In my WND column this week I question the bona fides of American conservatives “who…profess respect for America’s founders…yet… refuse to respect and apply the “conspiracy thinking” of the founders” when it comes to recognizing and reacting against the design for despotism.” What explains their obtuse refusal to practice the rational strategic thinking the defense of liberty requires?
I think the explanation lies in the fact that, whatever respect they say they have for America’s founders and the U.S. Constitution, contemporary American conservatives have either rejected, or are too intimidated to follow, the paradigm for strategic political thinking that was, as it were, the second nature of the founding generation. These so-called conservatives have abandoned the Biblical understanding of human affairs.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
In the literal sense, what the elitist faction media excessively ridicules as “conspiracy thinking” is thinking that takes seriously the spiritual dimension of human affairs, particularly when issues of power and rulership are involved. Whatever the self-serving elitist philosophasters want us to think, it is not insane or irrational to assume that something we have not directly observed accounts for observed effects that are similar to what our experience leads us to expect from like objects under similar circumstances. Thus, though I cannot observe the inner life from which spring the actions of other human beings, I do reasonably infer that it is not unlike the wellspring of my own actions, which includes the awareness of an intelligent being (i.e., myself) that I cannot directly observe, but whose existence and will I directly experience as sense perceptions, thoughts and other bodily activities. This intelligent being is the unobservable but ever present cause of the different manifestations of being that attest to my existence as an individual.
If I enter a room I have never visited before, and see a table set with cups, plates and silverware as if for a meal; if I see a stew simmering on a stove; if I smell coffee brewing and the scent of fresh baked bread, I infer that others with the intelligence and skill to produce these effects are about to have a meal. Apart from other things, I can reasonably infer the existence of such causal agents from my experience of my own actions as an agent capable of producing similar effects.
All claims of human knowledge, including those that depend on following what we call the scientific method, depend on this relationship between intelligible effects and an assumed cause commensurate with the intelligent order they manifest (without which they would not be intelligible.) The assumption that intelligence is in some way at work in the world of our experience is a prerequisite for the conviction that sustains scientific inquiry, i.e., that it is possible for us to know the world in a systematic way. Some contemporary scientists deny this, even though when they articulate their hypotheses and conclusions (especially in the biological sciences) they invariably speak as if it is true. We take the order we perceive as evidence of some inherent intelligence at work, such that the pattern or form it gives rise to in our perception of the world corresponds to a pattern or form within the world we perceive. We accept this information as a valid basis for knowledge even though we cannot, with finality, directly observe the first principle or ultimate cause of the form or pattern it follows.
In recent years America has experienced a train of events, deeply damaging in their effects and implications, that now threatens to end the experiment in constitutional liberty that began with the American Declaration of Independence. America’s political system has played a critical role in producing that train of events. We are far more likely to be overwhelmed by this consequence if we assume that the events are random happenings than if we assume that the reasonable appearance of a goal which corresponds to mankind’s experience with ruthless ambition points to a design or plan consistent with that experience.
As in a chess game, or even a game of probabilities susceptible to strategic thought like poker, if we assume that we face an intelligent opponent capable of designing and following the plan suggested by the coincidental destructiveness of the results, our own moves are more likely to make strategic sense. On the other hand, if we react to each move without thinking things through on the basis of assumed intelligence, we will end up, like helpless animals, unable to escape from the toils and snares designed by those whose aim is to return us to the condition that has largely characterized the mass of humanity throughout most of human history- that of subjects, serfs and slaves.