Monday, January 23, 2017

The Free Thinking Man, Enemy Of The Tyrant

With all the furor over the new president, as members of the regressive left wail and nash their teeth at the loss of their annointed heroine, words like dictator and tyrant are getting thrown around quite a lot. The funny thing is that a lot of the time the people doing so reveal their own authoritarian impulse to squelch debate and the exchange of ideas such as here.

How do you fight that sort of anti-intellectual mummery wrapped in academic dressing? Well, if you believe in the wisdom of our founders and so many of the great thinkers who informed their decisions when forging our nation, what you need is a revolution of ideas. Not just ideas but well reasoned ones, informed by a knowledge of history, philosophy and a firm understanding of humanity. You don't fight bad ideas by registries in the government (no one has proposed such, but there is a scare tactic among the regressive left of painting every form of resistance to their ideas as authoritarianism, ironically) but by education.

That is why I propose a reading list for adults, something with no force of government behind it, but a sort of free standing litmus test of intellectual curiousity and seriousness. Western civilization has been an engine of creation for new ideas for well over two millenia and it is one that constantly examines itself, so there are plenty of fantastic sources to examine ideas. Writings like Marcus Aurelius' Meditations inform us on the virtues of stoicism and a sense of duty. Plato's Dialogues have stood the test of time and more than that, stood above that test like a giant, helping form western thought on the tools of reason and logic, though Plato himself would have likely attributed much of the wisdom he laid down to his teacher, Socrates. As of course he did when penning his dialogues with Socrates as one of the voices. Finally I would suggest John Stuart Mill, and especially his Seminal works, System of Logic, On Liberty, and Utilitarianism for their examination of reason, morality and the common good, which still today help inform our thinking on the role of governement and its reach in ensuring equality of opportunity versus the concepts of personal liberty and responsibility to ones self.

Ideas are what make a a civilization, and what can make it great, but ideas with no foundation are like castles made of sand, temporary, washed away by the tides all too quickly.These are the  works I would put on the list, at least the first few, What do all of you out there think? Some of those not so helpfull? Would you replace them with something else like the writings of Castiglione? What about G.K. Chesterton? Comment with your own suggestions.

No comments:

Post a Comment