This year’s election season has been a wild one, with rhetoric slung about like a mastiff’s saliva shaken from its head. One word you’ve undoubtedly read and heard is „conservative.“ Usually the word is given as a pejorative, which is reflective of the ignorance surrounding how we use words. A conservative is generally defined as a person who wishes to uphold the current conditions and oppose change. This is a good working definition, like french fries are good working definition of a loaded baked potato.
This suggests thought that is rigid to such a degree as to break stone and this is where the negative comes in: a conservative can never change. Only liberals can change, and only Progressives can take us forward. This is rhetorically true because of the definitions of the words; but, these don’t capture the essence of conservatives, liberals, and certainly not Progressives. To know these in truth one first asks three questions:
- What shall be conserved?
- What shall be changed?
- What is Progress and how shall it be measured?
We defined conservatives above, but not what they want to conserve. The clamor of voices proclaim liberty, lower taxes, religious practice and guns. This isn’t a complete list, but it also isn’t a list of causes – just rewards. The rewards for? The rewards of? These are the rewards of five transcendental desires of humans which have been protected in America by five institutions.
The five transcendental desires are for knowledge of and life in Perfect Truth, Perfect Love, Perfect Justice, Perfect Beauty and Perfect Peace. How complete a knowledge of these is subject to debate, but humans generally strive to get as close to perfect as can be achieved. The five institutions are Church, School, Science, Medicine and Military. These ten are the what shall be conserved.
Plato, Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas teach us that we can know each of these desires perfectly because the cause is commensurate with the effect. By this they mean we can eventually know Perfect Truth because Perfect Truth reveals itself. Another way of looking at it is this way: you can know Perfect Truth because you know what a lie is, you know what is incorrect, and that which is less than perfect.
You see this in children and in hobbyists: first comes the observation, then exploration to find the answers to the why, where, when, who, and how. Whether it’s an observation of a bird in flight or a military diorama of Waterloo, or whatever, every person is sparked with the desire to know the truth.
Similarly we seek Perfect Justice. Ask any child, once caught in mischief but whose sibling went unnoticed, if it is fair for one to be punished and not the other. What is Justice but that consequence (reward or punishment) for an action taken?
America’s Founders took five institutions which were created elsewhere, and embedded them within American life to such a degree that for most of America’s life it has confounded history. Groups that are in opposition to each other find in America a common cause. An example of that is Archbishop Charles Chaput’s examination of Governor John Winthrop’s writings on reliance on community and in God. Roman Catholics 200+ years removed are learning from Puritans sent into exile to America.
The first institution of conservation is Church. Which church? Whichever one places its reliance on community and in God. America has a Protestant past that is based on Reform Theology of Calvin, Knox and Zwingli. America also has a Jewish and Catholic past wherein Moses Maimonides comfortably shakes hands with the Pope. The Church provided the framework for knowing of the existence of the Five Transcendental Desires, and the context for understanding them and for understanding why imperfection was both human and not to be conserved.
The absence of church is not the absence of Church – substitute a nothing for a cross or menorah but retain the basic moral teachings (don’t murder, steal, and so on) and you are still being Churched. The transcendent desires are resident in all humans.
The next three institutions sprung directly from the heart of the Church: School, Science and Medicine. Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton all began as places where priests and pastors learned. There is the argument that faith and science do not mix and that is a false argument. Go back to the first transcendent desire: to know Perfect Truth. Science and Medicine, learned in school, can answer the what, where, when, who and especially the how. They fail to answer the why and therefore make the truth complete and perfect.
Church, working through the School took Science and Medicine out of the realm of magic and gave them discipline and purpose. Church also heavily influenced the Military, which makes perfect sense. What institution is always called upon to uphold all of America’s best instincts? We know that killing every living thing in an enemy state, or inflicting a horror that lasts several generations is the way to lasting peace, but we always, always pull our punches, even when it means an American will die. The Military’s twin focuses are Perfect Justice, which informs the Perfect Truth of America in combat through the governance of the Geneva Convention, Just War Theory and the Code of Conduct. We want our war to be conducted in proportion to the offense to our national person. The Military isn’t focused on Peace except as an object for the citizens to enjoy.
These five institutions are what shall be conserved. These institutions are exactly the flashpoints in our social war. Mao Zedong used the term ‚long march through the institutions‘ to capture Lenin’s and his strategy of indirect approach to defeat the Five Transcendental Truths. Mao, Marx and d Lenin all worked for the same Master and to the same goal: the snuffing out of objective Truth.
The purpose of the Church is to transfer knowledge so that a human may discern his purpose in life, in gratitude; and, to restore that person to moral health and gratitude in order to achieve the human’s purpose in life. In some religions there is also the discipline of a relationship with God or god(s). The Church shot itself in the foot. There is an anecdote of an exchange between Pope Pius VII and Napoleon. Napoleon, flush with victory declared he would destroy the Catholic Church. The Pope smiled and replied ‚how can you accomplish where 1700 years of Popes and Bishops failed?‘ Sex scandals, doctrinal heterodoxy, and imposition of the false narrative that all religious are Elmer Gantrys and satanic predators have undermined the Church in America. This rebellion began almost as soon as America was born, and culminated in the 1920s disintegration of the orthodoxy of „mainline“ churches. Still, what can be saved, shall be saved. This is because there is no other means of knowing the 5 Transcendent Desires exist and are knowable.
The purpose of School is to transfer knowledge so that the human may achieve the wisdom and achieve his purpose in life. The knowledge and wisdom are objective, not subjective. The School today is marked by three communist attributes: 1) collectivization (forcing children into groups such as a class, or even ‚learning groups‘ in school in which the majority answer is the correct answer); 2) suppression of knowledge (surprising how many people do not know Abraham Lincoln was a Republican or that the GOP was the force in pushing the Civil Rights legislation into law); and 3) violence powered by having the Transcendental Desire for Perfect Truth and knowing they can’t learn it under the communist NEA. We sometimes call this ‚cognitive dissonance‘ such as the current trend of African-Americans creating „Separate but Equal“ housing, education, and economy. This is Progress? Dred Scott, was the Supreme Court correct in handing you back to a slave-owner. Dred Scott, are you property? I’m sure Dr. Martin Luther King would vehemently agree with me.
I find it humorous that professors are being run off of campus so that effective education has ended in the Ivy League. Students paying money, and administrators who serve as landlords accepting that money is the future’s „accredited, educated leaders.“ The latest trend in School is to compare Science (and Medicine) to Magic. Yes, magic. Not the sleight-of-hand fare but the chicken-beheading hoodoo pagan practices. Because. Progress! A wise man once said that you can learn all there is to learn at the Public Library, and it’s just bus fare.
He hasn’t been to a library then. Much censorship. Too much. The School and it’s playmate the library must be conserved as places of Truth – Truth that is objective and unchanging gives growth. From data comes information. From information comes knowledge. From knowledge comes wisdom. That is worth conserving.
Science has been separated from that which gives it purpose and leads to perfection. You may have heard of Scientism – it is a religious belief that all things can be explained by Science. Except dark matter. And why Grandpa died of the cancer. And why scientific experiments have exactly the outcome the scientists‘ sponsors paid for.
Scientists are human, and who doesn’t want to drive a Beemer? Well, besides me? Scientists remind me of Clark Griswold in the „Christmas Vacation“ movie. His singular achievement as a scientist? Making a coating for an oat cereal so it slips down the throat. Scientism has lead to the undermining of science, of experimentation, of peer review and experiment output reproduction, of the spread of knowledge.
Quiz: which is more dangerous: fat, or sugar?
The essence of science: the means to learn about a phenomena, to learn objective truth, without regard to where the truth leads is to be conserved. The monetizing of science, bad science, even magic-as-science is not worthy of conservation.
By disconnecting Church and School you get a disconnect of Science from support and defense of the 5 Transcendent Desires. Medicine, which is equally dependent on School and Science is in the same boat. We’ve come leaps and bounds from Galen, and yet…
The doctors used to be respected and even held in awe. They are The Smart People. The Elite of Scientists, of Schooled People, who possess altruisms aligned with the Church. That isn’t true, is it?
What is the purpose, the truth of Medicine? It is to 1) maintain the health of the human in order for that human to achieve his purpose in life; and 2) to restore the human to a condition of health that permits the human to achieve his purpose in life. What is Medicine today in America? Whether one prefers Single-payer (meaning someone else pays for you) or Obamacare or the VA and Indian Health Service, your doctor does not have the freedom to Medicine.
Life-saving surgery? Not if can’t be paid for. In the past your doctor made that call on whether you lived or died, and today it’s a college graduate with a degree in Women’s Studies who thinks Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy is either a hated boy-band from the UK, or something too expensive to pay for with this year’s budget. Thank goodness it’s only a procedure for kidney stones and not a esophagectomy to remove cancer!
What to conserve here? The principle of Subsidiarity gives direction: the human and the doctor are the ones who decide. Not the government. Not the bank. Maintain the human’s health or restore it as best as Science allows.
Which leads us to the Military. Where to begin? The purpose of the Military is inherently conservative. „This We’ll Defend.“ What are we defending? Today’s school children are being told that America is the world’s all-time greatest evil. Every immigrant is enslaved, brutalized, and every single woman is barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. From Kindergarten through post-doctorate the School teaches that America is too evil to exist.
Semper Fidelis! To what are we being faithful to? Racism? Sexism? Wanton slaughter of Mexicans as they come across the border?
By denying truth, you deny the Military its purpose. Private Manning is getting changed into the appearance of a woman. Private Manning betrayed this country and is being rewarded with free housing, free food, companionship, and now a new body. In the meantime, the Army is refusing to pay the medical bills of a full-time, Active Duty captain in the USAR. The captain didn’t betray his country, but he did have a heart attack during an APFT.
This wasn’t defended. The Military is required to behave in faithlessness. A while back Slater discussed the firing of a 2-star Army general who was faithless to his wife. To what is that general, and our Military faithful to?
Conserving the Military as the faithful defenders of America and American ideals and preserving American lives – even at the ruthless expenditure of non-American lives – is the goal. This isn’t Nationalism with red, white and blue bunting but the conservation of the means of ensuring Americans are free to know and eventually realize each of the 5 Transcendent Truths.
In closing, consider the 3 questions posed at the beginning of this essay. What is to be conserved? What is to be changed? What is progress and how is it measured? For me, America should make the effort to conserve the capability of knowing of and of knowing the 5 Transcendent Truths through the 5 Institutions. As each institution has been overwhelmed by the Progressives taking us back to 1150 CE, there is more to change and less power to do so because there is no knowledge. There is no wisdom. That means true conservatives are in fact liberals because of the need to make changes to restore the foundational institutions and freedoms to pursue happiness: the 5 Transcendental Desires.