The quote for today is from Edward Feser:

“… the early modern philosophers’ transition away from Aristotelianism to a mechanical understanding of nature constituted not an advance but a regression, a willful forgetting of crucial distinctions and categories the drawing and elucidation of which had been one of the great achievements of Scholasticism, and a conceptual impoverishment that inevitably created problems rather than solved them.”

Hear, hear.

One of the many impoverishments was the seed planted in Hume, nourished in Victorian writers like Marx and Nietzsche, and brought forth fruit in writers like Wittgenstein, and the Logical Positivists of the Post-European Era was the suicidal and nihilistic contempt of the philosophers for philosophy, and the hatred of intellectuals for things of the intellect. (The “Post-European Era” is a term I hereby coin to refer to the period after the Great War, when Europe lost her soul.)

At one time, intellectuals and scholars were concerned with high and abstract matters, namely, Epistemology, Logic, Ontology, Ethics, Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Politics, Economics, Theology.

At least in the English-speaking world, the consensus was to believe in

  1. the majesty of truth;
  2. the impartiality of reason;
  3. the objectivity of reality;
  4. the authority of virtue;
  5. the verity of beauty;
  6. the dignity of man;
  7. the equality of the law;
  8. the dignity of work;
  9. and to hold faith with Christ.

Once, in my series of columns grouped under the title ‘The Last Crusade” an attempt was made to define the ideas which were the enemy ideas of these nine fundamentals.

These ideas can be called by the names nihilism, relativism, solipsism, antinomianism, subjectivism, humanism, collectivism, socialism, and secularism.

  1. NIHILISM: The enemy says truth is subjective, that is, truth is not truth: therefore no lie is forbidden.
  2. RELATIVISM: The enemy says human reason is inescapably partisan hence untrustworthy: therefore rational argument is vain.
  3. SOLIPSISM The enemy says reality is optional, a matter of opinion.
  4. ANTINOMIANISM: No standard of law exists. To be innocent is a crime oppressing the guilty. Justice is unjust: therefore any injustice is permitted.
  5. SUBJECTIVISM: Beauty in the eye of the beholder.
  6. HUMANISM: Man is a beast like any other, except inferior.
  7. COLLECTIVISM: Man enjoys collective rights only: namely, no rights at all.
  8. SOCIALISM:  Man own nothing: therefore he is owned.
  9. SECULARISM: God is dead and all things are permitted, except belief in God.

One could, perhaps, find words more fit to express these concepts. Nonetheless, these are the nine basic points where the consensus of enemy opinion agrees.

At one time, I held that no one person could hold all these beliefs, or utter in good faith all these talking points, since their implications logically contradict each other. I have since learned otherwise.