December 15, 2013 § 8 Comments
Faith is a kind of knowledge: it is trust placed in a trustworthy witness or teacher. The modern idea of faith – more or less “belief for no good reason” – is tommyrot, a straw man caricature which has been repeated so many times that many Christians have bought into it themselves. It places knowledge and faith in opposition to each other rather than understanding that faith is a kind of knowledge — an unavoidable kind, since we all know most of what we know through trust in reliable sources, that is, faith. The existence of God is knowable to natural reason; trusting in Him (faith) implies knowledge of what He has chosen to reveal to us, as well as trust in His benevolence, etc.
Modernity is in significant part a project aimed at destroying any kind of authoritative knowledge that rivals “scientific” knowledge (for values of “rivals” and “scientific”). Faith and stereotypes are prominent examples.
(Left as a comment here).
December 2, 2013 § 84 Comments
My understanding of liberalism has been criticized over the years on what amounts to “no true Scotsman” grounds. The idea here seems to be that because most liberals – especially the right-liberals that in America we call “conservatives” – make unprincipled exceptions to their liberalism, relatively few people out on the extreme left wing of politics are liberal in a sense that falls under my critique. Everyone else – usually meaning “conservatives” – who supports political freedom and equality is simply being sensible and loyal to his heritage, as long as his liberalism doesn’t become ideological and trump common sense.
There are several problems with this view, but here I will just point out one.
Most human beings only have so much room in their personas for political policies that they care about passionately. One faction might care deeply about (say) abortion and sodomite parodies of marriage, while in the economic domain simply defaulting to the classical liberal view of property. Another group might care deeply about different things. In those areas where they are passionate, default liberalism does not trump common sense. But in all other areas they will default to supporting whatever cursorily seems to them to be most coherent with democratic values, equal rights, freedom, and other liberal slogans.
When this process is extrapolated to society as a whole, what happens is that liberalism – the default political doctrine for both right and left liberals – trumps whatever opposes liberalism. Illiberal values are isolated and steamrolled by the combination of leftist ideology with the great mass of liberal default.
So the enemies of the good, the true, and the beautiful aren’t just vehemently ideological liberals. The enemies of the good, the true, and the beautiful include everyone who will reflexively default to political freedom and equal rights in areas about which he is otherwise indifferent.
And that is almost everyone in modern Western societies.
December 1, 2013 § 44 Comments
The encounter of liberalism with reality necessarily produces the Low Man. Simultaneously an oppressive tyrant and less than human, the Low Man provides liberalism with a consistent self-understanding of its failures. If it were not for the Low Man, the free and equal New Man would be living in peace and harmony with himself as a self-made creation of reason and will, emancipated from the political chains of history, tradition, nature, and nature’s God, each doing his own thing and leaving his neighbors in peace. The New Man might be personally religious, ethnic, or what have you; but he would never impose his religion on others, and the failure of all to live in free and equal peace and harmony constrained only by what is known to dispassionate scientific expertise has no explanation without the Low Man.
But of course in the real world liberalism is utterly triumphant. Sure, there are a few nutcases here and there on the Internet – yet even those communities of nutcases have unrepentant liberals in their midst, and they almost never seem quite demonic enough in their actual behavior to fill the need. Even when they are demonic enough it is frequently revealed, by simply listening to what they actually say, that the demons are themselves a form of liberal:
We all need to spend some time considering how best to defend liberty and freedom, and what unites us as a nation concerned with democratic values. – Timothy McVeigh
Liberalism is so utterly triumphant that it is frequently difficult to find enemies – actual real-world Low Men – who fit the storyline. Without a Low Man “problem” to solve there can be no Final Solution. So sometimes he has to be invented out of whole cloth.