The image above is from the Cult of Reason.
Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason” Part B
The post continues from WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3A. In Part 3A we considered how some, when their reasoning fails them, elevate the enjoyment of sex over God. Here we will consider examples of the failure of reason with respect to stuff and state (For an explanation of the gods of sex, stuff, state and self, see AN ABUSE OF THE IMAGINATION.).
Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason”: STUFF
Pride, greed, and fear can combine to make us grasping, thieving fools. Instead of considering the greater good, we may crave more and more stuff. Instead of thoughtfully trying to contribute to our society, we may just look out for #1. What will be the result? When a free people begin to think only of #1, their society slowly disintegrates.
Consider the economic system that produces our stuff. Originally, we based our economic system upon Capitalism. Capitalism works off the moral principle embodied in the 8th commandment.
Exodus 20:15 The New Revised Standard Version
You shall not steal.
The rights to own, buy, and sell our labor and property exist implicitly in the 8th commandment.
Unfortunately, we have a government that no longer respects the right to property. More and more often we find our government interfering in the market place, even to the point of taking from some people and giving to others. Our leaders would like us to believe their interference is for the greater good, but what is resulting from their shenanigans is Crony Capitalism.
DEFINITION OF ‘CRONY CAPITALISM’
A description of capitalist society as being based on the close relationships between businessmen and the state. Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in the form of tax breaks, government grants and other incentives.
What kind of businesses receive favored treatment? Large corporations and those run by the wealthy.
Ideally, our government would charter relatively few corporations, and those corporations would be carefully managed by their stockholders, but that’s not necessarily the case. If a company is not being managed well, only stockholders with a large stake in a company will be inclined to vote their stock and choose a new management. Because it is easier, those with a relatively small amount of stock in a company (that’s most of us) will just sell their stock in a troubled company.
Instead of investing for the long-term, we now look for short-term profits. In fact, buyers of exchange-traded funds and index funds have no interest in managing the assets they purchase.
Meanwhile, the poor complain the rich are growing richer (see here and here). Incited by the news media and political activists they demand government do something, and the well-connected make certain it is they who receive the greatest benefits from the changes the poor demand. Thus, it is the assets of the lesser “rich” that the poor actually receive.
Consider what three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich say they have discovered (here).
Three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide and analyzed all 43,060 transnational corporations and share ownerships linking them. They built a model of who owns what and what their revenues are and mapped the whole edifice of economic power.
They discovered that global corporate control has a distinct bow-tie shape, with a dominant core of 147 firms radiating out from the middle. Each of these 147 own interlocking stakes of one another and together they control 40% of the wealth in the network. A total of 737 control 80% of it all. (continued here).
Are the theorists correct? It seems so. In Retort: The 147 Companies That Run The World? They’re You, the author observes: “most of the companies on the top 50 list are simply investment companies – they aren’t operating companies.” Hence he sees no conspiracy and nothing to be concerned about. Just the same, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and those folks we call the middle class seem to be slowly fading away.
Is it possible we have forgotten that when we own an investment we must make certain that investment is properly managed? How do you manage your investments?
Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason”: STATE
Those who worship at the altar of stuff use their own reason to acquire stuff. Those who worship the state seek to earn their rewards from “the system” and the dear leaders they empower to run “the system.” Such desire their leaders to reason for them and seek some form of Utopia as their reward for their loyalty to “the system.”
How long has some notion of Utopia existed? Who knows? Plato provided us his own version of Utopia in The Republic, but before anyone wrote about perfect government, men worshiped their leaders as gods.
The difference between a Utopian government and a government that recognizes that men owe their first allegiance to God did not stand out starkly, however, until the French Reign of Terror.
The French Revolution began in 1789, about five or six years after the end of the American Revolutionary War. That revolution began hopefully, but what had begun hopefully degenerated when the revolutionaries tried to scrap the traditional values the French people and replace those values with a Cult of Reason (for other views, see here, here, and here too). The leaders of the French Reign of Terror intended to use this cult to dechristianize their nation.
The Cult of Reason was explicitly anthropocentric. Its goal was the perfection of mankind through the attainment of Truth and Liberty, and its guiding principle to this goal was the exercise of the human faculty of Reason. In the manner of conventional religion, it encouraged acts of congregational worship and devotional displays to the ideal of Reason. A careful distinction was always drawn between the rational respect of Reason and the veneration of an idol: “There is one thing that one must not tire telling people,” Momoro explained, “Liberty, reason, truth are only abstract beings. They are not gods, for properly speaking, they are part of ourselves.” (from here)
Since that tragic example in France, the world has seen many other revolutions that featured a government based upon “reason” as their central goal. These included Communist revolutions in Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Cambodia.
Was Nazism an ideology based upon “reason”? Probably. The Nazis argued that their racism and their eugenics programs were based upon science.
Other Posts In This Series
To Be Continued. In this post, we have consider our inability to correctly apply human reason to the subjects of stuff and state. On Tuesday evening, I hope to post Part 3C, Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason” — Part C. That post will consider our inability to correctly apply human reason to the subject of our self.