Thursday, September 12, 2019

6th annual Constitution Day celebration at EBRP libraries

A potentially wonderful message for our time emerged after our annual celebration of June 21, Responsible Liberty Day.
In the U.S. preamble’s literal proposition, willing citizens communicate, collaborate, and connect to aid 5 public provisions---Union, Justice, Tranquility, defense, and Welfare---so as to encourage responsible human liberty to living people now and in the future.

For Constitution Day, after briefly reviewing a Louisiana corporation, A Civic People of the United States, we propose to discuss how the above view of the U.S. preamble emerged.

Second, we propose engaged discussion of the U.S. preamble's potential role in shifts from "political correctness" to "identity politics". We perceive the former excludes some fellow citizens and the latter invites civic understanding among fellow citizens. 
The meeting is at 7:30 PM, Tuesday, September 17, 2019, Goodwood Library, Baton Rouge, LA. There are 8 seats. A second meeting can be scheduled on request.

See more details online at https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/entertainment_life/local_events/?_ev_id=489814_6th_annual_constitution_day_celebration. If you cannot attend but want to, we can arrange a second meeting.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Audacity

Motivated by seeming arrogance of 2019’s four freshman Congresswomen of color, I wondered if they were agents, official or not, of President Barack Obama’s negative audacity. I wanted to qualify myself by considering standards of audacity and whether or not it has positive interpretations that are not egocentric or self-judged.

I think scholarly literature in the past used audacity to represent research using ineluctable evidence in its confidence in a world of human constructs based on reason. In customary terms, the competition is science vs religion. The four freshman Congresswomen perhaps negatively act for unintended, positive audacity to challenge “freedom of religion” as an oppressor of civic integrity. 

My concern

First, why do I consider negative Obama’s audacity? He seems to express three hopes[i]: 1) the American dream is freedom and community; 2) elected officials represent their sponsors; and 3) international influence is gained by democracy more than military power. None of these hopes is consistent with the people’s proposition that is offered in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (the U.S. preamble). It takes negative audacity to live under a people’s proposition you neither trust-in nor commit-to, as Obama seems to do. In other words, Obama seems immoral to demand equity when he does not communicate, collaborate, and connect for human integrity; in other words, responsible human liberty.

My bias

My claim is based on my interpretation of the U.S. preamble’s proposition to fellow citizens:  We the People of the United States (the civic identity) communicate, collaborate, and connect to provide 5 public institutions---Union, Justice, Tranquility, defense, and Welfare---so as to encourage by example responsible human liberty to living citizens. I invite dialogue with every fellow citizen to learn from their interpretations of the U.S. preamble’s proposition.

I don’t know how acceptance of the U.S. preamble’s proposition would accelerate the path toward human integrity. In other words, I don’t know the statutory justice the achievable future under the U.S. preamble promises. I hope Obama and other fellow citizens discover my essay and respond such that I may improve my interpretation.

The standard by which justice and truth are measured

The reason the U.S. preamble’s proposition so far has been lame is the fact that there is no standard for justice beyond inarticulate objections to the church-state-partnership that represses responsible human liberty. The standard by which statutory justice is developed is the-objective-truth or the ineluctable evidence. The-objective-truth is the standard by which ultimate truth, absolute truth, objective truth, Truth, truth, and other human constructs are measured.

Majority use of the U.S. preamble’s proposition under the-objective-truth is sufficient to accelerate developing human integrity.

How often “audacity” is viewed now and usage in books today versus in 1800

Google, for “audacity” has “a willingness to take bold risks” or “rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence.” Merriam-Webster online has “the quality or state of being audacious: such as intrepid boldness [or] bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints.” Synonyms include “brashness, cheekiness, effrontery, nerve, pertness, presumption, sauciness temerity [and related words] arrogance, assurance, confidence, sanguinity, discourteousness, disrespect, impertinence, impoliteness, impudence, incivility, inconsideration, insolence, rudeness, sass, swagger, swash.” Other than “assurance” or “confidence” the modern view of “audacity” seems negative.

Reviewing Google’s book-usage frequency-graph from 1800 to 2008 for the words insolence, impropriety, audacity, disrespect, and incivility, relative rates were 1, 0.52, 0.21, 0.15, and 0.04, respectively, in 1800. In 2008, audacity and disrespect were close to 0.12, lessened versus 1800, and the other relative rates were much less. I rated “biased” and it was negligible in 1800 but 0.38 in 2008. “Political” rated 7 in 1800 and 19 in 2008. The data shows that “audacity” is not often used, either then or now.

My study method

With both high regard for thoroughness and caution about the proprietary quality[ii] of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [iii] I searched on the word “audacity” and found 12 essays then searched within each essay for “audacity.” I paraphrased or quoted the single passage in each essay and list the study results in order. I did further research to date and clarify the entries.

Study results

The emphasis on “audacity” in each entry is mine---to help the reader focus on the respective essay’s usage.

First, there’s “beneficent audacity” ranging from democracy by any means to evil means to good ends, a modern study by C.A.J. Coady springing from English novelist Anthony Trollope (d. 1882).[iv]

Coady, in my interpretation, poses the question of responsible human liberty and which parties are responsible for infidelity to the-objective-truth. I think each individual human is responsible for fidelity to the-objective-truth. Thus, neither government nor whatever-God-is is reliable for human justice. Justice can come only from civic people.

Second, Nietzsche[v] (d. 1900, Weimar, Germany) instructed us that humankind’s evolution to discover and benefit from the-objective-truth elevates him “into refinement and audacity” above the other species.

We agree with Nietzsche and think the human has the individual power, the individual energy, and the individual authority (HIPEA) to develop integrity throughout his or her lifetime. The audacity to accept HIPEA and apply it to develop integrity in a world of conflicting religions seems positive.

Third, “Peter Abelard (d. 1142, Abbey of Saint-Marcel) . . . the first great nominalist philosopher . . . championed the use of reason in matters of faith . . . his systematic treatment of religious doctrines are as remarkable for their philosophical penetration and subtlety as they are for their audacity.”[vi]

In this passage, it seems Abelard is using “faith” as “spirituality, theism, or religion” more than inspiration, motivation, or concern. The equivocation of “faith” and “religion” plays a significant role in public failures to communicate.

Abelard’s thoughts may be a clue as to Western philosophy’s erroneous elevation of reason over the-objective-truth as the standard for human justice. Today, 877 years after Abelard died, it seems there is enough evidence to choose the-objective-truth rather than reason so as to discover human justice, protecting religious hopes as private concerns. Abelard is not at fault if indeed he touted reason in matters of religion but not of statutory justice.

Fourth, from F.R. Tennant (d. 1957, Cambridge, England), scientific knowledge “is the outcome of faith which . . . justifies its audacity and irrationality (in accounting them to be also real) by practical actualization.”[vii] In other words, discovery justifies audacity because discovery is based on ineluctable evidence.

Tennant’s statement is not unlike Albert Einstein’s 1941 statement, “Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of experience.”[viii]

In my expression, the-objective-truth is discovered through ineluctable evidence. Einstein also asserted that the scientist had to have confidence (faith) that integrity in his or her work would advance human knowledge.

Fifth, Dominic Murphy cites views that a “healthy person [involves] harmony with their social and natural environment, and disease is a disturbance of this harmony. [In other words, viewing] health as flexibility, in the sense that a healthy organism can tolerate environmental impacts, adapts to new situations and possesses a store of energy and audacity.”[ix]

Attributing human resiliency to “energy and audacity” seems positive.

Sixth, “Michael of Cesena [d. 1342 Munich], acting with insolent audacity . . . declared . . . the absolute poverty of Christ and the Apostles.”[x] This “audacity” seems to border on heresy.

Seventh, From Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy “The audacity of Galileo [d. 1642, Tuscany]; the sweat and sacrifice of a science student to learn difficult material; the solidarity in pursuit of the truth about nature’s workings: these are all indispensable to science and enable scientists to share a common pursuit.” “[Reason] is a-historical while our challenges and crises are in history and in time.”[xi]

Does “a-historical” imply that reason can wait an eternity for verification whereas physics addresses actual reality? If so, I do not agree with the first premise: reason can be rejected the moment it is discredit by the absence of evidence.

Galileo’s audacity was in refuting Church teaching that the earth was the center of the universe.

Eighth, Bertrand Russell (d. 1970, Wales) thought that actual reality follows “the laws of physics” and logical constructions can be perceived as reality “complicating the system beyond all recognition.” [xii] “Schlick [d. 1936, Vienna] noted that, because of Russell’s sheer audacity in pushing his account to the limit, the result is not prone to the inconsistencies which plague other accounts [and is of] the immanence philosophy.”[xiii]

It seems to me Schlick strains to discredit Russell’s thoughts as religious. For example, the old philosophical problem of a tree falling[xiv] when there is no one there to perceive it is a case of a material event without immediate, confirming perception. Can a believer use this analog to assert that his or her god is the solution to the mystery of whatever-God-is?

Ninth, Spinoza’s [d. 1677, The Hague] “The Ethics is . . . bold to the point of audacity, as one would expect of a systematic and unforgiving critique of the traditional philosophical conceptions of God, the human being and the universe, and, above all, of the religions and the theological and moral beliefs grounded thereupon.”[xv]

Tenth, Kant (d. 1804, Prussia) “wrestles with the harmony of opposites, Cartesian kinematics and Leibnizian dynamics, trying to marry momentum and energy—while having the audacity to criticize Newton.”

Newton set out to use his understanding to prove the validity of Bible physics.

Eleventh, “The desire for “freedom of the will” in the superlative metaphysical sense, which still holds sway, unfortunately, in the minds of the half-educated; the desire to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for one’s actions oneself, and to absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society involves nothing less than to be precisely this causa sui [self-generated] and, with more than Baron Munchhausen’s audacity, to pull oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the swamps of nothingness.”[xvi]

Focus on absolute self-generation distracts scholars from encouraging people to accept HIPEA and use it to develop fidelity to the-objective-truth.

Twelfth, From Gödel (d. 1978, Princeton, NJ), “. . . philosophers have the audacity to ‘generalize things without any inhibition.’”[xvii]

It seems to me the appropriate noun is “arrogance” more than audacity.

Views on the philosophy study

While current dictionaries interpret “audacity” as a negative term, philosophical commentary dating from the 17th century and earlier seems to use “audacity” as a positive.

Coady expounded on “beneficent audacity” by many means. Nietzsche thought humankind had developed refinement and audacity. Abelard thought audacity is needed to improve religious doctrine. Tennant thought the ineluctable evidence inspired the scientist’s audacity in the face of public opposition. Murphy found reference to human resilience from energy and audacity. A 13th century reference to “insolent audacity” seems to suggest doctrinal progress. Galileo’s report of the sun’s centricity to our solar system is labeled “audacity.”  Bertrand Russell with audacity insisted that actual reality follows (not “natural law” but) the laws of physics. Spinoza is accused of audacity in critiquing traditional religious thought. Kant had the audacity to critique Newton’s Bible interest. The last two uses critique philosophy and thus are in a different class.

I think there’s a pattern in the first ten essays:  Basing discovery on ineluctable evidence rather than reason is labeled “audacity” in a world with competing religions. It seems self-evident that Western societies thrive on the competition between religious beliefs and discovery. Traditional scholars do all they can to favor reason in competition with ineluctable evidence. Thus, much as the preamble to the U.S. Constitution is falsely labeled “secular,” the scientist’s confidence in his or her work and results are falsely labeled “audacity.”

Returning to the four freshman Congresswomen of color

While I do not approve their psychological violence, I think their collective, unarticulated message is important to the USA’s long-needed reform. It is wonderful that their opportunity to challenge current government the way they want to (free speech) is protected as integral to the existing rule of law.

My articulation: instead of touting this country for freedom of Judeo-Christian religion, We the People of the United States may stake the claim that was offered on June 21, 1788:  The rule of amendable law in the USA intends to secure responsible human liberty to the continuum of living citizens. Therefore, We the People of the United States hold elected officials accountable for the gender-race-age-and-religion-neutral goals stated in the U.S. preamble. (The-objective-truth, discussed above, is another issue for another essay’s conclusion.)

Recommended actions for citizens who want mutual, comprehensive safety and security

I write and speak to learn. Therefore, I request interested fellow citizens to do two things.

Copy the (52 word) preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Study it. Analyze it. Consider whether or not you agree it is a proposed people’s-proposition for individual civic discipline. Paraphrase it. Contemplate the individual life you wish to live and revise your paraphrase to accommodate that life. Discuss your paraphrase with family and friends and encourage them to get involved. Listen for improvements you would like to make in your paraphrase. Then, establish mutual appreciation for the original sentence by reading it in unison with willing fellow citizens. Consider making this a habit.

Second, read the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Consider its provisions, especially the two religion clauses: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Imagine what this country could be without the religion clauses or with “Congress shall encourage the pursuit of integrity.” Encourage Congress to amend the First Amendment so as to encourage integrity, a civic duty, rather than establish religion, an integrated business.

The USA can be great. However, neither government nor whatever-God-is will make it so. Only a nation that is led by a majority who are individually developing integrity can meet the people’s challenge that is offered fellow citizens in the U.S. preamble. The past 231 years’ conflict for dominant opinion demonstrate that it will take positive audacity to reform to civic integrity rather than “religious freedom”.

Epilogue

The irony in Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Chapter XI[xviii] seems that in a nation with established clergy-politician partnership fellow citizens procrastinate for either government or whatever-God-is to provide mutual, comprehensive safety and security to the people. The authors of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, intentionally or not, proposed that We the People of the United States can develop the discipline to encourage responsible human liberty in the USA.

We are dedicated to promote the U.S. preamble’s proposition among fellow citizens. However, we have no idea how beneficial the achievable better future may be, because we do not know the-objective-truth.

For this reason, we do not operate as a revenue-generating NGO or other organization. Readers who are motivated and inspired by the ideas expressed herein must find the audacity to communicate, collaborate, and connect for individual happiness with civic integrity among fellow citizens. With one person at a time we hope to inspire a collective entity: We the People of the United States.


Copyright©2019 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included.



[i] Online summary at https://fourminutebooks.com/the-audacity-of-hope-summary/.
[ii] By “proprietary quality” I assert that many scholars write in proprietary language so that academicians in their society may understand but the general public may remain ignorant about what is being considered. For example, “natural law” is the proprietary jargon for the laws of physics. Further, some scholars erroneously write “the laws of physics” “the laws of science” which is the study of physics and its progeny: mathematics, chemistry, biology, psychology, imagination, fiction, everything. Imagination and fiction derive from what has not yet been discovered in the study of physics and its progeny. For example, anyone’s claim about the mystery of whatever-God-is is speculation an idea that has not been disproven by the available ineluctable evidence. I think even Albert Einstein used erroneous or misleading words in his speech titled “The Laws of Science and The Laws of Ethics.” I think he spoke on the laws of physics and the laws of integrity coming from the same source. In essence, he proposed fidelity to physics as the path to ethics.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

David Miller’s subjective justice


Individuals who oppose justice pretend they need not conform to the-objective-truth. The-objective-truth is the ineluctable evidence by which objective truth, truth, or other human construct is measured. Fidelity to the-objective-truth invites benefits and infidelity begs woe.


In a culture of responsible human liberty, fellow citizens communicate, collaborate, and connect to develop fidelity to the-objective-truth. The-objective-truth benefits from the laws of physics. The consequence of fidelity is mutual justice. For example, if a typhoon is reported, people excepting dissidents-to-justice communicate, collaborate, and connect to move to higher ground.


For another example, "equality" in human existence may be traced back to the viable ovum---a unique entity. It is preposterous to think an institution such as government can or should make unique ova equal. Equitable? Maybe. For the ovum, equity and dignity starts with the woman’s care for her person and the man’s appreciation for both the woman and her ova. When spouses encourage the family to develop mutual equity and dignity not only within but beyond themselves, justice is served.


If this is so, it seems justice is a human responsibility. There remains the question of how human responsibility came to be. Perhaps it is a consequence of evolution, but some humans pretend to solve the mystery by constructing a God: whatever-God-may-be conforms to the pretneder's doctrine.


So far, the mystery of God has not been disproven. Perhaps mankind will discover senses beyond seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, and imagining. Already, some have proposed dimensions beyond four---space (x, y, z), time, energy (interchangeable with mass), and imagination---to universes beyond the laws of physics.[1] For now, it seems advantageous for humankind to take responsibility for the peace that is possible through justice.


Many thinkers have addressed justice, but none have proposed the-objective-truth as the standard by which justice is measured. I don’t know the-objective-truth about justice, so can only count myself an independent thinker who holds humans rather than their hopes responsible for justice. Unfortunately for the people, most scholars construct a standard or attribute justice to a mystery such as whatever-God-is. A review of the theories is available at “Justice,” by David Miller[2], a British scholar. I do not think an Englishman is likely to understand American justice. American justice transitions as humankind discovers the-objective-truth.


Miller’s subjectivity is expressed in “We can get a better grasp of what justice means to us by seeing the various conceptions that compete for our attention as tied to aspects of our social world that did not exist in the past, and are equally liable to disappear in the future.” Justice neither submits to opinion nor responds "to us".


Theories Miller covers


Miller gives the reader a glimpse of the controversies scholars create and debate in proprietary terms to resist the-objective-truth as standard by which justice is measured.


He begins with Christian tradition. Four virtues include prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. (Added are three emotions: faith, hope, and charity.) He introduces Rawls’ arbitrary attempt to institutionalize justice as fairness. He then addresses what philosophers think about justice’s features, justice’s distinction, justice’s forms, to whom justice applies, individual responsibility, and leading theories. He concludes that there is no transcendent theory. I disagree, suggesting the-objective-truth as standard by which justice is measured.


FEATURES


“Aristotle . . . noted that when justice was identified with ‘complete virtue’, this was always ‘in relation to another person’” (but said nothing about “rights”). Sixth century Roman Law held justice as “the constant and perpetual will to render to each his due.” Does "his due" equate to "rights"? But how is compliance weighed for everyone in the community? And how are the competing obligations impartially enforced?


Statutory law develops just enforcement. Enforcement begins with the responsible citizen but is overseen by an "impartial" agent---either government or a higher authority. Miller at this point introduces the mystery of whatever-God-is as “a Divine Being” and asserts that “we should resist” attributing misfortune to “cosmic injustice.” Extending to the human ovum Miller’s concern for cleft lips, the reader may sense Miller has religious-socialist leanings.


DISTINCTIONS


Miller reviews competing justice-enforcements: conservative vs ideal, remediation vs reward, process vs result, and equity.


FORMS


Miller considers the limits of justice: within human animals, within a civilization, and among/between individuals, returning to Rawls’ materialism with favor to the disadvantaged regardless of cause.


FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY


Miller questions not only materialism but responsibilities and standards for the distribution of domestic products. His arguments about utilitarianism skirt humankind’s obligations to conform to the-objective-truth.


COMPETING THEORIES


Miller discusses contractarianism as an alternative to utilitarianism. The reader has to go elsewhere to learn about Pericles’ notion that, in my interpretation, humankind may communicate, collaborate, and connect for equity under the mutual pursuit of statutory justice. Miller reports proprietary ideas of Gauthier, Rawls, and Scanlon.


Next, Miller discusses equality as justice, equality and responsibility, and relativism.


MILLER CONCLUSION


Miller seems to spring from Rawls’ admission to a mere theory to judge the various arguments and conclude “no comprehensive theory of justice is available to us.” Unfortunately, Miller did not consider the-objective-truth as standard for justice. The U.S. preamble’s proposition is less essential yet advantageous in its simplicity and directness. Citizens aid only five public institutions in order to secure responsible human liberty to living people: the goal is freedom-from oppression so that individuals may accept human liberty-to responsibly develop happiness with civic integrity.


The U.S. preamble’s proposition


Returning to David Miller’s British propriety,[3] I earlier said an English person cannot understand American justice. Few Americans understand it, because few consider the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (the U.S. preamble) as a people’s proposition. Few Americans do the work required to use the U.S. preamble to order their own lives. I encourage every person to study the U.S. preamble and consider their individual interpretation to help order their civic life if not their opportunity to develop integrity.


My latest interpretation of the U.S. preamble’s proposition is:  Civic citizens communicate, collaborate, and connect to provide five public institutions---integrity, justice, peace, strength, and prosperity---in order to encourage responsible human liberty to living people. My interpretation is for my life, and I thrill to read in public the actual U.S. preamble in unison with civically-engaged fellow citizens.


The idea that law enforcement offers a path to statutory justice, a perfection yet a worthy endeavor, is a consequence of dissidence to the U.S. preamble's proposition. For example, some Christians perceive that communicating, collaborating, and connecting for civic integrity somehow denies their allegiance to Jesus-God. Further, the U.S. preamble's goal, responsible human liberty, is unattainable without a standard that is not subject to human error. The-objective-truth provides the discoverable standards.


My interpretation of the U.S. preamble’s proposition is for me only, and I am open minded to both a better interpretation and a better preamble. However, conformance to the-objective-truth is essential for justice.

Gratitude

I appreciate Kenneth Damann for motivating this study, especially since I had not previously noted the British influence if not dominance of this philosophy resource. [4]



Copyright©2019 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included. Updated on 9/10/19.



[1] Online at https://www.universetoday.com/48619/a-universe-of-10-dimensions/.
[2] Miller, David, "Justice", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/justice/>.
[3] Online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Miller_(political_theorist).
[4] Online at https://plato.stanford.edu/.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Joshua Mitchell’s plea for mercy to Protestant, Abrahamic identity politics



This is to comment on “What is Identity Politics?” or “Why Conservatives Struggle with Identity Politics,” by Joshua Mitchell, National Affairs, No. 40, Summer 2019, Page 117.

Introduction

While I am grateful to Joshua Mitchell for a plausible explanation of identity politics, I think his views are so narrow as to represent an ancient, egregious, pervasive, identity politics: Abrahamic religions as civic moralities. He cites the “Adam’s sin” story but overlooks that it epically represented ancient identity politics that accelerated over perhaps the recent 4,000 years of 10,000 years’ cultural evolution.  Just as Marxism seems economic more than religious, the ancient identity politics seems economically motivated. Constantine partnered with the Church to canonize the Bible (with NT by 405 AD) so as to convert pagan identities to Christian identities in order to control the people under Chapter XI Machiavellianism (The Prince, 1513)[i].

Moreover, to claim Adam’s sin for Western tradition ignores the Arab world that produced the early Abrahamic traditions---Jews, Christians, Muslims, and eight others. Christians and Muslims comprise 55.3% of the world’s population and Jews 0.2%. [ii] In other words, 44.5% of the world’s population is excluded from Mitchell’s religious concerns yet are included in the consequential political and economic drain.

By writing to impose his Christianity on the world economy, Mitchell unintentionally makes our case. We propose reform from competition to preserve dominant traditions to an education system that encourages human integrity; in other words a system that approves and encourages fidelity to the-objective-truth. Thereby, when a person does not know, he or she may freely develop responsible hopes against the unknowns. Thereby, civic cultures may develop individual benefits for living people.

Specifically in the USA, we propose to encourage fellow citizens to establish the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (the U.S. preamble) under the-objective-truth. That is, under the ineluctable evidence on which truth is measured.

Lastly, "mercy" invokes an act of forgiveness for an infidelity that caused harm. The party that perceives harm forgives the party that caused the harm, whether the harmful party admits to guilt or not. Therefore, a plea for mercy is an admission of responsibility for harm. This reader is waiting to learn what Mitchell expresses in his plea for mercy to Protestants.

Sophistic gems in Mitchell’s article

I am impressed with some of the expressions Mitchell shared, more as an opportunity to express my opinion than to appreciate his.

First, Mitchell writes for everyone from proprietary Protestantism. In diverse ways, the Abrahamic religions compete for the image “God’s chosen people.” Mitchell seems to assume that eventually, the worthy people will all understand and accept his Protestantism. He does not seem to realize that the 800 thousand Universal Unitarians in the world have a different political identity as do people who see no need for religious beliefs. I don’t intend to fill in the gaps but to address Mitchell’s points.

On Page 117, Mitchell starts with humankind’s cultural evolution into nations. He clarifies not that the establishments were based on relationships, mostly injurious standards passed on as inheritances. The inheritance of injurious standards can be ended by collaboration, communication, and connection to discover and benefit from the-objective-truth.[iii]

“To be American today is to have an American identity” perhaps begins Mitchell’s Protestant complaint. An American trusts-in and commits-to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution’s proposition. It proposes five public institutions---Union, Justice, Tranquility, defense, and Welfare---in order to secure responsible human liberty to living citizens. Protestantism is not cited in the preamble.

There are only a few Americans who are aware of the preamble’s proposition and none would express it as I do. But the few are strong enough to keep America’s promise to the world alive.

On Page 118, Mitchell, not accepting the U.S. preamble’s exclusion of religion, introduces Christianity into the political-enmity relationships that divided the nations of people into “innocents” and “transgressors.” Adam’s sin story is chronologically Jewish tradition then Muslim competition then Christian imposition. Nevertheless, Mitchell writes, “Pressing Christian imagery further while at the same time distorting it considerably, the transgressor, like Christ, also stands in for those who are purportedly innocent and covers over their stains, so no judgment against their identity may be rendered.” Why doesn’t Mitchell write that Jesus was without sin but was crucified for transgressor’s sins? Why doesn’t Mitchell write that Jesus was God? Does he write for civic clarification or for private satisfaction? It seems psychologically healthy for the believer to consider the mystery of whatever-God-is rather than express the hubris to prefer a human opinion to "know" God. How does whatever-God-is react to the believer's god?

Is Mitchell’s personal frustration exposed when he complains that “white heterosexual men” are “the prime transgressors”? He could admit that political identity with the subjugation of women is a prime mover in the current reform. Then he might begin to get the clue that political imposition of Christianity is offensive. The believer may advantageously, beneficially admit that “the Christian thing to do” is often un-civic identity politics.

On Page 118, Mitchell dates the current dilemma as originating in the 1950s with attention to “progressivism” and “Marxism”; cites the dubious “founding fathers”; and lists authorities on economics, tradition, physics, revelation, and equality. Three of those five topics seem erroneous. Tradition does not aid the living citizen beyond journaling errors to be avoided; revelation is internal to the believer or circular; and equality is not a human condition for either the unique ovum or its embryo. I sometimes read Smith, Hayek, Burke, Aquinas, about Calvin, Lincoln, Einstein, and George Will to avoid mistakes. Only physics, as the object of study plus its offspring such as economics, are of interest to living people in beneficial politics or accountable government. Imaginative human constructs do overrule ineluctable evidence.

On Page 120-21, Mitchell cites the 1991 end of the USSR as the pivot for GOP “agreement to disagree” to surface as failure. He recommends GOP focus on economic viability and adds preservation of “tradition.” He cites economic viability while introducing “mysterious calculus of mercy.” “Conservatives who defend free markets understand only monetary price and relentless competition. Their defense of a middle-class commercial republic, of competent citizens building a world together, therefore falls short of the necessary measure of mercy.” Discovery of better provisions rather than “relentless competition” is fiscally conservative. “Mercy” applies to offenders. People who cannot help themselves need support. However, charity is sometimes necessary to help someone survive rather than to forgive them for offense. From a civic viewpoint, there is no offense in objecting to the public imposition of Protestantism---someone else’s tradition. Protestantism fails as the civic, civil, and legal norm or standard.

On page 122, Mitchell attacks my political identity when he narrows his Protestantism according to “the heartless father . . . and the compassionate wife and mother.” Mitchell’s syntax---no husband and father to balance wife and mother---discloses no appreciation for monogamous marriage for each other's lifetime. It seems Mitchell thinks a woman is valued only for childbearing. I regrettably recall the subjugation of women.

My political identity is not my inheritance: it is the commitments I learned by being a husband and father of three unique humans who originated as my wife’s viable ova. The mature, adolescent male knows that each fertile woman has the potential to produce about 400 viable ova during her fertile years. The authentic man has what I call heterophobia: Awesome appreciation of the obligations of monogamy for life and the potential to become a grandfather. In no way would an authentic man threaten his own happiness by being sexually intimate with a woman he does not appreciate for her confident serenity or other excellent character. Mitchell’s praise of “the heartless father” who makes certain the bills are paid may unintentionally inspire single-parenthood, which is on the rise globally, above 1/3 in American families, and over 2/3 in black American families. Not by heartlessness but by fidelity to the-objective-truth a father decides whether he is worthy or not. Failure to consider the-objective-truth rather than to justify opinion portends repetition of observable misery no one would choose.

Mitchell calls this male dominance “patriarchal” justice, setting up the equivocation of church-charity as mercy. “[The] distorted effort to eliminate the world of payment altogether, which produces a soul that demands everything” morphs from spiritual mystery to civil obligation. On page 123 “[When] the state . . . disburses welfare payments . . . the parishioner and citizen [is] inspired to substitute mercy for justice.” When did the Church have the charity to stop building wealth and using money for power? And charity is like slavery: few want to receive charity.

Fiscal conservatives understand that, through justice as responsible human liberty, “citizens can build a world together” without harmful practices that beg mercy. Mitchell’s harmful practice is the attempt to justify making his Protestant faith a public issue. Let me say this another way. Protestantism as a personal pursuit is not harmful: the attempt to impose Protestantism on a civic people begs ruin.

On page 124, I am reminded that I overlooked many of Mitchell’s patent falsehoods. “Cultural conservatives within the Republican Party . . . defend tradition because civilization is impossible to sustain without it: no inheritance, no civilization.” Tradition is valuable as a journal of past mistakes that living citizens can avoid and otherwise is of no use, for example, consider the present confrontation with “Adam’s sin” as an erroneous story about justice in ancient speculation about whatever-God-is.

Undaunted by a mind that must be screaming for relief, Mitchel, on page 126, erroneously indicts my identity politics with four claims about me: 1) I may appropriate Christ’s innocence, 2) many white, heterosexual men promote the subjugation of women, 3) political justice trumps religious tradition, and 4) Christ’s innocence was political. I do not claim the first opinion, affirm the second and third, and think “maybe so, but so what?” about the fourth.

Mitchell imposes his beliefs as civic issues. “The early Protestants began from an understanding of the brokenness of man and his world. They labored in competence, and sought the grace of God until He returned and "saved the world." Mitchell may admit to himself that he expresses his identity politics in a world that admits at last that nobody knows whatever-God-may-be. Mitchell’s identity politics would “purge all” except “white, heterosexual men.”

On page 127, Mitchell impresses me that he does not care to collaborate, communicate, and connect for mutual, comprehensive safety and security. He introduces his Armageddon. He states, “The comprehensive project that remains, now that the long history of transgression is nearing an end, involves recovering the silenced traditions of the innocents.” Mitchell does not list the innocents’ traditions. I value the U.S. preamble’s proposition for responsible human liberty under the-objective-truth. I think a few Americans have always had these values but never articulate them.

On page 128, Mitchell expresses his most egregious absolute: “Nothing in the world can bring about the redemption of the world.” After 13.7 billion years' evolution of physics, 4.6 billion years evolution of earth, 60 million years evolution of placental mammals, 3 million years evolution of humanoids, 150 thousand years evolution of grammar, and about 10,000 years’ evolution of culture, it seems evident that whatever-God-may-be depends upon humankind to develop peace in this world. And I think development of responsible human liberty using the-objective-truth, whether the U.S. preamble’s proposition is used or not, can develop the five institutions needed to secure liberty to living citizens. The world has no original sin and is developing integrity, so there is no need for either redemption or mercy.


I did not yet comment on Mitchell's curiosity about "identity politics" usage. Google says "a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics." Wikipedia's says "a political approach and analysis based on people prioritizing the concerns most relevant to their particular racial, religious, ethnic, sexual, social, cultural or other identity, and forming exclusive political alliances with others of this group, instead of engaging in more traditional, broad-based party politics. Those who prioritize their particular type of identity politics may promote their group's interests without regard for the interests of larger, more diverse political groups that are based in shared theory. In academic usage, the term identity politics has been used to refer to a wide range of political activities and theoretical analysis rooted in experiences of injustice shared by different social groups. In this usage, identity politics typically aims to reclaim greater self-determination and political freedom for marginalized groups through understanding each interest group's distinctive nature and challenging externally imposed characterizations, instead of organizing solely around belief systems or party affiliations. Identity is used ‘as a tool to frame political claims, promote political ideologies, or stimulate and orientate social and political action, usually in a larger context of inequality or injustice and with the aim of asserting group distinctiveness and belonging and gaining power and recognition.’" Merriam-Webster lists various usages. Some of the explanations remind me of assertions by either Alinsky-Marxist organizations (AMO), Marxism, or liberation theology. Mitchell did not seem to care.

That completes my page by page review of my opinions about some of Mitchell’s opinions. I now turn to a thematic response to the article.

Themes in Mitchell’s article

Perhaps Mitchell’s thesis is that his heritage that is, his Protestantism, has given the world so much good that it deserves mercy without reform from the bad---just keep the tradition alive. He claims, “[The] project of [identity politics is] substituting mercy for justice.” He cites Adam’s sin and attributes it to Christian tradition rather than Jewish lore. Adam seems a personification in a controversially Jewish creation story that was appropriated by Muslims (before they were called Muslims), early Christians, and others.

After all the "scholarship" about epic stories, each of the 3 major Abrahamic religions is divided by its own identity politics. For example, the Church of England seems like one of the reformed Catholicisms more than a Protestantism. There are thousands of Protestantisms.

From Adam to the kingdom stories leading to Abraham, the mystery of whatever-God-is (perhaps either an almighty intelligence that leaves ultimate survival to humankind, or statistical chaos, or military strength) manages what Mitchell refers to as “inheritances” and eventually makes covenants with Abraham.[iv] A key covenant is with Abraham and his son, either Isaac or Ishmael or both.[v]

Jews, Muslims, and Christians each interpret the covenants in ways to claim their favor from whatever-God-is. None of them publicly appreciate that whatever-God-is seems not to respond to reason, revelation, history, or other erroneous human construct. Military strength seems key to establishing dominant opinion. For example, Native Americans think whatever-God-is has red skin if any. That is, Native Americans argue skin color in opposition to oppression by "white skins" under the 15th century, Catholic doctrine of discovery that was accelerated by competing Protestant kings.

Perhaps for Mitchell’s article, the Abrahamic descendants practiced the original identity politics. But instead of recognizing the competitive transgressors, Mitchell attributes Adam’s sin to one factional group: Christians. Mitchell wants Christians to receive mercy. Mercy from whom and to which Christian faction? Which covenant theology does Mitchell maintain? Has he considered the covenant with African-American Christianity?[vi] Some proponents deny identity politics, even as they demand agreement that “all men are created” more than conceived.[vii]

Does mercy contribute to peace?

Stepping away from Mitchell’s writing, it seems plausible that in the evolutions of cultures, a common goal is mutual, comprehensive safety and security, hereafter Security. Certainly that could be the individual’s hope, and in particular communities—for example, those with civic citizens--it seems the collective hope. If so, economic feasibility is essential. Anyone who is collaborating for economic feasibility with Security is forgiven, or in Mitchell’s terms an innocent. Dissidents to Security, a parallel to Mitchell’s “transgressors,” need reform before appreciation and appreciation before respect. Reform is the transgressor’s obligation, but confrontation for their harm is the responsibility of a civic people. Contribution to Security establishes reform.

Humankind has vast needs in goods and services. In freedom-from tyranny, an individual’s preferential needs are met by willing suppliers. Innovators anticipate the need and entrepreneurs arrange the supply. The individual may decide whether he or she will actually purchase a good or service depending upon whether someone is willing to supply it at a viable price or not. When few people want an item, the alert supplier stops producing it. Thus, people change employment as the market changes. In freedom-from tyranny, responsible human liberty manages the market. The individual stays informed about the market and either finds a replacement when a customary product is no longer available or changes personal practice. The worker qualifies for new employment when the old is obsolete. This free-market is driven by the-objective-truth or ineluctable evidence.

The human condition involves a hierarchy of responsibilities.[viii] The person who wants to eat without thanking a bureaucrat for unchosen food knows to earn a living. Likewise the person who wants freedom-from oppression so as to have the liberty-to pursue the happiness he or she prefers collaborates for Security rather than submits to the dictates of someone else. In other words, people collaborate on the-objective-truth rather than opinion.

Mercy means “compassionate treatment of those in distress.” When an individual collaborates for Security, requesting mercy seems disingenuous. In other words, mercy is due the individual who cannot contribute to Security rather than to the dissident. As stated above, the dissident needs to reform, contribute, and be appreciated in order to earn respect. Protestants who collaborate for civic integrity are appreciated.

Mitchell indicates his Christianity

Mitchell seems to recommend as collective Christianity scholarly ideas I consider erroneous: Smith’s proprietary economics, Hayek’s individualism without civic integrity, Burke’s assertion that religion trumps the-objective-truth, Aquinas’s assertion that integrity is determined by reason, Calvin’s interpretation that the Bible corrects the ineluctable evidence by which the-objective-truth is discovered, and Lincoln’s claim that the U.S. preamble’s proposition calls for “self-governance” rather than self-discipline. If that list of thinkers represents Mitchell’s “conservative movement,” I do not recommend it for a conservative-identity politician. What I promote is the U.S. preamble’s responsible human liberty under the-objective-truth. Most responsible humans want Security.

One difference between my opinions and those of Mitchell may be that I earned my opinions through my experiences and observations on developing a civic citizens’ life rather than religious devotion. By that I mean never stop developing fidelity to the-objective-truth no matter what agency attempts dissuasion. I trust that Mitchell perceives his opinions in the same way and would be glad to collaborate, communicate, and connect with him. I’d listen hoping that we may discover an achievable better future using the U.S. preamble’s proposition (or better from his civic ideas) under the-objective-truth. But it takes mutual work and time to discover a better future. In other words, Mitchell might be amenable to collaboration after a decade or two contemplating the-objective-truth about the universe rather than Christian opinion about other worlds. I make this suggestion from experience. My hope is that Mitchell will either get started on his reform or write to me to convince me I must accept his God in ways I did not encounter in my 5-decades work to accept Christianity when all the while I trusted-in and was committed to the-objective-truth. In other words, I was not among the elect and did not know it. I wasted a lot of life trying to convince my person to be the Christian and Protestant Mom and Dad hoped for.

It took a quarter century after marriage for me to overcome my certitude as an aspiring Southern Baptist so as to glimpse comprehension of my Louisiana-French Catholic wife’s faith in the mystery of her God. I had never considered the meaning of "the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God." Thank goodness I reformed in time to beg her apology and focus on her happiness during another quarter century. Now, we happily anticipate our third quarter-century as spouses and civic citizens---her with faith in her God (which seems unique to her) and me with faith-in the-objective-truth.

I hope reform, appreciation, and peace is in the near future for the identity groups that now compete for political dominance when they could collaborate, communicate, and connect for responsible human liberty.

Mitchell erroneously invokes slavery

Why address the identity politics of reparations for American slavery when there could be reparations for militant monotheism? Are Native Americans first in line for U.S. reparations? I don’t know the traditions of Africa, where the slave-commodity flourished, but should they fork over reparations funding? And what about the European nations that placed slaves here under the doctrine of discovery? And what about the non-African slaves placed here?

What about white abolitionists? It is arbitrary to generalize animus against “white heterosexual men” and ignore both the abolitionists, the free-state advocates of 1856’s Bleeding Kansas, and the citizens of today who collaborate for responsible human liberty rather than dominance based on skin-color.

On July 31, 2019, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed parliament in Ghana on the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arriving in the US (Jamestown, 1719), she did not cite the commodity sellers, the traders, and the British buyers.[ix] She said that a locale that once exported black slaves is a leader in exporting security beyond its borders.” Really? How does the USA benefit?

By 1763, colonial-British citizens accepted that they were being enslaved as overseers of England’s African slaves for agricultural enterprise. The colonists rebelled and in 1774 called their portions of the land “states” even though Native Americans considered them tribal lands and England considered them their colonies. With France’s strategy and superior military power, the eastern-seaboard states won political independence from England in 1781. The U.S. for whom Pelosi expresses identity politics often citing the lame, “we, the people,” was established on June 21, 1788 under a proposition I doubt Pelosi comprehends:  The civic, civil, and legal agreement that is offered each citizen in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Its proposition is responsible human liberty. Again, Pelosi has no comprehension of responsible human liberty.

But I do not think Pelosi is too naïve to surmise that some African-American Christians think God is black, God’s chosen people are black, and the only way a white woman can save her soul is to help African-Americans win black supremacy. Pelosi reminds me of a Scots-Irish saying from my Farley grandmother:  Worse things have happened to better people.

People ignore the religious lessons of the American Civil War. The 1860 declaration of secession[x] seems subtle: “Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.”

Robert E. Lee was not subtle: “The painful discipline [the blacks] are undergoing, is . . . ordered by a wise & merciful Providence. Although the abolitionist must Know this; Still I fear he will persevere in his evil Course.”[xi] Lee was erroneously influenced by Christian ministers to hate abolitionists. Ministers influence people to both refute HIPEA and to ignore the-objective-truth. Ministers seem the original authors of identity politics.

Mitchell invokes the mystery of “the founding fathers”

Who are the founding fathers to whom Mitchell attributes “constitutional constraints placed on the federal government?” Does Mitchell even care to distinguish those of some 250 in the list to whom he refers? The U.S. preamble’s proposition claims that the nation's purpose is to secure liberty us and to Posterity. The 39 of 55 delegates who signed the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 made it possible for the people’s representatives of 9 of 13 eastern-seaboard states to establish the U.S. Constitution, negating the opinions of perhaps some Mitchell-founders; we don't know who they are. 

In 2019, fellow citizens who accept the U.S. preamble’s proposition have the prerogative to maintain the USA. Those who want Marxism, communism, socialism, or any other form of government may vote for representatives who will support their cause. Whereas “political correctness” is an erroneous, evaluation-based phrase, it spawned “identity politics” which prompts citizens to consider their political positions. I advocate the-objective-truth as the standard for human justice and urge Mitchell to consider the ineluctable evidence that is available to everyone.

So far, it seems the majority want to collaborate for freedom-from oppression by providing five public institutions---Union, Justice, Tranquility, defense, and Welfare---so as to secure responsible human liberty to living citizens. However, no one is leading the way to widespread application. I appeal to my U.S. Senators to recommend to the Senate the unison reading of the preamble to start each day. And I appeal to my metro-council woman and my mayor-president to make June 21, 2020 Responsible Human Liberty Day in Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

The lesson of the Civil War is that only superior military power can overthrow the responsible human liberty that was established in the USA on June 21, 1788. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln drew attention to military might, stating “If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.”[xii] Unfortunately anyone who considered themselves of We the People of the United States as defined by U.S. preamble begged ruin by not taking civic action to prevent their state politicians from seceding from the USA.

Young as it is, the U.S. preamble’s civic, civil, and legal power has not yet been accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, its power seems evident in the deliberate and slow actions of the majority. Americans demand responsible human liberty and therefore enforce responsibility, as a civic people did in the Civil War.

Denigrating both men and Christianity

Mitchell claims the Calvinist “heartless father” and “compassionate wife and mother” as well as church attendance have declined in the last half century and blames the welfare state for the effect. He quotes Bible verses containing “the poor will always be with us" while ignoring 94 verses about wives submitting to husbands. He brushes aside the subjugation of women. In his view, welfare payments replaced “charity and mercy” as “justice by heart.”

In my view, men, falsely persuaded they are “boss of the home” under church teaching, often choose to abuse both wife and children. Ministers advocating the heartless father is no better than ministers persuading Robert E. Lee to regard abolitionists of Bleeding Kansas as expendable. Many women, expecting their spouse to discipline children by example are appalled by their husband’s behavior after the wedding ceremony.

Armed with awareness, many women avoid arbitrary subjugation and perhaps erroneously become mothers even though they do not want to parent with any of the men they know or expect to meet. Unfortunately, many single mothers rely on the church as surrogate for father for their children. Powered by the Internet, mothers may now discover the hatred expressed in the Bible[xiii] and turn to the-objective-truth as the standard for justice.

Mitchell speculates that Jesus’s power is limited

Many people write about the mystery of whatever-God-is. Some people equate God to Jesus. That seems the Catholic mystery: Jesus and God are the same. Mitchell describes the innocents group as equivalents to Jesus. I think Jesus offers believers comfort and hope against the unknowns and would not deny them their choice, especially if they publicly behave for Security.

Suggestion for relief from identity politics

Identity politicians, including Christians, who want the public to evaluate whatever-God-is are at a proven disadvantage:  Responsible Americans collectively pursue individual happiness with civic integrity regardless of religious beliefs whether internal or external. Perhaps “identity politics” will draw attention to civic integrity whereas “political correctness” could not do so.

Social democracy advocates may join the collaboration for mutual, comprehensive safety and security.

I appreciate readers as well as writers like Mitchell and hope to learn improvements on the U.S. preamble’s proposition under the-objective-truth as tools for an achievable better future in the USA and perhaps beyond.

Copyright©2019 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included. Revised 9/3/2019 regarding mercy and forgiveness and 9/10/19 to update and add "identity politics" usage.



[iii] The-objective-truth is the ineluctable evidence by which truth, reason, revelation, justice, and other human constructs are judged.
[viii] Consider https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html as responsibilities to self rather than needs.
[xiii] John 15:18-23 seems especially egregious, and it is not included in online lists of Bible verses that contain the word “hate.” The online source at https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Hating-God does list John 15:23, but that does not have the election expressed in the complete passage.