Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Church of Liberalism vs. the Infidels

ObamaCare is floundering and Margaret Carlson is one unhappy liberal, which happens to be my favorite kind.

Carlson: "The website failure gives credence to those who warn that government can’t be trusted to get big things right, and that the market, not bureaucrats, should fix health care. It’s not just the crazies who doubt government now. According to the Pew Research Center, the competence of officialdom is on shaky ground, with only 19 percent of Americans saying they trust in government 'just about always' or 'most of the time.'"

"Crazies". I guess she means people like me -- people who don't always trust the government to do the right thing, whether through ignorance, incompetence or malice; people who believe, to quote another "crazy":

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

The "crazy" who said that, by the way, went by the name of George Washington, who just happens to be the fellow after whom liberalism's Mecca was named.

For that's what we're dealing with here: a religion. There is no god but liberalism, and Obama is its prophet.  We are imbued in liberalism's moral precepts in the schools, battered incessantly with its presumptions in the popular media, and continually and coldly assessed by the keepers of its flame for any signs of heresy, unbelief, or rebellion.  Suspend a student from school for wearing an NRA T-shirt, or for physically defending himself in a fight.  Ostracize Chic-Fil-A and the Boy Scouts when they defend the traditional family.  Smear Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain with rumors of sexual misconduct when they take the national stage espousing a heretical viewpoint, while ignoring Bill Clinton's and John Edwards' own sexual issues for as long as possible because they're true believers.  When liberals speak of "crazies", what they really mean is infidels.

That makes liberalism, in Marxian terms, the opiate of the high and mighty classes.  It is the religion of choice for the clueless cognoscenti, such as Ms. Carlson. "Heaven" is the Great Society, our goal, our eschaton -- a social paradise, perfectly just, perfectly managed, and based on our shared faith in man's reason, knowledge, and inherent gosh-darn goodness.  Wicked resistance yet exists, but can be wholly blamed on the deprived childhoods and lack of (federally-funded) education of the benighted classes (that's us, by the way -- murderers, pimps, thieves, conservatives, and other species of "bitter clingers"). Society's institutions have failed to create a citizenry worthy of their vision. To create the Great Society requires tearing down our outmoded institutions and replacing them with newer, shinier ones.  Not justice, but social justice.  Not prison, but rehabilitation and re-education.  Not the family, but the village.  Not the church, but the progressive university.  Not the Constitution that James Madison helped write, but the "living Constitution" that the Supreme Court gets to re-write -- it's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

The opposing viewpoint, espoused by "crazies" like George Washington and me, is that man is imperfect in knowledge and character -- a fallen creature whose motives are suspect even on those rare occasions when his competence is not; whose laziness and greed require an incentive structure like the free market to get him to lift so much as a finger for his fellow man; and whose depravity requires institutions like the family and the church just to get him to behave himself.  You'll want to be very careful when dealing with such a creature.  You'll want to empower him to improve his own lot in life, while still protecting everyone else's.  Unfortunately, this also empowers him to ruin his own life.  And while it's dangerous to trust the governed, it's catastrophic to trust their governors:  you'll want to disperse political power and bind it with a constitution.  Unfortunately, this also disempowers the government from doing all the things some think it should. 

What you don't want is to collect too much political and economic power together under the hood of one mighty and unstoppable vehicle, and then hand over the keys to anyone who is not Jesus Christ.  Contrary to what the breathless and gushing Evan Thomas thinks, Barack Obama is not Jesus.  To judge by his recent spate of incompetencies, he's not even Pontius Pilate.

We had plenty of warning.  The Bible advises us, put not your faith in man. Discretion tells us, don't fix what ain't broke. Experience should have told most of us that slick hucksters, whether they wear the loud houndstooth and leering grin of the used-car saleman, or the blue serge and ingratiating smile of the professional politician, are to be taken with a grain of salt.

But many of us bought it anyway.  And now we have to suffer the consequences.  Alleluia, amen.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Heads I Win...

Joseph Atwill is a Bible scholar who is also an agnostic. Hey, it had to happen sometime. Atwill believes Jesus was made up by the Romans. Or maybe he's just hoping Jesus was made up by the Romans. Really, I can't tell which. But Atwill said at least one other thing I think is highly questionable...
“Although Christianity can be a comfort to some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history...”
Let's leave aside his lack of perspective regarding history. Let's just go right for the quick, here: Atwill is wrong. Atwill is not just wrong based on my world view; he's wrong even according to his own.

Let me explain how...

Atwill is making a moral argument against Christianity. He's not the first. The main proposition is that the world would be better off without Christianity. So Atwill is implying here that there exists some standard by which he judges the "Good", and by which Christianity falls short.

So it's fair to ask, what is his standard, and what is its nature?  And no fair leaning on Christian ideals here -- he has to justify his moral argument based on his own assumptions, not mine.

Since Atwill doesn't believe in God, I presume he's a materialist, in which case he rejects the notion of any absolute standard for the Good. So then, without an absolute standard, what is left?

Opinion. That's all, folks. Atwill's may be an erudite opinion. It may be lucid and compelling. But it is just an opinion. In Atwill's opinion, and in the opinion of other atheists, Christianity falls short on the moral code-o-meter.

Can opinions themselves hold moral authority?

If so, then what makes Atwill's opinion better than the opinion of believers? Is it well-expressed? Well, there also happen to be articulate Christians. So that would probably not make the decisive difference.

Is Atwill himself some sort of moral authority to whom we should pay heed? My guess is, he's no better or worse than the vast number of us, including Christians. He's a mere human like us. Unless he assumes the authority of a prophet or an apostle -- and that isn't possible in his world view -- it's safe to assume he's personally no more authoritative than the rest of us.

What would it require to judge Atwill's opinion better than a Christian's? There would need to be some higher standard by which to judge both, wouldn't there? What would that higher standard be?

Reason? That seems to be a popular retort.  But if Reason is the arbiter, then St. Thomas Aquinas' opinion might be more important than Atwill's, if we can show Aquinas' powers of reasoning are superior. Aquinas, after all, is considered one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived. But, personally, I doubt that Reason holds all that much moral authority. Not to go full Godwin, but the Nazis were far better at reasoning than most other folks on this planet. They even took copious notes as they tortured Jews, so they would gain medical insights. E.g., they would throw a Jew naked into a snow bank, turn on the stop watch, and figure out how long they could keep him there before they couldn't resuscitate him. The head Nazis were hung at Nuremberg but they left us their data. It's perfectly good data. Lives have been saved using it. So what's wrong with collecting such data? Reason says the Jews were going to die anyway, might as well learn something we didn't already know, right?

Only it's repulsive as Hell, that's all, and Reason happens to be oblivious to that fact. Let's just stipulate it's ghoulish to decide one person's life is worth the torturing and killing of another person to whose life we impart no respect.  Reason is no help at all to us here because it can serve evil as well as good. That's why, whenever Reason is used to justify something evil, we call it 'rationalizing'.  So scratch that.

So then, what is that higher standard, if not Reason?  The majority?  Are we all majoritarians now?   Well, the majority in 1700 A.D. thought slavery was okay. A majority of American Indians thought human sacrifice was okay. We have a constitution with a bill of rights precisely because the Founding Fathers were perfectly aware that majorities can be oppressive and they believed even minorities deserve rights.  So scratch that too.

Maybe Atwill's opinion is better because, in his own view, he believes his opinions are somehow special. Problem is, he shares that conceit with practically everyone else on the planet, so that doesn't tell us anything either.

Is it starting to appear that Atwill's opinion isn't based on any higher standard at all?

In fact, the idea of a higher standard itself is a silly notion in materialist philosophy.  Don't believe in what you can't observe or measure -- that's their creed, after all.  Since we can't prove a higher standard exists, then materialists say it doesn't exist.

We conclude that Atwill's opinion is no better than anyone else's, based on Atwill's own assumptions about there being no God.

So, if his opinion is no better than anyone else's, then what is the point of him arguing it?  By his own assumptions about God, trying to convince us of his opinion's worth is pointless.

Whereas, in my opinion, there is something higher than my opinion -- namely, God's will.  I do right, or I do wrong, based on His opinion.  Provided God exists, that makes me right for embracing His will as the ultimate moral authority; whereas, provided He doesn't exist, it's pointless for Atwill to argue. So I win by both world views.

I even win by postmodernist standards. Postmodernists shrug and say, "What is truth? What is good?" and conclude that if something gives your life meaning, embrace it even at the expense of rationality. I can say I'm right, and they can't say I'm wrong. I win again.