Skip to comments.Being Truth vs. Doing the Lie (Hitchens/Maher/Democrats/Leftists)
Posted on 05/17/2007 9:09:29 AM PDT by Matchett-PI
Remember after 9-11, when Bill Maher got into some trouble for claiming that the Islamo-nazis, whatever else they were, were courageous? After all, anyone who is willing to fly a plane into a building must be very brave.
But this only goes to show what has happened to language and its relationship to intelligible, which is to say, higher, realities. For example, the cardinal virtues -- prudence, justice, courage, and temperance -- represent one such intelligible reality. But children and even (or shall we say, especially) college students are no longer taught about intelligible realities. Rather, they are specifically taught to have a cynical and jaundiced attitude toward these fanciful cognitive atavisms of a less enlightened age. - Speaking of which, Dr. Sanity has a wonderful post this morning on the Evolution of Education into Indoctrination.
Therefore, it is probably no surprise that the cynical, sneering Bill Maher would conflate courage and recklessness -- for that is what courage is when it is exercised in the absence of prudence, which is to say, judgment. Otherwise, why would courage be a virtue? Courage easily becomes its opposite if not grounded in truth, or being. At best, it becomes neutral -- say, someone like Evel Knievel, who only hurt himself with his daredevil stunts.
But we are fighting entire anti-civilizations whose so-called bravery is the worst kind of evil in action -- say, the depraved Palestinians, who are utterly lacking in temperance, prudence, and justice, to say the least. Therefore, most anything they do is going to be profoundly evil, whether it is "courageously" blowing themselves up, "justly" engaging in a farcical democracy, or "prudently" educating their children.
But the same holds true of our own left, who may not engage in literal suicide bombing (although they certainly ally themselves with those who do, such as the Palestinians), but whose philosophy is a kind of intellectual suicide. I mean this literally, for it is death to the intellect properly so-called, as exemplified by the case of Bill Maher above.
This is why, no matter how "intelligent" Maher is, he is simultaneously stuck on stupid, since his higher intellect has been purged by his disordered passions. One could say the very same of celebrity journalist Christopher Hitchens, whose squalid mind has been completely hijacked by his liver. No, I am not speaking of his dependence on alcohol, but of his bilious and choleric soul -- another intelligible reality for those with ears to hear it.
Who actually listens to the content of what this drunken ghoul says when he's aggressively mutilating yet another recently deceased body? I was no big fan of Falwell's public persona, but Hitchens' grotesque and tasteless comments transparently reveal only the state of his own bitter and petty soul. What a necrophiliac, a "lover of death." One actually feels the vicarious embarrassment for him that he is incapable of feeling toward himself. In this regard, the shameless individual is another variant of the reckless person.
Bill Mahar would probably consider it another form of courage -- of "speaking truth to power" -- to use the gift of speech in such a recklessly vile manner, but that is what the left habitually does. We recently touched on the importance of passion, but again, if one's passions are not rightly ordered, they can rapidly become channelled toward great evil.
This is why it is not accurate to say the left is merely "passionate," which is what one might assume of their many varieties of compulsive "activist." Rather, they are specifically intoxicated, or drunk with passion. They have the same native passion as anyone else, but it is utterly lacking in prudence -- indeed, celebrates the absence of prudence as a kind of liberation -- which in fact it is: from the vertical. It is a centrifugal liberation that leads down and out, to the terminal moraine of the untutored senses, which empty into the sea of barbarism.
You might say that prudence consists of doing the truth. As Josef Pieper writes, it is "the mother of the other virtues," since justice, courage and temperance can only exist because of it: "Prudence is the precondition for all that is ethically good."
This is undoubtedly why leftism is fundamentally the philosophy of the young and immature ("skulls full of mush"), the terminally tenured (who have often never had to set foot outside the fantasyland of leftist wackademia), and the very stupid (for leftism is a coalition of the over- and undereducated, the latter ceding their power to the former for the mutual benefit of each, i.e., the elites get to feel good about themselves while the grazing multitude gets to have its constitutional envy translated into political policy). Not to mention assorted misfits, deviants, outsiders, cosmic losers, and the implacably embittered, who are all important constiuents of the left.
Thus, leftism inevitably tends toward "doing the lie," or putting the lie into action. Lying has always existed, but lies can only cause limited damage when they are confined to individual heads. But somewhere along the line, we allowed this country to go off the rails and accede to the malignant collectivist fantasies of the left. Their takeover of academia, the mass media, most all professional groups, and most of the permanent structure of government is quite literally a form of (collective) body-snatching.
Let's take a very obvious example, the two recent GOP debates, the first one hosted by a leftist MSM outfit, the second by the non-leftist Fox. The MSNBC debate was a farce and a joke, presided over by the fundamentally unserious buffoon, Chris Matthews. The second was sober, serious, and substantive. But is is no surprise as to why. Again, the left is intoxicated. Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are loud and drunken clowns. There is no "sobriety," much less gravity, about them.
Naturally, the Democrat party refuses to have a debate hosted by Fox, any more than Christopher Hitchens would enter detox, for it would expose them as the unserious twits that they are.
This would also explain the otherwise inexplicable affinity the left has for that institution that has perfected "doing the lie," the U.N. For what is the U.N. but a den full of liars and therefore tyrants, thieves and murderers? Someone who threatens to courageously speak truth to this demonic power -- e.g., John Bolton -- is himself demonized by the left. This is no coincidence, but an inevitable result of the left's assault on intelligible realities. The more someone speaks truth, the more they must be demonized by the left.
This is what is actually behind their attempt to resurrect the so-called "fairness doctrine," which is simply an attempt by them to extinguish a little non-leftist light that has entered the media in the form of talk radio. They cannot actually succeed in their satanic project of destroying truth -- which is to say, intelligible reality -- but they can certainly put up road blocks to delay or prevent its discovery.
One huge roadblock the left has erected in the path of Truth is called "higher education." Political correctness is simply the left's means of foreclosing intelligible reality and their "muscle" for ensuring doctrinal enforcement.
Furthermore, their attack on religion is nothing more or less than the attempt to oust a competing religion, not religion as such, for no one is more of a loony religious fanatic than a gaia-worshipping greenhouse gasbag or a ranting neo-Marxist hack such as Christopher Hitchens.
As Pieper writes, "to do what in reality is right and good presupposes some knowledge about reality; if you do not know how it is with things and how they stand, you are in concreto (practically) unable to choose what is ethically good. The mere 'good intention,' the desire to be just, for instance, does not suffice at all."
But as we know all too well, this is what the left is all about: good intentions. However, at the same time, their good intentions are rooted in an ontology that denies the Real, which is to say, the objective truth of intelligible realities -- for example, objective morality. Instead, it is grounded in an explicit philosophy of moral relativism, multiculturalism, and "diversity."
Therefore, the left inescapably embodies the misosophy of Doing the Lie, which can only redound to great evil, including the abolition of man -- since it is founded on this very abolition. Which is not very courageous, but very C.S.
Robert W.Godwin, Ph.D a clinical psychologist whose interdisciplinary work has focused on the relationship between contemporary psychoanalysis, chaos theory, and quantum physics.
May 17, 2007, 5:30 a.m.
Christopher Hitchens Is a Treasure - A good, useful atheist. By Michael Novak
More on Hitchens, et.al, if you’re interested:
“Intelligent people who have no contact with higher reality are without question the most dangerous people on earth. Because of their intellectual pride, they are prone to overestimate the abilities of their puny intellect, as if they are fit to pronounce on all manner of things about which they possess no knowledge at all. There is no ignorance like educated ignorance, since it is the license for imprudent action. “
Friday, May 18, 2007
Freedom, Virtue, and Alignment With the Real
(no spell check yet...)
It is really a question of who represents the “reality based community.” It’s as simple — and complex — as that. Continuing along the lines of yesterday’s post about prudence, Pieper notes the truism that the precondition for any kind of adequate judgment about anything — say, dealing with the reconstruction of an automobile accident — is “to see the events the way they really occurred.” Failing this, “all further considerations become futile,” for “the precondition for every ethical decision is the perception and examination of reality.”
But this is only half of the process, since adequation to reality is necessary but not sufficient to constitute prudence: “the other half consists in ‘translating’ our knowledge of reality into decision and action.” Thus, prudence “is the art of making the right decision based on the corresponding reality — no matter whether justice, courage or temperence is at stake.”
Now, in the end, there are only two antithetical philosophical stances which go by various names: realism/materialism, or idealism/empiricism, or essentialism/existentialism. Thus, if one of these fundamental stances is not in accord with reality — and they cannot both be equally true — then most everything else that flows from the stance is going to be poisoned by that initial error.
Let’s take Christopher Hitchens, for example. He is a hardcore materialist, empiricist, and existentialist. He denies even the possibility of any higher reality. But if this higher reality does exist — and I insist that it does — then there is going to be something fundamentally flawed about Hitchens’ judgment. It won’t mean that it is impossible for him to believe things that are true. That would be absurd. However, it will often mean that he doesn’t believe them because they are true. Thus his prudence will be “accidental” rather than “essential,” i.e., flowing from the nature of things.
Likewise, since Hitchens and I may be fairly described as philosophical opposites, most any convergence of our views will be accidental and not essential. Take the war on Islamo-fascism, for example. Many people were surprised by this lifelong Marxist’s eloquent support of the liberation of Iraq. However, being that he despises all forms of religiosity in principle, then it should not really be a surprise that he particularly despises Islam. And based upon his recent comments about Jerry Falwell, we can see that he hardly harbors less animosity toward evangelical Christians, since he regards them as intrinsically vulgar frauds and deceitful crooks — dangerous, superstitious, abusive of women and children, etc.
What is more difficult to account for is why Islam gets a pass from most leftists, even while they share Hitchens’ animosity toward proper religion, such as Christianity. But for most leftists, there is an internalized implicit hierarchy of victimization that generally corresponds with skin color rather than religion or ideology. Therefore, darker skinned religious savages trump lighter skinned white European Christian males every time, the latter of whom are at the top of the heap in terms of victimizers. That is their “reality,” so their judgments — at risk of abusing the word — follow.
Thus, it would not be exactly correct to say that Christopher Hitchens is on my side in the war, since he would go after me with similar gusto once the Islamists were out of the way — just as the Islamists went after America as soon as the Soviet Union was out of the way.
In hindsight, we can see that it was folly to believe that we had earned any brownie points by helping Muslims liberate Afghanistan from communist tyranny, for they are not interested in American style liberty but Islamic tyranny. It is similar folly to believe that a man such as Hitchens could ever be our ally except tactically. We can only use him as a means to an end (benignly, of course) of which he confesses total ignorance, since it inheres in spiritual reality.
Likewise, Hitchens has his own “ends” (i.e., his idea of the “good,” even if his philosophy forbids him from speaking of any transcendent moral reality) which do not correspond to American values. The American ideal is fundamentally grounded in a rightly ordered spiritual liberty with which we are endowed by our Creator, but Hitchens would presumably condemn us to some form of statist collectivism, since he remains a committed ideological leftist. Only one of us can be correct — or even remotely correct — about the source of our liberty. And with that very first step into “ontological space,” innumerable implications follow, both personal and political.
For example, it is impossible for an American — if he is to remain an American in any meaningfully spiritual sense — to believe in “affirmative action,” or government imposed racial discrimination. The idea of granting the state the power to sort people into racial categories and dole out special favors to this or that group is strictly inconceivable on the American view of what constitutes reality — since it runs afoul of the intelligible spiritual reality that all men are created equal. Specifically, they are created vertically equal by their Creator, not forced to be horizontally equal by the state. The latter is tyranny, not liberty. But only if you believe in spiritual liberty to begin with.
In fact, once you eliminate higher reality, then you will find that the most inexplicable leftist belief suddenly makes perfect sense. In other words, no matter how rash, immature and imprudent they may look, leftists are “prudent” within the constraints of their ability to know reality.
For example, the other day while mountain biking in the hills, I came across a beautiful deer. She was obviously very frightened that I had entered her space, and instantly froze before bounding away with remarkable speed. From my point of view, that wasn’t very prudent, since I would have loved nothing more than to approach the deer and scratch her belly. But from the deer’s more limited point of view, its actions made perfect sense. It lives in the dichotomous world of predator/prey, and I fell into the former category by default. (Speaking of http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/006584.php deer, headlights, and leftists try and don’t miss this pungent sizzle!, in the words of the menu of my favorite Chinese restaurant.)
Similarly, the leftist lives in a world of absence, or lack, at its center. As I have written before, I believe this is an ineluctable result of their alienation from spiritual reality, which they translate to material or economic lack. Thus, they believe — religiously, I might add, since it flies in the face of economic reality — in the notion of a limited amount of wealth, or a “zero sum” economic model. And because the amount of wealth is limited, it is unfair that some should have more than others. Therefore, since there’s presumably no way to “make more wealth,” then a heavy-handed state must come in and redistribute it in a manner leftist politicians deem fair.
It all makes perfect sense, except that it makes no sense, since these views are not in accord with economic reality. As a result, imprudent economic policies are guaranteed, whether it is the government taking more of the money you have earned, or forcing businesses to pay people more than they’re worth, or forcing landlords to charge less in rent than the market dictates, or suing businesses because they have the wrong racial or gender mix, etc.
Once again, Master http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/ThomasSowell/2007/05/16/presumptions_of_the_left Sowell offered a lucid editorial yesterday, in which he lays out what he believes is the “first wrong step” of the leftist, which is the presumption that it is possible for any human being to have more than a tiny fraction of the information embodied in the free market — the market being the sine qua non of a complex information system. In a free market, the “price” of a product or service is only the end result of countless little independent decisions that have been made at every stage of production. In light of this, the idea that price is simply a static entity that can be understood, much less imposed, from the top down, is quite patently absurd. It is a bizarre, medieval superstition that goes way beyond anything Jerry Falwell could ever come up with. And yet, millions of leftists the world over believe it, including, one presumes, Christopher Hitchens. No self-respecting Marxist could believe otherwise.
In keeping with today’s theme, Sowell writes that “Radically different conclusions about a whole range of issues have been common for centuries.... My own view is that differences in bedrock assumptions underlying ideas play a major role in determining how people differ in what policies, principles or ideologies they favor.”
For example, “If you start from a belief that the most knowledgeable person on earth does not have even one percent of the total knowledge on earth, that shoots down social engineering, economic central planning, judicial activism and innumerable other ambitious notions favored by the political left.”
I should just stop now, for that pretty much sums it up.... Nevertheless,
“If no one has even one percent of the knowledge currently available, not counting the vast amounts of knowledge yet to be discovered, the imposition from the top of the notions favored by elites convinced of their own superior knowledge and virtue is a formula for disaster.”
Suddenly, the many economic disasters that have resulted from the imposition of leftist ideas make total sense, since the reality based community is so fundamentally out of touch with economic reality. However,
“economic disasters, important as they are, have not been the worst consequences of people with less than one percent of the world’s knowledge superimposing the ideas prevailing in elite circles on those subject to their power — that is, on the people who together have the other 99 percent of knowledge.” Rather, “Millions of human beings died of starvation, and of diseases related to severe malnutrition, when the economic ideas of Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China were inflicted on the population living — and dying — under their iron rule.” (And just wait until the catastrophic economic ideas of radical environmentalists are implemented.)
Marxist that he is, Christopher Hitchens spent the 1980s attacking Ronald Reagan — the great liberator from communist tyranny — in the same savage way he recently desecrated Falwell’s dead body. Therefore, if we were as temperamentally choleric as Hitchens, we would be justified, I suppose, in using the same juvenile terms — actually much worse, because at least Falwell never aligned himself with a genocidal ideology, as has Hitchens — he used to describe Falwell, such as “slimy toad” or “give him an enema, and you could bury him in a matchbox.”
But Hitchens is a leftist. He is a better person than Falwell — which is what the santimonious left always believes about itself, irrespective of how they actually conduct their lives and treat other human beings. As Sowell writes, what leftists share “is the notion that knowledgeable and virtuous people like themselves have both a right and a duty to use the power of government to impose their superior knowledge and virtue on others.”
But “If no one has even one percent of all the knowledge in a society, then it is crucial that the other 99 percent of knowledge — scattered in tiny and individually unimpressive amounts among the population at large — be allowed the freedom to be used in working out mutual accommodations among the people themselves. These innumerable mutual interactions are what bring the other 99 percent of knowledge into play — and generate new knowledge.” Which is why “free markets, judicial restraint, and reliance on decisions and traditions growing out of the experiences of the many — rather than the groupthink of the elite few — are so important.”
Intelligent people who have no contact with higher reality are without question the most dangerous people on earth. Because of their intellectual pride, they are prone to overestimate the abilities of their puny intellect, as if they are fit to pronounce on all manner of things about which they possess no knowledge at all. There is no ignorance like educated ignorance, since it is the license for imprudent action.
To savor all things as they really are is to truly taste wisdom —Josef Pieper
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