What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Declining standards

For Nietzsche, European civilization has been in decline since Plato. For Heidegger, the rot set in even earlier, with the Pre-Socratics. It is widely held among secularists that the history of Western civilization between the rise of Christianity and the Enlightenment was a centuries-long dark age that stalled the scientific progress that had been initiated by the Greeks and only restarted with Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, and Co. Marxists tell us that the entire history of the human race is a history of one form of oppression supplanted by another. Feminists tell us that it is, above all, a history of men oppressing women. Multiculturalists tell us it is a history of the West oppressing the rest.

Other examples could be given. The idea that vast stretches of human history – centuries, even millennia – have been shrouded in moral and intellectual darkness is taken very seriously.

Except when that idea is given a conservative twist. When a conservative says that things have been getting worse since the 1960s, or since FDR, or since the Enlightenment, or (as Richard Weaver says in Ideas Have Consequences and as I argue in The Last Superstition) since William of Ockham, the very idea of a decades- or centuries-long decline is dismissed as inherently crackpot, the ravings of a misanthropic crank or misfit.

Why the double standard? Just asking, as they say.

(The obvious answer might seem to be that the developments bemoaned by conservatives are “progressive” ones, and thus couldn’t possibly mark a decline. Out of charity, though, I won’t put this answer into the mouth of the left-winger, since it is blatantly question-begging. Surely the lefty has a better answer. So what is it?)

(cross-posted)

Comments (34)

Well Ed, the reason many lefties believe that "vast stretches of human history – centuries, even millennia – have been shrouded in moral and intellectual darkness" is that they believe they possess universally applicable moral criteria for judging them to be such. By those same criteria, what conservatives see as the moral decline of the last 40 or 50 years is seen by liberals as moral progress.

Of course I believe their moral philosophy to be mistaken in important ways. But I don't think they're being self-inconsistent.

It's the logical unfolding of the "Moderns vs. the Ancients" that began in the High Middle Ages.

Excellent point, Michael!

One thing that can be pointed to is the lack of major wars between Western nations since WWII. Sure the first half of the 20th century set the bar pretty low. But we do have peace, fairly good and improving health, advancing technology, etc. Things don't feel like they are declining. The decline is only in what people believe and in their moral practice. If you don't want to talk about those things you will dismiss them as unimportant.

I say it's a combination of ignorance and arrogance that causes the blind spots in their historical narratives. The same switch turns off when presented with facts concerning Galileo's religious beliefs, or when informed that the Spanish court did not believe the world to be flat. It's inconvenient for their cases.
From their perspective, it seems to be a question of values and personalities. Some of them claim the advance of science to be paramount in their interests; the problem arises when it's the wrong people, such as Catholic priests, that are preserving the knowledge. The counter-culturalist, whatever their stripe, cannot see past identity politics to find any value in their enemy. So even if medieval popes had discovered a cure for cancer, it would still garner no praise from that camp. The enemy must always be the enemy, or else their paradigms begin to crumble.
We see the increase of human suffering that results from periods of moral decline that make such degradation possible as lamentable, because our values and priorities are actually based on promoting life and the good.

Marx had a theory of progress as I recall and he ignored the majority of human experience. Theories of decline are dismissed because they all seem to break down when the where and for whom are pondered.

Liberals are gnostics. They hate the world. This is inevitable if you are an atheist. I mean, if God doesn't exist, then in the final analysis this world is pointless and meaningless. You work, suffer and die - and that's it. It sucks. You hate it. You hate your life. You try to improve it, you try to improve the world, but its bootless in the end, a doomed effort. So no matter how hard you try, no matter how much progress you make, you will always look back on history and despise it. Oh, you may love certain bits of it, to be sure, but the overall picture will look essentially evil.

This also accounts for liberal insatiability. If nothing is essentially good, then obviously there's no way that a given social situation, no matter how equitable and just and prosperous it is, can be good enough to satisfy the liberal.

What about liberal Christians? Either they haven't really done their homework and realized that liberal Christianity is an oxymoron, or they are not really able to say the Nicene Creed without inner equivocation - i.e., they aren't Christians. Or both.

It's just due to different values. Conservatives dismiss the notions of the middle ages as ignorant and superstitious. Liberals run the universities though, which is where you find people with the time to write about things like this. So naturally the liberal viewpoint gets more press. Public schools also lend credence to the liberal view of the middle ages as a teeming mass of idiocy.

I really wish you had a blog, Kristor. I'm am certain I'd enjoy reading and thinking about your unfiltered thoughts.

Ilion, you have blessed me with the ultimate compliment of the Age of the Internet. I thank you. I have thought of blogging, but really there's no time ... yet. I can't keep up even with WWWW. Plus as someone at (I think) John C. Wright's blog said the other day, I can feel in my guts that my books/internet is way too low these days (it feels like low protein/carbs, you know? Kinda thready). Until I had time to fix that, my blogposts would quickly boil down to endless recaps of my 10 favorite ideas. Boring!

I can understand that. I only started my blog a few months ago (after a bit of urging by a few people); and in part I put it off because I knew it would be a lot of work, even if I never had readers. Moreover, time I spend writing my own blog items is time I cannot spend reading and pondering others' thoughts.

Still, from the time I stumbled across Auster's VfR a couple of years ago and noticed your comments there, I've thought: more! I want more!

Thanks again, Ilion. I'll check out your blog.

Been thinking about Dr. Feser's question a bit more, and have decided it isn't really a double standard. From the liberal/progressive point of view, things are a lot better than they were 300 years ago: the Church emasculated, kings emasculated, men emasculated, slaves freed, franchise spread, public schooling, Social Security, Income Tax, abortion, promiscuity, homosex, on and on. So from their point of view, it is just insane for a Traditionalist or Conservative to argue that things have gone downhill, when all these things have been accomplished.

The problem for the liberal is that all these vaunted improvements still leave history in the hands of oppressors. They are slight ameliorations of a situation that is still fundamentally, essentially evil, and will continue as such, they think, until their complete chiliastic vision is implemented. But this will never ever happen, because so long as there remains any inegalitarian fact, the chiliastic vision will not have been realized. And since as Jesus noticed the poor are always with us, there will always be inegalitarian facts, and thus the liberal will never be able to see history as anything but a fabric of evil, sprinkled at best with pockets of noble resistance. But these will serve only to highlight the general despair.

I remember, back when I was a member of a Marxist commune - hey, I was 17, OK? - that the ideologists of the group hated liberals with a passion. The argument was that, despite the fact that the liberals agreed with the Marxists with respect to the ideal policies, they were willing to work incrementally to implement those policies within the framework of the existing society. The Marxists saw themselves, by contrast, as burdened by no puerile illusions that such a stepwise progression was possible. This, they said, was a strategy that would subvert the proletariat, and turn them into petit bourgeoisie, sucking at the teat of the capitalist machine (a metaphor in the style of HR Giger). The only true way out of the current situation, they insisted, was to destroy the society altogether and start from the ground up. Only thus could the Revolution avoid being co-opted by the capitalists, and the soldiers of the proletariat turned into running dogs. The only progress, they insisted, was progress in destroying the social order.

This was in Chicagoland. Alinsky was in the air; it's pretty thick in South Chicago still, I guess.

Well, Mr Feser *did* potentially offer the same explanation [i.e. that the things bemoaned by conservatives or traditionalists as decay are, from a "liberal" or leftist perspective, "progress" (*)], which explanation appears to remove the taint of double-standard; but he chose not to put that explanation into the mouths of leftists, as it is question-begging.

Recall, Mr Feser's question is: Why is it "crack-pottery" should conservatives to evaluate a certain span of history according to *our* understanding of The Good and find that history to be not-Good, BUT it's not "crack-pottery" should left-wingers evaluate some span of history according to *their* understanding of The Good and find that history to be not-Good?


(*) I decided to put the word 'progress' in scare-quotes because one can rationally speak of progress only if one has some objective measure. Once can progress only if there is a goal toward which one's movement/change is directed.

Yes, of course. But from the liberal-progressive's point of view, it really truly _isn't_ a double standard. It is only a double standard from the conservative-Traditionalist point of view. The liberal doesn't even see himself as begging the question. Rather, he sees the question as literally insane, as nonsense (and how do you answer, or beg, a question that, because it is nonsense, is not intelligible?). He thinks that the only way it could be construed as a double standard is by someone deranged. Remember, the liberal thinks conservatives are dangerous maniacs. From his perspective, as Zippy so memorably put it, they are untermenschen.

The conservative says, "How come you liberals get to moan and wail about historical evils, and we don't?" The liberal replies, "Because you are insane, and we are not."

Been thinking about Dr. Feser's question a bit more, and have decided it isn't really a double standard. From the liberal/progressive point of view, things are a lot better than they were 300 years ago: the Church emasculated, kings emasculated, men emasculated, slaves freed, franchise spread, public schooling, Social Security, Income Tax, abortion, promiscuity, homosex, on and on. So from their point of view, it is just insane for a Traditionalist or Conservative to argue that things have gone downhill, when all these things have been accomplished.

And yet, you cannot even add a deck to your house without getting the government's permission in advance. The liberal era is one in which certain freedoms are greatly expanded, like the right of freedom of speech, while the government overall has taken an incredible amount of jurisdiction for itself. Most of the "liberty" that we enjoy comes from the ability to consume new products and services which were unavailable in years past, and ironically we cannot even enjoy the basic freedoms that were often taken for granted just 200 years ago like owning a weapon without 50 government bureaucrats deciding if one is mentally fit and responsible (how many police would EVER hold a badge and gun if the same standards applied to them, one must wonder).

To believe that the modern era is freer, you have to define consumption as the primary conduit of liberty. Free to consume goods and services. Government policy to force down prices and expand opportunity to consume. Even freedom to "consume the body" of another person through impersonal sex. If you were to take away consumption as a means of defining and knowing liberty, and define liberty as it once was (freedom from all arbitrary, unnatural authority) one would find that in many practical respects, the despots of the ancient Middle East ruled no more tyrannically than the modern West.

The world is definatly in decline in the moral sense i.e. people spit at God, yet think the sodomy and abortion are sacraments, one the other hand 300yrs ago Lydia and Ed would've refused to Acknowledge that they were both Christians, yet today although they acknowledge serious doctrinal difference e.g. Lydia doesn't acknowledge the Authority of the Pope as Ed and I do they can jointly contribute to an excellent and stimulating blog.

But Kristor, what you're saying is that the liberal-progressives assert that they are not engaging in a double-standard for the self-evident (as they assert) reason that their view of reality is not a view of reality, but is simply Reality Itself.

No wonder they can with a straight face call themselves "the reality-based community."


Now, of course, I fully understand and agree with your assessment of "liberals."

It may even be that I go you further: I consider most "liberals" to be intellectually dishonest. To be more precise, I consider that "liberalism" is founded upon and depends for its continuance and appeal upon intellectual dishonesty and that most "liberals" are fully capable of looking that dishonesty in the face and embracing it to the full.

Yeah, it's really wild how liberals get to this position of deeming themselves the "reality-based community" starting from atheism, proceeding to nominalism, and then a total skepticism about the possibility of human knowledge. But they do. It goes something like this:

1. God does not (knowably) exist.
2. The universals don't (knowably) exist.
3. Human knowledge is not really possible (note that this statement contravenes itself: if true, it can’t be understood).
4. There is no privileged point of view (note that this statement, and in fact all the statements in this argument, are contradicted by #3).
5. Relativism is true.
6. Moral knowledge is impossible.
7. We can't know for sure whether we are right or wrong in discriminating among people in any way.
8. The only place that moral safety is to be found is in total and pure non-discrimination.
9. People who discriminate are the only sort we can reliably say are not moral; they are either moral idiots, crazy, or evil.
10. Conservatives and traditionalists discriminate.
11. Conservatives and traditionalists are moral idiots, crazy, or evil.
12. Whatever conservatives and traditionalists say is ipso facto idiotic, crazy, or evil.
13. Liberals know better about everything.

It is in believing #3 - or rather, in saying it, for one cannot actually behave as if #3 were true - that liberals enter into bad faith with themselves; into intellectual dishonesty. If you buy #3, and are either sloppy enough or false enough to proceed on that basis, you are on the road to perdition. If you don't, then you are forced to question your credence in #2; and once you begin to suspect that #2 is false, then you are forced to question your credence in #1. And if #1 is false, then you are forced to decide whether you are going to put yourself at utter war with the King of all that is, and with everything He has made - including yourself.

This is a lousy decision to have to make, because if you go to war with God you are going to Hell; but if on the other hand you join His side, why then you have to try to stop sinning, and that's no fun at all. So liberals are desperate to avoid the choice. Belief in #3 allows them to do so.

Yes, *no one* behaves as though he actually believes #3 to be true. Likewise, *no one* behaves as though he really believes agnosticism to be true. Further, there aren't too many in this world who behave as though they really believe atheism to be true -- a *real* atheist would be a nihilist, a *real* atheist would know better to even bother trying to convince others to atheism; for were atheism indeed the truth about the nature of reality, then nothing at all matters.

Yes, all the statements you list are falsified by #3, which contradicts itself. But, there is also a cross-index of contradiction. For instance:
#4 contradicts itself, does it not? Does not #4 equal "The point of view that there is no privileged point of view is the one privileged point of view."
Likewise with #5, which seems another way of putting #4.
And, taken at face value (that is, ignoring the self-contradiction), do not #4 and #5 contradict most all the other statements?
#6 contradicts most of the statements which follow it.

"Yeah, it's really wild how liberals get to this position of deeming themselves the "reality-based community""

#12 comes about because of mistatements of fact like the above statement and the silly list that followed. The use of the term "reality based community" has a history that may be easily discovered.

And even #12 has its problems as it leaves out the most problematic feature of too much conservative commentary - it simply isn't true (sort of like the quoted statement above).

Al, you're so amusingly transparent in your intellectual dishonesty.

Moslem "extremist" (or was that "moderate?" it's sometimes so hard to tell): "Islam is *too* The Religion of Peace (tm)! You take back false claim that Islam fosters and *commands* violence or I'll kill you!"

”Liberal:”You know, that is *so* dishonest of you lying conservatives to assert that any of us “liberals” have ever called ourselves“the reality-based community.”

Oh, by the way, there is a good reason why “liberals” have called themselves “the reality-based community” – and if you weren’t so ignorant, you’d understand it.


Oh, goodness! ... now some "liberal" is going to try to pretend that I just asserted that "liberals" are indistinguishable from Moslem "extremists" (or "moderates," or whatever).

The point, of course, is about illogic and irrationality -- and about in-your-face intellectual dishonesty coupled with the demand that one pretend not to have seen what one just saw.

"Oh, by the way, there is a good reason why “liberals” have called themselves “the reality-based community” – and if you weren’t so ignorant, you’d understand it."

There's nothing to "understand". The phrase has a specific history:

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html

After Suskind's article came out a number of liberal bloggers started using the phrase. It really took off during the Schiavo matter when it became impossible to rationally explain what was going on with certain conservatives. Your list is a nice just-so piece but says more about your general knowledge and analytical abilities then it does about any political orientation.

Silly Al-Lib,
It is you who claimed that my statement (which you quoted: “Yeah, it's really wild how liberals get to this position of deeming themselves the "reality-based community"”) is a misstatement of fact.

Where, exactly, is the “mistatements of fact like the above statement” to be found? What? “Liberals” didn’t take to calling themselves “the reality-based community?”


Then, in the very next breath, you turn around and admit to the use of the phrase and try to imply that I’m willfully ignorant.

"Liberals" sure do seem to run in one rut.

Ilíon, I think Al is saying "Liberals don't call themselves 'reality-based' because of the sequence Kristor lists, but because of a specific event that Suskind reported". What Al doesn't say is that the meaning has expanded and shifted since then. Rather than contrasting Liberals with the hubris and arrogance that the unnamed White House aide demonstrated, it now refers more to the contrast between the speaker and the unreality of their opponents, as in denial of evolution, acceptance of fabricated WMD evidence, denial of Global Warming, belief in bronze age God myths, etc.

One can't, and I don't think Al does, object to "Liberals deem themselves 'reality based'", just your explanation for it.

Kristor proposes a chain of reasoning that (all? most? typical?) Liberals follow. It's in error in several places:

1. God does not (knowably) exist.
This is the worst misconstruction. In America, Athiests and Agnostics are 4-20% of the population (depending on who asks and how). Even if they are slanted towards the liberal point of view, that still leaves the majority of Liberals as religious people, mostly Christian. I gather that you don't consider Liberal Christians very good Christians, but it's hard to justify calling them infidels.
2. The universals don't (knowably) exist.
I confess, I don't know what universals you are talking about here, although the phrase is familiar. If my vague rememberance can be believed, I agree with you that Liberals won't accept the universals you mean.
3. Human knowledge is not really possible.
This works only if you construe "knowledge" as "truths known without possibility of error". With a more "liberal" (forgive me) definition of "knowledge" we can know all kinds of things.
4. There is no privileged point of view (note that this statement, and in fact all the statements in this argument, are contradicted by #3).
5. Relativism is true.
6. Moral knowledge is impossible.
These are hard to justify, but I don't know of many anyone outside of some Literary Criticism departments that hold to them. I know I don't (not the kind of Moral Relativism you describe, although you wouldn't agree with what I do believe (I bet)).
7. We can't know for sure whether we are right or wrong in discriminating among people in any way.
8. The only place that moral safety is to be found is in total and pure non-discrimination.
9. People who discriminate are the only sort we can reliably say are not moral; they are either moral idiots, crazy, or evil.
10. Conservatives and traditionalists discriminate.
This is political correctness run amok. I don't see this, nor do I hear of any outside of college campuses.
11. Conservatives and traditionalists are moral idiots, crazy, or evil.
12. Whatever conservatives and traditionalists say is ipso facto idiotic, crazy, or evil.
13. Liberals know better about everything.
This sounds about right, but not because of what came before. We're judging Conservatives based on Limbaugh, O'Reily, and Beck. I know it's unfair, like judging Liberals based on Michael Moore. I wager it's just part of the current decline in our public discourse.

Hunter's "Culture Wars" (1992) is highly relevant to this topic, in that he describes the two types of paradigms in conflict here. He terms them absolutist (people that believe there is an objective and eternal moral standard and like it or hate it is always there) and relativists (who believe that the only moral standards are ones we define for ourselves, but not not necessarily given to equivocation). Perhaps in light of these distinctions, the liberal view of certain periods of history being "bad" or "good" can be entirely consistent with their set of personally-determined values.
We, in that I assume most of us are absolutists, see history and judge it by absolute standards, such as "were people being starved to death because of a narcissist who won't admit he's wrong", or "were people being fruitful and multiplying". We judge history, trends, and events by whether mankind is objectively, measurably better or worse off because of X than they were before.
From a relativist, the same cannot be claimed. They don't have to value the same things as us (and will often go into opposition to a certain good simply because we do prefer it), or even each other. Thus why relativists can be so dangerous in power: there is no objective moral code they can be held to, and they can change their values at a whim. If man is the sole measure of virtue, how cheap is virtue?
This also explains why a liberal or relativist typically becomes so hateful when disagreed with (at least in my experience): challenging their values threatens the very foundation of their world, a world they themselves created. If a break in the wall happens in one place, will the wall stay standing at all? People need meaning in their lives, and threatening the order of their universe is sure to provoke a reaction.
Absolutists, on the other hand, know there is a standard, and we can disagree on what the standard actually is. Like seeing different parts of an elephant, it's possible we don't see the whole picture perfectly. If we are challenged, all we have to do is look at the picture again and see if we're right. No mind-shattering consequences if we're off a bit.

Craig Ewert: "Ilíon, I think Al is saying "Liberals don't call themselves 'reality-based' because of the sequence Kristor lists, but because of a specific event that Suskind reported". What Al doesn't say is that the meaning has expanded and shifted since then. ..."

The sequence involved is this:


Kristor: Yes, of course. But from the liberal-progressive's point of view, it really truly _isn't_ a double standard. It is only a double standard from the conservative-Traditionalist point of view. The liberal doesn't even see himself as begging the question. Rather, he sees the question as literally insane, as nonsense (and how do you answer, or beg, a question that, because it is nonsense, is not intelligible?). He thinks that the only way it could be construed as a double standard is by someone deranged. Remember, the liberal thinks conservatives are dangerous maniacs. From his perspective, as Zippy so memorably put it, they are untermenschen.
.
The conservative says, "How come you liberals get to moan and wail about historical evils, and we don't?" The liberal replies, "Because you are insane, and we are not."
.
Ilion: But Kristor, what you're saying is that the liberal-progressives assert that they are not engaging in a double-standard for the self-evident (as they assert) reason that their view of reality is not a view of reality, but is simply Reality Itself.
.
No wonder they can with a straight face call themselves "the reality-based community."

Craig Ewert: "... Rather than contrasting Liberals with the hubris and arrogance that the unnamed White House aide demonstrated, it now refers more to the contrast between the speaker and the unreality of their opponents, as in denial of evolution, acceptance of fabricated WMD evidence, denial of Global Warming, belief in bronze age God myths, etc.
.
One can't, and I don't think Al does, object to "Liberals deem themselves 'reality based'", just your explanation for it.
"

My explanation for it is that "liberals" tend to be irrational ... or intellectually dishonest. And, I must say, you're certainly doing nothing to contradict my explanation.

Surely the lefty has a better answer. So what is it?

Ridiculous question as framed.

Frankly, I don't see the double standard here either, although for different reasons.

Liberals see a certain progression in the standard of the human condition. Conservatives are free to disagree, and many certainly do, loudly and often. Some conservatives argue in good faith. Others, not so much.

Conservatives see a certain decline in the human condition over some (not particularly well-agreed upon, as the author admits) period of time. Liberals are free to disagree, and many certainly do, loudly and often. Some liberals argue in good faith. Others, not so much.

I do see more of a tendency among those who call themselves conservatives these days (and I will certainly entertain arguments that such folks aren't particularly conservative by objective standards) to rely on appeals to authority to support their positions. Liberals, by and large, don't rely so much on the appeal-to-authority thing. Hence, as Kristor notes, more or less, conservatives believe in absolute truth, and that they are in position of absolute truth (as this is what they receive from God, or GW Bush, or whatever authority figure they attach themselves to).

Liberals, on the other hand, tend to believe that they don't have all the answers, which Kristor and others pretty much say outright, although in a disparaging manner. Thus, intellectually honest liberals are compelled to tolerate other points of view (Kristor's #3 above is an attempt to articulate this tendency towards tolerance, but I think it misses the mark). Since we don't have, and may never have (the liberal continues) perfect knowledge, we are compelled to act on the knowledge that we have. Mistakes are occasionally made, hopefully we learn from them. On the whole, this approach has prevailed since the Enlightenment, and not so much the authoritarian approach. This coincides with the amazing technological advancement we humans have made in the last 5 centuries. One can argue that there has been a decline in absolute moral advancement since then, which is what I think the conservative position is.

But, once again, the conservative position is made from a point of absolutist & authoritarian certainty, which is at its very essence, completely hostile to the scientific method, which involves the testing of possible truths rather than their outright acceptance. Which led to the current human condition? The liberal position.

My original point was going to be that the author needs to man up and realize that liberals don't have to take conservatives seriously, any more than conservatives take liberals seriously. But honestly, in spite of all the arguments above that conservative "arguments" are treated as nonsense and gobbledegook, almost all liberals will listen to what conservatives have to say before they prejudge; this is because they don't believe they have the exclusive franchise on knowledge, just a good track record. On the other hand, conservatives will rarely consider a liberal idea unless it's conveyed by someone in authority, because they do not believe that liberals themselves do not argue from authority. It is inconceivable to the conservative mind that truth might be found outside of proclamation (that's why liberal bloggers took up that "reality-based community" slur as a badge of honor).

The whole thing does indeed boil down to absolute vs. relative beliefs, but if you look at the track record of authority, ANYBODY arguing in good faith has to admit that authority is often flat out wrong. And it doesn't really matter who the authority is, there's still no reason to accept its pronouncements as truth. And that, I think, is why conservatives keep tossing out that "Obama/Messiah" slur at liberals, and liberals just keep laughing it off. You guys just don't get it, you'll never get it, you're incapable of getting, that we don't need a Messiah for the truth to win out and for the human condition to continue to advance. By our standards, anyway, and they sure work for me!

SJohn
By even the most elastic of standards, you desperately need an Editor.

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