Saturday, February 20, 2010

If God Does Not Exist, We Would Need to Invent Him

This morning I had a good conversation with a friend who reads my blog.  He helped me come to this conclusion:

If all reason is a tool for power, and therefore we should be skeptical of all reasoning because its origin can be corrupt and self-serving, then no human philosophy can produce objective truth.  However, if a mind, unaffected by the evolutionary process (or any other process leading to status seeking), produced objective truth claims, those claims could be believed.

Who fits this definition?  Only a supernatural being.

Could this supernatural being, be one of many gods?  Well, if it was, then we might be suspect of its motivations.  Greek mythology tells us of the constant warring in the heavens.  However, if there is one all-powerful, all-knowing God, status could never come into play because there can be no competition.  This God is the only one that can produce objective truth that can be believed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Towards Liberty

Over the last year I’ve become more and more persuaded by the likes of Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Post-Modernists that there is no ultimate truth. All presuppositions are fallible and subject to doubt. This affected my zeal for politics, and left me without a strong anchor for my political inclinations. My time adrift, though, is over.

No free society can be achieved because those who desire power will slowly undermine the logical presuppositions that liberty rests upon. Of course, tyranny too must rest on logical presuppositions. It is a battle of ideas and presuppositions between those who want power and those who want liberty. It is a battle that will never end, and I suspect will always ebb and flow.

In this battle, both sides are using the flawed techniques of social science and utilitarianism. Both suffer inescapably from the impossibility of calculation, and the perversion of status seeking agendas. Without spending countless hours of study and analysis, how can we resist the “science” of tyranny and thwart it with the “science” of liberty?

We don’t have to.

Then how can we help our fellow man avoid propaganda and the manipulation of self-serving reason? Without looking at the reasoning, we can merely look at the conclusions. Do the conclusions of their arguments gather more power into the hands of a small set of individuals? If so, then their argument is likely false and motivated by the “will to power”.

Recall, though, how I explained how an academic can be corrupted by secondhand status. That is, those with power reward the academic because his arguments give them power. The academic can maintain the pretense of disinterested research because he appears not to directly benefit from his conclusions. His mind has been bent to reinforce the status he has achieved. He will doggedly defend his “science”.

Am I immune to the desire for status? Not at all. I am, however, humble enough to realize that I will not be one of the select few who get to rule. My best alternative is to undermine the power lust of others. To avoid tyranny, I must pursue liberty, and not just for myself, but for everyone. The accumulation of power anywhere is a threat to me.

We must be skeptics. Our liberty depends on it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pragmatism is the Vessel of Propaganda, Thankfully Obama is an Idealogue

Jonah Goldberg writes a nice column mocking Obama's pragmatic above-the-fray arrogance.  He also elucidates the virtues of ideology.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in 1909 that if everyone becomes a pragmatist, then "ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth." Russell's point was that there's nothing within pragmatism to delineate the proper and just limits of pragmatism. We must look outside pragmatism for that.

Our values, customs, traditions and principles provide the insulation against the corrosive acid of undiluted pragmatism. When you bundle these things together, it's often called an ideology, and there's no reason to apologize for having one.

Also recall from an old post of mine on propaganda:

...the educated, and especially the intellectual, are most susceptible to propaganda. Once you realize that people with little education tend to just follow what their parents and community tell them, you realize that only the educated are truly open to new ideas, many of which are poorly supported.

A President must be a jack-of-all-trades.  His biases will lead him to listen to "experts" with those biases.  A pragmatic mind is one that is most easily shaped by the limited voices he hears, and thus is the most susceptable to propaganda.  However, this President appears to be unwavering in his ideas, agenda set in stone, unshaped by public opinion.  Ironically, as Goldberg points out, the President's claims of pragmatism are just the self-delusioned arrogance of a blatant ideologue.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Debra Medina Rising

A few weeks ago, Debra Medina, my choice for Texas Governor was at 4% of the Republican primary vote.  Then, it was 12%, and now it's 16% according to RasmussenReports.