A Metaphysical View in Philosophy
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “All of this discussion, this is just a simple rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic. You can’t define what a conservative is. You can’t define what a liberal is. For the most part, the term conservative is nothing more than an advertising slogan. If you’re trying to sell a book or television show or website or whatever, call it conservative. If you’re trying to sell the opposite, call it liberal. That’s it. That’s the extent of it.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Before I go any further, I just want to try to explain something briefly before I get a boatload and an entire mailbox filled with, [mocking] “You treated that man with such disrespect and contempt. He was trying to inform you.” First of all, he was not trying to inform me. He was relaying something to me that he had heard from someone else. Specifically, the first hour of this program, what we talked about was the chaos that is in the House of Representin’, and about the braggadocio that was coming my way yesterday afternoon with this group and that group, and some of them were Tea Party groups, boasting and bragging that they had harpooned a RINO, Republican in name only. I said: Okay, for that to make logical sense, please tell me what an actual Republican is. Then we got into a little discussion about that. Then, can we even define the term conservatism or liberalism? From there I tried to introduce the concept again, and I will continue to do this because I think it’s important, and that is that these terms that we throw about, this is the result of nominalism.
If I just throw out, [mocking] “If we get the right conservatives in there against them nasty liberals and kick them damn liberals outta there, you just wait and see. Everything’s gonna be right with the world.” All you did when you say something to that effect is, if the two terms are not defined, and they’re not — they’re very subjective. All you did was throw out two names. You threw out conservative and liberal and they’re going to duke it out. Then I tried to give the example of, if there was a fire and I said: Hey, there’s a fire. Get me some water to throw on it. By their own nature, we know what a fire is and we know what water is. We know what water does to fire unless there’s a grease fire. There’s an exception. If I were to say: It’s a grease fire. Get argon gas. We know what that does to a grease fire. The point is that that’s not nominalism. That’s reality.
All of this discussion, this is just a simple rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic. You can’t define what a conservative is. You can’t define what a liberal is. For the most part, the term conservative is nothing more than an advertising slogan. If you’re trying to sell a book or television show or website or whatever,
call it conservative. If you’re trying to sell the opposite, call it liberal. That’s it. That’s the extent of it. Also, it would seem to me, if we took the term conservative and we were to get to its etymology and what it’s supposed to mean, it means to reserve. That’s what it means. Reserving something is simple. It’s not a chaotic practice. Therefore the conservative would then be simple.
Look, if you love political theater and you love that discussion and you love the tit vs. tat and the red vs. blue and the Red Sox vs. Yankees and red state vs. blue state, and conservative vs. the liberal, have at it. It’s theater and it’s entertainment. It doesn’t and hasn’t solved problems. We have serious problems, folks, serious. We’re about to talk about one of them that affects everyone. Too many people think it doesn’t affect them but it most certainly does and will. To the Dude Maker Skype Hotline and our special guest, Chris Ferrara, who is here live from the suburban hinterlands of Richmond, Virginia.
Chris Ferrara: Good morning, Mike.
Mike: Mr. Ferrara, how are you?
Ferrara: Good, but actually not the suburban hinterlands. I’m right in the historic district in the center of Richmond.
Mike: You must be an old Confederate then.
Mike: Before we get started on anything, I know you studied some of this back in your schooldays, and probably still do. Was my explanation of nominalism versus truth pretty accurate?
Ferrara: I think you must be some kind of subversive, Mike, because you’re talking about the true meaning of things and definitions of things, and how you can’t really have an intelligent discussion unless you arrive at the objective, universal meaning of concepts such as conservative. What is nominalism? Nominalism asserts, in the sense in which you’re talking about it, that there are names for things such as conservative, morality, peace, and so forth. The names don’t reflect any actual universal truths. We only have conventional understandings of these names for things, which can change over time. That’s why the notion of conservatism changes over time, because it doesn’t have a universal meaning behind the name, hence nominalism. The nominalist looks at the names of things and will either say there is no universal, or there isn’t even an abstract concept. It’s just a meaningless term.
In the sense in which you’re using it, everyone uses these terms such as conservatism in a nominalist way, meaning they think it has some kind of meaning, but they really can’t pin it down. They’re implicitly denying the universal meaning of the names of things, hence nominalism. This is a very profound critique of modern thinking that you’re offering people. It’s profound but it’s really quite simple. It comes down to the question: What do we mean when we say things?
Mike: We don’t mean very much, unfortunately. You also have these guys all dancing on Kevin McCarthy’s grave, [mocking] “We harpooned a RINO.” So that means there must be some form of Republican then that is not in name only, again, nominalism. What is it? What does that monster, that beast look like? I always say to people: If you’re talking about Republican in name only, that must mean how the party was conceived back in the late 1850s and 1860s. These men were known as the Radical Republicans. These were a bunch of lunatics. These were whackos. These are the men that gave us the 14th Amendment, for Heaven’s sake. I think that some of their motivations in the 14th Amendment were correct, but my heaven’s did they screw it up. They’re also the ones that signed off on and gave Lincoln legislative authority to wage his war of aggression against the Southern states, regardless of what you believe about that cause. There was blood shed to the tune of 750,000 dead Americans as a result of this. If that’s what a Republican is, you can count me out.
Ferrara: There are two sides to that problem. I agree with you about the analysis of the Radical Republicans. They in turn were reacting to the so-called conservatives of the South whose so-called prescriptive solution to the problems of the country was take up arms and start killing people.
That’s not conservatism either. Basically you have two huge liberal factions contending with each other, one of them claiming to be wearing the mantle of authentic liberty. It’s just an inter-nesting squabble, a very blood one, the worst civil war in Western history, between two essentially liberal factions. America exhibits the history of this problem of nominalism. When you cast off attachment to universal meanings of things, the meanings of things tend to drift with popular consensus. That’s exactly what we’re seeing now in terms of morality, the definition of marriage. The list is endless.
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Mike: I was just getting ready to say that. While we’re on this subject here, and to keep it in the modern times and the issues that we are currently dealing with here today, you just said the term marriage. Western civilized man has visited upon the term marriage and attached some things to it that contravene the historical, traditional, and ecclesiastical definition of the term. You have to go back and trace this back if you really want to get an accurate history of it. We’ll skip that for today so we can just say we’ve discussed this in the past. The real trouble began with the English sovereign Henry VIII. That’s where the trouble began. From there, more and more authority was accorded to these things that are rising called states and nation-states. We had borders and this state versus that state. Then states were saying: If we can define that, then we can define this. All of a sudden now states are issuing licenses. It’s no longer exclusively a sacrament that is administered, that you enter into. The whole thing is just a disaster from the time of Henry VIII to the present. Logically you would say, or perhaps historically or polemically you would say that you expect homosexual marriages to come from the devolution, right?
Ferrara: It’s absolutely inevitable when you — again, this term nominalism crops up — when you adopt the nominalist approach to marriage and you don’t carefully define and fix as a universal what marriage is. What is the definition of marriage? It’s an indissoluble union of one man and one woman before God for the primary end of the procreation of children, their rearing, and the filling up of the number of the . . .
End Mike Church Show Transcript