A while back, while listening to Rush Limbaugh and he was discussing abortion; as I turned the radio on Rush was asserting that abortion has affected the disposition of the Nation’s “soul.” Rush claimed that abortion was more than abortion; that its’effects and effects promoted the panoply of social maladies, confronting the United States today… Although I agree with Rush’s sentiments, I no more agree with his assertion than I do with those that trace the United States moral collapse to ‘removing prayer from the Public Schools, or the abandonment of classical education’. Abortion, the removal of prayer from school, the rejection of classical education (“Hey, hey, ho, ho western Culture, gotta go!”), no-fault divorce, pornography, the advance and ubiquity of violence – to include sexual abuse, drug abuse and perversity/vice – in general – can all be traced to a more fundamental cause than abortion. Each of these symptoms mentioned are fruits of seeds sown in the soil of the confusion resulting from Christendom “devouring” itself i.e., the “pulling down Chesterton’s gas-lamp1 i.e., the rejection, or abandonment, of classical (Thomistic) metaphysics; or as Chesterton refers to it: “The Philosophy of Light.”
1 “Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something; let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good–” At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.” Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Chapter 1, “Opening Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy” from Heretics 1905
Note: “The philosophy of Light” is philosophy, which presupposes God; the “monk – who is the spirit of the Middle Ages” represent classical philosophers, they sought truth, they sought to know the essence – or nature – of all things; requiring acquiescence to objective reality (thus, philosophy was the most humble of endeavors)… Modern ‘philosophy’ seeks to systematically characterize all things; this requires consciousness to – arrogantly -“play God.”
As an aside, and mentioned, because the intellectual abandonment of Thomistic metaphysics, was largely effected via “philosophers’ affectation with Kant’s The Critiques of Pure Reason. Kant did not refute Classical/Thomistic metaphysics, but modern Physics has tacitly refuted (unintentional) Kant, while unintentionally resurrecting Thomism i.e., there is no inconsistency between Saint Thomas’s metaphysics and modern physics.
One of the things which militate against a moral culture is the modern reliance upon “science,” in particular the social sciences, to determine which course of action we, as a society ought to travel. With the method of science, we take no umbrage, it is the unarticulated philosophy – logical positivism – of the social sciences, with which we object; for just as it treats humans a blocks of wood or elements of a set, not only is human nature denied, but so too is the dignity individuality rendered irrelevant. Thus, humans are reduced to base processes, and thus it should not surprise that culture becomes more course, and exhibits accelerated decay. Roughly 20 – 25 years ago, a conflict arose regarding pornography; was it baneful, or nay, to the general populace? Sociologists were asked to render the judgment of their discipline, and they could not relate any empirical evidence for pornography’s pernicious effects. Of course, this is quite understandable at least metaphorically, for example:
“Let us suppose that it is generally held that things which possess a blue color are inimical to life. Each time we come across a corpse, we note an accompanying prevalence of things distributed, round and about the corpse, which are blue. It then has become – in our scenario – evident that blue things, contribute in some way to demise of otherwise healthy individuals. For years, society minimized and regulated blue entities, but they could not eliminate them because they needed blue to manufacture green – green is a valuable commodity, as it turns out, in our scenario, “green” has historically been acknowledged as therapeutically healthful – which of course is produced by mixing blue with yellow… As it turns out – in our scenario – the general populace wants to de-regulate blue, so as to profit from its wider distribution, but those which insist on blue’s regulation claim the adverse effects, and increased societal fatalities outweigh any benefit from a more accessible blue. Finally the sciences are consulted; unfortunately – in our scenario – although blue may be detected by the instruments of science, science may not ascertain a causal relation between blue, and death. Thus science asserts that blue may be de-regulated. In subsequent unfolding events, with each passing day, more and more azure corpses are collected; the population mysteriously is decimated by some type of epidemic with the sole common identifying characteristic of a blue milieu.”
Our scenario above is something of a metaphor; we do not claim it as a great one, or even adequate. What we claim it to assert, is that in many instances – particularly with regards to human populations – science, in utilizing its method and due to its antecedent assumptions, omits, or renders nearly impossible, the amelioration of the human condition. Thus, the inferences drawn from “science” reflect not science, but the “philosophy” by which it evaluates any empirical information (the metrics of science), and amongst the things omitted from the practice of the social science disciplines is human nature i.e., humans. For the social scientist – as a scientist – views humans – and all living organisms – as merely a process of becoming; historically, the classical notion of human nature (essence) is rooted in the Perennial Philosophy i.e., realism (which presupposes God).
Modern proponents of “science” (their interpretive “philosophy is logical-positivism a.k.a. scientism i.e., materialism) reject such descriptions for essence may not be quantified i.e., measured; for the social-scientist – the concept of “human” is nothing, but a social construct… As consequence the social sciences– if tasked with organizing society – would differ little from tasking Karl Marx to organize society; both omit human essence in their treatment of human relations… Marx reduces humans to widgets (blocks of wood); the social-scientist reduces humans to their appetites; morality – for the social scientist – is what society accepts at the moment…
Moreover, the social science disciplines actively discourage moral conduct (such practice leads to neurosis/mental illness); we argue that the quasi-philosophical predicate of modern science – logical positivism – promotes, through the sundry social-disciplines socio-pathological conduct; sponsoring – as corollaries of its “philosophical view” nihilism, hedonism, and egoism; the very views which – when generalized to a populace – historically have been understood as inimical to perpetualization of a people, or a Nation. Thus, the effect upon our culture – in its almost universal employment, and reliance upon, the “social sciences” as guides for how to organize ourselves as a people, and allowing these sciences to so greatly influence our laws – is to encourage gradual acceptance of social debauchery, moral decadence and political tyranny.
Note: We do not claim all social scientists are in agreement with their discipline, but few will publicly argue in contradiction…
Now, as stated above, modern Physics – unintentionally – has tacitly validated Thomism i.e., the metaphysics of Saint Thomas Aquinas and the scientists – that are not too philosophically obtuse (or too obdurate) – will acknowledge as much! So why then do the social-sciences still employ a ‘philosophical’ (ideological) framework for their disciplines in discord with the more general (by general, we mean more encompassing i.e., all the physical sciences are contingencies of physics) natural/physical sciences, which have realized the limitation of logical positivism as a lens for scientific advance? Could it be that the social scientists – after all scientists are human, fraught with the same weaknesses as non-scientists – employ the anachronistic philosophical framework because – social structures and truth be damned (obduracy – moral impenitence and wickedness, afflicts many a social scientist; they hold evil, as good and good as senseless) – the employment of a defunct ideology – as interpreter of empirical date – advances their personal interests (they’re hedonistic nihilists disposed for perversity) as well as their careers i.e., it creates an ever-expanding client base i.e., humans absent an objective moral ordering principle self-destruct. And this is to what Chesterton refers above: “And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes.”