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Saturday, January 22, 2011

He's Wrong, Of Course

Vallicella: Is Death Evil?
... 3. So once again we end up in good old Platonic fashion, aporetically, at an impasse. There is simply no solution to the problem of whether death is evil without a solution to the underlying metaphysical question in philosophical anthropology: What is man? (The fourth of Kant's famous questions after: What can I know? What ought I do? What can I hope for?) And to the question What is man? there is no answer that can withstand the scrutiny of, and receive the endorsement of, all able practioners.

That is not to say that there is no correct answer. It is to say that, even if there is, one cannot know it to be correct. And if one cannot know it to be correct, then it is not an answer in any serious sense of the term.

So I arrive once again at the following long-held conviction. In the final analysis one must DECIDE what one will believe and how one will live. There is no evading one's doxastic and practical freedom and responsibility. ...
It's a pretty good essay, and I recommend it (but, keep in mind the ambiguity in his use of the term 'evil').

Yet, on this point he is quite wrong (and he will not be corrected, which is his real problem):
1) We are not at an impasse; we can know, via reason alone, that naturalism or materialism, or whatever term one wishes to use to denote God-denial, is false. That is, we can know, via reason, and distinct from the Christian revelation, that God is, and that God is personal, and that we are creations rather than accidents.
1a) There are only two possible general metaphysics; if we know that one is false, we necessarily know that the other is true, for the two are mutually exclusive, and there is no possible third.
2) If it *were* true that we are at the impasse Vallicelli asserts, then the act of making a DECISION, one way or another, cannot be justified. And is thus immoral.
2a) The 'agnostics,' who technically or theoretically maintain that no one is ever justified in making the sort of decision Vallicella (rightly) says we all must make, always do in practice make a decision as to which metaphysic they believe to be the true one, just as everyone else does. It is impossible for any normally-functional person to get through life without making that decision.

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Auster on 'Gates of Vienna'

Auster on the 'Gates of Vienna' blog: Gates of Vienna says we must "spread memes" about Islam, not speak the truth about Islam

I haven't seen the exchange to which Auster refers -- I haven't visited GoV in many, many months, not since deciding that they just are not intellectually honest -- and while Auster has his own set of problems, in this case I am willing to trust his characterization of the exchange and of their position.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Big Lie and The Big Truth

Recently, Lawrence Auster had a thread in which one of his readers coined the phrase and concept "the Big Truth" on the model of, or as a back-formation of, "the Big Lie." As that reader, Philip M, put it: "... And I think on some level people, particularly conservatives, know this, and it is the enormity of the crime that scares them into remaining silent; otherwise they would be exposing an ongoing left-wing takeover of our entire lives, and then what? Fight? Perhaps you could call it the "Big Truth." A truth so frightening that people dare not admit even the possibility of it?"

Or, as Mr Auster summarized the differences: "What's the difference between the Big Lie and the Big Truth? The Big Lie is a lie so big that it is believed. The Big Truth is a truth so big that it is disbelieved."

Mr Auster has a further post on the matter, in which the reader Bill W gives a Christian perspective on the Big Lie and the Big Truth.

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What a strange -- and 'liberal' -- set of news items

In his recent The B&R Sunday Edition post, Bob Parks includes the links to a couple of recent news items related to the shooting massacre in Tucson of a week ago --
Shooting victim tries to visit Loughners parents

Tucson shooting victim detained at taping of TV special

Mr Parks observes: "Some still refuse to believe Loughner wasn’t a talk-radio-listening, cable-news-watching, Sarah-Palin-map-reading teabagger"
What a strange -- and “liberal” -- set of news items; what a window into "liberalism" they present us. And mind you, it matters not in the least whether the individual person who is the subject of this post views himself as a political "liberal" -- what I am discussing here is "liberalism" (that is, Leftism-with-a-HappyFace) and its pernicious effects upon society in general and upon the mindsets of the individuals who comprise society.

The first item reports that Eric Fuller, one of the persons wounded in the recent massacre in Tucson, went to the home of Jared Loughner’s parents to “forgive” them … and “possibly” to "forgive" the shooter himself.

My observations:
1) The parents didn’t shoot anyone. Thus, they are not in need of Fuller’s forgiveness for his injury, nor can he forgive them of it. This is a logical and moral impossibility.
2) Fuller can’t forgive Loughnner by proxy via his parents. If he wants to forgive him, he must forgive him.
2a) If he indeed intends and desires to forgive Loughner -- the shooter -- than that "possibly" in his statement is wholly out of place, for it tells us that his willingness to forgive the the actual guilty party is in some way contingent upon a "satisfactory" meeting with innocent persons who happen to be related to the guilty party.
2b) A publicity stunt does not equal forgiveness.
3) This isn’t the 1950s anymore; there is a certain creepiness in showing up, unannounced, at the home of the parents of the man who shot one, and murdered others, so as to "forgive" them -- innocent persons -- for one's injury and/or the murders of those others.
4) The only rational (and moral) thing Fuller can say to the parents is "But, of course, I don't blame you in any way for my injury; and I can't even imagine the horror you must be going through right now."

5) While genuine forgiveness is a Christian virtue, and much to be encouraged, the "liberal" (mis)understanding of the concept is an abomination leading directly to all sorts of the social problems and pathologies presently afflicting America (and other Western nations) ... including such as the events reported in the second item.

The second item reports that this Eric Fuller went to the taping of an ABC-TV "town hall event" and shouted "You're dead!" at a Tea Party spokesman there.

My observations:
1) Ah, "liberalism!" So open-minded! so rational, so forgiving.
2) These two new items together so perfectly exemplify the “liberal” (mis)understanding of the concept of forgiveness:
2a) Fuller imagines that he can “forgive” someone wholly innocent of his injury -- that is, he first attempts invalidly to foist the blame onto them so that he can magnanimously “forgive” them for that of which they are innocent;
2b) Fuller has it in his mind to “forgive,” in the “liberal” manner, the actual guilty individual -- not by, indeed, forgiving him, but by transferring his guilt to an innocent third party;
2c) And that innocent third part would be conservatives, those who are politically and socially opposed to “liberalism” - this is scapegoating, this is a “blood libel” … this is “your mind on liberalism!
3) Leftists ... and the majority of their "liberal" enablers in the public eye ... spent the week after the massacre trying to pin ultimate blame for the shootings on conservatives in general, the Tea Party people in more specifics, and especially upon select individuals, such as Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. As Sarah Palin rightly called it, the “liberals” and leftists were dealing in “blood libel” ... until, of couse, it got through to them that this time the American public wasn't buying what they were trying to sell.
3a) The pseudo-argument the "liberals" tried to advance is that by virtue of conservatives’ supposed "violent rhetoric" (and do, let us, ignore that political violence, physical and rhetorical, is the provenance of the left, of the "revolutionaries," of those who want to overthrow and destroy all present social arrangements, who wish to dictate to us what our social arrangements must be), conservatives have "created a climate of violence" which fosters actual violence (by conservatives) against innocent “progressives.”
3b) According to their own “reasoning,” by their actions over the part week -- vilifying and demonizing conservatives in general and Tea Partiers in particular - “liberals” have “created a climate of violence” which fosters the apparent issuing of threats of physical violence against identified conservatives, on virtue only of their conservativism.

4) What are the odds, do you think, that *any* of the “liberals” who spent a week trying to pin the blame for Loughner’s actions on Sarah Palin … and me (and possibly you) … are going to man-up, step up to the plate, and admit their own fault and complicity in Fuller’s actions and seeming threat?

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