I propose a New Year’s Resolution, not for myself, but for the world.
Let us, all together, make 2016 the Year of Reason, when logic came back from its long exile in human affairs and was restored to its proper throne in the human soul.
Let emotion, passion, hysteria, wishful thinking, be reduced, once again, to their proper subordinate station, no longer running wild, but domesticated.
Let the arrogant and blank denial of reality which is the hallmark of the modern age be exiled from human discourse, and returned to its proper place in Bedlam.
Any feminist reading these words must be elated, yet doubtful, for no doubt she thinks, “But feminism, the doctrine that holds men and women to be equal in the eyes of the law, is as conformable to reason as the opening of the Declaration of Independence! A return to reason would not just favor our cause, but coronate it with instant victory, would it not?”
No, miss. No woman has been denied the right to vote, to stand for public office, or to own property in her own name throughout my life and the life of my father. Feminism in that sense of the word has achieved all the victory it can. Real feminism is only an issue in Islam, the one place of which no feminist, at least in my hearing, makes mention.
What is called feminism these days is Cultural Marxism, that is, the criticism of Western Civilization on the grounds that is unfair to women. When no legal barriers to female equality can be found, the critics, whose purpose is the accusation, not the improvement, of society, ingeniously invent the rubbery standard of unequal representation of women in fields where women by nature are not suited or cannot prevail, such as battlefield combat.
The only rebuttal offered is either an out and out falsehood, such as the idea that women for the same job are paid less than men, or an out and out insanity, such as the idea that all differences between the sexes are cultural, rather than natural.
If women could be paid less than a man for the same work, men would price themselves out of the workforce, for any rational business owner would hire nothing but women, pay them more than they are now getting to lure them away from their present jobs, but less than the men working for his competitor are paid: and he would outperform his competitors, turn a higher profit, and get more efficient workers at a lower wage. If that is not happening, then women are not paid less for the same jobs. (Such bogus statistics exist only because they do not take all factors into account.)
If all differences between the sexes were cultural rather than natural, then the presence or absence of the various hormones and neurochemicals in our bodies and brains would have no effect on performance of any duties, on strength or speed or endurance, concentration, aggression, competitive instincts, anger, or anything else you can name. But that logically implies a homosexual would not be allowed to claim a difference in his genetics or biochemistry caused his deviation from normal sexual behavior. If sex is artificial, then sexual orientation cannot be natural.
If all the differences between the sexes were cultural rather than natural, the burden and moral hazard on an unmarried man fathering a child for someone else to raise would be the same as the burden and moral hazard on an unmarried woman bearing a child. The gravity of pregnancy would be a cultural artifact, and such women would be no more valuable to the tribe or to the community than an unmarried young men, and equally eager for glory in battle, and equally able to bear its privations and hardships.
And, obviously, I would never have to open a pickle jar for my wife, since my muscles and hers are identical in all ways, despite that she exercises and I do not.
Obviously no one in his right mind, and certainly no one who every raised babies from birth, would believe such nonsense for an instant, if he were allowed to sit and ponder the matter. Hence, to defend these shibboliths from contradiction, they must be defended from examination, and pondering outlawed.
This is done by coining a meaningless term, “sexism” which is some sort of race hatred alleged to exist between the sexes (despite their obvious affection for each other), and by asserting that all examination into the differences between the sexes, and all thought and debate about how best to arrange a society to accommodate two sexes that are as nearly opposite as one can be and still be members of the same species, are merely declared to be “sexist” which is, for some reason, is held to be a sin.
Unlike, say … envy.
Meanwhile envy, especially female envy of all things masculine, is held not to be a sin, but to be laudable.
And when reason shows these feminist fantasies cannot be, it is not envy that gives way in the mind, it is reason. They foreswear to listen to any contradiction. It is ‘mansplaining’ – another term of no meaning, but with admirable emotional impact.
When the world returns to reason, envy will be one of the emotions no longer granted a sacred office, and the topic of the complementary nature of male and female
will no longer be forbidden from rational examination. That means the end of feminism.
Would a return to reason usher in an age of libertarian Capitalism, where everything, from baby organs to harlot’s sexual services, could be bought and sold?
Much as I admire libertarians (and I do admire them a great deal!) I notice they claim reason to be on their side more than any philosophy, and yet they too from time to time have recourse to this same name-calling technique to rule certain questions out of bounds, and not open to reason: those who oppose Ayn Rand are looters and moochers and vampires, particularly we so called ‘Mystics of the Spirit’ who believe in God and who think the main problem in the world is lack of sanctity, not lack of greed.
Ayn Rand uses admirable to critique all her enemies, but avarice, not reason, is the main driver driving the libertarians to their conclusion that they owe society nothing aside from an agreement to live and let live and keep your word, and society owes them nothing in return.
Feminists use nothing but this magic word technique to smother reason. Libertarians use it only in certain hard cases, such as what is to be done on a lifeboat, or in wartime, or with the poor and weak, the prisoner and the stranger.
Again, any socialist reading of our proposed New Year’s Resolution to Reason must likewise be elated, for he deems socialism to be the very paragon of scientific and rational thinking.
However, the errors inherent in socialist schemes have been known since at least the days of Aristotle, who remarked that when a state holds all property in common, or when men as a group raise all children in common, no man cares for what is not his, and no child is reared.
Socialist planning of the economy is impossible for precisely the reason that too many factors of production weigh in to the cost and benefit of every good and service, and so the relative value placed on goods and services cannot be calculated without a price system. Socialists simply cannot tell when they are wasting money, and so they cannot help but waste it all. This is not because they are bad men. Even with elves or angels, Martians or robots, the thing is impossible. You cannot compare prices without prices to compare.
If the state commands all goods made and services produced by fiat, there is no price system, or, to be price, what prices the state arbitrarily assigns to goods and services, hence, convey no pricing information, and no guesses can be made as to whether the resources are being used efficiently, or simply wasted.
A rare and precious thing might have an arbitrarily low price tag, and be taken up quickly by the first comer, not by he who most values the good, and so the treasure is wasted; or a common thing given an arbitrarily high price tag, and the excess pile up in warehouses, unused, while other needs go unmet, and so work and time is wasted. This is precisely what happened during the Carter Administration scheme of gasoline rationing: gas desperately needed in one place was simply shipped to places where they had too much.
If socialism were capable of working, all government run programs and services, such as the mail department, the department of motor vehicles, socialized medicine, and on and on, would be at least as efficient and effective as their private sector counterparts. Catholic schools would not give a better education than the public indoctrination centers risibly called schools, for example, and Federal Express would not be cheaper and faster and better than the US Post. More to the point, the Soviet Union would not have been hiding its several famines while the United States produced half the world’s goods.
Obviously, again, no one in his right mind believes this nonsense for a second.
Instead, the Marxist coins new terms like ‘capitalism’ and ‘class consciousness’ and asserts that a man’s philosophy is dictated by his material circumstances, and that therefore there is no need, and no way, to reason a man into or out of an economic theory. By fiat, by axiom, in socialism, all criticism of socialism is decreed to be beyond the pale. But what is really driving socialism is a gluttony for material goods, and a desire to take from the productive and give to the unproductive. Socialism is the world’s most elaborate psychological rationalization for expropriation, robbery, theft, history has ever seen.
Not just feminism and socialism, but every current political and economic issue in peace or war facing this generation is fitted into this same mold of merely coining a new term and decreeing certain thought to be sacred and hence beyond the pale, beyond discussion, beyond doubt.
The word ‘homophobia’ places all discussion of marriage and chastity, decency and perversion, mental health and mental illness, beyond the pale. Anyone who reasons on these issues is disqualified without a hearing on the grounds that no legitimate difference of opinion can possibly exist: there is, on the one hand, roaring and absolute approval of sexual deviance, and, on the other, irrational, stupid, and devilish hatred. No possible honest disagreement is allowed.
What is really going on, of course, is that the unchaste, adulterous and porn-addicted wretches cast up as the flotsam and jetsam of the so-called Sexual Revolution cannot logically ask homosexuals to be chaste when they themselves, the unchaste, are not. Lust, not reason, is the main driver of this absurdity.
The word ‘racist’ places not only questions of race beyond the pale of discussion, but any political or economic issue whatsoever, such as deficient spending, or such as whether college students are allowed to dress up as Red Indians on Halloween.
What is really going on is that the same party that supported slavery and supported Jim Crow now creates, sustains, and milks hatred, wrath and ire between the races for political advantage, awarding race-based plunder and subjecting the victims to a continual barrage of racist anti-White agitprop. Wrath, not reason, is the main driver of this absurdity.
The word ‘Islamophobia’ places all rational discussion of the best way to fight the rising tide of Islamic terrorism and open of covert Jihad beyond the pale. It is not that the politically correct actually want to see their women in trash bags, and their gay voters thrown off rooftops; it is just that they have no concern for spiritual reality at all.
They cannot see a holy war when they are in it. Sloth, not reason, is the main driver here, and by sloth I do not mean laziness, I mean indifference to spiritual reality.
If cultists of multiculturalism saw a holy war, and they saw the difference between life in the Islamic part of the globe and life in the Christian part – indeed, if they even admitted for a nanosecond that there was a Christian part of the globe – like Semele beholding Zeus, it would blow their whole smug little agnostic world into ashy flinders to admit that religion makes all the difference.
Islamic misery and Christian prosperity and happiness cannot be admitted to exist, and so Islamics are congratulated on their dubious and few medieval scientific discoveries, and the industrial, scientific, political, and other revolutions of Europe are quietly ignored, or recast as evils.
Jared Diamond says that climate makes the difference, but he does not say why Christian Spain discovered the New World, rounded the Cape, and circumnavigated the globe, whereas Muslim Spain did not.
Finally, my atheist friends are also no doubt caught halfway between elation and dismay, for they no doubt also are saying, “But, surely Mr. Wright, surely it is you who are guilty of acts of blind faith! Surely our doubt of things perfectly obvious even to a child is the paragon and epitome of reason rightly understood, and your supernaturalism is irrational, blind faith!”
No, my friends. The first part of the New Year’s Resolution of returning to reason shall be the call things hereafter by their right names, and to draw conclusions based on the logic and logic alone, not on emotions. This includes the emotion of pride, including intellectual pride.
The atheist cannot account for the origin of the universe, if it has an origin, and cannot account for its eternity if it does not. Entropy makes it impossible for the universe to exist as closed but infinite system. Both require the existence of something outside and above nature supporting and defining it in order for the natural realm to exist. That thing is the supernatural realm.
The atheist cannot account for the objective nature of morality, save by unconvincing makeshifts, such as blaming genetics, or social evolution, or a favorable conjunction of star and planets at birth, or other such transparent nonsense.
Simple logic shows that if moral laws are made by an unintelligent natural process, they have no moral authority to make a claim on our obedience. Must, for example, a woman behave in a feminine fashion merely because she is born with two X chromosomes? If the origin of morality is the Darwinian drive to reproduce, shouldn’t we all be Catholics, and eschew contraception, divorce, polygamy, prostitution, and all else that hinders parent-intensive childrearing?
Again, if moral laws are manmade, then they can be abrogated by men, hence are not rules at all.
And to say morality is not objective involves the philosopher attempting to think honestly about the objectivity of morality in an instant paradox: for if morality is not objective, he is not necessarily bound to be honest, even to himself, about his conclusions on any matter, including this one.
Again, the atheist worldview cannot account for the nonatheist save by dismissing the vast majority of all men for the vast majority of all time as suffering atrocious lunacy, even men clearly wiser, more sober, and more intelligent than the atheist by every measure, from Socrates to Confucius to Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein.
The atheist is forced to say that all these men were raving lunatics, on par with a grown man believing in Santa, or a triskaidekaphobiac afraid of the number thirteen.
As a model of the universe, the all-men-but-me-are-mad requires a more farfetched set of assumptions than Ptolemy ever made with his awkward system of epicycles within epicycles.
Every ghost story, every miracle, every account of the supernatural made by men no matter how sober must be dismissed beforehand, evidence unexamined, testimony unheard.
Like the feminist, like the socialist, like the libertarian, the atheists have magic words of their own for placing certain issues beyond the pale of where thought is allowed to go: superstition, they call it, as if an ontological argument too subtle for them to follow were the same as a child afraid of a black cat crossing his path.
Or better yet, ‘Bronze Age Superstition’ as if the mere passage of time somehow invalidate the reality of reality.
To buttress this, they merely invent lies about history, which even atheist historians, if they are honest, find embarrassing. But the model of atheism requires that the times when religious fervor was strong in the West be times of superstition, witch-burning, wars and plagues, when in fact such periods were the ones when the greatest social improvement – by any metric one cares to name – took place, from the abolition of gladiatorial games, to the emancipation to women to the industrial revolution to the abolition of the slave trade. The scientific revolution itself is as unique a Christian cultural artifact as diatonic music or perspectival drawing, and, so far, has proved itself unable to flourish outside a Christian context.
Secular scientists always, in one or two generations, become servants of the secular power, and sacrifice their vaunted scientific objectivity into the service of political lies. See Lysenko for details, or Nazis race sciences, or the East Anglia University Warming Alarmist scandal.
No, the reason why atheism is and always has been the province of antisocial and unempathic social outliers and outcasts, is for the same reason that the Flat Earth Society has fewer members than the National Geographic Society: theism explains more of human existence than atheism. It is robust, it is elegant, it requires no absurdities like assuming all history is false and all men are mad, and explains what it seeks to explain, at least a far as reason can reach, and perhaps a step farther.
And, more to the point, while Christianity places many emotions, impulses, and desires beyond the pale of what reason allows, reason itself suffers no such restriction. Even today, the best constructed atheist arguments are found within the pages of Thomas Aquinas, not Christopher Hitchens. We look on the face of evil with open eyes, and we have arguments, indeed, tedious centuries of arguments, touching every nuance of the faith. There is nothing among us that has not been talked to death and back to life again.
Shall I give you the arguments for and against the First Century heresy of Gnosticism? Because I can rattle that off at the fingersnap. The Progressive can rarely even enunciate what it is he believes, much less list the arguments of his opposition.
At one time, there were rational atheists who could argue their position logically: they were getting rare on the ground when I departed their camp, and converted, and since that time I have met two. One of whom has since converted. The irrational atheist outnumbers the rational atheist and drives him into extinction.
The ancient Greeks, who were as philosophical a people as ever breathed air, toyed with atheism, and the Roman, including Lucretius, wrote brilliant, and, in his case, poetically magnificent, defenses and explanations and apologies for it.
Nonetheless, atheism did not catch on for the same reason the Phlogiston Theory did not catch on: it does not explain the facts on the ground. Neoplatonism was more popular. Atheism operates by unreason, that is, by merely decreeing certain events and evidence to be beyond the pale of thought.
If you ask him for an atheist explanation of the miracles of Lourdes, or the well attested and scrupulously recorded miracle healings of the Christian Scientists, or even the Resurrection itself, they simply deny even one ever happened. Even if they are sitting next to someone who saw the Risen Christ. Their theory denies that there is any evidence to look at. So they don’t.
Some atheists, including one I had the misfortune to debate in these very pages, are so wedded to the idea that atheism is rational and theism is not, that even the idea that a theist might think theism is rational cannot be admitted into their brain pans.
I had the disquieting experience of a man entirely blinded by blind faith explaining to me that when I said theism was both logical and rational (that is, both coherent within itself and coherent to the facts on the ground) I really meant the opposite. Since he had previously sworn me his solemn oath that he would pull no tricks or tactics like that, I assume, as a man of goodwill, he was utterly unaware of his own utter unreason. He kept claiming I had said theism was a matter of faith when I had quite clearly said the opposite: and when I pointed this out to him privately, he flew into a snit.
Mind you, this was not a dispute over whether what I had said was true or false. It was a dispute over what I had in fact said, and the words were written on the paper for anyone to see. But he could not see them.
His blind faith in atheism required him to believe that I believed theism is based on faith; and when I said I did not believe that, he said that I did. His theory about what I believed therefore what I said had more weight in his mind that my testimony of what I believed and more than the testimony of his own eyes as to what I had written. He kept rewriting the paragraph in question in his mind until, by bending the definition of the words into pretzels, my words said what his theory about me required me to have said.
Not all atheists are like this. Indeed, I, for one, have never met anyone in any camp like this.
Had his head rotated like an owl’s and his mouth vomited pea soup, I would not have been more surprised. The retreat into total denial even of what his own eyes were seeing was freakish. There is no other word for it.
So, the sad news for the New Year to all my feminist, libertarian, socialist, sexually liberated, progressive, and multiculturalist, and atheist friends is this: reason is not on your side. On your side are envy, avarice, gluttony, lust, ire, sloth and pride.
On your side is blindness.
On your side is an argument, or, rather, an eructation, that only proceeds by ruling thought out of bounds via magic words and magic name-calling. It is an argument whose only tactic is to escape rational question by attacking the questioner rather than addressing their questions.
Reason is on our side.
The good news is our side is the forgiving side that welcomes converts. You see, we think men are something more than moist robots or hairless apes, and we believe the blind can see.
Because to believe otherwise is unreasonable.
Happy New Year!
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John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program“). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.
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