Saturday, November 30, 2019

Multiculturalism Does Not Work

A nation in which several cultures enjoy an equal status ceases to be a nation. It becomes a “United Nations,” a forum where bureaucrats representing various cultures gather to squabble on global issues. History tells us that the United Nations type of nations do not survive. There have been a few successful empires that were multicultural—for instance, the Roman Empire and the British Empire. However, an empire is not the same thing as a nation. The second point is that the Romans and the British could keep their empires together so long as their own culture was strong. Once their own culture got weakened, the Roman and the British empires were finished.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Religion, Racism, and Liberty

The idea that freedom from religious and racist considerations goes hand in hand with liberty and free markets is an inversion of the truth. A society that is secular, atheistic, and non-racial is not—as today's liberal and libertarian intellectuals and politicians claim—a natural state for mankind. 

In the last three thousand years, there has never been a successful city-state or nation in which the people have not been motivated by religious and racist considerations. The religious and racist considerations are not necessarily bad. Such considerations enable large groups of people to identify with each other and coexist in all kinds of political communities. People have a natural instinct to be religious and to identify with their race. 

The liberals and libertarians yearn for a nation that is secular, atheistic, and non-racial, but their goal cannot be achieved without using state power. A nation free of religious and racist considerations is necessarily totalitarian (like the Soviet Union).

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Wittgenstein on Ethics and Religion

In statement 6.43 of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein says that the good or bad acts of the will do not alter the world, but rather they “alter only the limits of the world”—in other words, they lead to a change in how the world appears to the moral agent. To a good-willed agent the world will appear differently from how the world appears to a bad-willed agent. In the same statement, Wittgenstein goes on to say: “The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.” This means that a good-willed agent can achieve happiness or that for a good-willed agent the ultimate moral value is happiness. In the statement preceding 6.43, statement 6.422, Wittgenstein suggests that good-willing contains its own reward—happiness—while bad-willing leads to the opposite. He writes, “There must indeed be some kind of ethical reward and ethical punishment, but they must reside in the action itself.”

In his Tractatus, Wittgenstein posits that the realms of facts and value are distinct because the matters of value concern the world as a whole and are unrelated to the facts within it. In statement 6.431, he says, “So too at death the world does not alter, but comes to an end.” In statement 6.4311, he says, “Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death… Our life has no end in just the way in which our visual field has no limits.” In statement 6.4312, he says, “How things are in the world is a matter of complete indifference for what is higher. God does not reveal himself in the world.” In two statements which follow, he suggests that the consideration of God being the source of value is entirely related to world as a whole and with matter of value: in statement 644, he says, “It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists”, and in statement 6.46, he says, “To view the world sub specie aeterni is to view it as a whole—a limited whole. Feeling the world as a limited whole—it is this that is mystical.”

These statements in the last four pages of the Tractatus lead to the book’s famous last statement 7: “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” This statement is a reassertion of Wittgenstein’s belief that nothing can be said about the ethical and religious matters, since they lie outside the world.

On The Gulf Between Moral Ideals and Moral Reality

Moral philosophy is an ideal and it is impossible for a human being to achieve an ideal. There has never been a moral philosopher who has accomplished the feat of practicing the moral ideals that he preached. The wide gulf between moral ideals and moral reality can never be bridged.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

On Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the only book-length work that Wittgenstein published in his lifetime, is a short book of 145 pages but it covers a wide range of philosophical problems. While the book's main argument is on the structure of language and the world and the relationship between the language and the world, Wittgenstein also talks about subjects like the purpose of philosophy; solipsism; the nature and form of logic; probability theory; the theory of number; induction and causality; and the matters related to religion, ethics, and life. The perspectives that he offers on these subjects is short, almost aphoristic, and this has earned the Tractatus the reputation of an obscure treatise. But he has drawn an intimate linkage between the position that he takes on various issues and his main argument—everything that he says in the book is a consequence or corollary of his main argument and this brings some clarity on his sayings in the book.

Monday, November 25, 2019

On The Importance of Theological Philosophy

Enlightenment is anti-human because it exhorts men to make sacrifices for achieving ideas which are impossible. Those who quest for enlightenment get mired in metaphysical and moral contradictions. We might become better people if we are willing to work for it and are blessed by good luck, but it's not possible for us to become enlightened. 

Theological philosophy is a man’s most fundamental need precisely because he has no possibility for achieving enlightenment.

With theological philosophy man can try to find solace and he can develop moral and social values. If enlightenment were possible, there would be no need for theological philosophy because then man would be omniscient; he would have the knowledge of the ultimate truths. God doesn’t need theological philosophy—man does.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Fearful Sphere of Pascal

In his essay, “The Fearful Sphere of Pascal,” Jorge Luis Borges narrates the history of a metaphoric reflection on the universe. He gives several variations of the same metaphor. Here are three of them:

“God is an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” ~ Corpus Hermeticum

“We assert with certainty that the universe is all center, or that the center of the universe is everywhere and its circumference nowhere.” ~ Giordano Bruno

“Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere.” Blaise Pascal

According to Borges, Pascal “abhorred the universe and would have liked to adore God; but God, for him, was less real than the abhorred universe. He deplored the fact that the universe does not speak, and he compared our life with that of castaways on a desert island.”

Saturday, November 23, 2019

On The Viability of Political Virtues

Machiavelli, in The Prince (Chapter 15), accepts that liberalism, compassion, honor, bravery, justness, humanity, affability, straightforwardness, prudence, religiousness, and so forth are some of the virtues that a prince (or political leader) can display. But he notes that virtuous politics can be successful only when men in the country are good. In case men are not good, it will be futile to hope that they should become good. When the national character is corrupt, virtuous politics will have a negative impact—the nation’s enemies may see virtuous politics as a sign of the government’s weakness and they may try to foment a rebellion. The prince should take his people as he finds them and seek to bring improvements along possible, and not impossible, lines. Machiavelli ends the chapter with these lines:

“And I know that every one will confess that it would be most praiseworthy in a prince to exhibit all the above qualities that are considered good; but because they can neither be entirely possessed nor observed, for human conditions do not permit it, it is necessary for him to be sufficiently prudent that he may know how to avoid the reproach of those vices which would lose him his state; and also to keep himself, if it be possible, from those which would not lose him it; but this not being possible, he may with less hesitation abandon himself to them. And again, he need not make himself uneasy at incurring a reproach for those vices without which the state can only be saved with difficulty, for if everything is considered carefully, it will be found that something which looks like virtue, if followed, would be his ruin; whilst something else, which looks like vice, yet followed brings him security and prosperity.”

The Illogicality of Philosophical Movements

All philosophical movements are energized by the claim that they have discovered the answers to the ultimate philosophical problems. But this claim is false because the fundamental problems in philosophy have multiple answers: What is the ultimate nature of things? What kind of human enterprise should be designated right or wrong? What is the ultimate moral standard? Why does man have natural rights? The arguments over these questions are interminable. A clear answer can never be found.

Individualism or security of benevolent groups; liberty or order; justice or compassion or charity; nationalism or globalism; free markets or social stability; traditionalism or progressivism; religious or atheistic morality— we are being torn between such options. Philosophy quests for certainty and knowledge of the whole but this aim is unattainable. What philosophy achieves is arguments for defending particular positions, and where there are arguments, there will be counterarguments.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Traditions Encourage Openness, Flexibility, and Adaptability

Michael Oakeshott, in his essay, “The Tower of Babel,” shows that there are fundamentally two idealized versions of moral orders: a moral order that is based on established traditions or customs and one that is doctrinal, self-conscious and critical. He places traditions or customs between the extremes of ‘rigidity’ and ‘instability’. He notes that traditions or customs encourage openness and flexibility, and enable a society to be adaptable to the “nuance of the situation’. Here’s an excerpt from his essay:

"Custom is always adaptable and susceptible to the nuance of the situation.This may appear a paradoxical assertion; custom, we have been taught, is blind. It is, however, an insidious piece of misobservation; custom is not blind, it is only ‘blind as a bat’. And anyone who has studied a tradition of customary behaviour (or tradition of any sort) knows that both rigidity and instability are foreign to its character. And secondly, this form of the moral life is capable of change as well as of local variation. Indeed, no traditional way of behaviour, no traditional skill, ever remained fixed; its history is one of continuous change. It is true that the change it admits is neither great nor sudden; but then, revolutionary change is usually the product of the eventual overthrow of an aversion from change, and is characterisictcp of something that has few internal resources of change."

The West Fell With Communism

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 was not a victory for the West. It was a defeat. The ruling ideology in the Soviet Union was communism, which is a western doctrine—communism was developed by the western intellectuals in Germany, England, and France. In Asian countries (where the first experiments in communism were conducted) most people were clueless about communism. 

Through the communist regime in the Soviet Union, western intellectualism was controlling a major chunk of humanity—in the Soviet states, China, South Asia, and parts of the Middle East, South America, and Africa. The fall of the Soviet Union had a domino effect and one by one the communist regimes in most parts of the world collapsed. The traditionalist, regionalist, racial, and theocratic political forces are the beneficiaries of communism’s fall—in last three decades, such forces have acquired total political power in the post-communist world.

By defeating the Soviet Union, Reagan and Thatcher did not strengthen the West—they paved way for its decline.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Capitalism: The God That Failed

Karl Marx was right about the demise of capitalism, but he was wrong about the way in which the demise will happen. He believed that capitalism will face its mortal crisis because all the means of production will be cornered by the capitalist class who, in their lust for improving their profits, will strip the masses of their wealth. The competition between the capitalists will force the nation’s small businesses into bankruptcy and reduce the number of capitalists at the top. Imagine a situation where a single textile factory is producing garments for the entire nation—the owners will get fabulously rich, but no one else will. In such a system, the capitalists must take measures to defend their property and profits, but rest of the nation will hate them. Marx hoped that eventually the proletariat would rise in a violent rebellion the capitalists.

The flaw in Marx’s theory of demise of capitalism is that he didn’t foresee that capitalism is built on socialistic principles. Big government is part and parcel of capitalism; if there is reduction in the size of the government, the capitalist economy will stop functioning. The history of capitalism in the 19th and 20th centuries is by itself a proof that capitalism is essentially a big government phenomena—instead of the capitalists taking control of everything, the government grabs a major chunk of the political as well as economic power. The growth of the economy in a capitalist nation is always directly proportional to the size of its government.

As the government grows bigger, it consumes more and more resources—the big capitalists are able to protect their wealth by becoming crony-capitalists and aligning their own business interests with the government’s political interests. The burden of paying taxes falls on the small businesses, middle class, and the poor class. This leads to a massive disparity in income—the rich keep getting richer while the poor get poorer. The pro-capitalism intellectuals talk about minimum government but a minimum government is not possible in capitalism. The big capitalists need big government to keep the small businesses, middle class, and the poor class in control. Without a system for controlling the population, the big capitalists won’t be able to function. Therefore, in a capitalist economy, the size of the government has to keep growing till the nation goes bust.

There are several other problems in capitalism that I can talk about; for instance, the rise of nihilism in capitalist nations, the capitalist lust for establishing a worldwide free-market utopia, destruction of small communities and guilds. But those topics are beyond the scope of my short article, which I will end by noting that—like communism, capitalism is the god that failed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

On Isaiah Berlin’s Counter-Enlightenment

Isaiah Berlin popularized the term “Counter-Enlightenment” with his 1973 essay, “The Counter-Enlightenment.” By “Counter-Enlightenment,” he is referring to the German Romanticism (mainly to the thought of Herder, Fichte, and J. G. Hamann). Here’s an excerpt from his essay: “For Voltaire, Diderot, Helvdtius, Holbach, Condorcet, there is only universal civilization, of which now one nation, now another, represents the richest flowering. For Herder there is a plurality of incommensurable cultures. To belong to a given community, to be connected with its members by indissoluble and impalpable ties of common language, historical memory, habit, tradition and feeling, is a basic human need no less natural than that for food or drink or security or procreation. One nation can understand and sympathize with the institutions of another only because it knows how much its own mean to itself. Cosmopolitanism is the shedding of all that makes one most human, most oneself.”

In Defense of Popular Governments

The intellectuals assume that a government that enjoys mass support must always be a badly managed dictatorship. But they are  ignoring the fact that the global intellectual class has a long history of supporting dictators, whereas the masses mostly support the political groups which promise to revive the economy, establish the rule of law, and improve quality of life. The worst dictatorships of the last hundred years came to power because of the support of the intellectuals. Hitler lost the election in 1932 (he didn’t have popular support), but he was appointed chancellor in 1933 because the European intellectuals were rooting for him. Lenin was himself an intellectual and his Bolshevik party was supported by many important intellectuals in Europe. On the other hand, the best governments in last hundred years came to power due to mass support—for example, Thatcher, Reagan, and others. A government that enjoys the support of the masses is a better option than a government for which the intellectuals are rooting. The intellectuals think that they know more about politics than the masses, but they don’t. The masses (in some of the advanced democracies) are more politically savvy than the intellectuals.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Individualism is Not a Political Concept

Individualism is not a political concept. It is an attribute of human psychology that enables men to be independent and use their own mind for making their choices. A man, depending on his mindset, can be an individualist even if he is living in a tyrannical country. A democratic political system is not a necessary condition for individualism. An individualist, like any collectivist, can be moral or immoral. Individualism has nothing to do with morality.

Politics is by nature social and collectivist. It cannot be individualistic because the formation of groups with some sort of common agenda is a necessary condition for political activity. The idea of having a political movement of individualists is vacuous and incoherent. Unless people can find ways for collaborating and cooperating with each other and develop a basic understanding about the political outcomes that they want to achieve, they won’t have a political movement.

Individualists have to develop the capacity for empathizing and communicating with other minds if they want to transform their nation’s politics and culture.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Incoherent Dream of The Enlightenment

In the final paragraph of his essay, “Vico and the Ideal of the Enlightenment,” Isaiah Berlin talks about the incoherence in the dream of the Enlightenment. Here’s an excerpt:

"To a disciple of Vico, the ideal of some of the thinkers of the Enlightenment, the notion of even the abstract possibility of a perfect society, is necessarily an attempt to weld together incompatible attributes—characteristics, ideals, gifts, properties, values that belong to different patterns of thought, action, life, and therefore cannot be detached and sewn together into one garment. For a Vichian this notion must be literally absurd : absurd because there is a conceptual clash between, let us say, what gives splendour to Achilles and what causes Socrates or Michelangelo or Spinoza or Mozart or the Buddha to be admired; and since this applies to the respective cultures, in the context of which alone men's achievements can be understood and judged, this fact alone makes this particular dream of the Enlightenment incoherent. The scepticism or pessimism of a good many thinkers of the Enlightenment—Voltaire, Hume, Gibbon, Grimm, Rousseau—about the possibility of realizing this condition is beside the point. The point is that even they were animated by a conception of ideal possibilities, however unattainable in practice. In this, at least, they seem to be at one with the more optimistic Turgot and Condorcet. After Vico, the conflict of monism and pluralism, timeless values and historicism, was bound sooner or later to become a central issue."

The dream of the Enlightenment was based on the notion that human progress is certain and that human history will take a particular path. But Berlin rejects determinism and the possibility of a perfect human life. He points out that indeterminacy and pluralism, which are the essential features of human nature, make it impossible for any philosopher or historian to predict the future.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Subversive Philosophy of Isaiah Berlin

John Gray, in his Introduction to his book Isaiah Berlin, says that “Berlin’s work is animated by a single idea of enormous subversive force. This is the idea, which I call value-pluralism, that ultimate values are objective but irreducibly diverse, that they are conflicting and often uncombinable, and that sometimes when they come into conflict with one another they are incommensurable.” According to Gray, the political implication of Berlin’s thought is that “the idea of a perfect society in which all genuine ideals and goods are achieved is not merely utopian; it is incoherent.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

On The Political Significance of a Nation’s Traditions

A nation’s traditions can be viewed as the set of cultural and political principles which distribute authority between the past, present, and future. The traditions are an amalgamation of three possible cultures: the culture that existed in the old times, the new culture of the contemporary period, and the culture that is possible in the time that is yet to come. When authority is being distributed between the past, present, and future, a nation’s politics is less likely to take a totalitarian turn. A consensus between the past, present, and future cannot be achieved by a totalitarian regime, but a democratic or republican government, elected by popular mandate, might achieve it.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Theists Versus Atheists

Being an atheist is not a sign of a person’s individualism, rationality, and pure moral sentiments but a philosophical position, and while you can argue for or against this position, you cannot prove it to be right or wrong.  That atheism goes hand in hand with individualism, rationality, and morality is claim that many atheistic philosophers make, but there is no philosophical or scientific evidence to back this claim. The atheists are not happier than the theists—in most countries surveys have shown that the theists are generally happier and have a longer average lifespan. The atheists are not likely to be in favor of liberty—most countries, which are ruled by atheistic doctrines, are totalitarian. Even in free countries, the atheistic groups are hierarchical and cultist—they take a doctrinal approach to political and cultural issues, and they tend to deny freedom of free expression to their members.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

On Existentialism

Existentialism is timeless—the existentialist way of thinking has been identified in Heraclitus, Socrates, and Augustine. But modern existentialism is identified with the thought of five thinkers: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Camus, and Sartre. The wide difference in the religious and political thought of these five philosophers makes it difficult to see existentialism as a school based on a doctrine or worldview. Kierkegaard was  religious. Nietzsche and Sartre were atheists. Kierkegaard would have nothing to do with politics; he was disgusted by it. Sartre, Camus, and Heidegger were deeply into politics. They were political theorists as well as political activists. Sartre was a Marxist. Camus was an anti-Marxist and identified as a humanitarian. Heidegger, it is alleged, was close to Nazism. Instead of a common doctrine and worldview, existentialism is a movement based on certain sensibilities regarding individualism and human freedom. The philosophy sees Dostoevsky and Kafka as its chief thinkers.

Socrates: The Ugly Philosopher

Socrates was ugly and this made him very unhappy. His ugliness was a cause of unhappiness for him because in Ancient Greece ugliness was regarded as a refutation. He despised the Greeks because he could see that they were rejecting him because of his ugliness and he devoted his life to developing a philosophy which would overturn Greek culture. This is one of the points that Friedrich Nietzsche makes in his critique of Socratic philosophy.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

On The Importance of Man’s Absurdity

Thomas Hobbes describes in Leviathan, an ideal commonwealth that can be established through a social contract and mimics a human body which has at its head, a sovereign with absolute power over the masses. Every person living in the commonwealth has a fixed role to play, like the organs in a human body.

Is it possible for human beings to live in a society where they play fixed roles and have no freedom? Hobbes does not rely on morality to keep the masses in place—he thinks that people will enter into a social contract with one another to establish a commonwealth ruled by a sovereign because they want stability and peace more than anything else.

But Hobbes undermines much of the thesis that he has presented in Leviathan in a passage in Chapter 5 where he acknowledges that human beings have the tendency of exhibiting absurd behavior. He writes, “the privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject, but man only.” His utopia is not feasible because men have the tendency to speak words without meaning and act in absurd ways.

I think that man’s freedom is rooted not only in his reason and intelligence but also in his aptitude for thinking and acting in nonsensical and unpredictable ways.

The God of the Libertarians

The libertarians deny the god of religion because they think that they possess a better god. The free market is the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god that they believe in. They give short shrift to the historical issues, cultural issues, and geopolitical issues. They think that the free market god is the best solution to most of the problems that mankind faces. The problem with the libertarian vision is that their god of free market is badly articulated—free market will never be achieved through their intellectual and political methods.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Political Ideology Versus Political Activity

In his essay, “Political Education,” Michael Oakeshott rejects the supposition that political ideology inspires political activity. He points out that the exact opposite is true, it is political activity that is the father of political ideology. Here’s an excerpt:

“So far from a political ideology being the quasi-divine parent of political activity, it turns out to be its earthly stepchild. Instead of an independently premeditated scheme of ends to be pursued, it is a system of ideas abstracted from the manner in which people have been accustomed to go about the business of attending to the arrangements of their societies. The pedigree of every political ideology shows it to be the creature, not of premeditation in advance of political activity, but of meditation upon a manner of politics. In short, political activity comes first and a political ideology follows after; and the understanding of politics we are investigating has the disadvantage of being, in the strict sense, preposterous.”

He illustrates his point by reflecting on the relationship between scientific hypothesis and scientific activity:

“Let us consider the matter first in relation to scientific hypothesis, which I have taken to play a role in scientific activity in some respects similar to that of an ideology in politics. If a scientific hypothesis were a self-generated bright idea which owed nothing to scientific activity, then empiricism governed by hypothesis could be considered to compose a self-contained manner of activity; but this certainly is not its character. The truth is that only a man who is already a scientist can formulate a scientific hypothesis; that is, an hypothesis is not an independent invention capable of guiding scientific inquiry, but a dependent supposition which arises as an abstraction from within already existing scientific activity. Moreover, even when the specific hypothesis has in this manner been formulated, it is inoperative as a guide to research without constant reference to the traditions of scientific inquiry from which it was abstracted. The concrete situation does not appear until the specific hypothesis, which is the occasion of empiricism being set to work, is recognized as itself the creature of owing how to conduct a scientific inquiry.”

Here's his outlook on the relationship between cooking and a cookery book:

“…consider the example of cookery. It might be supposed that an ignorant man, some edible materials, and a cookery book compose together the necessities of a self-moved (or concrete) activity called cooking. But nothing is further from the truth. The cookery book is not an independently generated beginning from which cooking can spring; it is nothing more than an abstract of somebody's knowledge of how to cook: it is the stepchild, not the parent of the activity. The book, in its tum, may help to set a man on to dressing a dinner, but if it were his sole guide he could never, in fact, begin: the book speaks only to those who know already the kind of thing to expect from it and consequently bow to interpret it.”

Thursday, November 7, 2019

On The Purpose of Freedom

The purpose of freedom is not to make human beings rational, moral, knowledgeable, or civilized. Freedom has only one purpose—it is to enable human beings to live in society without meddling in each other’s lives. The inner freedom of the mind (that Socrates and Plato have talked about) could be more important than political freedom.

Secularism Leads To Multiple Personality Disorder

Secularism is a political doctrine that seeks to banish religion from public life while allowing it to stay alive in private life. By dividing a man’s life into public life and private life, secularism creates a multiple personality disorder. Men become split into two identities: the public man, or the man who engages in political and social activities during his work hours, and the private man, or the man who in his free time gives vent to his personal religious beliefs. The public man and the private man have to coexist, since they have one body and one mind, but their opinions and way of life are dissimilar. Secularism commands the public man to be atheistic in his outlook, while the private man is allowed to be religious, if that is what he wishes to be. But a man cannot lead a fulfilling life when his mind is split into two camps: the camp of the public man who is an atheist, and the camp of the private man who is religious.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Totalitarianism Versus Anarchy

The worst enemy of liberty is not totalitarianism—it is anarchy. No totalitarian regime can constrain a nation’s freedom in every possible way, because to do so it would have to put all its people in chains and herd them into a concentration camp, but if every man in the country suffers the same fate, then there will be no one left to run the economy and the regime will collapse. Most totalitarian regimes leave majority of the citizens untouched—they go after the individuals and groups that they regard as a political threat.

When there is anarchy, there is a power vacuum which turns the society into a battleground of competing faiths and ideologies. The masses get tossed around in this battle for political supremacy; instead of one totalitarian, they have to deal with a whole host of them. They may have to run around to save themselves from the sectarian death squads (some of which may claim a divine right to rule) which prefer to use terror as a tool for grabbing political power. In the chaos and violence that ensues, the masses forgo of their psychological incentives for exercising any kind of liberty. They are not in chains, they are not herded in a concentration camp—but they have no liberty.

Therefore, an individual living in a society that is in state of anarchy is worse off politically than an individual living under a totalitarian regime. In anarchy, there is less liberty because the masses are enchained by fear and confusion.

On The Myth of Minimum Government

When the libertarians talk about returning to the era of minimum government, a return to what “era” are they talking about? In the 18th century, when the USA was founded, the government there was quite big, relative to the nation’s population, the area that it controlled, and the revenues that it received as taxes, and since then the government in this nation has been growing at a brisk pace. Human beings do not know how to create a nation with minimum government. In the last 2500 years there has not been a single good nation with minimum government—the greatest innovations in philosophy, science, and technology have been made in nations with big governments. Can a nation with libertarian style minimum government survive, if by some kind of miracle it comes into existence? I doubt it. Minimum government is a utopian goal, which will never be achieved; it might sound good in theory, but it is not realizable.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Hegel: Philosophy Comes in the End

Hegel, in his Preface to Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1820) writes that the “owl of Minerva takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering.” This is his way of saying that philosophy comes in the end when the world has reached a mature state of development, or after the shape of life has grown old. Here’s the complete paragraph from Hegel’s Preface: “Only one word more concerning the desire to teach the world what it ought to be. For such a purpose philosophy at least always comes too late. Philosophy, as the thought of the world, does not appear until reality has completed its formative process, and made itself ready. History thus corroborates the teaching of the conception that only in the maturity of reality does the ideal appear as counterpart to the real, apprehends the real world in its substance, and shapes it into an intellectual kingdom. When philosophy paints its grey in grey, one form of life has become old, and by means of grey it cannot be rejuvenated, but only known. The owl of Minerva takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering.” (Translation by S W Dyde, 1896)

Modern Atheism: The Lure of Manmade Heaven

The concept of “heaven” plays a vital role in atheism. All atheistic movements have enticed followers by promising them a shortcut to a manmade heaven. The Jacobins (during the French Revolution) promised to turn their country into a heaven of reason and science where all would be equal and all would prosper. Auguste Comte’s positivists promised a heaven of altruism and humanism. Lenin and his communist revolutionaries promised the Russians that they would bring salvation to all (except the bourgeoisie and the kulaks) by creating a heavenly dictatorship of the proletariat. The Nazis promised to create a heaven where the Aryan race would thrive and rule. The logical positivists declared that linguistic concepts of god and belief in god are meaningless, but they promised a heaven through reliance on empirical knowledge. The libertarians believe that liberty and free-markets are attractive to all people and the world is destined to become a libertarian heaven. The liberals promise to create a heaven on earth by crushing capitalism and imposing a socialistic welfare model on society.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Myth of Secularism

Secularism is an impossible ideal. It commands man to go against human nature and deny his faith. Religion or faith is a fundamental need of human beings. Man is as much a creature of faith, as he is a creature of reason. It is impossible for human beings to create a nation that is not influenced by the knowledge encompassed in the dominant religion of the political community. Most major civilizations in the last 2500 years have been developed after rationally and fully integrating the teachings of religion into political life.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Universe As A Library of Babel

Imagine the universe as a library spread across an endless series of hexagonal rooms. In each room there is an entrance built on one wall. On another wall, there are the bare necessities for human existence. The rest of the four walls are lined with bookshelves filled with books. The library contains infinite number of books. It has every book that has ever been written and that will ever be written, and it has every possible variation of every book that it contains. A vast majority of the books make no sense, but some of which make sense contain vital information that the human beings quest for. I am talking about the short story, “The Library of Babel,” by Jorge Luis Borges.

Here’s the final paragraph from the story:

“I have just written the word "infinite." I have not included that adjective out of mere rhetorical habit; I hereby state that it is not illogical to think that the world is infinite. Those who believe it to have limits hypothesize that in some remote place or places the corridors and staircases and hexa­gons may, inconceivably, end-which is absurd. And yet those who picture the world as unlimited forget that the number of possible books is not. I will be bold enough to suggest this solution to the ancient problem: The Li­brary is unlimited but periodic. If an eternal traveler should journey in any direction, he would find after untold centuries that the same volumes are repeated in the same disorder-which, repeated, becomes order: the Order. My solitude is cheered by that elegant hope.”