Thursday, May 03, 2007

Anti-anti Barbarism

Bruce Kesler at the Democracy Project has a long essay on how academia has systematically failed to provide an ethical basis for life in a world where technology, mobility and free markets have allowed the individual to attain a greater measure of autonomy than ever before. At the precise moment when each person required an inner compass to guide him through his environment, his elders have pointed him in all directions.

But rather than resulting in a world of reasoned discourse between different moral points of view, the systematic teaching of moral relativism in the classroom resulted in its precise opposite: a culture of uncritical conformity in the guise of political correctness whose members, unprepared to think for themselves became fair game to any cult leader or demagogue who card to take advantage of the milling flock of sheep. Quoting Maimon Schwarzchild, law professor at Catholic San Diego University, Kesler writes:


Our civilization’s peculiar misfortune is to be under a double assault, physically by the undercivilized from without, and psychologically by those surfeited with it from within. And these last own the classroom ...

73 percent of the students said that when their professors taught about ethical issues, the usual message was that uniform standards of right and wrong don't exist ("what is right and wrong depends on differences in individual values and cultural diversity"). It's not news that today's campuses are drenched in moral relativism. But we are allowed to be surprised that college students report they are being well prepared ethically by teachers who tell them, in effect, that there are no real ethical standards, so anything goes.

The result is a civilization in the "process of committing suicide", whose dominant ideology is anti-anti-barbarism, where the highest value is not to oppose even the greatest evil. I found Kesler's observations interesting not merely in the intellectual sense, but because it bore directly on the conduct of the War on Terror.

Terror, if it is anything, represents the ultimate challenge of barbarism against civilization. And if the great centers of Western learning, the giant flagships of its literacy as represented by newspapers, magazines and television stations cannot rouse themselves to oppose terrorism then in some fundamental sense it has already pre-surrendered. And this ethos of surrender, this "anti-anti-barbarism" will inevitably manifest itself in all facts of public life; a life which has been converted into a moral vacuum. Polygamy, endogamy, special dispensations for cults, the inordinate fear of giving offensive; these endless and futile accomodations to maintain a void which is rapidly being filled not by the same indefinite vapor, but is instead being occupied by a very definite point of view. A point of view that stipulates when one must wash, pray or what one should eat; that knows even the genders of vegetables. When the moral relativists cast the truth table from their ivory towers they forgot that anti-anti-bararism = ~~(~p)=~p, where p stands for civilization. It is in a word barbarism.

19 Comments:

Blogger allen said...

“This is one of the incidental rewards of cultural equivalence; it blunts the critical senses and levels all values until people who know nothing about any given subject feel entitled to assert things about that subject with great confidence and a whiff of righteousness. One can, as Ian Stewart warned, believe whatever one wants.”
___David Thompson

Article 32 Investigations

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ): Article 32 Investigation

Greg McCormack. Article 32 Investigations. McCormack and Associates – Military Litigation Law Firm

Semper Fidelis!

5/03/2007 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

So the sterile Petri dish of student mind-mush is ready to accept whatever pathogens the professor puts into the agar.

Moral relativism is the solvent that deconstructs the tenants of Western society. In its place is spliced the new morality… that whatever the professor should espouse. No order can be broken completely down into chaos without a new moral construct to take its place. Is this where we get dumbing down of America? Sounds like a madrassa of the Left.

O.T. McCain champions a new “League of Democracies”. Makes me wonder if he is not tuning in.

5/03/2007 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger ZionistYoungster said...

They would say they are just continuing the heritage of the Greek agora: the tradition of listening. But they err, for, while the tradition of the Greek agora did consist in listening, it most certainly did not consist in considering all stories to be of equal worth and uncritically to be deemed true.

Conversation and debate are Greek; revelation and impartial judgment are Jewish; postmodernism, annulling both through its denial of the ability of humans to arrive at the truth, through its cultural indifferentism and through its pseudoscientific scoffing at all supernatural sources of knowledge and instruction, is from the pit of hell both here and in the world to come.

5/03/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Abolition of Man

Excellent essay by C.S. Lewis on why postmodern relativism is not only the least rational ethical code but the one guaranteed to extinguish individual freedom. His argument is persuasive and not God based although one could take it there.

5/03/2007 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

This is the same message that is brought forth in Dr. Myron Magnet’s remarkable work, “The Dream and the Nightmare: the Sixties Legacy to the Underclass.”

Dr Magnet points out that during the 60’s, even as an emphasis on Civil Rights opened up many new doors for minorities, the Avant Guard was telling them not to open those doors, to do so would equate to “selling out” and “working for chump change” in "dead end jobs."

The worst aspect of this is that while such flirting with alternative life styles was an amusing diversion for the idle rich, it was a disaster for those of the underclass. Those with rich, or even merely stable families, to fall back on could afford to play around with drugs, free love, the protest movements, Marxism, and not getting a real job – while this was harmful to society, they had a personal safety net. The underclass had no such advantage.

And so it is with the modern external threats to civilization. Secure behind our magnificent volunteer military, technological capabilities, and the fact that the guy next door is not only probably a quite decent and moral fellow but is armed to the teeth, the academics of today can disparage all these things.

They can say “Tommy this and Tommy that and toss him out the brute” both before AND after “the guns begin to shoot” and suffer no consequences. In most foreign countries the people have no such luxury.

This failure to defend civilization will have its worst consequences to those poor souls now desperately clinging to the edge of it.

5/03/2007 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

Bi-polar black/white morality thinking is what Islamist terrorists do better than we: holy/infidel, alive/dead, suicided/homicided, Caliphate/weak god- secular gov, Islamic longview/western short attention span, faithful’s beards/diCaprio’s inadequate facial hair, etc.

Anyway, I forgot what my point was. Would like to add, tho’, that my kiwi are gendered, which is important to know, else no baby fruit. Beyond that, what goes on in my refrigerator and pantry is private biz w/ which I scarcely involve myself. The produce might as well please themselves before their time comes. Weak and too tolerant westerner that i yam.

Good twiddle notation, btw, and am not being flippant. Everything said on this post and thread is dead-on accurate logic. Unfortunately.

5/03/2007 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

This just says so much.

Chimps are people too, insists scientist

***

5/03/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

The Bible is so Now.

WOW.

5/03/2007 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Connectivity-potential. That's the fundamental, scientific standard that calls the lie on ethical relativity.

Seriously. That's the answer. In 50 years nobody will even question it.

5/04/2007 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Darren Duvall said...

Does it help Jane Goodall's case if reading the argument that chimps are people makes me want to fling poo at her? If so, I'll refrain.

Fine to be the guardian of a chimp. What will be interesting will be when chimps are people and are then appointed guardians of humans. For some of our fellow citizens, this may be a positive development in the direction of their lives. Learning to use simple tools, healthy exercise in the trees and eating more fruits and vegetables would probably help some people. Wouldn't cut down on the infanticide rate, but you have to start somewhere.

5/04/2007 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

So what's the solution? How does one return to the attitude and ethos of yesteryear? Are we even capable of doing it?

The problem with civilization is that everyone is civilized, even those who can see the threats clearly. So it would be uncivilized to act in a manner that would effectively counter the threat.

My lord, we're hoist on our petard

5/04/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

darren duvall,

re: Wouldn't cut down on the infanticide rate, but you have to start somewhere.

Excellent observations. LOL

Although chimps are cute, laid back fellows, as all global warming experts know, the rate of homicide would probably go through the roof as well. How about cannibalism? Hmm...

5/04/2007 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

By some means not yet modeled by global warming scientists, the CIA, per Executive Order: Zionist 666 (or it could be 699 or 669 or whatever) has created Chimp based "artificial" intelligence.

Rasmussen Reports

___35% of Democrats “believe” Bush knew of 9/11 attacks in advance.
___26% of Democrats are “unsure” if Bush knew of 9/11 attacks in advance.

Clearly, that 26% is going to require some tweaking. Maybe the Chinese can help.

5/04/2007 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

Wretchard,

I owe you a belated thank you.

Only after I came back to reread this post this morning did I realize you had, once again, influenced one of my own screeds.
You affected how I reacted to the GOP debates televised by MSNBC.

With anti-anti-barbarism so well accepted at respected levels of thinking, those of us who are looking for a champion, an agent who'll lead us away from the abyss, had best learn how to be good defenders. Because assuredly, supported with what you report here, Our Next Good American Leader Is Currently Under Attack.

5/05/2007 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

The operational catch word is TOLERANCE.

In 2003, I engaged in a debate with a classmate about OIF and the Long War in general. It was a liberal to liberal discussion.

I set out defining what it means to be a liberal, and what we as liberals are supposed to believe in, defend and fight for. That some things are wholly unacceptable to us - as liberals. Islamic (militant political) extremism being one of those things. The classmate responded that the worldview I was describing was an obsolete form of liberalism. He claimed modern liberalism's highest value is TOLERANCE, which is why going to war to stop, and hopefully end, Islamic (militant political) extremism is wrong. Because that is intolerant.

5/05/2007 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Indeed, unless one is prepared to say, when appropriate, "Um, sorry, but you're not OK" (and has the fortitude to back it up), then the "I'm OK, you're OK" worldview endemic to "liberal," "progressive" societies must necessarily evolve (or devolve) into "I'm NOT OK, you're OK."

One of the problems being, what happens when the "rules" for "I'm OK, you're OK," assumed to be in play are not agreed to by all sides. Another, that it's easier for progressives to blame themselves, gives them more of a feeling of being in control. And another, that it often feels safer to be tolerant rather than assertive (at least it's perceived to be in the short term). And another, that sophisticates can---and do---use their superior minds to rationalize practically anything.

Which leaves certain segments of Western society making toleration of the intolerant a supreme moral virtue (or a moral necessity).

Even if all it really means is either: "I don't have the guts to stand up for myself or my society"; or, "I don't believe my society is worth preserving."

All starting from "I'm OK, you're OK"....

5/06/2007 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

barry,

re: I'm OK - You're OK

This is the first time I have seen anyone pickup on the Harris line. It does place the problem in a whole new light. Well done!

Is there a major armed or violent conflict in the world today that does not involve the antagonist Islam?

Despite Western leaders assuring Muslim audiences for years, "You're OK", reciprocity is absent. Islam persists in saying, "You're NOT OK."

I'm OK - You're OK

***

5/06/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

Jeesh Allen. Give yourself a whack on the noggin. The biggest on-going mayhem isn’t even registering on your radar, is it?

For the answer to your question is "yes."
At least one. And it's a doozy perentage-of-population-wise, (exceeded only by PRC doctrine in estimable numbers).

And the West, despite much crocodile tearing, is letting it go on as if Bresnev were still enforcing his doctrine.

The number that Mugabe has been permitted to go on killing is violence on a scale far outweighing all terrorist attacks combined.

For shame. PRC isn't easily thwarted. But Zimbabwe?

Still, what a stroke of luck it is that France no longer has to compete with Zimbabwean corn coming into the EU. /s

5/06/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

pascal fervor,

re: Jeesh Allen. Give yourself a whack on the noggin.

Right.

5/06/2007 11:14:00 AM  

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