Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forster and Gregg on Locke

I try to stay up on when Locke experts debate what he was really getting at. Here, at The Public Discourse, Samuel Gregg argues Locke breaks with the classical-Christian understanding of the natural law.

A taste:

Locke himself supported King James II’s overthrow in the 1688 Glorious Revolution and the subsequent passing of the Bill of Rights in 1689. There were many reasons for James II’s removal from the throne, but we should not pretend that his eviction was based on some type of contract violation. It proceeded from the refusal by significant segments of Britain’s political elites to accept his political authority any longer.

Which brings me to another point that I think demonstrates the problems of social contract theory: political authority in itself does not require a contract or some form of transmission process for its legitimacy.

Contra Locke, the rational foundation for civil government is not, in fact, consent. As Aquinas wrote, “it is natural for man, more than any other animal, to be a social and political animal, to live in a group” [emphasis added].

[...]

Another reason for the prevalence of social contract theories is that they often allow us to rationalize philosophically and legally the emergence of new sets of political arrangements. A number of authors, for example, have speculated that Locke’s social compact arguments, with their particular emphasis on consent, flow from his desire to legitimize the particular political order instituted in Britain by and after the Glorious Revolution.

One weakness of such interpretations is that Locke appears to have worked out the basic principles of his political theory some years before 1688. Hence Locke’s treatises deserve to be treated, as Copleston writes, as more than just another Whig pamphlet. Nevertheless, it’s not clear that Locke’s political theory—either before or after 1688—can be entirely separated from his opposition to the Stuart dynasty, his disputation of the divine right of kings (which obviously opposes any notion of consent from the governed), and his personal beliefs as a longtime Whig.

Of course, nobody can completely escape the influence of context when developing his or her ideas, but this does not mean Locke could not have formulated a more robust account of political order to explain why James II needed to be removed from power. Pre-existing classical natural law arguments about the legitimacy of removing rulers who become tyrants would have been perfectly adequate.

[...]

... In Locke’s view, we do not obey our rulers because a concern for human flourishing, justice, and the common good tells us that it is reasonable to do so. Instead, we obey because our rulers have a superior will. “Law’s formal definition,” Locke wrote, “is the declaration of a superior will.” How different this is from Aquinas’s understanding of law as “an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by him who has the care of the community.”

In the end, this difference may well reflect varying conceptions of God. The notion of divine wisdom (logos) is integral to the classical natural law understanding of why the commands of God create concrete responsibilities in conscience for human beings.

By contrast, Locke joins some of his contemporaries, such as Grotius and Pufendorf, in explaining this obligation in terms of a God who exercises raw, perhaps even willful, power. “For who will deny,” Locke writes, “that clay is subject to the potter’s will and that the pot can be destroyed by the same hand that shaped it.”

Here is Greg Forster's response defending Locke's authenticity in the classical-Christian tradition.

52 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It seems to me that there is an attempt to promote religious understanding so that winning a "war" will not be using war, as a means of establishing government. And it seems that one is promoting experiential means to promote (convert) those that have other understandings of government, than our secularized or nominalist position. And doesn't this apoliticize religious and metaphysical claims about the world, which is irrational? Since we are fighting religious ideology, are we to affirm religious or metaphysical means to win the war? So, "covenant" is "useful" for such purposes? But, isn't tacit consent a consent that practically dissolves consent altogether, because it undermines conscious consent of the individual? And when one undermines or uses such means of "tacit consent" isn't it really a means to maintain, and centralize power over an indivdual's free choice? Would it be government using the force of the law to gain power and maintain power? Would it come down to a choice between secular power or religous power, as they have combiined to support "the common good"? so, whichever way the individual chooses, he really has no real choice, as it has already been "pre-determined"?

Civil liberties must have power over such a government's claim IF there are civil liberties at all!

Tom Van Dyke said...

This post opens a lot of room for discussion.

Again, the question is the "real" Locke and does he matter?

Samuel Gregg notes the importance of Locke's Letter Concerning Tolerance, published well before the thicker and less easily penetrable Two Treatises.

I see a major problem for philosophy scholars: reading the Two Treatises as though that's how the Founders read them. But few Founders [James Otis being an exception] seem to have dug that deeply into the tall weeds of the Two Treatises, at least not at the level of modern scholars, who pore over every word and tab every cross-reference.

There is also the fact that many or most Founders got their Locke via Trenchard and Gordon's Cato's Letters, in excerpts.

It certainly appears Alexander Hamilton did. Modern scholars have been putting Locke in as an extension of Thomas Hobbes, but in The Farmer Refuted, Hamilton baldly yet blandly places Locke in the Christian natural law tradition and in contradistinction to Hobbes:

"Apply yourself, without delay, to the study of the law of nature. I would recommend to your perusal, Grotius, Puffendorf, Locke, Montesquieu, and Burlemaqui. I might mention other excellent writers on this subject; but if you attend, diligently, to these, you will not require any others.

There is so strong a similitude between your political principles and those maintained by Mr. Hobb[e]s, that, in judging from them, a person might very easily mistake you for a disciple of his."


So I'm not sure either Samuel Gregg or Greg Forster are getting at the heart of the matter.

Complicating the issue is that Greg Forster seems to want to enlist Locke into the culture wars, as an ally of Christian natural law tradition. I think the "real" Locke cannot be enlisted because those who put him with Hobbes have a strong point. The further question of enlisting Locke against Rousseau and John Rawls need not be addressed here, but the point follows: Better to argue the Founders took Locke's philosophical authority from
"Letter Concerning Toleration" and mutated him into a "natural lawyer" for their own purposes, because I think that's what happened.

Although I'm a "natural lawyer" meself, I think Greg Forster is playing with fire here: the "true" Locke---whom I argue is irrelevant---might really be more a Rawlsian than Forster would like, and could be turned against him.

Better to stick with the Founders themselves.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
You said, "Complicating the issue is that Greg Forster seems to want to enlist Locke into the culture wars, as an ally of Christian natural law tradition. I think the "real" Locke cannot be enlisted because those who put him with Hobbes have a strong point. The further question of enlisting Locke against Rousseau and John Rawls need not be addressed here.." Could you elaborate?

Jason Pappas said...

I find Foster’s Locke is far more recognizable than Gregg’s.

Locke presents social contract theory of government, not of rights. Rights are natural and unalienable. The purpose of government is to protect property. One consents to surrender the right of adjudication (self-defense) to better protect one’s right to property. (PS And, Tom, I believe the Declaration of Independence as well as State constitutions show the Founders show this understanding.) This is an extremely limited social contract that is eons away from the social contract notions of the social democrats and those of collective subjectivism.

Locke presents a theory of government, not a theory of society. Forster blurs the distinction. Of course, society is needed for man’s full flourishing (as Aristotle has it) but government has a much narrower purpose in the protection of property (which Locke defines as life, liberty, and estate). Tom Paine notes the sharp distinction between government and society.

As to the notion of consent vs. right to revolution, I believe they both miss the point. Locke acknowledges that previous thinkers accepted the right to revolution in the extreme case of tyranny. Locke’s “consent” requires no threshold test. The people always have a right to change their government. It isn’t just the ultimate “veto” power to deal with unbearable oppression. Locke addresses possible charges of anarchy by suggesting that it is a non-issue--people error in the direction of enduring too much oppression. Again, the founders echo this thought in the declaration when they talk about “light and transient causes.”

If Locke is no longer relevant than neither is the American Revolution.

Jonathan Rowe said...

"If Locke is no longer relevant than neither is the American Revolution."

This is interesting; there is a school of thought among originalists that argues yes, indeed, the AR IS not relevant because revolutions are violent, illegal acts.

After that kind of socio-political convulsion, you have to start from a new beginning. And that's the Constitution.

Not saying I agree with this, just that the "reductio" -- but that means we have to throw out the AR and we can't do that -- doesn't work on some notable conservatives.

Phil Johnson said...

.
Am I wrong in thinking that the word, right, was used during the Founding era to express the ideas we mean today when we use the word, power?
.

.

Jason Pappas said...

But, Jon, that’s only because consent is seen as inherent in constitutional representative government. The principle of consent and the purpose of consent (to secure these rights) are still relevant. The need for violence may not be.

Jason Pappas said...

Correction, Foster does draw the distinction between society (or community) and government. My apologies to Greg Foster.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jason and Jon,

Thanks. Government is needed to protect rights to life, liberty and property. That is granted, as it is limited. Doesn't that mean that government isn't to invade soceity and personal "space"?

The "Personal" is where one has the right to define such things as life, liberty and pursuit of property where-ever and with whom-ever one wants, within the bounds of lawfulness.

But, the tacit consent part, means that government does intrude, doesn't it? Or is this to be understood within State constitutions?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Rawls thought that if one was "behind the veil of ignorance" then one would universalize, or understand justice "in the right sense". Is this to promote tolerance toward positions or people we wouldn't otherwise tolerate? This is what "social justice" types define as "the right", while civil liberties defines things along the lines of indivduality. Yes, that is more modern, but, isn't this where (time frame) we live? Science doesn't defend superstitious claims about knowledge. Therefore, demons are not what make for mental illness, nor homosexuality.

Jason Pappas said...

I was just reading some of Greg Forster's "Starting with Locke" over at amazon. I sampled his section on political philosophy and was quite impressed. Phil, Angie, you might want to take a look at Chapter 5.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jason,
Thank you. I didn't know there was a seris of "Starting with". That looks interesting!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

"In Locke’s view, we do not obey our rulers because a concern for human flourishing, justice, and the common good tells us that it is reasonable to do so. Instead, we obey because our rulers have a superior will. “Law’s formal definition,” Locke wrote, “is the declaration of a superior will.” How different this is from Aquinas’s understanding of law as “an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by him who has the care of the community.”

I think that TOM is right when he suggests that Locke sounds like Leviathan, as to government! Hierarchal structuring and not personal structuring! that means obedience to Yaweh,Allah, etc., which means "Divine Command"! which leaves personal rationale "at the door" so that acts of "mercy and peace" can be illustrated in one's life? Virtue ethics it is, not value based, or any other. It is the Church's mission of conforming "subjects", which I "smell". I do not consent.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It is not just that the structuring, as to balance of power offends me, but the suggestion that there are absolute metaphysical "laws", that is abhorrent to me. Such thinking is absolutist, and it leaves no room for compromise, consent, or choice! That is inhumane, as far as I am concerned!

Tom Van Dyke said...

For the record, Angie, that Locke is a Hobbesian at heart is the view of many modern scholars. Not particularly my idea one way or the other, as my interest is more in how the Founders viewed him than in Locke himself.

Sort of like the Bible at the Founding. It's not important what it "really" says, only what they thought it said.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
Thanks "for the record" ;-)! You are talking mythologizing Locke, the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, just as religious folk understand the mythologizing of Jesus, as a "tool" to gain cooperation? Isn't this what David Barton does, mythologizing?

Modern scholarship is critical, whereas mythology has a political purpose. Am I "warm"?

You are talking "post-modernity", as creating narrative? That is American exceptionalism, isn't it?

Problem is; I do believe that the American experiment was exceptional, as to its view of "the law", and it creation of liberty as the foundation of the social environment.

I have real problems with "paternalism" or "care", as it speaks to me of "disrespect", "dishonor", and domination of another's life. The Founders didn't use a paternalistic model to frame our government. Citizens were to be self responsible/governing.

Phil Johnson said...

.
The more one observes these comments, the more one gets it that they are all matters of personal opinion as expressed by each participant.
.
But, it's great to read your different takes on these different views from the past.
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm not speaking of myth at all, not Locke, not the Founders.

Even if the Founding is a "social contract," that contract is based on the understanding of what the Founders thought liberty and rights mean.

And if the modern age wants to change those meanings, some of us have a right to squawk. So when you substitute the modern meaning---or your own meaning---for liberty and rights, it's like, hold on there, tiger.

"Liberty is not license" is something both Locke and the Founders agreed on.

Now some modern scholars argue that the "true" Locke is really sort of a hedonist. For the sake of argument, let's say they're correct---does that mean now we have to alter the Founders' view of liberty, that it is license afterall? That makes no sense, but it's exactly where some of these scholarly debates might lead.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
Okaaaaay, I guess.

I'm just not "into" being a "moral policeman". That isn't anything that interests me "one whit"! Let others be the "moral policemen", and I'll take note and stay away, cause I'm sure I won't measure up to their "standards".....and I'm not interested in raising the "orphran" or "providing for the widow". Others might have that "burden". Does that make me a hedonist, not especially. Because, it doesn't really reveal my priorities, as if it is anyone's business to conform those priorities.... Such moral positions just presupposes that those particular "issues" are of primary importance. But, does this mean they are imperative to be mine? No!

The "social contract" is open ended as to where, when and with whom, isn't it? Otherwise government would NOT be limited and we would not be free to choose our own interests, values and purposes!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Some quotes of Locke's;
Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power vested in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, when the rule prescribes not, and not to be subject to the inconstant, unknown, arbitrary will of another man."

Tom Van Dyke said...

The social contract is open-ended? Then it's not a contract atall if either party can change the terms at will.

As for hedonism and moral policing, it's not quite that. There's some of that, like you can't torture animals, but most of it is with the idea of preserving the stabilty of society.

This is why the thinkers of the Founding era spent so much time of "the state of nature," where man has certain pre-political rights that gov't may not abridge.

The next step is that man is a social animal, and forms societies before he forms governments. Societies have rights too, at least the right of self-preservation. So when government enforces a new definition of rights as [possibly hedonistic] full personal autonomy, that can threaten the stability of society.

So a new political definition of rights---and it could also be a "right" to welfare or health care or many new "positive" rights---can undermine the equation of the social contract between individuals, society, and government, in fact can destroy the concept of "society" completely.

All that's left is Leviathan, and you know how well he keeps his contracts.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
What I meant by "open-ended", is not that one can change it, but that it is not prescribed. As long as one is a law-abiding citizen, then one is protected, and is free to pursue their own life, and "happiness".

Societies are groups that form themselves around certain criteria. Those that are voluntarily associated with these or are working within certain business or industry are 'under contracts". Voluntary assoications might have "rules" that define their purposes, but one is free to leave, if one's interests or priorities, change.

A business contract is negotiated and is a formal agreement, with known responsibilities and known benefits. These contracts are personal commitments of value, but again, might change at the end of a contract "season", as priorities change.

As to the change in our culture regarding rights. Individual rights were insinuated regarding the issue of slavery. Slavery, yes, is a social or societal issue, but slavery was experienced by the individual slave. Such is the case today with the homosexual and the right to a civil union.

Those that oppose such rights understand "biblical christianity" as forbidding this type of relationship. The family is seen as threatened, by the 'creation order" and the mentoring of children. This is where the lines are drawn today as to change in society and the individual! That doesn't upset the "ship" (society), but only enlarges the conversation about the reason and purpose of marriage/relationships, Etc.!

Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm not getting into gay marriage on this blog. I have never seen a principled discussion on it, and I do not think the Founders' conception of natural rights under natural law demands we institute it.

To those that say there were never any men in the state of Nature, I will not oppose the authority of the judicious Hooker (Eccl. Pol. i. 10), where he says, "the laws which have been hitherto mentioned"- i.e., the laws of Nature- "do bind men absolutely, even as they are men, although they have never any settled fellowship, never any solemn agreement amongst themselves what to do or not to do; but for as much as we are not by ourselves sufficient to furnish ourselves with competent store of things needful for such a life as our Nature doth desire, a life fit for the dignity of man, therefore to supply those defects and imperfections which are in us, as living single and solely by ourselves, we are naturally induced to seek communion and fellowship with others; this was the cause of men uniting themselves as first in politic societies." But I, moreover, affirm that all men are naturally in that state, and remain so till, by their own consents, they make themselves members of some politic society, and I doubt not, in the sequel of this discourse, to make it very clear.
---Locke

Since marriage is a social institution, there can me no claim of rights in the state of nature [which are previous to society] regarding it.

This is all I'm talking about in understanding the philosophical vocabulary of rights and government, etc. That the Founders were against homosexuality has nothing to do with it, and is no argument against gay marriage. [We are not bound by their sensibilities and feelings about this or that.]

It's that they could tell the difference between natural rights and political rights and that "society" sits somewhere between them.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
"The State of Nature" is barbarian, unless it is "settled" by society and property is protected by government.

I have stated that we are born into a civilized society, as a child, and society conditions children within its culture. Government protects property.

When the child grows to be of age to choose associations, then the young adult should be free to choose his associatons. And such associations are choices about marital partners, business associates, voluntary organziatons, etc.

Therefore, I do not know what you are getting at, as society is where we live and move and have our being in assoication with each other. Such are not formal associations. These are environments where we work and play and do our business.

I don't see your point, I don't think. You mentioned social institutions. The family is not a chosen institution, but the Church definately is. Government is an institution that "the people" are to have a voice in, and many movements have transpired whenever there is a difference of opinion concerning public policy. This is what should happen in a free society, isn't it?

Tom Van Dyke said...

"The State of Nature" is barbarian, unless it is "settled" by society and property is protected by government.

Sounds like Hobbes---Life is nasty, brutish and short.

Government is an institution that "the people" are to have a voice in, and many movements have transpired whenever there is a difference of opinion concerning public policy. This is what should happen in a free society, isn't it?

This makes government and society synonymous. This is the modern way, but not the Founders'.

Phil Johnson said...

.
This makes government and society synonymous. This is the modern way, but not the Founders'.
.
There is a tendency to confuse the idea of government with the idea of the state. When the Founders wrote and signed, "of the People,by the People, and for the People", they made society and the government synonymous.
.

.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

GOOD POINT, Phil!!! Society and government SHOULD BE synonmous.

""The State of Nature" is barbarian, unless it is "settled" by society and property is protected by government."

Society is SETTLED, by those that inhabit it n their protections to uphold the "rule of law"! This means that property is protected by our neighbor. We can TRUST society to do what is right, and not what is expedient! This is a society of character that makes for less need for formal government, as "in the State"! When we turn to the State to do 'our business", then we have lost a true aspect of a free society, and that is social contract with one another! Trust HAS to be the foundation, but ONLY when those that are around us behave themselves "TRUSTWORTHILY"!! That means (I will re-terate) that "the rule of law" is upheld, where there is no good ole boy system, people are open to the "new guy on the block" and groups don't form tightly knit, secretive and protective barriers to the "outsider"! (Small towns aren't known for this type of environment, though. And even more so, since we've lost trust in society, at large!)

Phil Johnson said...

.
To think in terms that the "State of nature" is some sort of an example for human society is more than barbarian. It is the heighth of naivity. What a la-la life some people must live. I learned a long time ago that "trust" is a very tenuous thing. Learn to trust yourself and to place your hope in others.
.
I don't care what Hobbes, Locke, or any other philosopher thought he or she knew. What Newton knew compared to what we know in the twnety-first century is about three or four worlds apart. And the same is true of Locke and Hobbes.
.
Albeit, we must and do respect what they had learned from their life's experience and from others. And, we are humbled in their presence. And so, we learn from them. But, they are not our peers in the sense of being able to square their world view with that we find here in the year, 2011. We can only surmise what they might think if they were to have our advantage; but, we do not know what their understandings might be.
.
Some of the ideas being bantied about here are Libertarian. And, that is naivite squared.
.


.

Tom Van Dyke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Van Dyke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Van Dyke said...

When the Founders wrote and signed, "of the People,by the People, and for the People", they made society and the government synonymous.

Good point, EXCEPT:

The government was given only limited and enumerated powers. As the Tenth Amendment reads:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Government is explicitly not synonymous with "society" [the people]. The people and the states reserve all powers not explicitly enumerated as the federal government's.

Phil Johnson said...

.
I think it's a matter of opinion here. Mine is that government is different than state.
.
It is my opinion that government is the expression of society and vice versa. For example, the problems our government has at the moment is an expression of the nature of the troubles we have in our present day society. To me, the two are synomonous. And, it's o.k. with me for us to have differences. Even so, we must be about the business of getting it all fixed. The two are inextricably combined into one. That's a big part of what our society is all about.
.
Culture sees it all from a different view.
.

.

Phil Johnson said...

.
Give this statement some hard thought: Government is explicitly not synonymous with "society" [the people]. The people reserve all powers not explicitly enumerated as the government's.
.
See how it provcs that the two are inextricably one. That the people reswerve anything is an act of the governance by the people. It's all the people from start to finish.

.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

IF the government is not the people, but deserves the right to it ennumerated powers, that is, commerce and national defense, then who is to work within such States that are contracted to these national defenses/protections?

Many that retire from the military work for defense contractors in the government. Such work pays very well and has many perks. And such work might require going to another State of country. These jobs pay very well and have many perks. If States get people living within their locale to work in these "adventures", it promotes revenue and benefits the State.

In the above scenario, don't you think that the State or government is synonomous with the people who live within that State? And isn't it a matter of personal choice if any given person within that State applies for such a job?

Tom Van Dyke said...

In the above scenario, don't you think that the State or government is synonomous with the people who live within that State?

Were the Russian people synonymous with the Soviet state? Once the government subsumes society, it subsumes the individual as well, no? [Or destroys the concept of "society" completely, another alternative.]

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom said,
"Were the Russian people synonymous with the Soviet state? Once the government subsumes society, it subsumes the individual as well, no? [Or destroys the concept of "society" completely, another alternative.]"
AGREED!!!! Consent is of primary importance to protect society from government's intrusiveness.

Maybe I SHOULD have stated the above, like this;
IF the government IS the people, AND deserves the right to its ennumerated powers, that is, commerce and national defense, then who is to work within such States that are contracted to these national defenses/protections? Those that live within that State!

Consent, in this regard, is NOT just tacit, as just because one lives within a certain domain, THEN....Otherwise, anyone could be required to work on any project that the State was interested in, without any accountable means to limit government's demands/requirements upon those that live within it domain. Such a view is Society if a MEANS to Government's "ends"!!! Govenment should ONLY be a means to "the humans" within society's ends. And that means protecting liberty by limiting government's demands! (BTW, I don't have any particular qualms about government service, but it must be a personal commitment of value).

Tom Van Dyke said...

Consent is of primary importance to protect society from government's intrusiveness.

Ah, then they're not synonymous. Good. Good.

For as we recall, France cut Louis XVI's head off, then Robespierre's, then exiled Emperor Napoleon, brought him back, then exiled him again.

Governments may come and they may go, but all the while, the French remained French.

Phil Johnson said...

.
Ah, then they're not synonymous. Good. Good.
.
Not that it's such a big deal; but, American society is made up of the public. The rules of American English have it that to put the prefix, re, on any verb is to do whatever is involved again. So, to present something is to do it. And, to represent it, is to do it again.
.
Our government is a re-presentation of the public which is our society.
.
The word inextricable means that it is impossible to separate the two. American society and our government are inextricably connected. That may not be true of the people and government of other societies.
.

.
.

Joe Winpisinger said...

Tom stated:

"The next step is that man is a social animal, and forms societies before he forms governments. Societies have rights too, at least the right of self-preservation. So when government enforces a new definition of rights as [possibly hedonistic] full personal autonomy, that can threaten the stability of society."


This is the intriguing part about the modern Tea Party. You conservatives and libertarians trying to make it work together. It has a chance because the broken economy and debt are the main issues right now. But in the end a hedonist libertarian and religious conservative are not good bed fellows.

Liberty vs. License was and is the question. Difference between the American and French Revolutions. Stability of society seems to have been very much on the minds of the founders and should be on ours today as interposition, nullification, and states rights become more mainstream topics of discussions.

We at AC were way ahead of the curve on this one and should be leading the discussion into the next election as a reference point to what it means to actually get back to the founding principles.

Phil Johnson said...

.
This is the intriguing part about the modern Tea Party.
.
Something about being so close to the trees we cannot see the forest.
.
We are at the cusp of a major nchange is the way we do business in the world today. The "Tea Party" is a representation of the thing that is floating in the wind.
.
But, there is a clearing up ahead.
.
???
.
Maybe.
.
I'll say this much, the more some thought is shut out because it doesn't measure up to the standards of some thinking, the more that thinker shows him or herself to be disconnected from reality.
.
I hear that's a problem for some academics. No problem for any here, though is it.
.
HAH!
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

We at AC were way ahead of the curve on this one and should be leading the discussion into the next election as a reference point to what it means to actually get back to the founding principles.

Joe, the irony is that liberals and conservatives are each communitarian in their way, both libertarian in their way. To me the question---and major difference---is what functions belong to government and which to society. [The major problem to me is that the modern left doesn't really recognize 'society" as an entity, only the individual and the gov't, with nothing in between.]

Phil Johnson said...

.
Stability of society seems to have been very much on the minds of the founders and should be on ours today as interposition, nullification, and states rights become more mainstream topics of discussions.
.
Not to detract from the quality of the input; but, the way the subject is being approached seems to always bring us to JW's point.
.
Who knows for sure what the deeper thinking of one Founder or another was in truth? But, what we do know for sure, is that there were major changes in thinking emerging on the scene of Western Civilization. A humungous shift of major historical significance all about reality was taking place in Western Civilization. To me, that appears as the important issue at stake in the American Founding.
.
Joe W. is correct. The problem is not yet resolved. What can be done about it if men and women will not reflect on it honestly? Should not intellectuals be able to address the situation without getting hung up on their own ideologies?
.

.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, Phil. The academy appears to be 90% left-secular. It's very difficult to keep them on the straight and narrow. But I do my bit.

If they hadn't bleached religion out of the Founding, there would be no David Barton in the first place. I saw John Fea on C-SPAN on a panel with a quarrelsome lefty ideologue. It was embarrassing how John kept filling in what the lefty left out. But that's what we're facing.

Phil Johnson said...

.
The academy appears to be 90% left-secular.
.
And, the more prestigious the school the more tendency toward being left secular. I wonder why that is, Tom. Would you explain it to us, pleae?
.
One would think the higher up the rungs one climbs the educational laddewr the more intelligent their political choices would be. What infects their brains? I have even heard there is a tendency toward Marxist thinking among the highly educated.
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Marxism killed over 100 million people. Back to you, Phil.

Phil Johnson said...

.
And, the more prestigious the school the more tendency toward being left secular. I wonder why that is, Tom. Would you explain it to us, please?
.
One would think the higher up the rungs one climbs the educational ladder the more intelligent their political choices would be. What infects their brains? I have even heard there is a tendency toward Marxist thinking among the highly educated.
.
Those were my questions, Tom.
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Heidegger, perhaps the most brilliant philosopher of his century, was a Nazi.

I mean not figuratively. He was an actual fucking Nazi. Back to you, Phil.

Phil Johnson said...

.
For the third time:
.
And, the more prestigious the school the more tendency toward being left secular. I wonder why that is, Tom. Would you explain it to us, please?
.
One would think the higher up the rungs one climbs the educational ladder the more intelligent their political choices would be. What infects their brains? I have even heard there is a tendency toward Marxist thinking among the highly educated.
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Hume thought that the intellect was a slave to the passions, less useful for rationality than for rationalization.

And no, Phil, after the crap I've been taking from you, you're going to have to start thinking for yourself. Which is all I've ever asked in the first place. If I were a speechifier, I'd take the mainpage far more often.

Yes, I have my ideas on the subject, but they're less important than you figgering this out for yrself.

Phil Johnson said...

.
http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/294027_285448294804715_247545411928337_1302307_1045442929_n.jpg

Check it out.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, I know, Phil. What a scandal, the jejune shit they print in the papers!

And that ignorant waste of space cartoonist got paid for it, while we here at American Creation discuss Aquinas, Locke, Hume, The Founders, even Marx and Heidegger. All for free. It just doesn't seem fair, does it?

But I'm OK with it, aren't you? The problem with the cartoonists and the lefty academy types is they all have to fit into the political correctness like sheep or lemmings or else they lose their jobs. And let's add David Barton in here, because he makes his living telling people what they want to hear, too.

Gotta color inside the lines or lose your livelihood. So much for "professionals."

Here at American Creation, we can just concern ourselves with getting at the truth. Now pls kindly get off my back, because I don't get paid to take shit from anybody or have them waste my time, so I don't.

Marx and Heidegger helped kill more people than any other two people in human history. Chew on that one, me brother. Chew on it real good and stuff your cartoon up your

;-}

Phil Johnson said...

.
Heh heh.
.