When Reason Becomes Madness

"When Reason Becomes Madness" by James Kalb at Catholic World Report.

Jul 7, 2022

Technocracy thus ends up with the same attitude toward truth as toward beauty and goodness: all are in the eye of the beholder. Our picture of reality—what we think we know—is something we make up to please ourselves. This is paradoxical, since modern science originally wanted to make knowledge more objective and reliable. But the consequences are real. As the Supreme Court said in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, everyone is now entitled to define his own reality: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” That is why, in the view of educated and responsible people today, a baby is only a baby if the mother says so, the mother is only a woman if she identifies as one, and two men make a married couple if that’s how they view themselves. The problem is made worse by the tension within the technocratic view between human beings as resources and human beings as the creators of all values. The first means meritocracy—grading people by their usefulness to the system—while the second means an absolute right to define the world that turns each of us into a little god. And who can grade or make use of a god? So a compromise is reached: people can be distinguished from each other, but only by purely technical criteria like academic certifications, and these must be equally distributed among all discernible social groups. The result is that no one can define what a woman is, but if women don’t make up half of all fighter pilots, that’s wrong because they are not being treated as equal human beings.

When Reason Becomes Madness by James Kalb at Catholic World Report. Technocracy thus ends up with the same attitude toward truth as toward beauty and goodness: all are in the eye of the beholder. Our picture of reality—what we think we know—is something we make up to please ourselves. This is paradoxical, since modern science originally wanted to make knowledge more objective and reliable. But the consequences are real. As the Supreme Court said in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, everyone is now entitled to define his own reality: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” That is why, in the view of educated and responsible people today, a baby is only a baby if the mother says so, the mother is only a woman if she identifies as one, and two men make a married couple if that’s how they view themselves. The problem is made worse by the tension within the technocratic view between human beings as resources and human beings as the creators of all values. The first means meritocracy—grading people by their usefulness to the system—while the second means an absolute right to define the world that turns each of us into a little god. And who can grade or make use of a god? So a compromise is reached: people can be distinguished from each other, but only by purely technical criteria like academic certifications, and these must be equally distributed among all discernible social groups. The result is that no one can define what a woman is, but if women don’t make up half of all fighter pilots, that’s wrong because they are not being treated as equal human beings. Read

A Summer Fully Alive at The Heights Forum. I once heard someone say there are at least three reasons to become a teacher: June, July, and August. This response, I suppose, is true, but not because the summer is a time for laziness; rather, it is because the summer offers an opportunity for recreation in the truest sense of that word. It is a time to be made anew and, by this, to live fully. Whether your summer has, up to this point, been full of life or full of languor, now is the time to begin again. To this end, we have gathered here an anthology of The Forum’s resources aimed at helping you and your family make the most of the warm months ahead. Read

'Gold Standard of Educational Freedom': Ducey to Grant SchoolChoice for 1M Arizona Students by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. Arizona is poised to become the first state with a universal school choice program once Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signs legislation he says will "transform" the state and serve as an education model for the nation. HB 2853 passed the Arizona state legislature last week in a party-line vote with only Republicans backing the effort to grant the state's Empowerment Scholarship accounts to all students. Pending the governor's signature, the bill will provide Arizona students of all income brackets with more than $6,000 annually in education scholarships that can be used to cover any sort of school-related expense, including private school tuition, school material expenses, and private tutoring. Read

‘Education Freedom For All Kids’: An Interview With Betsy DeVos, Former Secretary Of Education at Daily Wire. I talk about it as ‘education freedom,’ as opposed to ‘school choice,’ because I think education freedom is a much more expansive term that can encompass a whole lot more than what you immediately think of when you talk about school choice. Because school choice, in most people’s minds, designates another building. It doesn’t mean building a whole bunch of other buildings; it means really getting creative about how education is delivered to kids in their K-12 years. Read

A Day of Vindication for Parents and Religious Freedom by Peter M.J. Stravinskas at Catholic World Report. June 21, 2022, will go down in American educational history as a banner-day for parental rights in education and for the full flowering of the free exercise of religion. On that date, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered its decision in Carson v. Makin, a case originating in the State of Maine, concerned with its denial of tuition benefits for children attending faith-based private schools. The case was decided by a 6-3 vote…. It is interesting to note that all six “conservative” justices are products of Catholic schools. Read

Freedom from CRT: State Bans on Critical Race Theory Start inTime for July Fourth by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. Several state laws banning public schools from teaching critical race theory went into effect Friday. Florida, Georgia, and South Dakota were among those that passed bills banning critical race theory in certain settings during the 2022 legislative session. Critical race theory is an academic framework that claims that the culture and institutions of the United States are systemically racist and oppressive to racial minorities. To combat this systemic racism, critical race theory calls for "anti-racism" to dismantle the social standards and practices that have perpetuated white privilege. The bans that went into effect Friday are the latest state laws prohibiting schools from teaching students through the lens of the theory. Since the beginning of the 2021 legislative session, a number of states have enacted bans on critical race theory, including Texas, Arizona, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. Read

Throwback Thursday

Erasing Females in Language and Law by Mary Rice Hasson at Journal of Christian Legal Thought on October 21, 2021. Untethered from the reality of the sexed body then, “gender identity” is a purely subjective notion, a label that indicates "how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.” This understanding of gender identity elevates a personal narrative (that defies biology) to the status of protected characteristic, backed by the force of law. “What’s important,” the Human Rights Campaign tells young people, “is that you know your truth, and that you don’t let other peoples’ uninformed opinions direct your own narrative. You know who you are, and that is enough.” By privileging one person’s “gender identity” narrative, even over the reality of biological sex, the law stands ready to compel others to play a role in that narrative, whether they want to or not, using proposed federal legislation like the Equality Act, state or local “gender identity” laws, or the power of the administrative state. Gender identity ideology (or the “trans paradigm," as Crawford calls it) has become a government promoted anthropology, an alternative belief system that proposes its own (false) “truth” about the human person. Read