The End Of Enlightenment

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The End Of Enlightenment

Post by Amskeptic » Mon May 24, 2021 4:16 pm

'The End of Enlightenment'
Robert Freeman
May 24, 2021

The Enlightenment was a time of intellectual ferment in the Western world following the Middle Ages. Its ideas gave birth to the modern world.

We know the Enlightenment from the names of its most brilliant expositors: Francis Bacon, John Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Adam Smith, and others. We know its ideas as the foundation of our social world: the social contract, the rule of reason, the rule of law, consent of the governed, natural rights, constitutionalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and others.

The Republican agenda is a direct assault on all of that. It literally aims to return America to the pre-modern, pre-Enlightened darkness of the Middle Ages. If it succeeds, it will reverse more than three hundred years of human progress.

The most egregious of Republican assaults on the modern world is its rejection of Reason. Reason is the way we know what we know. It is not through revelations from God, or the pronouncements of priests or monarchs as had been the case before the Enlightenment.

Reason as a process for discovering Truth started in the Scientific Revolution around 1550. It was so powerful a way of knowing the physical world, the philosophers of the Enlightenment adopted it for knowing—and improving—the social world. It became the foundation of all subsequent Enlightenment thought, and all modern institutions.

The Republican broadside against Reason was on display in the first days of the Trump administration when Trump asserted that his inauguration crowd size was the largest in history. Presented with facts to the contrary, in photographic evidence, his assistant, Kellyanne Conway, proclaimed the existence of "alternative facts." It's been downhill since.

Republican discourse is a never-ending torrent of lies, idiocies, and absurdities—the very antithesis of Reason. The Muslim invasion. The caravan bringing murderers, rapists, drugs, and disease. Democrats eating babies. A satanic cult of pedophiles running the "Deep State." A pandemic that would "disappear, like a miracle." The greatest economy in the history of the world. Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head being canceled. Biden's hamburger ban. A rigged election. Massive voter fraud. Terrorists who were really just tourists handing out hugs and kisses. It never ends.

The Republican assault on Reason is an attack not just on truth itself, but on our very capacity to think at all. With their base, Republicans address not the neo-cortex—the thinking part of the brain—but the amygdala—the lizard-brain seat of fight-or-flight. The amygdala subordinates logic, facts, reason, and deliberation to deceit, conspiracy, hysteria, and fear.

It's easier to trigger hatred and fear than thinking and logic. That's why Republicans do it. That's why their base—and increasingly, their "leaders"—sound like zombies, like robots, like members of a cult when they're interviewed for the evening news. They are. They've been programmed to fear and hate and blame, and the reinforcement is unending, because, to work, it has to be. Otherwise, they become unprogrammed.

It doesn't matter that none of the endless effusion of lies ever turn out to be true or that they are routinely, repeatedly abandoned in favor of newer lies for the next news cycle. What matters is that the lies incite indignation, and that the dopamine high that follows gets its constant, programmed, ever-increasing reinforcement.

Trump's 35,000 documented lies are the embodiment of it all. It is a leprous, insidious disease, an inability to deal with reality, but literally the one by which Republicans define themselves. Glandular excretions are the Republican formula for generating voter turnout: inciting Pavlovian rage based on a torrential fantasmia of lurid lies. It works, but it is the living, suppurating antithesis of Reason.

Another Republican assault on the legacy of the Enlightenment is the attack on Democracy. It was John Locke who, in 1689, wrote that people who were able to think could not be bullied like ignorant people could. If government wanted thinking people's cooperation it could no longer rely on the medieval divine right of kings. It needed to obtain "the consent of the governed." This, of course, became a sacrament of the American political order.

The opening words of the Constitution are, "We the people of the United States…" That is not a paean to monarchy, or to dictatorship. It is a statement that the consent of the people—and only that consent—provides a government its legitimacy. But Republicans are working feverishly to overturn the consent of the governed, to destroy Democracy.

Their assault on the Capitol on January 6th was the most conspicuous effort to overthrow the legitimately elected government of the United States but it was not the first and will certainly not be the last. Republicans insist that their reason-denying mobs, their goons, their Brownshirts will tell the rest of us how we will be governed. No consent involved, only submission: ours. You can see this in their fevered efforts at voter suppression, explicitly preventing majority rule and the consent of the governed.

Republicans cannot win power on the strength of their ideas and policies. They lost the presidency, the Senate, and the House. Large majorities favor policies backed by Democrats. So, they need to destroy Democracy itself to gain power. To do that, they need to destroy Reason as the way we know what we know. That is the core, the essence, the modus operandi of the Republican enterprise.

Constitutionalism is a third Enlightenment ideal that Republicans are intent on destroying. A constitution defines how a country is to be governed. Before constitutions, it was autocracy that called the shots. Think of Louis XIV's notorious declaration: "I am the state." Decisions were made by caprice, by the rich and powerful, in their own interests, everyone else be damned. Constitutionalism embeds the Rule of Law—another Enlightenment ideal—into a society, making "equal treatment under the law" a modern treasure, however badly it may be realized.

Besides losing all of the branches of the federal government, Republicans failed over and over and over to persuade the judicial branch to sanction their usurpation of the Constitution. So, they resort to performative charades like the farcical ballot laundering farrago in Arizona to try to undo the Constitutionally-ordained process for the peaceful transfer of power. Now, they're taking it to other states. It will not end.

We could go on. Republicans want to destroy the social contract—another Enlightenment ideal—that says you get ahead on the basis of hard work. They insist, instead, that privilege should be based on race, with the best spots reserved for whites. This violates the Enlightenment ideal of equality for all.

Remember the opening words of the Declaration of Independence? "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Pure Enlightenment. In the Republican world, however, like in Orwell's Animal Farm which was an allegory of the degradation of Soviet totalitarianism, all men are created equal, but some—whites—are more equal than others.

We should be clear. This is not about peripheral protests over policy preferences. It is a broadside against the foundation, the institutional undergirding of our civilization. It is an attempt to destroy the conceptual milieu that has survived for centuries and that, however flawed it may be, has delivered the greatest freedom, expansion of rights, material progress, and human opportunity the world has ever known.

The measure of our alarm should be that Republicans, with the help of a complicit media, have managed to normalize rampant public lying, the unrestrained desecration of Reason, are carrying out an open, unabashed attack on our democracy, are carrying out notorious, savage assaults on Constitutionalism, the Rule of Law, Equality, and more. Our nation is literally under attack by anti-Enlightenment zealots determined to tear it down and it's not at all clear that they will not succeed.

It is indicative that the Republican party's highest priest is a thrice-married pathological liar, an admitted sexual assaulter, a draft dodger, a six-time filer for bankruptcy, a man who inflicted hundreds of thousands of excess deaths on the country, was twice impeached, who lost two successive popular vote counts, and who then attempted to overthrow the government. Read that sentence again and think about its implication.

The Republican hero, the man they model themselves on, the one they want us to bow down to, is a failed business man, a failed reality TV star, a failed president, a career con man who is the most corrupt, certainly the most craven and creepy individual ever known to American politics. This is the best Republicans have to offer. That is who they are, and what they insist on inflicting on all the rest of us, our consent be damned.

The Enlightenment helped the world replace monarchy with republicanism, a world ruled by theology with a world of science, autocracy with the rule of law, aristocratic privilege with the equality of all men, and feudalism with capitalism. No matter how imperfectly it may have been realized, it was as noble a vision as human beings have ever devised. The two worlds are the difference between the "Dark Ages" that went before and the modern world. That is the Republicans' promise to America.

More regression. More destruction of beautiful ideals and noble institutions. More degradation of deserving people. More humiliation of undignified people, themselves being the examples. More carnage. More chaos. More slime spewed on everyone.

There's not a syllable of inspiring vision in anything they have to say, not a word of uplifting ideals in any of it. It is all pathetic self-victimization and a lust for vengeance against those who refuse to respect them. We must all be dragged into the sewer that spawned, that is, and that sustains Donald Trump. That is his and Republicans' retaliation against a people who once had the temerity to believe in majestic ideals, the audacity to strive for them, and who once imagined that they might even be worthy of them.
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,730 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,865 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 132,040 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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Re: The End Of Enlightenment

Post by sgkent » Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:18 pm

http://etwau.org/

AP - "Members of President Biden's Cabinet are able to punt paying taxes as they divest their assets to avoid conflicts of interest when they enter into public service, thanks to a little-known provision of federal law.

Under Section 2634 of federal elections law sits a unique provision to help soften the financial blow of new administration officials suddenly selling off assets: certificates of divestiture.

Since 1989, this tax provision has been offered by the Office of Government Ethics and has helped administration employees and appointees — including Cabinet members — defer paying capital gains taxes when they are required to sell assets as they enter public service.

Government appointees and employees are able to put off paying capital gains taxes as long as they reinvest their gains into less-conflicted interests, such as mutual funds and treasury bonds.

ENERGY SECRETARY GRANHOLM DIVESTS FROM ELECTRIC VEHICLE COMPANY: REPORTS

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has two certificates of divestiture: one for shares in a variety of companies, including Apple, and one specifically for 240,520 shares in electric car company Proterra, where Granholm used to work, according to financial disclosure documents reviewed by Fox News.

Granholm recently sold her Proterra stock after weeks of scrutiny sparked by a presidential visit to the electric car company prior to Granholm's divestment from the company.

SEN. BARRASSO DEMANDS IG PROBE ENERGY SEC. GRANHOLM’S INVOLVEMENT WITH ELECTRIC CAR COMPANY

Because of her certificate of divestiture, Granholm will be able to defer paying millions in capital gains taxes. If the presidential visit increased Proterra’s value, then Granholm likely made more money from her divestiture than if she had sold prior to Biden's visit.

"Energy Secretary Granholm held millions of dollars of investments in an electric bus company. During her nomination hearing, she committed to the Senate that she would avoid the appearance of any conflicts of interest," said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, after it was announced that Granholm sold her stock."
Thank You -

Merlin The Wrench

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Re: The End Of Enlightenment

Post by tommu » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:46 pm

I don’t see the connection to the article Steve?

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Re: The End Of Enlightenment

Post by sgkent » Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:27 pm

Hi Tom -

Not sure what you mean.

In general, we can't blame others for the problems we create in our lives. There are solutions to most problems humans encounter if they are willing to keep their sense of humor and work on them. Right now I am in the middle of rebuilding fences for a couple neighbors who cannot do it themselves, and helping a couple who can. One of my neighbors, 40 years in his home - I've been here 30 of those 40, is selling and leaving California for the very opposite reasons Colin wrote on. My carpet and tile guy just left the other day for the same oppsite reasons. In fact, so many people are leaving here that you can't rent a UHaul truck for out of state up here because not enough people want to come to a Democrat Utopia like California. I was once a Democrat many years but the party got too violent and far right for me.

The anger Colin is feeling towards society here is shared by many on both sides of the aisle including some who have gone crazy and killed others like that guy in San Jose the other day, the bomber in Nashville, or the guy a couple years ago in Las Vegas. People need to get their wits and sense of humor back again. I posted the point on the Dems because both sides of the aisle are doing things they should not be. And, people who need money should at least attempt to go back to work so that they can stop relying on the rest of us to provide for them. All this "free" money has resulted in everything we buy going up 5% to 15% - so the masses ARE paying the taxes on all this "free" money being sent out. It is not enlightenment to tax everyone thru inflation - that is what inflation is, unpaid taxes. Economics 100 & 101. As to other forms of enlightenment - sociologists, anthropologists, and historians can judge the economy of past societies by the character of their work. When things are intricate and too perfect - a ship's bow for example that is incredibly ornate, it is because of high unemployment. Artists paint really detailed paintings when they aren't selling. When times are very productive, quality falls with craftsmanship because people lack the time to do ornate things. When they have too much time on their hands then things get ornate. Knowing this helps the scientists to judge how much time people have on their hands. I anything, with so many people working from home, off hours because of SARS-2 look what happened with home improvements. People are doing many things they were putting aside. If anything we are in an age of enlightenment now. But look at the price we pay in violence that has increased, people living way beyond their means etc.. Mr Colin would would far happier working every day than not.

As to his point on the GOP. There are those like GOP Sen Tim Scott of SC who daily shares his optimism with others, and who try to solve our collective problems. I believe that in the end, enlightenment is an individual thing. It becomes an "Age of Enlightenment" when the collective names it such. Right now there are too many gloom and doom folks around. Colin asked me last week if he could rebuild his transmission here. I said yes if he was willing to wait until I finished the fences, and offered to pay him for his time if he wanted to help. His response was not that pleasant to read. I do hope he finds happiness again in his life.

As to your EGR issue, I didn't understand what is wrong with the one you had. You know that we have been trying to make new ones for sometime, and that they should be ready soon - at least the body. I won't work on having new diaphragms made until the bodies are ready. Robbie is in the loop on that, in fact I got the impression he forced himself into the leadership position on it so I just stepped away from it. It was only a couple weeks from final copies when he stepped in two years ago. Everyone lost their focus on it who was working on it. He might be able to tell you what he has gotten done. I stepped away because I got tired of people calling me names because I didn't agree with them on VW things or political life. I have quite a few EGR spares but can't afford to part with any until new ones are available. I lost a perfect one to Ray Greenwood who cut the diaphragm into pieces playing with it to see how it was made. Stupid. I have parts for that one but no diaphragm.
Thank You -

Merlin The Wrench

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tommu
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Re: The End Of Enlightenment

Post by tommu » Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:23 pm

There is a whole lot to unpack here Steve. Most of it startlingly odd. But it is worth saying that a) Colin pasted an article and b) it was discussing the Enlightenment. You, seemingly, have not been responding to the article.

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Re: The End Of Enlightenment

Post by sgkent » Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:45 am

that is your opinion. Colin posted an attack on others. I simply responded in their defense.
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Re: The End Of Enlightenment

Post by asiab3 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:30 pm

Robbie is in the loop on that, in fact I got the impression he forced himself into the leadership position on it so I just stepped away from it. It was only a couple weeks from final copies when he stepped in two years ago. Everyone lost their focus on it who was working on it. He might be able to tell you what he has gotten done. I stepped away because I got tired of people calling me names because I didn't agree with them on VW things or political life.

Hi Steve, good to see you online again.

There are sixty four (64) emails in my inbox about the communal EGR project. I sent ONE (1) e-mail to the group, on 12/2/2019, thanking Ramon for his involvement and progress, and advising him that the aluminum alloy for the body is less important than the dimensions and poppet design.

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

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Re: The End Of Enlightenment

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:32 pm

This is what we call "losing it" at the end of the straight ....

Please post the "response was not that pleasant to read."
I need to perform an audit of my communication skills.
Colin

(p.s. my opinion of the republicans currently has not improved. I see their predicament. They would sooner undermine the foundations of this country than "lose". Problem is, they have already lost. History will not be kind)
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,730 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,865 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 132,040 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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