In the Company of Fools

By this measure alone (the responses from obvious "conservatives," not the interview transcript), America as a political experiment is lost. Dead. It really started out going that way not too long after the ink had dried on the Declaration of Independence. We've come full circle. We're Europe, again, and there's essentially nothing much that differentiates us anymore.

The only thing left for unequivocally enlightened individualists to hang their hats on is the ideals of the Enlightenment. America was the political culmination of those ideals, now gone, leaving only the ideas to be preserved by the very best of humanity.

The ideas will never die. The Enlightenment shall live on--the ideas just as true and powerful as always. But far from the luxury of there being only the few who non-contradictorily understand and hold such ideas, there are fewer and fewer who are even made aware of them during their entire spans of life. And even those so informed reject them because they've been instructed from birth that they're no more important than any other ant on the hill or bee in the hive. They learn humility before "authority" above all--at the expense of their happiness; at the expense of their very lives.

It will require another Renaissance. Those alive today are as good as dead--rightly and justly so for their dereliction to reason, truth, justice--for their dereliction to the essential attributes of man qua man. It shall require starting over--with a re-birth of Reason--consigning current generations to the dung-heap of history where they rightly belong because they should have known better. They have no excuse and their rightful penalty for squandering such an opportunity is their eventual death. That most fantastically believe that death is not really the final end is added testament to the irrationality at the very root of humanity's enslavement to "unity" and "the common good."

I love and cherish the ideal of the independent, enlightened, rational, virtuous, self-interested, benevolent, ingenious and productive individual. ...Which is why I care very nearly nothing for very nearly everyone.

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Comments

  1. I've been down this path a time or two, also. It's very discouraging, isn't it.

    But after feeling glum for a while I start to take heart. It isn't too late to restore at least a significant portion of the greatness.

    You can see the sleeping people awakening to the reality that the traditional values upon which this nation was built are being stripped away. They are starting to assert themselves on illegal aliens, on gay marriage, on patriotic ideals, rising up against the war on religion.

    So, I think there's still a chance to save America.

    An excellent post.

  2. Let us start by purging the minds by which reason and intellectual thought was murdered; the army and minions of Da Vinci's Code. I'm glad you brought this up. Far from a philosopher or grand intellect, I attempted to convey the same point you alluded to. That not only is America a culmination of the philosophy laid down by the Enlightenment, it is the extention of the Renaissance. Historians peg the Renaissance lasted roughly 300 years. Yet, I would submit that the humanist outlook and ideas of rational thought (whether in art, economics, science or politics)espoused during the Renaissance has never died. Man became rational and secular – or at the very least became aware of their secularization during this period. America, a nation that seems to have repulsed rampant secularization, continues to uphold this heritage and tradition. Just look at NASA as a recent step that evolved from men like Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and of course Galileo and Newton. As you eloquently argued, a new Renaissance is in order.

  3. "They are starting to assert themselves on illegal aliens, on gay marriage, on patriotic ideals, rising up against the war on religion.

    "So, I think there's still a chance to save America.

    An excellent post."

    Are you sure you read the same thing I wrote?

  4. I can't get your statement "Those alive today are dead ducks–rightly and justly so for their dereliction to reason, truth, justice–for their dereliction to the essential attributes of man qua man."
    First there are different classes to man, so to assert dereliction to reason, truth and justice would be somewhat saying emotions and negligence rule. when we know that there's an epistemological disease to man's ways.
    Nice post!

  5. Well, JTK, I happen to agree with you. And, of course, a "national anthem" and "pledge of allegiace" are equally collectivist drivel. But it's non-essential to the point I was making.

  6. John T. Kennedy says:

    I saw that bit with Gillespie on O'Reilly and thought him a doofus for complaining about a nonbinding resolution and essentially telling Alexander he needed to get back to doing the people's work.

  7. Your post brings me mixed feelings.

    I acknowledge the accuracy of your assertions and lament that my fellow man is so morally abject that his default reaction is to defer to the collective. It saddens me that man has become the dog of society, cowering in the corner when scolded – eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to kowtow to his master: the government, the church, his fellow man, the collective good.

    These feelings of despair are mixed with hope: I see that there are some who would reject such debasement of man. You, and others I've found, remind me that there are some who would fight for the individual. It brings me hope that the ideas of the enlightenment just might persevere.

    I love and cherish the ideal of the independent, enlightened, rational, virtuous, self-interested, benevolent, ingenious and productive individual. … Which is why I care very nearly nothing for very nearly everyone.

    Amen.

  8. [Portions of this comment were edited to suit my liking. -RN]

    "Those alive today are as good as dead–rightly and justly so for their dereliction to reason, truth, justice–for their dereliction to the essential attributes of man qua man. It shall require starting over–with a re-birth of Reason–consigning current generations to the dung-heap of history where they rightly belong because they should have known better."

    Well, you know, when I read of millions of people being "consigned to dung heaps" – children too, I guess – I think that in such circumstances I'd prefer to be numbered among the dead myself. I mean, nothing personal, you know, but the view towards far distant glimmering light of Reason over endless wastelands of corpses isn't a particularily attractive prospect. Really, it's a trip I'd choose to skip.

    Of course, I'm not suggesting you want millions of people to die, or anything like that. I just wonder at the casual attitude people take when they write things like this, which should really freeze your blood with horror and grief. I mean, if I seriously believed what you just wrote, I'd put a bullet through my head here and now.

    But I don't. Or, rather, I sense a faint glimmering light that promises something else.

    "β€œIn the thirties the Bishop said that Russia would invade the eastern shores of Canada and the United States, and get as far as the Mississippi River, and that Priesthood powers from heaven would drive them out of the lands, and that Old Glory would always be safe. (See Doc. & Cov. Sec. 133:58.)”
    – RELIEF MINE II, Ogden Kraut

    This is pretty foolish stuff, isn't it, though? – all emotional and irrational. That love and hope might triumph – and in some particularily absurd way – over death and dung-heaps is just foolishness. Nothing has ever worked out that way. Reason tells us death always wins.

    All right, it's irrational, mystic, whatever. Fine. What is your alternative? All you can really say is: You will die enslaved and miserable. What other meaning am I supposed to take from it? There are no Galt's Gulches, and no floating Friedmanesque cities of refuge; the Four Horsemen will pursue even unto cyberspace and you might as well believe in "priesthood powers from Heaven" as place your hope in "space colonies".

    I don't have to literally believe in the prophecies of the good Bishop (a rather spotty record, there) to hope that the world might be something other than you think it is – not merely a miserable and hopeless journey to oblivionn – but a great and enigmatic story, told by an Author who breaks the rules when it suits Him and who is partial to the absurd and cliched happy ending. Why shouldn't I hope this? – all you promise is death and despair.

  9. [Portions of this comment were edited to suit my liking. -RN]

    Incidentally, did you know that Salt Lake City is laid out on a grid in relation to the Temple? A street address like "300 E and 1200 W", say, means 3 blocks east of the Temple and 12 blocks west. Even more (emphasis mine):

    All the streets of Salt Lake and even its region, are numbered by name from the southeast corner of Temple Square, making Main Street the clear axis mundi of the Mormon kingdom. Even the US government, when it finally surveyed the area of Salt Lake,
    acquiesced to this religious regulation by making the Main Street the prime meridian of the region and South Temple the base line. As Stephen Olson points out, this means that
    the entire intermountain west measures itself from Temple Square. (Olsen 2002, p.89-91)

    Ha, ha, ha, Mr. Gentile. (Just returned from lovely Deseret, where I also visited those monuments to unreason, the Cathedral of the Magdaline and the truly terrifying Masonic building.

  10. Are you sure you read the same thing I wrote?

    Yes. Sorry it went over your head.

  11. See response here.