§ People and Ideas

Condorcet - (1743 - 1794) was a prominent philosopher of the 1789 French Revolution. He was chiefly associated with the theory of the perfectibility of human beings and human society, a view then regarded as cutting-edge science. The progress of science, he assumed, would produce humans with incredibly long lives and average levels of intelligence far higher than the highest of his day. To make this happen, intellectual councils under a socialistic system of government would control education, regulate business, and censor the press to shape public opinion.

John Dewey - (1859 - 1952) was notable for his influence on American education and American philosophical thought. He was the father of Progressive education, the theory that children are harmed by having to learn specific bodies of subject matter. Better that they learn from "experience," which meant group projects, field trips and communal activities designed to condition young minds to the cooperative spirit needed in the socialistic society that seemed inevitable in America's future. Dewey, along with his colleagues at Columbia University Teachers College, was an early enthusiast for the new system of education being established in Soviet Russia in the early 1920s.

The effect of Progressive education can be seen in the abysmal decline in performance of American students. Competing with students from other countries in math, physics, chemistry, and history, American students generally rank at the bottom or near it.

Dewey's legacy in philosophy is Pragmatism, the theory that there is no right or wrong, just actions or policies that work for an individual or fail to work. Implicit is the principle that the end justifies the means. Pragmatism is, of course, a justification for totalitarian despotism. American liberals argued in the 1930s that Stalin's liquidation of millions of Russian citizens who opposed Communist confiscation of their property was justifiable, because Soviet socialism aimed to perfect human life.

Materialistic - Materialistic means that physical things and forces that can be detected by the human senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell are the only reality, the only causes for what goes on in the world. Liberal-socialists call this scientific. Everything else, such as religion and moral codes, is dismissed as ignorant superstition from a pre-scientific age.

Thus there is no God, no human soul, no spiritual dimension to life. Individual humans are adrift in the cosmos, at the mercy of external, material forces, from which they can be saved only by the superior knowledge and brain-power of liberal-socialist intellectuals.

An important implication of materialism is the Darwinian evolutionary doctrine that, there being no spiritual, intelligent design in the world, everything is continually evolving under the impact of materialistic forces. Truth, as socialist Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., said is whatever wins out in the market place, which effectively means that whoever controls the propaganda media defines morality. Hence the rise, since the ill-named Age of Enlightenment, of moral relativism.

Human nature, in the materialistic thesis, can be shaped to fit the aims of the political state by regulations and progressive education. State-planners are believed capable of restructuring political societies to impose social justice (equality of income) and eliminate crime and war. In such a materialistic world, there are no fixed principles of civility or morality, no sin, indeed ultimately no civilization.

For more details, see this related article.

Metaphysical - Metaphysical is a handy term to represent all the ideas that differ from the concepts of secular and material. Metaphysical in our limited use means simply ideas or concepts that are not physical things that we can see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. Metaphysical can encompass abstract reasoning, religion, and morality. Metaphysical, in short, covers the things that liberal-socialists call unscientific.

Natural Law -Natural law is the concept that all of the universe, including human life, is regulated by its inherent nature. This means that, within broad limits, all energy, all matter, and all life conform to patterns that can be observed, understood, and used to order human social and political life. In the present-day controversy about teaching Darwinian evolution in our schools, the countervailing theory of Intelligent Design is a natural law concept opposed to the Darwinian theory that all life forms result from random chance. Natural law is what is sometimes referred to as a higher law to which political statutes must conform if they are to be just and legitimate. Moses's Ten Commandments are notably of this type. The Laws of Nature and Nature's God that the Declaration of Independence used as authority for the colonies to leave British rule are natural law concepts.

Positivism - A philosophical term introduced by Henri de Saint-Simon, the articulator of socialism. It is most commonly associated with Saint-Simon's better known colleague, Auguste Comte. Ideas associated with Positivism are the supremacy of the sciences over religion and metaphysical philosophy, along with the contention that the only reality is what can be detected and measured by human senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Thus the history of the world and its accumulated knowledge, prior to the scientific age of the 18th century's Age of Enlightenment, was little more than ignorance and superstition.

An important implication of Positivism is the belief that scientific knowledge can be applied to political and social problems through discovery of laws of social dynamics similar to Newton's laws of motion in the physical world. Using these social laws, intellectuals presumably could perfect humanity and human societies. Comte pulled this faith together under the banner of The Religion of Humanity.

Positivism is a secular and materialistic philosophy (see definitions herein) that was a founding block in Karl Marx's doctrine of communism and the idea that socialism would lead to withering away of the political state, once socialism had transformed human nature and perfected society.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau - (1712 - 1778) Rousseau was the most important early voice of socialist theory. His best known writings were The Social Contract, which deals with political theory, and Emile, which sets forth a theory of education that was adopted in this country by John Dewey as Progressive education. Rousseau theorized that humans had been more or less perfect in the original state of nature, without aggression, crime, or war. This gave rise to the mythical Noble Savage in romantic period literature. Humans were corrupted when someone marked off land as his private property, and political societies were organized to protect private property.

His theory produces the socialistic credo that criminals are victims of the bad structure of capitalistic society, because private property makes people bad. Jailing a convicted criminal is, in this view, punishing the victim. Rousseau's theory also supports the socialistic faith that human nature and human society can be perfected when intellectuals plan everything and redistribute property, in effect returning us to the conditions of equality prevailing in the state of nature.

Bertrand Russell - (1872-1970) was a member of the English aristocracy who early in life became a socialist. As a Cambridge professor, he was known in the academic world as a logician and mathematical theorist. His long life's work brought him the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950. In common with his socialist brethren, Russell contended that the only reality was what could be detected and measured by our senses. To the world at large, he is best known for his pacifism that made him opposed to the First World War and led to his championing nuclear freeze and nuclear disarmament policies during the 1945 - 1988 Cold War confrontation with the USSR. Working with French existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, he organized the 1967 Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal in Stockholm, which declared the United States guilty of crimes against humanity.

Henri de Saint-Simon - (1760-1825) The French philosopher who pulled together the ideas of the 1789 French Revolution and founded socialism as a cohesive body of religious doctrine. His last major work was "The New Christianity," which made clear that socialism was a religion intended to replace Christianity as the ordering principle of political society.

Saint-Simon prescribed a society ruled by intellectual councils to which cadres of professional managers and bureaucrats reported to manage all economic and political activity in accordance with plans devised by the intellectuals. The highest of all the intellectual councils would control education so that nothing other than the catechism of social justice might be taught. We see this conception implemented in present-day public education via multi-cultural education and speech-and-behavior codes.

Through the work of his colleague Auguste Comte (see the entry herein) and through the Saint-Simonian school that arose after his death, his ideas were immensely influential, first in Germany, then in England, and after the Civil War, in the United States. Marx based his theories on the socialism of Saint-Simon, as did Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Castro, and all other socialist dictators of the 20th century.

Secular - Secular means literally worldly, as opposed to spiritual. For liberals, there is no such thing as Divinity or universal moral truths. There is no Heaven or Hell. There is only the physical, tangible world around us. There is no higher law of morality, no inalienable natural-law rights of individuals. The ultimate source of knowledge and authority is the minds of intellectuals. Thus, social justice is a flexible concept that can change from moment to moment, as social activists think of new projects. The law of the land, in the socialist theories called legal realism and critical studies, is no more than whatever an activist judge says it is in a particular case. The Constitution can be interpreted to discover whatever liberals wish to find. This is what the ACLU insists must be taught in our schools.

Socialism - Most people have been taught that socialism is simply an economic theory involving government ownership of the means of production and distribution. Socialism, however, is far more than that.

It is a secular and materialistic (see definitions herein) religion based on misapplication of the physical sciences, such as chemistry, physics, engineering, and mathematics, to political and social phenomena. See the definition herein of Positivism. Socialists have blind faith, impervious to the realities of historical experience, that their religion can produce heaven-on-earth.

Socialism preaches that humanity in the original state of nature was perfect. There was plenty of everything for everybody. People lived together in peaceful harmony until someone marked off a piece of ground as his personal property. The resulting scramble to mark off each person's property caused humans to become aggressive and resulted in crime and war. The strong took more than their share, forcing some people into poverty and enslaving them.

Political societies were created to protect the rights of property, and religion and morality were created by the powerful as tools to oppress the people. Socialism holds forth the messianic promise that human society can be perfected by intellectuals, who in effect become gods creating the new social world and reshaping human nature. People can return to a state of harmony and perfection, without greed, crime, or war, after intellectuals restructure society to equalize property ownership and make society's goods and services equally available to everyone, entirely on the basis of each person's needs.

Unfortunately, this socialistic heaven-on-earth can come about only by granting complete authority to a ruling clique of intellectuals, as only they understand the laws of history and the presumed nature of political society. In order to implement socialism, socialists must first discredit or destroy existing religions, philosophies, and moral codes, which explains the cultural civil war besetting the United States today. The results have generally been tyranny verging into totalitarianism, in which individuals have identity only as members of social groups serving the needs of the political state.

Social Justice - Social justice is a one-sided morality, all take and no give. It imposes requirements only on the rich - they must surrender their property to the state for redistribution, but welfare recipients owe nothing in return; they are "entitled."

Under social justice, the general welfare cited in the Constitution's preamble is thought to consist exclusively of material goods and privileges, planned by intellectuals and administered by bureaucrats. Moral character and good citizenship are not on the agenda.

"Fairness," the social-justice criterion most commonly cited by liberal socialists, sounds reasonable to most people. In practice, however, fairness is no more than the arbitrary decisions of academics, politicians, and judges. Because this necessitates a very broad-gauge approach, based on social classes, "fairness" can have no relation to individual circumstances and individual merit.

In the final analysis, social justice is no more than forcible redistribution of income and wealth by means of taxes and welfare programs. History shows that the greater the degree of "social justice" the greater the tendency toward economic stagnation. Social justice, as a comedian said, is characterized by the efficiency of the Postal Service and the compassion of the IRS.

Social justice tends inherently toward totalitarian despotism. In our English heritage of individual liberty, even the king was subject to the laws and to the ancient traditions of society, which constituted a higher law emanating from religion and morality. Social justice rejects this concept as ignorance standing in the way of scientific progress. Thus, under social justice imposed by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal in 1933, there is no inherent limit on the "implied" powers of government. Lenin and Stalin committed unspeakable atrocities, while declaring that their actions served social justice and the dictatorship of the proletariat.