Saturday, July 09, 2005

Noetic Muse observes "Creeping Totalitarianism"

From a St. Blog's parishioner comes this reflection on Totalitarianism. It's an older post, but the issue unfortunately remains a relevent problem today. The "Creeping Totalitarianism" that Mr. Killian notes has a name: Relativism. He reflects on the crisis behind it. Observe:
Relativism is a symptom of a crisis of reason, where confidence in the ability of human intelligence to be anchored to something beyond oneself that is applicable and binding to all, is shattered. This crisis of reason creates a void; and since the mind, like nature, abhors a vacuum, something must come rushing in to fill the emptiness. What comes in is far more dogmatic than any religion has ever been. At least religion upholds reason; one of the ironies of our times is that the Catholic Church defends the objectivity of reason in a culture that has retreated into subjectivism. The possibility of what Pope Benedict calls the “dictatorship of relativism” comes precisely from this retreat from the idea of truth as something that originates outside us. A state of mental lawlessness comes about because without reason there can be no appeal to boundaries, limits, or standards through which to judge that the ideology of the moment is right or wrong, excessive or unjust. What G. K. Chesterton said about the man that does not believe in God, applies just as well to the man that does not believe in truth, which is that he doesn’t believe in nothing, but he believes in everything.
When philosophers of the Enlightenment separated mind from matter, they opened a serious metaphysical can of worms. If people can no longer trust their senses or their minds to truly tell them that reality is real, there's no place left to go but solipsism. This eating-the-tale results in the mindless dogmatism that defines today's Relativism. This philosophical contradicts itself in fundamental ways. If nothing can be decisively known, then everything is up for grabs. There is no serious basis for respecting anyone's rights, let alone those victim classes elevated by political correctness. However, this contradiction stops no Reasonable person from foaming at the mouth in favor of their PC agenda.

Relativism causes ideology to trump reality, as Mr, Killian points out:
With the checks and balances of objective reason undermined, the reigning ideology’s demand for homage goes to absurd lengths. For example, the obsession to harvest and experiment on embryonic stem cells isn’t deterred in the least by the pesky little fact that they don’t cure anything. The use of adult stem cells, on the other hand, has had a continuous string of near-miraculous successes in treating all sorts of things, from spinal cord injuries to blindness. And yet public funding sources continue to favor the method that doesn’t work. The same happens with condoms. It doesn’t matter that Uganda’s success in fighting AIDS has been its emphasis on abstinence and fidelity rather than condoms. After years of inundating the planet with latex amid still growing problems of disease and abortion, we are told that the solution is — more condoms.

This shows that the ideology is more important than the facts, it is more important than people’s health, and even their lives.
The solution is clear: more Foolishness. Truth can be known through reason. There is a difference between substance and appearance ( or accident). There is a difference between being and becoming. A person encounters a reality outside of himself. There are natural and moral principles implicit in this reality that humanity discovers. The rule of contradiction applies. Insist on such Foolishness, and Relativism dies. The Reasonable may howl and scream. What music to Fools' ears!

The Catholic Church has long proclaimed and defended such Foolishness. She is, after all, the Ship of Fools. Thank God. Any ark the Reasonable have constructed out of their peculiar Subjectivist fashions have shattered against the reef of Reality. This does not stop them, of course. In many ways, it only encourages them. Some find themselves raging against the one Ship that still floats. These foaming Reasonable fanatics know what a threat the Church is to their Great Agenda. That's why so many persecute her at every opportunity. It does not matter. The Wind blows where it will, and the Ship will smash through whatever holds her back. Including the Gates of Hell. Relativism already gasps for air. Soon it will pass under the waves of history for the last time. Hold Fast, Fools. Hold Fast!