The Authority of Ideas

   We see a higher level of commentary on the rolls at aintsobad. Frequently, it is higher than the writing in the blog itself.

   Karen brings a scalpel to the commentary line. She notes in her comment from yesterday, "If political freedom is the ultimate goal, then all authority is stigmatized."

   If stigmatized means, properly, to cast a mark of disgrace on the object under consideration, the comment from yesterday is lifted from context to make this point. I argue for a new authority but not a central authority of enforced law and rules, regulations and codes, though these will naturally come and, indeed, are coming now. We once sold cars in America on the back of their horse power. We will now sell them on their miles per gallon. A new social construct is emerging, stranded in the suburbs as we are, with our (disappearing) jobs in the city, some thirty minutes and $8 away. The American Dream was a good job and a nice lawn. You fill in the blank. A new authority of ideas encroaches even now.

   As the printing press made information held by the elite available to the masses and helped bring about the Enlightenment, so now does the spread of information make impossible the constructs set to keep men apart. New ones will have to be found. This is the bigotry of the 21st century, as the old prejudices start to die.

   No, nothing new can be found under the sun but variations on themes play out in the symphony of man. The profit motive is a fairly recent innovation (quick, name the most prominent economic philosopher prior to Adam Smith; answer to come). Man can learn. Along with thumbs this sets him apart.

  Robert Re, now experiencing some life angst on the High Plains, looks at the chaos theory component in my latter blog (unintended) and proposes the next fifty years are pregnant, not static. I told you we have a higher level of commentary here.

   I do think a fifty year gestation period will meet the need only if it ends in a healthy, normal delivery. The (deservedly) melancholic state of baptist Christian work in the (once) fertile fields (the fields are still fertile, the plowshare is now in use as a sword) demonstrates the failure of the old biases. The devil was once modernity and all its allies. Our opposition was our growth motive. Everybody knows what we don't like, even if they do not have a clue about us. In point of fact, people are no longer against what we don't like and our old prejudices simply do not convert much any longer. Our dying congregations die not because of formatstasis but because the old fears are no longer salvific.

   We will need a whole new set. Tolerance is the result of spiritual maturity but few men are converted to it.

   Tim D. responds to RobertRe with his assertion on the water metaphor (actually an oceanic image of fear of the unknown and uncontrollable; the greater than thee and me with undisputed power to swallow; think tsunami) as (potential) evil. Water is powerful, life-giving, absolutely necessary and potentially dangerous, much like the frontier concept of God. God, in the Creation-Story (see how I avoid the word "myth" for the sake of my new readers who have not walked through that definition with us?) moves on the face of the water, bringing order out of chaos. Chaos is disorder bordering on destruction, not the inchoate maelstrom of labor and delivery.

   Or, as Darrel K. Royal used to say, "Potential means you just ain't done nothin' yet."




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