Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rhetoric on The Republic of the Mind

My friend, Jeff Baxter, or JB for short, has posted some comments on my recent posting of an excerpt of Lynn Harold Hough’s thoughts on freedom and intelligence which I titled Republic of the Mind.

JB’s post is titled John and the Wizard, and it is offered in the accurate sense of rhetoric, though as a rebuttal to Hough’s thinking.  It opens as follows.

John – great piece! I only wish it were true!

While we are in agreement that the Hough excerpt I quoted is a great piece, I must point out that I did not state the excerpt was true, but rather is an exquistely beautiful example of an individual utilizing their mind freely, which I think is one of the most important lessons individuals need understand.

So why aren’t the thoughts expressed by Hough true according to JB?

In short, we cannot grasp true freedom, either in this life, or in our minds. We are forever reaching for the shadows of freedom, imagining at times we have actually grasped it, but it has always, always, always proven to be a false, misleading dream. We have never known true freedom because we do not have full and complete and TRUE peace with God.

JB’s reasoning is echoed by another mutual friend with whom I’ve had a bit of correspondence in the past, Fr. Patrick Fodor, and JB shares Fr. Fodor’s thoughts in his post.

Both JB and Fr. Fodor approach Hough’s thinking as individuals of faith in God, as I am and do, and I fully appreciate their contribution.  But I approach this particular thinking of Hough’s without reference to Luther, Calvin, or any other individual’s specific doctrine.  In other words, I am approaching Hough’s thinking in freedom.

Both JB and Fr. Fodor are correct, I think, when they state that we cannot grasp true freedom in this life; history rather sharply chronicles this truth, the unattainability of perfection in man as we know him; but the obstacles which they note require surmounting, at least if you’re an individual with faith in God, have been undermined by Christ, and quite possibly we’re not taking full advantage of this.

I’ll close this with a thought of Thomas Jefferson, which is contained in a letter written to Richard Rush in 1813.

...on the subject of religion, a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved.  I have considered it as a matter between every man and his maker in which no other, and far less the public had a right to intermeddle.

That is freedom of the mind and intelligence in action from a member of the republic of the mind.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/19 at 10:31 AM
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Whose Fault Is It?

It’s the government’s fault!

How often do you hear that phrase uttered?  Democrats, Republicans, “we the people” state it with assurance and vehemence.  It’s the government’s fault!

I agree.

The point which must be remembered, but which is blithely overlooked, is, government is “we the people,” whom, by their votes, if they vote, elect governments.  So, when the phrase “It’s the government’s fault” is blithely uttered, and individuals peer accusingly around them in order to point their finger at government, they have no choice but to point that finger at themselves.


I’ve left my closing comment on this subject at Og’s place, but I will post it here also.  I want to thank all who provided their input in comments.

As posted at Og’s.

Pray more.

Og, I took your sound advice to pray more, regarding my stance on voting, and also picked up my Bible to plumb it’s wisdom.

I did that both last night, and this morning once again, and I arrived at the conclusion that when H.L. Mencken wrote, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”, he was channelling the prophet Samuel, who was channelling God, when he said this.

I’m not going to argue with Samuel, God, or you about it any longer.

Posted by John Venlet on 04/19 at 08:21 AM
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