by Tim Jones 7/18/15
And Why its Destined to Stay that Way • The deconstruction of language that began with the two French philosophers, Michael Foucalt and Jacques Derrida, opened up everything to interpretation. That in turned opened up meaning to be determined by whatever one wants it to be. And so began the destruction of any kind of unifying standards when it comes to language and morality. This is the conclusion to a process that began with the Reformation and continued through the Enlightenment leading to where we’re at today. It also explains why the country is almost certainly destined to be permanently divided in all things political and cultural.
The basis for the book, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society, describes at great length how the splintering of faith, first between Protestantism and Catholicism then within Protestantism itself led to unintended consequences. One of the most significant outcomes was that religious faith, primarily Catholicism, that previously had monolithic authority over society was ceded to the ascendancy of the political state, as did all of the new branches of Protestantism.[pullquote]Marxism, the philosophy of dialectical materialism where man is the measure of all things in history and progress, requires the death of God in order to make gods of men.[/pullquote]
The state became the guarantor and protector of this new diversity of denominations and creeds, and the freedom of their exercise without interference from one another. In the end, the Church and the State essentially switched places in their roles. With the secularizing of society, the State was deified and replaced the Church in the new societal and political order of nations.
This principle later became embedded in the Constitution so that everyone had the freedom to exercise their own particular ‘brand’ of religion without fear of persecution. With the diversity of religious choices came competing biblical interpretations and with competing interpretations came another choice, that of there being no God at all. Another significant and highly ironic outcome of the Reformation was that the seeds of modern atheism had unwittingly been planted.
Following the Reformation came the Enlightenment philosophers, like Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who built on its foundations. Hobbes wrote about the enlightened state where benevolent elites would insure a just society by imposing law and order in order to avoid conflict both from within and without. Rousseau saw man as individuals corrupted by society and that benevolent rulers would insure real freedom from corrupting influences by reflecting the general will of the people and bring them into a state of harmony.
The flaws of their idealism are self-evident. They both neglect the fact that ruling elites can be corrupt to begin with or are corrupted once in power, a mistake that is made time and time again when men put their faith in rulers.
Then came the trio of George Wilhelm Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heiddegger, the post-Enlightenment philosophers, who took it a step further. Where Hobbes and Rousseau believed there was a place for God and faith in society, these three in their writings completely dispensed with a role for God. They had a profound influence on the growing secularization emerging from the scientism of the industrializing societies.
With the marginalization and eventually discarding of faith, the empowerment of both the state and the individual came to trump the power of a transcendent Creator. From there it was just a small step to where the standards for words and their meaning came to be challenged just as the validity of faith and the existence of God as the standard for absolute truth came to be questioned and eventually for many no longer accepted at all.
From the commentary, Welcome to John Roberts’ America, Where Words Mean Nothing, the author writes:
Welcome to postmodern America. For decades now, we have been living in a culture where the meaning of words is stretched almost beyond recognition.
I don’t claim to know Chief Justice John Roberts’ motivations in deciding in favor of Obamacare, but I do know that his deconstruction of the meaning of language is increasingly commonplace in our culture.
For quite some time our intellectual classes have told us that truth lies only in the interpretation of language.
If words no longer have any unified meaning but mean whatever a person wants them to be, then how can there ever be the possibility of consensus, especially political, when there is so much power riding on electoral and judicial outcomes.
Another quote from “John Robert’s America”:
Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher of the “will to power,” once said, “All things are subject to interpretation and whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”
So true. Last week the Supreme Court chose power over truth—and the meaning of words—twice.
Marxism, the philosophy of dialectical materialism where man is the measure of all things in history and progress, requires the death of God in order to make gods of men. The great atheist himself, Karl Marx, was heavily influenced by the atheism of Nietzsche and Hegel’s dialectic. It was Hegel’s dialecticism that became the foundation for the concept of progress in history.
This new idea of progress was dressed up in the language of Marxist pseudo-egalitarianism that permeates Western democracies today. The logical outcome over time is that standards through the manipulation and re-creation of the meaning of words and language brings about the desired change. It is nothing less than a revolution in getting people to think a certain way and that is towards the false gods of progress. Political correctness and moral relativism are the weapons of this non-violent revolution.
The arrival of postmodernism that is the world today doesn’t bode well for the future. When universal objective standards are destroyed, the vacuum is filled with subjectivism that tries to pass itself off as truth. Morality becomes personal opinion in disguise. When the foundations of any kind of universally agreed upon standards for both language and morality have been destroyed and replaced by competing opinions and interpretations, the possibility of the unification or reconciliation of understanding then becomes impossible.