Sunday, April 2, 2006

Rights and beliefs not to be confused

I don’t respect Muslims for their beliefs. I respect the Muslims right to hold their beliefs (and harm no one but themselves in the process) but I have nothing but contempt for any code that damns existence on this earth in the name of the supernatural.
Nicholas Provenzo in The problem with atheists … at Rule of Reason.


Publius said...


Anonymous said...

No doubt you would also condemn the supernatural "invisible hand" of capitalism that would present the earth as a buffet feast to be consumed non-stop by slovenly, gluttons and then shat out with a grunt and a groan.

It seems ones "contempt for any code that damns existence", is subject to ones own blind ideological leanings.

And this site seems both very blind and listing heavily to one ideological side.

So long as existence is damned by those with the correct ideological credentials (the politically correct in other words), then any manner of logical leaps and stretches may be applied to provide a rationale and defense of the patently insane.

Sometimes, it involves inserting fingers in ears, with eyes tightly shut, while repeating often and loudly, "I can't hear you!"

Pietr said...

Well, Anon, perhaps you shouldn't keep it all in?

Lisa said...

A translation of the above comment by Anon:

"I can't have a serious discussion with you because you won't agree with me."

MapMaster said...

the supernatural "invisible hand" of capitalism that would present the earth as a buffet feast to be consumed non-stop by slovenly, gluttons and then shat out with a grunt and a groan

Gosh, well since you put it like that

There do seem to be some articles of faith at hand here. Starting with the code, Anonymous is buying into the Marxist branding of trade as a bloody "ism," which suggests that capitalism is an articulated and planned system. That kind of branding is useful for a socialist superstition of competing historical systems, but the label is an artificial creation of trade's enemies. But let's use it anyway — capitalism is, if anything, what occurs in the absence of any code; that is, what occurs when people are free. That's an article of faith there, you might say, but not so — its existence is evidenced by the simple fact that capitalism is restrained, inhibited, trammelled, regulated and hamstrung by very real legislation but never has to be legislated into being.

The code or article of supernatural faith is in fact held by capitalism's opponents — it's called variously by its believers the "public good," the "public interest," etc. Try demonstrating that that exists without resorting to vague irrational precepts.

By the way, I assume that you are aware that the "invisible hand" is simply a metaphor and not an apparition.

Mike said...

1776, Edinburgh, Scotland. Two gentlemen meet by chance at the tobacconist's.

Man the First: Pardon me, good Sir, but am I speaking to Adam Smith, Author of the Theory of Moral Sentiments? I believe I recognize your Likenefs from the Frontispieces of great Works over which I have burned countless Candles and Lamp-wicks.

Man the Second: Indeed you are, and well met; for you have correctly divined that I am Adam Smith.

Man the First: And if I may, pray tell me, are you not the Author of the recently published Book, Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations?

A.S: I am.

Man the First: Then, indeed, it is through the work of Providence that we should meet. I have just now read your Work, and found it a most clear and judicious Exposition of the means by which Wealth increaseth in this and other Nations...

A.S: I am most obliged to you, my Friend. Yet by your Exprefsion I gather that some Aspect of my Treatise does trouble you.

Man the First: My good sir, you are as excellent a Judge of Sentiment as you are an Observer of Human Intercourse. Indeed, I do feel a certain quantity of Perturbation with regard to a minor Detail of your Work.

A.S.: Pray, tell me; for it is through Discufsion and Reason that men do learn to refine and more excellently exprefs their Ideas.

Man the First: My dear sir, I would entreat you to remove from the second and subsequent Editions your Metaphor of the invisible Hand; it will be a source of great Confusion, Perplexity, and Mockery for Dumbafses and the Ill-educated in untold Centuries yet to come.

A.S: But my Work is almost fifty-score pages in length, filled with countless Metaphors and Explanations! Why should you seize upon this single Metaphor, which is intended as a Summary of the foregoing? Indeed, as you are familiar with my book, you will know, sir, that I refer but once to an "invisible Hand", so as to reiterate Notions already expressed in other, more explicit and argumentative Terms in hundreds of Pages preceding. I find it difficult to credit that this Image alone should bring you to such distrefs, found as it is in pafsing but once in the fourth Book of said Work.

Man the First: I beg you, sir, I fear that this Metaphor will be seized upon by those with little Understanding of your Work, and used to Poison the Evaluation of your Thesis in the Minds of Generations yet unborn. For as we know, there are no invisible Hands in this World.

A.S.: Sir, I am taken aback by the Opinion that a future Reader might take my Image in a literal sense; for these Isles do not grow such stunted Fruit. Indeed there are no invisible Hands to be found, but it is the nature of Metaphor and Imagery to speak of Phantasms. Yet they are real Procefses and Movements to which I refer. To one unacquainted with Philosophy, the Actions incidentally taken for another's unintended Benefit, as a Man seeks his own Good in the Businefs of Trade, might seem to be guided by an unseen Hand so as to produce that desirable Outcome of another's Happinefs, &c. But to one acquanted with this Science, the Mechanism has become clear by this fourth Book. I must say I view your Critique as quite uncharitable towards my Readers. I bid you good day, sir.

(But Smith is buttonholed.)

Man the First: I beg you, remove this phrase, lest future Generations of Educators leave their Charges jokingly to ponder over whether there be Millions of such absurd Hands, one for each Person, or but one Hand, or one for each Nation, the composition and properties of the same, the generosity of spectral Hands towards the Pauper, &c. For wide knowledge of this Science is inimical to the Designs of Tyrants and Monopolists; and their Lickspittles will be satisfied only to know that your Theory is one of ghostly Appendages.

A.S.: Sir, I thank you for your Criticism, but I cannot imagine that two Words in my great Tome should cause such Confusion. And with that I bid you Good-day.

gm said...

“The state in and by itself is the ethical whole, the actualisation of freedom; and it is an absolute end of reason that freedom should be actual. The state is mind on earth and consciously realising itself there. In nature, on the other hand, mind actualises itself only as its own other, as mind asleep. Only when it is present in consciousness, when it knows itself as a really existent object, is it the state. In considering freedom, the starting-point must be not individuality, the single self-consciousness, but only the essence of self-consciousness; for whether man knows it or not, this essence is externally realised as a self-subsistent power in which single individuals are only moments. The march of God in the world, that is what the state is. The basis of the state is the power of reason actualising itself as will. In considering the Idea of the state, we must not have our eyes on particular states or on particular institutions. Instead we must consider the Idea, this actual God, by itself. On some principle or other, any state may be shown to be bad, this or that defect may be found in it; and yet, at any rate if one of the mature states of our epoch is in question, it has in it the moments essential to the existence of the state. But since it is easier to find defects than to understand the affirmative, we may readily fall into the mistake of looking at isolated aspects of the state and so forgetting its inward organic life. The state is no ideal work of art; it stands on earth and so in the sphere of caprice, chance, and error, and bad behaviour may disfigure it in many respects. But the ugliest of men, or a criminal, or an invalid, or a cripple, is still always a living man. The affirmative, life, subsists despite his defects, and it is this affirmative factor which is our theme here.”

G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831)

Pietr said...

Hegel?How long did he take to eat a boiled egg?And how many thousands of utensils did he need to do it?
And was he sick in any cse afterwards?