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Thomas J Donegan
Thomas J Donegan
Born January 22, 1958 Graduated 1976 Lawrence County Vo-Tech U.S.Navy, 11/76 - 10/82 Cryptologic Technician M-branch Graduated 1989 Slippery Rock University B.S. Mathematics, minors: Philosophy, History U.S. Government 1990 -2001 Various private sector Electrical/Electronics jobs 2001- present


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Posted in Society / Philosophy / Western

Philosophical Conservativism

Jul. 18, 2017 11:32 am
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Ronald Reagan claimed: "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, it left me!" Of course Reagan was making a claim like that of William F. Buckley's description of a conservative, viz: "One that stands athwart History and yells, Stop!" Buckley was in part showing his wit, or humor, but in part he was in earnest, for although conservatives are advocates of the advance of many things e.g., technological advance, greater social and political justice, the improvement of the human condition, in general... But, the title of this blog-post is "Philosophical Conservatism" and so we are obligated to render some definition, as to what that means and how it may differ from mere conservativism...

An aside: If conservativism is reducible to an ill-defined, and vacillating human impetuses and intuitions, then conservativism could not very well live up to its billing and conservatives would be walking, talking contradictions. Such may be demonstrated as the case – in this culture which is dynamically dissolute – and as we intimated that such could be the case, in the blog-post: “The organic (default) conservative” regarding those whom are conservative by reflex. It is a given that these individuals are inclined to be restrained - when compared to the general populace - but given that they are not actually anchored by principle, they would tend to be conservative only in relation to the general populace, and yet be exemplars of what Ronald Reagan indicated had afflicted the Democratic Party “which left Reagan” i.e., their “conservativism” is not fixed, but moving; thus, trailing the decaying culture. Such “conservativism,” under such conditions may prove more vice than virtue, for such people (gauche, reactionary rather than sedately rational) may be used by the social-political avant-garde as a means of advancing their agenda’s e.g., social-political Leftist incessantly characterize such people as embodying any number of bigotries (e.g., racism). Thus, one aligning oneself with the “organic-conservative” - dubbed as a racist - is just as racist, or is driven by the same fiendish animating impulses with which they have been tagged by Leftist activists. This leads to disassociation, and division in the ranks which would resist change…

In contrast, the philosophical conservative’s views – regarding objective truths (the ground, and fountainhead of philosophical conservativism) – are not alterable… A Philosophical Conservative may - or may not - have formerly been educated into the worldview which informs their judgment about everything, but their view is grounded in an objective reality, thus they hold themselves intellectually dependent upon an intelligent ordering of reality; thus consciously, or otherwise, the philosophical conservative is a realist, and if his view is coherently consistent he/she is an existential-realist. Existential-realism is Etienne Gilson's moniker the metaphysics of Saint Thomas Aquinas, as delineated by Saint Thomas in On Being and Essence. The Philosophical Conservative understands that an intellectual objectively ordered existence presupposes God! And that God - as the Creator of all that is out of nothing, but His Being – does not change (perfection cannot change without becoming imperfect); from thence Jefferson points to the Laws of Nature, and Nature’s God as the bedrock from which man’s equality (mortality – we all die; and morality – we are each capable of conforming our actions to abstract principles of morality, and therefore law…), and ground for the inalienable Rights.

Philosophical Conservatives are not in favor, however, of "throwing the baby out with the bath-water," i.e., conservatives stand staunchly opposed to those which would dismiss (or undermine) eternal verities1 as an expedient for realizing what may be deemed as progress. i.e., to realize a short-term, short-lived amelioration of some contretemps or some supposed injustice, and doing so by setting aside the hierarchy of principles. Often advocates of civil-rights legislation have accomplished this very thing as they seek to confer rights in contradiction to the natural law, thereby - by logical implication – such actions deny the very ground of inalienable Rights and the rule-of-law (the rule-of-reason); such actions subordinate reason to passion/sentiment. Note 1.): The advance/promotion of most civil-rights legislation/law of late (e.g., initially regarding abortion and the Roe vs. Wade court decision 1973) generally subordinates the fundamental inalienable Right to Life to the contingent inalienable Rights of Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness; so the advocates of civil-rights often elevate contingencies and subordinate fundamentals to the contingent. Such activities are representative of the irrational/sentimental… Such practice sounds the death-knell for the rule-of-law i.e., the rule-of-reason. Note 2.): The philosophical-conservative desired response and reaction would be a dialectical discussion/dialogue – preferably by written exchanges with these social-political activists of dystopia…

1 An eternal verity is an eternal truth, their ordering independent to contingent: 1.) God; 2.) rational (intelligently ordered) objective reality; 3.) rational beings whose essence is such that they possess the capacity to assimilate the measure which God has ordered His creation, which includes, and is exemplified by the natural law 4.) The Natural Law – the relation between formal and final causality i.e., the relation between what a thing is, and what is a things essence – flows from God, and exemplifies the qualitative measure God bequeathed His Creation. And this then set-the-table for the inalienable Rights…

Jefferson did a fine job in identifying the self-evident truths (Eternal verities) i.e., that all men are created equal (Note: the equality that men share is that each is mortal, and each of us are moral beings, and as moral beings we should be at war with our selves i.e., specifically within our individual souls i.e., often what we individually desire is opposed to that which we ought to do… Man’s fallen nature, is one of the eternal verities…), and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Right amongst these are the rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is in the acknowledgement of man’s fallen nature which we find the justification for divided and limited Government i.e., for the incessant advocacy for Federated Government!

The philosophical conservative comes to understand conservatism – as they reflect, and react to the plethora of passionately promoted intellectual opposing views of the social-political Left (views which cannot abide disagreement i.e., the social-political Leftist is essentially an advocate of despotism although most such subscribers are not consciously aware of the implications of their irrational view of the world… And unfortunately they are so passionately ordered it is nearly impossible to rescue them through reason...) – as something very like Chesterton’s orthodoxy. Chesterton explains his meaning of orthodoxy as an embrace of the principles contained within the Apostle’s Creed2 and the philosophical-conservative may well – and happily - embrace those principles as equivalent to Aquinas’s metaphysics [Recommendation – as essential reading for the philosophical-conservative – 3 works by G.K. Chesterton’s Heretics (1905); Orthodoxy (1908)and The Everlasting Man (1925)].

In the 7th Chapter of Orthodoxy (published in 1908) – The Eternal Revolution – Chesterton asserts that orthodoxy (we suggest this is what this culture has come to regard as social-conservativism, but more narrowly we suggest philosophical-conservativism…) is in continual dialogue with the wide culture, from which it organically renews itself, thereby avoiding the calcification/rigidity of the purely fixed dogmatism… Such conservatism is consciously circumspect, and aggressively opposed to the purveyors of irrationality i.e., heretics (Chesterton referred to such individuals as “heretics” - in a book by that name; published in 1905) who may be identified as individuals flawless logical arguing from a prior irrational principle or from a prescinding of objective reality; the result: a celebration of the irrational and the absurd; such a description envelops modern philosophy, and its attendant plethora of ideologues, and their subtle ideologies. Concrete examples of the “children” of such views-of-the-world: Eugenics, Nazi Germany (40 -50 + million murdered/dead), the USSR 50-60 million murdered/dead), Communist China (60-70 million murdered/dead), Roe vs. Wade (60 + million babies murdered, and counting, just in the USA), global abortion (?) our guess would be closing in upon 1 billion, or more, babies. Such atrocities reflect not only modern “philosophy,” but also indicate the inimical efficacy - via the ubiquitous employment social-sciences - regarding that which erstwhile bonded individual humans to its institutions. See this writers blog-posts: “Sociopaths and the Irony of the Social Sciences,” “Materialism,” and also “Deviancy, Scientism and the Democratic Party.”

As it is, if the United States of America is to recover its former Greatness – which was reflected its people and its institutions and their deference to the rule-of-law i.e., the rule-of-reason i.e., the deference to the natural law or the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God – it is necessary that organizations which promote philosophical-conservativism e.g., The Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, Hillsdale College and others to pool-their-resources and establish something like a Veritas Institute – where Aquinas, Augustine, Gilson, Pieper, Chesterton and others may be studied so as to form the basis of the institutes members worldview… How such an institute may produce and infect – as an antibody – this decaying society, so as to recover the weltanschauung upon which Christendom (Note that the United States of America ascent to its former greatness was upon that worldview…) arose is for another blog-post…

Thomas J. Donegan

2 The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God,

the Father almighty,

Creator of heaven and earth,

and in Jesus Christ,

his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried;

he descended into hell;

on the third day he rose again from the dead;

he ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;

from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and life everlasting.


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