faith and reason
NATURE and Nature’s Laws lay hid in Night:
God said, “Let Newton be!” and all was light.
Back in my mispent high school days I got extra credit in one of my math classes by giving presentations on Friday each week on the lives of famous mathemeticians, my way of compensating for the fact that math and I have always had a tortured relationship. However, even though higher math will always remain a closed book to me, the history of math is not, and it reminds me that exploration in the realm of pure knowledge can be just as exciting as the exploration of the earth and the stars. Faith and Reason allow us to explore the glory of God’s creation and what we do with the knowledge we gain thereby makes all the difference, both in time and in eternity.
Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau:
Mock on, mock on: ‘tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a Gem,
Reflected in the beam divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking Eye,
But still in Israel’s paths they shine.
The Atoms of Democritus
And the Newton’s Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.
Few things are more annoying to me than the obstruction of both semantic quibbles and logical fallacies to a clear understanding of reality. Thus my experience as a Distributist has become one of near-perpetual annoyance, given the proliferation of both throughout the Distributist camp. Here I want to address a few of the latest examples of this obstruction, and provide some insights as to how and why it ought to be overcome.
First, there is John Medaille’s interview with the Young Turks, in which he declares that one cannot be in favor of both free markets and capitalism, simply because he has defined a free market as a situation in which there are vast numbers of competitors, and capitalism as a situation in which economic power has been concentrated in the hands of a few large firms. When challenged on this distinction by the interviewer, who asserted that capitalism could be defined as a free market economy while this economic concentration could be defined as corporatism, Medaille essentially had no choice but to agree. He then decided to add that “the capitalism we have” is what he claims to be talking about, regardless of how one wants to “define it in the abstract.”
By answering in this way, however, Medaille might leave you with the impression that people who claim to be in favor of capitalism aren’t interested in criticizing that which “we have”, when it is beyond obvious to anyone who actually reads the material of self-identified pro-capitalist organizations such as the Mises Institute that they view “what we have” as corporatism or statism or state-capitalism or some variation on that theme, and oppose it as well.