On 12/15/2012 1:19 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:

On Saturday, December 15, 2012 10:00:54 AM UTC-5, rclough wrote:

    Hi Craig Weinberg
    By progressives I obviously meant those that act to change things.
    Which means overthrowing the way the "good, the beautiful and
    the true" are thought to be and commonly accepted as.

Do you think that when Gandhi inspired the colonized Indian subjects of the British Empire that he was overthrowing something beautiful? That he was changing what was commonly accepted as good?

When progressives went into the American South to fight lynchings and segregation, was that some kind of a perverse new take on what was 'commonly accepted as good'? How about slavery? Was that good and true and beautiful? How about unrestrained abuse of laborers by industry? Also the good old days?

    Thus one
    subverts morality, philosophy and religion, and aesthetics.
    It's a form of social darwinism. The dynamics of social change.

Just because there is an existing condition does not make it worthy of support. You are justifying whatever form of tyranny and oppression happened to have come before you and denouncing any attempt to restore liberty. That is just as much Social Darwinism as anything else. It is to say 'whoever tries to change anything is a ruthless bastard, but whoever enforces the existing order or regressing to a previous order is a good and moral person.'

    As with Darwinism, some of these changes have been good.
    Einstein, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Van Gogh certainly
    brought in good new things.
    But some are not so good. Nietzsche attempted
    to overthrow morality completely, and the poets, novellists,
    screenwriters and other artists, etc, have had mixed results,
    especially to sexual morality and human decency. Now
    young men think nothing of executing a kindergarten class.

Of course, not all attempts at change are good or end up being good. The same goes for attempts to prevent change. There are counter-revolutionaries who are just as bloody as revolutionaries. The idea that 'young men think nothing of executing a kindergarten class' being related to progressive causes is ridiculous. If that were the case, then progressive Scandinavia, France, Canada, etc would be awash in massacres. Progressives try to eliminate guns, remember?

    Twelve-tone music is listenable for a while, but it really has no
    unity or beauty.  And popular music has discarded beautiful
    melodies and lyrics in favor of whining voices or those singing rap.

Again, if you are over 65, I sympathize. I'm 44, so I remember being a kid and what it was like in the 70s when modern art, rock music, and other confrontational aesthetics were still big news. I agree with you that culture has become more and more degraded during my lifetime and I agree that there is something to that beyond just my taste, but really it isn't that important. The decay of Amercian culture is not the result of what happened 50 years ago or even (much worse in my opinion) what happened in the 80s when Reagan era conservatism brought back militarism and overconsumption values. If you want to blame something, blame overpopulation and the corruption of American institutions. The value of human life is indirectly proportionate to how many extra people you have and how imbalanced the society is. Those are the tensions which make money more important than making civilization beautiful.

    Now living together without marriage has become the norm for
    young people, and we have indiscriminate sex and pornography.
    These destroy the basic unit of human existence, the family.
    Homosexual marriage also invalidates the meaning of marriage.

Living together without marriage, casual sex, and pornography have made life enjoyable and bearable for everyone, not just young people. They don't destroy anything. The meaning of marriage is up to the consenting adults who participate into it - not *you* or your tastes.

If the kind of rigid, backward looking morality that you elevate really was better, and really was God's magic recipe for perpetual happiness...why didn't it stay that way? Do you think that Satan himself could have convinced truly happy married couples to get divorced? That pornography would have been a temptation for people who were well served by this Bronze Age ideal? Progress triumphed over fundamentalism in the 60s because people were educated enough and content enough for the first time to cast off the Calvinist neuroses of the 19th century and grow up and out into a real world full of real choices - not paint by numbers automatism.

Dear Craig,

All of these points are instances of taking a particular evaluational frame, making it absolute, and issuing judgements from it. It is what is known, to some, as chronocentrism. It is simply wrongheaded. Unless you put yourself into the context with you are evaluating and then considering the facts as they stand with a set of universal ethical principles, then those judgements and implications cannot be seen as anything more than rationalizations to behave in one way or another. We can rationalize any action to be good or bad. Rationalization, pushed too far, allows anything.



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