Monthly Archives: December 2018

America’s Unfortunate Legacy: Why the United States is just another nation in decline

The most destructive thing American has perpetrated upon the world has nothing to do with the physical.  It’s an intellectual wound that has been inflicted.  Worse than any war, scandal, or coup d’etat is the legacy of America’s political philosophy.  And if it seems as though I am speaking of an America with her grand and halcyon days behind her, it’s because…well, I am.  And they are.  Of course they are.  The candle has burned down to a nub; the hour glass must soon be turned over.  Between the near 30 trillion dollars in debt and the trillions more in unfunded and un-payable liabilities, the hordes of third-world foreigners both legal and illegal rushing headlong for her borders, with millions upon millions of them already here and feeding off the dwindling supply of tax cattle (i.e. the middle class), the almost unfathomable grand scale of abortion rates and single motherhood, both of these decimating without a hint of mercy Amercia’s future…yes, between all of this and much, much more, America is now experiencing at the very least the first of many death throes.  She is wheezing…and soon shall be but a corpse.  And this, my friends, is mere evolution.  It’s not revolution.  It’s not avoidable.  It’s not anyone’s specific fault…Republicans or Democrats or enemies within or without…not specifically.  Those groups are mere characters in the passion play that is the United States, whose end was written with the writing of the beginning.  The premise of a nation is the Authority of the State, and that premise WILL find its conclusion.  It’s unavoidable.  As sure as night follows day there is no stopping that which the beginning, now long since accomplished, NEEDS in order to BE the beginning in the first place: the end.  There is no recovering…no unringing of the bell.  All that remains is to see just what this end shall look like, and even this is of no fundamental importance.  Like all nations before her, America will fall as an expression of her rise.  How this manifests is mere semantics, as it were, in the grand scheme of history.  Will there be rivers of blood?  Unlikely.  Her capacity for military violence is far to great for that to be realistic, I submit.  No, I foresee a sad, quiet descent into obscurity and irrelevance, governed essentially by little more than a skeleton crew of corrupt plutocrats.  They will drunkenly sail her out into the cold, still waters of a blackened sea and then scuttle her with their greed and incompetence.  The barnacles on the boat—you and I—will drift along with the wreckage on the currents far below for who knows how long. It’s been over 65 years for the British. Their empire is a footnote; today their influence only exists vicariously through the United States. Sure they still carry the name “Great Britain”, but a name does not a great nation make.

Like all other great nations before her, America is on track to run her course in the mere span of ten generations. This is typical of great nations and empires…nothing unique or exceptional about it.  This is the lifespan of the species, and America is surely of the species.  She’s not an evolutionary breakthrough; not anathema; she’s not a new animal; she’s not from Krypton.  Yes, for all the talk of American exceptionalism, for all the appeal to her unique expressions of individual liberty, for all the self-approbation of a government for, of, and by the People, where rulers, like everyone else, are subject to the laws they protect and enforce (an impossible contraction…there is no rule of law without rulers; the idea that those who for ALL practical and revelant purposes ARE the law are also somehow obliged to it is rank nonsense)…yes, for all of this, America will but go as Ceasar’s Rome, Britain’s Kings and Queens, the Mongolia of the Khans, and all the others.

Why?

The answer one would think is obvious…for it’s the only answer possible:  The KIND of governement is irrelevant to the evolution of empires.  The philosophical premise which underwrites government in general—all governments, in fact—is what matters.  History has shown us, from rise to decline, regardless of how citizen-friendly a given government may or may not be, that the average life span of nations is about 250 years.  And America turns 243 in 2019.  And she is quite clearly near the end of her time, well into the age of decadence, her culture and money both essentially worthless.  In defense of my timeline, here are some figures courtesy of “The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival” by Sir John Glubb, 1976, an excellent summary of the comparison of history’s nations, their rise and fall.

Assyria  859-612 BC, 247 years

Persia 538-330 BC, 208 years

Greece 331-100 BC, 231 years

Roman Republic 260-27 BC, 233 years

Roman Empire 27 BC-AD 180, 207 years

Arab Empire AD 634-880, 246 years

Mameluke Empire AD 1250-1517, 267 years

Ottoman Empire AD 1320-1570, 250 years

Spain AD 1500-1750, 250 years

Romanov Russia AD 1682-1916, 234 years

Britain AD 1700-1950, 250 years

Sir John also notes that the average life span of great nations and empires has not varied for 3000 years, and this I submit is due to the fact that there is no meaningful distinction, no important variable amongst nations, in their philosophical premise.  And it is the exact same premise which informs the American State.  So there is no reason to think that she should buck the trend.

When all is said and done, what will America have ultimately contributed to the great historical tome of world nations?  Her arts?  Her technological innovations?  Her moon landing? Her resistance to the spread of Communism?  Her military exploits?  Her cuisine?  Her intellectual fare and philosophical discourse—Noam Chomsky, Thomas Sowell, and Ayn Rand, for example?

Perhaps America’s most valuable contribution to the world and history will be her appeal to limited government…of, by, and for the People, with a poignant and purposeful emphasis on enlightenment principles like the natural rights of man and an implicit, if not explicit, affirmation of individualist metaphysics, where self-ownership and reliance becomes the most important and distinctive of all national virtues.

Well, if you said that last one, I would agree with you.  But not in the way you might think, or for the reasons you might think.  Additionally, I do not see this contribution as virtuous or noble; rather, I consider America’s legacy of a “limited” government by the people to be deceptive, at best.  I would not suggest that this deception is intentional, rather it is a function of the belief and acceptance that government can be limited and that it will stay that way.

America’s most important legacy is the popularization of the idea that a small, limited government is possible, sustainable, and benevolent, and that a representative structure is somehow a hedge against authoritarianism.  America is also responsible for popularizing the idea that the politicians do NOT constitute a ruling or aristocratic class, because ALL Americans are equally obligated to the Law.  These false ideas have led many to believe that America at its root is merely a cooperative…essentially founded and grounded in free association and value exchange between individuals, with classes of people, as far as the government is concerned, being entirely irrelevant, if not nonexistent.  All of this is arrant nonsense.  And through these ideals, America has committed another intellectual and moral error by proliferating the notion that to collectivize the Individual as “the People” is not actually collectivist.  In other words, that it is possible to synthesize two mutually exclusive metaphysical interpretations—reality as a function of individual existence as opposed to reality as a function of collective existence—by merely calling the collective as “the People”.  In turn, the implication is that morality and legality, two mutually exclusive ethical interpretations, may rationally be synthesized; that collective obedience to Law can mean the same thing as the individual making moral choices; that punishment for breaking the law is the equivalent of consequence for poor moral choice.

All of this is complete error, and yet by so aptly orchestrating such a political apparatus, accompanied by 150 years of industrial, cultural, and technological growth unprecedented in world history and almost single-handedly ushering mankind into an era of comfort-centered existence instead of subsistence-centered, people both inside and outside America have been led to believe that this nation somehow truly has something unique to offer in terms of how government should be structured; that the forceful coercion of humanity, as long as it is (somehow) limited, can create a truly free and prosperous society.  Which is in fact impossible, due to the implict reality that government authority is necessarily ABSOLUTE, because that is its nature.  One can no more limit the authority of the State than one can limit the tree-ness of a tree or the the frog-ness of a frog.  Government IS authority. Government absent absolute Authority is not government.  Period.  But by thinking that government can be stripped of its fundamental metaphysical principle which demands that it represent the practical manifestation of the absolute right of the Collective Ideal to compel the submission of individuals into it, I fear that the evolution of man from a coerced species to a free species has been set back by perhaps hundreds of years.  Thanks to America, I submit that humanity has been significantly stunted in its moral and rational duty to evolve socially beyond the immensely destructive cycle of rising and falling nation-states and into the bliss of pure peace through categorical voluntarism and a stateless existence.

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America has been quite successful in obscuring the truth that there is no such thing as a small government.  Likewise, though, it should be mentioned that there is no such thing as a large government, either.  For both “large” and “small” are fundamentally meaningless qualifiers.  There is no large government nor small government nor tyrannical government nor free governement nor representative government nor hierarchical government…there is only GOVERNMENT.  Government by nature—that is, according to the metaphysical principles from which and by which government is established—is necessarily all-encompassing, encapsulating every facet of man’s existence with either explicit or implicit supreme authority.  In other words, government, by its natural purpose and implied right to force man’s behavior in service to the Collective Ideal which represents reality IDEALLY, becomes, as far as man is concerned, reality itself.

The chief metaphysical principle upon which government is based is one we all understand, even if we have never put it into words as such: that man, himself, left to his own volition and choice, absent a coercive external authority wielding supreme violent power, is utterly  insufficient to his own existence.  In other words, if men are left alone to do things according to their own will, they will destroy themselves.  Man’s nature makes it thus that he cannot LIVE unless government is established.

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Government is authority and authority is FORCE; and force, because it, by (political) definition subordinates man’s will and therefore his behavior as a function of his own choice, renders man’s very mind moot, making individual understanding of reality ultimately irrelevant, which as a consequence leading to the eventual collapse of nations, makes man himself irrelevant.  Man, absent his ability to interpret reality from his own individual existential frame of reference (according to reason, not the subjective relativism which defines collectivist epistemology) has no identity.  And with no identity, man is no longer definable and efficacious to reality; and this is why government always, always, always wrecks the societies it supposedly exists to serve.

Absent man’s individual mind we lose reason.  Conceptualization itself and concepts themselves serve the “reality” of State power.  Force, then, supplants reason…or, it could be said, force becomes “new reason”.  It becomes the “truth”, the “right and the proper” (the ethics of legality (force) in place of the ethics of morality (choice)); it becomes the sum and substance of political action and political discourse; it is how men are taught pfundamentally to socialize with each other…individual sacrifice becomes the grandest of virtues—children grow up understanding that it is their existential duty to form and/or belong to groups and devote themselves to the promotion of their particular tribe or team or gang or club or business or any other collective that happens to float one’s boat, looking at rival groups as a threat to be pushed away, rather than as individuals with which to cooperate.  Force becomes the reason to live and the reason to die.  Force is everywhere, from the determinist laws of physics/nature to the compulsory commands of God, and the supreme expression of all of it is the State.  Or we could look at it this way:  the Laws of Nature and/or God and the Laws of the State become man’s bifurcated existence.  The former is the context, while the latter is the practical application.

By undermining man’s will, understanding, and choice, Authority makes morality, which is dependent on all three, with choice being the most obvious, impossible.  Morality is only relevant in the context of will, and eliminating will from the fundamental ethical framework by subordinating it to the force of Authority…that is, demanding obedience instead of cooperation as THE PRIMARY MEANS of achieving ethical outcomes, makes ALL of man’s behavior as far as the State is concerned DICTATED, not chosen. And this is precisely how all governments supplant moral ethics with legal ethics.  Their very nature is rooted in Authority—government is not government unless it has Authority to compel behavior by FORCE, and the argument for the ethical legitimacy of this force is the LAW.  Instead of individual choice being exercised for the good of one’s Self (and this in no way implies ethical relativism…no rational moral ethics can affirm the morality of one’s own Self whilst rejecting the morality of one’s neighbor) man’s ethical obligation is OBEDIENCE to the Law, which functionally means obedience to the State. For without Authority, there is no law. This is axiomatic.

And so I say again that there is no such thing as small government, or large government…no specific KIND of government at all which is ultimately relevant.  There is only government.  The point of government is to compel man against his will.  Man is a willful being…will is the cornerstone of man’s identity.  It is absolute.  It cannot be parsed.  You cannot, say, have 75% free will and 25% compelled behavior.  Government implies categorical submission of the will.  Period.  If the government happens to not specifically dictate a given behavior, it doesn’t mean that that behavior is free.  The implicit reality in this case is that such behavior is merely ALLOWED.  And being allowed to do something is not the equivalent of having the freedom to do something.

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Government is not and cannot be representative of the individual, because its nature and purpose is to suppress and supplant individual will.  Government is representative of the Collective Ideal, and it exists as the practical incarnation of this Ideal.  The Collective Ideal thus is by definition incompatible with the individual at root (at the primary level of metaphysics), and thus the individual must necessarily be subordinated and ultimately sacrificed to it.  To oversee and compel this sacrifice is at root the ONLY real and relevant function of government, period.  And understand that the destruction of the individual by the State is most often not consciously inflicted by the ruling class.  It isn’t that the State is full of pernicious fat politicians rubbing their greasy hands together and fiendishly devising new ways of mass murdering individuals, per se.  I mean, yes, some rulers do spend time consciously conjuring up new and exciting ways to massacre the populace in service to their power and wealth, but understand that at the level of government it isn’t actually PERSONAL.  The government ALWAYS represents a Collective Ideal…even if that Ideal is simply “My Power” as in the case of some Stalinesque autocracy.  A Collective Ideal is a root simply an interpretation of reality that obligates ALL individuals to be subordinate to it…to be SACRIFICED to it.  It requires the COLLECTIVE destruction of humanity in the interest of an Ideal that represents the ethical and epistemological reference for reality OUTSIDE of the individual.  The destruction of human beings then from the point of view of the State is not actually individual-centered or focused.  It is not pointed and acute in that sense.  Collectivism, being metaphysically exclusive of Individualism, doesn’t consider the Individaul to actually EXIST in the first place.  The destruction of the individual thus is merely a necessary consequence of the existence of the State, which is mutually exclusive, ultimately, to the existence of the individual; the reality of the State is necessarily INCOMPATIBLE with the reality of the Indivdual.  The two interpretations of reality cannot be synthesized.  And as government is Force qua Force, EVERYONE is to be annihilated in some form or other by mere virtue of its establishment.  Enough people then are eventually murdererd or rendered impotent to the point where the State is not longer viable as an authority because there is no one left over which to rule, and concomitantly it will have squandered enough resources to the point where it is no longer able to practically wield authority.  And it is THIS common denominator—the necessary rejection of the existence of the individual via a collectivist and authoritarian interpretation of reality—which is the root of why all nations and empires rise and fall, in relatively the same number of generations, and in almost the exact same evolutionary stages.

The uniquely American aspect of the philosophy of government is the contradiction that declares that the Collective Ideal known as “We the People”, or simply “the People”, is somehow in service to the Indivudal.  But of course the Individual, unable to possess any existential value to collective, because he is a function of a mutually exclusive interpretation of reality, is nothing.  And thus, even if the government wanted to serve the indiivudal, it could articulate no actual INDIVIDUAL NEEDS for which it could provide.  Because, again, it does not view humanity as a collection of individuals, but as a COLLECTIVE…that is, a Collective qua Collective. The presence of the State then guarantees the destruction of individuals, even if the Ideal the State serves is said to be INDIVIDUAL life, liberty, and happiness.

It makes no difference what the Collectivist Ideal is called…it’s merely window dressing…semantics.  Superficial.  Fundamentally irrelevant.  Authority and Force is all that the State ever represents and manifests in practicality, in every context and in every time.  Whether we call the Ideal the People, or the Nation, or the Race, or the Church, or the Proletariat, or the Individual, or the Fuzzy Unicorn, Authority is all that matters and Force is all that is real.  The formation of government ultimately demands the destruction of the Individual in favor of the Collectivist Ideal by appeals to Authority and through the application of force.  It is not about reason, or morality, or honor, or chivalry, or virtue, or patriotism, or principle, or purpose, or destiny, or love, or equity, or charity, or equality, or rights, or life, or happiness, or liberty, or prosperity, or pride, or God.  It is about Authority and Force; Force and Authority.  It is about the destruction of meaning by relegating the individual to existential irrelevancy, impotence, and illusion.

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Government, of any kind and in any place or time, metaphysically implies absolute Authority…that is, the right to own reality, itself.  In this sense one may consider government fundamentally solipsistic.  All pretense of individual rights and liberty are just that…pretense.  All of the freedoms one might suppose American’s enjoy, or at least enjoyed in greater measure during the more libertarian halcyon days of the republic’s rise, prior to the introduction of federal reserve and the income tax, for example, are merely an expression of the State’s power.  Under the auspices of governement authority, ALL behavior is at root merely a function of what the State happens to allow or demand at any given moment.  Will and choice is mere perception…there is no actual substance to these things.  Under a legal ethic (the Law) they have no functional meaning.  The ethical demand is obedience, and the ethical means is force, and the ethical hedge is death…meaning that the State has the natural right to destroy those who ultimately fail to comply with their legal obligation to obey.  But since obedience is a metaphysical rejection at root of man’s will and thus his ability to choose (making the claim that one can “choose to obey” a contradiction in terms), the Law ultimately destroys humanity as opposed to promoting it, because man, by simply BEING HIMSELF (an Individual) is EXISTENTIALLY and thus PERPETUALLY in violation of the Law. So, whether the law is used by “honest” autocrats to force collective compliance at the openly-admitted expense of all Individual considerations, like personal wants and wishes, property and ambitions, or by dishonest and/or ignorant rulers who claim to wield the Law  in service to Individual life and liberty, the outcome is the same.  Because in both contexts, and in ANY manifestation of governments, the law demands the EXACT same thing from man: that he reject his own will in submission to the Collectivist Ideal asserted by the State.  But since man cannot possibly do this, because he cannot choose to reject his own choice, man as an Individual is eradicated, either physically or psychologically, or by the categorical restriction of his self-ownership and self-expression.  That is, if man cannot fundamentally own anything, even his own body, because ALL belongs to the State, explicitly or implicitly, then he for all practical intents and purposes, is dead.  And the nation collapses, because there is no one and nothing left to rule.

So simply because the State happens to allow you to do this or that, does not mean you are FREE to do this or that.  Implicit permission is needed from the State to do anything…this is the very point of government authority.  Your very existence continues only at the pleasure of the Authority; this is hardly freedom.  Expressions of the Self do not necessarily equal the freedom of the Self.  Not at all.  Under government, your “willful” self-expression is ironically just a manifestation of the State’s right to compel and control you.

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SUMMARY

Philosophically, and thus fundamentally (that is, beyond the superficial aethestetic distinctions of time and place), all nations do the same thing.  They begin, rise, and fall in essentially the same amount of time, all experiencing essentially the same stages of evolution.  But why must they fall?  Why must they not be perpetual?  The answer is found in the natural collectivist philosophical principles which underwrite government.  Collectivism is metaphysically exclusive of individual will.  It is purely, in any and all forms, utterly about the Collectivist Ideal.  And the implementation of an Ideal, which is entirely abstract in its essence, and therefore OUTSIDE the individual, requires force, not choice, as THE means by which the Ideal is realized.  Force then is the Authority, and the Authority is the State…the political ruling class is the practical incarnation of the Ideal to be inflicted upon the world.

The State, being Force incarnate, is exclusive of human reason.  But since reason—the non-contradictory combination and application of concepts to form ideas unto language—is how man defines and organizes his environment (how he devises his notion of Reality) the exclusion of reason is necessarily and fundamentally destructive to man.  And once enough men have been physically, emotionally, psychologically, and/or spiritually corrupted and/or demolished by the innate authoritarianism of government, the nation inevitably falls.  Because it no longer functionally wields authority OVER anyone, and thus does not possess enough resources to rule, it is no longer a practical authority.  And since the State IS the nation, and the State is Authority, the State, absent enough people and resources to rule, is no longer existent, for all intents and purposes.  As the “State” then wallows in impotency and corresponding incompetence, it loses its grip on its fabricated reality.  New men then rise and take power, from within or without, with or without overt violence, installing a new government entirely or perhaps reanimating the corpse of the old one with a new personality, keeping the name, but asserting what functionally amounts to a new Ideology.  For what its worth, I suspect this is what is currently happening to America.  We use the “liberties” and “rights” of our Constitution as a prop…a convenient window dressing, maintaining the appearance of old virtues for political purposes, but the Constitution is little more than a husk at this point.  Or a death mask.

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America is and shall be no exception to the outcome of the metaphysics implicit in her government.  And yet in the face of arrant evidence that it cannot possibly be so (unmanageable debt, unfathomable abortion rates, rampant single-motherhood, rank cultural hedonism, child abuse, unfettered third-world immigration, open/shameless political corruption, politicizing the media into a propaganda ministry, etcetera, etcetera), many Americans continue to think and speak of their nation as exceptional.  But the only thing exceptional about any ruled people is that they continue to persist in the seemingly endless cycle of the rise and fall of nations, with an unshakeable acceptance of the spectacularly ironic idea that government is infinitely necessary to human existence.  And the fact that they continue to persist in such a belief even in the face of plentiful current and historical evidence to the contrary, is something exceptional to behold, indeed.  That humanity on the relative whole perpetually refuses to question the philosophical rationality and legitimacy of government is, in the realm of intellectual and moral error, an unquestionably exceptional brand of disaster.  It is a constant recycling and reliving of the Matrix…saviors rise to the cries of “freedom” and “truth” and “justice” and “progress”, based upon whatever collective ideal happens to form the context for these palliative virtues at the moment, only to have freedom et. al. inevitably undermined by an emphatic and hypocritical devotion to State Authority, if not in name then at the very least in principle.  Even those who say they oppose a given state on the grounds that it is or has become too oppressive simply appeal to either a new state altogether, or a reimagining of the one in existence.  Almost no one ever seriously asserts that the State qua State IS the very Authoritarianism they oppose.  The collapse of the nation then in some form is inevitable as economic and moral chaos accompany the necessary and steady increase of government tyranny.  Then the cycle begins all over again.  And again.  And again.

In reality, the truly exceptional people I submit are those who finally unplug themselves from collectivist philosophy entirely, in all its forms, and begin to interpret reality according to a metaphysics which in no way does or can imply that humanity is in some form at root a function of a collectivist ideal or process, whether political, religious, or natural.  Only when the absolute and categorical right of the individual to own himself has been acccepted by enough people will—for the first time in history on a meaningful scale—humanity commit itself to genuine rationally consistent reason and morality.  Only then will we escape the disaster of national rise, fall, rinse, repeat.

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The Objectivist/Empricist Confusion Between Perception and Interpretation

I get it.  I really do.  Of course we want to be sure that reality can be objectively defined…that it is not open to whimsical opinion about its nature and operation; that there is an absolutely objective essence to it, because this is quite clearly necessary to the formulation of truth.  And truth is to man what divides life from death, both physically and spritually.

What I don’t get is the relentless devotion so many otherwise brilliant men and women have to ideas about the nature of reality and how that nature is accessed and described which are so clearly irrational.  I don’t understand how it is felt that the key to objective reality is appealing to subjectivity.  That is, appealing to a rejection of the ONLY thing which can render an objective definition of anything:  human consciousness.

I will tell you what I mean.

The other day I heard an Objectivist on YouTube explain that the key to epistemology (truth) was understanding and accepting that reality existed separately from man’s perception of it.  Now, this sounds similar to the way other Objectivists I have heard and known explain it, and I assume that this person would certainly know, given his (apparent) depth of knowledge on the subject.  I, myself, am no expert on the intricases of Objectivism so I will accept that this is an accurate distillation of its metaphysics.

In my mind I stammer.  I am uncertain as to how to reply to such a facile and, no insult intended, imbecilic description of reality relative to man’s consciousness.  It’s like when your six year-old angrily asks why she cannot stay up late like mommy and daddy do.  If mommy and daddy can stay up late then why can’t she?  And you just stare at her stupidly and blinking for a few moments as your mind searches through its collection of arguments and finds that it possesses no readily available resource to deal with a question so infinitely obvious.  You would no more expect to be asked a question that stupid as you would to be asked how to drink a glass of water.

And that is how I felt when I heard that objectively understanding reality was to make a distinction between it and one’s perception.  It punched me in the face with its arrant nonsense, and yet the conviction and, er…the forgone conclusion-ness with which it was spoke froze my brain.  Immediately I knew it was madness, but it took me a few moments to manufacture a response in my mind.  Ask me how to drink a glass of water, and I promise I will look at you as though I’M the total idiot for a minute.

Reality is independent of one’s perception of reality?  I mean, as though that were somehow possible, even though the very fact that we are naturally self-aware means that a frame of reference for such a distinction cannot be had.  For if one’s perception is exclusive of reality, as is implied, then “perception of reality” is a contradiction in terms.  If perception isn’t real, then it doesn’t exist to perceive anything, including reality. So the notion of a distinction between perception and reality is ludicrous, especially when it is ALREADY implicitly conceded that perceiving reality IS REAL.

So, what are we dealing with here?  Well, clearly this is an attack on consciousness.  We all undersand that perception qua perception is nothing.  To perceive something, to sense it, yet to be unaware of it, is utterly redundant.  Perception itself thus must mean consciousness.  The efficacy of perception is awareness, period.  We all know this.  And from consciousness we get interpretation, and this is what the whole thing is all about. The fear of subjectively interpreting reality is what leads objectivists and empiricists to declare that reality is not actually open to interpretation.  (This is ironic in that Christians do the same thing with the Bible.)  It simply is.  It’s prima facie.  It’s de facto.  It is what it is and it does what it does.  And I understand the fear…of course we need reality to be objective.  To let everyone define reality as they choose is to make truth itself subjective, which makes it impossible for truth to ever actually be true.  And history has shown us, most recently in the form Marxist political revolution, that such ideology does nothing but turn mass murder into a virtue, and makes monsters of all men.  But you cannot protect reality by making a boogey man out of consciousness.  Consciousness is nothing more than man’s natural ability to conceptualize his environment; to make a conceptual distinction between “Self” and “Not Self”, and to act in service to Self as such an ability necessarily implies.  This is the root of man’s very identity…it is WHO HE IS.  To banish consciousness in the name of “Objective Reality” to the realm of absolute illusion is to strip from man everything that makes him what he is.  To claim that consciousness is subjective and reality objective is to dig an impassable chasm between man and his existence, which necessarily destroys man.  Thus, the Objectivist/Empiricist solution it seems is to eliminate humanity in the interest of protecting reality.  But then, who shall be left to declare the victory?  If there is no one left to experience reality, then is reality actually real?  If there is no one left to know anything objective, then is there really anything objective to know?

The fact is that whether we like it or not reality IS indeed subject to interpretation.  Man’s ONLY means of ascertaining truth is through his consciousness…his powers of conceptualization.  He pairs concepts to create meaning, and from this we get language, and language is how reality is declared as BEING REAL in the first place.  Period.  Reality and man’s ability to describe it through conceptualization, which is the foundation of consciousness, are utterly inseparable.  In order to perceive reality, you see, perception MUST BE REAL.

The only way then to arrive at an objective definition of reality is to make sure that its interpretation is rationally consistent…that is, organized and described via concepts (in language) that do not contradict.  The difference between objective and subjective reality is not perception, but IS INDEED INTERPRETATION.  Having the right—that is, absolutely reasonable—interpretation is what makes reality objective, not disparaging consciousness as a mere fluke of natural law (i.e. scientific determinism, which is a nonsense rooted in a philosophy that predates the nonsense of most of the religions it pretends to depose).

You show me a rationally consistent, non-abstract (i.e. non-mathematical) description of reality and I will give you a mirror and show you what a TRUE Objectivist looks like.  A true Objectivist uses his consciousness OBJECTIVELY—that is, rationally—he does not pretend it is a figment.  After all, a seeker of the truth doesn’t throw away the only tool by which the truth is found.

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Can 2+2=5 if the Bible Says So?

A couple of months ago I was debating an acquaintance of mine on the rational merits of the doctrine of Original Sin. After describing some of the logical failures and destructive consequences of the doctrine, I concluded by saying of Original Sin, “That’s impossible”. To which he replied, “That’s Bible”.

His reply is an example of the rational fallacy known as “argument from Authority”. The definition is pretty self-evident. One asserts a thing is true based not upon the internal consistency of the logic, but upon what, or who, happens to be asserting it. In this article I shall explain why the argument from Authority as it pertains to the Bible in particular is a rational disaster, and, due to its relentless prevalence and promulgation amongst today’s Christian apologists, makes these apologists the laughing stock of pretty much any and all intellectual discourse. I will do this by attacking the issue relatively obliquely, posing a hypothetical contradiction.

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If the Bible said that 2+2=5, would you accept it as true?

Well, there are three ways we can answer this question.  One is the best; one is the worst; and one is okay. The one most Christains use is unfortunately, and of course, the worst one. Why? Because it’s lazy AND contains no null hypothesis, either implicit or explicit, and thus it ironically allows them to claim infinite moral and intellectual superiority without ever having to consider critically nor defend or debate…well…ANYTHING about what they say they believe. This approach is VERY appealing to many because, among other things, it pretends to provide truth to those who for whatever reason are incapable of achieving it on their own. By offloading moral and intellectual responsibility to the Bible (that is, the Authority), absolute truth is (somehow) INSTANTLY accessible. This is intellectual and moral egalitarianism at its penultimate worst, behind only Marxism, and should be regarded by anyone with an ounce of integrity and self-respect as completely embarrassing.

At any rate, here are the three ways we can answer the question: Can 2+2=5 if the Bible declares it?

1. No. Of course not. If an assertion defies rational consistency and logic then it cannot ever be true. The source is irrelevant. For even if we assume that God himself could make 2+2=5, humanity would have no way of confirming its veracity. Human beings organize their reality according to the non-contradiction of concepts, period. We call this reason. If black is also white and up is also down and blue is also red and a square is also a circle then correctly interpreting reality is impossible for man, and his very mind is totally irrelevant and contrary to existence, itself, which means he cannot possibly know God let alone claim that God can defy reason. Concepts must mean one thing and one thing only for ANYTHING to be defined. If 2+2=5 then conceptualization itself is impossible, because concepts which contradict cannot generate meaning. Thus the very notion of “to conceptualize” is categorically defunct. And without concepts there is no language, and without language there is no meaning, and without meaning there is no knowing, and without knowing there is no God as far as man is concerned.

2. If the Bible says so then it must be true. Man’s wisdom is irrelevant; we must accept what the Bible says without question. After all, this is what it means to have faith. Because God is its author, the Bible’s veracity is not dependent on man’s finite capacity for reason.

The problem with this answer is that it implies that man must accept what is irrational as nevertheless true if God says it. But if you ask why, you will ultimately be told either explicitly or implicitly that because God is who He is, he is able to do things man cannot do, including claim “truths” that are inherently contradictory and thus ultimately self-defeating. In other words, the one making the argument from (God’s/Bible’s) authority is appealing to his insinuated RATIONAL belief in God as a defense of his IRRATIONAL belief that 2+2 can equal 5. It is REASONABLE, in other words, that God’s message is UNREASONABLE. Or, put most simply, the unreasonable is defended by appealing to reason.

Do you see the MASSIVE problem with this? We cannot argue that it’s rational to believe in the irrational, because we are obligating irrationality to rationality, which is a complete contradiction of the concepts. The entire argument then falls apart. If our understanding of God (even if we should claim it “incomplete”) is based on reason then we must likewise base our understanding of what he declares on reason. The method by which we understand who God is cannot be mutually exclusive of the method by which we understand what he says. If our belief in God is reasonable then our belief in what he says must also be reasonable. Of course we can attempt to jettison reason entirely with respect to God and his message but then we are left without a means to claim that we can know him or anything he says. Which makes God and his message meaningless to us. Man uses reason to arrive at truth, period. There is no other method. Even if we say we have pure faith we must be able to say WHY; otherwise it’s not faith. It’s “faith”…as in just a noise from your mouth hole.

3. I need to examine the issue further. It is possible that the Bible is speaking metaphorically or allegorically or poetically. Or perhaps I am interpreting the Bible incorrectly…perhaps I hold an erroneous assumption about what the Bible is actually saying, or have misunderstood the context somehow. Perhaps my own logic is flawed, so I will examine my own assumptions to see if they are indeed consistent with reason before I offer a verdict..

As for the last point—the possibility of flawed assumptions on my part—I offer the following example:

The Bible is often criticized as erroneous for teaching geocentricity due to many passages referencing the sun rising and setting. Though this provides little hard evidence for such a complaint, let’s assume that yes the Bible does clearly assert geocentricity. Now, we might be quick to dismiss such an assertion as impossible. After all, science has long since proven that the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. But has it really?

Before we reject the passages which speak of geocentricity and chalk them up to error and ignorance, perhaps we should examine our own assumptions to see if our rejection of the Bible’s claim is actually warranted.

In a vacuum all objects must move/exist relative to one another. No object in a vacuum possesses in itself an endemic natural and existential property which makes it the “center” or, conversely, which makes it “that which revolves around”.  In a vacuum ALL positional references must be defined by an observer (one who is self-aware). This is utterly axiomatic.  An observer writing in the time of the Torah and New Testament would indeed perceive the sun as revolving around the earth. And, as bodies in space all move relative to one another, one could not declare this observer objectively wrong. Simply because geocentricity is not mathematically useful does not make it utterly false as a concept in EVERY context. Thus, the Bible would NOT necessarily be asserting a rational error by claiming that the sun revolves around the earth.

Thus, my first instinct when asked if I would accept as true 2+2 equaling 5 if the Bible claimed it so would be to examine the Bible, the context, and my own assumptions and conclusions before giving an answer.

Answer number three then is the best; answer number two is the worst; and number one I would say is okay, at least as a gut reaction.  The point is that if we stay away from number two, we stay away from foolishness. And then maybe we can legitimately and with integrity begin to  insert the Bible into mature intellectual discourse once again.

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The Inherent Authoritarianism of the United States Pledge of Allegiance

The United States Pledge of Allegiance presumes a collectivist metaphysic, and this is because it affirms an inherent collectivist ideal—the “people” as the “nation”, as if what is naturally singular (the Individual…the Person) can be made a “singular collective”, which is a contradiction in terms, in addition to being an arrant RATIONAL contradiction.  Thus, the Pledge is inherently tyrannical.  And this is pretty disturbing when we consider how utterly canonical it has become in United States society and in our cultural tradition.

Think about it for a moment…I’m not sure it is possible to devise a way to more precisely and effortlessly reject the ostensible individualist metaphysical foundation of a nation built for, by, and of the People, and replace it with a vapid, capricious collectivist one.

”I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”

Allegiance.

Literally speaking, and in the strictest sense of the word “allegiance” means to renounce your own will in exchange for that of a master…to give or sell yourself to the whims of another who presumes to know, or presumes he has a RIGHT to know, more about your needs and wishes than you do.  And since the context is the usurpation of your own determination of your needs and wishes, we are talking about authority—authority being the practice of one person (or a few people) deciding just what another person (or other persons) shall do and shall possess.  Yet your will and your exercise thereof in service to what you need and want is inexorably bound to your very singular consciousness.  That is, your absolute sense of your own Self, which is, in fact, the Self which makes you an individual and not fundamentally a collection of body parts and cells and atoms and molecules, is utterly corollary to your agency…your will, and the exercise thereof.  Because of this, your needs and wants cannot actually be serviced by a nation (or a flag…the nation’s symbol…same difference) to which you pledge allegiance, because by rejecting the OWNERSHIP of yourself—that is, your will and the right to determine your own needs and desires—you have rejected YOURSELF ENTIRELY.  You cannot outsource your will to that to which you swear allegiance and yet somehow retain ownership of yourself, both as a body and as a soul (“soul” meaning You qua You—the Self of you).  By uttering the Pledge then, you do nothing honorable.  You willingly reject your very existence and give it to the State on a silver platter…without protest, without grudge, without fight, without condition, and without morals, reason, or truth.  In a few trite lines of vapid patriotic nonsense you sell your individual soul to the devil’s collective: the political ruling elite.  With hand to breast and the recitation of a Godless spell you magically transform a government of, by, and for the people into an infinite Slave Master of millions.

As for the ruling elite to whom you pledge allegiance…and yes, it is to these ruling politicians you pledge your allegiance, ultimately, not some ethereal notion like “Country”—for if you pledge allegiance to merely an abstraction like “the United States” then you have wasted your breath and your time and made yourself look even greater a fool because you do not realize that for any pledge of allegiance to mean anything some ONE will have to tell you just what that allegiance shall LOOK like when exercised practically.  And the “United States of America”, the abstract IDEAL, does not speak.  It’s politicians do.  The government IS the United States.  There is no practical application of the ideal “the nation” without its rulers who apply its abstract meaning practically, though the Law, as its incarnate.  Take away the government and there is no “United States”.  Take away those who enforce the Law which dictates individual behavior in service to the ideal ‘the United States”, and you take away the Law entirely.  For if there is no one to punish you for breaking the Law, then there is no Law.  This is axiomatic.  And if there is no Law then there is no nation.  And thus, you do not pledge allegiance to the United Sates of America, you pledge allegiance to politicians.

How is that for a punch in the face with cold, hard reality?

So again, as for the ruling elite to whom you pledge allegiance:

It is nothing but lip service at best—not to mention a contradiction—to suggest that one can reject the existential legitimacy of the individual by assuming the legal authority to compel his behavior through government violence, and yet also suggest that the individual’s needs and wishes can be serviced BY that government which CONTROLS and thus (at least) implicitly OWNS him.

The politician asks you to pledge to him your allegiance in return for protection, and material and emotional provision, as if that provision can go to you AFTER you have been rejected BY the politician through the collectivist metaphysical foundations of the State, and likewise you have rejected YOURSELF via the manipulative political bromide of the Pledge.  Once you have dismissed your right to self-ownership and agency you have dismissed your right to say what your needs and wishes are.  In other words, if the State owns you, thanks in part to you pledging yourSELF away to it, then whatever you think your provision is or should be, is in reality the STATE’S (the political ruling class’s) provision.  The State gives you what IT wants, not the other way around.  It does not and cannot give you what YOU want because YOU (You qua You—you the individual) don’t exist.

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Without the individual, there are no individual needs and wishes, by definition.  And here then, notice the logical fallacy and complete absense of reason—not to mention the mockery it makes of nature—with respect to an individual pledging allegiance to the State…to an authority OUTSIDE of himself:

You cannot give away yourself ACCORDING to yourself.  You cannot choose to be ruled, which is what you do implicitly when you “freely” pledge your allegiance.  Your free will (a phrase which is basically redundant) is inexorably and inseparably bound to your SELF, and thus to abandon your will is LITERALLY to abandon your SELF…You qua You.  You cannot choose to be a slave, you see, because a context of human choice contradicts a context of human slavery at the basic existential root, not to menation the fact that the very semantics are incompatible; and thus when combined (“chosen slavery”) make nonsense.  “Chosen slavery” is an arrant, and I would think obvious, oxymoron.  To choose to become a slave is to reject that you EVER had a choice at all…an admission that your entire existence as a natural agent of volition is and has always been an illusion at best.  You cannot choose to be ruled because you cannot choose to have no choice; you cannot outsource to the ruling classes by a pledge that which NECESSARILY demands SELF ownership.  You cannot grant ownership to another that which only YOU can own:  your mind; your will; your LIFE; your SELF.

In our American culture we love to heap vast sums of gilded praise upon the vapid patriotic pretense of “allegiance”, and laud a citizen’s self-sacrifice to the abstraction of the “U.S.A.” as the most sublime and noble of all virtues (as though self-sacrifice isn’t an existential impossibility and a contradiction in terms since ALL one does is from and thus TO the Self).  The “sacrificing citizen” (or “what one can do for his country”…an arrantly Marxist phrase if there ever was one) is in reality, completely irrelevant and irrational.  Those with ALL the violent compelling power of the State—the rulers to whom we pledge our allegiance, whether we want to recognize that it is to them we pledge or not—are Authority; and because they are Authority they cannot and will not and do not sacrifice anything at all, let alone themselves…for all they can ever fundamentally do by virtue of their political position is promote the collectivist ideal of the “nation” at the EXPENSE of the individual, whether these politicians accept or are even aware of this or not.  It is those who do NOT hold positions of government power, explicit, or implicit (implicit in the case of, say, the corporate plutocrats who manipulate  government through wealth and threats to take it elsewhere) who ARE SACRIFICED.  And I say “are sacrificed” because, again, by pledging allegiance you are pledging your will to the ruling classes, and thus are conceding that you have no choice at all, of your own, at root, and thus cannot choose to sacrifice yourself, but rather sacrifice must be done TO you, FOR you.

In summary, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is to make the quintessential rational error, and quite frankly one of the the most obvious and primitive:  to reject oneself and one’s natural and endemic self-ownership in favor of a false collectivist ideal—e.g. the “Republic”  (“for which it stands”); the Nation; the “Race”; the “(Political) Party”; the “King”; the “Tribe”; the “Church”; the “Team”; the “(socioeconomic) Class”, etc.

The United States of America (i.e. the ruling classes; the government) should be pledging allegiance to YOU and to ME, not the other way around.  The only pledge anyone need make is to the rejection of ANY and ALL pretense of government tyranny, which certainly includes the Pledge of Allegiance.

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