Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rick Santorum and his Grimy Oxymoron

Regarding the recent SCOTUS decision re: marriage equality, Senator Rick Santorum, as is his wont, could not be silent, and issued a bit of word-salad:

“Roe v. Wade is the cancer that is eating away at the body of American freedom and we’re turning into this oligarchy of judges who can impose their will on the American public,” Santorum said. “This is so troubling on so many levels. You have the abuse of the court and really robbing us of our republic. You have the abuse of the First Amendment and imposing their religious doctrine — You can say, ‘What do you mean, religious?’ Their sexual orthodoxy, let’s call it that, their morality — on the rest of this country and the destructive element of that. And then finally the destructive element being the impact on the nuclear family. I’ve been warning about all of these things and they’ve all come together in this one suit.”

Santorum went on to chide fellow Republicans who want to “move on” following the court’s ruling: “What is it about losing our republic, losing our First Amendment and losing the family that’s not worth fighting about?”
This is of a piece with his notions about a "secular theocracy" and he's not alone in using this idea--Mike Huckabee has used the same concept. But it's a very curious idea--secularism implies that no God is involved in a proceeding--so how could any part of government that is secular, also be a theocracy? I guess a sophisticated argument could go into how secularism places the onus for law upon materialism, and that those laws then become the ritual (the must-do's) of the secularist, making government the de facto "God" of the Godless. In a democracy, where the people elect the lawmakers who make our laws--"Vox populi vox dei."  (which is the radical concept lurking behind our American notions abut equality and "consent of the governed"). I'll admit, I like the US Constitution better than I like religion. I know who made it. But I do not worship my government, because I know people are people, and they have limits. Our government might be as good as it can be, but will often fall shades short of fully ethical and moral. It isn't to be worshipped--it is to be dealt with. That is a significant distinction.

While there might be a philosophical argument to bolster Santorum and Huckabee's claims that there is a "secular theocracy" afoot, I don't think they mean to evoke a philosophical argument at all. Actually, I think they are after a simple inversion of claims that God-botherers are trying to install a theocracy by applying the "Know you are but what am I?" gambit. In other words: "No, you're the theocrat." As if this erases their attempts to make the people of many books, respect the laws of their one book.

The idea that the culture is infected with the secularism idea is especially a bugbear of the anti-LGBT side, which believes there is so a valid idea behind discriminating against a certain class of sinners. They also feel that being called on it is akin to facing the lions in the Coliseum, which may or may not have happened to any great extent back when.

But in terms of denial of First Amendment rights, I'd like to introduce the idea that religious people have tried to ban LGBT-related books and education. Mike Huckabee objected to anti-AIDS education because it taught about gay people.  Which was really weird, because gay people really did disproportionately experience the AIDS epidemic, and it would make sense to address their necessary precautions to arrest the epidemic--unless he sort of thought it should be ignored because who cares if gay men get AIDS? Which is really gross and sort of implies he thought that if gay people got AIDS-fine.  Who needs to be educated about that?

There is no danger of Christians being fed to whatever today's lion-equivalent is. We have lawmakers today quite comfortable with announcing themselves as emissaries for Christ. And we have Presidential candidates who very probably are likely to be in favor of, not "secular theocracy", but "theocracy theocracy".  The real thing. The secular ideal is just allowing other people not of the dominant faith to have their freedom, too.

I would call it "secular government". And let everyone of conscience see to their own religion. And not mind other people's business.

4 comments:

Formerly Amhert said...

Vixen, we pay a horrible price for metaphysical illiteracy.

I can illustrate this by repeating a bit of mild levity used to discuss the UFO phenomena.

It is said that “a UFO expert knows every conceivable thing there is to know or be understood about UFOs. Except what they are, why they are here, what they are doing, where they're from, where they're going, who's in them, knowledge of their intentions.” So a UFO expert is said to know virtually everything about UFOs except the list above.

Much could be said about human beings. Very few people know where we're from, where we're going, what we're supposed to be doing, what we're supposed to represent, or what directions our inquiries should take.

This puts us in the position of trying to “get people going” just to get them going. It's like building a car, but not telling anyone how to drive or where to go.

This is why political parties are mostly absurd. No one really knows what the purpose or ends of human life are. As as consequence we have political directions conceived and carried out without the slightest idea of what human life is. Most mass movements share this insanity. (Jung calls this psychic influenza, where people are roped in to mass-mindedness and become collective robots for the puppet masters.)

It's not that some answers are not known among a minority. They are. If you study 30 or 40 years of near death research, out of body experiences, and a hundred years of research from the Society of Psychical Research, you will figure out everyone is talking about the same things. Metaphysics does not concern itself with the physically measurable so does not fit the parameters of a hard science like, say, chemistry. But it does fall within the category of soft science somewhat like sociology. Very few of the faculties at universities are up to date on parapsychology and the evidence it has gathered.

So a lot of Christians are fumbling in the dark because they insist that mystical experience, if it exists, has to fit within a rigidly conceived parameter in order to be legitimate. And secularists are hopeless because they simply reject any notion of a transpersonal element to human life. Then an argument ensues between camps that have not discovered the end or purpose of human life or what the transpersonal research tells us. Neither side is qualified to pronounce judgments on these subjects.

Vixen Strangely said...

The late great Douglas Adams had an answer for the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything: 42. The relationship of the answer to the phrasing of the original question is lost, because the answer and the question can't exist together in the same universe, although the correspondences have been looked into thoroughly:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_(number)

I think a lot of religionists tend to dwell on the "letter" or even the "number" of their various religious laws, and don't necessarily appreciate the "spirit" of the same. There might be some awfully interesting things to find in the letters and numbers of religion--but the spirit is the point. The adherence to religion as form strikes me as a kind of frustration with not catching the spirit--the idea is to do better or fake it until one makes it. The exercise is necessarily bereft of results, like a bad fad diet. The spirit is what it is. There isn't any faking it--and even atheists can, ruefully, get it. And there are many mansions.

The problem with gnosis is that it isn't much more than a sense of The Self Dwelling in this World like a Boss. Which actually is pretty neat, but popular religion is full of twinkle-toes laying on of hands and walking on water stuff. I'm not dissing phenomena as such, but actually getting what you are and where you are is major--the noumenon, actually makes the spiritual personal. The miracles and starbursts and feeling smug as a bug in an air-tight magic rug--is mostly not a thing. Getting a sense of an anointing and purpose and making words do things that affect people--that is within the spiritual possible. And it really doesn't mean being a kind of shut-in saint. Even dedicated sensualists can feel that movement. Not the people-moving of force. But the movement of certain universal ideals.

I think of Beethoven's 9th Symphony for that kind of transcendence. It isn't a cutting-off but a reaching-out. Brother (and sister!) hood.

Yastreblyansky said...

It's about the practice, isn't it--not the stories we tell about it ("In the beginning God..."). That's why the best God-free spiritualities, whether it's Zen practice or Beethoven, aim at wordlessness.

Yastreblyansky said...

Do a Santorum and his audiences have a kind of shared transcendence experience as he talks them up with grievance and fear? Do they have to feel under threat?

You're right about the "secular theocracy", meant to suggest a kind of cult of the state, but the purpose of the story is to make the audience feel threatened, that it will be like Edo Japan and they'll all be forced to abjure the Faith and trample the Cross. Or get gay married and aborted, that they're all martyrs in the making.