Intelligent Design

Why Deny Objective Morality?

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In another thread, after a lengthy debate about whether or not we treat morality like it is a subejctive preference or an objective commodity, Zeroseven graciously admits:

Fair enough. I don’t disagree with most of what you say. I agree we behave as if morals are objective. But I don’t agree that this is because they are objective.

I see the argument of objective morals in the same way. Its a nice way to look at a human process for making decisions about the world. But of course its a pure fiction.

First, I’d like to thank Zeroseven for having the courage to admit what few moral subjetivists will; all sane people act as if morality refers to an objective commodity. This implies that he agrees that sane people also act as if their conscience is a sensory capacity telling them what they must do, and not as if it is the impulse of personal preference they can  easily choose to indulge or dismiss. Violated conscience can also leave wounds that last a lifetime, unlike the transient pang of not getting your favorite meal for dinner.

What Zeroseven has admitted to above, is something I and others repeatedly argued during that thread:

I think the problem here is that on this point they are emotionally committed against the idea that morality is objective in nature…

As they operate from this unspoken sentimental rejection of objective morality, it leads them into defending the absurd and apparently simply not seeing certain points because it would cause too much cognitive dissonance.

Note how, even though Zeroseven admits we all act like morality is objective in nature, he flatly denies the possibility of pre-existing, objective law with prejudice:

That’s all very well as a theory, and its nice to think of the law in this way, but of course its crap.

And the same for morality:

But of course its a pure fiction.

This is an a priori worldview denial of even the possibility that morality (and justice under the law) might refer to an objective, pre-existing commodity.  Zeroseven simply, flatly denies it, even though he agrees he and all sane people must act as if morality is objective in nature, and that he should treat law in his profession as if it objectively existed.  His dismissive attitude is demonstrated by calling such sentiment “a nice way of looking at it” and simultaneously betrays, IMO, an utter lack of thought about the crucial role such ideas play in fostering the kind of culture we live in.  He doesn’t for a second ponder if it’s perhaps a necessary way of looking at it, a necessity arrived at by the weight of scholars and legal, ethical and moral philosophers through history far more worthy of respect and consideration, I would think, than Zeroseven offers with his casual dismissal.

I would suspect that Zeroseven would champion the idea that we’re all equals and that we all have certain inviolable rights as individuals that apply regardless of what anyone in power says, and regardless of if the majority says otherwise.  These spiritual ideas are the basis of our constitutional rights and came from deep belief in natural law objective morality. But these ideas are bound to theistic, objective morality and cannot be extracted from the premise of subjective morality and subjective justice.  How can a moral subjectivist (especially an atheistic one) have the idea that all people are equal, when clearly, in the physical world, they simply, factually are not? People are not physically or intellectually equal.  How would a moral subjectivist come up with the idea of liberty and rights that transcend government authority and the will of the majority?  Such ideas would be a deceit for moral subjectivists to employ.

At best, moral subjectivists might come up not with “inviolable human rights”, but rather “license for certain behaviors temporarily and arbitrarily granted by those in local power”.  Not exactly a concept one expects to found a long-lasting, just and moral society upon.  Also, why should everyone have the same rights temporarily and arbitrarily granted behavioral license, since people are not physical, social or intellectual equals, and since – under moral subjectivism – those in power cannot (and should not) be expected to dole out such privilege equally, fairly, or in a just manner? Can you imagine someone attempting to make an argument, under logically consistent moral subjectivism, that 0.3% of the population has a right to go to any public restrooms they want, male or female, despite what the majority of the population prefers?  There is no such argument to be made. There are no such “rights” under moral subjectivism., there are just privileges and licenses handed out by those in power as they wish.

To his credit, zeroseven has agreed that we act as if morality is objective.  Perhaps one day Zeroseven will consider the possibility that the concept of objective morality is not just “a nice way of looking at it”, but essential for generating the only kind of society he – or any of us – would want to live in.

The question now, however, is: why does he patently refuse to even entertain the idea that morality is objective? Is it impossible that morality is objective in nature? Surely not.  Does zeroseven (or anyone) have some kind of substantive evidence that morality is in fact subjective in nature? We argued this extensively in the other thread, meeting those objections and, after his admission, zeroseven apparently has no more significant evidence that morality is subjective than he could raise against things he agrees are objective in nature (not everyone agrees or has perfect understanding, different cultures have different views, etc.)  So the question is, why does zeroseven still patently reject the premise that morality might be objective in nature?

What logical purpose can it serve to insist that morality is subjective in nature when we must all act and argue as if it is objective in nature?  Why cling to a premise that renders the Nazi extermination of Jews the moral equivalent of feeding the hungry or housing the homeless when we all know that simply is not true?  In an argument about morality and about what is good, why insist on a premise that renders the argument itself entirely moot and forces the very concept of morality into a defenseless position? Why dismiss the only concept that gives any moral position you have any value at all beyond what flavor of a thing you prefer?  Why dismiss the only concept that can rationally justify moral interventions, moral judgements and imposition of just laws?  Why abandon the only concept that can provide inviolable rights, metaphysical equality and liberty?  What is so important that one will cling to a concept that renders law and morality and ethics absurd, selfish notions instead of embracing one that grants them a solid foundation for how they must act anyway – as if they are very important, universally binding considerations worth fighting and dying for?

What, zeroseven (and others like him), do you lose by believing a concept that you already must act and argue as if true – that morality is an objective commodity?

 

 

56 Replies to “Why Deny Objective Morality?

  1. 1
    vividbleau says:

    WJM

    Excellent commentary as usual.

    I will not presume to speak for Zero I will let him speak for his/herself.

    I do think for many it is about what I wrote on your other thread.

    “Keep in mind for the subjectivist to accept just one objective truth would result in the ( I mean their) entire edifice tumbling down.”

    To admit to one is to open the door to others.

    Vivid

  2. 2
    Brent says:

    vivid @1,

    And that is what they really always do. They have no hope but to fall on one objective standard. It is that we should have empathy and ‘do unto others . . .’, but that obviously rests on an objective truth that people have true worth. They get away with it because, often, they are not called on it. Those who argue with them often don’t know what to say because we are too busy agreeing with them that people have true worth. If not, however, what good is it to have empathy? Or if they say it is for a ‘flourishing society’, they must then think a flourishing society is better than a savage one, which rests, again, on the objective truth that people have actual worth.

  3. 3

    Of course I have my view on why they will not believe that morality is objective in nature based on my own life as a atheistic moral subjectivist, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the same as their reason. I think vividbleau is correct and I’ve said as much in other threads; it’s what the idea of objective morality leads to.

    However, here’s the thing: one doesn’t have to agree to what that premise leads to; one can simply agree that morality is objective in nature and that conscience is best described as some kind of sensory capacity, and leave it at that. If challenged on how morality could be an objective commodity, one can simply reply with a healthy “I don’t know.”

    When Newton formulated his theory of gravity, he left it open (at least formally) as to what the cause was of such mathematical behaviors (even though he, of course, believed it to be god). One need not have an answer as to how it is that matter and energy behave in such lawful, predictable patterns; one can only point at what has been shown & made clear and agree that they do behave that way, that such “laws” are apparently objective in nature and universally binding.

    Do they need to refer to a god to explain the existence of such “laws”? No. They can simply say “I don’t know how or why such lawful behaviors came to be.” Denying the objective nature of morality and conscience is like denying the objective nature of physical “laws”; it’s an absurdity to insist such things. You cannot act in defiance of physical law; you cannot act as if morality is subjective. You cannot argue as if logic is not a binding arbiter of true statements. As I have said before:

    If you do not assume the law of non-contradiction, you have nothing to argue about. If you do not assume the principles of sound reason, you have nothing to argue with. If logic is not assumed to be a causally independent, authoritative arbiter of true statements, there’s no reason to apply it. If you do not assume libertarian free will, you have no one to argue against. If you do not assume morality to be an objective commodity, you have no reason to argue in the first place. If you do not assume mind is primary, there is no “you” to make any argument at all.

    To quote Robert Duvall in Secondhand Lions:

    Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love, never dies… No matter if they’re true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in.

    The main reason I had become an atheist was because I had a painfully keen sense of injustice in the world and a very strong empathy towards others which resulted in my rightfully abandoning my childhood conceptualization of god and existence. Certainly, that god was not a god worth believing in, but that god was just my own childish perspective.

    However, many worldview emotional commitments are laid into the foundation of one’s perspective when we are children and are difficult to even recognize as such, much less excise later on. I realized much later that my emotional commitment against theism had led me into an intellectual and conceptual dead end. Commitment to materialism/physicalism cuts out many conceptual options that are essential to being a good person with sound reasoning and are necessary to building and maintaining a rational, just society.

    One cannot be a good person and maintain that “goodness” is an entirely subjective commodity because that premise renders the idea of “goodness” a matter of personal, subjective self-identification. It’s like a physical male claiming that he’s really a woman inside while insisting that the terms “man” and “woman” are actually entirely subjective commodities and have no definite, objective value. Why then is that person claiming to be a woman if the term “woman” has no objective meaning? One might as well claim to have the gender “flibsumnarb”; it doesn’t mean anything except what you have made up.

    It’s a self-contradictory absurdity to claim to be a good person, or to claim that something is a good act, and hold that “goodness” has no objective meaning.

    Why cling to premises that turn your arguments into hypocritical, self-contradictory absurdities? The only answer I can come up with is that such premises are irrationally clung to out of long-standing, a priori emotional commitments. But, I could be wrong, which is why I ask the question here.

  4. 4
    evnfrdrcksn says:

    This is a bunch of self-righteous bullshit, William.
    I was going to say “no offense”, but I’d rather you be offended. This has nothing to do with logic. Is this really how you live your life? Every day you wake up, stretch, and say “God, it’s good to know more than everyone else!” What a load of sanctimonious garbage.

    [Please leave off the personal attacks, evnfrdrcksn. This site is not a free-for-all like some other sites. I advise maintaining civility if you want to continue posting here. – WJM]

  5. 5
    john_a_designer says:

    How can you have an honest conversation with someone who does not believe in moral truth? That is why over the past couple years, aside from occasional glib comments, I no longer engage with these anonymous internet “know-it-alls.” Is it too much to ask for some basic honesty?

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, part of why we need to go through the pain of such exchanges is to hammer out a sound way of reform or at least rescue, not just for odd individuals but our civilisation. The dead end has to be seen, the inability to ground has to be drawn out and made manifest, a sound alternative has to be articulated. KF

  7. 7
    clown fish says:

    First, I’d like to thank Zeroseven for having the courage to admit what few moral subjetivists will; all sane people [act] as if morality refers to an objective commodity.

    Many subjectivists admit that we act as if our morals are objective. But, as zeroseven and I have said, that does not mean that they are objective.

    This implies that he agrees that sane people also act as if their conscience is a sensory capacity telling them what they must do, and not as if it is the impulse of personal preference they can easily choose to indulge or dismiss”

    Again, few subjectivists would disagree with this. What we disagree with is how your conscience gets “populated” with morals. Nothing more.

    Violated conscience can also leave wounds that last a lifetime, unlike the transient pang of not getting your favorite meal for dinner.”

    Again, no subjectivist disagrees with this. But it is only objectivists who claim that subjective morals are the same as not getting your favourite meal for dinner. I believe that is called a straw man argument.

    What, zeroseven (and others like him), do you lose by believing a concept that you already must act and argue as if true – that morality is an objective commodity?

    We lose nothing other than being honest with ourselves. Some of us believe that we should follow the evidence towards arriving at the most likely explanation. Objectivists prefer to stop their investigation at the intuition stage.

  8. 8

    CF said:

    We lose nothing other than being honest with ourselves.

    How is behaving as if X is objective but insisting it is not anything other than hypocrisy?

    Some of us believe that we should follow the evidence towards arriving at the most likely explanation.

    Except you have no evidence that morality is subjective other than that which could be similarly applied to all sorts of things you accept are objective commodities. You insist that the most likely explanation is the one that you admit no one can act in accordance with and which has no more backing it than cherry-picked narratives to separate morality from things we all agree are objective commodities.

    The only thing that actually makes it “more likely” is that in your mind it is necessarily true. You have no substantive, compelling evidence that it is true that morality is subjective in nature.

    Objectivists prefer to stop their investigation at the intuition stage.

    No, it has been objectivistists that have provided the bulk of substantive argument here.

    Make your case for how we can substantively distinguish whether or not morality is an objective commodity. Make your substantive case whether conscience is more similar to a sensory capacity or personal preference.

  9. 9
    Andre says:

    WJM

    Reading about your time as an atheist remind me of my own. I think the worst for me was the intellectual dishonesty towards myself. It came at a great cost.

  10. 10
    Eric Anderson says:

    WJM @3 and Andre @9:

    It would be very interesting to hear more about your experiences and what caused you to change your mind — spiritually and/or emotionally, but primarily intellectually.

    Not to hijack this thread, but perhaps WJM could start a new thread sometime — not by way of argument, but just to tell your personal experience with atheism (a related views) and allow others to do the same?

  11. 11
    john_a_designer says:

    kairosfocus @ 6,

    I definitely share your concerns about the future of our civilization. However, that doesn’t address my concern is whether or not we have the right overall strategy and are employing the correct tactics.

    Look at what the secular-progressive left has been able to accomplish with a relatively small number of activists. It is no longer a case of if they are going subvert western culture and society, they already have. How did they do it? With goodwill, honesty and airtight reasoning? I don’t think so.

    It seems to me their real target has been and is the soft muddled middle. With them they are willing to use all their cheap counterfeit terminology: rights, tolerance, inclusion, social justice etc. It all sounds all so reasonable and nice. On the other hand, with well-informed challengers like us they do not engage either honestly or rationally. I doubt any of them have thought deeply about morality or ethics… They appear to think they are right either because of who they are or because they have a personal disdain for any kind of traditional morality.

    My point is I think we have to come up with a strategy that takes back the muddled middle and not waste more time than necessary on the pseudo-intellectual activists.

  12. 12

    Unfortunately, JAD, you’re right. The vast majority of the populace has been conditioned to respond only to trigger terminology and sentiment. Until this conditioning can be reversed via popular media and academia, all we can do is use it against them. A sword can be used by either side of the fight. I’d like to think that the best way forward is using calm, rational argument, but unfortunately, the time where that might have been effective is long past.

    However, due to the nature of that very conditioning, and due to the actual innate, spiritual nature of humans, the masses will always respond to a proper clarion call that reaches their soul. They will rebel against intellectual oppression that seeks to snuff out their liberty and knowledge of what is right and wrong even if they are likely to do so clumsily and by unifying around rather poor examples (think of Trump’s blatant anti-PC, smash-mouth brand of politics that turns the sword of ridicule back upon those who have been unilaterally in control of it for decades).

    It may be unfortunate that people respond to Trump’s brand of in-your-face politics, but it demonstrates that people are tired of the PC, anti-American, globalist perspective. People are also tired of the fringe-group mafias and unvetted illegal aliens that are destroying the fabric of our society and turning western civilization into a balkanized version of the third-world countries most of those groups would not even want to live in and many have fled here to get away from.

    Trump may be a sorry mish-mash of contradictory perspectives that cannot be rationally reconciled with each other, but he demonstrates what effective rhetoric can do and how it can be used against the progressives.

    So, we need to spread memes that use the sword that is used against us – effective rhetoric that turns sentiment against the PC police and progressive policies, and turns people back towards rationalism, theism, and other necessary, sustainable, satisfying beliefs.

  13. 13
    John S says:

    To quote a great philosopher:

    “…men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”

    Suppress rather than deny. These guys know it is a good thing to have a moral code, and live by one themselves, (in addition to nature itself testifying to a God) but don’t want to deal with what’s at the end of that rainbow so subdue the logical conclusion.

  14. 14
    Andre says:

    Eric

    For me it was a spiritual event first. I was then left to confront my intellectual dishonesty. As the saying goes, the truth will set you free is apt in my experience. That set me on a quest of gaining as much knowledge as I possibly could about everything I have ever denied or brushed aside.

  15. 15
    Phinehas says:

    WJM:

    Do they need to refer to a god to explain the existence of such “laws”? No. They can simply say “I don’t know how or why such lawful behaviors came to be.”

    Similarly, one could say, “I don’t know how or why,” regarding the origin of life as well. But some seem to find a lack of intellectual fulfillment in such positions. Sentiment or simply rebellion lead some to deny God, but then not being able to answer the questions a belief in God answers leads them on a search for intellectual fulfillment. Unfortunately, intellectual fulfillment is difficult to find without God, not least because the naturalistic account of the mind’s origin is sadly wanting as an explanation for intellect in the first place.

  16. 16
    bb says:

    It’s a useless worldview that dismisses what we all observe as illusion, or some other subjective phenomenon.

    Materialism says:

    – Apparent design in life and the cosmos is just illusion.

    – Free will is just an illusion, though I can choose my worldview and how to express myself.

    – Objective morality is really subjective, even though I expect others to understand what is right and wrong, and live accordingly.

    Utter incoherence. David was right when he said in Psalm 14:1:

    The fool has said in his heart,
    ‘There is no God.’

    It wasn’t ad-hominem. It was a simple observation. Paul points out the resulting insanity of rejecting God in Romans 1.

  17. 17
    bb says:

    I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.

    -Thomas Nagel, Evolutionary Naturalism and the Fear of Religion.

  18. 18
    bb says:

    JAD @ 11

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3DhquH12jQ

  19. 19
    vividbleau says:

    WJM RE 12

    I dunno I am pretty pessimistic. I think we have let things go for so long and people are so pissed off that I am very fearful that things are going to take a very ugly turn. I am also convinced this is exactly what the fringe left wants.

    Vivid

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD

    I hear you.

    And I hear you as someone who has seen countries fall apart through marches of folly in the face of reality twice.

    (Where this mini case study on events at Fair Havens, Crete mid Oct 59 AD is all too telling.)

    My thoughts:

    1 –> Many people have never seen the evolutionary materialist, secularist, radical relativist, subjectivist, nominalist and cultural marxist talking points challenged toe to toe in a reasonably accessible open forum. (Including, those caught up, those engaged as footsoldiers in front groups, enabling activists and leaders of co-opted or subverted movements.)

    2 –> So, it is important to break the bewitchment and mystique that such warped movements have cornered the market on the future.

    3 –> That was pivotal for the marxists of my youth, it was key for those who were pushing an official line or an establishment line on the risks and hazards that were being run with the volcano, it is true for the evo mat secularists, cultural marxists and fellow travellers.

    4 –> After this direct confrontation across several weeks, it is known, exposed beyond doubt that we are dealing with absurdities, irrationality, nihilism and notorious radical tactics that divide, polarise and ruin. Further, that we have for decades been willfully dumbed down.

    5 –> And, it is clear that the invincible movements are in fact hollow and can be stoutly resisted. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

    6 –> People now know where to go to understand democracies, how they fail, what was done to stabilise them, what kicking down the stabilising supports is liable to do. Starting with the history of the Peloponnesian war, the history of the rise of modern liberty, and more. Even, the White Rose movement. (Worst comes to worst for some of us, this is what survival in an urban, civil war and utter collapse environment is like. Not pretty, and a good motivator to take decisive steps early to prevent such.)

    7 –> We also have a clearer idea of the geostrategic peril that faces our civilisation. No, it is not wild end of world fantasies, we are facing a 4th generation existential struggle with stress on lawfare, agit prop, terrorism, cultural marxist subversion, settlement jihad and more, with nukes in the shadows.

    8 –> That is already a lot.

    9 –> No, it is not going to stop our civilisation being caught in a wicked nor’easter that we have unwisely put ourselves in the path of by way of manipulated march of folly.

    10 –> But, we can prepare ourselves to be good men and women in the storm.

    11 –> Yes, the radicals hope to profit from chaos, division, polarisation, manipulation and confusion.

    12 –> That is exactly why they must be met with clarity, soundness, refutation and exposure of their agenda, tactics and fallacies. Backed by determined resolve that understands nationhood and government under God in defence of the civil peace of justice.

    13 –> Just simply being able to expose their nihilism and absurdity, as well as 2400 year track record of chaos and ruin, helps. (Cf Plato’s warning, which they run away from and complain of as how dare you quote those dead old philosophers. Because, the lessons of history were bought with blood and tears and we neglect them at peril of paying the same coin to repeat them.)

    14 –> Recognising that lawfare — usurping the sword of justice to impose unjust destructive, tyrannical decrees by will to power under false colour of law — is at work is vital.

    15 –> So is realising that lawfare is a veiled act of literal WAR, of conquest and subjugation. (Never forget that Hitler conquered two countries — Austria and Czechoslovakia — before the shooting started in Sept 1939, through agit prop, bluff, intimidation and false diplomatic deals.)

    16 –> In this context it is vital to realise that a right is a binding moral expectation and claim on others, so before a right can exist, you must manifestly be in the right.

    17 –> For there can be no legitimate moral claim that others must be compelled to enable, support or join with you in wrong, tainting their souls and harming the community.

    18 –> This means the denial of objective morality is pregnant with injustice, with demonic, entangling, enslaving evil and with might makes “right” nihilism.

    19 –> So our task is to equip ourselves to stand in an evil day. Only a stout hearted and unyielding stand will turn the tide.

    20 –> And yes, there is a place for seeking to persuade the muddled middle (an uphill fight given what has happened to the major media and education houses), but that comes after we know ourselves and know the enemy, as Sun Tzu long since warned.

    KF

  21. 21
    Eugen says:

    There’s a good article relevant to this discussion…

    “Nihilism rejects any objective basis for society and its morality, the very concept of objectivity, even the possibility of communication itself, and a vulgar form of nihilism has a remarkable influence in our educational system today, from elementary school through our universities. The consequences of the victory of such ideas would be enormous. If both religion and reason are removed all that remains is will and power, where the only law is that of tooth and claw. There is no protection for the freedom of weaker individuals or those who question the authority of the most powerful. There is no basis for individual rights or for a critique of existing ideas and institutions.

    That such attacks on the greatest achievements of the West should be made by Western intellectuals is perfectly in keeping with the Western tradition, yet it seems ironic…”

    https://home.isi.org/why-we-should-study-history-western-civilization-0

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    How should we treat people who claim that they are moral subjectivists but also seek to impose their own “morals” on the rest of us?

    clown fish thinks that exaggeration is bad. But why should anyone care what clown fish thinks?

  23. 23

    What “objective” morality comes down to in the real world is things like employers who demand their employees to give their all. And the personal relationships equally demands that you give all, and the government demands that you give all, and everybody else also demands that you give all.

    They request that you sell your soul, to meet the objective moral standards.

    Obviously the emotional life of people who promote “objective” morality would be garbage, because they relegate subjectivity to the domain of preference for cola or something. They do not cultivate any deep emotion for justice. What use is emotion, when you can just glibly as a matter of fact denote what is in fact good and evil, and slam people with those facts.

    Or of course one can just go back to crucifying people who do not abide by objective morality.

  24. 24
    tommy hall says:

    Sorry to be off topic but I ran across this and I just thought others should see it. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi.....15.1062207. Environment induces epigenetic changes, which then promote mutations. Full and complete Lamarckian inheritance is upon us.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Observe the PPS here on the subversive techniques at work:

    ______________________

    >> . . . the agit prop employed by marxists of various stripes — including cultural marxists taking the long subversive march through the socio-cultural institutions — and by their ideological kissing cousins the fascists over the past 100 years.

    I again cite the neo-Marxist Alinsky’s key tactics [–> where “Community Organizers” are professionals in agit-prop, trained under this school of thought]:

    5] “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

    13] “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

    I summarise that agit-prop- activism- and- lawfare- as- an- agenda tends to:

    a: sweep up alienated minorities or classes, proceeding onwards to

    b: create a dominant narrative of oppression and proposed liberation under messianistic leadership/movements, thus

    c: carries with it those who have been indoctrinated and polarised, bringing them under the influence of

    d: enabling activists and front groups or issues movements, many of which are in fact

    e: astro turf, i.e. pseudo grassroots, not genuinely spontaneous (or else have been infiltrated, betrayed and co-opted for the radical cause by agenda serving agit prop activists), being manipulated and controlled by

    f: calculated strategies and cultural/policy agendas, created and sustained by

    g: strategic level ideologues, planners and backers/funders. Where the game plan is to seize dominant control of several key cultural institutions thus shaping the dominant worldview, and the cultural/policy agenda and the public discussion — cf the seven mountains analysis

    [–> religion or ideology or phil

    — family

    — education

    — government

    — media

    — arts, culture, entertainment

    — business, finance & linked sci-tech base]

    . . . framework in the OP above. In so doing,

    i: ruthless agit prop will routinely resort to distract, distort, denigrate, stereotype, demonise and scapegoat tactics in order to

    j: secure advancement of an agenda that often cannot stand the cold light of day. Where,

    k: it is often assumed or implied or even outright asserted that by and large people cannot think clearly and logically so they

    l: must be given simplistic, dramatic agit prop narratives that stir their resentful emotions (giving them convenient targets) and these polarising myths also

    m: secure their adhesion to the politically messianistic ideology, its top leadership and the local activists. Quite often,

    n: The triple tactic advocated by Kirk and Madsen is used: desensitising, jamming out contrary message sources, conversion to toleration or enabling or participation.

    o: Then, the radical nihilistic ill-founded agenda, through lawfare [I include subversion of parliaments, bodies of law and regulation and of the executive insofar as this operates under law], is entrenched. Ending in

    p: ruin.

    These tactics I learned of in studying Nazism and in dealing with Marxists, and saw playing out in my native land to the point of triggering a mini civil war and permanently destabilising the nation through drug trade funded warlordism and politically connected gangs. I saw how the media and education were manipulated. I saw people lose rationality in crisis and go into Canetti’s the madness of crowds. I saw the stereotyping, scapegoating and targetting that Alinsky so cynically advocated.

    And I saw the ruin such tactics create as communities go over the cliff and break their backs.

    In the case of lawfare, I have seen how manipulation of the sword of justice and of laws can easily institutionalise evil and warp the proper functions of the state and community institutions. In particular, I saw the pernicious influence of evolutionary materialist scientism, linked amorality and institutionalisation of power in the hands of ruthless factions. And I saw the critical importance of a true understanding of moral governance and of responsible, rational freedom informed by insight into human nature and the laws of moral governance of that nature.

    Which, I can see being foolishly discarded all across our civilisation as radical causes entrench themselves in the halls of power and impose marches of folly under false colour of law.>>
    __________________

    That’s how they do it. Resemblance to what is going on all across our civilisation is NOT coincidental. KF

    PS: By contrast the double-covenant view can be described in terms of Duplessis-Mornay et al in Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, 1579:

    Now we read [especially in the OT] of two sorts of covenants at the inaugurating of kings, the first between God, the king, and the people, that the people might be the people of God. The second, between the king and the people, that the people shall obey faithfully, and the king command justly.” [English Trans., A Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants. Ed. Harold Laski. Gloucester, Mass: Peter Smith, 1963, p. 71]

    Bamberg comments:

    [b]y means of the first covenant, the people form a religious covenant community [–> acknowledged nationhood under the creator God]. By means of the second, the political state arises. This political covenant assures that people will obey the ruler’s commands as long as they are just. If the ruler does not fulfill his obligation then the people are absolved from their vows of allegiance. The fact that God includes the people in the parties of the compacts demonstrates that ‘the people have a right to make, hold and accomplish their promises and contracts.’ The people are not slaves without rights but are responsible to fulfill certain obligations as well as enjoy certain privileges . . . .

    The concepts of compact, tyranny and resistance are popularly attributed solely to the Enlightenment figures of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. To be sure, this was one means through which these ideas were disseminated, yet, they are actually much older. The language and arguments Adams employs [and this of course includes that collaborative work, the US DOI of 1776] bear striking similarities to the Vindiciae contra tyrannos. . . . [which] does not argue for anarchy. It recommends resistance to tyranny based upon the authority of lower officers of the state [i.e. through their interposition as equally God’s agents to do good and protect the community and its members from evildoers, including tyrants by usurpation, corruption or invasion]. As such, it should be considered an argument for a conservative revolution. At the same time, it brought the contract theory into play against the claims of divine right absolutism. In this way it contributed to later contract theory . . . .

    Any revolt must proceed along orderly lines through the lower magistrates . . . . In America, the elected representatives of the people, town councils, Continental Congress or the lower houses of the colonial legislatures were responsible to oppose the tyrant king and Parliament as well as the loyalist lower magistrates, i.e. Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson. Adams felt that the American Revolution met these qualifications. On the other hand, he had nothing but animosity for the rabble revolution in France which claimed the American Revolution as its model. Adams, appalled by the mob rule in Paris, denounced the tyranny of the majority in that revolution . . . .

    The social contract theory of civil government [in this context] was an amiable theory to men raised on the covenant theology of New England as Adams had been. The influence of Locke seems evident, but he was welcomed by the New Englanders precisely because he had reformulated the familiar ideas of the Calvinists . . . . Adams, like other American Whigs, derived his theory from the English Civil War tradition which was itself informed by Vindiciae.

    Resemblance to the US DoI 1776 and its context is NOT coincidental.

  26. 26

    Now the very foundations of our society in the USA are under attack as early as grades 4-6. A bill that would require students to recite the following out of the Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    … was tabled after complaints that it would require primary school students to read something that was “not the truth” (that all men are created equal) because, at the time, “African-Americans were slaves”, and because it used the term “Creator”, which in one State Reps mind, had religious implications. Two state representative Democrats raised the objections. The reading was also objected to because at one point people were required to be able to read the DoI before they could vote.

    The fundamental root of our society in the USA which guarantees us to be treated as equals and proclaims that we are endowed with rights beyond the reach of governmental authority to abridge is being undermined now at the very beginning of the scholastic careers of our children.

  27. 27

    What rational argument is met with in the US congress; after reading statement submitted by U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Gail Heriot, also a law professor at USD, that read:

    If I believe that I am a Russian princess, that doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy. Nor am I a Great Horned Owl just because – as I have been told – I happen to share some personality traits with those feathered creatures.

    Zoe Lofgren, Democrat Representative, responded with Alinskyite tactics we’ve come to expect:

    I think you’re a bigot, lady! I think you’re an ignorant bigot! I think you’re an ignorant bigot – and, and…

    Oh, well said, Zoe! Well said, indeed. You’re a model of civil discourse and rational thought.

    Well, when one is willing to deny physical facts in favor of sentiment without any rational foundation, why not insist that morality is subjective even though you cannot even act as if they are? I mean, if you can support the self-contradictory hypocrisy of someone claiming to be “a woman in a man’s body” by granting them legal protections for their self-identified concept of themselves, what difference does it make what kind of hypocritical, self-contradictory nonsense one espouses?

    It’s all about trigger terminology, virtue signalling and superficial sentiment. If you don’t like an idea, what the heck, just dismiss it and insist it’s not true, even though you yourself must act as if it is.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    Eugen,

    an interesting thought piece linked from 21.

    However, as I find with too many other surveys of the history of our civilisation and its key currents, flawed. For instance, the Greek city states were of varied types, with Athens in the key epoch a democracy [among the elite 10%] and Sparta an Oligarchy with two kings. The summary on Rome is way too broad brush. The germans (broad sense, germanic peoples) were very important for injecting concepts on freedoms and rights. The protestant reformation was much more important than he credits. Secularism is given a pass on too much — I think Schaeffer’s line of despair analysis has much to teach us. And more.

    This does make for food for thought:

    Freedom was threatened in early modern times by the emergence of monarchies that might have been able to crush it [–> Absolutism], but the cause of individual freedom was enhanced by the Protestant Reformation, another upheaval within Christianity arising from its focus on individual salvation, its inheritance of a tradition of penetrating reason applied even to matters of faith, and to the continuing struggle between church and state. [–> Way too much is skimmed over in the line from vindiciae and the Dutch DoI 1581 through the Glorious Revolution, Locke and the US DoI 1776 etc] The English Revolution came about in large part because of Charles I’s attempt to impose an alien religious conformity, as well as tighter political control, on his kingdom. In England the tradition of freedom and government bound by law was strong enough to produce effective resistance. [–> Why is Magna Carta absent? Why is Alfred’s Book of Dooms and the Common Law tradition?] From the ensuing rebellion came limited, constitutional, representative government and, ultimately, democracy. The example and the ideas it produced encouraged and informed the French and American revolutions and the entire modern constitutional tradition.

    These ideas and institutions are the basis for modern liberal thinking about politics, the individual, and society, just as the confident view of science and technology as progressive forces improving the lot of humanity and increasing man’s capacity to understand and control the universe has been the most powerful form taken by the Western elevation of reason. In the last two centuries both these most characteristic elements of Western civilization have come under heavy attack. At different times science and technology have been blamed for the destruction of human community and the alienation of people from nature and from one another, for intensifying the gulf between rich and poor, for threatening the very existence of humanity either by producing weapons of total destruction or by destroying the environment.

    At the same time, the foundations of freedom have also come into question. Jefferson and his colleagues could confidently proclaim their political rights as “self-evident” and the gift of a “Creator.” [–> Ideas roots? Double covenant vision of nationhood and govt under God. Also note the need for print, widespread literacy, the Bible in the common man’s hands, rise of widely available books and newspapers, broadsheets and bills etc] By now, however, the power of religion has faded [–> the religion is enemy of reason and liberty theme needs to be counterbalanced], and for many the basis for a modern political and moral order has been demolished. Nietzsche announced the death of God, and Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor asserted that when God is dead all things are permitted. Nihilism rejects any objective basis for society and its morality, the very concept of objectivity, even the possibility of communication itself, and a vulgar form of nihilism has a remarkable influence in our educational system today, from elementary school through our universities. [–> yes, needed elaboration, and I prefer rooting in Plato’s The Laws Bk X and the failure of Athens] The consequences of the victory of such ideas would be enormous. If both religion and reason are removed all that remains is will and power, where the only law is that of tooth and claw. There is no protection for the freedom of weaker individuals or those who question the authority of the most powerful. There is no basis for individual rights or for a critique of existing ideas and institutions. [–> very true, need to bring out might and manipulation make right.]

    That such attacks on the greatest achievements of the West should be made by Western intellectuals is perfectly in keeping with the Western tradition, yet it seems ironic that they have gained so much currency at the height of the achievements of Western reason in the form of science and at a moment when its concept of political freedom seems to be sweeping all before it. [–> democratic freedom is inherently unstable and has to be stabilised, a key insight of the era leading up to 1776 etc] Still, we cannot deny that there is a dark side to the Western experience. To put untrammeled reason and individual freedom at the center of a civilization is to live with the conflict, turmoil, instability, and uncertainty that they produce. Freedom was born and has survived in the space created by divisions and conflict within and between nations and religions. [–> part of the story] We must wonder whether the power of modern weapons will allow it and the world to survive at such a price. Individual freedom, although it has greatly elevated the condition of the people who have lived in free societies, inevitably permits inequalities that are the more galling because each person is plainly free to try to improve his situation and largely responsible for the outcome. Freedom does permit isolation from society and an alienation of the individual at a high cost to both.

    Maybe, we can develop these and/or find a better long view summary.

    But, food for thought.

    KF

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Eugen says:

    Hi Kairos

    That’s the link to a free book. Thanks. This and few other threads were great for me because I’m not familiar with the topic and terminology. Thanks for help and also to William, StephenB and many others

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    Eugen,

    a book by Lord Acton.

    Looks like it is hard to find good summaries out there and there is a behind the scenes debate over teaching history of W Civ (esp Christendom I suspect) vs World History.

    To which I say, both count, properly addressed. On the balance, as westerners we need a survey of global history and a focus on history of our civilisation in that wider context. A survey should be summary but sufficiently accurate and detailed that one can know where to look for more and on looking should not find gross misrepresentations.

    I would start with a grand overview and timeline, then go to elaborating to fill in the details and bring out foci, flow, critical events in times and places, etc.

    Here is a start from the rise of civilisations perspective: http://www.historyworld.net/wr.....oryid=ab25

    (The civilisation vs nomadism conflict on the Eurasian landmass is a pivotal issue that still has impacts. The Eurasian chessboard of geopolitics, with core heartland, pivot area, rimlands and the outer maritime bands thence the land vs maritime geostrategic power struggle issue is a useful framework in my view, though I note that continental bases include India, South America and onwards likely Africa. My analysis of the new geostrategic pic, in a nutshell is here: http://kairosfocus.blogspot.co.....dirty.html H’mm, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives By Zbigniew Brzezinski is likely a must-read.)

    In looking at our civ’s history, the concept of the river valley civs and fertile crescent then the roots in Jerusalem, Athens and Rome with Germanic infusions is I think key. The cycle of the rise of democracy and the clash with Persia then collapse of democracy in the context of the Peloponnesian war and the rise of Alexander are a good focal point. It helps that the formal study of history was pioneered in this context. So a look at this should be part of the introduction to the study of history — and a rationale for history and its relevance is where this has to begin. Linked, a plea to be a reader and thinker, not just a plaything for agit prop, manipulation, lawfare and more. Lessons of history is a good theme for that one I think.

    The Pauline-Augustinian synthesis forming Christendom should be respected and treated fairly.

    So should the story of the Roman republic then empire and its collapse in the W. This is replete with lessons for us. The continuation to the E (aka Byzantine Empire), the double continuation actually as this Greek part was also obviously a continuation of Alexander under new management, to 1453 is significant. The 1,000 year war with Persia is significant. Mutual exhaustion c 628 and opening for Islam, too. Note, at his assassination in the Senate, Julius Caesar was about to launch a campaign against Persia.

    Rise and 1400 year thrust of Islam, with ongoing issues.

    The attempted thrust of Rome beyond the Rhine and the loss of 3 legions is key, as ever after Rome was vulnerable in the W. Had the Germans become solidly romanised early that would have been a difference.

    The return of W Europe.

    Clash with Islam.

    Printing and its impact.

    Plagues.

    China.

    The 1400s and 1500s, with the three poles on global power threshold, and why it was the W that rose through the Iberians. The world war with the Ottoman Empire, including Lepanto and the sieges of Vienna.

    Rise of the modern W, the renaissance and reformation, scientific revo, rise of modern liberty in context. Schaeffer’s line of despair analysis (as modified) has something to tell us.

    The calamitous C20 is a major study, too. One that is probably best done through geopolitical lenses.

    Summary on where we are now, and the issues on our plate.

    I do not hesitate to say that history, looked at through the lenses of geography, people, ideas, economic, trade and sci-tech trends, the great revolutions: agri, civilisation in the river valleys, record [in sense of compiled writings], the rise of major religions and of phil, the rise and spread of ethical theism [esp the Judaeo-Christian tradition and its rival, Islam], military, industrial, sea trade etc, geopolitics and geostrategy, history itself as a concept and force, religions, philosophies and ideologies etc have many lessons for us, and those lessons hinge on absorbing key facts. Knowing key documents and cites is also important, as this puts us beyond the ability of people to manipulate understanding unduly.

    The key point being that there are sound lessons and examples that can be understood, preparing us to read our own situations aright or at least prudently through the OODA loop approach. Lessons, bought with blood and tears that we had better heed or we will make the same mistakes and pay the same coin again, this time with nukes in play.

    Doubtless there is more, but for one thing, I strongly disagree with those who think history is little more than winners’ (or whiners’) propaganda, and that there are no lessons to be learned. History is not bunk, sound history is not lies. Timelines let us see the flow of causes and effects, there are pivotal times and trends, there are events that break in on everybody and change everything, such as the black death or the birth of a carpenter from Nazareth, and more.

    From the Christian perspective, I think the prophetic tradition should be taught in a balanced way, and used as a lens to look at where we are now also.

    These are just initial ideas and pointers, there is so much more out there.

    KF

    PS: Lord Acton, I found here: http://socserv2.mcmaster.ca/~e.....istory.pdf

    Here is a work by an amateur that is worth a look: https://florida.theorangegrove.org/og/file/f796f14f-c573-1fcd-1cb1-d2a21d9b32b2/1/worldhistory.pdf

    Schaeffer did a video series that is worth buying and watching, How Should we then live: http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....S0X80TV41F there is a book for it. Likewise, his Whatever Happened to the Human Race is more relevant now than 40 years ago.

    And so forth.

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: a collection of timelines (a point of departure not an unqualified endorsement): http://www.historyworld.net/ti.....conid=1063

    PPPS: A world history survey in 2 hrs vid, it seems taking the usual secularist viewpoint on origins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q9-ier0R1s and here is a lecture series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBDA2E52FB1EF80C9 Of course, just YouTube search, not an endorsement. Points of beginning. Observe 2 hr vid uses big bang to define beginnings of EVERYTHING that will ever exist, i.e. ev mat secularism and scientism from outset, failure of the basic phil test — that which begins is caused as necessarily contingent. Oops on BB creates energy too. Note, too, games played with definition. History should be confined to study of the past in the main based on reasonable eyewitness testimony and credible records (supplemented by circumstantial evidence e.g. archaeological), then prehistory is that which is inferred from circumstantial evidence beyond that in a region or globally. The issue of imposition of a priori evolutionary materialist scientism controlled views on origins is material.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Start at 42:10 minutes or so. Expansion from Africa of reconstructed and projected earliest modern human pops. Up to that point it is essentially ev mat speculations. KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice, c 1:05:00 dislocation of rise of empires to c 600 BC, and of ethical monotheism with it. Regional empires yes, but much more has happened before that including e.g. the clash of Mesopotamian and Canaanite kingdoms c 1800 BC in say Gen 14, with evidence of existing ethical theism in the persons of Abraham and Melchizedek. The absence of lead-up detail on Egypt and Mesopotamia, Palestine and Syria, Anatolia and Greece is striking. Recall, over 1/3 of the available 2 hrs was given to a “history” of the cosmos driven by ev mat, and every few mins this is revisited to reinforce it. We see here the outlines of the indoctrination strategy. By 1:07:00 we are at C1 and Greece and the rise of Rome, the pivotal story of Judaism etc in the relevant time band have been vanished. The rise of Democracy, the clash with Persia, the Peloponnesian war cycle, Alexander, all poof. Christianity comes up c 300 AD, they of course speak of common era [not Christian Era] with Constantine. The ideological agendas become quite evident in how this is organised. Notice, to this point Jesus of Nazareth has not been faced. KF

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Next by c 1:09:00, Islam, with vid of Haj. The suppression of Jesus of Nazareth, the sequence, empires, trade, Christianity then focus Islam from its time of origin tell us much. By 1:12 it’s Europeans pick up ideas -tellingly symbolised by picking up a cannon ball after talk of Chinese invention of gunpowder and Arabs use cannon to fend off crusaders] and 1500 or so. Collapse of Roman Empire poof, recovery of civilisation poof, middle ages poof, rise of printing poof. Agendas are showing up, esp after 1/3 was wasted on a survey of projected origins that is not even history. Notice, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle vanish. Western math comes in with Fibonacci picking up “Arab” numbers in the marketplace, the hindu roots, poof. Same with roots of lateen rig sails beyond Columbus copied the Arabs. KF

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: By 1:25 we are at the present via a focus on the rise of fossil fuels and a sketch of the industrial revolution and world wars. Huge swaths of context are simply missing. Yet another rehash of the ev mat origins narrative. Beyond about the 90 min mark, a rehash, maybe something went wrong. Overall, a 2 hr global history survey is clearly feasible but this fails, fails because — patently — its agenda is ev mat ideology not serious education that fits us to learn from history for citizenship and leadership. A lesson, and a warning. KF

  37. 37
  38. 38
    john_a_designer says:

    [Here are some thoughts I have written on before that are worth repeating here.]

    Have you ever had an internet atheist tell you that “you are not being very Christian”? Who are they to tell us what is, or is not, Christian? Do they really understand Christian ethics that well?

    Of course, sometimes Christians can be jerks. On the other hand, however, many, if not most, atheists come here with the false stereotype that to be Christian you have to be non-confrontational and nice. This is the meek and mild way that Jesus is often portrayed in the movies. However, Jesus was not typically kind and gentle with his interlocutors. Neither did he hesitate to point out their hypocrisy. For example, look at Matthew 22 beginning at vs. 15 and chapter 23.

    Why do we never hear from Christians to an atheist “that’s not very atheistic of you”? Or, “you are not being very atheistic.” The answer should be obvious. Neither atheism nor any atheistic world view (even most “honest” atheists don’t think atheism itself is a world view) provides a sufficient foundation for ethics. Christian’s know that and so do the atheists. Indeed, most of what atheists living in western society believe morally or ethically has been coopted from Christianity and Judaism. That by itself is hypocritical.

    Ironically, the secularism and atheism we presently see infecting the culture of western societies is actually a Christian heresy. I think if we trace the history we see, that on the one hand, the roots go back to the Protestant Reformation, on the other, the French revolution. There were no avowed atheists in “Christian” Europe before the Protestant Reformation. If you can think of one, tell me.

    I’m not saying that the Protestant Reformation was bad in and of itself but that rather as a byproduct it gave rise to some heterodox thinking that led to theological liberalism which in turn has “evolved” or mutated into secular progressivism and militant atheism. As Christian heresies secularism and atheism have held on to and perverted vestiges of Christian ethics and morality. For example, our modern concept of human rights is a distinctly Judeo-Christian. While we see subtle hints of it in ancient Greek society, the substance is unequivocally Judeo-Christian.

    John Zmirak summarizes this historical trend nicely in an article he has written for The Stream.

    The way that leftists unwittingly do this devil’s work is to take some element of Christian ethics and grossly exaggerate it, cut it off from any context, and make of it an idol. Hence “compassion,” “inclusiveness,” “social justice” or “equality” take the place of the person of Jesus and become the object of worship. C.S. Lewis warned against this temptation in Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. In its fullest form, such political idolatry can be seen in Liberation Theology, which perverts the church into a revolutionary Marxist vanguard.

    https://stream.org/trump-voting-christians-liberal-pastors-get-crying-wolf/

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD,

    food for thought.

    Though, I suggest not so much the reformation per se but the ferment it fed and the impact of the geopolitical rifts that opened leading to 100 years of wars in significant part cast in terms of religious differences.

    That context is the context of several onward movements, and it is a context in which there was a literate public with a sense of significant freedom to think and speak as one wished in a big enough space in mostly NW Europe.

    In this context skeptical and speculative ideas were part of that ferment.

    Then in C19, evolutionism gave a lab coat to atheism, which is the real trigger of mass atheism. Specifically, evolutionary materialism.

    C20 of course showed its consequences again, much as Plato warned in The Laws Bk X:

    Ath. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them.

    If we refuse to learn from history . . .

    KF

  40. 40
    john_a_designer says:

    kairosfocus,

    As a protestant I do think more good than bad came out of the Protestant Reformation. Maybe some time in the near future we can tease out some of the nuances of my view…

    For the present I only intended to give some broad brush historical context. We do need to be able to accurately diagnose what is wrong with our society and culture and that of course looking at the past and finding out what went wrong. However, when the patient (our society) is on life support we don’t have a lot of time to waste. We need to begin responding.

    As I wrote earlier in this thread @11:

    Look at what the secular-progressive left has been able to accomplish with a relatively small number of activists. It is no longer a case of if they are going subvert western culture and society, they already have. How did they do it? With goodwill, honesty and airtight reasoning? I don’t think so.

    It seems to me their real target has been and is the soft muddled middle. With them they are willing to use all their cheap counterfeit terminology: rights, tolerance, inclusion, social justice etc. It all sounds all so reasonable and nice…

    My point is I think we have to come up with a strategy that takes back the muddled middle and not waste more time than necessary on the pseudo-intellectual activists.

    Certainly as Christians I think we need to respond with some activism of our own. Of course, we do need to understand how we got into this mess in the first place? Why is it that no one in the church saw this coming?

    How did moral relativists (members of the secular-progressive movement) end up being, or at least acting like, moral absolutists? After all, the sex revolution of the 1960’s grew out of moral relativism. How did it become the so-called new normal? Why are they now the ones trying to legislate their morality?

    My theory is that after World War 2 the modern secular-progressive movement co-opted concepts from Freudian psychology and turned it into an ideology. The evidence? Terms like repression, guilt complex, projection (“you are projecting”) and “homophobia” which have become part of the left’s vocabulary. Of course the left uses these terms illegitimately in an ideological belligerent sense, where Freud intended that they be used in a therapeutic sense. Nevertheless, I think they have co-opted more than just terminology from Freud.

    A couple of key passages to understanding this ideological shift come out of Freud’s book, Civilization and Its Discontents.

    “Thus we know of two origins of the sense of guilt: one arising from fear of an authority, and the other, later on, arising from fear of the super-ego. The first insists upon a renunciation of instinctual satisfactions; the second, as well as doing this, presses for punishment, since the continuance of the forbidden wishes cannot be concealed from the super-ego.”

    Freud also says that a person’s sense of guilt grows out of not simply having “done the bad thing but has… recognised in himself an intention to do it…”

    A Christian-theist, on the other hand, would argue that our existential sense of guilt or moral conscience comes from God, therefore there is an objective moral standard that transcends time, society and culture. Of course, this standard can be distorted and perverted by culture and society, nevertheless, there is an unchangeable moral standard. Freud however was an atheist and rejected the idea of a transcendent moral standard. Our moral standards come from society and therefore are human inventions. And since our morals are human inventions they are subject to modification, change and improvement. Therefore, the traditional and archaic religious based moral standards, which they believe are the source of that guilt, must be suppressed and destroyed. Thus we have a secular-progressive group think which evolved out of the idea of autonomous individual freedom and moral relativism which has subsequently mutated into a new kind of authoritarianism.

    Unfortunately, Christians are guilty of abdicating their responsibility of preaching about sin and guilt. Yes, the gospel means good news but it is only good news for those recognise that they have a problem. Sometimes love means tough love confronting out fellow sinners with their sin and guilt.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, try Schaeffer’s analysis as modified. This may help. KF

  42. 42
    zeroseven says:

    Hi WJM, sorry I have just seen this post. Monday morning here, and I very rarely look at UD in the weekend.

    Just on the law quickly, I know for a fact that its not objective because I observe human beings make it (often badly).

    This is your question:

    What, zeroseven (and others like him), do you lose by believing a concept that you already must act and argue as if true – that morality is an objective commodity?

    I don’t lose anything. I just see no basis for accepting the proposition.

    To be honest, I act as though lots of things are objective. Anyone who doesn’t like Kings of Leon or Arcade Fire, are wrong. Its not a matter of taste. Likewise if you don’t like Pulp Fiction. That film is objectively good.

    Anyway, what difference does it make? Even if morals are objective we can never objectively know what they are. They’re not written or recorded anywhere. You say we sense them with our conscience much like we use our other senses. With all of our physical senses, we can objectively verify if what we are sensing is correct. That makes it a categorically different process.

    And the fact that we can’t find this objective moral code anywhere is pretty good evidence that it doesn’t exist. We eventually found the Higgs boson. But there isn’t even a theoretical possibility of finding the moral code.

  43. 43

    john_a_designer: “A Christian-theist, on the other hand, would argue that our existential sense of guilt or moral conscience comes from God, therefore there is an objective moral standard that transcends time, society and culture.”

    No it is obviously a subjective moral standard, as shown by the emphasis on faith, which is subjective.

    Subjectivity is perfectly valid in it’s own right. To have deep emotions in regards to justice, benevolence, equality, is having a moral character.

    Objectivists don’t have these emotions. Objectivists just glibly denote the facts of what is wrong and what is right, and slam people with those facts. Going out of their way to destroy the emotions of people with the facts of what’s right and wrong, which they derived from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

  44. 44

    JAD at 40:

    “Certainly as Christians I think we need to respond with some activism of our own. Of course, we do need to understand how we got into this mess in the first place? Why is it that no one in the church saw this coming?”

    Well certainly some saw it coming, but perhaps not soon enough. CS Lewis saw it coming, so did Francis Schaeffer.

    But the problem is so complex, that to tap into one aspect of the social rift, is to miss something else that might be important.

    I found Schaeffer’s assessment of the problem to be spot on, but I found his solutions wanting. I don’t think he was a great apologist for Christianity, but he was certainly a good prognosticator of what contemporary trends would lead to in a secularized fallen world.

    Lewis was far ahead of his time in a little book called The “Abolition of Man.” He perceived that education would be a major front for secular humanism to gain footing.

    Lewis called those who don’t believe in objective values – those who reject the “traditional moralities:” men without chests.

    Lewis referred to the Tau as the traditional morality that is common to every culture. He surmised that the non-Tausist use the traditional morality to debunk morality; even the Tau itself.

    From Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Abolition_of_Man

    [ Without the Tao, no value judgments can be made at all, and modern attempts to do away with some parts of traditional morality for some “rational” reason always proceed by arbitrarily selecting one part of the Tao and using it as grounds to debunk the others. ]

    Does that sound familiar? And that comes from the year 1943.

    Wiki continues (a fairly accurate assessment of the book):

    [ The final chapter describes the ultimate consequences of this debunking: a distant future in which the values and morals of the majority are controlled by a small group who rule by a “perfect” understanding of psychology, and who in turn, being able to “see through” any system of morality that might induce them to act in a certain way, are ruled only by their own unreflected whims. In surrendering rational reflection on their own motivations, the controllers will no longer be recognizably human, the controlled will be robot-like, and the Abolition of Man will have been completed. ]

    As I said; a man far ahead of his time.

  45. 45

    JAD

    [ My theory is that after World War 2 the modern secular-progressive movement co-opted concepts from Freudian psychology and turned it into an ideology. The evidence? Terms like repression, guilt complex, projection (“you are projecting”) and “homophobia” which have become part of the left’s vocabulary. Of course the left uses these terms illegitimately in an ideological belligerent sense, where Freud intended that they be used in a therapeutic sense. Nevertheless, I think they have co-opted more than just terminology from Freud. ]

    Excellent theory. Compare that to the summation of Lewis’ book at 44 above.

    [ a distant future in which the values and morals of the majority are controlled by a small group who rule by a “perfect” understanding of psychology, and who in turn, being able to “see through” any system of morality that might induce them to act in a certain way, are ruled only by their own unreflected whims. ]

    Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of this great book; otherwise I would quote it directly. Wiki shall have to suffice.

    I like this quote:

    [ The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find that they had destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in. ]

    So you notice that the new vocabulary that the left is trying to push on us, is all value-driven?

    microaggression
    safe space
    trigger warning

    This is an attempt to invent new values; just as Lewis pointed out.

    And then there’s the foolish gender pronouns and language that Mayor DeBlazio is trying to enforce on businesses in New York:

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/c.....s-n2169870

    [ gender gifted
    femme queen
    pangender
    androgyne…….]

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/d.....rd2015.pdf

    This NYT article talks about the Times and the Post adopting GNL, but they aren’t going to be engaged in inventing the language, because as they say:

    http://www.refinery29.com/2015.....e-pronouns

    [ “Our approach on style decisions is generally to follow accepted, settled usage, not to make the rules,” ]

    Uhuh. Sure.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    CY,

    Schaeffer actually had considerable direct and indirect impact in the era of existentialism — that’s why newsmags acknowledged his passing in 1984 with a modicum of respect.

    Notice CT’s evaluation c 1997:

    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....t322a.html

    Perhaps no intellectual save C. S. Lewis affected the thinking of evangelicals more profoundly; perhaps no leader of the period save Billy Graham left a deeper stamp on the movement as a whole. Together the Schaeffers gave currency to the idea of intentional Christian community, prodded evangelicals out of their cultural ghetto, inspired an army of evangelicals to become serious scholars, encouraged women who chose roles as mothers and homemakers, mentored the leaders of the New Christian Right, and solidified popular evangelical opposition to abortion.

    Many now at work trace their intellectual heritage to him, whether they see themselves as building on or moving beyond his work. Of course, many also scant Lewis. Pearcey and Whitehead are in a direct line from Schaeffer.

    His direct work continues on a global basis: http://www.labri.org/

    KF

  47. 47
    john_a_designer says:

    CY,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Though, it was a long time ago, I think was a committed Schaefferite even be before I read anything of Lewis. However, let’s be honest both Lewis and Schaeffer were voices crying in the wilderness. While they did grab some attention on the part of some people, any ripple effect on the culture since then has been next to nil. For example, Schaeffer warned us about Christianity’s waning influence on the culture. Have things got better or worse since he has passed from the scene?

    What Christian leader today has stepped forward to fill either man’s shoes? Maybe you can think of someone. I can’t.

    One of the things I truly admired about Schaeffer was that he was more than just an ivory tower thinker. He was a committed activist—a true missionary– who was willing to open his life and home to outsiders. He was inclusive in the true Christian sense—inclusive without being accommodating or compromising. While some Christians emphasize love over truth, and others truth over love, Schaeffer argued that the true gospel balances truth with love. Sadly, the left has effectively co-opted the idea of inclusiveness and have begun peddling a cheap counterfeit version like it was something they invented. It we Christians were truly practicing our faith this would not be happening.

    I agree that Schaeffer wasn’t necessarily the best apologist. But I will take his brand of informed activism over any kind of slick pre-packaged apologetics any day.

  48. 48

    KF, JAD

    Schaeffer on the standard for morality:

    [ With the Christian answer it is now possible to understand that there are true moral absolutes. There is no law behind God, because the furthest thing back is God. The moral absolutes rest upon God’s character. The creation as He originally made it conformed to His character. The moral commands He has given to man are an expression of His character. Men, as created in His image are to live by choice on the basis of what God is. The standards of morality are determined by what conforms to His character, while those things that do not conform are immoral. ]
    The God Who is There

    In one of the appendices of this book Schaeffer assessed that the problem was that Christianity “at the end of the 20th Century” appealed largely to the middle class, and missed the intellectuals and the working class.

    [ The problem of being largely middle class in our churches becomes really pressing both because of this, and also when we realize that we are losing children of Christian parents because they no longer accept their middle-class background in either home or local church. ]

    If you appeal to one group and neglect another, you end up losing even the group you appeal to eventually. It think this is a keen insight.

    Schaeffer believed that rather than attempting to appeal to a group, one should aim to be leaders of a much larger foundational group; society as a whole. Christianity shouldn’t be influenced by society, and have to react when society goes in a decidedly un-Christian direction; rather, Christianity should influence society and give it direction. Christians should be leaders in all the aspects of modern life that Schaffer covers: philosophy, art, education, science, politics, etc.

    What we see is that the church has largely followed, rather than led in these realms; particularly in science; where Christians are being appealed to; to accept the Darwinian paradigm “with a Christian twist.”

    Of course, the church has put up a strong fight against these trends; but I think Schaeffer’s point is that rather than being in a position to have to fight back; we should be in position of leading the culture, rather than reacting to it. I think, looking back, that this is precisely right.

    I think the church has engaged in an anti-intellectualism; which has led to much of this pushback.

    Let’s take for example, Schaffer’s thoughts on morality above. I mentioned this before, but I think it bears mentioning again.

    The materialist acts according to conscience and absolute morality; but rejects that there are moral absolutes. We as non-materialists/theists recognize this as absurd. It’s like what CS Lewis said; “a rebellion of the branches against the tree.”

    Furthermore, the materialist seems to think that moral values exist in a vacuum that depend on circumstance. You can pull them out of thin air when given a particular circumstance. And if you can’t find them, you invent them. The materialist supposes that moral values are in fact invented; yet they don’t act as though they are.

    Schaffer says that moral values rest upon God’s character, and that they are absolute.

    I argued that this is so because God is “a being than which none greater can be imagined.”

    When Richard Dawkins judges the God of the Old testament, he is judging Him against what he (Richard Dawkins) imagines as a more perfect God.

    The OP asks the question “why deny objective morality?” The answer in my estimation is that objective morality assumes that the greatest good exists in reality, and for whatever reason, the materialist wants more flexibility than that.

    Therefore we arrive at the obvious; rejection of objective morality is rejection of the existence of God. There can be only one “why” to that, and it has nothing to do with reason. The cognitive dissonance alone tells us that there is no rational rejection of the existence of God. It is an emotional rejection. It’s in the heart. The scripture is correct; the fool rejects God because of his rejection of sound moral foundations. He erroneously perceives them as rigid, but rightly perceives them as counter to his own agenda and absolute autonomy.

    I have no idea how we take this insight and apply it to the culture except to say that rather than appealing to a particular group, the church should drive home the fact that the greatest good exists in the character of God; and Christians should exemplify that character, which is essentially what Schaeffer is saying.

  49. 49
    john_a_designer says:

    CY,

    Earlier I wrote, “that Schaeffer wasn’t necessarily the best apologist. But I will take his brand of informed activism over any kind of slick pre-packaged apologetics any day.”

    Ironically when I watched the following video for the first time today I was surprised that Schaeffer not only appeared to agree substantially with my assessment but used some of the same terms that I used. He thought of himself as an evangelist first and an apologist second. His critique of apologetics was spot-on in my opinion. Like him I have always thought of apologetics as a tool for evangelism not something that can stand on its own. For the church to reach our culture we need to revive and reinvigorate the ministry of evangelism on the local church level, then adapt our apologetic to the individuals or groups we are trying to reach. I other words, are we answering the questions that the average seeker is asking? Not everyone is an atheist who needs to be convinced that God exists. As I said earlier (@ #11) there is a big muddled middle that we need to be targeting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1FfYz3TZQk

    Good comments. I’ll have more to say about them tomorrow.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    CY and JAD,

    One of the things that is being done to build on Schaeffer’s legacy (pretty directly, he worked with Bill Bright and others to develop the idea) is the seven mountains model of the commanding heights of community.

    Lance Wallnau and others are associated with the model today, which I have generalised somewhat for use in current discussions.

    Note this, here. Also this.

    There is a whole theology of the fulness of Christ and of how this speaks into the reformation of culture and of nations. If you wish to go down that line, this is an issues blog, not a theology forum.

    My thought here is that there is strong evidence that we are under moral governance, that morality is objective and this calls for a world-understanding that recognises that at root, there must be an IS capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT.

    It is in this context that I have been recently arguing about twelve self evident moral truths that cumulatively set a framework for sound community governance. But such is deeply resented, not least because of the foundational issues it points to.

    We must nor underestimate the impact of a long term agenda of radical secularism, given a huge boost through the rise of lab coat clad evolutionary materialism, which is inherently amoral. Closely tied, we have been robbed of a sound understanding of the roots of modern liberty and democracy, which is leading our whole civilisation to knock out the moral-cultural stabilising supports that have restrained the inherent instabilities of democracy.

    Those supports are deeply rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which is increasingly despised and seen in the same light as people see Al Qaeda and ISIS. That is no accident, there has been a sustained campaign of cultural marxist agit prop which has subverted key institutions such as major media houses and the academy, setting up a basis for the sort of lawfare that is now in progress.

    These will not end well — as Ac 27 warned against long ago, but ever so many are hell bent on a march of folly and imagine that here is a favourable south wind that will carry them to the hoped for radically secularist utopian paradise safe harbour.

    The paradise is a myth, and the south wind is a precursor to a devastating civilisational nor’easter.

    But why bother pay attention to that Cassandra over there in the corner saying such nonsense.

    KF

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The twelve MSETs:

    >> 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 moral truths. For instance:

    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. 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.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. 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.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: I decided to augment by way of additional detail, pivoting on the issue of nihilistic will to power and government:

    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 [–> I have in mind the span of history and circumstances, I am by no means of the view that our style of democracy is always feasible or sustainable]. 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. [–> I am elaborating on the issue of abusive, incorrigible government] 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 insitutionalised 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.

  53. 53
    john_a_designer says:

    I don’t want to digress too much into a tangential discussion about Schaeffer’s approach to apologetics. However, I do think where he begins is relevant to subject of the OP. So where does Schaeffer begin? He begins with truth or what he calls ”true truth”. He puts it this way, in his writings and lectures, to make a distinction between so-called subjective truth (“truth that is true for me”) and universal objective truth—truth that is true for everyone. By true truth, of course, he means the latter.

    How would Schaeffer have engaged some of the interlocutors that show up here? I think he would have stopped and stayed on the subject of truth. How can a discussion proceed or in any sense continue unless we first come to some kind of agreement about truth?

    Christian-theism is not simply a religion, it’s a world view which makes metaphysical, epistemological and moral truth claims—truth which finds no kind of similar support from a naturalistic/ materialistic perspective. Indeed if one accepts the existence objective moral truth one can argue that either God must exit, or that God is the best explanation why morals do exist.

    WJM makes an excellent point @ #3:

    However…one doesn’t have to agree to what that premise leads to; one can simply agree that morality is objective in nature and that conscience is best described as some kind of sensory capacity, and leave it at that. If challenged on how morality could be an objective commodity, one can simply reply with a healthy “I don’t know.”

    When Newton formulated his theory of gravity, he left it open (at least formally) as to what the cause was of such mathematical behaviors (even though he, of course, believed it to be god). One need not have an answer as to how it is that matter and energy behave in such lawful, predictable patterns; one can only point at what has been shown & made clear and agree that they do behave that way, that such “laws” are apparently objective in nature and universally binding.

    Do they need to refer to a god to explain the existence of such “laws”? No. They can simply say “I don’t know how or why such lawful behaviors came to be.” Denying the objective nature of morality and conscience is like denying the objective nature of physical “laws”; it’s an absurdity to insist such things. You cannot act in defiance of physical law; you cannot act as if morality is subjective. You cannot argue as if logic is not a binding arbiter of true statements. As I have said before:

    If you do not assume the law of non-contradiction, you have nothing to argue about. If you do not assume the principles of sound reason, you have nothing to argue with. If logic is not assumed to be a causally independent, authoritative arbiter of true statements, there’s no reason to apply it. If you do not assume libertarian free will, you have no one to argue against. If you do not assume morality to be an objective commodity, you have no reason to argue in the first place. If you do not assume mind is primary, there is no “you” to make any argument at all.

    Look at the absurd corner into which the metaphysical naturalist paints himself (or herself.) To argue that there is no such thing as objective moral truth he must make a universal truth claim about truth. But at the very least that’s self-refuting. If there is no such thing as universal truth then how can one coherently claim that it does not exist– because that is presuming to know the truth about truth, is it not? Isn’t such a truth claim (universal truth claim about universal truth) exactly what you are trying to deny?

    Furthermore, most committed naturalists have a very high view of the reliability of empirical science to uncover truth about the natural world. Yet to hold such a position you must hold to some unproven, if not unprovable, assumptions about natural law and the natural world. But what makes moral truth any different?

  54. 54
    vividbleau says:

    John A

    “How can a discussion proceed or in any sense continue unless we first come to some kind of agreement about truth?”

    Correct, see my dialogue starting at 382, 385,389,394,398,on “Subjectivists Need to Check Their Moral Privilege”

    Vivid

  55. 55
    Phinehas says:

    07:

    To be honest, I act as though lots of things are objective. Anyone who doesn’t like Kings of Leon or Arcade Fire, are wrong. Its not a matter of taste. Likewise if you don’t like Pulp Fiction. That film is objectively good.

    And, of course, you’d be just fine with sanctioning people as a result, right? You know, sending them to jail. Intervening with force, if necessary.

    Yeah, I’m sure you feel exactly the same about Kings of Leon and transgender bathrooms.

    The thing is, what if someone actually starts to believe you? What if they start to believe that their reaction to your view on transgender bathrooms ought not be dissimilar to their reaction to your “objective” view on Pulp Fiction? When morals are no different than opinions, will you be surprised if they are then treated the same?

  56. 56
    zeroseven says:

    Yep, to quote Pulp Fiction. No trial, no jury, straight to execution.

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