Truth and Something Timeless

Words are our servants, not our masters. For different purposes we find it convenient to use words in different senses.“- Richard Dawkins

This quote often crosses my computer screen, generally unattributed, and it irritates me almost every time.  Dawkins dedicated his life to battling a deity that he doesn’t believe exists, and made remarkable headway in reinventing and redefining truth. Much of it at his servants’ (his own words’) expense.  You can, in fact, create exciting delusions by using the wrong word the wrong way. The game of Mad Libs is great fun, but it’s a poor way to develop theology or engineer structures.

Dawkins is not the first guilty one, of course.  Satan asked Eve in the Garden, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” in order to conveniently tempt the first woman.  Satan said the same essential thing several thousand years before Dawkins thought of it.  Bill Clinton sought to excuse himself by conveniently challenging the meaning of the verb to be: “it depends what your definition of ‘is‘ is,” might last longer than Dawkins effort, as the quintessential abuse of language.

The biggest problem is, you cannot reinvent something by redefining it, no matter how hard you believe it.  For a few brief instants, Dawkins will say perceptive things about God that exceed Dawkins’ understanding.  “A God capable of continuously monitoring and controlling the individual status of every particle in the universe cannot be simple. His existence is going to need a mammoth explanation in its own right.”

Absolutely!  And I can assure you, Mr. Dawkins, that your failings and inabilities prevent you from becoming a god. Your inadequacies (and mine) never prevent God from being God, or God becoming man.

Perhaps the finest professor in my own education was Dr. David Goldsmith at the humble Northern Michigan University.  He said, “Remember, the more precise your language and definitions, you closer you must be to reality. So, if you want to make your own world, stick entirely with reality and only focus on just one convincing lie.  Once the audience is hooked — only then can you add another. By the end of the book — if you’re J.R.R. Tolkien — they’ll believe anything.”

Precision words. Honest detail. Small lies.  Words are only masters when they represent the truth.

Summarizing Dawkins larger effort reduced to its most honest language: “God is an excuse,” he says, and “We can and will understand it all because it is rational and we can figure it out.”  From a Christian perspective, you are inexcusable, and if you think you can understand here and now you’re a fool. The Bible declares wisdom and knowledge incredible powers, tools, and things to be actively sought “day and night.” God is never an excuse.

The book of proverbs is full of exciting quotes about learning and wisdom.  I would suggest starting right at the beginning of Proverbs (1:7): “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

In my life, “I don’t need help.  I can figure this out for myself,” is selfish, self-centered, self-serving, and often leads to another unpublished book. Dawkins wrote 18 (and published) that I know of.

Finally, Who first said, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’?”  If you guessed “Dawkins,” you’re wrong. It was Satan.  Again, Dawkins is just following and plagiarizing the leader . . .

Whom he also doesn’t believe in, but quotes.

Dawkins knows virtually for certain that random chance and any amount of time would never produce life, so his reductio ad absurdum is that some really advanced alien species may have planted life here. Not God, mind you.  Aliens?  Where’d they come from?

ET, phone home.  Quick.

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Jefferson On the 14th Abusement

Thomas Jefferson had a lot to say about what the courts have done to the 14th Amendment, even though it was not written for a generation after his death.

As mentioned before in this series on the abuse of the 14th Amendment, our nation was not born in a vacuum, and the complete fall of East India Trading Co. was fresh on the minds of our free people.

“I hope we shall crush . . .  in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson, in the early years of the 19th Century.

Asked to speak for the grand 50th Anniversary celebration of the United States, Jefferson (now old and feeble) sent a brief message instead, acknowledging the wonder of 50 years, and July 4th being “the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”

This address to the people, and the warning to corporations, was abandoned by our courts.  Not all at once, of course, but since the huge (and actually nonexistent) loophole of the 14th Amendment, banks and big business are the “more equal” pigs of George Orwell’s book, 1984.

It happens when corporations ride and Congressional bureaucrats sell saddles.  Even then, Jefferson pushed to have corporations die within a reasonable lifetime.  The horror now is an eternal ruling class named Apple, JP Morgan Chase, Berkshire Hathaway, and Microsoft.

The original intent of the 14th Amendment was to resolve the financial debts of the Civil War and give the federal government power in respect to the rights of newly freed slaves.  Original intent, as originally conceived, is the normal and substantial opinion that “we meant what we said and wrote!”

The outrage against judicial corruption of our Constitution was already was clearly felt by Jefferson by 1819, when he wrote, “The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and form into any shape they please.”

We can learn a lot from our Founders’ Wisdom regarding their specific meaning, what they intended for “Constitutional Law,” and the perverse Frankensteinian notion of a “living document.”  Maybe next.  I’m already quite sickened by the contempt of our courts.

 

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Greatest Good

An intro to business class in 1977 presented the ideas of economics and production in “modern markets.”  The foundations of every scheme began with the notion that all policies must begin with the concept of “the greatest good for the greatest number.”

Jeremy Bentham, around 1820, first refered to society’s goal in this way.  He wrote, “The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.”  Mill echoed the concept, now called “Utilitarianism.”  It has become a kind of “premise” for most pragmatic and socialist positions, but can it ever really work?  No.  Especially not with the “foundation of morals” part.  At best, the greatest good for the greatest number is a hollow ambition, ignoring each of its potential consequences.

“Greatest” is always the core of the problem.  Greatest is not an absolute, but a relative ambition, necessarily meaning “not the best.”  The idea of “greatest good for the greatest number” multiplies that relativity, leaving a theoretically acceptable “improvement” of 1% while benefiting only 51% of the whole.

Pragmatists may laugh and argue that that  would never be enough of a goal to implement such a plan, but it has been demonstrated in Bolshevik and Maoist revolutions, Cambodia’s killing fields, and America’s newly implemented health insurance plan.

America’s foundation took the opposite approach.  We built a great nation on the concept of “Great good and goodness for all who desire and work for them without restraint.”  The concept is readily applicable without killing, crushing, or repressing any percentage, without theft or denial, and with malice toward none.

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Truth and Language

An axiom expresses self-evident truth.  It is an axiom that the sun shines brighter than the moon.  Francis Lieber said 150 years ago that “the only axiom necessary to understand liberty is, ‘because I am a man, I have a right to be a man‘.”  The founding principles of American government centered entirely on axioms — and that one in particular, stating: “All men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights . . .

Dialectic refers to a quest for truth through debate.  Problematic at best, you can sense the flaws of dialectic reasoning if you spend twenty minutes on FaceBook or in a chat group.  The best way to understand dialectics is to think about dialect.  “Y’all not only sound differ’nt, you’s got altered meanings, too.”  (footnote.)

Karl Marx saw his “dialectical method” as a scandal to the bourgeoisie.  He reasoned that recognizing the way it is automatically predicts the inevitable destruction of it.  Marx loved the sense of scandal, and modern Communists (Fred Jameson, for instance) insist it must be preserved.  I hope you caught that: reason becomes the result because of the result.  Reason is only a means to an end.  You might also recognize this Communist goal and skewered thinking shared by Saul Alinsky, the ’60s Communist, “The end justifies the means.”

No, it does not.

In other words, the entire point of dialectics is to change the truth to fit your purpose, not to discover it.

What is the only axiom necessary to understand Communism?  It seems to be, “Because we are miserable, we will destroy everything and rebuild it in our image.”  That, at least, is the only end Communism has yet achieved.  I suspect, however, that if you could really get an honest answer, Communists would say that their single axiom is, “Destruction is the path to something else that must be better.  We’ll find out!

Note: For philosophy geeks, Hegelian dialectics differs from Platonic dialectics in several ways, most notably that Platonic dialectics serve to uncover and reveal truth, while Hegel, Lenin and Marx used dialectics to create and establish truth.

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Roots of Communism

Communism is the practice of theoretical dialectic materialism.  In turn, materialism is the idea that what is, is.  Because it is.  Dialectic means always in tension, changing, and forever in motion.

It might not be clear how an atheistic belief in constantly changing reality leads to the practice of Communism.  More importantly, though, it leads to the principles of Communism.  The first of those principles is that the means of change can be measured by the outcome.  If tearing people’s legs off results in handicap accessibility, then it was good to rip their legs off.

Quite honestly, Communism comes from bringing about the change itself.  To them, that’s political evolution.  Communists have no idea what the result will actually be.  Whatever happens when they rip things apart will justify what they did.  Cambodia, Russia, China, Cuba: they all look very different, yet they all used Communist means.  Change simply allows change because change is good.

And it will keep changing, so that’s good, too.  It’s impossible to understand the horror of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Pol Pot, or even Saul Alinsky unless you first understand that the goals of Communism are destruction first and foremost.

“We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it.”  You can read every word Alinsky wrote and never once find out what “the dawn of a beautiful new world” looks like.  All that matters to Communism is that it will look different.  The joy is ripping everything down to let something else grow.

No, I really can’t accept or understand that either, but it’s true.

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