Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Elementry Forms of Religious Life (Durkheim)

This is certainly not a recreational read ... much time is spent in the details of various primitive totemic religions (largely Aborigine), but also some reference to the religions of the native americans. 

The basic truth painstakingly worked out is that we are "Moral Believing Animals". In short, humans are inherently social, they will form groups, and those groups will believe in something that is at its base not rational/proveable, but totally real and sacred to the group. 

A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them. The second element which thus finds a place in our definition is no less essential than the first; for by showing that the idea of religion is inseparable from that of the Church, it makes it clear that religion should be an eminently collective thing.

Scientism, historicism, materialism, Christianity, atheism, Taoism, Communism, etc are equal relative to being unverifiable in a philosophical sense. Since we can't philosophically/scientifically prove our existence, or even that we are "conscious" (which we also can't define), it is faith all the way down for all of us. 

At the roots of all our judgments there are a certain number of essential ideas which dominate all our intellectual life; they are what philosophers since Aristotle have called the categories of the understanding: ideas of time, space, [4] class, number, cause, substance, personality, etc. They correspond to the most universal properties of things. They are like the solid frame which encloses all thought;

One of the best descriptions of our state is expressed in the deeply intellectual film "This is Spinal Tap" relative to the Druids: 

In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, lived an ancient race of people. The Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing. 

Amazingly, I've been to Stonehenge, and that quote is etched in stone in the visitors center.

One of the base philosophical questions is "Why is there anything"? As the book says: 

Thus we find that we have here two sorts of knowledge, which are like the two opposite poles of the intelligence. Under these conditions forcing reason back upon experience causes it to disappear, for it is equivalent to reducing the universality and necessity which characterize it to pure appearance, to an illusion which may be useful practically, but which corresponds to nothing in reality; consequently it is denying all objective reality to the logical life, whose regulation and organization is the function of the categories. Classical empiricism results in irrationalism; perhaps it would even be fitting to designate it by this latter name.

As we believe we have recently observed, "reality" is an illusion. It is all interacting fields

We thus believe we discover that all our models ... the Platonic, the Aristotelian, the Newtonian, Einstein's static model, the Quantum model, the Standard Model, are all just that, "models". Models, like maps are very useful, however we need to always remember that the map is not the territory.

Durkheim is attempting to go back to the origin of religion, and one of the bases is what a group considers sacred vs profane. One of the laments we hear today is "is nothing sacred?". To classical empiricism, that there is no concept of sacred, and as stated above, classical empiricism as a way to understand the universe is irrational ... meaning "insane". An often heard question today is "has the world gone insane?". I'm pretty sure that Durkheim would say that is so, and a lot of evidence seems to support that view. 

To distinguish religion from all other classification systems: 

... it is absolute. In all the history of human thought there exists no other example of two categories of things so profoundly differentiated or so radically opposed to one another. The traditional opposition of good and bad is nothing beside this; for the good and the bad are only two opposed species of the same class, namely morals, just as sickness and health are two different aspects of the same order of facts, life, while the sacred and the profane have always and everywhere been conceived by the human mind as two distinct classes, as two worlds between which there is nothing in common.

As our models of the universe have become more sophisticated, they more and more resemble religion. 

... between the logic of religious thought and that of scientific thought there is no abyss. The two are made up of the same elements, though inequally and differently developed.
Just as there is no known society without a religion, so there exist none, howsoever crudely organized they may be, where we do not find a whole system of collective representations concerning the soul, its origin and its destiny.

Today, science is our religion. We make statements like "trust the science", "the science is settled". Those that disagree are called "deniers", which is equivalent to "heretics" in Christianity. Their views must be suppressed, they must be punished (fired, cancelled, shunned). So far, no burning at the stake.

Page 369, "...he knows that it is faith that saves".

Search your heart. you know it to be true. Our lives are sustained by faith ... we have faith we will get up in the morning, we have faith we can drive to our destination safely, we have faith that the bridge we drive over will not fall, the list is endless, and in this mortal coil, many of the things we have faith in will fail. We will see that many of the earthly things we have faith in will fail. Even though we see that ... people fail to get up, cars crash and the occupants die, bridges fall, etc

But we still go to sleep, drive our cars, and go over bridges, because we can't live without faith. Even faith in people or things shown to be unfaithful, 

So faith saves. John 20:29 Jesus said unto him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”




Friday, November 18, 2022

Raid Mar-a-Lago For Nothing

At the time the FBI arm of the Democrat party raided the former presidents personal residence, even a few of the media arm of the Democrat party thought they better find something, or this is going to be seen as a politically motivated fishing expedition to add hatred for Trump to the 2022 midterms. 

So as the midterms were over, the FBI reported, that is just what it was. The Democrat media arm has already started the memory hole process. 

I remain somewhat mystified as to why they did not just plant something, or just fail to report it at all? Is it possible that there is still a TINY bit of concern that with a Republican majority in the house, there is a small chance that accountability could be demanded, or that there is still a decent person the FBI that would leak the truth? I suppose one can hope.

We live in a single party / weaponized Deep State Banana Republic.  Any fair minded person has know this at least since Chappaquiddick and Watergate, to not understand this after even the Russia Hoax, shows either a complete lack of attention to our supposed "by the people" government, or the belief that a one party Oligarchy vs a Republic is where they want to live.

Monday, November 14, 2022

DeSantis Takes Over

I happily voted for Trump twice. Did I find him perfect? Certainly not, but I pick the best alternative available, and character wise, I think Trump outstrips Hillary or Biden by a mile anyway. "Mean Tweets" are not on my list of concerns. 

Trump's flaws have always been narcissism, a thin skin, an obsession to eliminate his "enemies", and apparently no ability to build a coalition of trusted friends. You either follow him like an obedient dog, or you. are OUT. 

He is in the top 5 reasons we lost the midterms. I can't really order them: 

  • Trump fatigue. To a great extent the media and Democrats "won", but Trump helped. January 6 was nothing, but then neither was Watergate. The Democrats control the narrative, and everyone was just tired of Trump "news". 
  • Trump primary interference. I agree the 2020 election was stolen ... but the Democrats and media made the "Denier" narrative stick. The "denier" candidates lost. The truth often loses. 
  • Massive voter fraud in key states. Arizona and Nevada are obvious. I'm sure there are are plenty of congressional races across the country where fraud was the "winner". 
  • Dobbs misinformation. A huge percentage of voters believe that Dobbs outlawed all abortions, when in fact it only returned decisions on abortion law to the states -- which for the Democrats in blue states, nothing happened. 75% of childbearing age women voted Democrat, significantly because of this lie. 
  • Fear of "loss of Democracy" if Republicans were elected. The Democrat definition of "Democracy" is one party rule by them, the Administrative State, the weaponized "justice" department, big media, big pharma, etc While it is true that if one or both houses of congress went to the Republicans, the Democrat control would be less than total, such a situation is really only frightening if you believe 100% Democrat totalitarianism is "democracy". 
Go read the Geraghty linked article. Other than some gratuitous Trump bashing, it is a worthy read and makes a strong case as to why DeSantis needs to be the clear leader of the Republican party right now! 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

"The Ruling Class": How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It

A quick and worthy read, especially based on it's concise analysis of our current divide. 

Anyone that has set eyes on this blog, knows who "The Ruling Class" are. They are "the Swamp",  Mass Media, the Democrats and the RINOs, the Administrative State, Social Media, the Ivy League brats, etc

"Excellent Sheep" gives a nice overview of the educational  element of our rulers. As the book says; "The top schools select for compatibility, not excellence". I've read way too many books of this ilk, and as our recent "election" shows, we continue to accelerate toward the abyss.

While the Ruling Class thinks that Americans are unfit to run their own lives, most Americans have noticed that our Ruling Class has lost every war it has fought, run up an unpayable national debt, and generally made life worse.

Well, they have made life worse for anyone not in the upper 10% of income/wealth, and increasingly for anyone not in the top 1%. 

The counterpoint to "The Ruling Class" is labeled in the book as "The Country Class". It is hard to really out a label on this class because it is so diverse, but the big issues are religion, family, freedom, being a good neighbor (especially knowing who they are), respect for people beyond (or sometimes in spite of) their "credentials. "The salt of the earth". As they continue be attacked, The Country Class  is "losing it's savor" (especially in religion), but at least in the red states, there is a lot of salt left.

The book says of the Country Class that; "... its most distinguishing characteristics are marriage, children, and religious practice." I would be tempted to add guns. 

The ruling class has put a lot of labels on them ... the deploreables, bitter clingers, deniers, racists, fascists, etc. Humans are prone to label their perceived enemies negatively ... the Country Class is no exception, and anything bad they say about the Ruling Class is a "vicious attack". 

"... Rather, the sense of intellectual and social superiority over the common herd is arguably the main component of millions of people’s self-conception. Such people can no more believe that a Christian might be their intellectual and moral equal than white Southerners of the Jim Crow era could think the same of Negroes."
A quote which those of us of minimal intelligence and attention to current affairs see as obvious;

Since marriage is the family’s fertile seed, government at all levels, along with “mainstream” academics and media, have waged war on it.

The difficult part (isn't it always?) is what to DO about our rather pitiful situation? The book is painfully honest on how hard this will be. One would HOPE that the Republican Party could be the vehicle for this, but can it be? As is said early in the book ... 

Republicans are the way they are in Washington because Washington is a culture and a place that is run and dominated—not just politically, but socially—by Democrats, by the left. They’re the big clique. The Republicans also live there. Everybody wants to get along with those you live next to, ...

As I personally feel, and  I think the Trump phenomenon proves, faith in the Republican party to fight these natural tendencies is low: 

That’s because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans say the same about the Republican officeholders.

 As 2022 shows, the "Country Class" is divided and rudderless. There is a significant core that is Trump Forever (and nobody else), a significant number that are Never Trump (and will stay home if he is the nominee), and another (I think largest group) that are "I don't care about a party, just represent my Country Class rather than a person (Trump) or certainly not "Ruling Class lite". 

We have a long tough road ahead if we want a decent country again. We need to reverse totalitarianism's  (Communism, Fascism, Oligarchy ... or whatever we label the Ruling Class) "long march" with a march of our own.  

First we MUST get some election integrity.  Why does the Ruling Class fight election integrity tooth and nail? The fact that apparently a significant number of Americans can't figure out why, is not a good sign at all.