Skip to comments.Natural Law and Child Abuse
Posted on 11/30/2007 10:53:13 AM PST by neverdem
A recent AP news report has concluded, after compiling the results of numerous studies over the years, that there is a strong and disturbing link between severe child abuse and non-traditional family environments. In the article' words:
"[Scholars and caseworkers] note an ever increasing share of America's children grow up in homes without both biological parents, and say the risk of child abuse is markedly higher in the nontraditional family structures."
Now it is clear that in the human species the female is far from sufficing alone for the rearing of the children, since the needs of human life require many things that one person alone cannot provide.
Then again we're not legislating impossibilities or indulging in wishful thinking, since the law we established is in accord with nature. It's rather the way things are at present that seems to be against nature.
"that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Everyone thinks of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual."
Each citizen [in Plato's Republic] will have a thousand sons who will not be his sons individually, but anybody will be equally the son of anybody, and will therefore be neglected by all alike.
In a state having women and children common, love will be watery; and the father will certainly not say ‘my son' or the son ‘my father.' As a little sweet wine mingled with a great deal of water is imperceptible in the mixture, so, in this sort of community, the idea of relatiionship which is based on these names will be lost; there is no reason why the so-called father should care about the so-called son, or the son about the father, or brothers about one another. Of the two qualities which chiefly inspire regard and affection - that a thing is your own and that you love it - neither can exist in a state such as this.
"how immeasurably greater is the pleasure, when a man feels a thing to be his own; for the love of self is a feeling implanted by nature and not given in vain, although selfishness is rightly censured; this, however, is not the mere love of self, but the love of self in excess...."
"family patterns have changed dramatically in recent decades as cohabitation and single-parenthood become common. Thirty years ago, nearly 80 percent of America's children lived with both parents. Now, only two-thirds of them do. Of all families with children, nearly 29 percent are now one-parent families, up from 17 percent in 1977. The net result is a sharp increase in households with a potential for instability, and the likelihood that adults and children will reside in them who have no biological tie to each other."
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Belief in Disbelief, or Inside the Postmodern Skeptic Tank
[T]he new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything.... And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in the way when he wants to denounce anything. For denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.... In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. —G.K. Chesterton
One of the key ideas of Orthodoxy is that we require a stable framework in order to think productively and deeply about reality, and that certain frameworks (Chesterton would say one framework) have been given to us from “on high,” so to speak, in order to accomplish this. Naturally, the “radical” opposes this constraint on his freedom, but freedom in itself is not freeing, any more than progress in itself is progressive; without limits, or boundary conditions, the former is “nothingness” or “lostness,” while the latter is just pointless change, drift, or entropy.
This reminds me of the distinction Polanyi drew between what he called the open society and the free society. He used the practice of science to illustrate the difference, pointing out that a truly free society does not merely consist of everyone believing whatever they want. Science, for example, is a free and spontaneous intellectual order that is nevertheless based on a distinctive set of beliefs about the world, through which the diverse actions of individual scientists are coordinated. Like the cells in your body, individual scientists independently go about their business, and yet, progress is made because their activities are channeled by the pursuit of real truth.
In contrast, in a merely “open” society, there is no such thing as transcendent truth: perception is reality and everyone is free to think and do as he pleases, with no objective standard by which to judge it. This kind of “bad freedom” eventually ramifies into the cognitively pathological situation we now see on the left, especially as it manifests in its purest form in academia (the liberal arts, not the sciences, except to the extent that science devolves into metaphysical scientism).
Initially, the assault on the existence of objective truth seems liberating, as we are freed from the dictates of arbitrary authority.
However, the whole idea of the individual pursuit of truth was a deeply liberal project, since truth was not accepted a priori but was subject to criticism and logical or empirical demonstration. But with deconstruction — the Swiss pacifist knife of the intellectual left — the entire concept of truth is undermined, so there is no way to arbitrate between competing notions of reality.
Therefore, whoever has the power may enforce their version of reality, which is what political correctness is all about: Truth is arbitrary, but you had better believe my version of it, or be branded a bigot, or a homophobe, or a white male oppressor. One more reason why contemporary liberalism is so deeply illiberal. Their ideas cannot be argued on the merits, so they are enforced by the illegitimate authority of political correctness.
If you are on the left, you are undoubtedly oblivious to this bullying pressure (unless you are a totally cynical Clinton-type who does it consciously). If you are on the right, you feel it all the time — cognitive stop signs that impede you from uttering certain truths in public for fear of triggering attack. The politically correct leftist is always a passively-aggressive controlling person — hardly a victim, but an aggressor (for his self-imposed victimization legitimizes the release of amoral sadistic aggression).
Thus, the deep structure of the left-right divide in this country goes beyond the secular vs. religious worldview.
A purely secular society is an open society, where all points of view, no matter how stupid or dysfunctional, are equally valued (e.g., multiculturalism and moral relativism), whereas a truly free society must be rooted in something permanent and transcendent.
It doesn’t necessarily have to come from religion, although it inevitably leads in that direction. Mainly, in order to be truly free, one must acknowledge a source of truth that is independent of man, an antecedent reality that is perceived by the intellect, not the senses. Fortunately, our founders knew that the self-evident religious truths that constrain us actually set us free (indeed, are the very basis of our liberty).
You may note that this has direct relevance for the current debate between strict constructionists vs. the notion of a “living constitution.” In reality, strict adherence to the constitution results in increased freedom and democracy, while the “living constitution” quickly devolves into judicial tyranny. If you enjoy playing blackjack, your freedom is not really enhanced if the dealer can either hit or stand on 16, depending on his moment-to-moment interpretation of the living rules of blackjack.
How can a progressive even be progressive unless he has some permanent standard by which to measure his progress? In the absence of such a standard, there is only meaningless change, rebellion, random reshuffling, not progress.
As mentioned yesterday, atheists ironically fantasize about a day when human beings will be liberated from the shackles of religion and be truly “free” to think what they want. First of all, this is analogous to a musician longing for the day when he is free to play his instrument without the annoying constraints of scales, notes, and keys. Perhaps more importantly, that day has already arrived. The atheistic free thinkers are noisily trying to knock down doors that are already wide open, especially in the arts and in academia. There you can see the direct consequences of “free thought,” and it is hardly any kind of liberation, but rather a stupifyingly oppressive nihilism.
For those of you who are not jazz mavens, there was a movement in the 1960’s called “free jazz.” As a matter of fact, it wasn’t so much a musical movement as a political one — or at least it was indistinguishable from the breaking political winds of the day, i.e, “black liberation.” There was the idea that one could absolutely break through the chordal structure of (white) western music and achieve a kind of quasi-religious purity of expression. True, you can do this, but it leads in a circle back to the “pre-musical” expressions of an angry or exuberant child. It is a “song of myself,” by myself and for myself. In a word, pure narcissism, or musical maestrobation. It is the end of music, just as atheism is — and must be — the end of thought, i.e, intellection, as opposed to mere computation.
Again I must emphasize that no one is more surprised than I am at the essentially infinite amount of cognitive music one may play within the chordal structure of religion. One is not constrained but set free. I used to be a “free thinker,” but the quality of thought I produced was essentially worthless get-a-cluevinilia. And now that I think about it, it was worthless for very specific reasons. Among others, it lacked timelessness, universality, generativity, wholeness, harmony, radiance — exactly the things that revelation embodies par excellence.
This is why a Meister Eckhart or Denys the Areopagite will always be timely — because their thought is rooted in a source “outside time” — whereas the narrow-minded rants of a Dawkins, Harris, or Hitchins are already beyond their hackspiration date by the time they have been pabulished. Truly, they are by the dead and for the dead, the blind leading the bland. In the absence of transcendent truth, freedom’s just a nothing word for leftists to abuse.
Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame.... The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits.... Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three-sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. —Chesterton
posted by Gagdad Bob at 11/28/2007 08:29:00 AM 36 comments links to this post
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Life Amidst the Postmodern Ruins
Another post or two about Orthodoxy before we move on. This was another “speed post,” so forgive any typos or other infelicities of language....
I was very impressed with how Chesterton, although writing in 1907, had already diagnosed the pathologies of the left. In fact, his ideas mirror exactly what Polanyi wrote some 50 years later about the “moral inversion” of the left, i.e., the dangerous combination of radical skepticism and an unhinged, ruthless moral perfectionism unbound from tradition.
Chesteron writes of the socialist that although he may have a “large and generous heart,” it is “not a heart in the right place.” And only a human being can have a heart dangerously set in the wrong location. It generally occurs “when a religious scheme is shattered” as a result of their intense skepticism. When this happens, “it is not merely the vices that are let loose.” Rather, “the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage.” Just because someone has a moral code, it hardly means that they are moral.
I have written a number of posts on the dynamics of this pathological process, which I thought that Polanyi had been the first to recognize. But Chesterton also writes of how “the modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone.” Most every destructive policy put into place by the left can be traced to some Christian virtue gone mad — i.e., feed the hungry, so steal from “the rich” and call it “giving,” or defending abortion on the basis of the sanctity of “liberty,” or encouraging every manner of deviancy under the guise of “tolerance.” They have the bizarre idea that it is “easier to forgive sins” if “there are no sins to forgive” — except for the sin of believing they exist.
Or the leftist might extract and focus upon a single virtue to the exclusion of others, which creates a dangerous imbalance, for example, “a merely mystical and almost irrational virtue of charity.” John Edwards’ campaign is based almost solely upon this idea, but again, what he calls “charity,” the rest of us call coercion. And boundless charity in the absence of any obligation on the part of the recipient is a recipe for anthropological disaster.
Schuon would agree with Chesterton that the leftist is “really the enemy of the human race — because he is so human.” Of all the animals, only a human being can sink beneath himself — and even beneath the animals. And he does so primarily by imagining that an animal is all he is, for when human intelligence is in the service of animal instinct, the result is hell on earth — and bear in mind that Chesterton was writing before the great atheistic movements of the 20th century — the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, et al, so he clearly grasped the principle before it actually played out in history.
And Chesterton could prophecize in this manner because he could see directly into the “principial” world of timeless truth embodied in revelation. Again, revelation instantiates metaphysical truths with which it is possible to “think beyond the surface,” both in space and in time, interior and exterior. Thus, unlike postmodernists who believe that “perception is reality,” he writes that “man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert — himself.” This leads to the erosion of universality and the elevation of particularity to the ultimate — which quickly devolves into nihilism.
Conversely, the part that a man doubts “is exactly the part he ought not doubt — the Divine Reason.” But this inversion obviously persists — indeed, it is practically the fault line that runs between left and right — and is responsible for a range of pathological ideas, from multiculturalism, to moral relativism, to the belief in “self esteem,” to reducing standards in general to achieve some preconceived end.
The left also practices a “false humility.” After all, it can sound like a plea for humility when the postmodern multiculturalist asks, “who am I to say that I can possess the truth, or that one culture is better than another?” But this attitude is a “more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic.” That is — and this is apparently a subtle point, so listen closely — “The old humility was a spur that prevented man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.”
This is one of the reasons that the left habitually attacks motives instead of substance, for they first undermine the idea that you can know anything objectively, and then insist that the purpose of knowledge is domination and oppression anyway. For the last several years, “job one” of of the left has been to make us doubtful of our aims in Iraq, in the hope that we will simply become demoralized and surrender.
But they do this so selectively that it is mind-boggling. For example, surely there was more credible evidence that Saddam had WMD than that the earth is undergoing catastrophic manmade warming. But in both cases, their main argument is that people who disagree with them have venal motives. In the case of President Bush, he really wanted to invade Iraq because he thought it would somehow enrich his already wealthy “friends.” And in the case of global warming, those who reject the theory are simply on the payroll of Bush’s wealthy friends. So for all practical purposes, humility is not possible on the left, since their conspiratorial form of thought means that they always have the answer. And it sounds humble to the stupid, since they are always opposed to the intrinsically racist-sexist-homophobic America.
So, just as the left engages in the moral inversion of detaching virtue from tradition, they engage in a weird “cognitive inversion” that combines “intellectual helplessness” with a kind of monstrously arrogant omniscience. This is how you can spend some $100,000 plus on an elite university education, only to learn that truth doesn’t exist and we possess it.
Once again, Chesterton was a prophet with regard to the problem of the “tenured radicals” who have hijacked our higher educational system: “The peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself. Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought.” How did he know about the narcissistic boomers 40 years before the first one was born?
Chesterton writes that “there is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped.” It is the thoroughly irrational thought that our thoughts have no relationship to reality and that truth is therefore inaccessible to human beings. This radical skepticism was “the ultimate evil against which religious authority was aimed,” which is why, “in so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind. They are both methods of proof that cannot themselves be proved. And in the act of destroying the idea of Divine authority we have largely destroyed the idea of that human authority by which we do a long-division sum. With a long and sustained tug we have attempted to pull the mitre off pontifical man; and his head has come off with it.”
For if the converse were true — i.e., the blind materialism of natural selection — “it does not destroy religion but rationalism,” for it nullifies the mind that can know truth. It is the equivalent of “I am not; therefore I cannot think.”
Thus, “it is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought begin.” For we have already seen the effects of this gloriously unbound, “free” thought, since the results are strewn all around us. Indeed, we must try to get through the day — and our lives — by making our way through its ruins.
posted by Gagdad Bob at 11/27/2007 08:13:00 AM 36 comments links to this post bttt
You’re not my Dad. You can’t boss me around.
Read the list of boyfirends in the sidebar from the original article who have killed children and make a guess as to the cultural background of the majority. I thought it was interesting.
Verra nice. Quite Steynian.
Very interesting philosophical discussion. My philosophy is that we ought to oppose leftism on the very fundamental philosophical level:
The sophist argues from the assumption of his own wisdom, resulting in the trivial argument, "I am wise and you are not. You disagree with me. Therefore you are wrong." The philosopher replies, "I do not claim to be wise, but I love wisdom and am ready to hear your facts and your logic. But not your claims to superior virtue which you cannot prove."
- "philosophy" means "love of" (philo) "wisdom" (sophy).
- "sophistry" means wisdom.
It is my opinion that journalism as we have known it all our lives is not something which always existed, but something which is an artifact of the telegraph and the monopolistic Associated Press. In the founding era papers were often weeklies, or even irregularly published - and therefore did not deliver news any faster than you could get it by word of mouth. With the advent of the high speed printing press the printers had bandwidth they needed to fill, and became aggressive in pursuing news stories to fill up space. The AP filled that need admirably - and gave the news editor sources which the general public did not have access to.
When the editor had that, he was in a position to talk down to the reader, and he used his propaganda power to promote the conceit that journalism is "objective." Note that I did not say that the editor said he was objective and other journalists were not - it is critical to understand that journalism in general had to be set up on a pedestal because they all have the same source and are essentially fronts for the Associated Press. At root, journalism as we know it is a monopolistic enterprise - the establishment in America, if that term has any meaning at all.
There is no proof - no way to prove - that journalism is objective. The lack of bias is an unprovable negative, and the con of the journalist is that the fact that it couldn't be proved if it were true shows that we must assume that in fact it is true. It would be impolite to say otherwise, just as it would be impolite to say that a woman is immoral just because she cannot prove that she did not sleep with twenty different men last year. But the situations are not comparable because
First, assuming that you are objective is the very essence of subjectivity. Second, journalism claims to be not only objective but important, and yet journalism does not do things but only criticizes those who do. Theodore Roosevelt said that "It is not the critic who counts . . . the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena . . ." But journalism not only criticizes the doer, it praises the fellow critic by applying the positive labels "liberal" and "progressive" to him.
- claiming to be objective is logically very similar to claiming to be wise (is there any such thing as "unwise objectivity?"), and that means that the journalist's claim of objectivity puts me at an unfair disadvantage if I disagree with the journalist about something important.
- there is evidence that the claim of journalistic objectivity is false.
And third, of course, is the historical record of cases where journalism has promoted - often, continues to promote - notions which are provably false. It was patent from the beginning that Michael Nifong was abusing his office when he tried the Crystal Mangum charges in the newspaper. It was patent from the moment that Dan Rather made his "Killian memos" charges that, having only copies and not originals of the putative memos, and no chain of custody for them, CBS could not possibly know that the "memos" were authentic - and it was very quickly demonstrated that it was extremely improbable that the documents had been produced on a machine which even existed at the time the "memo" putatively were written. And on and on; one could go down the list of charges of bias which Ann Coulter lays and documents in Slander.
In sum, leftism is simply criticism and second guessing of the doer by those who take no responsibilty for results. It is supported by the propaganda power of a monopolistic news industry which selectively throws data at us in a confusing cloud to obscure the lack of evidence for the wisdom of its worldview, and is comfortable making baseless ad hominum arguments. Journalism as we know it is inherently leftist - and leftism is sophistry.
Thanks for the ping c_I_c and your OUTSTANDING post.
Thanks for your posts M-PI and link. Who is this Gagdad Bob? What a thinker/writer. WOW!
Thanks for posting the Ed Kaitz article, neverdem. OUTSTANDING.
Waking up does not get much better than this. You cannot put a price on the value of this mornings FReepress.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I think you’d enjoy this. I’m not sure if it’s ok to ping T’wit, but it doesn’t seem right not to. I just know he would have enjoyed it.
Be sure and read through the replies. There are some gems.
Bookmarked. Thanks for posting this.
Great post. Thanks.
Great post - and your tag line: “The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.”, is proven true once again from merely one small sample today:
November 30, 2007
Posted By Marc Morano
CBS News Seeks Hip Environmental Reporter, No Knowledge of Enviro Beat Necessary
The low bar set by CBS News for their reporting may have reached new depths. CBS News is seeking a reporter for its eco beat who does not need any knowledge of the enviro beat, but must be funny, irreverent and hip, oozing enthusiasm and creative energy, according to a new job posting on JournalismJobs.com. The potential CBS News employee must also be vibrant and bring a dash of humor to our coverage.
Potential employees of CBS News are told that responsibilities include reporting and hosting two to three news packages per week, plus daily writing for our blog, according to the ad which expires on December 12. (LINK)http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=850633
It is refreshing to hear an established news outlet finally admit publicly that being hip or funny is a greater asset than knowledge when it comes to environmental reporting. The discredited CBS News is still reeling from the Dan Rather years and appears to be continuing the current trend in the media to down play actual science in environmental reporting in favor of repeating a fluffy regurgitation of talking points from environmental special interest groups. (See list below for detailed recent examples of the medias woeful environmental reporting.)
CBS News has once again exposed the reason why the establishment media continues to lose audience and influence to the New Media which includes the Internet, Talk Radio, and cable news.
Sampling of recent woeful environmental reporting by the establishment media:
“Thanks for your posts M-PI and link. Who is this Gagdad Bob? What a thinker/writer. WOW!” ~ PGalt bttt
He is Robert W.Godwin, Ph.D - a clinical psychologist whose interdisciplinary work has focused on the relationship between contemporary psychoanalysis, chaos theory, and quantum physics.
He used to be a regular poster on LGF (Little Green Footballs) before he got his own blog. For more details, read what he writes about that (and what another blogger says about him), here:
More items relevant to this thread:
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Healthy Child-Rearing and the Ideocide of the Left - Gagdad Bob
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Why the Jews? Come to Think of It, Why the Palestinians? (Hint—the answer is the same) - Gagdad Bob
“....Referring again to the book we were discussing yesterday, The Slaughter of Innocents: Child Abuse through the Ages and Today,... “
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Child Sacrifice and the Default Religion of Mankind - Gagdad Bob
Yes. Exactly. We ought to oppose/expose every anti-truth, anti-freedom, anti-individual, anti-life scumbag.
Capitalism or Commumism (and after she lies, the obvious follow-up..."What's up with communist health care, liar?) instead of "Diamonds or Pearls"? :)
From time to time, Ill ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
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