Archive for the ‘relativism’ 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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Where relativism tends

October 16, 2012

Just months before he died, Jimmy Savile boasted that he “hadn’t got a conscience” and joked about being brought before a judge.

In one of his final interviews, given to a tiny Highlands radio station, the disgraced DJ revealed that he lived his life by the credo “What I feel is right is right”.

Savile — accused of sexually abusing girls across Britain — boasted that every day was Christmas for a “professional single fella” like him.

Times

What he felt was right was actually wrong. But whilst many are quick to castigate his actions, his creed is widely held.

He said of the Catholic church:

“I don’t listen to the church. I listen to myself.”

 

He repeated this creed in his apparent defence of Gary Glitter:

“Whether it (Glitter having idecent images on his computer hard drive) was right or wrong is, of course, it’s up to him as a person”

‘Of course’ it isn’t.

September 5, 2011

Multiculturalism rests on the supposition—or better, the dishonest pretense—that all cultures are equal and that no fundamental conflict can arise between the customs, mores, and philosophical outlooks of two different cultures. The multiculturalist preaches that, in an age of mass migration, society can (and should) be a kind of salad bowl, a receptacle for wonderful exotic ingredients from around the world, the more the better, each bringing its special flavor to the cultural mix. For the salad to be delicious, no ingredient should predominate and impose its flavor on the others.

Even as a culinary metaphor, this view is wrong: every cook knows that not every ingredient blends with every other. But the spread and influence of an idea is by no means necessarily proportional to its intrinsic worth, including (perhaps especially) among those who gain their living by playing with ideas, the intelligentsia.

Theodore Dalrymple

This attitude is borne of relativism.

A child was brought to the orthodontist with a protruding tooth

August 12, 2011

A child was brought to the orthodontist with a protruding tooth. But the orthodontist told the mother that the protrudng tooth was in the correct position. It was all the others that were in the wrong position.

The believer is pressured to conform since he can’t be right all alone or in a minority. But it isn’t about numbers. Truth and right and determined by an objective standard as surely as the orthodontist used an objective standard to determine that most of the child’s teeth were in the wrong place.

Whatever in any city is regarded as just and admirable is just and admirable in that city for as long as it is thought to be so

November 24, 2009

Whatever in any city is regarded as just and admirable is just and admirable in that city for as long as it is thought to be so.

Man is the measure of all things.

PROTAGORAS, 480-411 BC
Attributed in Plato’s Theatetus, 196C, Quoted in E Hussey, the Pre-Socratics, p.109

So when the Nazis considered it just and admirable to kill the Jews, it was just and admirable – for their whole reign anyway. The very moment the Americans arrived it became unjust and unadmirable. Which makes it implausible to say the least.

To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs

November 10, 2009

You can only be truly tolerant of other people’s realities by having found some new way to inhabit your own…To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs.

Anderson, W.T. (1990). Reality isn’t what it used to be: Theatrical politics, ready to wear religion, global myths, primitive chic, and other wonders of the post-modern world. San Francisco: Harper & Row. p.267f.

In other words, Anderson prescribes that ‘real’ tolerance (to ‘be truly tolerant’, like him) you must (no room for tolerance there, you must) have a constructivist view of ‘the nature of human truth’ and ensure that you say you hold your beliefs provisionally and not as the last word. You must, in short, change your beliefs (albeit allowing local colouring) to be like Anderson’s. Tolerance of intolerance is not tolerated of course. Got that?!

How postmodernism kills science

October 4, 2009

In his review of Higher Superstition, Arthur R. Kantrowitz wrote in Physics Today (January 1995): “The pigeonholing of science as a white, European, bourgeois, male, etc. view of the world is taken seriously by many members of the humanities and social science faculties of our leading universities and by literary intellectuals generally. To such demystifiers, the knowledge produced by science is no more reliable than that produced by Rother ways of knowing.

As Gross and Levitt put it, “Once it has been affirmed that one discursive community is as good as another, that the narrative of science holds no privileges over the narratives of superstition, the newly minted cultural critic can actually revel in his ignorance of deep scientific ideas.

The left’s flirtation with irrationalism, its reactionary rejection of the scientific worldview, is deplorable and contradicts its own deepest traditions. …The literary intellectuals control most of the undergraduate years of people who go on to become teachers, lawyers and journalists. To an alarming degree they have broadcast the proposition that science is too dangerous, and they have given prominence to ‘other ways of knowing,’ which they have put forward as more politically correct.

source

Where is the wisdom of Protagoras, to justify his setting up to teach others and to be handsomely paid for it, and where is our comparative ignorance or the need for us to go and sit at his feet, when each of us is himself the measure of his own wisdom?

September 30, 2009

If what every man believes as a result of perception is indeed to be true for him; if, just as no one is to be a better judge of what another experiences, so no one is better entitled to consider whether what another thinks is true or false, and, as we have said more than once, every man is to have his own beliefs for himself alone and they are all right and true – then, my friend, where is the wisdom of Protagoras, to justify his setting up to teach others and to be handsomely paid for it, and where is our comparative ignorance or the need for us to go and sit at his feet, when each of us is himself the measure of his own wisdom? … for to set about overhauling and testing one another’s notions and opinions when those of each and every one are right, is a tedious and monstrous display of folly, if the truth of Protagoras is really truthful.

Socrates from Plato’s Theaetetus, 161b-e; In Hamilton & Cairns, 1989, pp. 866-867).

I don’t think in goods or bads, just is’s

September 29, 2009

I don’t think in goods or bads, just is’s, What it is. Not what I was, want or hope. Whatever life is, it is, and bad and good got nothing to do with it. A snake eats the baby squirrel. Mamma squirrel may say that’s bad, but snakes got to eat. The life cycles are and only humans got the order f*****d up.

Charles Manson

Manson believed he was Jesus Christ reincarnated and even had himself strapped to a cross whilst his followers threw abuse at him or wailed in torment at his crucifixion. Manson orchestrated the murder of Roman Polanski’s wife, the actress Sharon Tate, who was heavily pregnant at the time. Others were killed that night including a couple called LaBianca. In the attack on Tate and others, they inflicted 102 stab wounds. Tex Watson, one of the lead perpetrators said, ‘I am the Devil and I am here to do the Devil’s business’.

Good and bad aren’t absolutes – absolutely!

September 29, 2009

(in Buddhism)…no solid, unchanging “good” or “bad” can be established. Good and bad aren’t absolutes. They are beliefs, judgments, ideas based on limited knowledge as well as on the inclinations of our minds.

Steve Hagen (Zen Buddhist), Buddhism, 1998, p.42

So the holocaust might be ‘bad’ – but then again, that might just be my ‘limited knowledge’. Oh, and er, ‘Good and bad aren’t absolutes’ – that’s absolutely true I guess – solid, established and unchangingly true? Or is this statement just ‘limited knowledge’.