Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The thoughts of yesterday have combined with a comment that I heard on the radio today to give birth to the reflection which you will find below.

If you must put me on a social scale, many more people would call me conservative than those who would call me liberal. When it comes to a variety of moral and social issues, I have a tendency to be somewhat related to that group which is currently labeled "conservative". Included in such issues are the importance of the family, God, and the acknowledgement of human freedom which does not ultimately rely upon governmental action. However, conservatives may call me liberal for my desire to have the government aid in picking people up and enabling them to rebound from their mistakes and falls. Additionally, my general aversion to the death penalty and wanton destruction of nature for the sake of progress are signs that my heart may be bleeding more than such conservatives think it should. The list could go on for both, but I will avoid such ponderous boredom right now. ;-) When all is said and done, I am more often-than-not labeled a conservative, often to my chagrin, for I hate labels like that in general.

This labeling, however, has brought me to an interesting point. Being young and often perceived as a pure conservative makes people assume that I see only in "black and white". This charge is railed against conservatives privately and publicly. John Stewart's book "America: Democracy Inaction" shows the left brain as having grey matter that is only existent as black and white matter in the right brain. This pun is doubtlessly offered only with respect to the general accusations which are railed in this debate over the judgments of conservatives versus those of liberals. Even so, it is indicative of the general perception which exists.

Anyway, in the course of my thoughts today, I heard the “ultra-conservative” Sean Hannity express a very "grey" statement and began to think. We won't get into where my views are with respect to Mr. Hannity's. I will at least say that he is not the crack-pot that everyone makes him out to be, although I would like to talk to him on a few social issues. On the whole, however, I don't think he is the black-and-white personality that people make him out to be, as his comment today clearly expressed.

Mr. Hannity was evaluating the culpability of individuals who are sex offenders, acknowledging a difference between someone who is 18 dating a 16 year old and the more wretched case of one who is a 45-year-old who takes advantage of a young child. Sitting in the traffic coming into town from work, I though, "How is it that people can accuse conservatives of being black-and-white?" This question has come up before in my mind, but I have ignored it mainly because of the weight of the reflections that flow from thence. Such reflections, as will be seen presently, hold within them the possibility of insulting many people before I finish expressing my thoughts. Nonetheless, I would like to venture into this realm for a short while.

If one thinks about what Sean said, there is definitely an accusation of right and wrong which renders a judgment against both cases mentioned above. In both cases, each are stated as being wrong, insofar as they are in direct contradiction to the legal and moral order. The perceived "black and white" is also a partial illusion. In his treatise On the Nature of Good, St. Augustine, arguing against the dualistic Manicheans, astutely points out that things of a lesser order are called by a contrary title when compared to something of a greater amount of that same quality (cf. De Natura Boni Contra Manichaeos, Ch. 14-15). With respect to our current consideration, both acts are truly evil compared to the ultimate good against which they are compared. In that respect, the matter is black-and-white. However, within this black-and-white must be ultimately held a spectrum of grey which acknowledges the insidious slipping by means of which man deviates from Goodness into the nothingness of oblivion.

I know not where the supposed "black-and-white" is other than in the contrary which must distinguish between that which is ultimately good and that which is some degree of privation from good. If such is the case, those who desire for more grey to be show in judgment are either misjudging the apparent “black-and-white” or are gravely mistaken in their perception of what true human progress is. They are mistaken if they think that "conservatives" believe that the first individual above is as gravely wrong as the second. If they are not so mistaken, what else can they believe but that the Truth is not absolute?

Of course, such a belief would be preposterous, as such a claim is absolute in itself. However, there exists there some latent desire to accept a plurality of "truths" or "paths" as being ultimately equally acceptable. I will only begin to rebuff such thoughts, as time is running short for me right now.

If progressivism is to achieve an end of perfection, it can not look toward anything less than perfection. To accept a lesser good as part of the path of progress is an affront to the Truth and to the ultimate goal of progress' very aims. Therefore, to accept a plurality of "grey" choices is a ridiculous affront to progressivism itself. Progress can only occur when it has a true sight of what Goodness and Truth are and how man exists in such with the potential of erring with his free will.

Having given these very poor reflections, I would like to address the issues in here individually and will perhaps take one of them up in my next entry. For now, I must get ready for bed, as it is already past midnight.


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