February 16th, 2013

Allan Bloom on the ubiquity of moral relativism—in 1987

I’ve written before about Allan Bloom’s masterful The Closing of the American Mind, published in 1987, here and here.

And I probably will again. It is so richly loaded with thought that almost every sentence might cause the reader to pause and reflect. Plus, it’s extremely readable. Bloom has done something extraordinarily difficult, which is to write a serious work about education, politics, history, and philosophy in a very lively style.

Apparently, that’s the kind of guy he was.

I’ve only read (that is, re-read; I read much of it a few years ago) a small portion of the book so far. But I was blown away at the outset by the first few paragraphs of his introduction, entitled “Our Virtue.” And so I’m going to reproduce some of it verbatim, just for you, to whet your appetite for the book itself. Remember as you read this that it was written no later than 1987, and probably a bit earlier:

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2 = 4. Those are things you don’t think about. The students’ backgrounds are as various as America can provide. Some are religious, some atheists; some are to the Left, some to the Right; some intend to be scientists, some humanists or professionals or businessmen; some are poor, some rich. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. And the two are related in a moral intention. The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. They have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society. That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their response when challenged—-a combination of disbelief and indignation: “Are you an absolutist?,” the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as “Are you a monarchist?” or “Do you really believe in witches?” This latter leads into the indignation, for someone who believes in witches might well be a witch-hunter or a Salem judge. The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness, and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating. Openness—and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings—is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger. The study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right,; rather it is not to think you are right at all.

The students, of course, cannot defend their opinion. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated. The best they can do is point out all the opinions and cultures there are and have been. What right, they ask, do I or anyone else have to say one is better than the others? If I pose the routine questions designed to confute them and make them think, such as, “If you had been a British administrator in India, would you have let the natives under your governance burn the widow at the funeral of a man who had died?,” they either remain silent or reply that the British should never have been there in the first place. It is not that they know very much about other nations, or about their own. The purpose of their education is not to make them scholars but to provide them with a moral virtue—openness.

Every educational system has a moral goal that it tries to attain and that informs its curriculum. It wants to produce a certain kind of human being. This intention is more or less explicit, more or less a result of reflection,; but even the neutral subject, like reading and writing and arithmetic, take their place in a vision of the educated person. In some nations the goal was the pious person, in others the warlike, in others the industrious. Always important is the political regime, which needs citizens who are in accord with its fundamental principle. Aristocracies want gentlemen, oligarchies men who respect and pursue money, and democracies lovers of equality. Democratic education, whether it admits it or not, wants and needs to produce men and women who have the tastes, knowledge, and character supportive of a democratic regime. Over the history of our republic, there have obviously been changes of opinion as to what kind of man is best for our regime. We began with the model of the rational and industrious man, who was honest, respected the laws, and was dedicated to the family (his own family—what has in its decay been dubbed the nuclear family). Above all he was to know the rights doctrine; the Constitution, which embodied it; and American history, which presented and celebrated the founding of a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” A powerful attachment to the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Independence gently conveyed, appealing to each man’s reason, was the goal of the education of democratic man. This called for something very different from the kind of attachment required for traditional communities where myth and passion as well as severe discipline, authority, and the extended family produced an instinctive, unqualified, even fanatic patriotism, unlike the reflected, rational, calm, even self-interested loyalty—not so much to country but to the form of government and its rational principles—required in the United States…

But openness…eventually won out over natural rights, partly through a theoretical critique, partly because of a political rebellion against nature’s last constraints. Civic education turned away from concentrating on the Founding to concentrating on openness based on history and social science. There was even a general tendency to debunk the Founding, to prove the beginnings were flawed in order to license a greater openness to the new. What began in Charles Beard’s Marxism and Carl Becker’s historicism became routine. We are used to hearing the Founders being charged with being racists, murderers of Indians, representatives of class interests. I asked my first history professor in the university, a very famous scholar, whether the picture he gave us of George Washington did not have the effect of making us despise our regime. “Not at all,” he said, “it doesn’t depend on individuals but on our having good democratic values.” To which I rejoined, “But you just showed us that Washington was only using those values to further the class interests of the Virginia squirearchy.” He got angry, and that was the end of it. He was comforted by a gentle assurance that the values of democracy are part of the movement of history and did not require his elucidation or defense. He could carry on his historical studies with the moral certitude that they would lead to greater openness and hence more democracy. The lessons of fascism and the vulnerability of democracy, which we had all just experienced, had no effect on him.

Liberalism without natural rights, the kind that we knew from John Stuart Mill and John Dewey, taught us that the only danger confronting us is being closed to the emergent, the new, the manifestations of progress. No attention had to be paid to the fundamental principles or the moral virtues that inclined men to live according to them…

Note how long ago all of this had already hit its stride; Bloom was a student of that history professor back in the mid-1940s, having been born in 1930 but having also been precocious enough to get his undergraduate degree at the age of eighteen from the University of Chicago after having entered at fifteen.

Note also the tone of barely-restrained sarcasm; Bloom seems to have had a certain amount of contemptuous anger at those academics who could have been so stupid as to not have realized the effects of their throwing out the precious baby and leaving the dirty bathwater (it seems his first history professor was none too happy with his challenges, either). As the book goes on, some of the best passages involve Bloom’s description of the faculty’s craven abdication during the student uprisings of the 1960s, when he was one of those who tried (in vain, as it turned out) to hold his finger in the dyke of the best traditions of Western Civilization.

60 Responses to “Allan Bloom on the ubiquity of moral relativism—in 1987”

  1. Don Carlos Says:

    OK. I’ve long been aware of “The Closing…” but will now add it to my collection of books yet to be read. Thanks, Neo, for spurring me into more homework!

  2. DNW Says:

    ” The purpose of their education is not to make them scholars but to provide them with a moral virtue—openness.”

    Bloom says that ironically, but he might as well be quoting Dewey.

    This is an outstanding formulation:

    “They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. And the two are related in a moral intention. The relativity of truth is not [conceived of as] a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the [necessary] condition of a free society …”

  3. DNW Says:

    I said,

    “but he might as well be quoting Dewey.”

    I should have read to the bottom before commenting. Because Bloom himself said:

    “Liberalism without natural rights, the kind that we knew from John Stuart Mill and John Dewey …”

    Implying socialization and tolerance as the point of education.

  4. DNW Says:

    Bloom says regarding his first history professor’s refusal to engage the logical implications of his own doctrines,

    “He was comforted by a gentle assurance that the values of democracy are part of the movement of history and did not require his elucidation or defense. He could carry on his historical studies with the moral certitude that they would lead to greater openness and hence more democracy.”

    Same instructor must have taught Mark Morford the SF Gate blogging goofy who loves to publish those ‘We will bury you rednecks beneath the weight of history’ screeds.

  5. southpaw Says:

    Definitely a book I will read. Thanks for the sample Neo.

  6. Ray Says:

    I always ask if it is absolutly true or only relativly true that truth is relative.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    ” Bloom was a student of that history professor back in the mid-1940s, having been born in 1930 but having also been precocious enough to get his undergraduate degree at the age of eighteen from the University of Chicago after having entered at fifteen.”

    Centuries old plans of dominion. Conspiracies are unimportant. Evil and what works are important.

  8. SATURDAY GOD & CAESAR EDITION | Big Pulpit Says:

    [...] Alan Bloom & Moral Relativism: 1987 – Neo-Neocon [...]

  9. david foster Says:

    Several years ago, I sat in on a college philosophy course in which the professor–clearly not the average bear–developed a critique of cultural relativism.

    Almost all of the other students were astonished, I’d say almost disoriented. It was as if they’d gone into a physics classroom and heard the theory that the earth goes around the sun challenged, so deeply had they internalized the primacy of cultural relativism.

  10. Sharon W Says:

    I read this book while Obama was running for President the first time…and finished it after he was elected. I understood how such a man could be chosen, based on Bloom’s assessment of what happened in the university (not to mention, the devolving of the family). The handwriting was on the wall.

  11. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I remember reading “Modern Times” which starts out saying that Modern Times began when Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was proven.
    The public immediately construed it as being an argument for Moral Relativism.

    @Ray: And what do they reply?

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. And the two are related in a moral intention.

    They’re unified in having a childish perspective on life, from which their other points of unity follow.

  13. Occam's Beard Says:

    One of the more wearing aspects of being a university faculty member was having to deal with a new group of late adolescents every year. It was the intellectual equivalent of Groundhog Day, every year having to hear the same childish self-regarding prattling delivered with a sanctimonious air as though the acne-troubled speaker had just come up with the Unified Field Theory. (And that’s just the faculty … kidding!)

    Imagine every year having to deal with people who think that the solution to poverty is to double everyone’s pay, who are utterly convinced of their brilliance, and who are deprecatory that no one else had thought of this, and you get the picture.

    Fortunately, as a scientist, I only got the scientific equivalent of the above, which was onerous enough to bear. God only knows how economics faculty cope.

  14. david foster Says:

    Ed B…”The public immediately construed (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity) as being an argument for Moral Relativism”

    I have read that Einstein *almost* called it the Theory of Invariance, referring to the invariant speed of light.

    I wonder if it would have made any difference if he had….

  15. M J R Says:

    Occam’s Beard, 9:38 pm — “God only knows how economics faculty cope.”

    What proportion of them are just like the children, only credentialed and with vocabularies of more syllables?

  16. Occam's Beard Says:

    MJR, I hate to think. Different department, different planet, perhaps fortunately.

  17. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    I had heard of this book but never read it. Looks like I’ll have to use your Amazon portal again!!!

    The Denver Post today had a glowing front-page story about the Glorious New Solution To Reform Children’s Education: “Common Core”.

    Aaargh.

    I’ve been seeing snippets about this (of course, it SOUNDS good; it SOUNDS reasonable: nationwide standards and so forth…) but the site that really opened my eyes was

    http://www.InvisibleSerfsCollar.com

    which has several valuable articles on how Big Education plans to indoctrinate our kids. Oops, sorry, “indoctrinate” isn’t what they call it now; it’s “training in consensus-building”. SameDamnThing.

    If you have kids or grandkids you NEED to be aware of this. (At another blog, a commenting parent said, “By the time it’s approved at the State Board of Education level, it’s too late. Your local school board will no longer have ANY SAY as to curriculum, textbooks, … nothing. Your only hope will be home-schooling.”)

  18. sergey Says:

    I wonder what elementary or secondary school Alan Bloom was educated? To enter university at fifteen, he must have skipped some classes? Was he home-schooled?

  19. NeoConScum Says:

    A Truly GREAT Book. Thanks for the timely reminder, N-Neo, as it still occupies my bookshelf and I haven’t read it since the late ’80s. Due to the horrific transformation of American Culture in 2-subsequent decades and the strangle hold now enjoyed everywhere—Not just universities as when it was published—of the PC-Political Correctness Plague, it’s well worth all of us liberty loving conservatives reading again(or, First). I shall do it very soon.

  20. waltj Says:

    This was Gen. Sir Charles James Napier’s response to that very question of burning widows in India, the practice known as suttee:

    “You say you have a custom to burn widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands? Very well. We also have a custom. We hang men who burn women alive. Build your funeral pyre. Beside it, my carpenters shall build a gallows. You may follow your custom. Then we will follow ours”.

    No relativism for Sir Charles.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    sergey: here’s Bloom’s educational history. There was a special program at the University of Chicago for gifted students, and he was admitted under that.

    He was not home-schooled, which in those days would have been highly unusual to have done, especially for people who were not wealthy (his parents were not wealthy; they were the children of Jewish immigrants, and although none of my sources says from where, my guess is from somewhere in Russia or Ukraine or Poland). Here are more details:

    This exceptional man was also very much a child of his time. Whence he came explains the graininess in the man, the incorrigible streak of intellectual goodness and generosity. He simply grew up that way in another America. His grandparents were Jewish immigrants to Philadelphia, true believers: in family and God. His father worked for Jewish charities; his mother was a social worker; and Indianapolis was their unlikely abode, a conservative land on the marches of America, closer to the great divide of the civil war than most realise.

    To Chicago, which was the immigrant capital of the world, he came as a boy, going through its ordinary schools at a time when American schools still had pupils and not students. Robert Hutchins was president of its university, which he made great, and there, taking the entrance exam when he was in his first year of high school, Bloom went into that university under Hutchins’s plan to create a new generation of, yes, elite minds, graduating when he was 18, and going on to do his graduate work there.

    Were not his teachers remarkable men? A David Greene, a Leo Strauss, a Richard McKeon? He wrote his thesis on Isocrates and moved on, to teach at Yale, and then Cornell, from which he resigned in protest at that university’s cowardlly handling of student riots in the Sixties. He did further work in Paris – a city he loved and in which he was spiritually at home despite his deprecation of its many false gods – and Heidelberg.

  22. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln

    “Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter; from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government.” – Daniel Webster

    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Winston Churchill

    “Experience is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” Edmund Burke

    “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

    “Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace… Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant.” James Madison, father of the American Constitution

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: those are great quotes.

    It saddens me that so few people know them, and my hunch is that not that many people today would understand the history and sentiments behind them.

  24. sergey Says:

    It seems, all his teachers were extraordinary men. Other two must be mentioned: Leo Strauss and his friend, Alexander Kozhevnikov (Russian-French philosopher, polyglot and polymath, who synthesized Hegelian philosophy with that of Vladimir Soloviev).

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    sergey: yes, his teachers were extraordinary men.

    But that anecdote about Bloom and his first college history teacher, an event which probably occurred before he had much exposure to those particular professors (Strauss, et al), indicates that Bloom was already quite extraordinary himself.

    Extraordinary mind meets extraordinary mind, and the effect is even more extraordinary.

  26. Judith Says:

    Right after reading Neoneo’s post, this quote appeared in my Facebook feed:

    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

    This came from a film organization I’ve “liked” and was quoted, of course, with complete, unquestioning approval.

    I like Ray’s comeback – absolutely true or relatively true?

  27. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Maybe a better title for the book would be, “The Open Endedness Of Academic Morals.” We have become so open-minded, we are in danger of our brains falling out completely.

    Open mindedness and tolerance are laudable, but only if we are willing to make value judgments about what works and what doesn’t. So many things that have been pursued as social programs (The War on Poverty, Head Start, trillions of $ in aid to education, etc.) that have failed, but continue on because we cannot make a value judgment about their failure.

    Open mindedness in addressing issues like the Theory of AGW are, IMO, necessary, but there the Greens have closed their minds to any value judgments about the weaknesses and unknowns of their theory. So, they close their minds when it suits them, but remain open to the proposition that all cultures are equally relevant to the advance of civilization in the face of much evidence to the contrary.

  28. Mike Says:

    I read Bloom all those years ago and haven’t been the same since…or looked at a Liberal as anything but the tyrannical retrograde despots that they are.

    The best thing that can be said about a Liberal is that they’ve been brainwashed. Of course, past the age of roughly 25 they assume full responsibility for their beliefs.

    They are verily the sons and daughters of perdition. We do know one any favors – ourselves or especially them – by not shouting this fact from the rooftops.

    Any accommodation with this lot is like making an alliance with Mordor…for the sake of getting along or something.

    Never understood it; never will.

  29. G Joubert Says:

    The students, of course, cannot defend their opinion. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated

    That’s true for most skulls full of mush (as Rush Limbaugh calls this cohort), but not all. And they’ll defend it too. They say the received wisdom of moral absolutes and the assumptions that underpin them should be examined, and where found wanting, be challenged.

    Isn’t that at least one of the things an educated, discerning, critically-thinking person is supposed to precisely be able to do?

    So is the concern just that so many incoming students have blindly and unthinkingly swallowed it as an overall everything-is-relative worldview? Seems to me developing teaching strategies to counter this is what an undergrad prof who teaches college freshmen is supposed to be doing. (Full disclosure- I do teach undergrads, including fresh ones, and one class I teach is Ethics, so I encounter this issue frequently. It’s easily pierced and deconstructed.)

    Or, is the issue really that other profs, the other 99%, are liberals who don’t challenge these students this way, but instead not only just perpetuate the blindness in these students, but overtly reward it? I certainly saw enough of that first-hand when I was an undergrad 40+ years ago, and it’s exponentially worse now.

    I’ve heard of Bloom and this book, but never read it. I’ll get it.

  30. neo-neocon Says:

    G Jourbet: Bloom was engaged in countering it, both in teaching his students and in writing the book.

    But Blooms are not common. The biggest problem is the one you stated, “other profs, the other 99%, are liberals who don’t challenge these students this way, but instead not only just perpetuate the blindness in these students, but overtly reward it.”

    And, if a student happens to have slipped through the net of moral relativism cast earlier in his/her education and enters college without ascribing to the True Doctrine (the only truth still allowed, that there is no truth), most of his/her professors (especially in the non-science non-math courses) will do their level best to make sure that student leaves properly educated in belief in moral relativism.

  31. G Joubert Says:

    Neo,

    I saw enough of THAT as an undergrad 40 years ago too. And it’s even worse than what you say. Students, including myself, were punished for having and/or expressing conservative views: Mocked and ridiculed if expressed openly (which isn’t a terrible thing by itself in that you learn how to defend your positions, but after awhile it takes its toll, and it is a definite chill on the free exchange of ideas), or gradewise if expressed in an essay exam or final paper.

  32. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    So where does ‘The Closing of the American Mind’ lead?

    Human nature demands something larger than itself to believe in, thus when people reject traditional religious beliefs, they merely go on to create some other faith-based schema in which to invest themselves.

    Whether it be money or power or the various religions of the left; post modernism, socialism, communism, feminism, environmentalism or anthropogenicism (who believe that humans are the sole root of all evil and thus are the cause of all earthly problems; from weather and climate anomalies to earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and species extinction) is of less importance than that people will latch on to something to believe in…

    Judith @ 1:43 quoted Nietzsche “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” Nietzsche was one of the earliest proponents of what would later be known as post modernism, arguably the foremost philosophical foundation of the left.

    Of course, if ultimately there is no ‘right’ way, thus no objective truth, then there can be no divine, beneficent creator.

    Dostoyevsky fully understood the moral implications of that premise, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted”.

    The implications of that is, that any and every moral code is reduced to mere opinion, thus there can be no right or wrong, only what can be imposed. Any subjective morality depends upon group consensus and the willingness to use force to impose it upon others. And, when force is ultimately the only justification, we are reduced to the law of the jungle and and the tyranny of might making right reigns supreme.

    Ah, the irony, in a technological world, rejection of unalienable rights, (i.e. rights posited as granted by a creator, thus transcending human law) leads inescapably to 1984…

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain and Judith: Bloom devoted a large portion of the book to discussing Nietzsche.

  34. G Joubert Says:

    I won’t say it’s a universal truth or that it’s outside of three standard deviations of the norm, but I’d put it at about 2.5 SD from the norm, that liberals absolutely loathe religion, particularly “organized” religion, and the very concept of God, at least as western civilization has conceived God to be (they’re just fine with new agey constructs though). It seems to run through all of liberalism. Tolerance for Christianity in particular is not a liberal value whatsoever.

    I believe a lot of what we see in modern liberalism is their effort to fill the God void in their lives, and which is why they pursue their causes and agendas with such a fervor– a religious fervor.

    I almost made this comment in the threads over the last couple of days about the core differences between liberals and conservatives, but held back. Here it crops up again. To me this is almost like a guiding star difference between conservatives and liberals: conservatives, including non-believing conservatives, are far more live-and-let-live about religion, whereas liberals are more likely to be intolerant.

  35. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “liberals absolutely loathe religion, particularly “organized” religion, and the very concept of God, at least as western civilization has conceived God to be”

    Not so. Leftist’s abhor religious dogma. Liberals are comprised of various religious iterations like lapsed Catholics. They believe in God and in a general sort of non-specific way in some of their particular religion’s tenets but do not subscribe to all (or even most) of the specifics of its dogma.

    You fail to distinguish between leftists and their ‘useful idiots’, liberals.

    See Neo’s post “The left and the liberals” but a few posts below this one for an exemplary explanation of the difference. My personal experience exactly mirrors hers and reason and logic support it as well.

  36. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: of the liberals I know, some of them abhor religion and some are somewhat religious in the way you describe. I don’t know the proportions, but I’d say roughly half and half.

  37. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    I certainly did not mean to imply that there were not any liberals who abhor religion. My experience is that the more firmly on the left the opinion, the more certain that they abhor religion.

    My impression based on personal experience (I haven’t taken a poll) is one of far less than the 50/50 you experience. That’s personal anecdote of course but the last poll I recall found that 85% of Americans proclaim a belief in God, which certainly contradicts Joubert’s claim that the great majority of liberals abhor western civilization’s “very concept of God”.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    Judith and Geoffrey Britain:

    Much more here on Bloom and Nietzsche. It’s a lecture Bloom gave on Nietzsche back in 1983 to professors, advising them on how to teach Nietzsche.

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: well, I’m not sure about 50/50 either. But I think it’s close to it.

    But in my experience, although many liberals are against organized religion in general, almost all of them are against fundamentalist or orthodox religion. And when I say “against,” I mean they consider it about as close to “evil” as they get in their thinking, right along with what they think of conservatives, child molesters, and racists.

  40. Mike Says:

    “…right along with what they think of conservatives, child molesters, and racists.”

    Liberals molest the minds and hearts of children on principle. They call it “education”. They do nothing of the sort. For that matter, the average liberal is the worst racist there is. They are the definition of racist and bigoted. They see almost nothing but “color”, since skin color is the absolute Ace of Trump in the Liberal Maleverse. Gender, sexuality, or Latinization take a distant second to skin color every day of every week.

    The average liberal is worse than their worst possible stereotype of a conservative ever was. As a rule, conservatives are generally decent people and liberals, with almost no relevant exceptions, are either rotten people or else too lazy to bother to change their objectively hideous views on things.

  41. Artfldgr Says:

    Watch in horror as he trains US Department of Agriculture employees to despise our heritage and to embrace the soft genocide of Caucasians:

    USDA Moonbat Brainwashing Caught on Video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaBHgYkoOQg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvUDt01XBlI

  42. Ymarsakar Says:

    If people were made to be too specific, they may have admitted that Marx and Obama were their God.

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    The primary reason members of the Left don’t like religion is because it is not their religion. Religious fanaticism, of the global warming variety and the Leftist death cult sub variety, tends to motivate Leftists to treat other people’s religion as either a plague (to be avoided like Islam) or pests to be eliminated (like Christianity).

    The construction itself, of a church and divine authority… well the LEft actually likes that. Most of the Left’s doctrine is dogma and taken on faith alone. It’s not the tools they dislike. It’s the fact that people believe in religion that they don’t control.

  44. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Mike,

    You have a seriously distorted view of liberals, not committed leftists mind you but liberals.

    I have within my family a number of liberals and more than a few friends who are liberals as well. None of them are “rotten people” nor are their motivations in the least, racist.

    None of them are “too lazy to bother to change their objectively hideous views”. All of them have been thoroughly indoctrinated into the left’s narrative and memes through incessant, lifelong repetition from the very institutions that they have been assured are most trustworthy.

    None of them can conceive of academia’s and the mass media’s collusion with the left.

    They simply cannot give credence to the left’s betrayal of America.

    Neither can they believe that whatever the truth of McCarty’s probable exaggerations in the 50′s, a leftist fifth column did in fact infiltrate and culturally attack America and has made such inroads that today a slim majority of America unwittingly give it support.

    “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” Edmund Burke

  45. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: I already wrote an entire post on those videos. They were at the piece I linked to.

  46. G Joubert Says:

    Geoffrey Britain @7:41

    “Lapsed Catholics” are not within my definition of religious people, indeed it approaches the antithesis thereof. The fact that they are “lapsed” says it all. Plus, occupying the role of “lapsed Catholic” carries with it a certain cachet in liberaldom, often being accompanied by a level of antipathy towards the church, which always scores points in that world.

  47. G Joubert Says:

    Antonin Scalia is a devout Catholic. Bill Maher is a lapsed Catholic.

  48. SteveH Says:

    Probaly more than half the people who vote democrat couldn’t tell you what a progressive is. But if you find someone who admits he’s a progressive, i’d say there’s a 98% chance he’s a reflexive anti Christian bigot.

  49. beverly Says:

    SteveH, you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s not “religion” they hate — it’s Christianity.

    Interesting, that.

  50. Mike Says:

    Geoffrey Britain,

    Because you have a liberal in your family does not make me wrong.

    The horror of the liberal is that they are in your family, and mine. They are boyfriends, girlfriends, co-workers, even husbands and wives.

    They are quite simply some of the most malicious people on planet earth today. This is the horror of it. They are, as I said, stone-cold racists. Therefore, I am sorry to tell you some people in your family are racist.

    Oh wait. maybe not. Maybe the fact that the people they vote for have kept them in chains, ignorant and ghettoized only for a vote is “okay” because they have a nice chat about it over latte every other month.

    Get real. We all have to get real. The liberal does harm to our fellow men and women every day. They do it on principle.

    I repeat: The BEST thing that can be said about a liberal is that they are brainwashed.

    That is no excuse for grown ups.

  51. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    G Joubert,

    You’ve reduced your argument to semantics.

    Whether types like ‘lapsed Catholics’ are “religious people” is immaterial to your original statement that I took issue with, “liberals absolutely loathe religion, particularly “organized” religion, and the very concept of God, at least as western civilization has conceived God to be”…

    Most liberals do not loathe either religion or “the very concept of God”. Many loathe bible thumping, hell and brimstone, dogmatic, literalistic types who are not uncommon among fundamentalist Christian groups. The type who pay far more attention to the Old Testament than to the New…

    The type that say that no matter how good a person one might be if they do not believe in and practice certain dogma, they are going to hell.

    Yet at the same time, agree that the punishment should fit the crime.

    Only willful denial and cognitive dissonance allows them to ignore the logical contradiction between the two positions.

  52. armchair pessimist Says:

    But maybe more damage has been done by the libertine pop culture than by the classrooms?

  53. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Mike,

    You are quite right that personal experience does not prove you wrong. I simply maintain that logic and reason support my personal experience. So while some liberals may be among “the most malicious people on earth”, the vast majority do not accurately fit that description. When someone’s motivation is well meaning, supporting policies that are racist without realizing how they are racist does not make someone a “stone cold racist”.

    That they are brainwashed (as in indoctrinated) is the reality we face. Reality is not an excuse but a reason for circumstance.

    We all know the truth in the aphorisms, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” as well as “those who fail to learn history’s lessons are doomed to repeat them”. The left has spent the better part of a century playing upon American’s good intentions and ensuring that history would be obscured and twisted to suit their narrative, resulting in an ignorant, indoctrinated public.

    If ever we should “forgive them, for they know not what they do” it is now.

    As for the assertion that they should be open to persuasion, that ignores human nature for man is a rationalizing animal not a rational one. Thus, “The thing about the truth is that even when they recognize it, people tend to deny it if it brings them discomfort.”

    Then we must factor in the machinations of the left, “Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of shrewd, evil and self-serving men. The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.” Robert Heinlein

    The great SciFi writer Heinlein understood our predicament well and warned of it, “The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens.

    What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

    ‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader and the barbarians enter Rome.”

    It is not maliciousness and racism that motivate our liberal ‘friends’ but human stupidity and gullibility. You are attributing to villainy, conditions that simply result from stupidity.

    In any age, there are far more fools than villains.

  54. bap Says:

    This quote by Stephen White seemed a relevant tangent to this conversation:

    Our culture’s complicated relationship with organized religion is closely tied to our culture’s complicated relationship with truth. We love our truth, all right, but we treat truth a lot like religion — it’s fine, so long as everyone else keeps their truth to themselves. Tolerance — which our culture values over all other virtues — consists in not imposing your truth on someone else.

    The problem with this well-meaning attempt at tolerance is that it is unsustainable. It’s self-cannibalizing. If there is only your truth and my truth, but no Truth, then there is no common ground upon which to meet one another. Either I’m right, or you are, and since there’s no middle ground, the matter is only ever settled when one side wins and the other side loses. A world without truth isn’t a world liberated from conflict; it’s a world without the possibility of reconciliation.

  55. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: it is way too big a topic for me to go into right now in any detail (it’s one of those things I may write a post on some day), but you are somewhat misrepresenting the dichotomy between “Old” and New Testaments. Some of it is based on a misunderstanding of what “an eye for an eye” means and the context in which it was written. But you will also find that fundamentalist beliefs in hell, as you describe them, do not have Old Testament origins.

  56. Mike Says:

    Geoffrey – I say malicious because it is the best way I can explain 30-40 years now of evidence of the detriment liberal policies inflict on individuals and the cherished “groups” the liberal claims to champion.

    The Black Family is nearly extinct; and White Families and every other family is quick behind them. The Social Chaos this has already created will be like nothing compared to the the violence of social collapse – which their policies are making almost inevitable.

    Every Liberal Cause harms. No Liberal Cause does good.

    Liberal Education means more uneducated people. Liberal Wars on Drugs and crime means more drugs and more crime. Liberal help to African Americans means their decimation. Liberal Gender “Support” means dead babies and demographic suicide for the West. Liberal Government means more tyranny.

    They are, if there ever was a thing, the reverse Midas.

    And you think this is all down to stupidity? I don’t. I think people, after a time, know.

    They do it anyway because they get power and prestige.

    Pride maybe. Stupidity no. Perfidy, yes.

  57. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Neo,

    I am in full agreement with you that the interpretation of the Old and New Testaments by dogmatic literalists is fundamentally flawed. Please forgive any lack of clarity, I was referring to what that type believes and insists to be true, not what the Bible actually preaches.

    Mike,

    I fully agree with you, as to the results of liberal support for the left’s policies. I completely disagree that the motivation of 95% of liberals is for power and prestige. They are well meaning fools and are literally paving a road to hell for the entire world with their good intentions. they are living proof that fools can do far more harm than villains ever contemplate.

  58. SteveH Says:

    I have to agree with mike. If a liberal saw his actions to be detrimental to his own life he’s do something about it. But he does it to other people’s lives (see black families) in a way that is too obvious to ignore and doesn’t give a damn.

    Just absolutely doesn’t give a damn for the “other”. That my friends, is a sick and twisted human being.

  59. neo-neocon Says:

    SteveH and Mike: liberals do not think their policies hurt the people they are trying to help. If they find that things aren’t going well for those people despite their policies, they sincerely think it just needs to be done better.

    It is not too obvious to ignore. It is a matter of social science, statistics, all sorts of things that can be ignored or rationalized or the link can be considered to be too tenuous. I have been immersed in the culture of liberals for my entire life, and you are, quite simply, wrong about the vast majority of them.

  60. Ymarsakar Says:

    “Many loathe bible thumping, hell and brimstone, dogmatic, literalistic types who are not uncommon among fundamentalist Christian groups. The type who pay far more attention to the Old Testament than to the New”

    Given that people consider 99% of religious people in existence to be part of that category, doesn’t really mean they are making a specific discrimination. They cannot tell the difference because the propaganda targeting was never designed to allow them to make that distinction accurately.

    When people are made puppets, their emotions, distinctions, decisions, choices, reactions, and discriminations are less theirs than the puppet master’s.

    “If ever we should “forgive them, for they know not what they doEit is now.”

    Moral agents may be forgiven, but not tools. Because tools are not responsible for what they do, only the user. Many Leftist members are not users, but merely tools and cannofodder. There’s no need to forgive a tool, a gun, or a bomb. There’s no particular need to blame it either, of course.

    “If they find that things aren’t going well for those people despite their policies, they sincerely think it just needs to be done better.”

    Tyrants usually find it easier to blame external factors for internal failures. So if social democrats think their policies aren’t working, their first response should be to say that it is the fault of X. X being Republicans or conservatives or other counter-social revolutionaries. Even when it shouldn’t be, that is the instinctual response, due to propaganda control. It’s some one else’s fault, the fault of evil enemies.

    In this way, tyrants can gain even more power as a result of their failed internal policies.

    There seems to be this inclination to blame individual Leftists because people assume they are personally responsible for their own actions and are aware of the evil they do. The opposite reaction seems to prefer to forgive those that do evil without realizing it, whether through foolish or ignorance. I just don’t think the issue is whether they are fools or evil. This reminds me of the issue with Obama being a foolish incompetent or an evil master mind. To me, it didn’t really matter as much, because evil is the result. So long as evil is the result, whether it comes from one or the other isn’t very critical.

    I don’t see why one needs to blame people for the evil they do nor forgive them. It’s far more convenient to treat them as the tools they are. Moral agents, they are not. If these people had free will and were using it, the results might be the same as anything else. But our response would not be. When people choose evil of their own free will, they must be obliterated or redeemed. Tools that are used to achieve evil, does not necessarily need to be destroyed. Whether we are supposed to convince or destroy evil people, whether we are supposed to make use of the tools of our enemies or not, is a strategic decision. It hinges greatly upon how our side perceives who the human resources of the enemy are: moral agents that have chosen evil of their own accord, or mere tools.

    Destruction is preferred for the former, conversion/capture for the later.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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