Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Determinism and the Abdication of Personal Responsibility

Two thoughts stand out as not only commonly tragic but tragically common in the modern era: the abdication and denial of personal guilt and its corporatization in the collective.
Everything man has done since 1515, religiously and philosophically, is try to rationalize personal culpability and ascribe it to some faceless, impersonal or transcendent factor. In 1515 and later it was a false understanding of God's Sovereignty, in the 19th and 20th centuries it has been scientific and behavioral determinism.
Chesterton said the first thing men did as free thinkers was to deny man had free will. Bingo. Why would one want to do this? It's obvious: to declare the self innocent, or at least not personally responsible.
If others like cereal but you have a taste for serial killing you just unfortunately lost the genetic lottery. But the good news is you're not really guilty of doing anything but what everyone else is doing: following obediently and inexorably, with courage even, your genetic destiny. They're just a bit luckier than you in having received a more socially acceptable mix of genes. Why, just think. If you hadn't killed all those people you would not have been faithful to your true self, but lived a false and unfulfilled life.

How much perverse behavior is now seen and accepted as normalcy based upon this false premise? How can anyone claim their freedom and rise to spiritual health when they are being told to rationalize their perverse compulsions and attractions as "natural" and healthy? Luther did not support the peasant rebellion as they expected. Rather, he called for them to be slaughtered. When it happened he said it appears as if their deaths were at his orders, but God had really caused him to do it. The rest of history is, as they say, a mere exegesis of this, and that is why courage has forsaken modern man and cowardice has consumed him. Tiger's confession is symptomatic of what I heard Lew Rockwell recently call "the banality of evil." He said,in effect, though it begins banally and even innocently, it ends in brutality and death.

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