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On the Myth of Secular Neutrality

 

Everything changed for me when American cities were burning in 2020. It wasn’t the burning so much as the hypocrisy of the experts. For months, Americans had been subjected to the unlawful suspension of their civil liberties and we were continually lectured that it was due to “the science,” “expert opinion” and the need to protect poor ol’ grandma. But as soon as there was an opportunity to exploit a tragic death to throw a grenade into race relations, all in support of progressive political interests, the supposed “science” changed and the “experts” were suddenly transformed, like lizard people, into apparatchiks, brazenly working in service to the progressive cause. Magically, racism was declared a greater risk than Covid. So long as your protesting and burning and looting were useful to progressives, the prior suspension of your civil liberties was lifted. Not so much for anyone else.

 

 

It wasn’t the George Floyd issue or the Covid issue individually that changed everything for me. It was how the confluence of these two events revealed that, whatever it was the American government was up to, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual welfare of all Americans; nothing to do with science; nothing even to do with the neutral application of real expertise. It became impossible to avoid the conclusion that the so-called expert class — at least the ones with their hands on the levers of Washington power — were neither expert nor particularly scientific. They had flown their actual colors and anyone paying attention could not unsee it. It changed…everything.

Of course, these events were quickly followed by conspicuous non-enforcement for the burning of pro-life clinics, while engaging in over-the-top enforcement directed at such threats as middle-class fathers who showed the temerity to pray at abortion clinics. What’s going on here is not really that the embedded progressives who dominate government really intend to arrest everyone on the other side. They lack the resources. The point is to psychologically condition Americans until they believe that they cannot afford to exercise their civil rights. From Jack Phillips to Donald Trump, the law-fare being run by progressives is less about winning those cases than about publicizing the cases so that other non-progressives will think twice before exercising their own civil rights, or doing anything that has a practical political impact that is negative for progressives.

The reason the left is in such a dither over Elon Musk and X/Twitter is that Elon has somewhat undermined their scheme to inflate the cost of civil rights beyond affordability for regular people. As it happens, the richest man in the world can afford civil rights even at their presently inflated price, and his $44 billion purchase of Twitter covered the costs for millions of others besides. And progressives hate him for it.

Hilary Clinton’s famous remark, referring to millions of Americans as “deplorables”, was not misspoken but was truly reflective of a prevalent view held by the progressive elite regarding much of American society. Since Covid, they have become increasingly open with the extent to which they hold their fellow citizens in contempt. Here we have Nancy Pelosi, in a recent Oxford Union debate with Winston Marshall, explaining how Americans’ commitments to civil rights (“guns” – 2nd amendment, “God”, 1st amendment) “cloud” our receptivity to progressive arguments that she alleges are really in our own best interest.

Just this past week, two geriatric climate fascists snuck into the British library with hammer and chisel and tried to destroy the Magna Carta, one of the most foundational documents for civil rights in all of history. It contains one of the earliest known outlines for establishing the rule of law and individual rights. I myself have had the privilege of gazing into that very display case. There are many other treasures of Western culture on display in that room as well.

The hammer and chisel were needed to break through the glass case which held that invaluable treasure. The natural response to this kind of effrontery is, of course, to be outraged at the old ladies’ stupidity and malevolence. But today,

Mary Harrington, in her inimitable way, reframed the event:

“What if the boomers are accidentally right here, and the best thing in our current political crisis would be breaking the glass to retrieve England’s constitution of last resort”

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Keith Lowery: Just this past week, two geriatric climate fascists snuck into the British library with hammer and chisel and tried to destroy the Magna Carta, one of the most foundational documents for civil rights in all of history. It contains one of the earliest known outlines for establishing the rule of law and individual rights.

    The joke is on them. Parliament has revoked it piece by piece over the centuries. Now, it’s only a piece of paper and an idea that might live on somewhere.

    • #1
  2. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Keith Lowery: Everything changed for me when American cities were burning in 2020. It wasn’t the burning so much as the hypocrisy of the experts

    I was already there before these events which then were the most solid form of confirmation I could have received. That probably is also why I accepted all  of the items on Ryan Cole’s list early in the Covid adventure without personally having any scientific expertise for such.

    I have spent long hours considering how this has happened and I have reached the same verdict as presented here. Secular governing is destructive of human dignity.

    I pray for Christian revival. 

    • #2
  3. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    So much excellence here! But, I’m on my way to Ascension Sunday Mass and to sing in the choir for the confirmandi and the Bishop presiding. Back for more after Sunday worship!

    • #3
  4. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Excellent post Keith.

    • #4
  5. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    If they are 82 and 85 they are not “boomers”. Can’t these youngsters do math?

    • #5
  6. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    JoelB (View Comment):

    If they are 82 and 85 they are not “boomers”. Can’t these youngsters do math?

    Heh

    • #6
  7. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    There was a Catholic writer/radio guy I used to listen to from time to time, and one of the phrases he used was, “Cut flowers don’t last.” Our Western Civilization has been enjoying the beauty of the flowers of Christianity for centuries, but has now cut them, expecting that they will still be there to be give beauty and fragrance.

    • #7
  8. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    So much excellence here! But, I’m on my way to Ascension Sunday Mass and to sing in the choir for the confirmandi and the Bishop presiding. Back for more after Sunday worship!

    Who’s your bishop, WC?

    • #8
  9. Chris B Member
    Chris B
    @ChrisB

    JoelB (View Comment):

    If they are 82 and 85 they are not “boomers”. Can’t these youngsters do math?

    You are technically correct…the best kind of correct!

    • #9
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    So much excellence here! But, I’m on my way to Ascension Sunday Mass and to sing in the choir for the confirmandi and the Bishop presiding. Back for more after Sunday worship!

    Who’s your bishop, WC?

    Bishop James Golka out of Grand Island Nebraska — a freshly minted bishop ordained at our (large sanctuary to accommodate his friends and family) parish in 2021. I like his gentleness and attentiveness to the love of Christ, although some friends who were very close to our previous, deceased bishop were distressed at the staffing changing he’s made and, I suspect, wish he was a little more orthodox. I  can see him growing into a very fine and holy shepherd some day, though. Let us pray.

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I read your ruminations on the tendency to “High-Church” conversions on your substack Keith. I’m sure if you shared it in the R> Catholic private group, you’d get some interesting feedback on why that might be from (mostly) Catholics — although anyone can read/join the group. I know I have some thoughts, but I don’t want divert from your excellent post (anymore than I already have). 

    Back on topic — when Mr. C and I were married in the Church, we received counseling from the priest who would officiate our wedding. We were young, foolish secularists and he reminded us we were committing to raise our children as Catholics and (roughly paraphrasing) we’d be teaching our children something to believe as teaching them nothing wasn’t really an option. He was getting at this “myth of secular neutrality.” 

    • #11
  12. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    It doesn’t matter if people want there to be a god.

    It doesn’t matter if religions are beneficial or not.

    It doesn’t matter if our culture was or is based on a belief in a god.

    No god exists.

    You need to find another reason for the civilizational collapse we are living through.  Men are evil and our dominant cultural philosophy no longer respects the rule of law, not because of religion, but because people have been brain washed in government controlled schools, and because we have a media that has been unified in trying to control news and culture.

    What we need is a return to the rule of law, a return to understanding the unique form a government we have and how it was formed and maintained for two and a half centuries.

    More religion isn’t the answer.  Religion can exist or not, it makes little difference except to a few who think they need a crutch in order to be moral.  What we need is a return to being intolerant of those who want to control us, whether through environmental terrorism or lies, or through other communist behavioral modifications.  We need less government, more capitalism, less regulation, more freedom.

    If you want to be religious, that’s your right.  That is called freedom.  Don’t try to impose your beliefs on me.

    If Protestants impose their church, the Catholics will rebel.  If Muslims impose their beliefs, a lot of us will die.  Relying on religion is not the answer.  Freedom is the answer.

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Skyler (View Comment):
    If you want to be religious, that’s your right.  That is called freedom.  Don’t try to impose your beliefs on me.

    But you get to impose your beliefs on others.

    • #13
  14. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Skyler (View Comment):

    It doesn’t matter if people want there to be a god.

    It doesn’t matter if religions are beneficial or not.

    It doesn’t matter if our culture was or is based on a belief in a god.

    No god exists.

    You need to find another reason for the civilizational collapse we are living through. Men are evil and our dominant cultural philosophy no longer respects the rule of law, not because of religion, but because people have been brain washed in government controlled schools, and because we have a media that has been unified in trying to control news and culture.

     

    If you want to be religious, that’s your right. That is called freedom. Don’t try to impose your beliefs on me.

    If Protestants impose their church, the Catholics will rebel. If Muslims impose their beliefs, a lot of us will die. Relying on religion is not the answer. Freedom is the answer.

    Who says freedom is good? Oh, wait! Jesus does: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

    • #14
  15. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    If you want to be religious, that’s your right. That is called freedom. Don’t try to impose your beliefs on me.

    But you get to impose your beliefs on others.

    When?  How?

    • #15
  16. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Who says freedom is good? Oh, wait! Jesus does: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

    Jesus also probably would advise us to eat healthy food.  What’s your point?

    • #16
  17. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    Skyler (View Comment):
    You need to find another reason for the civilizational collapse we are living through.

    I do? Are you, ahem, imposing that on me?

    Men are evil.

    On this we agree. Although I might also point out that, absent a transcendent definition of evil, every man gets to define “evil” according to passing whim.  In some cultures they love their neighbors, in some cultures they eat their neighbors. Who are we to impose on someone else that one is evil and the other is not?

    What we need is a return to the rule of law

    Yes, of course, but why? The rule of law is an imposition on people who may disagree.

    • #17
  18. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Who says freedom is good? Oh, wait! Jesus does: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

    Jesus also probably would advise us to eat healthy food. What’s your point?

    My point is that atheists- at least western atheists-  invariably act as moral parasites feeding off of the Judeo-Christian moral heritage of the west, or at least some Deist/Platonic moral presuppositions with biblical substrata when they start talking about good and evil. If their viewpoint were true, there can be no good or evil, and your griping about who controls whom is just philosophically inconsistent nonsense. And, no, consistency is not “the hobgoblin of little minds”,  it is the basis of logic and rational thought.

    • #18
  19. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Skyler (View Comment)

    It doesn’t matter if people do not want there to be a god.

    It does matter that atheism is not beneficial.

    It does matter very much that our culture was or is based on a belief in a God.

    God exists.

     

    If atheists impose their philosophy, they will invariably persecute any and all who object to itDivinely authored freedom is the answer.

    Corrections in bold.

    • #19
  20. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Related to this discussion:

    • #20
  21. Raful Member
    Raful
    @Raful

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Who says freedom is good? Oh, wait! Jesus does: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

    Jesus also probably would advise us to eat healthy food. What’s your point?

    My point is that atheists- at least western atheists- invariably act as moral parasites feeding off of the Judeo-Christian moral heritage of the west, or at least some Deist/Platonic moral presuppositions with biblical substrata when they start talking about good and evil. If their viewpoint were true, there can be no good or evil, and your griping about who controls whom is just philosophically inconsistent nonsense. And, no, consistency is not “the hobgoblin of little minds”, it is the basis of logic and rational thought.

    The moral western atheists are not parasites – they’re just “piggybacking” on biblical morality, as per the cartoon, and rightly writing it into law.   Non-westerners who enshrine comparable morality into their laws are just fine also.
    The danger is from the Left, which wants to make their immorality the State Religion, as happened in the French and Bolshevik revolutions, which of course rationalized bloody murder and defined opposition to the State as a form of heresy to be punished.   One could  argue that laws about “misgendering” and Executive Branch attempts to redefine “man” and “woman” into nothingness are blatant First Amendment violations because they establish “woke-ism” as the State Religion by enforcing religious tenets such as “men and women are the same.”

    • #21
  22. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    And, no, consistency is not “the hobgoblin of little minds”,  it is the basis of logic and rational thought.

    The actual quote is “a foolish consistency.”

    • #22
  23. Nathanael Ferguson Contributor
    Nathanael Ferguson
    @NathanaelFerguson

    Skyler (View Comment):
    No god exists.

    If no God exists, there can be no such thing as good or evil because there is no benchmark standard of morality against which actions may be judged. 

    • #23
  24. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Nathanael Ferguson (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    No god exists.

    If no God exists, there can be no such thing as good or evil because there is no benchmark standard of morality against which actions may be judged.

    What else? Nothing has meaning or purpose.

    • #24
  25. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    My point is that atheists- at least western atheists-  invariably act as moral parasites feeding off of the Judeo-Christian moral heritage of the west, or at least some Deist/Platonic moral presuppositions with biblical substrata when they start talking about good and evil

    Because no one was ever moral before Judeo-Christian culture was created?  Absurd on its face.

    • #25
  26. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Nathanael Ferguson (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    No god exists.

    If no God exists, there can be no such thing as good or evil because there is no benchmark standard of morality against which actions may be judged.

    Also absurd on its face.  Societies throughout history have had moral codes.  

    • #26
  27. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    People may wonder why I jump in on this.  I don’t care what you say or believe about your ridiculous religions.  It’s that so many people insist on insulting people who don’t share their beliefs that is offensive.  

    Fanatical Muslims have very strong moral codes.  Very awful moral codes.  Their beliefs don’t seem to make them better people.

    I know an awful lot of religious people who have horrendous behavior and thump their bibles and want others to know how virtuous they are while they do awful things in the dark when no one can see.  

    Right and wrong are not hard to discern and no religion is needed to understand them.  I agree that if you invoke magical beings that can punish you in mysterious ways then you can convince some to behave.  But that method is neither necessary nor sufficient. Many, many religious societies have been sick and oppressive.  

    On the other hand, some societies that have replaced religion with a political movement also do horrendously evil things.  That they are described as atheist doesn’t mean all atheists are immoral. 

    Practice your religion, I don’t care.  Stop insulting others who don’t share your religion.  It is not helpful to anyone.

    • #27
  28. James Bennetts Coolidge
    James Bennetts
    @JamesBennetts

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Because no one was ever moral before Judeo-Christian culture was created? Absurd on its face.

    If morality is a cultural construct, then there was a time before it was constructed when no-one was moral. The fact that the original construction is lost in the mists of time and we are only aware of the most recent refinements of the construction doesn’t change that.

    On the other hand, if morality is not a cultural construct but has independent existence then it’s difficult to construct arguments for said existence that can’t also be used to argue for that of God.

    Either way, the quoted statement is hardly absurd.

    • #28
  29. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Practice your religion, I don’t care.  Stop insulting others who don’t share your religion.  It is not helpful to anyone.

    I understand you feel attacked — “insulted.” I’m just not sure why — or where anyone said “all atheists are immoral.” 

    I question why your characterization of “many, many religious societies” being “sick and oppressive” necessitates a moral equivalency between all religious societies. Do you think Judeo-Christian societies have been “sick and oppressive” as compared to others? Or is there something unique (uniquely humane) concerning the value of all human life that has come out of Judeo-Christian ethics?

    I think you lose credibility when you deny the latter.

    I doubt very many Christians will deny that many (most) Christians fail to live up to Christian ideals. And I’m sorry if you’ve been wounded by the immoral behavior of Christians in your lifetime. But, those are failures to live up to the demands of Christian ethics — and not because of them.

    • #29
  30. TBA, sometimes known as 'Teebs'. Coolidge
    TBA, sometimes known as 'Teebs'.
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    My point is that atheists- at least western atheists- invariably act as moral parasites feeding off of the Judeo-Christian moral heritage of the west, or at least some Deist/Platonic moral presuppositions with biblical substrata when they start talking about good and evil

    Because no one was ever moral before Judeo-Christian culture was created? Absurd on its face.

    In fairness, their morality tended to flow from a G-d or gods. 

    • #30
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