China pushing Communism to replace failing Democracy

3205545010_28e80765c7_zChina says Western democracy has reached its limits and has started to deteriorate (alluding to Donald Trump’s victory without saying so).  Global Communism will take its place, with China supplying new universal values.

When I have referred to “still-Communist China,” some readers have said, in effect, are you kidding?  China has become capitalist, what with all of their entrepreneurs and wealth-building.  But orthodox Marxism teaches that societies must go through a capitalist phase in order for socialism to emerge.  The problem with the Soviet Union and Mao’s China is that they attempted to go from a feudal economy straight to socialism, which can’t really work.  Capitalism and with it Western democracy will eventually fall from their internal contradictions.

China has come up with a style of Communism that is working, pragmatically.  It is centered on economic growth, but state ownership and, what is just as effective, state control of the means of production continues.

What’s new here is China’s plan to export not just its goods but its ideology around the world.  The Communists still think they will bury us. [Read more…]

Mathematical proof of God’s existence?

Kurt_gödelNPG D23949; St Anselm after Unknown artistThe great mathematician and logician Kurt Gödel, who died in 1978, left behind a series of equations that purport to prove the existence of God.

As I understand it (and I don’t understand the math!), the equations test the validity of St. Anselm’s ontological argument for God’s existence, which defines God as the greatest being that can be conceived.  Such a being would have to have the property of existence; otherwise, we could conceive of a greater being, namely, one that exists.  And that one would be God.

This sounds like a language game, but philosophers have wrestled with the argument for centuries, finding it more formidable than it might appear on the surface.

Now two European computer scientists have run Gödel’s mathematical proof on a computer and found it valid.

You do the math:

“Ax. 1. {P(φ)∧◻∀x[φ(x)→ψ(x)]} →P(ψ)Ax. 2.P(¬φ)↔¬P(φ)Th. 1.P(φ)→◊∃x[φ(x)]Df. 1.G(x)⟺∀φ[P(φ)→φ(x)]Ax. 3.P(G)Th. 2.◊∃xG(x)Df. 2.φ ess x⟺φ(x)∧∀ψ{ψ(x)→◻∀y[φ(y)→ψ(y)]}Ax. 4.P(φ)→◻P(φ)Th. 3.G(x)→G ess xDf. 3.E(x)⟺∀φ[φ ess x→◻∃yφ(y)]Ax. 5.P(E)Th. 4.◻∃xG(x)”.

After the jump, a news story on the computer scientists’ work.  I also include Gödel’s proof and a link explaining the above mathematical notation. [Read more…]

Flipping on Assange

342px-Julian_Assange_August_2014Not long ago, conservatives condemned Wikileaks leaker Julian Assange.  After all, Assange exposed U.S. intelligence operations, possibly endangering the lives of CIA agents.  Donald Trump even said he deserved the death penalty.  But now, after Assange released e-mails embarrassing to Hillary Clinton in support of Trump, some of those same conservatives are all for him.  In fact, they believe him over the CIA!

Conversely, liberals used to praise Assange for revealing the sinister secrets of the militaristic, imperialistic CIA.  Today, now that Assange is supporting Trump and the CIA is saying the Russians were responsible for the e-mail hacks (something Assange denies), the left is vilifying Assange and praising the CIA!

Do you see some inconsistency here?  Michael Gerson does.  After the jump, read his accusations of unprincipled tribalism.  On the other hand, there are civil libertarians on both the right and the left that can make a case for Assange and his exposure of government secrets.

What do you think of Assange now? [Read more…]

The “current year” argument

new-year-clip-artSome people invoke the current year as a sufficient argument.  As in, “I can’t believe that it’s 2017 and we are still debating abortion.”  Or, “It’s 2017!  How can you believe the Bible?”

Nicholas Pell points out that merely giving the date does not prove anything.  It does express the progressive worldview, that things are getting better and better, so that an idea from the present is assumed to be better than an idea from the past.

Pell observes that many people are conservatives, who tend to believe that the past in some ways at least is better than the present.

The blithe way progressives use the current year argument demonstrates that they assume everyone shares their worldview, that they are unaware of conservatives and are unfamiliar with their ideas. [Read more…]

Marshall McLuhan, conservative Catholic

5571845609_c077117223_oMarshall McLuhan, who basically invented the study of media, became an icon of the 1960’s with his praise of the new information technology and his predictions of the new tribalism that it would make possible.  McLuhan arguably predicted the effects of the internet before the internet was invented.

And yet, as Jefferson Pooley reminds us, McLuhan got his start as a conservative cultural critic who, influenced by G. K. Chesterton, became a traditionalist Catholic who opposed the reforms of Vatican II.

I would argue that his criticism of the printing press and the thought-forms it made possible is connected to his opposition to the Reformation, which he called “the greatest cultural disaster in the history of civilization.”  And that his “global village” that he thought the new electronic media would usher in represents his yearning for Medieval Catholicism, with its visual images and its corporate unity.

Read Pooley’s piece on McLuhan, started after the jump. [Read more…]

The future of “identity liberalism”

Union posterLiberals in politics have traditionally focused on issues of class, economics, and public policy.  But lately, liberalism has become obsessed with identity politics–that is, the interests of distinct groups (blacks, gays, Hispanics, single women, etc.).  Mark Lilla calls this “Identity Liberalism,” arguing in the New York Times that this pre-occupation needs to change if his fellow liberals expect to win elections again.

Predictably, he is being excoriated for his heresy.

Do you think a New Deal kind of liberalism, based on universal principles and addressing the common good, would do better than “Identity Liberalism”?  Or has the one led to the other, so that they can no longer be untangled?  Or are we talking about two distinct and irreconcilable ideologies?

[Read more…]