Socrates, Father of Liberalism and Other Disasters

Enough for now about Muslims. I am getting tired of Muslims, and I am sure they are getting tired of me (if any were reading). In this post, I return to my favorite subject, philosophy. I think that it is the most important subject in the world and in our personal lives. I have my own flavor and slant, of course, using philosophy to work toward a specific goal. But I think philosophy is the most powerful tool of the human mind; the software of the human computer….. and I hope that you will begin to agree with me, at least about that point. Then, we can expand the scope of the “software” to include metaphysical or spiritual entities, even God, but that is another topic. Here, my main topic is Socrates and his unfortunate influence on us today.

People tend to think that liberal philosophy is fairly new, in comparison to other trends of thought in history. Currently, liberals like to label themselves as Progressives, as if they are actually making any worthy progress with their warped thinking. But they are indeed making progress, toward some very unworthy goals. They are being led by liberal philosophers such as Socrates (469-399 BC), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) and John Rawls (1921-2002), who formed key liberal concepts that are very strong today, even though most liberals may not be aware of their influence. All four are dead, but their impressive legacy lives on. They were four of the wizards behind the curtain of liberalism. Alinsky was a dark wizard, who scoffed at traditional liberals as moralistic fools, and turned liberalism down a dark path of deception, lying, and abandoning all ethics to accomplish goals. Alinsky’s dark turn had great influence upon both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. This is the true “progress” of progressives. And for those who are aware of the dark influence of Alinsky, it is their “dirty little secret” which they can never admit publicly. It is what separates them from traditional liberals, and what has enabled them to become the leaders of the liberal flock. But they are radical wolves in liberal sheepskins.

Most historical summaries whitewash Alinsky’s career, and gloss over his lack of ethics. But he clearly called for lying, character assassination, misdirection and deception in his infamous methods of “community organizing”. And he had a bizarre fixation on Satan and Hell. With a dedication page, he actually dedicated his most unethical book, “Rules for Radicals”, to Lucifer, the first rebel. Then, two months before his unexpected death by heart attack in 1972, he did an interview with Playboy magazine, with the following macabre exchange:

ALINSKY: … if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.
PLAYBOY: Why?
ALINSKY: Hell would be heaven for me. All my life I’ve been with the have-nots. Over here, if you’re a have-not, you’re short of dough. If you’re a have-not in hell, you’re short of virtue. Once I get into hell, I’ll start organizing the have-nots over there.
PLAYBOY: Why them?
ALINSKY: They’re my kind of people.

I guess Alinsky was trying to be witty and funny here. To reciprocate, one can only hope that Alinsky got his wish, for he was very short of virtue, to say the least. He can collaborate with Socrates, rousing the rabble and have-nots of hell. But he would have little time for rabble-rousing, for in hell, there would be far more terrifying predators than the little agnostic Jew rebel, Saul Alinsky. They would not be his kind of people. He would be far out-classed, and there would be no audience for his wit and humor, nor for his little unethical schemes.

Nothing New Here….. Just Dumber and More Arrogant Than Before

With their elitist intolerance, masquerading as tolerance, both liberals and progressives are tearing down much wisdom of the ages. They think they are replacing the old with the new, but they are mistaken. Their arrogance, their foolishness, their errors go back just as far as conservatism. Stupidity masquerading as wisdom is nothing new….. in fact, logically the stupidity had to come first. Just read the Book of Proverbs in the Bible, with all it has to say about “fools” and their arrogance. You might read there about some people you know today….. and they are likely to be liberal.

The deeper we dig, the farther back in time we go, to find the historic roots of liberalism. Modern liberalism in America goes as far back as President Woodrow Wilson, with his strong pacifism and efforts for social reform. As we go further back, the trail becomes harder to see, but it is still there. Issues change, and labels become confusing. In England, the Liberal party started as the Whig party, trying to limit powers of the Crown and protect the rights of citizens in the mid-1700’s. Before that in Europe, liberalism shared common cause with the early Protestant struggles against the tyranny of the Catholic Church. We can grant liberalism a symbolic hand in the Magna Carta, and the following European struggles against unjust monarchy. The trail becomes faint as we go back through the Dark Ages of Europe. But then the faint trail gets stronger, and we can trace some of the key philosophical components of liberalism back to the birth of Western philosophy itself, in its homeland of Greece. And in doing so, we can begin to understand modern liberalism better than most liberals understand it themselves.

Socrates, The First Liberal

Liberalism had an agitated start with the philosophy of Socrates (469-399 BC), the master Greek philosopher, and the first wizard behind the curtain of liberalism. Socrates was a brilliant but controversial statesman, and served as a senior Senator of Athens. He reminds me of Bernie Sanders. His passion was for moral reform, and he would argue his convictions regardless of whom he offended, just like modern liberals. He constantly challenged accepted ideas and traditional values, just like modern liberals. He would engage prominent people in conversation, get his opponent to state some fact or opinion, and then cleverly demolish that fact or opinion, just to show that we are all ultimately ignorant fools who have no real knowledge.
Socrates I know nothing

Socrates was perhaps the very first ‘liberal’ thinker, as that political and social term is defined today. He was spawned by the first democracy, in Athens. But he turned on it, to condemn and criticize, to bite the hand that fed him. He questioned the values of his democratic society of Athens to such an extent, that he chose to die rather than forsake his own values. That was most admirable of him, and he is rightly honored for it (plus it got him out of the way, to do no further damage, a bonus in this case).

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Socrates blinded
My reaction to this quote….. was Socrates on some Greek drug???

Socrates was so busy telling us what we did not know, so busy contradicting popular opinions, that he devalued the seeking of knowledge, making it seem futile. After tearing down traditional morals and ideas, he had nothing better to offer in their place, other than empty platitudes about humility and pacifism, which he did not even follow himself.

Unfortunately, Socrates had a very naive idea of evil, which provided liberalism with a foundation for their wrong ideas concerning evil, persisting to the present day. Or rather, we could say, Socrates was simply the first to pronounce a common wrong idea concerning evil, that most liberals form in their own minds, whether they ever heard of Socrates or not. But Socrates certainly helped to formalize and institutionalize it. That common idea concerning evil has found followers in every society from Socrates’ Athens to modern America, and it has gained much strength. It is an essential part of the basic ideas and the world-view that compose the frame of mind that we call “liberal.” But it can clearly be traced back to Socrates through the history of philosophy.

Socrates do not return injjuty evil absurd

The above quote from Socrates is absurd, equating all injury (violence) with evil and injustice. But injury or violence is not inherently evil or unjust. Violence can certainly be good and justified, when it is destroying active predatory evil. This pacifist pronouncement of Socrates invalidates all our military and police forces. It also prevents us from defending ourselves from the predatory violence of criminals. Socrates would call this “returning an injury” and evil. Usually, in the real world, it takes justified violence to stop unjust violence. The above quote from Socrates is nonsensical moralistic fantasy, but it sounds just like what we hear from idealistic liberal pacifists today. It was partially reinforced by Jesus with his teachings of “love your enemy” and “turn the other cheek”, but it remains an idealistic pacifism, which Jesus himself did not follow when he violently drove the merchants out of the temple.

When Jesus did this, disrupting the business of many merchants, costing them money and possibly damaging their tables and such, possibly allowing their sacrifice animals to escape, possibly even attacking them bodily with a whip, he undoubtedly did what Socrates called “an injustice” and “returning an injury” and “doing evil”. I would disagree with Socrates, and I suspect that you would disagree, too. What Jesus did was justified violence, to stop an ongoing active injustice, the only way he could. He did not stop it for long, just a day or two, but he made his teaching point for the ages. Point well taken, and to be followed, I would say.

Turning to the basic definitions of good and evil, Socrates spun an even bigger fantasy. Socrates taught that no one does evil knowingly, but that they do evil only because they are ignorant of the good. Three key quotes attributed to him (by his student Plato) are:

“The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance.”
“To prefer evil to good is not in human nature.”
“No one errs voluntarily.”

Many years ago, I first read these pronouncements with utter disbelief and shock. Could any person really be this naïve?? Let alone one of the ‘greats’ of Greek philosophy? This goes beyond moral naiveté, and approaches sheer stupidity. The basic contradictions in Sorates’ pronouncements are monumental. Here he says the only good is knowledge. Elsewhere he said that he knows nothing. Therefore, by his own warped logic, Socrates was not good because he had no knowledge. He was ignorant, so he must have been evil, by his own reasoning.

Socrates could not have been more wrong about this basic issue. Goodness is a great deal more than knowledge, and evil is a great deal more than ignorance. The most horrifying crimes and atrocities in the world are committed by people who knowingly choose predatory evil as the best way to get what they want, who embrace it and use its natural advantages to control or destroy others. Modern psychology classifies these people as narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths. These evil people are extremely smart, using knowledge of many things to carry out their objectives. Socrates could not have been more wrong about the relationship of knowledge and morality.

But this position was symptomatic of his unsinkable optimism; his own persistent goodness; his deep faith in the basic goodness of humanity; that we are not evil but ignorant; which is commendable but sadly misplaced.

I maintain that humanity is not morally ignorant, that regardless of mental disabilities, we all have basic moral competence; moral autonomy; the ability to discern good and evil, and freely choose between them. This is a far cry from saying that all humans are basically good, but ignorant, which is what Socrates insisted. This remains the basic “liberal faith” today, which you will begin to recognize.

In the tradition of Socrates, whether they trace it back to him or not, many “modern” liberal philosophers and sociologists have tried to argue that there is no true evil, that bad behavior is caused by misunderstandings, difficult childhoods, lack of education or poverty. Atheistic science lends a hand, for if there is no soul or spirit possessed of free will, then we must find other reasons that people misbehave. Many scientists on the cutting edge of biological discovery try to blame misbehavior on genes, hormones, and “chemical imbalances” in the brain. But even this is a tired old argument, going back at least to Socrates in its basic form. For if, as Socrates taught, “ignorance is the only evil,” then science can busy itself with eliminating evil, by gaining new knowledge about the human body. But if evil is choice, then it can never be eliminated or excused, and science is wasting its time and resources trying to do so. By trying to argue that evil is not a choice, liberals try to destroy free will and moral responsibility.

And worse, if evil is a choice, then any other explanation simply assists evil in its mission to deceive and destroy. In the effort to define evil, the stakes are very high. If you get the definition of evil wrong, then you are part of the problem of evil, for you are helping it remain hidden.

Take President Obama, for example. He is definitely part of the problem of evil. He and his progressive comrades are trying to tell us that people are becoming Muslim terrorists for ISIS, because they are poor and oppressed and don’t have jobs. This has been countered as wrong. It is also sheer stupidity on the scale of Socrates, and indeed, it goes right back to the teachings of Socrates. Obama is agreeing with Socrates that “the only evil is ignorance” and “no one errs voluntarily”, so all we have to do is educate the young Muslim punks properly, give them good jobs, give them money, and they will see the liberal, progressive light. This sounds like something Socrates would do, if he were president.

And it will not work, because the basic premises are completely false. Evil has almost nothing to do with ignorance. Evil is moral choice, a choice to be a self-serving, abusive, destructive predator upon other humans. The young Muslim punks will take everything that stupid people like Obama will give them, and still cut your head off or blow you up, yelling “Allahu Akbar!” What a shame that Obama is so well protected, that he does not receive the direct results of his stupidity. Others are dying instead of him, because of his stupidity and wrong liberal philosophy.
The Downfall of Socrates

Socrates, on the other hand, unlike Obama, did receive the direct results of his stupidity. He professed loyalty to Athens and its gods, but not to any one man or social class within Athens. There were several class struggles and ethical debates during his career; he made enemies in all of them. His misconception of evil was his downfall. He did not understand the true nature of evil, but he aroused evil in his enemies, and they destroyed him. During the search for scapegoats after an Athenian revolt threw off the rule of Sparta, Socrates was charged with subverting the state religion and corrupting Athenian youth.

In the trial, both charges were successfully refuted by Socrates. But the real purpose of the trial was for Socrates’ enemies to humble him and check his abrasive and uncompromising expose’ of their community’s faults. They wanted to shut him up, not kill him. But in the trial, he held nothing back and attacked them with the pettiness and meanness of their true motives, and steadfastly refused to ease his assault of society’s faults. He said “…understand that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.” This was at the end of his scouring statement of his innocence, and the courtroom erupted in agitation at what they saw as Socrates’ supreme arrogance. The jurors condemned him to death (the democratic decision was 280 to 221 out of 501 jurors), but it was plain that the real “crime” being punished was egotistical arrogance, not the official charges. Socrates went to his death still refusing to see the true nature of evil, or anything else.

Throughout his career, Socrates acknowledged his own great ignorance, and sought to convince others of their great ignorance, so that together the human race could begin to truly seek knowledge, in humility and brotherhood. But this great mission of his was doomed from the start, because his basic premise was completely wrong. He was constantly frustrated in his mission by the fact that knowledge is morally neutral, that knowledge is necessary for both good and evil to be accomplished. Furthermore, most men and women are arrogantly convinced that they already possess knowledge….. all the knowledge they need. The sad fact is, nobody has all the knowledge they need, so they should proceed with caution and humility. But 99 percent of people act as if they do have all the knowledge they need, when much of their knowledge is faulty, and they will not accept any criticism of their faulty knowledge.

This is a tragic truth of human life: ignorance breeds arrogance, and arrogance breeds ignorance. And this truth is nothing new….. the Book of Proverbs taught much the same, thousands of years ago. Ignorance and arrogance feed upon each other. The greater a person’s ignorance, the more arrogant delusions they have of their great knowledge, which is actually severely limited. And the greater their arrogance, the more upset they were when Socrates challenged their limited knowledge.

Throughout his career, Socrates committed himself to a difficult and dangerous task. He had to convince people of their great ignorance, without turning them into his enemies. He failed at this task, without realizing he was failing, because in his own ignorant arrogance, he refused to acknowledge the existence of hostile, malicious evil. While he won his arguments, and the verbal agreement of his opponents, some of them must have silently cursed him and sought to defeat him another way. They eventually succeeded in having him tried and condemned.

socrates takes hemlock

Before Socrates drinks the hemlock

While Socrates awaited his death, his loyal friends bribed the jailors and planned to smuggle him out of the state. This is what the Athenian government would have preferred. But he refused his friends’ help, saying that since he had enjoyed the protection of Athenian law all his life, duty demanded that he abide by its decrees to the end. This was faulty logic, but it was the course he selected to demonstrate his convictions, that virtue is far more precious than physical life. So he drank the required cup of hemlock, and the buzzing ‘gadfly of truth’ was silenced, to leave the corrupt people of Athens in peace.

Socrates after drinking hemlock

After Socrates drinks the hemlock

Socrates was an ignorant fool (which he freely acknowledged, at least the ignorant part), but then he brazenly contradicted himself and acted like he knew something, and tried to teach us about good and evil, the most important subjects in the world. He was very wrong about good and evil, and it cost him his life. This may have been a good thing, because his wrong teachings about good and evil contributed greatly to evil, helping it to remain hidden. Those teachings needed to stop, and the angry juror-citizens of Athens succeeded in stopping them from getting any worse.

However, the presence of internet posters and classical art dedicated to Socrates, such as I present here, demonstrate that his self-professed ignorance and stupidity continues to find a following today.

But Socrates gave us something very good, by way of inspiration, to seek the knowledge that he said he did not possess. He inspired his student Plato, who became perhaps the most influential philosopher in history, with much more valid concepts than Socrates. Through Plato, he inspired Aristotle, another great philosopher and tutor to Alexander the Great. Aristotle was the greatest philosopher/scientist and the founder of the scientific method. Through these two followers, Socrates had a great beneficial effect on the history of the world. But the actual teachings of Socrates were a disaster, and some of Socrates’ bad ideas can be seen in political and social liberalism, and the so-called progressive thinking of today, which is actually regressive and oppressive.

Liberals think they are creating a new and better morality, but they are really destroying morality, and the roots of their error go back almost three thousand years, to the wrong thinking of Socrates. They need to leave the stupidity of Socrates behind, and move on to more correct moral philosophy.

Playing Whack-A-Mole With Socrates and Good and Evil

It seems that we could refute Socrates’ faulty definition of good and evil in a few paragraphs, as I have tried to do here, stamp a warning label on it, and banish it from the arguments of intelligent people. But even if we could accomplish this, it would spring anew from people who never heard of Socrates. Correct this error in one person, and it pops up in another. It is a common and basic philosophical error. It is very much alive in the cultural and political assault of modern liberals upon society. Many philosophers have modified this idea and used it to support other faulty ideas of morality. It is now a philosophical Frankenstein monster, spawned by Socrates but separated from Socrates, lumbering around on its own and attacking good philosophy.

The basic wrong assumption behind Socrates’ bold statements is that people always have good intentions, and never have evil intentions. In other words, people do not commit crimes because of evil intent, but because they are ignorant, or lacking knowledge in some way. Once we accept this faulty belief, the idea behind Socrates’ bold statement is that people are guided in their actions by what seems to be “good” to them at the time, but that they are missing crucial information, misinterpreting the actions of other people, or they are making faulty assumptions on partial data. When their bad behavior is finally stopped by others, and they are asked why they were so persistent in it, they can use those excuses familiar to every child: “I DIDN’T KNOW” or “I DIDN’T MEAN IT.”
They are probably lying, but to Socrates these would be perfectly valid excuses, which he would gladly accept.

That is the attraction of this faulty definition of good and evil; it gives everyone an excuse for bad behavior. This faulty definition even removes the basis for all individual moral responsibility. They end up doing evil primarily because of their ignorance. In modern times, Socrates’ “ignorance” has come to mean a lack of proper education, a lack of liberal philosophy, or a lack of scientific knowledge concerning hormones, genetics and the balance of various chemicals in the human brain. People are ignorant, but they do not know they are ignorant and take action on false knowledge or assumptions. This allows them to form a faulty idea of “goodness” (such as Muslims beating their wives, or killing us). So according to this basically Socratic view, everyone in the world runs around doing what they think is “good” for them, but because of their ignorance, their idea of “good” is mistaken, and is in conflict with everyone else’s idea of “good.” So all we can do to correct Muslims is to tell them that they are ignorant, that their idea of “good” from Allah is misinformed and uneducated. This Socratic idea is doomed from the start. This view is a philosopher’s recipe for moral confusion and failure and disaster, but many philosophers have fallen under its strong spell. So have large (liberal) segments of the world’s population. But liberals won’t even adhere to the Socratic idea of opposing ignorance. Instead, they bow to it and honor it. They provide public foot-washing facilities and prayer rooms for Muslims, and let them build mosques on any street corner, while in Muslim countries new Christian churches are forbidden. The modern liberal selective refusal to see evil is far worse than that of Socrates.

Evil is a complicated issue, but reduced to its defining core element, evil is a voluntary moral choice to be a predator upon other people, to “draw first blood” without just cause, and any other view that distracts us from that is contributing to evil in itself. One of the most effective views in distracting us from that is liberalism.

As I will later propose in another post, liberal morality combines the error of Socrates with the ancient errors of Eastern religious thought, concerning the nature of good and evil. Liberals have raised the philosophy of pacifism and unlimited tolerance to the level of an unreasoning faith or religion. With it, they are trying to dominate or destroy the traditional religions, starting with Christianity, while they give the most predatory religion, Islam, a pass. In doing so, they are giving evil a pass, in the irrational worship of tolerance.

Even worse, liberals have turned the Socratic misconception of evil into an obsessive denial and avoidance of evil at all costs. This was brilliantly illustrated by the liberal mayor of Philadelphia just the other day, as was well-reported by our own Nautikos in his blog “Naut’s View”. In Philadelphia, a Muslim shot a police officer sitting in his car. Afterwards, the Muslim gunman told police: “I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what I did.” But the Philly fool of a mayor, Democrat Jim Kenney, said: “This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.” His own police chief was incredulous at his nonsensical statement. Nautikos called the mayor a liar, which he assuredly is. But that is not the central issue. The issue is WHY the mayor felt compelled to lie. The mayor’s ulterior motive was to blindly follow a moral philosophy he has freely chosen….. a wrong philosophy concerning good and evil started by Socrates, and turned into an obsessive fanaticism by modern liberals. Call it what you want….. attitude, bias, concept, conviction, dogma….. but I call it liberal pacifist philosophy. Regardless of the label, the stupid Philly mayor refuses to acknowledge the religious evil of a Muslim jihadist shooting a policeman, when it has already been confessed. The mayor has plenty of company in this errant philosophy of denial of Muslim evil, including liar-in-chief Obama and everyone who agrees with him.

So see there, even when I am consciously trying to avoid the issue of Muslims, they find their way back into my arguments, not because I am obsessed with them, but because they are such a great example of philosophical and moral extremes, and because they are now in the news every day. In discussions and debates, Muslims are an outstanding “whipping boy”. But in society and out on the streets, it is they who are whipping us, because they are basically predatory and we are basically pacifist.

Even more alarming and abhorrent to me, is the sweeping scope of the errors of liberal pacifist philosophy. If liberals are this wrong about such a basic, fundamental issue such as good and evil, how many more other errors are they making, in every area of concern? Such as the economy, military, immigration, healthcare, religion, raising children, gun control, climate control, etc.??

Too many to count, I fear. The “rose colored glasses” they wear distort everything they see. Their basic philosophy, the software of their human computer, is fatally flawed. What is that infamous IT acronym, GIGO….. garbage in, garbage out. Liberalism is turning our entire Western society into garbage. Our best chance to stop the decay is to address the basic philosophical issues, not each and every liberal error. But by all means, PLEASE DO continue to point them out. Every voice helps.

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About goldenmeantx
Truth seeker, fact finder, amateur philosopher, amateur historian, ex-soldier, ex-motorcycle racer, world traveler, rancher, hunter, gun owner, dirt bike rider, mountain bicycle rider, husband, father, grandfather, hard worker, good friend to all who put up with me, and even some who don't.

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