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Tower of Babel Circa 1960: A Dramatic Rendition of the History of Modern Thought and Desecrates’ Omnipotent Demon.

By: Justin Wishart

The demon Babel sits and waits. He is patient. He knows that sooner or later someone will open his door, that man is very careless with their ideas and is unaware of the power that they hold. He has already put captive the minds of Eastern man, and prowls around waiting for an opening to the Western man. A hero by the name of Augustine had shut the doorway to Babel, but over the centuries the door was slowly opening. His time has come. Rene Descartes, the necromancer, does his incantations and re-exposes Babel to the Western minds, talking about an omnipotent demon. He asks that if an omnipotent demon were real, that this demon created this universe but wanted to toy with us, to make us believe in things that were not true; then how could we know anything at all. Is there anything we could be sure of by ourselves? The demon would love it if the necromancer’s analogy were correct, but he knows it is not. This is all the demon needs however. Even though the door is now open, the demon doesn’t rush out and instead let’s Descartes think he has been defeated. He’s patient, and his impression is now in the Western mind. He begins to build.

The sceptisism, the impression of the demon, is strong indeed. Many are not convinced that Descartes actually finished the job and start seeing him in the corners. The crafty Babel exposes himself just at the right time and vanishes before his full hideousness is seen. Before long, people realize that the demon is still alive and well.

Many heros come through the centuries to slay Descartes’ demon. Names like Locke, Hume, Hegel, Russell and Dewey. Each one trying to find out the weak point of the demon, to see where he is vulnerable. To end the confusion and rest knowledge on the shoulders of man. One particularly valiant hero was a man named Kant. He picked up his sword and wrote one of the most influential books of all time, “A Critique of Pure Reason”. He attempted to synthesize Empiricism with Rationalism, and judging by the way his system of epistemology swept through Europe and became the only accepted approach in higher learning, it seemed as if many thought that Kant had slayed that old demon at last.

But, as time when on, the demon started whispering again. This was all part of Babel’s game. People ran around trying to fix any errors in Kant. Hegel possibly saw the errors of Kant better then anyone and knew Kant had not slayed the demon, so he took up the mantle and attacked. Yet, he failed and it was two of his students that pointed out his failure; Soren Kierkegaard and Karl Marx. But the philosophers that followed, this new breed of philosopher, instead tried a new approach. They decided to work with the demon instead of trying to kill him. The age of the Existentialist philosopher was upon us. The thought was that if we play the demons game we could out smart the crafty old demon at some point. Different existential formulations sprang up all around, each competing to be heard. The direct attack on Babel was now feebly done by Logical Positivists and other groups but were failures before they even set out. Existentialism and the demon had already defeated the old human reason.

However, this demon is very clever. The philosophers thought they were working with the demon, but didn’t realize that they were working for the demon. Each new formulation simply made it appear that there was actually no true formulation. As the philosophers squabbled with each other, and as philosophies fell, the demon laughed. In the end, the demon was using people to rebuild the Tower of Babel again; brick by brick, ism by ism, philosophy by philosophy. Then the demon played his master stroke, thus completing the Tower. In frustration and confusion, Western man turned to the old philosophies of the East, but failed to realize that the demon made these philosophies long time ago. The sheer volume created a tower so impressive, and so terrible, that people scampered inside. It seemed as if there were no other real options available. The smart people couldn’t base a valid epistemology in man, they disagreed, fought, and with all these options who knew what was right anymore.

In the tower they thought that darkness was enlightenenment, that confusion was order, and that insanity was sane. The demon had won and Descartes was a failure.

But, in this darkness, which is thought of as light, there is a real Light that shines. In the dusty past there lived a Logos, a man who was not truly a man. He yelled that He was the way, the truth, and the life. His voice still echos around the hills of the Tower, and some have wandered outside, enticed by the voice. However, most look from the New Tower of Babel in disbelief at these stupid people. Just look at this massive terrible Ivory Tower we are in, they yell down. There is no truth out there and our Tower proves this, they scream. But, something inside them pulls them towards this voice as well. Yet, they hate that pull. They hurl insults, trying to convince us that we on the outside of the Tower are arrogant and close minded, yet they are simply trying to convince themselves that they are not those things. We show them the Light we have found, the real Light, and this infuriates them. How can these stupid people think they are right, what arrogance! They look at our Tower and see that all the philosophies of man make them right, that there actually is no right, they insist amongst themselves. Can’t the people on the outside see this magnificent Tower, can’t they see that there is no way of knowing truth?

But, the outsiders insist, the truth comes in a little manger and not a large Tower. That one book will contain all necessary truths, even if it goes against the volumes of books the Tower of Babel is made from. Just because all opposing philosophies contradict each other, doesn’t mean one of them cannot right, we respond. We show the Truth to the people in the Tower, we show them the Light, yet it blinds them. They hate the Light and they hate us for showing it to them. They run back into the Tower cursing us.

And in the deep recesses of the Tower, Babel waits with open arms. Embracing them even though his children cannot see him. They don’t even think he is real, they even aren’t sure they are real, they don’t know what is real. And Babel gently washes the minds of his children with confusion and doubt, while a sinister smile is spread across his hideous face.

Gai Ecoute has launched a new registry that will put people on a list that commit what they feel are homophobic acts. This registry was launched in partnership with and receiving funding from Quebec’s Justice Department. People will anonymously tip this agency towards groups or individuals who commit actions which are deemed homophobic. In describing what a homophobic act is, the organization gives the following description; “any negative word or act toward a homosexual or homosexuality in general: physical abuse, verbal abuse, intimidation, harassment, offensive graffiti, abuse, injurious mockery, inappropriate media coverage and discrimination.”

Some of these descriptions I think are very reasonable. No one should tolerate “physical abuse” based on someone’s sexual preference for example. This is indeed criminal. However, we can see how the New Tolerance plays itself out here. If “any negative word or act toward a homosexual or homosexuality in general” is considered homophobic, then the New Tolerance is very intolerant. If you accept the homosexual lifestyle you are “tolerant”, but if you say anything negative about homosexuality, you are “intolerant”. Is this a very tolerance position? I cannot see how even advocates of the homosexual lifestyle can fail to notice that this vision of “tolerance” is about as intolerant as you can get. This is an obvious contradiction.

To further show how intolerant this group is, they even define homophobia as “inappropriate media coverage”. It will be interesting to see what they mean by “inappropiate”, but it is sounding like even giving media coverage to this discussion will black-ball you. It seems that they are trying to intimidate people who have different views as they do about homosexuality, and also squash all public discussion as well. This doesn’t sound like a free democratic society, but more like a totalitarian regime. Yes, this is the true face of the New Tolerance once you look past the mask.

Another troubling aspect of this is that the tipsters can remain anonymous. This is not how law works in a democracy. Having the ability to face your accuser is a fundamental aspect of Canadian law, yet this very basic ideal is skirted in the name of “tolerance”. No need to make a homosexual advocate have to show some responsibility for his or her accusations, the New Tolerance takes care of their own. The accuser should at the very least be made to show his or her face when acting in a way that might greatly affect someone else’s life. This will allow the person being accused (or lawyer) to cross examine the accusations of the accuser. This seems obvious.

And this leads me to my final consideration. What is the registry for? Will it be used to legally trample on the people or organizations that are on the list. Will the list be public? Its close ties with Quebec’s Justice Department is a bit unsettling. Their intentions should be made public, if they haven’t done so already.

All this is just another example of the New Tolerance. This whole movement is a contradiction and should be exposed as such. Otherwise, real human rights will be chipped away while fabricated human rights will be championed and promoted. As we stumble down the rabbit trail, we are starting to find ourselves in Wonderland where things just don’t make much sense anymore.

I have this hobby that I like. It is about as nerdy of a hobby as I can think of. I love reading philosophy books. I know, don’t judge me too harshly. I enjoy reading them from different cultures and times.

I have a few eras that I am interested in, but one of my favorite eras and subjects is atheistic writings of the 1500s to around the first half of last century. I like to figure out why people think that there not being a God seems reasonable to them. But, I have to explain why I cut off my time at about 1950s or so. The reason is the intellectual side of Atheism has taken a dive for the worst; Russell was much more compelling then Dawkins. That is not to say there are not some mildly compelling modern Atheistic philosophers today, it just seems as if Atheism has already reached its zenith and is in slow decline. Time will tell if it makes a comeback.

So, what does this have to do with the Modern Progressive? Before we explore this, we need to look a little into the past. At the time of the Reformation, spiritual information was taken out of the hands of the Catholic Magisterium. This put sacred knowledge out of the hands of Latin speaking clergy and into people outside the Church’s influence. The domino effect of this eventually put education out of the influence of the Church as well. Yet, things remained “Christian” for a while. But, then a new birth was happening, a new light. It was thought that we were moving from the darkness into the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was fundamentally a separation of what was viewed as “subjective” things (like purpose and meaning), from “objective” things (like logic and sense perception). While Christianity sought to combine all these elements, the Enlightenment broke them apart and dissected them. Then we put “subjective” ideas into the realm of personal preference, and made “objective” ideas discussed in the public square. Things like religion were relegated to the home, while things like science were allowed in political arenas. Thus, the creation of the “Secular State”.

The Scientific Method grew during this time and became a force in schooling, eventually gaining such stature that if you were to be thought of as “educated” you needed to subjugate your thinking to a “scientific” system. To be an educated man was to be a scientific man. And few could deny the promise of this new science. It opened up new lands, new inventions, and a new Utopia. Instead of waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth, we set about creating it. Utopian literature sprang up and dotted the literary landscape, with authors presenting their view of the new scientific age to come, the perfect society. Science was now the new religion that promised a better world and people were very optimistic. But, two events happened to change this; WW1 and 2. As the terror fell on two cities in Japan, the idea of a scientific utopia was shaken. We saw that science could be to our ruin instead of our savior. Replacing earlier utopian visions, were now stories of supposed scientific Utopias where the hero fought against all odds to topple this now evil “Utopia”. What was something we eagerly hoped for we became suspicious of.

So, what does my extremely poor history lesson have to do with Modern Progressives? Well, first notice the word “modern”. By this, I am meaning people who define themselves as “progressive” that are born sometime after WW2. This is the era where the Utopia was in ruins, Marx fell with the wall, and there was no objective goal mark for us to reach. Second, we look at the word “progressive”. This word denotes movement towards a goal. Here we have a problem, what is the goal we are to move towards? The Utopia has been burned to the ground by two atomic bombs. For every Utopia set up, a hero comes and brings it down. So, how can we know any movement we make is “Progressive”? Sure we can change things up, but with no goal in sight, how can we know progression had been made?

Some might think that anything which is new is “progressive”. We allow for abortion and this makes us a “progressive” society. Unless a society has some end goal in mind, a Utopia if you will, then movement away from existing societal norms can hardly be thought of as “progressive”. This is merely movement. Is this regression? Is it lateral movement? How can we know? The moral of the today’s age is that perfection is unknowable. Progressives have some fuzzy ideal in mind, possibly looking a little like the lyrics of “Imagine”, but this is hardly something we can use as a measuring rod.

With the death of God in our society, we built our Utopias. When these fell, we killed any concepts of progression. Progressives are therefore in an illusion, they push for movement but there is little indication they are progressing. The term is meaningless to the Agnostic or Atheist, but this is the group that most often uses this term to describe themselves. Odd, don’t you think?

It sure has been a strange time in Alberta politics. We were once thought of as extremely right-wing fundamentalist red-necks by the rest of Canada. However, when I look around my province, it is very hard to see much sign of this anymore. In Calgary we have the first Muslim mayor in Canada, we have a female premier who won against another woman and her more right wing party, and we have once again publicly funded transgender elective surgery.

It is the last issue I would like to address. When Alberta defunded this surgery in a cost cutting move, I thought it was a good decision. I was much more interested in my taxpayers dollars going to live saving surgeries then for people who were confused on which gender they were. Now that I am paying for what premier Redford says is “just the right thing to do”, I have been thinking about this issue from a few different angles. Here is one of them.

From what I understand, most of these people are born with the physical anatomy of one gender, but feel that they are of another gender. I find this a very interesting phenomenon. At it base, one can only think this way if a soul actually exists. A basic definition for our souls that I will be using here is that aspect of you that has no physical properties; such as consciousness, memories, and emotions. Since the physical matter (cells, DNA, and chemicals) is of one gender, to say that there is something that makes one feel differently is to say that there is something about us that is not merely physical. That we have an aspect of us that can work outside of our physical being. If we are only physical, then there cannot be any conflict with the physical body.

But, this poses a problem for the person who thinks they are transgender. Souls, by their nature, are very different then our physical being in more ways then just the substance their made of. Our physical bodies are public knowledge but our souls have personal knowledge. I will give you an example I heard by philosopher J.P. Moreland to explain what I mean.

Imagine 100 years from now that scientists have figured out every process that happens when we hear something. From the sound waves entering into our ear canal to when we register a sound in our brain. Every step has been discovered and cataloged. Imagine at the same time there was a brilliant scientist who knows everything that has been discovered. The only thing is that she was born deaf and have never heard a sound in her life. Even though she has all public knowledge and knows all physical processes involved, it is clear she lacks some knowledge. Moreland goes on to explain that because of the Laws of Thought (the bases for logic) this logically demonstrates that we have a soul.

What does all this mean to this discussion? First off, the only way this is possible, that there is something that contradicts our physical body, is if there is a soul as I have stated earlier. Second problem is that this is purely personal knowledge. Many jokes are made of how impossible it is for men to understand women, and the reason is we are not women. No man alive can know how it is to be a woman simply because they are a man. But, it gets even more fundamental then this. One woman cannot know what it is like to be another woman. Sure, she can look at the woman’s life and think she knows what it is like to be the other woman, but her understanding will run through the filter of her soul. Even people who go through the same event will understand this event through their filter and will therefore not have the same personal knowledge of the event. So, this begs the question; how would a person who is born in a man’s physical body know if what was felt in his(her) soul was a soul of a woman? It might be that a man has many characteristics that are generally associated with women, such as being more emotional. Yet, I know men who are more emotional then women I know. We risk turning all gender knowledge topsy turvey.

Even if a psychologist studies this phenomenon, the questions which will be asked to obtain the data will go through the personal filter of the person answering, and then the “findings” will go through the filter of the psychologist. This seems to provide a very difficult situation in determining what is going on here which is the best course of action. So, when Ms. Redford says that this is simply the right thing to do, how would she know this? It could be that this is completely the wrong thing to do and by helping them physically change their bodies could be hurting them.

I, For one, do not want my tax payer’s dollars to go to something with such major question marks surrounding it. If Ms. Redford is correct, then a solid case should be made as to why this is the right thing to do. This has a million dollar price tag attached to this decision, and I would like to know if my money is going towards helping someone, particularly since this is an elective surgery. We may be spending a million dollars a day hurting people. These million dollar questions need to be answered before we arbitrarily pay for this elective surgury.