I’m reading this book, “Vindicating the Founders” ... I think by some prof at Hillsdale ... nice place. (Imprimis. I look forward to it in the mail, I think twice a month. It's worth signing up. But you can just read it on the web as well.)
Anyway, as an Atmospheric Science/Computer Science major, I really didn’t dabble in polisci or philosophy ... not formally, anyway. And over time, I’ve come to realize ... probably largely due to Thomas Sowell’s writings, that there’s this fundamental difference in worldview ... the tragic vision and the “progressive” vision of man.
I thought it was just an observation ... a distillation of the assumptions that have to be being made for “progressives” to hew to their view and for classical liberals to hew to theirs.
I had no idea that they literally spelled this out.
John Dewey, according to this book, and they quote:
“Social arrangements, laws, institutions ... are means of creating individuals. Individuality in a social and moral sense is something to be wrought out.”They literally believe human nature is a product of social institutions (and apparently this goes back at lest to Rousseau). They literally therefore see social institutions as The Creator. As God. This makes their actions make perfect sense, if you look at them in that light.
Our worldview sees the Creator as something or someone outside of ourselves. That we have a nature the same way as a dog has a nature ... something all dogs are born with. Dogs have no social institutions to “create” individual dogs. No... in our view, social institutions are there to constrain and channel human nature, a nature that is already there just like dog nature is already there. But humans, humans have self-awareness – and thus a conscience. Which is a part of human nature, and it is the part that is susceptible to social constructs ... but it does not negate the animal nature we were born with. If social constructs don’t recognize and accommodate to some extent that part of our nature, the are doomed to fail. We know that.
But to the progressive, they are literally creating new humans, new individuals ... themselves. No wonder they eventually justify genocide ... or maybe “ideocide”, and simply try to advance the natural, Godless evolution of man by killing off those who profess any opposing belief.
They are God.
If the individual is born of “social constructs”, then we are not born with natural rights ... our rights are merely “social constructs”. At that point, we are only entitled to life, liberty, and property (pursuit of happiness) .... as long as government says so.
Ours are supposedly derived from our natural rights. The progressives say we have no natural rights. Our rights are what they say they are, depending on their mood this year.
Crossposted at Rotten Chestnuts.