Rebirth of Reason

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Monday, October 30, 2017 - 12:05amSanction this postReply

Interesting article, Luke. 


There is a split in Christianity as it relates to modern politics.  One side has become a vocal, energetic opponent of progressivism and the other side is an ancestor to progressivism - a key part of its historical roots.


Progressivism is deeply opposed by orthodox Christianity (those who not only invest in the strict rituals, beliefs and forms presented by their religion, but who believe that salvation is one by one and based upon the acceptance of their beliefs and faith.  This is very different from 'collective salvation'). 


And it appears that the way that the orthodox Christians hold their faith can have the effect of psychologically immunizing them to the lure of political correctness - which itself is a kind of call for faith.  This appears to be why the religious Right is the strongest political contingent opposing progressivism.


In my book I discussed the Protestant post-millenial piety movement (which rests on the belief that until sufficient numbers of sinners have repent, thereby creating a kingdom of God here on earth, and that a thousand years have passed in such a state, would Christ return and take everyone to Heaven.... that is a form of collective salvation.)  It was a strong part of the very early roots of progressivism: everyone must be morally, culturally transformed for the good of (fill in the blank).  This is at the heart of attempting to use the government to force everyone to adopt the moral views of an elite. 


And you can see what a natural fit this was for Marxists who adopted 'Gradualism' (the view that a Marxist state should be achieved gradually, over generations if need be, by vote instead of a sudden revolution).


Marxists and religious advocates of government-enforced collective salvation were the grandparents of progressivism - but it took Saul Alinsky to 'purify' and operationalize this evil movement in its modern form.


There are only a few forms of effective 'immunization' against political correctness.  As I mentioned above: orthodox Christianity.  But also other forms of intense religious beliefs (even if based upon collective salvation - such as many of the Islamic beliefs).  Other than those, I'd say that only a combination of an objective morality based upon individualism and high self-esteem can be counted on.  Anything else seems to leave a psychological hole that political correctness seeps into.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 4:15amSanction this postReply

That was a deep dive ...  I look to Max Weber's book on Protestantism and the Rise of Capitalism.  He cut and pasted in a large section (perhaps all) of Benjamin Franklin's "The Way to Wealth." Personal virtues of thrift and hard work were evidence of your personal salvation.  Franklin enjoyed himself, as we know, but he made his money in the city.  On the other hand, despite all of his intellectual achievements, Thomas Jefferson was a land-owning, slaveholder, and a perpetual debtor who borrowed money to indulge his passion for books. So, those two paradigms exemplify different lifestyles, depsite both men being "Protestants."  


I see, also, in the mass conversion theory a lot cultural Objectivism: if we can get enough people to read Atlas Shrugged (or see the movies), we can change the world, bringing about a "Rebirth of Reason."  I certainly am in favor of the outcome. It is, however, an individual enterprise with a personal reward, whether or not the rest of the world changes.


Catholicism is like any ism... it depends on the person living it.  Before he was tossed in the cellar here, Ted Keer recommended the works of Cardinal Mercier (See Wikipedia for Desire-Joseph Mercier.). I got his textbook on philosophy from my university library. Except for the expected passages about God and Christ and Salvation, it could have come from an Rand's own inner circle: the senses are valid; and reason informs us of what we perceive; and all the rest.  Even the ethics were mildy - not wildly - altruistic, noting the benefit to the individual in acting morally (granted that the morals were fundamentally in error). It was why Rand nodded to Aquinas.


But, it remains that there are Opus Dei Catholics like Mel Gibson who share many "Protestant" ideas about salvation and works here on Earth.  I was fired from a job with Blue Cross of Michigan when, at lunch, my project manager asked me if I go to church. I said that I don't discuss religion at work because you end up arguing whether the bishop of Rome is the vicar of Christ. At that point, the other person on our small team spoke up to witness for Jesus. The manager chimed in that he, too, knew Christ as his Savior because of his Catholic religion, even though other Catholics are caught up in ceremony and ritual. And I had nothing to say...


But I just note here and now that the broad generalizations and angels-on-a-pinhead analysis of Peter Burfeind are somewhat peculiar. He is, as he notes, worried about the continued spread of Gnosticism.

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