From YHAOS: "Since, in modern times, the press is regarded more a propagandist instrument than anything, by its chief proponents, and government seems increasingly to seek to restrain the true liberty of the press, Tocqueville’s coolness to the press seems rather prescient."
Freeper betty boop's response: Much if not most of what passes for public discourse nowadays is propaganda. And many if not most people today are so poorly educated that they can't discern propaganda when they hear it. The media, academe, and Hollywood are mainly comprised of feel-good, lock-step cultural Marxists on a mission to perfect the human condition (they say). The odd thing is the more they expand group rights, the more they constrain individual liberty. But then, "if you want to make an omelette, you have to break some eggs." There is a constant reinforcement of idiocy from this crew. Mainly they are idiots themselves, in the sense of idiotes, a term that Cicero used to refer to people who hold reason in contempt. Cicero would say such folks are fundamentally irrational.
It's the type of "group-think" that defines them that is most distressing. It is profoundly anti-American, basically for two reasons. (1) "Groups" do not have standing under our Constitution; only individuals do. (2) A major axiom of the current post-modernist group-think is that there is a "group" of people who are knuckle-dragging, superstitious morons because they believe in God. This "group" is reactionary and dangerous to others, and thus deserves to be repressed by their enlightened betters, for the good of society.
Those boorish Christians have to be restrained for their own good, and for the good of society, dontcha know? What the world needs now is secularists and atheists, and then the work of instantiating the New Utopia can go forward apace.
In short, "we" have to stop the superstition and get down to more "scientific methods." And the French mathematician and astronomer Pierre-Simon Laplace, a spearhead in the development of the doctrine of a material, mechanistic universe, shows us the way. Regarding Laplace, in his "Autobiographical Statement at Age 82" Voegelin quotes an observation of Patrick Byrne [not further identified]:
"In his philosophical essay concerning probabilities — among other things, this is the famous statement of determinism — it's quite clear that Laplace is systematically replacing the Christian theological virtues of faith, hope, and love by moving them into the context of deterministic mathematics. He starts right off by saying, "The reason I'm writing this is that people are believing things that they ought not to believe, and I'm going to give you a calculus that's going to structure your believing." And about three chapters later he has a chapter, called "Concerning Hope," in which he replaces hope. Or, in other words, hope becomes in effect: "What should you bet on? What's a reasonable bet, and what's not?" — Collected Works of Eric Voegelin: The Drama of Humanity, Volume 33, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2004, p. 450f.
Now, Christians are a "group"; and so under the theory of group rights, you would think they are entitled to be accommodated. Yet the very opposite is true: If the "group" is Christian, it is condemnable. Yet oddly, if the "group" is Muslim — who, just like Christians, are committed believers in the reality of God — then current cultural sensitivities are such that Islam gets a nod of approval and a pass — no matter what members of this group actually do. (Christians as a rule do not butcher their wives and daughters for "honor crimes," or wage Jihad against non-believers.)
Talk about irrationality!
Of course this is not really surprising. After all, America was not built on Muslim foundations, but on Judeo-Christian ones. Jews perhaps comprise too small a segment of the population for the Left to worry about. (Plus there are not a few Jewish Marxists active in our society, as for instance with the ACLU.) Christians are the popular majority — so they must be targeted. To legitimize the Muslims, therefore, has the delightful effect of relativizing and marginalizing the core American culture. And this is "a good thing"....
So the situation with our self-appointed, progressive cultural and political elites seems to be: they have neither reason, nor faith in anything (except themselves; see below). That is an amazingly combustible mix, as we have seen in spades in the history of totalitarian movements in the 20th century, and in the motley crew of Marxist and/or fascist petty dictators of our own time. (E.g., Mugabe of Zimbabwe; Chavez of Venezuela; also Obama's Kenyan cousin Raila Odinga, who is both Marxist and fascist — plus a Muslim to boot. He is seeking single-man rule at the point of the machete in that unfortunate land.)
The most distressing thing to me is that totally irrational people say that it is Christianity that is irrational. Yet Judeo-Christianity testifies that faith and reason are not conflicting domains. Further, that the loss of faith destroys the basis of reason. As Eric Voegelin wrote:
"Faith and reason cannot be in conflict because the human intellect carries the impression of the divine intellect; it is impossible that God should be guilty of deceiving man by leading him through his intellect to results conflicting with the revealed faith. It follows that the human intellect, though capable of errors, will arrive at truth wherever it goes. The revealed faith, however, contains besides the truths that are accessible to natural intellect, such as the existence of God, other truths, such as the Trinitarian character of the divinity, that are inaccessible to reason." — Collected Works of Eric Voegelin: History of Political Ideas Volume 20, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1997, p. 209.
In short, Judeo-Christianity proclaims that we are a people "under God." The Declaration of Independence does the same. But every good cultural Marxist knows that God "must die" so that Man can rule — i.e., to hoist himself up onto God's own judgment seat, so to rule over an utterly deracinated universe. ...
The end-stage of a fully implemented cultural Marxism would very likely look like this:
"...the single member of the community has ceased to be an active citizen, and he can participate in politics only through "representatives"; the economic man separates from the political man; politics becomes a differentiated social function, and with it enters the possibility of abuse. For the people are now divided into economic classes, and it is not possible that the interests of the various classes should always be in harmony.... When a people thus is composed of a plurality of peoples with conflicting interests, there will be no uniform national interest on which all are ready to agree. The ruling "representatives" can play the various groups off against each other, and in the general confusion they will increase their power and wealth until it equals the power and wealth of the nation. The country is split into the rulers and the ruled; the people have lost their power over the "representatives" and can hardly hold their own against them. For wealth has a tendency to accumulate in an even smaller number of hands of the ruling class; the number of independent proprietors, the mainstay of liberty, will decrease; and the end is an economic despotism of a small minirority that rules the people for its private interest." — Collected Works of Eric Voegelin: History of Political Ideas Volume 26, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1999, p. 78.
YHAOS, my dear brother in Christ, we are already way, way down that road already. And it looks to me that our president is the "Pied Piper" who's leading the way.
You mentioned that we need to do something about public education in this country. While I agree in principle, I am extremely skeptical that public education can be the cure for what ails us; for the teachers unions are themselves absolute captives of cultural Marxism. They have virtually absolute control over the educational agenda in this nation.
The only thing for wise parents to do nowadays, if they want their children inculcated into the virtues of liberty and personal responsibility, is to send them to good private schools religious or otherwise (hence the fanatic resistance of the teachers unions to a voucher system); OR keep the kids at home and educate them themselves (hence the hostility to home-schoolers who are being threatened with "credentialing requirements" and any other anti-competitive stratagem that can be imposed to stop them).
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