In WJM’s still very active Subjectivism privilege thread — and in response to my citing Plato’s warning on radical relativist amorality, factionalism and nihilism in The Laws Bk X, CF has recently gloated (cf 417):
“Frankly, I am glad that the type of prurient, judgemental morality that you worship
[–> yes, we catch the implicit, Lewontin-style a priori, self-referentially incoherent and amoral evo mat scientism based atheism and/or fellow traveller ideologies]
is dying out.”
This tellingly echoes a recent blog post by Harvard Law professor Victor Mark Tushnet** on the legal exploitation of claimed victory in the culture wars:
>>The culture wars are over; they lost, we won. Remember, they [= conservatives] were the ones who characterized constitutional disputes as culture wars
[–> lawfare, the usurpation of the sword of justice to impose a ruthless agenda, is an outright act of war]
. . . For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That’s mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line (“You lost, live with it”) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who – remember – defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all. Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.)
[–> notice, the revealing and sadly familiar pattern of invidious, tainting comparatives on offer: slavery, racism, nazism, aggressive imperialism . . . telling us a LOT about the hostility and slanderous projection we are dealing with, this professor needs to publicly apologise and retract with a serious mea culpa based explanation, starting with this point]
I should note that LGBT activists in particular seem to have settled on the hard-line approach, while some liberal academics defend more accommodating approaches. When specific battles in the culture wars were being fought, it might have made sense to try to be accommodating after a local victory, because other related fights were going on, and a hard line might have stiffened the opposition in those fights. But the war’s over, and we won.>>
** F/N: I add a note that Tushnet is identified with a cultural marxist “critical studies” movement, described by Wikipedia testifying against interest as follows:
>>Critical legal studies is a movement in legal theory and a network of leftist legal scholars that emerged in the 1970s in the United States. Considered “the first movement in legal theory and legal scholarship in the United States to have espoused a committed Left political stance and perspective,” critical legal studies was committed to shaping society based on a vision of human personality devoid of the hidden interests and class domination that CLS scholars argued are at the root of liberal legal institutions in the West. According to CLS scholars Duncan Kennedy and Karl Klare, critical legal studies was “concerned with the relationship of legal scholarship and practice to the struggle to create a more humane, egalitarian, and democratic society.” During its period of peak influence, the critical legal studies movement caused considerable controversy within the legal academy. Members such as Roberto Mangabeira Unger have sought to rebuild these institutions as an expression of human coexistence and not just a provisional truce in a brutal struggle and were seen as the most powerful voices and the only way forward for the movement. Unger and other members of the movement continue to try to develop it in new directions, e.g., to make legal analysis the basis of developing institutional alternatives.>>
In more detail, I headline and augment for record from 430:
>>The “prurient,” “judgemental,” “logical trap” objectively grounded morality that is allegedly dying out:
normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:
Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . .
Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]
Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:
. . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]
We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident (thus, warranted and objective) moral truths; not just optional opinions.
So also, it is not only possible to
(a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also
(b) there is hope that such moral errors can be corrected by appealing to manifestly sound core principles of the natural moral law.
1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.
(This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)
2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)
3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.
4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.
5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.
6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)
7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)
8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.
9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.
10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Thus also,
11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.
(NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an institutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)
12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
* F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.
It is clear that there is no cogent relativist response to the objectivity or the grounding of moral governance. Indeed, it looks a lot like animosity motivates attempts to undermine what they do not like, while trying to manipulate then through lawfare to usurp the sword of justice and impose will to power.
Long, grim history paid for in blood and tears serves as a warning, if we will heed it.
Instead, it seems that clinging to the self- and socially destructive absurd is viewed as “freedom,” never mind the all too predictable results of a march of folly.
Which last has been described as in effect apocalyptic fantasies.
To which, I again respond that the sound lessons of history were paid for in blood and tears, so those who neglect, ignore or dismiss them doom themselves to pay the same coin over and over again.
Our civilisation is patently in an accelerating slide down mutually opposed slippery slopes, headed for a hard impact with rock bottom reality.
–> where some of the reality we face, includes the global geostrategic situation:
Posterity, for cause, will call this generation accursed, reckless and heedless of sound lessons of history. (Not to mention, of basic common sense.)
We need to wake up and face reality, including for example what we have had to do to law, government, education, the media and more to create a situation where we are slaughtering the unborn under false colour of law, rights and choice at a RATE of 50 millions per year. Multiply by 40 years, and then by 1/2 to account for growth and you come to a total that reflects by far and away the worst holocaust in history. The American fraction of this is about 60 millions. And yes, Schaeffer and Koop warned us right there in the 1970’s in their book and video series, Whatever Happened to the Human Race.
(The latter was, after some struggle, aired on TV in the Washington DC area — the centre of power of the leading state in the world, only to be dismissed as “propaganda.” No, it was a prophetic warning that we have refused to heed. In a context where bloodguilt is the most corrupting influence there is, utterly warping conscience, hardening heart and en-darkening mind . . . often by embedding falsity in our yardstick for judging truth and soundness, whereby we call darkness light and light darkness.)
We are an untoward, perverse, corrupt, blood-stained generation on a scale that dwarfs anything that has ever gone on before.
We need to first face the truth about ourselves and seek penitence starting with the gift of guilt (instead of moral numbness) then we can by God’s grace find repentance and forgiveness [yes, through the gospel, duly authenticated by means of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth with 500 unbreakable witnesses], then we can find renewal and healthy reformation.
I suspect, however, that our civilisation is going to have to have a hard, back-breaking — and predictable — crash with reality comparable to the case study of Ac 27, before we will be inclined to listen to well warranted truth that we have come to despise, dismiss and sneer at.
God, have mercy on us.>>
There being a live thread still in progress, discussion may continue there. END