2cornucopias

Abstractions?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/10/10 at 8:29 AM

General Semantics is the study of words and how they are used to manipulate us and affect us in positive and negative ways. For example, the manufacturer of Dove soap has been successful for years. Suppose they had used a synonym, “pigeon,” instead?   A term used in this field is “high level of abstraction”.  This means that a word can mean almost anything because it is so abstract  and exists only in the mind, e.g. religion, education, patriotism, economics, love and the like. Try asking 10 people to tell you the first word that comes to mind when they hear any of these words. There will be at least 7 different words  offered. This is why Socrates said that those who want to debate must first define what they are going to discuss. Suppose persons A and B were always arguing religion. It turned out that when A thought of religion, he thought of salvation, heaven, eternity and peace of mind. B saw religion as money-grubbing, fund-drives, money sermons, etc. No wonder they could not reach any agreement; they were not arguing about the same thing.

There are two words frequently tossed around  freely in political discourse, but actually mean nothing because they mean almost anything to anyone. These words are “liberal/progressive” and “conservative.”  I have heard them all my life, but I would be unable to give a definition to cover what is involved in these terms. In some circles, the words cause knee-jerk reaction. “Liberal is good/bad.”  “Conservative is good/bad.”

While it might be difficult define these terms, it would not be difficult to describe them from the viewpoint of history, how they actually operate in everyday life.

Liberals tend to act on emotion and appeal to emotion to make their points. Their proposals are meant to make themselves feel good about themselves, to feel noble, generous, caring, concerned only with others and wanting  the best for everyone.

Polls have shown they are not particularly religious and when affiliated with some religion, tend to look for the easiest doctrines, or to alter it to suit themselves.

They have a misplaced faith in the almighty Federal Government, and see it as the only source of all society’s needs. Some actually see the Feds as substitutes for religion and parents. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most overturned appellate court, actually ruled that parental rights stop at the schoolhouse door, which was later overturned.

They have no problem with huge national deficits because life is now. Later on can look out for itself.  Spend now to attain liberal Utopia.

Generally they reject the Judea-Christian element in the history of the U.S.

With this, they reject the traditional moral code of Christianity. All religions are sacred….except Christianity which is always fair game for mockery and cynicism.

The individual who runs afoul of the law is a victim, not a criminal. Society has let him down.

There is no objective truth. Truth is in one’s own mind. We decide for ourselves what is true and what is moral.  We are not to try to impose our beliefs on others. (The exception is liberal policies which are always to be considered above reproach; liberals have no problem trying to impose liberal ideas on others.)

There is a mania for equality at the expense of liberty. This is why they are so fond of whatever schemes promote income distribution. People have no right to be wealthy (except themselves) and to be poor is unfair– the fault of “the rich.”

The U.S. Constitution is “evolving.”  It is not set once and for all; it must be updated to fit new situations. Think of all the activities the Federal government is involved in now that are not in the Constitution. The Feds became dominant after the Civil War and have constantly and consistently added to their power with deafening applause from liberals, e.g  Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare  (the Supreme Court had to be contortionists to declare Obamacare constitutional, but they managed),  most of the cabinet departments, food stamps, etc.

Liberals  (which include most Democrats), for the most part can be described as favoring what in some circles is called sin…abortion (murder disguised as a women’s health issue), same-sex marriage (disguised as a civil rights issue), embryonic stem cell research (disguised as a means of conquering disease; although this has so far resulted in many human deaths and not a single benefit to disease eradication), and euthanasia (disguised as mercy, but is actually cost-cutting).

What have liberals given to the U.S. that we can be grateful for?

Secularism and the almost complete absence of God in the school and in public life.

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, invented by  Congressional staff members and unread by those who voted for it.

$17 TRILLION dollars of debt, much of which is held by enemies.

Political-correctness which is a denial of reality which makes its devotees live a fantasy world .

Affirmative action which is a positive name for reverse discrimination.

The Great Society and the War on Poverty which cost billions and accomplished nothing.

Global warming propagated by the non-intellectual Al Gore and which is a denial of Divine Providence, to say nothing of fraudulent “research” to assure the “correct” answer.

The media which is so intellectually corrupt that they don’t even pretend anymore not to be biased toward liberals.

Public universities and colleges indoctrinating students into the  ideas of liberalism. No contrary views wanted, thank you.

Feminism which has had a deleterious effect on both women and men, distorting the natural roles of both.

The   annual assault on Christmas via the ACLU.  “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

I assume that many of you will not like the list above. True liberals will complain that I am being judgmental….which I am, but I am judging by the long history of liberals in action. Don’t succumb to the usual liberal way to refute an argument against them…call their opponents names. In the recent government shutdown, Harry Reid could not refute or give any reasons why the Republicans were wrong; he merely called them “terrorists,” “anarchists” and “arsonists.”  (Interestingly enough, the Administration will not use “terrorist” to describe anyone…even terrorists.)

The Conservative approach to the political world is to appeal to reason and common sense.  (We can see immediately that it is much easier for liberals to appeal to feelings  than it is for conservatives to appeal to reason.)

He is more interested in the individual  and his freedom to develop his own life and abilities.

He is less interested in equality because he believes that social and economic equality are not realistic given the wide range of talents, opportunities and effort found in human nature.

He wants the smallest government at all levels consistent with maintaining the common good and basic rights.

He believes that individuals have duties, not just rights.

He approves of private property as a basis for personal freedom.

He has great respect for the history and traditions of this country.

There are extremists and diehards in both camps.  Is there a possible solution?  Let me suggest one.  An idea is neither good nor bad because it is liberal or conservative. We must begin to look at the ideas, proposals, etc. in and of themselves, forgetting which group proposed them.  Can the idea work? Is it worth the cost?  Are there any possible unforeseen consequences?  What will it logically lead to?  Is this an old idea in a new suit?  Does the idea really solve a problem or create more problems?  Can there be oversight, not by politicians who propose it, but by experts in the field?

Would this work? I think it might, but it will never be tried because politics is not about reason; it’s about politics.

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  1. An excellent article, Jack, and truly right on. Of course, I will probably cast as a stupid ignoramus who is trying desperately to adhere to an untenable position.

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