Postmodern riots

Back in August, a police officer shot a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.  According to media accounts, the teenager was unarmed and shot from a distance, suggesting an egregious case of police brutality.  That’s what it seemed like even to conservatives like Rand Paul and to this blog.  But the testimony of two eyewitnesses, the autopsy results, and other forensic evidence has proven that this was not what happened.  It turns out, the teenager was attacking the officer and was shot during a scuffle, during which the assailant was trying to get the officer’s gun, followed by a brief chase and the teenager rushing the officer.

This was the finding of the grand jury investigating the case, so no charges against the officer are being filed.  Keep in mind that a grand jury is run by the prosecutor’s office and that the authorities had every incentive to make the officer a scapegoat to prevent the kind of riots that broke out in August.   And yet the jurors were going by the facts.

Nevertheless, riots have erupted.  Businesses are being looted, police are being fired upon by automatic weapons, and Ferguson is basically being burned to the ground.

I know that the local protesters do not believe the legal establishment.  I’ll be curious to see if political liberals –who often claim to be “the fact-based” or “the reality-based” or “the science-based” community–will side with the protesters, despite what the evidence proves.

Since postmodernists believe there is no objective truth, that truth claims are nothing but political constructions, I suspect they will.  They will think that the legal system constructed a plausibility paradigm that suggests the police officer is innocent in order as an imposition of their power.  And they will think nothing of constructing an alternative politically-motivated truth-claim of their own. [Read more...]

Liberty and Equality

In the times of the Greek democracy, the Roman republic, the American founding, and most of American history, liberty and equality were thought to go together.  That changed, says Danielle Allen, author of a book on the Declaration of Independence

First, Karl Marx taught that individual liberty must be sacrificed for the greater  goal of social equality.  Then, in the Cold War, conservatives and libertarians taught the opposite, that equality must give way to individual liberty.  Today, she says, Democrats are stressing the ideals of equality while Republicans are stressing the ideals of liberty.  She argues that we need to recapture the sense in which the two go together, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

[Read more...]

The Catholic debate over liberal society

Rod Dreher describes what happened at a conference sponsored by First Things on the future of religion in the public square.  In the course of doing so, he describes a current controversy among conservative Catholics:  The “Murrayites” believe that Catholicism is compatible with American-style political and economic liberalism.  (Not so much liberalism as left-wing ideology, but the ideals of liberty, democracy, and free-enterprise economics.)  Against this view are the “radical Catholics” who believe that this liberalism is incompatible with Christianity.

Read the remarks after the jump and click on the link to Patrick Deneen’s article on the conflict.  Substitute “Christian” for “Catholic.”  Do the points still hold for Christianity in general, or does the debate hinge on specific tenets of Catholicism?  Can there be a “Murrayite” Protestantism vs. a “radical” Protestantism?  Or is Protestantism intrinsically connected to liberalism?  How about “Lutheranism,” or does the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms work for any society?

I’m curious too what the alternative is for the “radicals.”  Some kind of authoritarian regime?  The Pope at the head of an Emperor, as in the Middle Ages?

[Read more...]

Vocation and Epistemology

More and more Christians are discovering, or re-discovering, the doctrine of vocation, and the richness of that teaching means that vocation can illuminate countless dimensions of life.  Now the noted Christian philosopher John Stackhouse has written a book entitled Need to Know:  Vocation as the Heart of Christian Epistemology (that last word referring to the philosophy of knowledge–how we know what we know, how we know that we know, etc., etc.).   Excerpts from a review after the jump. [Read more...]

The space between the individual and the state

Rep. Paul Ryan (R, Wisconsin), in his new book entitled The Way Forward, discusses “the space between the individual and the state” and says that Progressives keep wanting to fill that space with the government. [Read more...]


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