Monday, May 6, 2013

Like Rams Butting Heads (Part 4)

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.
Mikelmann says: "Here's a quote from CS Lewis. Do you prefer Lewis or DTM?
“I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber barron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.
And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme — whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence — the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication.”

CL says: "Mikelmann,
It is disappointing to me that you are responding in the way that you are regarding in your tone, and also the fact that you are unwilling to answer any of my points.
Of course, it is a little difficult in some sense through the Internet, but in another way, it should actually be more convenient because one can actually sit and think of a response instead of talking on the fly.
     The reason that I was asking you these questions is that you are not engaging with my arguments. I specifically brought up this issue in my previous response to make it easier for both of us by asking you point blank questions.
     My questions have not posed any new challenge to your positions. I asked you these questions based on my arguments that I already gave you which you never addressed.
You still have yet to engage any of my arguments. I do appreciate that you want to engage. But, that still doesn't mean that you have addressed any of my points at all. 

     I don't want to see you quoting Justice Scalia or even the Constitution as if that somehow settles the matter.
     This is an epistemological and theological discussion that you and I and the rest of Bayly blog are conducting.
     I honestly do value this discussion with you and this is why I am stressing so much that I want to hear ***YOUR*** arguments, and not quotes from SCOTUS or from the Constitution.
Please provide an argument against my overall position in reference to Romans 13 and the (derivative) authority that God gives every civil magistrate.
In addition to my "47" questions, you also still have yet to engage my question to you as to why your understanding of the function of govt is not moral. I agree with you on this particular point that govt does "create" space etc... (among other things that it is called to do).. This is an inherently moral function.
     If we are to understand that something being moral is pertaining to the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong, how can your understanding of the function of govt NOT be moral?
     If you feel that it is "right" to provide this space, (which I do too), then as I asked you previously, how can this not be moral?
     Also, moral coercion is inherent within the purpose of government!
I have already addressed this in my arguments about how govt reflects moral law (or at least, their "understanding" of it) and makes statutes based on this.
If govt cannot coerce anything, then govt has absolutely no power to do what it is intended to do. So, if one man wants to murder another, but the govt has no moral coercive power, then it has no ethical and logical basis to punish that murderer.
     Also, it concerns me that you still don't understand what my positions are. The fact that you are asking me whether I think that laws *ought* to be moral or *are* moral really concerns me because I have addressed this rather clearly in my previous posts.
Of course, we could spend days (as we already have) on this thread and I can give you more epistemological and theological arguments and support, but at this point, I think that there is really nothing more that I can add to this discussion that will help you understand what I am trying to say.
I cannot continue to do this exchange with you if you are not making a serious attempt to understand my positions.
     For now, it really does pain me to do this, but with my competing priorities that I have, I am done with responding to you until you can provide me (and the audience in this blog) cogent arguments against my positions. Notwithstanding my disappointment with certain aspects of our discussions, I do appreciate our exchange. May God continue to sharpen both of us."

Mikelmann says: "Yeah, this isn't really working out. I've had dialogues in various blogs and there are plenty who are able to recognize central principles and work through them.  But David is a good example of what happens here. Lewis writes about contrasting two forms of government and David says "Lewis is wrong on the psalms!" Er, OK, David.  Chris talks as if moral coercion is the essence of the moral law but doesn't see the relevance of discussing whether the WLC should then be enforced. 
     I will thank DTM who can very frequently recognize and discuss core issues even if we sometimes reach different conclusions.  I think the Bayly commenters on the whole need to interact with more folks outside your circle to get better at it."
     It is disappointing that mikelmann absolutely refused to engaged with any of my arguments and proceeded to devolve into name calling, when he knows that he could not refute anything that I have said. 
     I don't mind if other people are being aggressive and calling people out (properly) in exchanges like this. However, if one does not have any argument, and therefore simply refuses to engage and thinking that name calling or blatant insults constitute a meaningful exchange, this is intellectual dishonesty at its highest. And the implications are ruinous, especially when having discussions about the church's role (or lack thereof) in larger society.

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