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04

The last couple of weeks for 2015 went by fast, but the spirit of this season was most welcome.  It was a chance to renew one’s perspective, and focus on those things that mattered once again.  Faith, friends, and family.  It also gave me an opportunity to think about things from a little different perspective.  In looking back at the world once again, things seem to be a mess.  Judging from the content that was returned after googling the terms ‘right track wrong track survey’, I am not alone.  The list returned included the following:

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24

Last time we took a look at collectivism and truth.  This time we’ll use several more recent events to examine collectivism and the way it goes about implementing what it perceives to be the truth.  Why?  Because it seems like things are changing rapidly, and not necessarily for the better.  Most people seem to agree.  This week’s Rasmussen right track/wrong track survey indicates that less than a third of Americans think we are on the right track.   Implementing one’s truth concerns not only the ends that are to be achieved but also the means used to reach them.  I’ve stated before that within collectivism, regardless of its form, it is only the ends that matter, and that the means do not matter to them.  So we will look at three current events from the past couple of weeks, and the common thread among them.  The first is the tragic death of Kate Steinle.  The second is the recent revelation of Planned Parenthood’s sale of infant body parts.  The third event is the supreme court ruling on unnatural marriage.  We’ll cover the first two in this post and conclude with the third item next time.

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27
I hardly know where to begin this post, so please forgive me if it seems a little scattered or it offends.  It is not intended to do either.  Instead it is intended to shine a light into a place that has become quite dark.  In one day this past week, there were news stories on the following items:  (1) the events surrounding Rachel Dolezal’s resignation, the former leader of Spokane’s NAACP office, (2) the St. Louis Cardinal’s alleged hacking into the Houston Astro’s database, (3) the apparent lack of honesty in Hillary Clinton’s turning over emails from the period while she was Secretary of State, (4) the Baltimore DA’s apparent conflict in the case she is about to try, and (5) the shooting at the church in Charleston.  I believe there is a common thread throughout these stories, and I’ll focus on just two of them to hopefully make the point. 

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28
For now, at least, we are going to wrap up the discussion about charity.  This blog, and the next, will serve as transition points to another topic.  So what is charity?  At its core it is the giving by one individual to another simply out of love – out of our common humanity – the sameness of our nature.  What is needed for that kind of love to exist? 

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29

The philosophy of individualism is captured in the works of Clement of Alexandria (Clement), Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas—among many others.  These philosopher’s works are not only regarded as among the best of their respective periods, but each one provides a different aspect in regards to individualism.  Clement describes the relationship between an individual and his Creator, Augustine the characteristics of two communities-one of which is oriented towards our Creator and the other towards man himself, and Thomas outlines how individuals of the community oriented toward our Creator are to act.

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07
It can be described as a framework where individuals possess the ability to personally make their own choices and take actions.  This is not unconstrained choice—for that is merely anarchy.  Rather it is the ability to make uncoerced choices, to the extent that is possible within a society.  This is freedom.  There are several aspects to this framework.  The first is the ability for an individual to make their own decisions.  There is no constraint as to the things one may make decisions about.  On the other hand, there is also an acknowledgement that one’s decision must not impose upon another’s freedom.  In this system it is the individual which matters most, and government exists only to ensure that equal liberty is maintained across all individuals.

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22
These next blogs will look at the basic positions of collectivism and individualism mentioned in the previous post. We’ll start first with collectivism, which is captured within the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. We’ll use these two philosophers for a number of reasons. First, Plato was viewed by both Clement of Alexandria and Augustine as the Greek philosopher who came closest to understanding truth. Second, their writings have historically been used by many other philosophers to construct their own arguments, or used others work who had in turn had relied upon Plato and Aristotle. Scholasticism was an attempt to use Aristotle’s logic and metaphysics frameworks to create a systematized Christian logic from the Middle Ages up to the time of our country’s founding. The philosophic notions underlying the –isms of today also can be traced to these philosophers.

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06

Greetings! I’m glad you are here.

Let me begin in a somewhat unlikely place. I don’t know about you, but my life was affected by the events of 9/11. This journey began with trying to understand the events of that day and make sense of them. What I found is that most people believe that we as individuals make the best decisions for ourselves and those we care about. There is a desire for freedom to make those choices. However, while most people express the desire for freedom, it seems to exist in relatively few places. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or on what part of the globe you live. Indices, such as the Heritage Foundation’s Freedom Index, indicate it is a relatively rare thing to find.

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About Dan Wolf

Dan WolfMy goal is that my writing will help you to get started on your own journey of discovery, or help you along the way on a journey you may have already begun. Our Founders considered education, religion, morality, and virtue to be the cornerstones for any successful society. Being successful requires understanding both the languages of reason and faith; reason alone is insufficient.