“Think Of Me”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the “Phantom Of The Opera” soundtrack album, (2004)
I was focused on “Sincerity” yesterday, and the reality that, to be sincere, our words and actions must correspond to our thoughts. To be convinced of one thing, but to affirm something else, for the sake of expediency or to avoid hurting the “feelings” of another person is contrary to truth. Bluntly, it is a lie.
And bluntly, the foundation of our modern culture is a lie. We are totally preoccupied with our status in our FaceBooked, Love Me Wall, our Chat Group. Totally focused on the deadly competition to be the most liked, or the most admired, or the most beautiful, most successful, most well traveled, or at least the friend of the most beautiful or the most successful, or the most (fill in your most envied character trait or material desire here).
So what about Justice? The problem with this foundational lie of our society, the lack of sincerity, is that the lie precludes and prevents the existence of Justice. Justice for all or justice for anyone necessitates honesty and sincerity. Without honesty and sincerity there is NO justice.
We moderns have rejected any external standard that overtly or implicitly criticizes our self proclaimed goodness and questions our vices or appetites, our sins of choice, in pursuit of our envied idols, the goals assigned to us by the society in which we exist and which we willingly accept. We find all our self justification within our self worship, our “I’m OK, Your OK” philosophy of gratification.
… unless of course, you have the arrogance to disagree with me, THEN you really are not very OK at all and we will vilify you and shun you because you are shining a light on our much beloved darkness. This rejection of rejection is the very essence of “Injustice”. There is no justice possible in a universe where no one is wrong and no one dare identify bad behaviour.
It seems an accurate assessment, then, to name our modern society “Secular Humanist Progressivism”. It’s secular because it rejects all religion and religious values as well as the very existence of God.
It’s humanist because it holds man to be the apex of existence, the sole arbiter of “right”.
And it’s especially progressive because it implies some natural righteousness to “progress” as the discarding all the values of previous generations of mankind, to the extent that we no longer even teach values to our offspring.
But where is Justice if there is no right and no wrong?
A “Progressive” (individual) is a self referential existence of appetites and vanities pursuing an ever tightening spiral of gratification, self aggrandizement and the once frowned upon character trait of narcissism. This egocentric view of reality, this solipsistic approach to what is and what is not, leads to an eventual and inevitable denial of any truth whatsoever.
How can there be justice if there is no truth?
This ends in endemic moral relativism. Moral relativism is the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others, that there is no absolute evil and no absolute wrong.
If moral judgments are invalid then how can there be Justice? How can there be Justice when moral relativism holds that there is no injustice?
So, what is Justice? Jesus famously said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s”. This clearly and precisely gives us the essence of Justice, to give to everyone what is his due. Justice is the will to give to everyone that which is due to him.
And what is our due? Respect, rights, obligations, duty, responsibility and the fulfilling with great exactness all the duties and responsibilities towards our neighbor even at the cost of sacrifice. In reality, respect for the rights of others not infrequently requires sacrifice on our part. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness necessitates respect, rights, obligations, duty, responsibility … towards others.
We cannot close our eyes to the rights of others whenever they interfere with our own personal interests. This is really a matter of life and death. Justice is absolutely essential to a life of virtue and its duties are so compelling that no motive can exempt us from fulfilling them.
For example, this view underlies all military virtues, those virtues extolled in our military, our police, and our first responders everywhere. In these “service” occupations, one might be called upon to go in harms way or even to die in carrying out ones duties for the service or protection of others who we might perhaps not even know personally. As we used to say back in the 70’s “Doing the impossible for the ungrateful”.
But, if moral judgments are invalid then how can there be rights and obligations and duty? As G.K. Chesterton famously wrote: “A man who won’t believe in God will believe in anything” or “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything”.
More to follow …
What a drag … swimming upstream always sucks …