Postmodern Threats to American Freedom

What is Truth?

Pilate questions Jesus.
Pilate questions Jesus. | Source

Two Views of the World

The Historical View: There is Objective Truth and It Can be Known

This view is held by those who practice the hard sciences. It is also held by many people of faith. After all, if there is no objective truth, why bother to seek it out through the scientific method or through prayer and study of sacred texts? In fact, only those who really believe truth is something knowable can even practice science.

People like Galileo invented better ways to look at the stars because they wanted to understand them. It helped that most early scientists believed in a Creator who designed a world with objective laws that could be measured and understood. Even the skeptics began from the observation that things around them appeared to move in an orderly manner that could be explained mathematically.

Some people who claim a religion actually hide behind that religion and resist science, such as the Roman church that clung to Aristotle's geocentric world view even after Galileo presented evidence of God's truth--a heliocentric solar system. This is not the case with people of sincere faith grounded in the Bible. For the true follower of Christ, God is Truth. They don't fear the truth, because any new truths discovered should simply reveal more of God's glory.

The Postmodern View: Truth is Relative and There are No Absolutes


I will first admit that, as a person who believes truth exists, it is difficult for me to imagine how people who do not believe in the existence of truth can think at all. If truth is a moving target or if each individual constructs his/her own truth from nothing, is any logic possible?

In practice, of course, nobody can actually function from day to day in a physical universe with physical laws (such as gravity) while denying the existence of objective truth. Some do try, however. One of the most extreme examples I see is the notion that humans are not simply male or female based on x and Y chromosomes. Certainly men and women may have a range of desires and behaviors, but that did not alter basic biological realities. Now, however, there are young people in colleges insisting that anyone can "identify" as any of a seemingly limitless number of "genders." Pity the person who still clings to biological truth while those around them are inventing their own individual "truths" so quickly one cannot possibly keep up with the "genders" and their invented pronouns as they proliferate.

Note: Having been accused of arrogance, let me point out that I by no means believe I have all truth--I merely believe that the truth does exist and can be found. I live my life expecting to be able to discover truth and apply truth as I grow in understanding. What I reject is the idea that various people can have different truths that are all equally true (as in universalism in theology.)

What are progressives thinking and why?

How Does Philosophy Affect Politics?

What kind of social order results from each belief system?

Progressives (liberal and conservative) believe people can't really be trusted individually to live their lives. They need a government to tell them what "truth" is for the present time. Their ideas of truth may change according to expediency. They will create "truth" to advance their "noble" social engineering goals. They will also insist everyone accept their "truth" even in the face of contrary evidence.

Libertarians (socially liberal and socially conservative) trust individuals rather than government to make decisions about their individual lives and families. They live by a creed that allows people to do as they wish so long as they do not coerce or harm anyone else. The libertarian doesn't care if you are postmodern, so long as you don't force him/her to agree with you or fund you.


How Do Different People Live Together in Peace?

Freedom is the answer. America's founders set up a system of limited, constitutional government that served us well for a while--until progressives decided freedom was not good enough. Libertarians are willing to let people believe what they will, so long as they bear the consequences of their own beliefs and actions and allow others to do the same. Progressives insist everyone accept the same truth, even if that truth is not true, and insist that the prudent and thoughtful pay the penalty for the foolishness they never condoned. Without individual freedom, there can be no long-term, peaceful coexistence.

Currently only the libertarian is willing to let others live in peace. Until the postmodern progressives who claim to be flexible about truth become flexible enough to allow actual truth, there is no resolution possible. The constitution was meant to restrain such people from trampling the freedoms of everyone else, but progressives have undermined the constitution with the tacit consent of a lazy population that took freedom for granted and/or exchanged freedom for the illusion of security.

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10 comments

adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 20 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

Well...I thought I'd check out this Hub since I'm curious as to what "threats" I may not be aware of may be lurking outside my window. When I got to the part on "How Does Philosophy Affect Politics? What kind of social order results from each belief system?", I figured I'd be in for a treat. But...I was let down. To begin with I point to this: "Progressives (liberal and conservative) believe people can't really be trusted individually to live their lives." As a liberal, I find it really arrogant of you to tell me what I believe. On what authority do you come to this conclusion? Are you a liberal? Hmmm. I don't think so. Let me guess. I'll bet you're a Libertarian. It's just a guess, but your description of what Libertarian believe seems a lot more flattering and I would imagine you're writing a self-serving description of your own way of thinking.

I'll give you an example. You say this: "They need a government to tell them what "truth" is for the present time." No I don't. What makes you think that you would know what I think about truth let alone that I would need a government to tell what it is? That's not only presumptuous of you but about as arrogant as it gets. Are you a liberal? No? Well don't you think it would be better and far more accurate, not to mention productive, to actually ask a liberal what he thinks about the subject rather than simply toss this stuff out as if you were an authority on how other people might think?

You're making a lot of value judgments here. Do you hold that Values must be demonstrated true? I mean..you are talking about truth here. So? What say you? If so, then values must be demonstrated true is also a value. Can you demonstrate why it is true? Probably not, but you hold it to be true anyway. So, you have values that you can't demonstrate as true. Do you think that Truth is demonstrable? Truth is demonstrable logically entails that “truth is not determined by humans. If you hold that “humans decide about the truth” then you can’t hold that “truth is demonstrable.” These are mutually contradictory ways of viewing the world. To make it clearer we could instead say, “truth is determined by human judgment” or “truth is determined unequivocally by demonstration.” Not only are these two ideas incompatible, as truth is a value we as humans place on certain ideas or viewpoints, it makes no sense to say it can be determined by demonstration. It is determined by humans.

We might discuss certain consequences of holding or not holding the value. However as it is a value, it is determined by human judgement, not any particular demonstration. So there can be no basis or criteria or standard. Otherwise that would be to remove the human element from this. Truth is determined by humans, not criteria or standards or bases. Moreover, a criteria cannot be its own criteria. Again, it is an issue of responsibility. Even assuming you have a criteria you think is adequate, how did you determine that? Are you responsible for that judgement, or is the criteria responsible? Merely claiming a standard or a criteria or a basis does not help one to demonstrate the truth of values. Instead, it creates a certain amount of hypocrisy. If we claim a basis gives us truth, we then are making the implicit claim that truth requires bases. But then it is plainly obvious our own basis lacks a basis, as it cannot be its own basis. By claiming truth must be demonstrated by bases we undermine our own moral integrity. I don’t think that the notion that “humans have values” is logically compatible with “values are determined by demonstrations.”

The only criteria or standards for truth is human judgment. And we’ve got to recognize that while we can approach the truth, no one possess it. We are fallible. Let me add that I firmly accept that Truth is real. If truth didn't exist, how would we possibly know what is false. There has to be something true and real to compare it to? Nobody can possess the Truth. If you think that you can, you're delusional. It's something far too vast for us to grasp hold of and put in our back pocket. However we can acquire it incrementally. We get glimpses of it when we can determine those things that are false. We then know with absolute certainty that we can dump those things that are false, and our vision becomes more clear. We can see the truth more clearly than before because a falsehood or claim has been removed from our vision. It's one less thing obscuring the truth from our eyes.

So...I'm sorry if this upsets your theory of what Liberals think regarding truth. What you should know above all is that there is no unified dogma with regards to liberals. They don't all believe the same thing. They are neither dogmatic nor are they ideologues. That is something that we leave to conservatives and to "Libertarians" with authoritarian complexes like what you have offered in this Hub.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 20 months ago from North Carolina, USA Author

Vermont is a pretty place. Way too socialist for my taste. I am a libertarian because I don't trust others to want the best for me or my family, nor do I want them taking what I've worked for. My knowledge of liberals comes from my years in a liberal church, liberal city-- peoples republic of evanston, illinois, and yet another liberal city.

Note I approved your comment despite its excessive length. Unlike the liberals around me, I don't demand a safe space where I can escape ideas I don't like--as in pathetic colleges with their silly triggers and micro aggressions and invented genders.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 20 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

I'm aware that you're a Libertarian as I mentioned in my comments. It came through quite clearly. I would say that your knowledge of liberals coming from, however many years in a liberal church or even city, is far too small a sample to tell people what Liberals believe in. And I'm very familiar with Evanston having been born and raised in the Chicago suburbs. This comment for example: "They need a government to tell them what "truth" is for the present time.", is simply false. I see no reason to post falsehoods in a Hub or anywhere else for that matter. Ask a liberal if he needs a government to tell him what truth is. You're asserting something that is just totally false. It was obvious in your writing that you were setting up a false narrative about liberals, to present a self-serving promotion of your own ideology. That's the kind of stuff I see all the time from Conservatives and Libertarians. It's an authoritarian attitude that feels a need to define other people according to your ideological predisposition. I don't define others. I let them define themselves. I'm not a conservative or a Libertarian. I've read Burke, and Kirk, and Mannheim on conservatism, and Nozik on Libertarianism. I'm very well acquainted with those ideological positions. But if you aren't a liberal, then do us all a favor and for the sake of honesty, don't define them. Let them define themselves, and feel free to criticize THEIR definitions. If you aren't a liberal, then you really don't know what they believe. I'm a liberal and I believe that there is Objective Truth, and I certainly don't need the government to tell me what it is. So what does that say for your theory?


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 20 months ago from North Carolina, USA Author

I define liberals based on what they DO. Progressives, from their earliest days in politics, have sought to use the courts, the government-controlled schools, and bureaucracies to force people to conform to their view of truth. If I'm arrogant for wanting to be left alone by such people, do you also call Woodrow Wilson arrogant for his racism and his looking down his nose at the constitution he took an oath to uphold? In my world, the arrogant is the person who wants to tell me how to live, not the person who wants to leave me alone.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 20 months ago from North Carolina, USA Author

As for judging liberals by what they've done to churches, I blame the churches. Why do people even bother to have churches if they don't accept the Word of God as truth? If they reject that, why bother to take over churches--why not simply leave? It seems to me that simply leaving is not enough for the modern liberal, who won't be happy till everyone conforms and agrees and celebrates the same things. The classical liberal/libertarian would be happy to be left alone to worship/not worship, work, and play in peace--no need to make the neighbor agree on every point.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 20 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

To begin with, your idea that anybody is forcing you to conform to their view of "truth" is nonsense. All ideas, regardless of their origin, are open to criticism and falsification. If your ideas cannot stand up to intense criticism and can be falsified, ( that means demonstrated as being false) then they should be dumped no matter how wedded to them you may be. Don't let your emotions get in the way of the truth. Which is more important? Your beliefs or the Truth? They aren't necessarily the same thing.

As for Wilson, he was an Ass and racist. And NOBODY is telling you how to live. Nobody really cares. Why would you think that they would? People have their own lives to live.

And what on earth have liberals done to any church? Most of them have no interest in the church. But since you mention it, can you demonstrate the word of God as Truth? What do you base that on? The Bible?? What is the Bible based on? Don't tell me...it's the inspired word of God right? According to who? The Bible of course. Do you know what circular reasoning is? That's it, and it's a logical fallacy. No theory can use itself as its own basis. So where do you come up with the idea that anybody wants to take over a church? I have no idea what you're even talking about. Who gives a crap about what you worship?

Nobody expects you to agree with them on every point, but if you're really interested in the truth, then you should be willing to hold all of your ideas and beliefs up to criticism. If you hold an idea that can be falsified, then it is demonstrated as false. Are you going to continue to hold onto a false idea? If so, then truth is not a value that you subscribe to.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 20 months ago from North Carolina, USA Author

Every time you vote for a liberal, you are taking money earned by families and using it against them--to smother them with bureaucracy, to take their 1st and 2nd amendment rights, to redistribute their income to "entitled" constituencies, etc. Ditto for establishment Republicans and their business welfare programs. Government is involved in everything from my light bulbs in my own home to whether my daughters have to be immunized against STDs and yet you claim nobody is telling me how to live? Just leave me alone and tell all your friends to do the same. Then, and only then, will I shut up. All I want is limited, constitutional government--a concept that is all but dead, thanks to lazy people who don't want to think and evil people who want to impose their will on the rest of us.

And yes, as a mother and a new grandmother I certainly do get emotional. I am talking about my kids and their FREEDOM, for crying out loud! That's worth getting angry and fighting.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 19 months ago from North Carolina, USA Author

As for not knowing about liberals taking over churches, I can help you. I was there as it happened. I grew up in a PCUSA church in which people actually read their Bibles and believed in God. After all, why not just sleep in if you don't believe, right? It was only when I moved to Evanston that I learned what the national leadership actually believed. It wasn't just Presbyterians, either. The American "Baptists" across the street had NOW meetings in their basements while my head "pastor" preached about how loving it was to drive your daughter to the abortion clinic and my so-called Sunday School class told me how enlightened the Soviets were (in the Cold War days!) That was when I decided if I was going to bother to go to church, it would be a real church, not a liberal country club. I became SBC, the one group where the libs v. believers fight had NOT been won by the libs.

I don't hate non-believers. I simply don't understand why such people bothered to take over most of the mainline denominations in the world. Maybe for the capital assets? It certainly wasn't for the faith upon which those groups were founded. My point is, believe or don't--but why call yourself a Christian if you don't really believe? It makes no sense to me, honestly.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 19 months ago from Brattleboro Vermont

"Every time you vote for a liberal, you are taking money earned by families and using it against them--to smother them with bureaucracy, to take their 1st and 2nd amendment rights, to redistribute their income to "entitled" constituencies, etc."

And every time you vote for a conservative or a Libertarian you vote for Economism. You vote for economic reductionists. Economism is the view that our policy decisions should ultimately be based upon their expected economic consequences. That would be you wouldn't it?

Economism, thus understood, is not a theory in economics. It is the

philosophical stance that economic facts, interests, and goals are the facts, interests, and goals that should matter most when it comes to policy decisions. The most obvious proponents of economism are economic reductionists, who believe that all facts, interests, and goals can ultimately be defined in economic terms—or, in other words, that economic facts, interests, and goals are the only ones that really exist.

Marx is probably the best-known proponent of this view, and the prevalence of economism in contemporary thought is undoubtedly due to his influence. Bet you didn't know that you had something in common with Marx. Marx believed in and was a practitioner of Historicism, which he described as the belief that the course of history is predetermined by scientific laws. Marx, contended that the clue to history, even to the history of ideas, is to be found in the development of the relations between man and his natural environment, the material world; that is to say, in his economic life, and not in his spiritual life.

In other words, moral's are never a consideration. That means that the very spiritual life that you embrace and the morality associated with it is not a consideration. It is important, however, to understand that economism is not peculiar to Marx, and that it is entirely consistent with a free-market approach to economics.

The Economic Reductionists, hold that freedom is important first and

foremost for its economic consequences. And therein lies the difference between you and I. What is at issue between

us is the relative value of freedom and economic prosperity. It is a

matter of priority, or what comes first. The question is whether we

should value freedom because freedom is valuable or because it is

profitable—whether we should regard it as an end in itself that is

valuable for its own sake, or as a means to economic prosperity that

we may dispense with if and when it no longer works to achieve its

end. I am of the former position, that freedom is a value in itself. You on the other hand see freedom as a means to an end, and that end is economic prosperity. And once attained freedom can be dispensed with when it no longer works to achieve its end.

But you go on over your 1st Amendment rights being taken from you. What a crock. I doubt that you understand the Amendment at all. Nobody has taken your 1st Amendment rights from you, and it becomes boring hearing these alarmists talk about the constitution when they nothing about it beyond the 2nd Amendment, which is the only one they care about.

"Government is involved in everything from my light bulbs in my own home to whether my daughters have to be immunized against STDs and yet you claim nobody is telling me how to live?"

Yes exactly. Nobody is telling you how to live. The last time I was at a store, it seemed there was a wide selection of light bulbs available. Some are more efficient than others. But there is no law requiring you to buy them. Buy whatever you want. If you want to save on your energy bills that's up to you. As for vaccinations for STD's....STD's are Sexually Transmitted Diseases. There are no vaccinations for STD's except for Giardia which is a disease that causes cervical cancer. Other than that, there is only treatment. There is no vaccination for Herpe's or any other STD.

"All I want is limited, constitutional government--a concept that is all but dead, thanks to lazy people who don't want to think and evil people who want to impose their will on the rest of us."

It might help if you actually read the constitution before making those kinds of claims.

" I am talking about my kids and their FREEDOM, for crying out loud! That's worth getting angry and fighting."

And you think that vaccinations or efficient light bulbs being available is a threat to your freedom. You kids lack of vaccinations are a threat to the health of others. Your freedom is not the only freedom to take into account. People may feel that they need to protect their own kids from infection from your kids because of your paranoia over your freedom being compromised. You live within a society. And if you do, then you need to understand that it requires cooperation on everyone's part.

"The American "Baptists" across the street had NOW meetings in their basements while my head "pastor" preached about how loving it was to drive your daughter to the abortion clinic and my so-called Sunday School class told me how enlightened the Soviets were (in the Cold War days!)" ------ and this is what you base this claim on?? Seriously. Frankly, I have a hard time believing this stuff. But even if it were true, what you've done is presented an isolated instance and taken the broadest brush you could find, and you've made this hasty generalization that liberals are trying to destroy the church, by taking over. Hasty Generalizations are logical fallacies. (Dicto Simpliciter, also called “Jumping to Conclusions,” ) It's a mistaken use of inductive reasoning when there are too few samples to prove a point. One common type of hasty generalization is the Fallacy of Accident. This error occurs when one applies a general rule to a particular case when accidental circumstances render the general rule inapplicable. If a person considers only exceptional or dramatic cases and generalizes a rule that fits these alone, the author commits the fallacy of hasty generalization. Which is exactly what you have done with this nonsense about liberals taking over the church. Now, if you consider yourself to be a logical person, then you'll recognize the fallacy. That begins with understanding your a fallible human being that is prone to error. You could be wrong about the claim that you've made. OR..... you could be the kind of person that ignores logic altogether, in which case there's no hope for you, since you've committed yourself to ignorance in order to justify your beliefs. I hope that isn't the case.

The biggest problem that I have with Conservatives AND Libertarians is they're are such ideologues. They never seem to grasp the fact of their own fallibility. Instead that adopt a theory of rationality, whether it's conservative dogma, or Libertarian, that was designed by fallible men, and then assume that the ideology is infallible. How can an infallible idea come from a fallible source? When you can show me how that can take place, I'll be more than happy to take these ideologies seriously.

"I simply don't understand why such people bothered to take over most of the mainline denominations in the world. "

I'm sorry, and I don't mean to sound insulting but that's nonsense. You don't define Christianity for others. You need to grasp that. John Locke said it long ago, nobody can tell you about your belief in God. It's an entirely individual thing. You seem to be annoyed that others don't subscribe to your interpretation. These people call themselves Christians because they obviously see something different than you do in the faith.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 19 months ago from North Carolina, USA Author

This will be your last comment, as you are calling me a liar. The aforementioned Sunday School class was entitled "Peacemaking" but was actually only about unilateral disarmament. And I have indeed had my 1st Amendment rights threatened--sued under federal and state RICO for silent prayer and picketing on a public street back in the 90s. And I did not say I object to vaccinnations--only to the government contending that my children should have Gardasil as if they should be presumed promiscuous as the norm. I'm sure you don't feel threatened, as your definition of freedom is apparently far different from mine. I will NOT be called a liar. Mistaken, possibly, and most certainly fallible and prone to sin like all humans, but I do not lie. Good day, sir.

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