Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Rise & Fall of Western Civilization

Well, this is a very dramatic sounding title, & has the look & feel of being way too long & boring. I'll try to keep it short, but i can't make any promises about boring...  :)    I will just present the outline.. each part could have a paragraph or more detailing & expounding on it, but i'll leave it simpler for now, for the overview. 

Dictionary definition of Civilization:
a : a relatively high level of cultural and technological development; specifically : the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained
b: refinement of thought, manners, or taste

Civilization is more than technology. It is an evolution of social, technical, & spiritual development, advancing a societal interdependency, built on an ever growing knowledge base. Huts give way to houses. Caves are replaced by castles. Lawlessness is punished & order established. Force is still the basic tool of compliance, but it is a collective action, not just the possession of the strong. Specialization builds interdependency. Not all farm, or build, or make clothes or wagons. Not all manage animals or process meat. A currency is born to provide a medium of exchange. Knowledge is acquired, & built upon, providing an advance of technology, efficiency, & efficacy.

The roots of Western Civilization's rise.
1. Roman Empire.
     a. Man as a god, not an animal
     b. Law, order, administration
     c. Art, music, architecture
2. Growth of Christendom & the Catholic Church
     a. Man as a created being, in the image of God
     b. Superstition replaced by orderly God & glimpses of Natural Law
     c. Growth of literacy, records, & a knowledge base
3. Reformation
     a. Natural Law over imperial decree
     b. Growth of reason, scientific explanations & analysis
     c. Concept of human freedom
4. Renaissance & explosion of technology
     a. Further building on knowledge base
     b. more departure from superstition
     c. freedom of thought & expression
5. Birth of America
     a. The equality of man
     b. Govt as servant, not master
     c. Self rule
     d. Individual Liberty as goal
     e. The State exists to secure the individual's rights
6. Western Imperialism
     a. Human power seen as proof of supremacy
     b. Manifest Destiny, or 'white man's burden'
     c. Dispersal of literacy, history, the knowledge base, the scientific method, & the religious/philosophical basis
     d. The global expansion of Natural Law & moral absolutes
7. WW2
     a. The pinnacle of western civilization.
     b. the battle for freedom, human dignity, & Natural Law over imperial rule, genocide, & oppression
     c. the explosion of constitutional law  & democracy throughout the world

The roots of decline.
1. Marxism
     a. No Natural Law, no god, no moral absolutes
     b. Man as an animal to be controlled
     c. Collective might makes right
     d. Elevation of the State as the means to control & engineer others
     e. Promotion of collective ideals: redistribution, no private property 
2. Darwinism
     a. Man is insignificant.. an evolving animal with no higher purpose
     b. No natural law, no moral absolutes, survival is the only function of man
3. Eugenics & social engineering
     a. Superior humans should enhance their survival, & eliminate inferior ones
     b. The State is the means to control & engineer humans
4. Progressive ideology of control & elite rule
     a. Social engineering to solve problems
     b. Redistribution & collectivist ideals
     c. Empower State to control others
     d. elite ruling class
     e. Science by decree
5. Islamic Caliphate
     a. Kept in check in previous centuries
     b. Goal of world domination, not peaceful coexistence
     c. Empower State to control others
     d. elite ruling class
     e. Truth by mandate, Science by decree

The roots of decline have been operating in the world for over 100 yrs, & are weakening the foundations of western civilization. Dark ages practices are being revived, & the concepts of Law over mandate are set aside for the ruler's convenience. Its basis is a fundamental difference in the view of Man & the Universe. As long as these ideals remain the social status quo, we can expect further erosion of western civilization. Tearing something down does not take as long as building it. It took about 2000 yrs of building & moving TOWARD the ideals of Natural Law, the Dignity of Man, Accountability, & a Higher Purpose. It could all come down in a generation, as the ussr & china have illustrated.

The ominous sign is the direction. Pre WW2 there was oppression & inhumanities to man, but the DIRECTION the world headed was TOWARD freedom.  Slavery ended in the west.  Individual freedom was growing, even in monarchies or other totalitarian systems.  WW2 was, imo, the pinnacle of that direction. Since then, we have slowly been heading AWAY from human freedom, & toward statist control. Rights are devolving, & the individual is considered no more than an animal to be managed by a ruling elite, who want these same animals to work & support them. Civilization is now going downhill.. not in technology, but in human freedom.

This is my analysis of western civilization. I see these things in the signs of the times, as well as the repetition of history.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Roots: Racism for Dummies

Racism has been a major part of human interaction for all of human history. Ever since the first differences among us were noted, they have been used as indicators of something ominous. Those differences were & are the justification for wars, genocide, slavery, & countless other examples of man's inhumanity to man.

As Western civilization expanded in Europe, the roots of racism were found in the institutions of the day: The Religious hierarchy & the ruling class. The belief that God burdened the white race with 'managing' the heathen was the majority opinion. It was called 'Manifest Destiny' in America. Most of the institutions taught & believed that God created all things. But they believed in a hierarchy, with the 'civilized' white man at the top. That was the justification of European imperialism for centuries, as they sought to bring order to the world, through their world view. Christianity had brought order & Law to Europe, & the ruling elite saw themselves as tools of God bringing structure, order, & enlightenment to inferior societies. 'Might makes right' has always been the final arbiter of truth in human disputes, & the European conquests proved to them that they were right.

Slavery was not always about race. It was (and still is, in some places) a normal part of human existence. Both Plato & Aristotle saw slavery as a natural part of human culture. Some early Christian theologians saw slavery as a necessary evil.

And indeed the use made of slaves and of tame animals is not very different; for both with their bodies minister to the needs of life. Aristotle

The prime cause, then, of slavery is sin, which brings man under the dominion of his fellow -- that which does not happen save by the judgment of God, with whom is no unrighteousness, and who knows how to award fit punishments to every variety of offense. Augustine

But as the influence of Christianity, & especially reformation theology grew, slavery became a great evil in mankind. Even in the American declaration of independence, the roots of human equality & dignity were laid out as a basis for the new nation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The new nation was unable to implement these revolutionary concepts completely, due to the old vestiges of imperialism & human domination that was still the status quo of the day. But the debate raged on, & within a fairly short time, a national civil war was fought to settle the issue.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ~Abraham Lincoln

But the abolition of slavery was not about racism. Lincoln was a racist, by today's standards. He did not believe in the 'equality of man' that some of the abolitionists preached.

I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.. ~Abraham Lincoln

Abolitionists held to the more 'enlightened' view, but they were a minority.
"The slave-holder's rule contradicts this fundamental truth of God's word, that 'God has made of one blood all the nations of men,' and if of one blood, they are of equal blood." ~Jonathan Blanchard

Ultimately, the minority opinion of the abolitionists became the mainstream view. Human equality was an act of the Creator. All men are equal, stated the philosophical standard of the day: The Bible. That & reformation theology brought this sense of enlightened civilization. Of course, not everyone acted upon the teachings, & many of the old vestiges of the 'white man's burden' carried over into the 20th century.

But then a new ideology began to gain momentum, based on the writings of a naturalist. It was not really new, but it provided a logical sounding basis for the intelligentsia to escape the shackles of morality that the concept of a Creator brought. Darwin's 'Origin of Species' brought a new possibility to the view of origins. Perhaps man was not created in the image of God, but was an accident of nature, & was merely evolving along with all the other animals. This was the basis for a great many ideologies, that saw social engineering as a tool for the advanced ruling elite. There was an actual justification now, to BE the elite. They were further along on the evolutionary scale, & felt a duty to promote the 'best' traits for humanity. That was the basis for National Socialism in Germany, which was one expression of the eugenics movement. This movement was very popular early in the 20th century, & was mandated into policy in many western nations. It was an attempt to build a better Man, through controlled breeding. Its goal was the concept of a perfect, evolving man, who could be engineered by the ruling elite.

'The term eugenics and its modern field of study were first formulated by Francis Galton in 1883, drawing on the recent work of his half-cousin Charles Darwin. Galton published his observations and conclusions in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.' (wikipedia)

But the major institutions of the day, at least in America, were not immediately impressed by this new 'theory'. There was a gradual embracing of this concept of origins, illustrated by the 'Scopes Monkey trial' of 1925, when a public school teacher was put on trial for teaching something contrary to the status quo: evolution From this point, evolution grew to become the mainstream view of origins, until today it is almost universally taught as fact in every human institution.

Unfortunately, along with this new found liberty from a pesky God, the unruly companion of this ideology is a naturalistic view of man as merely an evolving animal. If superior animals can eat, domesticate, & own inferior animals, where does one draw the line? Perhaps some people are also inferior. Perhaps those 'less advanced' should not be afforded the same rights & privileges as the superior specimens.

I see 2 examples of this ideology today.
1. Overt white supremacists.
2. Liberal welfare state proponents.

The rest of the western world is functioning in a post christian moral memory. Their morality no longer has a basis in their beliefs, but they keep going out of habit.

The white supremacists see the 'lower' races as inferior, & not as advanced on the evolutionary scale. The liberal nanny staters see the 'lower' races as inferior, too, & unable to cope in the world without their assistance. They have built a 'democratic plantation'.. a gulag of welfare dependency, where the soft bigotry of low expectations dominates their view of the inferior classes. They see themselves as champions of the downtrodden, in much the same way the ruling elite in times past saw themselves as bringing civilization & enlightenment to the heathen, as part of the 'white mans' burden'. They do not build human dignity, self respect, or equality, but grievance & division. They trap people in the same ideology that the white supremacists have for their basis, which is the spring from which their world view originates: Darwinian evolution. They either reject God completely, or minimize Him as a distant, uninvolved Watcher, with evolution as the real god.. the 'system' that actually formed us. Every American institution indoctrinates the citizens into this world view from an early age. The further you advance in the education system, the more intense the indoctrination, but it is hammered hard early on. Evolution has become the new religion, flavoring our world views, & providing the basis for our policies, justice systems, & culture. What about the 'subjects' of this indoctrinated world view? Just as the morals of the nation are being torn down, so has crime, lies, hatred, & racism increased. It is a logical consequence to the root ideology.

The core ideology is the basis from which the rest of a world view emanates. The dignity of man, equality, morality, & natural rights are based in the concept of a Divine Creator, attributing those conditions to mankind. The view of man as an animal; insignificant, immoral, & pointless comes from the naturalistic view. He has no soul, no purpose, & is merely an accident of nature. Those who gain power rule by their own authority, & mandate whatever rules they wish.. they do not answer to a Higher Power. 

America was founded in the first world view.. that we are endowed by our CREATOR with unalienable rights.. that ALL men are CREATED equal. But as the basis has been undermined, so have the moral outworkings. We are in a post christian culture, driven by naturalistic views, with only the memory & slowing momentum of morality providing the ever dwindling stability that the nation of self rule once had. Unless there is an awakening, all vestiges of morality will be completely forgotten, all basis lost, we will be unable to live among ourselves, & we will require (and deserve) despotism.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Heredity! Environment!

The beliefs about origins of man are at the root of ideology about race.  There are those who claim that behavioral differences in humans are based on genetics.  Others say they are all learned.  The only 'evidence' for differences in people is in cultural studies, where a false dichotomy is made in the cause & effect. One of the most basic tools of science is this:
'Correlation does not imply causation'.
Some correlate violence in black inner city ghettos to race, when it is culture. Mexican barrios have the same tendency toward crime & violence, as well as Pakistanis in London, Turks in Germany, & Vietnamese in San Diego. The common denominator is NOT RACE. It is culture. It is nanny state policies that create a breeding ground of irresponsible, fatherless thugs. THAT is the source of the violence, not race. Hard working, family centered black people live as responsible citizens in every nation of the world. They are not any more prone to violence or stupidity than any other race. The premise that this kind of behavior is genetic is based on false assumptions, junk science, & superstition.

ANY HUMANS, if you put them in state run ghettos, where values are broken down, & there is no accountability or responsibility for the people act the exact same way.

ANY HUMANS, if they are raised with core values of family, work ethic, & civilized socialization tend to be productive members of society. These obvious facts point to the exact cause of the problems: The welfare state. The source of the problem is cultural.

There is no 'gene' that promotes violence. People have been asserting that for a century or more. Humans are naturally violent, brutal beasts. Civilization, Law, morality, and religion are the means that we as a species have managed ourselves, so we can live among each other in relative peace. We have esteemed reason over brute force, even if we use brute force to impose our reason.

For this debate to go any further, we would have to dig deeper to the core differences in the views on origins, or the evolution of human behavior.. whether it is inherent or learned. It is the age old Pygmalion story.. 'My Fair Lady'.. 'Hoi Polloi'.  Is it heredity, or environment?  There is some of each in every human behavioral action, but there is not a difference, genetically, to make these kinds of  race centered conclusions. It is very ironic to me, that those who are the most fixed upon race have at their core beliefs the same opinion about human evolution. Both the liberal academian & the Aryan supremacist believe that humans have evolved from lower life forms, & are still evolving.  Both the black race baiters & the white supremacists agree, in their basic ideology about origins. That was the source of the eugenics movement, as well as the Nazi ideology. This ideology is at the root of the modern progressivism, as well.

To summarize: The central support for the claim of genetic differences is flawed science. There is NO evidence for a genetic tendency to violence. That is a learned, or cultural factor. Civilization, morality, & religion are the central factors in taming the human animal. ANYWHERE those factors are esteemed & valued by a society, a stable, healthy society is built. Anywhere these factors are scorned, the society suffers. Antisocial behaviors are learned, as well as civilized ones. If there is a natural tendency of man, it is to violence & brutality. That seems to be our core nature, that civilization tames.

I see little hope for a resolution of such basic differences in worldviews. With the indoctrination of junk science so rampant in our culture, it is no wonder that our view of man is so dark & hopeless. Generations of breeders in the ghetto are taught that they are mere beasts, accidents of nature, with no purpose for their existence. They are bred for crime, by the plantation owners, & have no basis for any sense of human dignity or equality. They are treated as progressive pets, & kept in the liberal zoos of inner city squalor. Rich, preppy whites are taught the same thing, except that they can see themselves as superior.. morally, intellectually, & culturally. But don't fool yourselves.. the same root ideology that is destroying the inner cities is at work destroying the whole nation. Morality, civilization, & religion are being smashed in favor of the naturalistic view of man as a cosmic accident, with no purpose or meaning for his life.

All of this has its root in origins. It makes a world of difference what you believe.