ought to be objectively measurable, but defies agreement.  Moreover, many of its’ adherents believe humanity and the environment are antithetical, that our existence necessarily harms the environment.

When God was the operative metaphysic, the majority of people incorporating God’s metaphysic would generally follow a benign course toward other people.  This was because people were made in God’s image.  Political decisions tended to favor the demographic majority.

Now that the majority accepts a metaphysic they believe to be opposed to mankind, and that same majority believes in growing and using the power of government, it follows that we should expect more political decisions to go against the interests of people.  On a fundamental level, this may help explain why we already have so many regulations and so much government action that is hostile to our well being.

In terms of stewardship, preservation, efficacy, sound economics, husbandry, accountability, oversight, and pretty much every other concept that engenders wisdom, government runs a distant second to all other forms of organized human action.  Who will protect the environment from the institutionalized, heavy handed, non-adaptive, one-size-fits-all, modus operandi of government?

Creative men and women will synthesize the protection of themselves with the protection of the environment, and they’ll have to overcome the negative effects of government and the ministrations of progressives to do it.

“That government is best which governs least.” Thomas Paine

The Unsentimental Sentiment

“Every man participating in a culture has three levels of conscious reflection: his specific ideas about things, his general beliefs or convictions, and his metaphysical dream of the world.

“The first of these are the thoughts he employs in the activity of daily living; they direct his disposition of immediate matters and, so, constitute his wordliness. One can exist on this level alone for limited periods, though pure worldliness must eventually bring disharmony and conflict.

“Above this lies his body of beliefs, some of which may be heritages simply, but others of which he will have acquired in the ordinary course of his reflection. Even the simplest souls define a few rudimentary conceptions about the world, which they repeatedly apply as choices present themselves. These, too, however, rest on something more general.

“Surmounting all is an intuitive feeling about the immanent nature of reality, and this is the sanction to which both ideas and beliefs are ultimately referred for verification. Without the metaphysical dream it is impossible to think of men living together harmoniously over an extant of time. The dream carries with it an evaluation, which is the bond of spiritual community.”

Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences, 1948.

Merry Christmas

kudos to pseudos

  • The pseudo science of the climate change cartel.
  • The pseudo statesmanship of the leftist democrats.
  • The pseudo conservatism of republicans.
  • The pseudo philosophy of moderates.
  • The pseudo intellectualism of the modern university.
  • The pseudo religion of fundamentalism — pick your brand.
  • The pseudo market of the nationalized no-fault economy.
  • The pseudo news from the main stream media.
  • The pseudo democracy of the nanny state.
  • The pseudo security of the welfare state.
  • The pseudo healthcare of socialized medicine.
  • The pseudo stewardship of government planners.
  • The pseudo sanity of mental health.
  • And the pseudo natural born citizen who became president.

People talk about tipping points.  I think Americans have reached a tipping point — one where the pretense of knowledge is piling up faster than factual and reasonable knowledge.  To be sure, the accretion of factual and reasonable knowledge has greatly accelerated with improvements in technology, but it just looks like the poseurs are winning the day in America.  If you read the Victor Davis Hanson piece in the previous entry, as Americans lose their understanding of the liberal arts, they lose their capacity to advance Western civilization.  The barbarians in Mumbai last week and the imams who filled their heads with jihadi mush, acted on this weakness as Americans celebrated Thanksgiving with one eye on the TV.  The slippery slope of cultural coarsening accelerated (again) as terrorists (again) reduced Western civilization to bloody chunks of body parts and (again) shifted our concept of normalcy toward a state of random violence.  The causal thread running through and linking all of this — terrorism, the abrogation of history, the politicizing of all human endeavors — is enabled by disconnection and the interruption of reality feedback.  These conditions are necessary precedents if you want people to stop thinking and acting in the interest of their own survival, and they work especially well for the growing segment of the population unburdened by a conscience.  All that’s required of us is tolerance, and acceptance that the bounds of what must be tolerated continually expand toward the unthinkable, the horrible, the terrible, and whatever new fad the polity wants to try on for size.  Ideals, outcomes, objective measures, standards, fixed points for evaluation, better and worse, good and evil, laws, constitutions, all of these concepts must give way to tolerance.  God forbid we become narrow minded.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”  H.L. Mencken [Read more...]

The Sum of Good Government

“Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter—with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens—a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”

From:

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

In the Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, March 4, 1801

October 28, 2008

reason interview

The Trouble is the West

“The Western mind-set—that if we respect them, they’re going to respect us, that if we indulge and appease and condone and so on, the problem will go away—is delusional. The problem is not going to go away. Confront it [Islam], or it’s only going to get bigger.”  

Ayaan Hirsi Ali 

atheism unknown there

“The almost general mediocrity of fortune that prevails in America obliging its people to follow some business for subsistence, those vices, that arise usually from idleness, are in a great measure prevented. Industry and constant employment are great preservatives of the morals and virtue of a nation. Hence bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practised. Atheism is unknown there; infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country, without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an atheist or an infidel. And the Divine Being seems to have manifested his approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness with which the different sects treat each other, by the remarkable property with which He has been pleased to favor the whole country.”

From:  Information To Those Who Would Remove To America, Benjamin Franklin, 1794

Note the date –1794, well after the 1st Am “Establishment Clause” was argued and ratified by the States along with the Constitution.  Jefferson’s notion of a “Wall of Separation” between church and state came about almost a decade later, yet it is that expression to which revisionists refer to make the erroneous point that the Constitution contemplated the protection of beliefs repugnant to Christianity.  The “different sects” Franklin refers to were all Christian, and that’s the context in which the Establishment Clause was ratified.  The modern context of tolerance toward atheism and “infidel” non-Christian religions would have offended the Founding Fathers.  Under an originalist constitutional interpretation, the Establishment Clause would not protect, for example, the practice of Islam.  Protections the Court has found over the years in the cascade of constitutional interpretation, can, with the stroke of a pen, be taken away.  In effect, what some claim as a fundamental right, is little more than a revocable license.