Skip to comments.In Defense of Certainty
Posted on 05/31/2005 10:49:05 PM PDT by Zivasmate
In Defense of Certainty It's trendy to be suspicious of people with "deeply held views." And it's wrong By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
"And in [William] Pryor's case, his beliefs are so well known, so deeply held, that it's very hard to believe, very hard to believe that they're not going to deeply influence the way he comes about saying, 'I will follow the law.' And that would be true of anybody who had very, very deeply held views."
--Senator Charles Schumer, during a hearing on the nomination of William Pryor for U.S. appeals-court judge, June 2003
These thingsÂ come inÂ waves, of course, but waves need to be resisted, even if the exercise leaves you feeling like King Canute. The new wave is fashionable doubt. Doubt is in. Certainty is out.
The New Republic devotes a cover article to hailing the "conservatism of doubt." For the less bookish, Hollywood spends $130 million on a Crusader epic in which the heroes are 12th century multiculturalists, Christian and Muslim, who want nothing more than love, peace and interfaith understanding. (Such people inhabit 21st century Hollywood, but as columnist John Podhoretz points out, they were nowhere to be seen in 12th century Jerusalem.)
And dare you have any "deeply held views"--a transparent euphemism for religiously grounded views--especially regarding abortion, watch out for Schumer and other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. They might well declare you disqualified for the bench.
The Op-Ed pages are filled with jeremiads about believers--principally evangelical Christians and traditional Catholics--bent on turning the U.S. into a theocracy. Now I am not much of a believer, but there is something deeply wrong--indeed, deeply un-American--about fearing people simply because they believe. It seems perfectly O.K. for secularists to impose their secular views on America, such as, say, legalized abortion or gay marriage. But when someone takes the contrary view, all of a sudden he is trying to impose his view on you. And if that contrary view happens to be rooted in Scripture or some kind of religious belief system, the very public advocacy of that view becomes a violation of the U.S. constitutional order.
What nonsense. The campaign against certainty is merely the philosophical veneer for an attempt to politically marginalize and intellectually disenfranchise believers. Instead of arguing the merits of any issue, secularists are trying to win the argument by default on the grounds that the other side displays unhealthy certainty or, even worse, unseemly religiosity.
Why this panic about certainty and people who display it? It is not just, as conventional wisdom has it, that liberals think the last election was lost because of a bloc of benighted Evangelicals. It is because we are almost four years from 9/11 and four years of moral certainty, and firm belief is about all that secular liberalism can tolerate.
Do you remember 9/11? How you felt? The moral clarity of that day and the days thereafter? Just days after 9/11, on this very page, Lance Morrow wrote a brilliant, searing affirmation of right against wrong, good against evil.
A few years of that near papal certainty is more than any self-respecting intelligentsia can take. The overwhelmingly secular intellectuals are embarrassed that they once nodded in assent to Morrow-like certainty, an affront to their self-flattering pose as skeptics.
Enough. A new day, a new wave. Time again for nuance, doubt and the comforts of relativism. It is not just the restless search for novelty, the artist's Holy Grail. It is weariness with the responsibilities and the nightmares that come with clarity--and the demands that moral certainty make on us as individuals and as a nation.
Nothing has more aroused and infuriated the sophisticates than the foreign policy of a religiously inclined President, based on the notion of a universal aspiration to freedom and of America's need and duty to advance it around the world. Such liberationism, confident and unapologetic, is portrayed as arrogant crusading, a deep violation of the tradition of American pluralism, ecumenism, modesty and skeptical restraint.
That widespread portrayal is invention masquerading as history. You want certainty? You want religiosity? How about a people who overthrow the political order of the ages, go to war and occasion thousands of deaths in the name of self-evident truths and unalienable rights endowed by the Creator? That was 1776. The universality, the sacredness and the divine origin of freedom are enshrined in our founding document. The Founders, believers all, signed it. Thomas Jefferson wrote it. And not even Jefferson, the most skeptical of the lot, had the slightest doubt about it.
Copyright © 2005 Time Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction
He's a favorite of mine as well and something tells me, skeptic that he thinks he is, he isn't really.
It's not that libs don't want morals, it's that they want THEIR!!! morals (but don't call them that) to be the dominant morals of the country. Libs childish argument about conservatives or anyone else not "imposing" their morals on them can be easily refuted by simply asking a lib if he or she doesn't mind if you shoot them and their children. When they gasp that that would be a criminal act, merely ask them why. When they affirm that killing someone is wrong, ask them why. At some point they will have to admit to some sort of moral basis governing society. As soon as they admit to that, you have them...trapped by their own stinking (il)logic
Problem is--though--with Bill Pryor of Alabama-the Honorable Roy S.Moore was much closer to the TRUTH and
to the rule of Law as a strict constructionalist than
the ambitious William Pryor. Moore was sacrificed on the
altar of political correctness.At a time when we are ruled not by law -but by the peculior structure of a court that is an oligarchy of despots.
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