Monday, September 29, 2008

American Socialism; Theism as Skepticism; sntjohnny and Me

American Socialism Is Upon Us
"Capitalism and markets [ ] are all inherently about self-interest and the pursuit of profit," said Dr. Yaron Brook. "Capitalism encourages and enables selfishness, and as long as our culture looks at profit and self-interest as vices, [ ] big government will always be preferred to free markets." [italics added] "Why Big Government Is Back, and How to Shrink It to Its Proper Size"

This might be a surprising perspective to many people. But it really is surprising only to capitalists who simply want to earn a living--perhaps a big living, but a living that is ruled by nothing but proper market ethics and proper ethical treatment of his or her consumers. And I am one of those to whom it is a surprising perspective.

I should not be surprised. I know full well that the market situation we are currently in was caused by zealous, not ethical, pursuit of the dollar. There is a difference. We expect the neighborhood butcher, farm co-op, or shoe store to treat the community with a high standard of ethics. To do otherwise would be to risk negative letters-to-the-editor in the newspaper, and maybe an investigation by the local TV affiliate, if the situation warrants it. Consumers who feel bent out of shape by the way they were treated locally often sue.

But on the larger scale, in the bigger market places, we all know that ethics tend to become fuzzy, or even misplaced once a rule of ethics is broken the first time and not caught. The big markets can usually fend off attacks by angry customers, unless the business is WalMart or something similar. WalMart is expected to be all things to all people; that is how it grew to be so large. Big selection plus big inventory equals low low prices; that is what constitutes "all things to all people" most of the time.

But Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, explained why the reasons for the resurgence of big government are due, "not to any alleged failures of the market, but to a longtime cultural hostility to its moral basis: the selfish pursuit of profit."
We as Americans have lived with the idea of socialism long enough that most of us do not see how its operating principles-if they can be called "principled"--have crept into our nation's politics, policies, and regulations. In the Treasury Department's U.S crazy scheme to save Wall Street but they included this in big, huge piece of socialist nationalism in section 8: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." [emphasis added] [see The Last Nail in the American Fascist Takeover ] more

Excerpt from Anthony Horvath’s
Christian Apologetics Ministry
And the Reclassification of Theism
as the Skeptical Position of Naturalism

"It is not very often that you get an admission as clear as the one that was posted on my forum today. I asserted in this post on my blog that at the bottom, most atheistic arguments against the existence of God are based on the ‘presumption of naturalism’ with [missing info in original post.] The atheist on my forum said:

'At the conclusion, you argue that the evidence will show God’s existence if only we give up our assumption that all explanations must be natural. What you fail to give us is any compelling reason why we must abandon that assumption.'"

Unfortunately, Rev. Horvath's critic undercuts his own position by saying he would, in effect, be willing to accept giving up reason. Horvath responds--quite logically--by saying, "The atheist in question says that this assumption can only be abandoned in the face of extremely good reasons, but it should be evident that anyone who believes ‘all explanations must be natural’ is really just throwing up a smokescreen if he now demands ‘reasons’ for thinking otherwise."

Oh, if only we would listen to what we say before we say it. In light of what Horvath said regarding the abandonment of reason for "compelling" reasons, I think the critic would have thought out his words more carefully.

But my favorite atheist philosopher said we must take men at their word. If they say it, then they said it, and we cannot presume to judge that they meant something else. This does not mean we cannot ammend our statement when our contradiction becomes evident.

But unless Horvath's critic writes back, we must assume he does not understand the difference between:

1. A principled deduction of logic that tells him that naturalism is natural, while supernaturalism is---not, by definition, natural; and
2. The decision that it makes no difference whether a thing is "natural" or "not-natural" if one is willing to suspend his rational judgment to decide that the "not-natural" can somehow become the "natural," or at least the "acceptable."

Horvath tells him--and others like him--"If you’re just starting to examine the merits of Christianity and are evaluating skeptical objections, the key here is to understand that all the later objections to things like the resurrection and miracles stem from this prior assumption."

What Horvath himself fails to explain is that naturalism was the prevailing world-view for nearly 1000 years, until Augustine.

There are four goals for the informed naturalist, says physicist and cosmologist Dr. Quentin Smith. "i) retrieve naturalism from its de facto reclassification by medieval philosophers. This is a reclassification (which may have been a result of some other deliberately chosen goal) from its original, accurate, classification in Greco-Roman naturalism, and this reclassification was effected by the medieval philosophers. This reclassification still prevails today." Philo Online more

Reverend "sntjohnny" Horvath Wrote Me an Email:

I Responded
Actually, I only responded to the first two paragraphs, as you will read. He sent the email because of his contention, which I challenged, that followers of Ayn Rand's Objectivism would "inevitably" come around to embracing Christianity.
[Dear Curtis:] "It is only 'inevitable' in certain senses. If you apply the principles you hold dear in Objectivism consistently I believe that you will find that Objectivism does not in fact have the answers while Christianity does.
"Consider. One of the most cherished doctrines of the Objectivist is the rights and freedoms and dignity of each individual human. However, to what degree can this be supported from an atheistic philosophy, especially an atheistic perspective on evolution, which is the prevailing scientific explanation for the rise of humans? Under this framework, a human is nothing more than an animal." [signed Anthony Horvath]
"stjohnny" and I are too familiar with each other to actually bother writing "Dear X," or actually signing it, except that my "automatic" signature is automatic, I do sometimes write "Sincerely," or simply "Curtis," and this time he finished his letter with "Yours."
My (Partial) Response
The atheism and evolution have no bearing on the freedom and dignity of the human individual.

You say according to evolution I ought to conclude man is "nothing more" than an animal. But the denotation of "Man" is that heis the "rational animal." From this perspective we conclude several things:

1. That "Man qua Man" requires the highest degree of rationality a man can discover;
2. That rationality belongs to individuals because there is no "collective" mind;
3. That since rationality belongs to the individual, just as his fingers are his, and his stomach is his, his mind cannot be coerced into doing, being or thinking what it does not want to be. more

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the sm of the

Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism tm, the educational arm of the Assemblage.

© 2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®
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