Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Read and Learn

One Cosmos is on fire with a series of fantastic posts.

The man is a genius!

His most recent half-dozen or so postings are required reading. A snippet:
But most importantly, radical secularism fails as a religion because it has no God, only demons: George Bush, Christian fundamentalists, Israel, tax cuts for the rich, stolen election, Halliburton, Fox News, Abu Ghraib, Karl Rove, corporate profits, disparities in wealth, strict constructionists, parental notification, talk radio, guns, and so many more. On the other hand, the sort of classical liberalism to which I ascribe--now embodied in the modern American conservative movement--recognizes that politics must aim at something that is not politics, something higher, not lower.
There is nothing quite so intoxicating and bracing as the lifting of the superego's usual sanctions against violence, so that primitive sadism may be expressed in an entirely unencumbered, guilt-free way. And there is no one so alluring and infectious as the demagogue who puts our conscience to sleep with the vital lie.

People never feel quite so alive as when the conscience has given them a green light to engage in sacrificial violence. Just ask the nazis. Ask the inquisitors. Ask the Islamists. And ask the crusading liberal media, who take so much moral satisfaction in instructing the grazing multitude on whom they may joyously burn at the stake.

This is why truth is the most important societal value.
Emphasis mine. This reminds me of an odd episode I experienced as a student at Princeton. One day I was approached by a trio of fellow students with a camcorder, apparently doing some kind of project. They fired the question at me, "Which is more important: Love, Truth, or Justice?"

I immediately answered, "Truth!"

I had in the back of my mind a scene from Boorman's Excalibur, in which Arthur asks Merlin what is the greatest knightly quality. At first he attempts to sidestep the question, saying they are all important, like the metals used to alloy a strong swordblade.

But Arthur presses him for a firm answer, and annoyed, Merlin scolds back, to the best of my memory, a reply to the effect of:
Truth! Yes, that's it; you should know that!
The students, with the camera on me, then asked me to justify my answer.

It had just seemed self-evident to me.

So at a moment's notice, I couldn't really explain why; it was intuitive.

When I said I couldn't explain why, they unconsciously ironically replied, "well at least you're honest."

After a few minutes of reflection I had a good answer, but they had already gone off somewhere.

Clearly, Love and Justice are both desireable, but they both require as a necessary precondition the existence of Truth, which is the bedrock on which they lie. It's more fundamental.

And that's why I always intuitively despised, without knowing exactly why, the "deconstructionists" who rejected notions of Truth, for without that pillar everything in Civilization crumbles.

One wonders what it is these people really want.

Their infantile narcissistic demands will destroy us all.


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