I am a classical conservative. This is a view of the world that stands on the shoulders of intellectual giants like Socrates, Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Scotus, and Suarez. Most importantly, I stand on Christ who is truth. He and the Apostles affirm total depravity, traditional views of sexuality (contra LGBTQ), modesty, limited government*, personal responsibility, and many other traditional virtues. Great church fathers like Justin Martry, Athanasius, Tertullian, and Polycarp all agree. The great traditions of Judaism, RCC, Orthodox, and Protestantism affirm it as well. Not only that, but we have Scholasticism, which is a system of thought that dominated philosophy for ages. It defends common sense and refutes secular thought. This general tradition remains defended by great minds like Pruss, Feser, Oderberg, Haldane, Kerr, Fine, and Klima to name just a few. Secularism is but a mere disastrous blip in the grand scheme of thought.Classical conservatism by contrast is built off of this great tradition of great minds and their powerful arguments that spanned across many ages. Essentialism, teleology, and natural law are essential components of this view that affects EVERYTHING else. Kingdoms built upon its wisdom flourished, but those that abandoned or rejected it came to a desolate end. Contra Scruton, Oakshott, and Burke, conservatism is not just a temperament based on experience, it is a lived ideology. Their anti-ideology and borderline anti-reason approach really frustrates me sometimes, despite the fact that I agree with them in many areas. Classical conservatism IS an ideology of sorts, based on experience and tradition. That doesn’t mean it was always perceived or known *as* an ideology because roughly its just common sense, but it sure can and should be extrapolated into one. What is classical conservatism then? First, it takes a realist view of theism, metaphysics, essences, final causes, perception, language, knowledge, science, and natural law. We take the substance view of equality: everyone is equal in value regardless of sex, race, and other contingencies. Second, it takes a fallen view of human nature. It’s not systems that ultimately cause corruption, it’s human nature itself. There’s no human solution to evil or “oppression,” there are only trade-offs. Religion becomes quite important as a result. Third, if our view could be summarized, it would be subsidiarity, solidarity, religion, and family, and patriotism. This is in contrast to the depraved abuses of liberty, equality, and fraternity in America today. Feser explains this well (link below). We’re also not radical individualists but hold to an organic understanding of the society in which the common good and virtue is the goal. Fourth, we believe that the government should be explicitly conservative and built upon natural law. We reject neutrality, Leftist notions of tolerance, and libertarianism. I could say a lot more, but I’ll stop here. Read Chad McIntosh’s paper and Feser for a fuller explanation
I had the pleasure of engaging in a very thoughtful and important discussion with Britlandt Abney, who defended the pro-choice position. We delved into some complex philosophical issues such as the substance theory, the decisive moment theory, the reliability of intuitions, the moral salience of brain structure, criteria of personhood, Peter Singer’s infanticide, moral risk, and more! Enjoy.
Lots of fear, shaming others as “murderers”, fake news, and lots of government overreaches going on. While I want to be cautious, love my neighbor, wear a mask when asked, and not cause another to stumble, I also think the entire premise that this is built on is dubious and it enrages me to see the vitriol against churches and others who disagree. Here are some reasons to reject this fearmongry and tyranny: • Only 1% of the US population are confirmed to have gotten the virus and only 0.04% have died from it (https://bit.ly/3asmtzx). However, there are probably 10x more COVID-19 cases (https://bit.ly/2DQ8kjS). Young adults overestimate the risks of the virus by tenfold (https://bit.ly/3iBFm67), which shows they’re misinformed and guided by fear. • The best research thus far indicates that the lethality rate is in the 0.2-0.3% range, which is roughly double your typical flu. (https://bit.ly/3iFVwLH). • Death in babies to college students is almost non-existent. More than 80% of the deaths that occur are in those aged 65 and over (https://bit.ly/2XXqZ3W). • The vasty majority that do contract COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms (https://bit.ly/3iDIdeH). In one study, 88% of those who contracted were asymptomatic (https://bit.ly/2DYhDy2). • About 40% of COVID-19 deaths have been in nursing homes (https://nyti.ms/3gWEl8e). No doubt in part because of Cuomo, who foolishly sent 4,500 COVID-19 patients to nursing homes, and then blew off their deaths as “people die.” (https://bit.ly/2XU8pKf). • It’s a known fact that the death count is inflated (https://bit.ly/3iEi4wf). Even the CDC Director admits this (https://bit.ly/3gRaWfA). Those who died with COVID-19 are not distinguished from those who died because of COVID-19. Dismiss the media’s death count. There’s no context to them. We’ve never counted deaths in the way we’re counting them now.• Herd immunity is a real (https://bit.ly/2XXLhdI). Once a disease is rooted in a population, quarantine or lockdowns will not help the general public health. • There’s increasingly more evidence that HCQ, when combined with zinc and other drugs, is effective in reducing COVID-19 deaths (https://c19study.com/, https://bit.ly/30RI69o, https://bit.ly/31NGoVT). • Evidence suggests that the lockdown was a bad idea (https://bit.ly/2PREMVn & https://bit.ly/2Y0QkKy). By CDC’s own standards, this is a category 2 pandemic, which only recommending “consider[ing] school closures of less than four weeks, along with moderate efforts to reduce contacts among adults.” (https://bit.ly/3gVAisX). • The idea of locking down the entire country indefinitely, as opposed to quarantining just the vulnerable / sick and doing a partial lockdown, is an unproven ivory tower idea that’s only 14 years old (https://bit.ly/2PTbcid). • The Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-69 killed 100,000 in the U.S. alone, and yet “there was no drama queen hysteria, no confinement of the whole country to house arrest, no massive infringement on the natural right of citizens to earn a livelihood.” (https://bit.ly/31OrjTX)• The scientific evidence for the effectiveness of masks is dubious (https://swprs.org/face-masks-evidence/), some pro-mask evidence is bad (https://bit.ly/2DQWKoD), assumes ideal usage, and is challenged by evidence that it’s transmitted via aerosol as well (https://bit.ly/3gWFv3A). Even WHO said there’s no direct evidence of the effectiveness of masks in healthy individuals (https://bit.ly/30SBlEm). • Sweden didn’t mandate masks or issue a lockdown. Their death count has plummeted to roughly one per day (https://bit.ly/3gXP02j). Their top virus expert said they see no point in wearing a mask (https://bit.ly/2E6zAdu). Initially, they did see a high death count but this is because their nursing facilities were not protected fast enough (https://bit.ly/2CvRSVq). Japan, South Korea, and others did not have nation-wide lockdowns either (https://bit.ly/3alwb6W).• This isn’t just about COVID-19 deaths. Suicides and drug overdoses have greatly increased during the lockdown (https://bit.ly/3ap4VEt). Domestic violence has greatly increased (https://bit.ly/33XKKfH). Tens of millions of jobs were lost (https://bit.ly/3kICINA). 1.4 million more deaths from tuberculosis because of shutdowns (https://bit.ly/2DUeorF). There’s been a spike in depression and anxiety (https://bit.ly/2PT1M6k). You can’t just demand a lockdown for a virus without weighing the consequences. • There’s plenty of reason to distrust the “experts” and media (https://bit.ly/3gZdXug & https://bit.ly/30VAQJv). Fauci admits to lying to us about masks (https://bit.ly/31TsnWH). The health establishment has been wrong on 10 different things (https://bit.ly/3kEVQwd). And it’s been heavily politicized. Fauci can condemn church gatherings, but can’t condemn BLM protests (https://bit.ly/33WJV6L). The hypocrisy is ridiculous. • There’s good reason to think that COVID-19 “is essentially a political campaign based on the pretense of health.” Aptly called the 2020 COVID coup (https://bit.ly/30W2Ooy). • Lastly, for more data, I would highly recommend https://bit.ly/3gVK8en and https://bit.ly/3kFEzCW. For a philosophical analysis of the lockdown, see Feser (https://bit.ly/2DR2sXB & https://bit.ly/2DYxUmD). ––––––––––––––––––––––Anyone who reads this and still disagrees but is not *at least* sympathetic and aware that this absolves the opposing side of most culpability (or moral wrongdoing) has their head up their butts. These people need to look up the word “charitable” in the dictionary and stop calling others “murderers” or “selfish” for disagreeing, all the while trying to force others to comply. They look like fools. No serious person denies that this virus is real, that every death it produces is tragic, or that the life of others is not worth protecting. A partial lockdown, isolating vulnerable individuals, and practicing good hygiene go a long way. But going beyond this to government mandates? That’s what the evidence does not justify, or if it does, then we have no reason to trust the experts because they’ve done a terrible job. 𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍: Keep calm, wash your hands, self-isolate (if sick or vulnerable), be a lot more cautious around the vulnerable, be wise, and pray. What measures are “wise” is a choice that should be left up to you and private organizations, not the government. My view is that social distancing and mask wearing is a wise precaution, but not necessary. But if you disagree, I will respect you, as we all should
Forgive my blatant plagiarism of John Chrysostom yet again but I am finding myself so motivated and inspired by his words in recent weeks that I want to keep sharing excerpts.
John was a Christian in the late-300s which means he is living after the events of 312 and 325 when Christianity was made legal and then ultimately embraced as the religion of the Roman Empire. Christianity had gone from a marginalized and persecuted religion to the most powerful group and this resulted in a lot of nominal Christianity, folks joining just to be part of the “in crowd” so greed and excess quickly infested the Church. John became a preacher and towards the end of his life a bishop and reacted against the hypocrisy of rich Roman Christians. After his death, he gained the nickname “golden mouth” (chrysostom in Greek) and that name is forever attached to him, and for obvious reason.
Nothing is more frigid than a Christian who is indifferent to the salvation of others. Indeed I wonder if such a person can be a true Christian. To become a disciple of Christ; is to obey his law of love; and obedience to the law brings joy beyond measure and description. Love means to want the best for others, sharing with the joy of love. So the Christian feels compelled to speak to others about the law of love, and are the joy of obeying this law. Of course, many people are shy about speaking to others; in their case actions motivated by love will be most eloquent testimony. But those who are not shy will surely want to express their joy at every opportunity. There is no need to use fine words or elegant phrases; even the most uneducated people can convey joyful love by the spirit which accompanies their words. Even slaves have been known to convey their masters and mistresses by the sincerity of their speech.
The bit about nothing is more frigid than a Christian who is indifferent – convicts me.
The part about being too shy speech but acts motivated by being enough to share the gospel – comforts me.
May Jesus warm our cold hearts to care about those around us and may the Spirit of God embolden us to speak when necessary, serve when unnecessary and love always. Praise God above.
I’m in school again, and I am trying to decide what my focus should be. Metaphysics, natural theology, natural law, and political philosophy are my major interests. I want to take a common sense, Scholastic, and Christian approach to each of these fields. But it seems impossible to specialize in all of those fields. So I may drop natural theology just because there’s already a lot of work going into that. But that’s hard because I want to refute existential inertia, brute facts, and the so-called Gap problem. Maybe even offer arguments for the Trinity. I’d prefer not to drop metaphysics because I want to continue developing a Thomistic approach to Quantum Mechanics, offer a defense of prime matter, and defend essentialism. Then as far as natural law, I want to write a book called “A Meta-Ethical Case for Natural Law” where I evaluate every major realist theory of ethics and demonstrate how they must all assume that essence grounds goodness, which would show NL is superior. I also want to evaluate the role of intuitions and provide a defense of the perverted faculty argument. Less abstractly and more practically, I want to write a natural law approach to political philosophy where I offer a defense of classical conservatism and refute competing philosophies, especially those from the Left like John Rawls. Lastly, I want to do something like Descartes. In my opinion, his approach can be salvaged if we use Scholasticism. I’ll assume radical skepticism, show how that fails, return to common sense, demonstrate God’s existence, and then argue for the entire Scholastic foundation. But more than that, I want this to be a poetic, philosophical journey of wonder. Something like “The Consolations of Philosophy” except I’ll go from metaphysics, epistemology, natural law, natural theology, politics, and eventually Christianity itself. It’ll be an encapsulation of my thought process from beginning to end, where I’ll use philosophical + theological arguments to support it. It’ll be a long series. I’ll probably call it “Contemplations.” Anyways, I’m just daydreaming out loud here. Who knows if I’ll ever get to do any of this, or whether it’s even a good idea. Any thoughts? Or other avenues you think I should take?
What exactly are human rights? Obviously this has become a controversial question because a popular tactic when one wants something for free is to declare it a human right to have such and such (health care is a human right, shelter is a human right). The other day I saw a phrase on the website of a community development project “We want to promote mobility as a human right.” My natural reaction was to roll my eyes at the buz wordyness of that statement but then I questioned myself, “Wait, mobility is a human right, right? Shouldn’t people have the freedom to move about where they want to?”
I have been reading John Chrysostom (a preacher from the 300s who is famous for having a way with words) as a part of my readings through church history and I came upon this excerpt that got me questioning the concepts of human rights.
Chrysostom: We do not need to buy air, water fire, sunshine, and things of this kind. God has given enough of all these blessings every to enjoy them freely. The sun shines equally on the rich and the poor, and they both breathe the same air. Why is it, then, that these necessary things, which sustaing, are created by God for common use, while money is not common?
America is founded on the concept that humanity has certain inalienable right that are given by our creator. Christians will tell you that human rights come from God because humanity is made in God’s image. So we know their source and that they are fundamental to our society but the question for me is what do they include? Air and sunshine, according to Chrysostom are human rights but isn’t food every bit as necessary as these things, yet I must either buy my food or buy the land to grow my food. What about Maslow hierarchy of needs? Should any of them count?
I don’t have an answer I’m just musing but would love to hear your thoughts.
This is some Sodom & Gomorrah type of depravity. Absolutely disgusting. What’s even worse? I saw a thread where people justified it. They said, “It’s just a movie. The only thing sexual is sex. You’re the ones making this sexual. Anyone who sees this as sexual are the real sickos. This is just an example of girls expressing themselves. It’s a normal thing for girls their age. They should be free to do what they want. If you shame them for this, you’re being sexist. And claiming that this caters to pedophiles is like claiming that adult females dressing “immodestly” are catering to rapists. Shut up. Leave these girls alone.” Words cannot express how furious this makes me. This is a reductio ad absurdum against Leftist sexual ethics. Their minds are absolute trash.
Look at these lowlife animals celebrating this act of violence against cops. This came from my local city’s FB page! These anti-cop sentiments are becoming more and more common. Disgusting filth like this deserve to have their heads bashed with a baseball bat. As a friend of mine said, “This is why it’s morally unacceptable to vote Left this year. Until the mainstream Democratic Party publicly condemn this in the strongest terms possible, they are not worthy of anybody’s vote, and should not be allowed in power. They will pander to this stuff.” Which applies equally to BLM.
Character matters. No action is done in a void; it either flows out of one ‘s character, or helps to shape one’s character. This is why Jesus says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:18). This is why we can judge people’s character based on their actions (Matt 7:16), and we can predict people’s actions based on their character. It also helps us make prima facie judgments. If a kid was shot dead and you were told either Hitler or Mother Teresa did it, who would you think most likely did it? Well clearly Hitler. Legally, this isn’t sufficient to establish guilt (nor should it be) but it is evidence, albeit defeasible evidence. Further facts could reveal our character judgement to be false in a particular instance. Which makes sense because character does not *determine* action, it influences action. But to say character has no relevance at all, or that Teresa and Hitler are equals, would be absolutely foolish.
Thomists sometimes get flack for pointing out that their view is not understood, but for the most part it’s true. The analytic sees an “is-ought” problem but the Thomist sees oughtness laden into the very structure of existence. Moral oughtness is just a special instance. Our idea of physical objects is also radically different. We think that all physical objects are composed of matter and form (hylemorphism), which provides a far richer conception of the world than a mechanistic conception of matter. Qualia isn’t problematic for us. The interaction problem doesn’t exist because an immaterial principle is laden in all physical objects (substantial form). We understand the nature of morality, time, epistemology, etc in a way rather foreign to the modernist paradigm. Metaphysics is king for us. Finally, Thomism is an interlocking system with a rich array of concepts refined by centuries upon centuries of great thinkers. You can’t expect to fully understand the ideas in isolation. For this reason, most analytic philosophers do not want to put the time required to understand it. This is not to say that you can’t have some basic understanding of key concepts like act and potency, but the modernist paradigm can be a great obstacle on the road to full understanding. At the same time, there are quasi-essentialist leaks in the modernist paradigm that would lead to a more Thomistic understanding (e.g, possible world semantics or dispositions). There’s some great value in analytic philosophy. Nevertheless whenever someone says, “I understand Thomism well enough” and proceeds to give objection X, more often than not their objection shows that they do not understand it enough. There are good objections out there, and I’m not saying that if you disagree with it, you can’t possibly be understanding it. There was plenty of disagreement even among Scholastics precisely because the issues are so complex. Disagreement is not the issue. Rather, the issue is that unlike the Scholastics, most of the moderns just don’t have a proper understanding because they interpret it under their paradigm and often never studied it beyond a brief introduction.