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Remaking the human race, iteration # [lost count of the bodies a while back … ]

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Lenin’s older brother

There are always schemes afoot for remaking the human race against its inclinations. In a letter to supporters, the Fellowship of St. James (for whose magazine Salvo I write, e.g., see this), recalls one we hadn’t heard of:

Vladimir Lenin’s revolutionary older brother, Alexander Ulyanov, was executed in 1887 for his role in a plot to assassinate the Tsar. He had been influenced by Dmitry Pisarev, a nihilist writer and critic. Pisarev wrote of a new kind of human being, ascetically dedicated to science and to working for the “good of humanity.” These new people are unable to tolerate internal discord. “Conscience—moral duty—must perfectly harmonize with action, reason with feeling, egoism with the love of humanity.”

Writes Pisarev:

New men don’t sin and don’t repent; they always reflect, and they only make mistakes in calculation, and then correct their errors and avoid repeating them in the future. For new people goodness and truth, honesty and knowledge, character and intellect are identical; the more intelligent a new person, the more honest he is because fewer mistakes creep into his calculations. (Philip Pomper, Lenin’s Brother: The Origins of the October Revolution, WW Norton & Co. 2010)

No sin and no repentance. It seems we now live in a Country for New Men, for whom scientific technique and scientifically enlightened government is the path to paradise on earth. More.

Which we see busting out all around us, thanks to such efforts.

Curiously, it was another Russian, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who got it right:

If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956

It is a very old principle, but anyone who claims greater wisdom is certainly bringing trouble.

See also: There is a country for old men.

2 Replies to “Remaking the human race, iteration # [lost count of the bodies a while back … ]

  1. 1
    vikingmom says:

    People will investigate before buying a home, before making an investment, before choosing a college…but they will just lap up any sparkly way to remake society without thinking it through. We are SOOOOOO gullible…!

    Quote from a man who did it the wrong way..till he found the Lord…
    “…One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we’ve developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.”
    Malcolm Muggeridge

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this comment:

    New men don’t sin and don’t repent; they always reflect, and they only make mistakes in calculation, and then correct their errors and avoid repeating them in the future.,,,

    The ‘New Man’ Robert Jastrow saw a need to ‘recalculate’:

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
    —Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (1992) pp.106-107

    The ironic thing about the ‘new man’ thinking he can live his life by the ‘power of reason’ alone, without recourse to anything beyond the physical order, is that reason itself demands a perspective outside the physical order:

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Physicalism and Reason – May 2013
    Summary: So we find ourselves affirming two contradictory propositions:
    1. Everything is governed by cause-and-effect.
    2. Our brains can process and be changed by ground-consequent logical relationships.
    To achieve consistency, we must either deny that everything is governed by cause-and-effect, and open our worldviews to something beyond physicalism, or we must deny that our brains are influenced by ground-consequence reasoning, and abandon the idea that we are rational creatures.
    Ask yourself: are humans like falling dominoes, entirely subject to natural law, or may we stand up and walk in the direction that reason shows us?
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2.....nd-reason/

    “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears… unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    —C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry (aka the Argument from Reason)

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if your short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

    Verse and Music:

    Isaiah 1:18
    Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

    Big Daddy Weave – “Redeemed” (Official Music Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzGAYNKDyIU

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