How the Country Became So Divided

DividedNation2by Tim Jones7/18/15
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. • (1677 views)

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20 Responses to How the Country Became So Divided

  1. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Interestingly, the subject of objective morality came up on one of the Planned Parenthood threads over on NRO this morning. “Morality becomes personal opinion in disguise” as you put it, Tim – it was generally agreed that this is unacceptable and what leads to the inhuman butchery of these abortion mills and their attendant sale of human body parts. One Conservative atheist was uncomfortable with the idea that morality came from God, but the point, as I and others tried to suggest, is that morality must come from a source higher than the individual man himself, that is, must be rooted in man’s nature, which is not a matter of mere opinion but is fixed by reality. It is a subject worthy of further discussion.

    Not to take a gratuitous shot at Libertarianism, but I will repeat what I have said here on ST many times: Libertarianism is an attempt to divorce politics from morality except for the single smuggled-in axiom prohibiting the initiation of force [this should have read “smuggled-in value of liberty”], and this is what has undercut it both theoretically and practically (i.e. it explains its lack of appeal to any large segment of society).

    As for our country being divided, this is perfectly true, and the aggressive desire of the Left for absolute power will keep it that way until one of three things has occurred: the country collapses into statist dictatorship (if they win); the country is restored to freedom, morality, and greatness (if we win); the country is politically divided into two, which I believe will be a win for us in the long run after their half collapses.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Not to take a gratuitous shot at Libertarianism

      Just FYI, we hand out green stamps for that. Mr. Kung has saved up almost enough to by a small outboard motor.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I was going to say there is no such thing as a “gratuitous” shot at Libertarianism. All shots at Libertarianism are called for and well deserved.

        I have almost finished sticking those green stamps in the last book.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I’d just like to say, Mr. Kung, that anyone who is for the legalization of drugs or prostitution has a hole in their head. If you take these topics and cleanse them by separating them from reality and making them a purely intellectual exercise, one can make a nice-sounding argument. But in reality, wherever drugs and prostitution (legal or otherwise) predominate, there comes a degraded and dangerous culture where thievery and just the lowering of human life is achieved.

          I urge all conservatives and all authentic Christians (and even the pseudo kind) to not so easily be moved by those young men staunchly (at least on the outside) defending “liberty.” You have no idea what the libertarian movement is actually about. And if you do support it, you’re either ignorant or have gone a bit liberal.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            The problem is that people have a hard time grasping that something can be legal but wrong. It’s been said that people don’t rob banks because it’s illegal but because it’s wrong — but they know it’s wrong because it’s illegal. Decriminalization might work as an alternative.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              The problem is that people have a hard time grasping that something can be legal but wrong.

              I think very much in keeping with what Tim Jones is saying is that people need to live by and for something better than the ethics of the state. Whether ethics and morals flow from the state, from religion, the immediately family or tribe, or somewhere else, people will tend to adopt as normal those ethics and morals. That’s culture. That’s why taking part in the culture wars is first and foremost the responsibility of the conservative or authentic Christian. Blabbing away (as we all do) on an internet forum accomplishes little. We tend to get what they call “paralysis by analysis.” And I’ve certainly been one of the biggest sinners of all.

              The questions are simple, but not easy:

              + Do we want to live in a culture where moocherism is rewarded and productivity is penalized?

              + Do we want to live in a culture where our sexual aspect is degraded by the only standard being “If it feels good, do it”?

              + Do we want to live in a culture that is so race-conscious as to be de facto racist?

              + Do we want to doom future generations to degraded prospects because we couldn’t live within our fiscal means?

              + Do we wish to adopt Communism or Marxism (under various guises)?

              + Do we wish to make lying, deception, and propaganda our official way of life?

              Here’s another great quote from Dalrymple which I think is pertinent, particularly to that last point:

              Apart from the massacres, deaths and famines for which communism was responsible, the worst thing about the system was the official lying: that is to say the lying in which everyone was forced to take part, by repetition, assent or failure to contradict. I came to the conclusion that the purpose of propaganda in communist countries was not to persuade, much less to inform, but to humiliate and emasculate. In this sense, the less true it was, the less it corresponded in any way to reality, the better; the more it contradicted the experience of the persons to whom it was directed, the more docile, self-despising for their failure to protest, and impotent they became.

              We’re no longer talking about whether to live under this policy as opposed to that one. We’re talking about whether or not we’re going to live in a culture of lies or not.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I suspect Dalrymple’s view about lying in communism was very similar to Orwell’s in 1984. “He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I came to the conclusion that the purpose of propaganda in communist countries was not to persuade, much less to inform, but to humiliate and emasculate.

                I believe this is true for those with any brains and sense of right and wrong. If one has any self-awareness the constant requirement to lie, adjust and amend the truth has to work on one’s self-esteem and sense of honesty.

                For the dim-wits of the world, propaganda simply lets them know what “truths” are valid today. Tomorrow might be different, but these people do not have the emotional or mental depth to be concerned about continuous contradictions.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    The destruction of objective language was a major concern of George Orwell, as in his article “Politics and the English Language”. This was later amplified in 1984, which has become the liberal guidebook.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The great atheist himself, Karl Marx, was heavily influenced by the atheism of Nietzsche

    I have never come across this claim before and would appreciate clarification. Nietzsche, some twenty six years younger than Marx, did not publish anything until the 1872 and his really “serious” work did not start coming out until the late 1870’s. Marx published “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848 and this contains the famous line, “religion is the opiate of the masses”. Marx died in 1883.

    In any case, Nietzsche’s works were not well known, but to few until his death. During his life I would think he was probably most famous for his arguments with Wagner on art and German culture.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Speaking of Marx, I was just reading a little of The Wilder Shores of Marx by Theodore Dalrymple. I thought this quote was revealing:

      It didn’t take me long to conclude that communism was dismal, and that the words of Marx and Lenin betrayed an infinite contempt for men as they were, for their aspirations, their joys and sorrows, their inconsistencies, their innermost feelings, their achievements and failings. Below the surface of their compassion for the poor seethed the molten lava of their hatred, which they had not enough self-knowledge to recognise.

      I believe most of the divide we see is because part of the country has accepted the premises of Communism…often under various names.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Below the surface of their compassion for the poor seethed the molten lava of their hatred, which they had not enough self-knowledge to recognise.

        It is even worse than hatred, it is contempt.

    • Pst4usa says:

      I had always heard this the other way around, that Marx was an influence on Nietzsche?

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I am not sure how much Marx affected Nietzsche. I believe not much. Marx was a dialectical materialist. He tried to claim reason led to all his conclusions and based his predictions on reason.

        Nietzsche believed man and history were not led by reason. I do not think he was a Utopian like Marx. He did not yearn for or believe in the complete homogenization of mankind as Marxists do.

  4. Pst4usa says:

    Good article, but this line stuck me: “Political correctness and moral relativism are the weapons of this non-violent revolution.” I suppose that this is non-violent for the time being, but I would say that the over 150 million killed by this revolution in the last century would beg to differ. That is if they could.

  5. Pst4usa says:

    Did I hear someone say Bernie Sanders? Just to put a real name to it Brad. I must say it breaks my heart to see more than 5 people at his events, let alone 1500 to 2000. Or how the morons cheered him at the debate/let’s see who can out leftist each other forum.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      But in the end, what difference is there between Bernard Sanders (a self-admitted socialist independent) and the Democrats whose votes he seeks. The politicians are almost all every bit as socialist (or fascist) as Sanders. After all, liberals are supposed to think alike, to conform to the group (which takes precedence over the individual in liberal thought).

      • Pst4usa says:

        That is true Timothy, but I still hold out hope that America will wake up, and when I see, as you pointed out, an admitted socialist being cheered, I know that the nation’s long slumber, has not come to an end. I have told Brad that I do not think we can wake up until the people feel enough pain, and then it may be too late.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      The American public is morally and intellectually sick at the moment, Pat.

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