the core debate

William F. Gavan gets right down to the heart of the never ending political debate western civilization has experienced for at least the last 300 years. (prototypes of these positions, of course existed long before that.)

Mr. Gavin says the debate should be as follows:

Do you hold, with the founders, that there are truths about the human condition that are self-evident, accessible to reason, definable and defensible? If so, give us your philosophical reasons why this is so. If not, on what basis are your views on human rights formed, and why do you believe that the founders were erroneous in their assertions about self-evident truths?

and here is why he believes this debate is important and foundational:

What we have in the United States today is not an ideological battle, or even a cultural war, but something larger and deeper: a true clash of irreconcilable philosophic views, not just about abortion, but about truth. One of those views encompasses all that is best in the Western tradition from antiquity until now, including the findings of science, and the other holds that everything that is essential to human betterment in the modern world began during the Enlightenment, and everything preceding that was obscurantist, credulous, and bloody. From the mad-dog attacks of the New Atheists to the absurd mental gymnastics of Justice Harry Blackman in Roe v. Wade, from New York Times editorials to movies and TV dramas, the strategy is always the same: create a climate of doubt about the possibility of objective truth, discoverable by reason; corrupt the inherited intuitive wisdom by which the people have always lived; construct and then promulgate through mass-media entertainment a philosophy that puts an end to all philosophy, destroying civility in its broadest and deepest sense. Define, deride, delegitimize, deconstruct, then destroy.

if that isn’t the best description of the current political debate in this country, then I have no idea what it would otherwise be. He just nails it.

for bonus points go read what Mr. Gavin thinks President Obama meant when he called for “civility” in the abortion debate.

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