Archive for the ‘democracy’ Category

The Poison of Subjectivism

June 12, 2013

If “good” means only the local ideology, how can those who invent the local ideology be guided by any idea of good themselves? The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike. Subjectivism about values is eternally incompatible with democracy. We and our rulers are of one kind only so long as we are subject to one law. But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his creation.

Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish. If we do, we may live, and such a return might have one minor advantage. If we believed in the absolute reality of elementary moral platitudes, we should value those who solicit our votes by other standards than have recently been in fashion. While we believe that good is something to be invented, we demand of our rulers such qualities as “vision,” “dynamism,” “creativity,” and the like. If we returned to the objective view we should demand qualities much rarer, and much more beneficial – virtue, knowledge, diligence and skill.

The Poison of Subjectivism, C.S. Lewis

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The Preconditions of Freedom

August 22, 2009

The security (i.e. freedom) of the press, whatever fine declarations may be inserted in any constitution, must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government.

Alexander Hamilton, quoted by Charles A. Beard, Freedom, Allen and Unwin, 1942, pp.8-9

Beard continues:

The well-framed proclamations of the Weimar Constitution were easily swept into the discard by Adolf Hitler and his Storm Troopers. Something more is needed to preserve freedom than verbal proclamation. Underlying all practice in this respect are the thought, scheme of values and resolve of a sufficient body of people in every country to sustain assertions of freedom made in the form of law.

If we are to get at the sustaining convictions which give force to paper formulations of freedom, we must examine the thought that has accompanied the rise, growth, assertion and defense of freedom. How have asserters and defenders of freedom looked upon the world of human beings? What asumptions have they made respecting humanity? What values have they accepted as primordial? What promises of freedom have they found in the very nature…of mankind?

ibid.

Perhaps our politicians might do well to consider these factors in their expectation of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan etc.