Friday, March 12, 2004

Sophist's Choice...

In What We Can't Not Know, J. Budziszewski writes an argument for the concept that we all know about right and wrong; moral truths that we just can't not know. He describes, in chapter 8, how entire cultures can ignore, or eclipse, effects of Natural Law. Regarding the Sophist tradition he writes,
...In the fifth century BC, however, a group of thinkers appeared in Greece who maintained that because just circumstances change, there is no unchanging truth. These were the Sophists, paid teachers of rhetoric, whose boast was that they could teach anyone to argue any side of any question.
How does this affect us today? He argues that a warped concept of truth, combined with activism in the courts and higher education, contribute to a cultural eclipse of Natural Law.
Sophism has always been a corrupter of democracies... [they] might seize power, not in the assemblies, but in the courts and the civil service; in this case the assemblies might not have to be wholly corrupted, but only confused enough to go along.
I've been arguing that we need to address how ideas have logical consequences with regards to Post Modern Christianity, Methodological Naturalism, De-Constructionism, and Gay Marriage. Budziszewski further states,
...When the U.S. Supreme Court declared that "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the myster of human life," it was expressing the Sophist charter. In the context in which it was uttered, the purpose of the statement was to justify the liberty to kill unborn babies. Taken at its face, however, such language can justify doing anything you please. It's true that I flew a jet airliner into the World Trade Center, but I was defining my concept of existence. It's true that I raped my neighbor, but I was working out my concept of meaning in the universe as I see it. It's true that I drowned my toddlers, but I was fulfilling my concept of the mystery of human life. If the Supreme Court has not yet drawn these conclusions, it hardly matters. The conclusions will follow from the Court's premises.

No comments: