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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Readers Exchange Views

Two conceptions not entirely opposed.

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Reader Leonard Dickens, in A Reader Disagrees, commented on Ethics Without Religion? An Addendum.

Now reader Christopher Sufle responds to Mr. Dickens.

Before getting to Mr. Sufle’s response, I should frame the viewpoints with a brief note about libertarianism.

Needless to say, I don’t know what Mr. Dickens’s views are beyond the questions he raised regarding whether religion should be permitted, or endorsed, in public discourse and whether liberals’ antipathy toward religion constitutes an attack.  As I said in my reply, I don’t disagree with where I believe he is coming from; I just don’t believe that it realistically faces the true nature of liberals’ antipathy.

Judging from Mr. Dickens’s comment and from his website, I assume that he is a libertarian.  What does that mean?

Libertarians are close relatives of laissez-faire liberals of Adam Smith’s 1776 period, but they go the whole hog.  Not just free markets, unencumbered by government regulations that distort prices and misallocate capital; libertarians extend individual freedom to every aspect of human activity.  Theirs is a “live and let live” view that says use of coercive force is prohibited except in self-defense.

As their starting point, libertarians believe in the primacy of the individual as a moral being and in inviolable natural law rights to life, liberty, and property.

Some implications of this philosophy are: few if any government regulations of economic activity; no regulation of thought or belief; antipathy toward war (most libertarians opposed the Iraq invasion on principle); complete freedom to every individual to live any life-style he prefers; and complete freedom of the media to show whatever they please.  This, coupled with the prohibition against use of coercion except in self-defense, leads libertarians to say that religion and moral precepts must remain strictly individual matters.

My problem with libertarianism is not its basic orientation, which is grounded in benign good wishes toward all, but that it seems to me to require nearly universal benevolence of human character and intention.  This, of course, is what Jean-Jacques Rousseau postulated as the starting point of socialism.

As James Madison (or possibly Hamilton) wrote in “Federalist No. 51:”

“A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

Coming from my point of view, even within the canons of libertarianism, the harshness and unrelenting character of attacks on Judeo-Christian morality by the ACLU and other liberal-socialist groups demands a full-force counter attack in self-defense.  Liberal spokesmen like Robert Reich and Lawrence O’Donnell have declared that, at best, Christians and religious Jews are demented, at worst, more dangerous enemies to American society than Al Queda.

*******

With that background, here are Mr. Sufle’s thoughts:

Subj: Idolatry of the Pledge?

“The State should not establish religion. What that means is debatable, but I’d guess you’d agree… You don’t have to agree with the arguments to see that there is at least something there worth public debate.”

There is much more to this world than the academic exercise of colored debates, much, much more. I do agree that the state the USA, should not establish a religion. I don’t even believe that individual American state establishments of religion are necessary.

If the issue was merely about the discussion of actualities, that would be one thing. But that is not what we are here to address, since it is clear that the discussion of actualities has been sacrificed in the name of something that is identifiably sinister and that can be measured by its examples that are part and parcel to America’s Education Crisis.

John Adams voices the essentiality of America’s Judeo-Christian moral compass by stating, “As much as I love, esteem and admire the Greeks, I believe the Hebrews have done more to enlighten and civilize the world. Moses did more than all of their legislators and philosophers.”

In a general education on Western Civilization, on civilization itself, the key is the understanding of the inalienably integral part that Christendom has played in its advance, continues under the leadership of George W. Bush, and must advance ever more boldly in as the catalyst for the triumph of good over evil in this world.

The Constitution says that the American Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. The Crosses and Stars of David that mark the graves of those that fought to defend America’s Judeo-Christian civilization stand to shame the libs who have launched attack after attack against the invisible structures of this civilization. From ordering the removal of crosses from landmarks local and state, to attacking the Boy Scouts of America, to the usurpation of the powers entrusted to the legislative branch of government by the judicial branch, to the corruption of academia; these all stem from neo-pagan belief-leanings. There is a campaign to replace America’s Judeo-Christian values with, to partially use the title of one of David Horowitz’ books: Bad Faith. We see the signals, and are determined to prevent another major recession into darkness.

In Science vs Secularity, Thomas Brewton pointed out that most intellectuals, as a separate group from scientists themselves, blamed the violence of the 16th and 17th centuries on religion, but he points out that simultaneously, “modern science and mathematics flowered dramatically. It was the age of Descartes, Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton, when the basis of modern scientific techniques was laid, along with the mathematics to describe and to predict natural phenomena.”

Brewton further explained “The apparent, though utterly false, link of science and atheism occurred because the French intellectuals sought to misapply to economic and political problems the newly perceived, scientific laws of the physical realm of nature that Galileo and Newton had described. The intellectuals believed they, being so intelligent and well informed, would be able to follow in Newton’s footsteps and discover laws that regulated human social and political conduct, just as Newton’s equations predicted the movements of the planets.

“... [Pagan intellectuals] then made the leap described above: if they could describe and name historical trends from the past, surely this meant that there were underlying forces controlling the flow of history, forces that could be reduced to description under The Immutable Law of History, as Auguste Comte called it.”

This brings us to what I call LIEberalism, which I assume your views are intellectually an outgrowth of.

In The Struggle For Liberty, Professor of European History at Buffalo State College, Ralph Raico, explains that Classical Liberalism specifically arose in Western Christendom. http://www.mises.org/multimedia/mp3/raico/3.mp3 He focuses on what I would call the distinction between Laissez Faire Liberalism vs Social Democratic/Socialist Liberalism and the role that John Stuart Mill played in making political liberalism in the West lean away from its Judeo-Christian conception and its connection to the way that today we associate the word liberal with leftist and neo-paganism. In the West, “liberalism started in the rejection of Mercantilism and state authoritarianism” and any honest ancient or future conception, anywhere, must also.

In his work, On Liberty, “whereas others seek goals laid out for them by what they freely accept as authoritative institutions, Mill perceives the extinction of freedom.” As Prof. Raico put it, “Mill’s view tends to erase the critical distinction between incurring social disapproval and incurring imprisonment. It leads to pitting liberalism against non-coercive traditional values and arrangements, especially religious ones. It also forges an offensive alliance between liberalism and the state, even IF contrary to Mill’s intentions, since it is hard to see how one can be sure of uprooting traditional norms except through the massive use of political power…”

Mill played an integral role in what Prof. Raico describes as the fateful “linking of liberalism to an adversarial stance vis-a-vis tradition and social norms… [Secular liberalism is] expressive of the antinomian, lawless, normless, mentality of contemporary Western academics and the contemporary Western chattering classes than of liberalism historically”

One of Mill’s most influential intellectual successors, economist John Maynard Keynes, is famous for spreading neo-Mercantilism and state authoritarianism, in the past rejected by one of the core areas of classical liberalism: economics. He sympathized with the totalitarian experiments of the 1920s and 30s and played a key role in shaping a post-WWII world by advocating the intellectual structures implemented into the core of the Alliance’s post-war national policies which ushered in a Communist mainland China, North Korea, and Vietnam. http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?control=891

My answer to “Slavery occurred in the Bible!” is “Yes, and many other things too. But it will return to us by the rejection of the Word of God.” As Thomas Brewton explained in The View From 1776 in April 5, 2005: “Slavery was not a product of [Christian] religion. It was a commonly accepted phenomenon as far back as historical records exist. But it was Christian morality that ended it, both in England and in the United States… This stands in stark contrast to the effect of secular ethics during the same period in socialistic France: the 1789 Revolution, the bloody Reign of Terror and Napoleon’s military conquest of Europe, repeated collapses of socialistic republics, more than a dozen different constitutions, and the revolutions of 1830 and 1848, with thousands of deaths.”

Once we examine the phenomena of tyranny and its relation to its above mentioned historical manifestations, we find that in the case of the abolition of slavery which was inherited and then entrenched in the U.S. (even threatening the nation’s inception), one group of tyrants was trying to hide behind Judeo-Christian values to defend their ways, ignoring Jesus’ teaching: treat others as you would be treated; the other group went against them openly. The result was the same: tyranny. The adherence to one source of values, and not merely nominally, was liberating, while their rejection, overt or covert is founded on illusions.

I believe that the Conversion of the Roman Empire, and that the spread of Judeo-Christian values, are the beginning of the transformative power and consequence of what I see as the greatest Miracle next to the Creation itself: the Incarnation of the Redeemer.

A libertarian told me that America’s Founders spoke of Judeo-Christian values “in order to appeal to the Christian Churches and get them onboard for the Revolution, but when they talked among themselves, they choose Pagan Greco-Roman surnames.” That America’s founders spoke of philosophy didn’t negate the unfolding spirit of Christendom which has led the world to continuing progress in civilization; to the view that our rights are inalienable (and what is the interpreted apparent deceit condoned by my libertarian friend but coercion?).

I think that science has progressed much faster than philosophy because of what the general values of the American population are, despite that of its contemporary academic pagan philosophers which are presently at the helm of the powerful institutions of the media and academia. Nothing new has been developed by our would-be Platonic guardians in their ultimate agenda other than how best to titillate or prod the mind of society to mold their “New Man” in continuation of the deception of the Serpent; while the vast majority of Americans find new ways to buy and sell and innovate, producing better products and developing technologies to do so. I think more people should make note of that correlation. In the Scientific Depts. it is harder to propagandize than in the humanities or the arts because it is dominated by the study of empirical truth (ex. 1+1=3; chemical x reacts this way with chemical y giving us the needed ingredient for this new material etc etc). See, the departure and heresy against Judeo-Christian morality in Europe produced Hitler and Stalin, with the increasing power over nature of Man, it is obvious that this power could also be turned upon him.

My libertarian debate opponent admitted to the view that many have turned themselves over to, with the statement that our founders quoted the Bible for manipulative purposes. See, if the founders really had that view, they could not truly conceptualize man as an individual that can make law and govern himself and truly live in a free republic. If they had that mentality, they would not have devised the separation of powers which pagans can’t help but violate.

As C.S. Lewis describes the program of conditioning of LIEberalism: “mankind [is] to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in the one lucky generation which has learned how to do it…” He writes, “I have described as a ‘magician’s bargain’ that process whereby man surrenders object after object, and finally himself, to Nature in return for power” pgs 74, 76. (The Pope would describe that as The Culture of Death.) This is why we have a separation of powers, this is why the judicial branch of govt is not also the legislative branch and why the pagan has no true ability to distinguish. Will our American notion of liberty deteriorate further into a shapeless antinomian nihilist void and will entropy triumph over true freedom? Are we going to surrender to the automaton world that we are machines, only a bit more advanced than the roach? Would God sacrifice His Son for that? Would not God produce this Act of love behind all of creation and truth in the known and yet unknown universe?

So we go back to Rome with Pilate (the strongest and most cunning pagan by virtue of his position) asking the Lord “what is truth?” The answer from Christ remains, “I am Him.”

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