something to think about

This commentary is long, but amazingly interesting, the premise purportedly being, “Can tradition withstand the onslaught of abstract reasoning?” A valid question, and one that every conservative (and probably therefore traditional) thinker should consider. Really, when it boils down to it, it’s a logical exposition of values are valuable, and why gay marraige is reacted to so strongly. Some good bits.

If our cultural relativists must forgive those who sacrifice their infants to Moloch, they must also forgive members of their own society who wish to abide by their own traditions.

The cultural relativist must make up his mind: Either there is a higher standard or there isn’t.

When a person dies because he believed in an empirical falsehood, it makes sense to say that his holding of this empirical belief was not useful or conducive to Darwinian success, and hence not rational. But when he dies in obedience to an imperative that he holds to be his sacred duty, you can say nothing at all.

But a tradition that has lost its ethical obviousness has thereby become vulnerable to challenge, and the question soon arises: Why this tradition rather than the tradition of foreigners?

To see institutions and traditions as recipes is to grasp at once how pointless it is to debate their truth or falsity. Is Julia Child’s recipe for Bouillabaisse true or false? The question sounds absurd because it is.

Taking this to a higher ethical plane, we can ask ourselves as individuals whether we like ourselves the way we are today, or whether we liked ourselves better in the past.

Such a custom is by nature intolerant.

If we no longer know what it is that we have escaped from, we will be unable to appreciate the significance of the technique that permitted us to escape.

If a society wishes to find a way of ensuring that newly emergent and valuable techniques are passed on and preserved, its members must feel themselves under an ethical obligation to leave the best possible world not only for their children, but also for their grandchildren.

The grandchild, far from being incidental, is decisive.

By holding the parents responsible for wiring the minimal ethical baseline into the visceral code of their children, the community exponentially increases its power to maintain the standards of its ethical baseline.

I don’t have to post any more good quotes. It’s a really good article; read it, people. The whole thing. The closer you get to the end, the better it gets. And if you don’t have time to read it now, print it out and read it on the subway. Or the toilet. Or whatever.
Read and think.

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~ by wildeyedwonder on July 22, 2005.

One Response to “something to think about”

  1. You are correct. Very, very good. Thank you Princess.

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