Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A secular society cannot have Good government, and will always choose Leftist government

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The Left versus Right political discourse is a snare.

Of course, Left and Right is a nonsensical distinction in the contemporary world. In The West all mainstream political parties, and nearly-all of the fringe, are on the Left!

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Politics is on The Left because its principles are secular - which is to say we have a God-excluding politics, a politics 'built-upon' some kind of utilitarian (pleasure-pain) calculus.

(Except that it is impossible truly to 'build' upon utilitarianism, so instead we get long-term destruction.)

The only real alternatives are The Left (ie. all mainstream politics/ media), or Religion (ie. The Right that does not exist).

Not Left versus Right; instead, (secular) Left versus Religion.

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Society is either secular - based on evanescent psychological expediencies; or else society is based on religion - and ultimately, overall, in the long run, aiming to run things in a way satisfactory to divinity.

The primary choice that is not-Left is therefore "which religion?" That question is the basis of real politics - now extinct.

(For the modern West there are only two viable religious choices, of which Christianity is currently the one less likely to prevail.)

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Government is properly just a means to an end. The big question should be 'what end?'

In our secular, increasingly anti-Christian world, the problem is that our 'end' - our aim - is wrong. Ultimately, Western people (en masse) do not know what are the right things to do.

But because public discourse excludes/ rejects Christianity; from a Christian perspective (which is where I stand) we are not even trying to do the right things.

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We do not have 'good intentions' that are thwarted by available political options - quite the contrary: in The West we are actively trying to pursue wrong goals and to live by wrong ideas. The big problem as we stand now is not the politics but the people; the people are corrupt, cowardly, pleasure seeking, trivial.

From where we currently stand, nothing Good can happen until after the people (en masse) recognize their appalling, evil-seeking, destructive spiritual state; and repent.

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Nowadays, in an increasingly-corrupt world of mostly-corrupt people aiming at ever more corruption; political analysis and discussion is therefore only of value when it leads to a consideration of ultimate goals - asking what, overall, are we trying to achieve'; what, overall, is our society aiming-at? And does that make sense: And is it Good?

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15 comments:

ajb said...

"which is to say we have a God-excluding politics, a politics 'built-upon' some kind of utilitarian (pleasure-pain) calculus."

Do you think Christianity excludes utilitarianism, or just a crude or hedonic utilitarianism?

For example, do you think Christianity is compatible with a utilitarianism which seeks to maximize the Good, and believes the divine intelligence knows best how to do this, and that therefore one ought to seek to align one's own will with the God's?

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - I think Christianity - by the primacy of Love - excludes any *direct* form of utilitarianism - even if the the utilitarianism embraced life beyond death. In a softer sense, it could be said that God wants us to be as happy as possible in an eternal frame and constraints of mutual love, creation etc; but not as a primary goal.

Thordaddy said...

Dr. Charlton,

I implore you... Your adversary is anti-Supremacy. Calling him "leftist" in a time of mass confusion brings absolutely no clarity to those seeing some glimmer and seeking more light.

ajb said...

Thanks for this - what on your view is the primary goal - I take it something to do with love?

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - I'm not sure what you are asking by 'primary goal'. Whose primary goal?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Td - No - I am quite clear about what *I* mean, but apparently it is not what *you* want.

Politics of any and every kind or model will be destructive (overall and over time) until such time as its aims are Good.

With the British people as they are now (in the majority, on average, en masse), there is no hope.

Repentance first.

ajb said...

"God wants us to be as happy as possible in an eternal frame and constraints of mutual love, creation etc; but not as a primary goal."

I'm referring to the primary goal you mention here.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - Sorry, I still don't understand.

ajb said...

I'll try one more time. If eternal happiness isn't the goal, what is?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I think ajb's question is, if God "wants us to be as happy as possible ... but not as a primary goal," then what primary goal does God want us to have instead of happiness?

I think it's a valid question.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - I think we know what God wants most for his children by knowing what an ideal earthly parent wants for their children - scaling up to extremely large numbers of children; and that is given by the two great commandments - for them to choose to love.

This is very much what people do in the best families.

The way I think about it stems from a consideration of why God created things and people in the first place. This is easy to understand in terms of love - because he made more people to love one another.

I can both understand and prefer the ideal of a world that was a network of loving relationships, and no hatred. This ideal does not lead to paradox, it does not lead to individual versus society conflicts, nor to short- versus long-term conflicts.

I have tasted this ideal world at times, and know for myself there is nothing better. I also know it is very happy, but that it was not attained by aiming at happiness- the happiness came as a result of the environment of chosen love.

For me, it does not make good sense of things to assume God created earth and men so as they would 'be as happy as possible'.

Indeed, it is hard to imagine any scenario in which the purpose of creation and existence could be happiness - certainly natural selection doesn't work in that way (happiness is seen biologically as something like the proverbial carrot suspended in front of the donkey - a motivator just out of reach).

Thinking about happiness as a primary goal is in practice impossible, leads into paradoxes and conflicts. This can be imagined in terms of running a family with utilitarian goals and nothing regarded as any higher purpose; or running a business with the aim of maximizing overall happiness - because maximizing employer happiness, employee happiness, customer happiness and general public happiness will often clash.

Utilitarianism gets to seem like mostly a zero sum game of competition over individual happiness (at the expense of others) - inside a non-zero game of the average happiness of 'society' - without any coherent argument as to why individuals should prefer maximizing societal happiness in the long term (which is very vague and extremely arguable), above maximimizing their own happiness here and now (about which they have, or think they have, certain knowledge).

In sum, happiness is not God's primary purpose for creation, and happiness is not really the kind of thing that in practice could be the primary purpose. Perhaps because happiness is intrinsically an outcome, a result, a consequence - whereas what is wanted for life's purpose is a thing more like an input than an output.

Thordaddy said...

Dr. Charlton,

From the American point of view, the "left" is that super duper majority who believes in the "right" to "love" whomever ones pleases from merely one's self to all of humanity AND WILLING to use state force to impose this universal "love." Now of course, many alt-riters and pill poppers "see" this universal "love" imposed by "leftists" and call it Christianity (or argue that it originates in Christianity). What's my point? "Leftist" conveys no meaningful information to the masses. That's all. There is a better label for those that pervert the desire for love for their own ends and "leftist" just doesn't convey that perversion. In fact, it obscures it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Td - I don't really care about trying to reach the masses - I don't have, and don't want (because it would be poison), access to the mass media. I am just trying to get things clear, help and encourage myself and the handful of people who read this blog with some degree of regularity.

If I succeed in writing something good here, then I know that it *will* do good in reality, and be helpful, operating by 'supernatural' channels - the reality of which is not acknowledged in mainstream public discourse.

The way I use The Left as terminology has developed over five years, a thousand blog posts, and three books and it 'works for me'. It may not suit you or fit-in with your political hopes, but I am not about to change it for that reason!

Thordaddy said...

Dr. Charlton,

It just seems that somewhere near the end of Theosis is perfected articulation. If nothing else, Dr. Charlton strives to perfectly articulate Truth, Beauty and Goodness... The ingredients of love, no?

Mark Citadel said...

Good article, Mr. Charlton. Check out Kristor's take on what you've said over at the Orthosphere, if you haven't already.

http://orthosphere.org/2015/05/07/mere-reaction/