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Friday, May 1. 2009
A quote from his piece:
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:44 | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)
Tracked: May 01, 18:10
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What an asshole. Policemen and laws don't create customs, traditions, and moral values in the first place. Society creates them and determines just how civilized 'civilized' is. The author says we've 'become' uncivilized because we depend on laws we created? Back in the good old days of 'gross discrimination' we were 'civilized'? Making an elderly black woman sit in the back of the bus is civilized? Separate drinking fountains for black people is civilized? Our increased reliance on laws and cops to regulate behavior is a measure of just how much aberrant behavior we now find acceptable in all races.
I read through your rants here and the only asshole seems to be you, Meta. You make wild assumptions about police, laws, religion, logic, God, founding fathers motives, etc and spout off with a unearned superiority about it all. You appear the fool you truly are.
And all you have to contribute is ad hominem attack. Your nic evidently reflects cranium size, or some other odd bit of anatomy.
Next time give me a challenge, Rattso. Talk back to me like a big boy.
I did, are you too stupid to notice?
You stated, "As the Founding Fathers were not particularly religious, their use of 'Creator' is metaphor. Provenance was the word they preferred." Were you there to take a poll? Where did you get this from? Smells to me.
If citizens can't regulate themselves individually the state will regulate them through the heavy hand of the police power. Self governing people can't function without religious based morality. As the intermediating and freely chosen 'little platoons' of family, neighborhood, church and schools are weakened or debased, the coercive power of the state moves in. Statists would prefer to have little to no compettion in it's continuous grab for power. Customs, traditions and morality are cultural characteristics of organic society developed over time with their origins forgotten. The Gramscians, like the Jacobins, say those customs and moral traditions are only aspects of oppressive class interests and must be dstroyed, slowly almost imperceptably over time through a 'slow march through the culture'. It's been happening now for about 50 years with it's mainly unwitting agents in the academy, the media and the courts. The racism of the past was slowly dissolving before the central governmnet moved in as an excuse to debase the power of the states and localities. The black family and culture were certainly stronger before the initiation of 'special interest liberalism' and it's social engineering and redistributionist policies.
"Self governing people can't function without religious based morality."
That's a hell of a statement. So evidently there was no morality in the world prior to religion? And which particular religion would that have been? Seems to me that there must have been some morality in the world for societies to function enough for religions to have even been allowed to exist.
The twists and turns of developing a cultural framework that allows the fullest extent of individual freedom is an ongoing and sometimes ugly process. The frustrating aspect of this ugliness is human nature itself. We are merely one of hundreds of societies that struggle to find the perfect laws and expectations for responsible behavior, and as we know there is no such thing as Utopia, the struggle will go on as long as progress goes on.. and on.
We can learn from the past, but to take the past as comparison instead of contrast is like walking up a one-way street, as is stating lack of religion is the cause of everything that goes wrong.
Talk to the American founders. Religious based morality, the Judeo-Christian kind, is only one of the 'little platoons' with which traditional culture freely associates. What other basis for morality would you suggest? Humanism, socialism,statism? They are religiopns as well but they contradict the basis for the assumption spelled out in the founding documents regaqrding the source of individual rights, i.e. the Creator.
Too much contradiction to address there, Tom. But how about just answering how societies functioned before religion became part of their traditions. And again, which religion?
Humanism, socialism, and statism are not religions. As the Founding Fathers were not particularly religious, their use of 'Creator' is metaphor. Provenance was the word they preferred.
I'm more-or-less with Tom C on this one.
Logic and reason don't produce values or systems or morality. Perhaps I'm just stretching the word religion, but from the stand point of hard, cold, logic any system of morality is indistinguishable. "Murder is bad." Now prove it using axiomatic logic; explicitly state your axioms. Where did those come from?
So, ""Self governing people can't function without religious based morality" seems pretty self evident to me. I would even go so far as to say that religion and morality are redundant in that context.
Now, on the other hand if by religion we mean specifically "Judeo-Christian" religions, that's a different story altogether.
Of course morality existed, and does currently exist, outside of J-C religions. Some of those moral systems, and the corollary societies, however, would not be happy places for many people.
"Murder is bad." Now prove it using axiomatic logic; explicitly state your axioms. Where did those come from?"
Much more challenging: Prove it using the word of God.
Providence. Metaphysically speaking, socialism, humanism, statism and collectivism are 'religions'. The object of veneration is material rather than spiritual. All successful societies were bound together by a metaphysical belief system of some kind, spiritual or otherwise. The 'Creator' mentioned was not a metaphor but God. A metaphor for what? The state? The collective? Washington's Farewell Address, the Northwest Ordinances and many other contemporaneous documents speak to the assumptions regarding religious based morality of that generation.
Yes, 'providence'. Thanks. Okay on the 'religions' a la veneration.
The creator was a metaphor for God. That does not mean the Founding Fathers were believers. Those they lead for the most part were believers, and it it doubtful they were so stupid as to deny that and expect to win approbation for their ideals for a free country. I don't know that we've had an American leader who disavowed Christianity or religious beliefs. That would not do in the political arena. Google Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and their religiosity.... there a many, many hits. I think you will find they were men of reason and logic.
I don't see a lot of disagreement here. I think the do-or-die belief that without religion mankind can never prosper is very bothersome to some. One's belief in God does not make him superior to anyone. Belief is not a magical fix. If it were, the 85% believers in our population would surely overwhelm those non-believers who, no doubt, mess everything up for everyone else and tilt Christianity's super morality on its ass. Right?
The only question is the source of inviolable rights and whether those rights pre-exist the creation of the state. It changes and limits the nature of the state only if God is recognized as real and the source of fredom. Without God only the concept of the general will or other abstractions are left to justify the state and the exercise of arbitrary power leading to totalitaanism becomes not only posible but likely. It's not a question of the superiority of faith over reason only that the belief in God is the ultimate limitation on both individual and state action or power. Faith and reason are not contradictory but complimentary. Faith based morality allows for mass self-regulation and less reliance on the states power of coercion. I'm as libertarian as the next guy but, practically speaking, some regulation is necessary and I'd rather see that regulation come from below rather than from the central authority and it's monstrous administrative state bureaucracy. The Northwst Ordinances are the best example of the intent and assumption that a self-regulating people need a foundation in traditional morality found in religious belief and practice as part of general education which was to be encouraged.
"The only question is the source of inviolable right and whether those rights pre-exist the creation of the state."
You certainly give an excellent answer, and I admire, envy, your knowledge of our history. I actually do not want to disagree with you, but I still go back to the source of morality during the time before religious belief became, as you say, "the ultimate limitation on both individual and state action or power."
I see it differently but not so that I decry your beliefs as wrong or invalid to mass self-regulation.
If there is a God, there is only one. That means only one religion is valid, its dogma the only one. So, which is it?
I believe we survived long before religion became a factor because man's survival depended on an innate ability to note that other people can suffer and flourish as each of us does. This empathy is the key and foundation of morality. - Which I think was the basis for this post. As you say, faith and reason are not contradictory: What a happier world we'd live in if all felt that way and the believers and non-believers walked the same walk.
Thank you for the thoughtful response.
Thank you. The source of our culture is the Judeo-Christian tradition. It's not about which religion is true only the fact that the tradition is the basis for our system of self-governmnet and should be acknowledged as such whether one is a believer or not. The tradition deserves respect for what it has produced.
What a perfect answer, Tom. You brought us all back home to what is important, and no non-believer can dispute you. I dare say the Greeks might feel a little left out and the Romans for the tactical gifts, but your last sentence says it all. Even the non-believer and those of other faiths have to respect such a tradition that allows for inclusion in our society.