Accepting a lie in place of the truth will do bad things to you.
I once advanced the thesis that if a man should accept even one fact as absolutely true, it would compel him to accept all the rest of objective reality. Herbert Spencer believed this as well:
I asked one of the members of Parliament whether a majority the House could legitimize murder. He said no. I asked him whether it could sanctify robbery. He thought not. But I could not make him see that if murder and robbery are intrinsically wrong, and not to be made right by the decisions of statesmen, then similarly all actions must be either right or wrong, apart from the authority of the law; and that if the right and wrong the law are not in harmony with this intrinsic right and wrong, the law itself is criminal.
However, until recently I hadn’t considered the inverse thesis: that if a man should accept even one untruth as absolutely true, it would compel him to reject all the rest of objective reality. I don’t know if that ever occurred to Spencer, but he had enough to occupy him in any case.
This essay isn’t about psycho-epistemology or the processes by which the mind digests and sorts its inputs. It’s more about false faiths and the way they divide us.
Longtime Gentle Readers will already know that I’m a Catholic. Catholicism is the parent branch of the faith called Christianity, from which all the other offshoots sprang in response to doctrinal, procedural, or organizational schisms. Christianity qualifies as a religious faith because:
- It is a system of belief;
- Which posits a theology;
- Whose veracity can neither be proved nor disproved.
As such, there is no way for the Christian to establish, beyond the possibility of objective contradiction, that Christianity is objectively true. However, because of certain of its premises, it can be attacked by persons who have decided to reject it. The most important of those premises is the Crucifixion and subsequent Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians hold to be the Son of God and Second Person of the Divine Trinity. He who rejects the Resurrection rejects Christian theology, though he might still approve of some of Christianity’s behavioral prescriptions.
BUT: If someone could establish beyond all doubt that the Resurrection did not occur as narrated in the three synoptic Gospels – i.e., that the Resurrection story is untrue — Christianity would fall. Over time, persons who continue to believe in it would be forced to reject many objective truths, because they would induce doubt of the Resurrection premise. The rejections would spread until they had made the believer’s acceptance of every fact conditional upon a satisfactory answer to the question “Does it induce doubt in the Resurrection?”
As reality is essentially indivisible, that process could not be kept from enveloping all facts, though it might not be evident ab initio. There would be those who accept reality as it is, and those who reject it as incompatible with their faith…even as they rely upon certain portions of reality in the regular conduct of their daily lives.
I’m on this track this fine Saturday morning because of two posts by two personal favorites:
Please read them both. The first is long and explicit about the falsity that’s dividing us. The second is short and leaves it unexpressed but implied. However, a certain amount of penetration is required to get past the political decorations and reach the base untruth that’s causing these enmities and divisions.
Time was – as I’m sure I’ve said before – liberals and conservatives agreed on ends but disagreed on means. They both wanted strong defenses, a sound currency, a vibrant economy, the deterrence and prosecution of crime, the reduction of personal poverty, a unitary and broadly tolerant Republic, and so forth. This is no longer the case. Today, the Left has elevated its preferences to moral principles: absolute articles of faith that demand equally absolute allegiance. Whether they bring about the ends predicted for them (when anyone actually bothers to predict such things) is immaterial. The Right disagrees, even in those cases where conservatives allow partial approval of the phenomenon under discussion.
But for Smith to disagree with Jones’s religious faith can have consequences, according to the nature of the disagreement. For the two to differ on the theology might still allow them to get along, but should they differ on moral principles, the game is up: the two must be enemies. The gulf between them will be unbridgeable, even if Smith bears Jones no ill will and is quite content that Jones believe as he pleases.
Again as I’m sure I’ve said before, the Left has awarded itself a status of absolute moral superiority, specifically because of Leftists’ political positions. It clutches that palm of righteousness with a fanatic strength. Yet it is false to fact. It has warped the minds of those who cling to it. And by implication, it must condemn and abjure those who differ…and that’s all of us in the Right.
For political differences to divide families is not unprecedented. After all, we do have a Civil War in our history. But the enmities of today go well beyond the divisions of those times, which often had more to do with place of residence than with any divergence of beliefs about some political issue. They are essentially religious, and thus cannot be argued, much less resolved. One element, the Left’s all-consuming hatred of President Donald Trump, makes this too clear to dismiss.
There is only one direction in which matters can progress. I’ll leave the elucidation to Mike Hendrix:
I’m sick and damned tired of trying to explain myself to people who aren’t listening; trying to debate rationally with hysterical nitwits who aren’t rational; trying to be civil with obnoxiously self-righteous twits who don’t even know what the word means; and pretending to be “friends” with nutcakes who explicitly, loudly hate my guts and want me and mine dead, dead, dead.
I could quite easily live next door to just about anybody at all, without hassle or angst, as long as they’re willing to leave my ass the fuck alone. That is the one and only requirement I have, and it is NOT negotiable. I don’t think that this one tiny little ask—mind your own business, and keep your nose out of mine—is over the top, not at all. Certainly, it is noway nohow, seeing as how I make it standard practice to see that it goes both ways. Clearly, the Outraged Left does not agree.
Well fine then, fuck it. Let’s everybody stop pretending that what’s staring us in the face isn’t really there at all, and just get on down to business.
But do have a nice day.