SoOo, with that in mind, let's wrap up this series of posts with a quick look at a snippet of scary quotes from the previous posts, of 'Progressive' leaders from economists, politicians and founders of our modern public school system, in their own words - not mine - making clear what they first believed, and fundamentally still do believe:
I could follow those up with far more outrageous quotes from 'Progressives', showing their open hostility to, and mockery of, our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as well as praise for racism, eugenics and the disregard for individual human life... you name it. But hopefully these are enough to indicate what it is that 'Progressives', which Hillary Clinton identifies herself as being, do believe, and hints at why I refer to them as being Pro-Regressive. The 'progressives' ideology is about denying, and repealing the culminating points of Western Political Philosophy: Individual Rights defended by the Rule of Law under a system of self-government that is limited to that purpose. The Pro-Regressive Progressive, was founded in opposition to that.
- "Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent."
- "The tradition of respect for individual liberty, Gladden preached, was "a radical defect in the thinking of the average American."
- "...Individuals, Ross maintained, were but "plastic lumps of human dough," to be formed on the great "social kneading board.
- "...Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals. Limits of wisdom and convenience to the public control there may be: limits of principle there are, upon strict analysis, none...."
, and from a fellow traveler, Marx,
- "In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. "
I see that as a problem for our continued experiment in self-governance.
These quotes are not from their political talking points, but an expression of the philosophical fundamentals which drive the political policies they do support; they are what has been behind their
unrelenting drive to progressively undermine and gut the American systems protections for our individual rights. Their chief strategy, usually pursued out of the public eye, is that of a regulatory fraying and severing of those connections which anchor individual rights into objective law, through property rights, as the most efficient means of unbinding the power of government so that they can 'do good' to us. Those fundamental beliefs were the driving reason for why regulatory agencies were first established, way back with the ICC, as a means of creating an Administrative State, which Wilson praised as 'the Fourth Branch of Govt': to serve to put those of similar mind into positions of power, for progressively creating paths around our constitutional barriers to their using that power as their ideology compels them to, so that eventually, those barriers are progressively 'disappeared'. What amazes me most, is that people seem to not realize or care, that when the power of law is unrestrained by a respect for Individual Rights and those laws which protect them, then those writing the laws or regulations are freed to use the power of the state to impose their own choices upon them by force of law, indirectly living the 'little peoples' lives for them.
And they'll do so with a clear conscience, and with no more proof that what they do is necessary or beneficial for us, than their own expectations for them - not because there is a rational expectation of achieving objectively good results, but simply because they desire to 'help you' - and so they will make themselves judges in their own cause (see Regulatory 'Courts'), despite millennia of history showing that that is in complete contradiction to the most fundamental foundations of Justice and the Rule of Law.
Nothing good can follow from that. And yet they will follow that.
Over the last year I've been reviewing the history of ideas which developed into actual progress in the Rule of Law, culminating in the points in this post, and how Pro-Regressives most opposed the capstone of that progress, how upholding Property Rights provides a defense for all of our Individual Rights , in this post, but what we need to consider in this post, is how it is that in a nation founded by a people who once clearly understood the peril of unlimited government to every person's ability to live their own lives, how did we come to regard unlimited government as not only justifiable, but as a good thing for those who will be governed by it?!
That 'How' is important for us all to grasp for a number of reasons, not least of which is to not only push back against their efforts to remove those restraints upon the use of power, but also to restore a proper respect for individual rights to ourselves and then to our system of government. If we don't understand how we pro-regressed to the state we are now in, how will we avoid falling for those same conceptual booby traps and landmines that our predecessors did, which are still waiting for us under the cover of what most people accept as good intentions and 'the facts as we know them'? We have to understand not only what it is that we believe, but what they believe, in order to persuade those who don't agree with you, that you do in fact have a point, and that it is at least worth considering (and BTW, if you can manage even that, that is a bigger victory than you might imagine).
The mechanics of how we regressed to the state we are currently in, isn't all that difficult to list, and many reports, blogs and books do just that (i.e.:"...that guy was elected and passed this law, which caused those things to happen...") with the end result is that the application of three thousand years of hard earned Western Philosophy - the love of wisdom - has been effectively replaced with the modern drive for the will to power. How it was accomplished was by following the well worn path of pursuing various high-visibility causes, fanning well intentioned popular demands for the reform of real and visible public failings and corruptions, which were cleverly used by illiberal reformers as pretexts to slowly, progressively, eat away at the glory of Western Civilization. That path has been so well trod through the 20th Century, that it's worn the ground down from the high-roads they once preened themselves as pursuing, such as reforming education and giving women the vote, to the rutted trench-warfare of today's campus safe-spaces and trans-gendered bathroom 'rights', a path that is doomed to become more and more miso-sophic (a hatred of wisdom) in nature, with each pro-regressive 'advance' it takes us into tomorrow.
And yet we are strolling steadily down that path. It's easy to see that happening, but How?
As noted in a previous post, Lincoln foresaw, America could never be defeated from without, but only from within, through the minds of Americans. And he knew that because he knew history (take a moment and read Pericles' 'Funeral Oration' from the Peloponnesian War, and then read the Gettysburg Address, and you just might glimpse what Lincoln knew), he knew that a nation founded upon ideas that are good and true, gains enormous power from them. But he also understood that that power depended upon its people understanding the reality that its ideas are good and true, and standing for them.
Few would argue that the typical American's regard for the timeless moral and philosophic truth is nothing like it once was, but few seem to realize that letting those ideals slip away, ideals which this nation that came into being through, would see the nation slip away as well. The strength of The West in general, and of America in particular, is in its ideas, and our quest to discover what is right and true - that was what made us exceptional. Those ideas and our ability to identify them, like Samson's hair, was the source of America's strength, and that had to be snipped first, in order to ever be able to get at the mechanics of physically disassembling our laws. The most accessible and unguarded territory that lay open to foreign (ideas, not people) influence, and ideally designed to convey our American ideals across time, were of course our schools. Not surprisingly, as they were nearly the only undefended soil, they became the landing zones of ideological invasion by those ideals which were in opposition to what our nation was founded from, and progressively taking over our schools, enabled those foreign ideals to gain more and more cognitive ground within generation after generation of America's youth - all no doubt, with the very best of intentions of helping their fellow Americans.
The 'Progressive' would have you think that casting those 'old outmoded' ideas aside in favor of modern efficiencies in 'what works' for the moment (or can be spun to seem to), and would have no untoward side effects, and should be pursued, because 'New!' and 'Modern!'. That modernist line of thinking has steadily 'legitimized' the notion that 'reality is unknowable', that the best of intentions are more important than reasonable actions taken in pursuit of them, no matter the results. As we came to believe that more and more, we also saw our regard for what is true being replaced by what 'the meaning of 'is' is', with popular lies becoming more and more easily accepted as replacements for what actually is real and true.
As those fundamental principles and ideas that made America possible in the first place were eroded, so too were those features of our lives, customs and laws, which protected our rights, property, and way of life, and the evil twin of the Rule of Law, which I've dubbed the Doppelganger, rose up in its place.
But knowing or understanding the mechanics of it isn't enough. Had We The People still had a strong understanding and respect for the ideas this nation was founded upon, the 'Progressives' would not have succeeded (see the Progressive Party platform of 1912).
And so again: How did that happen? How did a Nation of ideas, lose the ideas they were founded through and upon?
That is the question behind my asking , are we pursuing Progress, or Regress, and by what means are we to plot 'True North'? It can't be well answered by only observing that doing one thing brings changes, but only by understanding why it is changed. Only by understanding that, can you tell whether the changes you seek will lead to Progress, or Regress, and whether or not you'll be able to tell the difference. And of course, if you can't tell the difference, you will likely accept those changes without question.
It is dangerous and self deceptive, to lose track of the fact, that the means of transforming our real Progress, into Regress, came upon us through the best of intentions, at least to start with; even so, their unintended consequences soon polluted the current of popular thought. A veritable flood of new ideas swept out from the minds of progressive minded thinkers - more than I could possibly list here, let alone their ideas or a summary of them - but there are a few actors who made such significant breaches into our thoughts, or who echoed and accelerated a common line of attack which accomplished it, that I can list a few of those... er... briefly, but you shouldn't be surprised that most of these points are typically and routinely praised as 'Positives'.
|Doubtfully putting Descartes before the horse|
"... I concluded that I might take, as a general rule, the principle, that all the things which we very clearly and distinctly conceive are true, only observing, however, that there is some difficulty in rightly determining the objects which we distinctly conceive..."Which boils down to, what 'we clearly, and distinctly imagine to be true, must be true'. What could possibly go wrong with that? (Seriously, read him - but do so very carefully). Given that that was his test of Truth, it shouldn't be all that surprising that his "I think therefore I am", was so easily morphed into our 'I want it, therefore it must be'.
His new method, his 'technology' of Doubt, put Descartes before the horse and pushed aside honest questioning, for artificial suspicions about what was, and was not, true.
Prior to Descartes, a legitimate question was one that had a clear basis in reality for asking it, and not having that, was recognized as a deplorable sign of acting arbitrarily.
Good questions, whether probing for depth, weaknesses, or flaws in your understanding, are rooted in your knowledge - deep or thin - of the matter in question. For the person with the realistic expectation that knowledge can be known, doubts will naturally arise as we perceive that something doesn't add up, and it is right and good that we should ask questions to resolve the doubts and learn what is true (or at least truer). That is a proper philosophical process, and it deepens and verifies your understanding of what you do and do not know, which also reaffirms and strengthens your knowledge and relationship to the reality of what is, and what you can know to be true about it.
The point being, that reasonable, logical, questioning is a positive and constructive process, and doubts which naturally arise within it, are an important, necessary, and unavoidable attribute of a thinking, reasonable person.
But that systematic questioning and respect for natural doubts, is not what Descartes proposed in his 'Method of Doubt'; he, doesn't promote asking questions where there is reasonable cause to alleviate ignorance, confusion or even just to better understand an issue; what Descartes' method proposes, is that you must artificially presume the existence of errors, falsehoods, or deceptions in all that you think that you know, on the basis of NOTHING AT ALL. That is nearly the definition of Arbitrary. And such arbitrariness instills something like an 'attack on linking', and serves to separate thought from reality, and actions from causes, and begins gnawing on that mental linking which integrates our conceptual understanding and mental coherence. Descartes' method of doubt is an epistemological and psychological acid, a negative which induces skepticism, and is corrosive to your ability to learn what is true, as well as your ability to understand and believe it (see Theodore Dalrymple's enjoyable "In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas").
Excuse me for emphasizing this: Descartes was not recommending that we simply examine what we find doubtful, which is a healthy, positive, practise. Instead, what he proposed was artificially pretending to have doubts and that you must presume that something is not just questionable, but False, until it is proven otherwise (fans of logic - what's the fallacy there?), and of course any proof you receive following his method, will remain, in your mind, ever doubtful.
You cannot reach reasonable certainty or respect for Truth, while adhering to Descartes' method - you may momentarily relent in your doubts and stop pursuing them (and start feeling guilty about that) but you cannot really accept anything as being true, or at least truer. And having that doubtful corrosion at work in your heart and mind, is a rust that never sleeps.
Here, put yourself in Reality's place. Consider the alternatives of
"Hi honey, how was your day at work? That's good to hear, can you tell me about it?", verses
"I hope you've got proof that you were at work today, and I mean for every moment - oh yeah? Why should I believe you?"Again, any doubts that naturally arise from hearing something which doesn't add up should be followed up on, but to causelessly presume that nothing is true from the get go, that no thing and no one can be trusted... that is a prescription for skepticism, cynicism, unease, and an inability to trust yourself or anyone else, which brings with it a sour, unsatisfiable disposition and unforeseen consequences.
It presumes, and requires a descent towards ugliness. In all areas of your life.
For proof of that, simply look around you at the world that we deal with daily, from the "Art" hanging in our museums, to the people you pass on the sidewalk, here on this side of modernity. But as I've pointed out before, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:
"Note the view of life in someone like Godward's style of classical influences, descended from the Aristotelian side of philosophy. "He was the best of the last great European painters to straight-forwardly embrace classical Greece and Rome in their art. Herein lies his significance to art history. With him and his colleagues, we see the nightfall of five hundred years of Classical subject painting in Western art... It vanished during Godward's generation -- killed, as it were, by contemporary nihilistic philosophies".
The downward slide to today, began right here with Descartes. And it soon picked up speed. Fast.
...An expertise in forcing you to be 'free'
The man which our textbooks unfailingly portray as the darling of the age of Enlightenment, Jean Jacques Rousseau, portrayed as a defender of liberty who said that 'man is born free, but is everywhere in chains', said such things as, at best, window dressing to his beliefs that experts were necessary and uniquely qualified to write laws to reform society by correcting the 'little people', and that those who resisted societies efforts, must be 'forced to be free'.
To dispense with the niceties which he doesn't deserve, Rousseau (who I've gone into often, such as here) was a sick, twisted person, a man who took his newborn infants - five by some reports - from the breast of his common law wife, and sent them away to near certain death. His deterministic philosophy denied the existence of Free Will (and hence virtue), and promoted an anti-civilizational thuggery in favor of 'noble' savagery. He romanticized the crusading image that those with the expertise ' who know best', should have the authority to reorder the environmental circumstances, and limit the choices and thoughts of the lesser people, for their own good.
Partly through his fictional philosophical book 'Emile' (written perhaps out of guilt over the abandonment and likely death of his own children? (nyah)), Rousseau became the grandfather of modern education. Yeah. 'Child Centered Education'? 'Outcome Based Education'? Their roots are in Rousseau, the fellow who confessed that he got his jollies from flashing himself at young woman through the windows of Parisian alleys. Let that one sink in.
Few so succinctly gave him his due, as did Voltaire, when replying to the book which Rousseau had sent to him:
"I have received your new book against the human race, and thank you for it. Never was such cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit for more than sixty years, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it. Nor can I embark in search of the savages in Canada, because the maladies to which I am condemned render a European surgeon necessary to me; because war is going on in those regions; and because the example of our actions has made the savages nearly as bad as ourselves."Far from being the champion of reason and individual rights that textbooks portray Rousseau as being, his ideals were fundamentally in opposition to reason and rights. He insisted that experts must be given the power to impose government and societal power upon others' lives for their own good, as determined by the highest expert of all, which in his view, was 'The Legislator'. Neither Fascism, nor any of the other variations of Totalitarianism, would have developed as they have, without the noble savage Jean Jacques Rousseau, as they all developed their roots out of his ideas.
"...How do you weigh your conflicting desires? With your thumb on the scale"
|Utilitarianism - turns this...|
|... into this|
BTW, those of you who aren't fans of our modern penal system, might be interested to learn that our system in America, was heavily influenced by. He had lots of swell ideas of how to nudge the plastic dough of humanity into more useful forms, such as his idea for a 'Panopticon', sort of a small scale version of Orwell's 1984. All of which is pretty much what you do when you're convinced that people don't have the power to make their own choices (people... other than experts... that is).
Though you might wonder how it is that you (assuming that you qualify as an expert) are to add up questions of what is 'Right' against what is 'Useful' when you've already asserted that what is 'Right' cannot be known? By cleverly rationalizing that what it is that you want, is what is best for the 'greater good' - of course - and preferably you should pepper your 'proofs' with mathematical-ish calculations of utility, transforming all objective matters into subjective preferences, to be weighed and measured... by... you.
Luckily for the Utilitarian, Descartes had already made making arbitrary thoughts much easier and more widely accepted than they had once been.
...Causelessly causing chaos
|Words he should have written by|
according to Hume...
"... If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion."To put it more clearly, what that means is that if you can't calculate and quantify the difference between Shakespeare, and R. L. Stine, then your preference for one, over the other, in Hume's 'Modified Skepticism', is sophistry, an illusion, and flat out irrational. Hume's legitimization of skepticism (again, skepticism is not synonymous with questioning, but is the belief that nothing can be known or trusted), was a stance that appealed to the more shallow end of the Science pool (where Hume is still revered - and sadly by many Austrian Economists as well), and has critically eroded the West's once mighty ramparts of Reason.
...You Kant be serious!
|You Kant really be serious...|
The Modernistic fount was coming to a head at that very point in time which was also just about the very last moment in history that our nation could have been founded, because after the influence of Kant, the understanding necessary to understand and value Liberty - which can only be done through a respectful understanding of reality - could no longer be understood; not if you've swallowed the modernist swill. It just Kant.
Immanuel Kant (a devoted admirer of Rousseau, BTW), was alarmed at some of the implications of Hume's skepticism (though not in a good way - it seems to me more like he thought that Hume was correct, but he didn't want it to be publicly known), and so he constructed an intricate system of equivocations, assertions and logical non sequiturs, heavy on substitutions of 'Whats' for 'Hows' (such as with perception, in Kant's handling, how we perceive, becomes what we perceived), into a philosophical bramble of convolutions, so dense, that people, fearful of being thought as too dim to grasp it, seize on a few isolated quotes as glittering gems, and praise the entire thing to be solid gold. But keep in mind, his central conclusion is that:
'You can't know anything as it really is'And so you can't know anything about reality, because the world we see, turns out to be only the Phenomenal world of appearances, which he says our mind really constructs, in order to seal our mind away from the real reality of the Noumenal world which we can never really know of. Why? (shhh). How did he know that? (SHHH!!!). Why did he do that? Because Kant thought that God needed Kant to defend him from Hume. Yup. Kant, who Moses Mendelssohn described as the “all-destroyer”', declared, in his 'Critique of Pure Reason', that the purpose for writing his philosophy was that,
"I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.", and in the doubtful world that was rapidly arising, people were willing and able to believe that he had (the subjectivism which followed from Kant is a treasure trove for the deceitful and self deluded). The consequences of Kant's ideas are beyond enumerating or even comprehending, but you see them everywhere, often where you least expect to. For instance, when you see a person declaring themselves to be 'men of principle!', who will follow their "principles!", often loudly and tellingly without regard to context (i.e. "Being a man of principle, I will not tell a lie - not even to the man who comes to my door to murder my daughter" - BTW, that's not an exaggeration, but an actual textbook example), is following Kant's 'Categorical Imperative', as moral rules that must be true in all situations... because he couldn't imagine them not being always true (echoes of Descartes). Such imperatives and supposed principles, are entirely divorced from reality, and attempting to follow them soon separates you from reality as well. Predictably, as his ideas took root and became accepted, the mighty walls of Reason began to collapse all around us, and as I noted here, when those walls came down, beauty began to turn to ugliness.
...Off with their heads for what's in them!
|Off with their heads!|
As Robespierre enthused that the individual was nothing in comparison to The People, and that The People had to be molded into a greater people through the stylized power of terror. In this official debut of Pro-Regressivism, the leaders mark themselves as experts who know ('Know'? How? shhHH!!!) what is best - and knowing not just what's best for you to do, but what is best for you to think, to say, who to and who not to associate with, and what to do and not do, in order to be a 'good citizen'. And should they think and do anything less than that? Off with their heads!
See if you can hear the echo of the past Robespierre, in the future Joseph Stalin
"...We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, his thoughts!—threatens the unity of the socialist state..."One consequence of standing on the shoulders of the philosophical hunch-backs who preceded him (Descartes, Rousseau, Hume, Kant) was that Robespierre realized fairly quickly, that when you've not just discarded a regard for what is true, but also believe that 'Truth', is whatever you want it to be, it's positively amazing how quickly and urgently you discover that what you think is best, enables you to "...clearly and distinctly conceive are true..." as being the best for everyone to think and say and do. What you want, becomes the only truth worth knowing... and those who disagree? Well, those "plastic lumps of human dough" require special molding. It shouldn't be surprising that such a mind as that, would conceive this image of principle and virtue as reflected through a mirror darkly:
"The principle of the republican government is virtue, and the means required to establish virtue is terror.", and,
"I am convinced of the necessity of bringing about a complete regeneration, and, if I may express myself so, of creating a new people"One of the last worthwhile Frenchmen (I kid), Frederic Bastiat, who was one of the last and brightest lights of the Enlightenment, who knew these people better than most, described the spirit that drove them and filled them with self-satisfied justification, in his outstanding little essay "The Law",
"...Who would not want to be Minos, Lycurgus, Plato, Numa, Fénelon, Robespierre, Babeuf, Saint-Simon, Fourier, Louis Blanc, or Proudhon? Who does not think it glorious to establish a people? Who does not delight in the title of Father of the Nations? Who does not aspire to combine the family and property like chemical elements?, but perversely, the promise to break and recreate a people, gives, to those who can phrase it well ("Hope and Change! You're the people we've been waiting for!"), great political power by the very people which that power would be used to mold and re-form. That power has tantalized all future revolutionaries from then, till now. The lure of employing the power of Government to extend its controlling reach well beyond the traditional material boundaries of things alone, and forcing its way into each person's own thoughts and sentiments as well, making it very possible for you to lose your head over what you were thinking within it!
But to give rein to fantasy elsewhere than in the columns of a journal, you have to hold power and occupy the focal point to which all the threads of public power lead. It is the essential preamble to any experimentation. Each sect, each school, will therefore do its utmost to remove the dominant school or sect from the government, and thus, under the influence of classical teaching, social life can be only an interminable sequence of struggles and revolutions whose object is to settle the question of which utopian will have the power to carry out experiments on the people as though they were base material!...."
Contrary to the popular impression of this philosophy, as promoted by the Pragmatists themselves, the philosophy of Pragmatism is not about making common sense decisions... at least not if you take 'Common Sense' to be something that has any relation and regard for doing what is right and true. It's not even about 'doing what works', at least not as phrase to define it, as that could still mean something like principled behavior, though somehow shifted some non-essential tact. Pragmatism means being unprincipled, on principle. It means that there isn't one Truth, but instead that there can be many equally valid truths. It means deriving your goals and methods from some thing you want done, rather than from what is Right to do. When you no longer are guided by a higher perspective of what is right, but by the ground level particular thing to be done, the urge to be satisfied, then you put yourself in opposition to what is human, in opposition to, or at least a willful ignorance of, what is the Good, the Beautiful and the True; in effect, discarding the best of what is Human, so as to descend to routine of the animal level. Whatever it is they might think that would put them more in touch with, while it may have a more exciting and visceral feel to it - it Kant have much of a human sense to it (and yes, the Pragmatist ultimately denies that we can know reality as well, they just add a few mathematical equations to the silliness).
What they pragmatically went about doing, involved building upon the arbitrariness of Descartes, Hume's denial of non-quantifiable truth, and Kant's conclusion that we never can know things as they really are, coupled with Hegel's (via Fichte) notion that 'truth' was something to be synthesized from opposing propositions ('Thesis, Antithesis & Synthesis'), Pragmatism proposed a simpler means for those who wished to do what they wanted, with a veneer of scientistic means of rationalizing anything they felt like trying. This, more than all the rest, or rather, as the culmination of all the rest, set men's minds free to try anything formerly regarded as bad or even evil, as a potentially useful means to a necessary end.
What Pragmatism accomplished by reducing a regard for Timeless Truth, to doing 'whatever seems to work' for the moment (and if it failed in the next moment, then simply '...try something else'), was to introduce the world to the very opposite of Truth - which, again, perhaps contrary to popular opinion, is not falsehood. Nope. Falsehood too depends upon Truth. The opposite of Truth, is an indifference to what is True... or False.
Truth, and the debates over what it is, have engaged the greatest minds of western philosophy and religion, as well as the most common of its people, in the pursuit and defense of it because, from Socrates to Jesus, it was seen as something that mattered to their very lives and souls, as your understanding of what you think of as being true, permeates your thoughts, your relationships, your manners and your activities. But when such a thing as that is reduced to mere mechanical happenstance, a result of processes and efficiencies as determined by flow charts and trial and error... what is actually True, no longer matters. Truth as such, becomes nothing more than a mildly interesting and useful app, a trivial pursuit of amusement, referenced if necessary, but ignored otherwise.
That is and should be all the more horrifying, in that those who practise it, are unconcerned by their lack of it. For when Truth is not the center of your life and actions, then power is. That doesn't mean that everyone seeks to be a dictator, but that what you do, you do, not because it is true and right to do, but because it'll provide the power for you to do something you desire(without regard for it being right and true).
And that is, in their minds... simply being pragmatic. And with the eager aid of academia - don't forget John Dewey's monumental 'contribution' to the American (and USSR's) system of 'Education' - we in 'The West' have been chugging it down, ever since, and our decline as a people has followed on its heels.
"... public property - Keep Out!"
That philosophic stream of 'thought' that flowed from Descartes, to Rousseau, to Bentham, to Hume, Kant, Hegel and Dewey, surged to tidal wave force through Karl Marx, and with it, the 'love of wisdom' was effectively killed for the 'little guy', as the ideas he was taught in the schools that were becoming more and more pro-regressive, were effectively turned towards separating him from western culture and from reality itself, through the judicious use of envy. In that system, property rights were no longer able to transform 'everyman's house into a castle', and the life each might once have chosen to live - AKA: liberty - was progressively replaced by those things which legislators and regulators chose to permit them to do - for now, to 'get their fair share!' for 'the greater good'.
Marx didn't start this though - the notions were in the air for decades, and were already materializing even in America, as those in power were finding ways to utilize envy for the greater good. Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney used it in the 1830's to hobble Property Rights in America 'for the greater good' in the Charles River Bridge case, and it shouldn't be surprising that he later used that same line of thinking to transform men into material possessions, in the Dred Scott case (also in the preceding link). That corrosive doubt and envy penetrated into our art and manners (you cannot separate thought from action, and not expect morality to be mortally wounded in the process), further enfeebling the Rule of Law where it really matters - in the hearts and minds of We The People. This all follows from the vortex spawned from Modernity's pro-regressive stream of thought.
No, Marx didn't start it, but he did much to perfect it. He crystallized it, so clearly identifying the linchpin of Western life, as he himself noted, that the entirety of his Communist system, could be summed up in a single line:
"In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property"The Law, and the Rule of Law, in order to uphold and make Liberty possible, must be rooted in Individual Rights, and every one of our Individual Rights find the means to be anchored to reality, through Property - when you fail to understand that, or worse, deny that, lies and power will permeate all you do and all of your relations to your fellows in society. When those safeguards which logic and virtue would have offered, are gone, and what is good is trod upon by what is useful, then your expectations of what is just, will be overrun by questions of 'what the meaning of 'is' is - as the verbal gymnastics of currying the favor, and exerting the force, of those in power who look no higher than themselves for how best to employ it.
Note: For those of you who deride America as the product of 'Old Dead White Guys', please scroll back up the page and take note of the portraits above. ALL of your 'modernist' ideas, modern, post-modern, retro and various other snowflakery isms - they are all derived from those guys above. Get a grip.
Nothing less than lies
There need be no conspiracies - philosophy makes unwitting conspirators of us all - for good, or ill, as they reflect, or refract, upon what is true.
The process of implementing such a cockeyed system as that of modernity, was enabled through unleashing a blizzard of rootless words (see especially Kant and Hegel), snowing misunderstandings into misrepresentations, and transforming useful lies into 'accepted facts', which then become readily accepted as 'actual facts' forever after, by those who'd never learned how to properly question a fact beyond their superficial doubts about it. And none of which, of course, could be done without the willing participation of We The People.
If you still wonder how that is possible, ask yourself if you've ever heard anyone say "Perception is reality!" (a thunderous echoing of Kant) if you have, did you ridicule them on the spot for saying something so idiotic? No? Was it your boss or someone else you felt uncomfortable about questioning? Then you already know exactly how their trick was, and still is, performed - with your uncomfortable acquiescence.
That, your compliance and indifference (a pragmatic reaction to Truth not mattering), is what has been counted upon and used to undo all of the real progress which three thousand years of Western Civilization led up to our being able to, for a time, make Liberty and Justice possible for all.
What I've reviewed here as being the essential progression of ideas that has brought about our pro-regression, is not particularly original to me - there are a number of books and articles which, although differing from me on particular points, such as "10 Books That Screwed Up The World (and 5 that didn't help)", still have much to say that is in agreement on the essential ideas involved. And I'm fairly confident that if you give the matter some thought, you'll see for yourself the erosion and corrosion that divides those thoughts which people are thinking - through the lens of these ideas - from the reality which they are being thought about. What this path ultimately leads to, is desire without restraint, action without concern for consequences or results, 'progress' that is nothing more than change, which ultimately achieves only an intensification of those same desires that gave rise to the new change, as well as a comfort with utilitarian brutality which is aided, rather than deplored by, conscience.
It is a perverse truth that the liar knows and respects the truth more than any other, as they have to keep it in mind at all times while lying about it. Odysseus, at the dawn of the West, was praised as the 'man of many turns' for his ability to lie on the fly, but no one ever thought that he didn't know, or care, about what was true.
One of the things which makes the Progressive so dangerous, is because they do not have that adversarial relationship with the truth, which the simple liar cannot escape. Nor do they have the restraint which accompanies it. By means of dissolving the very concept of truth into their whims, the ideology of pro-regressive Progressivism becomes so dangerous because, it will urge and do what it insists upon for society, from preventing relationships, to sterilizing 'the botched', to enslaving or efficiently murdering those who trouble their plans, to forbidding thoughts and speech and any sort of 'choice' which it disapproves of, and they will do so with the full and whole-hearted enthusiasm of a 'righteous' zealot, assured that what they do, they do for the greater good of society.
Those who've been foolish enough to look towards 1930's Germany and sanctimoniously mutter that 'it couldn't happen here', are dangerously ignorant of the fact that to a great extent it began here, and all the social restraints and cultural habits that prevented it from getting out of control here in America, are today nearly vanished from the intellectual landscape of this nation.
So again I'll ask,
"What 'Right' of yours can you expect to be respected, from people who don't believe in Rights?"Doing what works
The 'Progressive' is a radical Pragmatist, who, to put it plainly, is unprincipled on principle, they deny that reality can be truly known at all, which reduces striving for enduring Truth, to whatever seems like it'll work - for the moment. All of which ultimately means, is that when a 'Progressive' gains the power to impose, their idea of how you should live your life upon you - they will. From telling you what you can say, to what you must learn, how you should live, what bathroom to use and who to use it with, to prohibiting alcohol, salt and cigarettes, the pro-regressive 'Progressive' desires more than almost anything else, to reform and remold and live your life for you.
If you find that shocking, that's probably because you have a regard for the right of others to make their own choices. The 'Progressive' doesn't. Oh sure, they'll talk up the importance of choice, as long as you're choosing what they approve of or will help them, but make a different choice, and you're a deplorable hater and must be dealt with.
Following the 'Progressive!' path has taken us away from being a people who once stood up to a mighty empire for the principles which brought the understanding of individual rights, property, and the rule of law to light, and has instead transformed us into a people who shrug at being lied to by government officials in the course of depriving us of our individual rights, property and the rule of law.
Yep. The Pen is waAay mightier than the sword.
So what to do? In this day and age, 'How to fight back?!', is a less useful question, than "How can we fight indifference?" And the answer is, only with interest and engagement. When Pragmatism reduced Truth to 'what works', it consigned it to a slow, scratching death, in the shadows and pragmatically out of sight. It becomes nothing more than a mildly interesting and useful app, referenced if necessary, ignored at all other times.
The central core of the pro-regressive left, what has enabled it to spread like the intellectual weed it is, is through modern philosophy's method of arbitrary doubt and disregard for truth, asserting its ability to substitute what IS, for what they wish it was, which results in nothing less than remaking reality in their own image. And the most productive method they've found yet for doing this, is Pragmatism, which they've convinced nearly everyone to believe to be what it most definitely is not, 'common sense'. In reality, Pragmatism is the misosophical means of denying principle, on principle, the means of discarding timeless truths and the principles formed from their application to reality, for momentary 'solutions', which is little more than the means of legitimizing and propagating their disintegrated lies, as being 'best' and 'true'.
The development of these ideas, is what formed the 'progressives' ideology, in opposition to Individual Rights, defended by the Rule of Law, under a system of self-government that is limited to that purpose.
I'll ask again, what I hope you'll consider before voting Tuesday,
"How can you expect to get the truth or be treated justly by, people do do not believe that truth exists, or that 'justice' is anything other than what they say it is?"If you want to fight for Liberty, stop fighting, start persuading
There is an important point that we all need to grapple with: although I can show you item by item, the evils that will follow from the fundamental nature of progressivism, I do not, and I don't need to assume, or accuse pro-regressive Progressive Leftists, or those who align themselves with them, of having any intention to do harm to others, even as they are doing it. It is, I think, cheap and cartoonish, and ultimately ineffective, to attempt to accuse the progressive leftists - who are after all your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers - of intentionally seeking to do us all harm. Just because we can see what they seek as being harmful, does not mean that they see it too and then do what they do with the intent of causing harm to America or Americans. I have little doubt but that the vast majority of those involved in the left, were so involved because they had the very best of intentions, intentions to make the lives or their fellows better, more 'efficient', more 'educated', and more prosperous.
The horrors which their ideas can bring to pass, become even more horrifying when we realize that those who believe in and who identify themselves as 'Progressives', do what they do because they want to help you - and they will, with deep satisfaction and expectations of a sense of personal accomplishment, they will destroy what we think of as America, especially in the body of the Bill of Rights, for our own good.
But just because they didn't mean to do harm, does that rid us of, or excuse them from, the harm that they actually have committed? And can that in any way make it wise for us to dismiss the harm that they still fully intend to do?
It cannot. But we don't need to be jerks about it.
It is especially important for us to grapple with this, because if we do not, if we resort to abandoning attempts at reasonable persuasion in order to persuade them to our view, if we resort to the equivalent of:
"The Founders said it, I believe it, and that settles it - you're an IDIOT!", then we will no longer be worthy of the liberty we seek to preserve. And really, you need look no further than the Right side of the aisle, with the Uber-Trump'ers vs the NeverTrump'rs to see the division and vitriol emanating from some of the most vocal - they've converted no one, and deeply divided all who had been under the impression that they were on the same side.
The nature of Liberty requires that we deal with 'the opposition', so long as there is some means left to do so, by reason, and not by force, and when you enter into a discussion and you demand compliance without reasoning, when you cease attempting to inform and persuade a person towards the Truth, and simply insult and demand their compliance with your superior conclusions, then as liberty means living and letting others live by their own informed choices, you have abandoned the requirements of liberty and have bought into the flip-side of the coin of their realm.
The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress
- pt 9c: Perverting Progress into Poison - How Pro-Regressives see Regress as Progress
This is one battle that we can't win by force of arms, the battle for the mind has to be waged within the mind of your 'enemy', and that can only be done by persuasion. All of our liberty depends upon it. And no matter how this election turns out, we're going to depend upon that as never before.
Only that can lead to Progress. If you take the easy way, it's Regress... all the way down.