Before addressing the article, I'm going to start this post outlining a philosophical view of morality which is hard for many people to grasp since it does not comport with the way most of them have been taught to think of morality--especially if they have been led to believe religious devotion is the be all and end all of morality or that morality consists in forcing or guilting people into behaving in certain ways. In fact, I would say, more often than not, religious views of morality are psychologically damaging, contradictory, and induce undeserved guilt in the people who choose to hold them--sometimes with detrimental effects in regards to their own lives. Frankly, I cannot figure out why in the 21st Century men still feel the need to farm out their consciousness to the dictates of mysticism when we have philosophy, psychology and other secular sciences to provide us with guidance is beyond me. Some might say it still fills man's need to feed his spiritual side. Really? I do that quite well using my mind and knowledge and I don't have to tell myself fantasies in order to do it. But, that's a discussion for another time.
Morality and ethics are properly a branch of philosophy. Religion, as a primitive form of philosophy, grasped on to morality in the farthest reaches of man's history in order to provide him a guideline for living. All men sense their need for philosophy and all men hold some kind of philosophy; some do it consciously whereby they use the mechanics of philosophy to come up with a non-contradictory, rational means of providing their mind a relationship to reality; unfortunately, for many other men, too many, their views tend to be mongrel philosophy--a grab bag of thoughts, slogans, ideas they've gleaned from other people, throw in a pinch of pragmatism or determinism and a whole lot of tyrannical impulses and you've got yourself something which can destroy a nation. The problem with religious morality and the psychology of those who believe this is the only way for men to be moral is--it demands collectivism (tyranny) to make it work and the minute anyone, anywhere comes up with some new discovery which contradicts this morality, it forces unnecessary conflict into the relationships of human beings where reason and debate should have existed instead.
Most people view morality and ethics as something of an irritant--something which man is incapable of dealing with because he's "imperfect." Therefore, most moral and ethical discussions either fall by the way-side because 1) they sense that discussions of morality may lead to some telling others how to live and therefore they either drop it completely because they somehow know that feels wrong or they jump in full-throttle and become commandment-writing psychopaths, usually ending up with some kind of position where they have the gun of government to make every one's lives miserable or 2) they just shrug their shoulders, drop it altogether and figure morality and ethics are incapable of being grasped by such little, ungodly minds such as those possessed by human beings or 3) they view morality and ethics as something dangerous which will prevent them from living a happy life--because "people concerned with morality and ethics are really miserable, unhappy little creatures who find no joy in life," or 4) that morality is not practical--that it serves no purpose other than to cause debate or conflict.
For the purposes of this post, I can't get into a full philosophical outlining of morality and ethics. I just wanted to provide a base from which to start. Ayn Rand stated:
"The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live."Animals have instinct to guide them in self-preservation; men have no such tool of survival. Men, unlike other animals, have volition--they have the power to consciously choose their actions. A cat does not look at a mouse and say to himself, "Gee. I'm hungry--but maybe I should let the mouse go. It might be wrong for me to kill him." No. He's hungry. His impulses tell him to catch the mouse and have it for dinner. There's no dialogue which goes on inside his head where he tells himself, specifically, to either catch the mouse or not catch the mouse. At most, if the cat just had another mouse for dinner ten minutes ago, his hunger impulse may not lead him to kill another one; but it's not a choice he makes. Because men have the power to reason, reason becomes man's faculty for survival. He must consciously make choices which either help or hinder his survival; this is where the concepts of good and evil come in. Those things which hinder man's life are the evil; those which help man's life are the good. Reason is man's only means of knowledge--mystic claims to the contrary--reason is absolute. Any man who claims to have knowledge, through mystical means, that others are not privy to--is a man capable of convincing others to do immoral things in the name of the irrational. Truth, objective truth, can only be discovered through a relationship to reality. And there are many secular philosophers out there who, just like their mystic brethren, will try to convince you that your mind is incapable of dealing with reality. Does this make things difficult and cumbersome at times, especially in a legal system which must use debate and reality as guide-posts to determine the guilt or innocence of someone who has violated the rights of someone else? Yes--but, you notice--it's the only way to do it. We don't inject into the courtroom the evidence of someone who says, "God told me this guy's guilty--so that means he's guilty!" The same standard applies to everyday life...and there are a lot of people out there who don't like the idea that either big-brother government or "big-brother God" in the sky isn't directing their lives. It scares the living shit out of them. The notion that men have to deal with others rationally, and that it is the only way to deal with others, is completely frightening and alien to them. But it doesn't mean that moral certainty is not possible to man. From Galt's Speech in For The New Intellectual by Ayn Rand:
If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a "moral commandment" is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.There are many, many men out there who wish they could return to an animal's existence. This is where drug-addiction comes into play; this is where the impulse for tyranny to control people comes from; alcoholism, abuse--there's really not one vice men have been dealing with for eons which doesn't come from his deep desire to escape life. He's sees the world around him as intelligible and frightening and he creates or invents or uses things in any manner possible in order to escape that which he does not want to deal with. This, I contend, is where all of man's problems arise from.
My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists--and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason--Purpose--Self-Esteem. Reason as his only tool of knowledge--Purpose--as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve--Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man's virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and pride.
(Just a side note teaser: I'm writing a novel which addresses this very issue.)
I want to take a little side-step here and talk about something in regards to moral subjectivism and moral relativism. There are many religious people who talk as though God has control over everything. This is a form of determinism. Secular collectivists contend that biology, rather than God, determines our actions--that we really have no control over our actions because our biology absolves us from responsibility. Well, if these views are the case, why do we really need morality at all? If any choice you make is one that has already been predetermined, why wouldn't men give up their need for morality? Where does that particular position place an individual? It places him in a position where he not only feels he doesn't have the right to judge others as either guilty or innocent in regards to bad choices they make or even that they feel they need to make such decisions for themselves at all. There are many kinds of mysticisms out there as well which also teach you that you are simply "a leaf blown about in the wind" and that true happiness consists in simply "going with the flow" or meditating yourself into an oblivious state of non-existence; that life does not have to be achieved consciously. And there are a lot of people out there who like to lie to themselves. That view of God, those other mysticisms, remove all responsibility for the choices men find themselves having to make. Suddenly, we begin to see how it is that men such as Hitler or Stalin or Pol-Pot are capable of justifying their actions. Suddenly, we begin to see how some people are all of a sudden capable of saying to themselves and convincing others that the enslavement of some men for the good of other men--is a "virtuous" thing to do. All of a sudden we begin to see how it is that so many men are capable of deluding themselves that the responsibility they hold for their actions are exactly no responsibility at all. All of a sudden, a grown adult who has spent their life in their formative years goofing off in school, not challenging themselves to further figure out and develop their talents, getting into trouble--all of a sudden they realize they are adults with absolutely no prospects, no future and no goals to strive for; but that's okay because they've been told it's not their fault, they shouldn't have to pay for years of their irresponsible behavior because--well, someone else will be there to pick up the tab. And, if not--then I'll get a politician to get someone to pick up the tab for me. Are some people born into bad circumstances through no fault of their own? Yes. But, there are just as many people like that who still made the choice to take a productive path and succeed as there are those who decided to take the unproductive path to destruction. Many moral relativists use this as an excuse to not hold people responsible for their actions--"Well, they couldn't help it." Even if that's true, even if there's an element to that statement which is true--I don't see how it makes the argument for not dealing with morality and ethics either in men's formative years or later in life as some kind of virtuous thing to be strived for. Why do they then try to make that case? Because they have an agenda other than man's happiness.
What both the religiously collectivist and secular collectivist camps want you to accept is that morality is incapable of being objectively grounded in the reality of man's existence; both camps have separate reasons for doing so--but, this is what they want you to accept. Why? It benefits their causes--causes which have nothing to do with the secular reason why man needs to be free to act on his judgment. Individual men, even those most committed to reason can still make mistakes in judgment--but this doesn't invalidate morality. When a man finds a contradiction in his thinking it is his responsibility to readjust and realign his relationship to reality. This is not a weakness. It is a requirement of our existence and it is necessary for achieving a successful existence.
Indeed, the purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.
What water and sunlight are to plants and instinct is to animals--morality, ethics and virtues are to human beings and reason is his ultimate means of using those tools. It is no accident that statists decry all discussions of morality and make the false claim that morality really has no purpose to serve. Many statists accept the premise that it is government's job to manipulate people into some kind of Utopian living--whether secular or theocratic. The proper purpose of government, with America's founding, which mankind had been working towards for millennium, in fits and starts, is to protect man's right to live as he sees fit as long as he does not prevent others from doing the same. As Ayn Rand stated:
The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of America was the subordination of society to moral law. The principle of man's individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system as a limitation on the power of the state, as man's protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right. The United States was the first moral nation in history. All previous systems had regarded man as a sacrificial means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself. The United States regarded man as an end in himself, and society as a means to the peaceful, orderly, voluntary co-existence of individuals.I apologize for the lengthy exposition. But, I needed to have my reader grasp these basic ideas before tackling the virtues and vices of the article. With America's founding, imperfect as the founders' philosophical understanding was in regards to the defense of the individual, government was instituted to protect man's rights to live his life; this was the only kind of understanding which could provide government with a moral purpose. Government, with our founding, was no longer supposed to violate those rights either for the purpose of some mystic tyrant or this-worldly tyrant.
I want to say one final thing to any conservatives who may be reading this article. You sense that men need morality to achieve a successful life. You correctly sense all that is wrong with the secular Left's arguments to convince people that morality is something that needs to be feared. I want you to stop and consider something I stated above in regards to the practicality of morality; your sensibility is correct, but your application in regards to morality is wrong. What do you think is going to go further with people in regards to bringing us back to being a virtuous society and a free society? Instituting theocratic collectivism which forces people to be moral (a contradiction which would amount to an immoral action on your part because you are attempting it through force) or becoming the rational people which the Left claims they are--but are not. What, in the long run, do you think is going to produce more fruit? What, in the long run, do you think will ultimately bring about the kinds of moral understanding you want people to have but haven't been able to figure out how to communicate to them? It really is all about the practical versus the impractical. I'm not talking about legislative force here--I'm not talking about that because that's not moral. I'm talking about a fundamental change in the way people perceive this very important part of man's existence. If you grasp this fundamental view, philosophically, and you are able to understand it, communicate it and own it--you could forever put the collectivist Left back on their heals. But what you can't do is replace their tyranny with a tyrannical understanding of your own. That will never, ever work in a million years and people will never accept it freely because people don't want to be controlled--they want to be free. But, in order to understand what I'm talking about, you have to first get down off your theocratic high-horses in order to have this understanding and embrace a new way of thinking about this. And, frankly, in my experience--having debated many of you--you are not up to that task simply because you fear what it might mean in regards to setting asides some irrationalities of your own which you so desperately want to hang on to.
Now, on to Madeleine McAulay's article. My purpose in writing the examination of this article, is not to condemn Ms. McAulay, but to use her article as a demonstration of what happens when one sets aside rationality in favor of irrationality. My commentary is also less concerned with the virtues or vices of gay marriage per se. In her first two paragraphs, she states:
Last year North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment stating that marriage is only between one man and one woman. I not only supported this amendment--I campaigned for it. But in light of the ACLU's latest challenge against the amendment, I think it is only fair for me to let everyone know that my opinion has changed. Yes, I flip-flopped.
Following the passage of the NC marriage amendment, I made a YouTube video that quickly went viral. In that video I stated why I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman, and personally, I still believe this. I am a Christian, and I believe God instituted marriage. I also believe that God clearly defined marriage as between one man and one woman. But while I do still believe this, politically, my opinion has changed.Oh no! She flip-flopped!? Only in the world of politicians and Leftists with a collectivist agenda is flip-flopping something to be condemned. Those of us in the rest of the world know that changing your mind about something is not a crime. Reason is the art of non-contradictory identification. Before you can embrace reason and use it to its full extent you have to realize that it's not a crime nor a shame to readjust your thoughts about something in order to bring it to a non-contradictory place of understanding. What prevents non-contradictory identification in some people? The acceptance of irrational premises. What produces frustration and unhappiness in some people? Holding on to something contradictory even though you've been shown that something is incorrect in the way you've processed something.
As an example, let's take Ms. McAulay's second paragraph where she says, "I am a Christian and I believe God instituted marriage. I also believe that God clearly defined marriage as between one man and one woman."
Who's God? Zeus? Jehovah? Jupiter? Oh wait. We're only supposed to consider Jehovah because he's the one "true god." Says who? How does she know this? Did he tell her? Did she go to a mountain top and have a tablet given to her by a god with this information on it? She says, "God instituted marriage." By "God" we presume she means Jehovah since he's the one true God. Well, that's true, they didn't have marriage in ancient Greece--oh wait. Scratch that.
I don't care how much religious people, of any religion, of any branch, doctrine or sect--want to tell me their God gave them the authority to do something to others or that this provides them with the authority to create non-objective, rights-violating legislation--the same kind of legislation they decry the Left for creating--what it all boils down to in the end is--get "God" to say the same thing to me, in real time, with audio-waves that can be measured on an ultrasound machine; if you can't, your argument holds no more weight with me than if I had received it from a leprechaun while riding on the back of a winged-unicorn. I know (notice I didn't say "believe") morality and moral certainty and yes, even moral perfection--is possible to man, individual men, because I know man has the capacity to think. I do not accept that men are hopeless creatures; I do not accept they cannot be judged objectively; I think justice is real, not social justice which is a manufactured justice made up out of the imagination of the collectivist mystics of the Left, but real justice--that men get what they deserve or don't deserve according to their virtues or vices and that happiness is the norm for mankind, not disaster.
This is the problem with people who claim to have some kind of knowledge provided to them by mystical means which others do not possess: automatically, it sets up an adversarial relationship between "us" and "them"--between those who are blessed to know and those who remain ignorant; between those who have the authority to tell others how to live and those who don't; between those who want the tools to live a successful life and those who thwart that opportunity because they're willing to propagate irrationality among mankind. In short, suddenly you have the authority of someone you are supposed to accept has knowledge which you are not privy to--and this, in turn, is supposed to provide them with the moral authority to tell you how to live your life. What's worse is, observe the kind of hesitation people have in regards to taking actions which uphold the preservation of their life because of mysticism:
Does "thou shalt not kill" mean it's never right or is it okay in self-defense? It's a commandment--it's commanded. How can I ever think differently about this if it's commanded? What do you think happens to someone who's been led to believe that morality has nothing to do with the preservation of their life? Do you think they may believe God may damn them for shooting someone who is attacking them? They hesitate to pull the trigger in their defense--just long enough--to give the murderer time to pull his trigger and be killed. Now, who becomes responsible for that person's death? Our laws only deal with the trial and conviction of the actual murderer who pulled the trigger. That is so, because ultimately, there's not much you can do in regards to the degree of irrationality our victim may have accepted from others who are divorced from the act of the murder itself. But, do you begin to see how the proliferation of bad ideas, ideas that do not comport with reality, can be the cause of the most needless kinds of death. The initiator of that force, the murderer, is the immoral actor here. If anything, because he acted to initiate force, his victim--had he prevented his murder by shooting his attacker--would have been relegated to having the moral high-ground. But, he was denied this moral act in defense of his life because he allowed some mystic notion divorced from reality to enter into his thought processes. Men do not attain the moral equivalency of their attackers when defending their life--they rise above it.
Bit of a spoiler-alert for just the next paragraph:
Ayn Rand wrote a scene in Atlas Shrugged (one of my favorites) where we are shown the thoughts, premises and ideas held by a group of passengers on a train as it heads towards a tunnel; they vary from the pragmatic, to the morally relativistic, to the downright intentionally evil. It is at a point in the story where the infrastructure collapse of the United States is becoming most intense and the disaster they encounter once they enter the tunnel is fatal. She does this, not to ascribe punishment to these people, but to highlight and underscore the fact that ideas have consequences.
The bottom line is, and this has dire consequences for the future happiness and continuation of mankind, if morality really is unimportant then the slave-holders were right, the collectivists are virtuous and we should just hand over our lives to them to manipulate as they see fit.
Folks, this is not a recipe either for a successful life nor a successful free society. Neither of those can exist when there is a condition set up where some have some kind of knowledge others supposedly lack. Do you know what you get with that? Suspicion. What breeds suspicion? Secrets. This is the same reason I have adjusted my thinking in regards to the notion which some in government want us to accept uncritically--that there are things its okay for them to know about--but not the general public. When politicians begin setting up walls between you and them--you can be sure you're about to get the shaft. And we never should have allowed them to begin setting themselves apart from us to begin with. Alas, the damage is done and short of another revolution, I'm not sure how we remedy that, because once the powerful are given their power--they are not easily disabused of it.
Let us take Ms. McAulay's next two paragraphs:
As a conservative, I support small government and individual freedom. I believed I was doing what was right when I spoke out in support of the marriage amendment, and I still believe there is much truth to what I said. But as the same time, as a pro-small government Conservative, I feel hypocritical wanting the government to regulate marriage.
But while my opinions on government regulation of same sex marriage have changed, I still do not like what the ACLU is trying to do. If the government must define marriage, it should be left to the people in each state to decide, not some judge being pressured by the ACLU to overrule a constitutional act. The majority of North Carolinians, for example, decided to define marriage as between one man and one woman. But if the majority of Californians want to define marriage otherwise, go for it! Leave it to the states, not the oversized federal government or activist judges.What all these questions must ultimately come back to is--what is the purpose of government? If we accept that with our founding the new understanding of government is to protect rights, not violate them, then Ms. McAulay is on the right track here. Government regulating marriage is like government regulating the economy. If freedom is your highest virtue, then one cannot allow politicians to set up laws the only purpose of which is to manipulate people. Government does not hand out rights, it is supposed to protect them. The minute a government begins to starts handing out benefits to one group of people it needs to hand them out to all--otherwise you begin to end up with a society of people at each others' throats. Where are we now? Oh, yeah. We're all at each others' throats. Who does this benefit? No one but the politicians. We are a balkanized country and that's they way they want it to be. But, it's not the purpose of government to hand out benefits. It's the purpose of government to protect rights. Just as an individualist rights-respecting government cannot hand out economically redistributed money without first stealing it from someone else--so they cannot hand out social benefits to some without denying it to others. This is wrong and it's immoral. But why has this happened? I have a whole set of reasons why I believe this has happened which really could be another post in and of itself. I don't think our Constitution properly limited the power of politicians enough to prevent them from doing this kind of crap in the first place. Politicians always want to be seen as "doing something for somebody." But in so many ways, this divorces the proper purpose of government from its true intent.
Now, in her next paragraph she says, "...it should be left to the people in each state to decide..." So, am I to understand that as long as a smaller state does the violating of someone's rights it's okay--it's just not okay for the Federal Government to do it? I used to, sarcastically, say to both the collectivist Left and theocratic right when debating them, "If you want to live in a commune or a theocracy then gather up all your little communist and theocratic friends and go move to state where you can all violate each others' rights until your heart's content." I was being sarcastic to make a point. It is no more moral for the governments of Texas or New Jersey to violate someone's rights than it is for the Federal Government to do so. States do not have rights; people have rights. Rights only pertain to people. It is not moral for the dictators of Cuba to violate their citizens rights, to steal their wealth; it is not right for the Islamic theocrats to violate the rights of their people, to steal their wealth or force their associations; it was not right for Soviet Russia to violate the rights of its people; it was not right for Mussolini to violate the rights of the Italian citizens; it is not right for England to redistribute its citizen's wealth for government health-care no matter how many people voted for it. There is no such thing as a right to violate rights. Only people who have dedicated themselves to irrationality can allow themselves to be convinced that they can somehow claim to be for individual rights--but, then turn around and violate them while still believing they are doing something moral. What all these mystics, all these irrationalists, want you to blank-out (a term Ayn Rand used for someone who allows a contradiction to exist in their head), is that the violation of your rights is okay as long as the mob decides its okay. In regards to state's rights Ayn had this to say in the chapter entitled "Racism" in The Virtue of Selfishness:
The constitutional concept of "states' rights" pertains to the division of power between local and national authorities, and serves to protect the states from the Federal government; it does not grant to a state government an unlimited, arbitrary power over its citizens or the privilege of abrogating the citizens' individual rights.For more on this, I invite my reader to check out the essay Collectivized "Rights" by Ayn Rand at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. Now, on to Ms. McAulay's next paragraph:
If I could have it my way, I would love for everyone to get married for the right reasons, theologically speaking, and be happily married until death parts them. But unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Instead, we live in a world plagued by sin. Regardless of what type of marriage it is, alarming majorities begin marriages for the wrong reasons, which end in bitter divorces. The institution of marriage was disturbed long before homosexuals were pushing for the right to marry. I do not support divorce (except for the biblical reasons of infidelity or abandonment), getting married for the wrong reasons, or same sex marriage. But I do support freedom, and everyone's "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," even if I disagree with their choices.
Ms. McAulay is on the right track here, but what is she plagued with? She is trying to reconcile her highest virtue of liberty against what she perceives as being wrong according to what mystics have led her to believe. She says, "...we live in a world plagued by sin." Really? Am I to accept that I am inherently guilty of something before it has been proven objectively otherwise? As a matter of self-esteem, I am not prone to accepting unearned guilt. As far as I can tell, I judge other people as honestly as I can when I know the specifics of their situation, I haven't stolen anything from anybody, I don't lie--although I may lie to someone who has broken into my home to murder me if I think it might get me a chance to get out the front door to preserve my life; but in that case, the lie preserves my life--so it can't be said that I engaged is such a lie immorally. As I stated above, right and wrong are not matters of mystic revelation. They are matters of objective analysis of reality. Anyone who has spent anytime in a court-room, either on a jury or as a lawyer themselves (if they are a good one), does not accept speculation or mystic revelation in order to determine the truth or falsehood of a situation.
I suspect Ms. McAulay has a very collectivized view of marriage and the family as well; this is a typical error many conservatives make. She is correct--many people do start out marriages for the wrong reasons, for ulterior motives, for reasons which they may not have fully discussed with their spouse. Human relationships, all human relationships, are voluntary. A marriage is not license to enslave someone. Now, we can have objective conversations about the fact that broken homes may contribute psychological troubles to young children--but so does seeing a father and mother who are not happy with each other and who constantly bicker and fight in front of a child. As with everything in reality, the consequences have to be weighed and a decision has to be made as to what's best for all involved. A child, psychologically, is probably better off with a gay couple who have a healthy, happy relationship than a child who is with a mother and father who are engaged in abusing each other. Despite mystic claims to the contrary, love is not granted out of duty or selflessness. When something becomes detrimental to your existence and to your happiness--it is within your right to change it. Why? Because it's your life. Is it more responsible to allow children the ability to learn that people do not love causelessly and that they have a right to withdraw that love should it become damaging to them rather than accepting that they must hang on to a relationship out of duty when it becomes detrimental to their life? Absolutely! Family members, rightly, can divorce themselves from each other should the relationship become abusive. What's better? To teach a child that to love, he must accept its unhappy consequences to satisfy some fairy-tale myth we've been brain-washed to believe about love or to give him a healthy understanding that, just like with all his emotions, its what he does with them in regards to how his mind processes them that counts? Incidentally, this view of love is also responsible for the large degree of undeserved guilt the citizens of more free nations feel towards the rulers of the slave-pen country's of the world in regards to how they should be dealt with. Never forget, there is no such thing as a right to violate rights--government's who enslave their citizens have no moral high-ground; when we give these slave-pens and their leaders our money we are complicit in helping to keep those people enslaved. A large part of self-esteem is learning to know when enough is enough in regards to what you are asked to put up with. This is why the people of a nation will tend to go for long periods of time before they become restless enough to challenge the degree of statism they may be up against. A man with self-esteem cannot be ruled. Emotions are not means of knowledge. According to Ayn Rand:
An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man's value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man's reason and his emotions--provide he observes their proper relationship. A rational man knows--or makes it a point to discover--the source of his emotions, the basic premises from which they come; if his premises are wrong, he corrects them. He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand. In appraising a situation, he knows why he reacts as he does and whether he is right. He has no inner conflicts, his mind and his emotions are integrated, his consciousness is in perfect harmony. His emotions are not his enemies, they are his means of enjoying his life. But they are not his guide; the guide is his mind. This relationship cannot be reversed, however. If a man takes his emotions as the cause and his mind as their passive effect, if he is guided by his emotions and uses his mind only to rationalize or justify them somehow--then he is acting immorally, he is condemning himself to misery, failure, defeat, and he will achieve nothing but destruction--his own and that of others.Emotions and mystic revelations are not that far apart from each other. It is no accident these two things tend to produce a whole wealth of misery in the world when people treat them as a means of knowledge. When people choose to let the irrational rule their lives--you can be sure there's destruction at the end of the road. Now on to Ms. McAulay's last paragraph:
At the end of the day, my response to the Same Sex Marriage debate is honestly a shrug of my shoulders and a, "Whatever." What people do in their personal lives, morally speaking, is for them and God to sort out, not me and them. This debate is not worth the hatred and vulgarity it ignites, We have much more important battles to be fought."It almost sounds as if she's been the subject of some abuse--probably from both sides. In a way, I feel bad for this young girl. She's desperately trying to reconcile her love of liberty with impulses which have been fed into her head, impulses which have probably been fed to her by others, perhaps with good intentions, but they are now setting up a terrible battle within her which could have been avoided had she had the tools of reason to work with right from the start. She's having to reconcile contradictions in her head--contradictions which exist because her premises have been grounded in irrationality. One can only speculate as to where she accepted those premises from--but the damaging effects can clearly be seen. She wants to give up. She's making a pragmatic statement at the end which leads me to believe that she now thinks objective truth is unknowable to her. If that is the case and she has come to that conclusion, we can chalk her up to another casualty lost to the statist impulses of both the collectivist Left and the theocratic Right. Now she is ripe for control, ready to be abused by the next politician looking for a way to manipulate her into accepting their malignant premises. That's the real moral crime here.
A free country cannot remain free when non-objective means of knowledge are brought into the system from outside. It is unfortunate, the founders of this nation made an excellent attempt trying to preserve the freedom of the individual. Unfortunately, I don't know that they had enough of a philosophical grounding to really provide all the defenses necessary within our Constitution against the growth of the state. To make matters worse, what they did try to ground that liberty in is philosophically untenable, inconsistent, and irrational. And I know, first-hand, the problems which exist trying to disabuse those on the Right who claim to be defenders of the individual from their irrational premises. It's as futile as getting a Leftist to understand his own immorality based upon his emotional premises. Well, you can't defend what you can't rationally prove. As for the collectivist Left, they are a lost cause completely.
Fortunately, for us, we've been given the fruits of some one else's intellectual knowledge to back up, and maybe even revise for the better, that which the founders gave us. But first we have to make the choice to listen, learn and integrate.