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Ideas continue to have consequences

People say religion is irrational and religious people are crazy. Sometimes that’s so, of course, but the same could be said of secular people and their views. The truth of the matter is that everyone has metaphysical principles that determine how he understands the world, and when someone insists on something without evidence, or even in the face of obvious crushing objections, there’s usually some such principle behind it. The result is that there can be a huge amount of craziness and stupidity even though there aren’t that many crazy or stupid people.

Thus, one poster over at Right Reason is puzzled by the insistence on the left that concern for the integrity of the professions—lawyers who feel bound by the law, scholars by evidence and reason— can simply be brushed off as “conservative.” The problem disappears if one notices that as a practical matter leftist thought—especially the left/liberal form that has triumphed—is simply the application of the modern technological understanding of reason to social life, and technological reason doesn’t recognize essences, only desires, resources, and techniques for using the latter to attain the former, subject to formal constraints like equality. Once left/liberalism has risen to dominance, concern for essences—for what things are in their integrity, without specific reference to the uses to which they can be put by particular people—is therefore understood as obscurantist bigotry. That concern is the basic thing to be eradicated so the march of progress can continue, so it becomes the definition of conservatism. Attachment to the integrity of a profession is therefore conservative, and wrong.

Similarly, Lawrence Auster is awed by the left/liberal identification of all those to their right, even open-borders global crusaders for freedom and equality like George W. Bush, as “dominionists” whose platform is simply to deprive all those who are not white, wealthy, male Christians (of a certain variety) of even the most basic civil liberties. It’s quite natural though that things should look that way to someone who identifies reason with technology, and therefore treats resources and their use to satisfy desire, and thus dominion and power, as the basic reality of social and moral life. To such a person any rightward deviation from left/liberal political correctness is simple dominionism, the desire to suppress others for the sake of advancing one’s own power and position turned into a political principle. Since the desire for power and position has no limit in technological thought, it must be assumed that dominionism naturally goes to extremes, so it makes sense to identify any trace of it with its most extreme form. So if Bush doesn’t support the most exacting forms of the compulsory normalization of homosexuality, and sometimes talks about God, he must be the same as the Nazis or Taleban.

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