No Ma’am Tackles Hegel and Relative Truth

I’ve liked No Ma’am since I found their link to William S. Lind, but the latest post is outstanding.

http://no-maam.blogspot.com/2010/06/men-religion-and-morality.html

I like to think of myself as knowledgeable concerning a lot of philosophical issues, but I have never read Hegel. I knew vaguely that he is often called an Idealist, and that he wrote reactions to Heraclitus – but that doesn’t tell us much.

No Ma’am writes:

I’ve read that Harvard was originally mandated to be “Protectors of the Truth.” And at the time, they felt they could actually identify truth, because during that age, they used the Bible as an anchor of “Absolute Truth” to identify what was true and what was not.

When Hegel came out with “The Truth is Relative”, it set the whole system into the toilet because it got rid of the “anchor” of Absolute Truth. The concept of God is “black and white.” God’s word is “Truth.”

However, of course, we are able to recognize that truth often does change, or, truth often is relative.

And herein lies the entire problem, I think. Human nature, and the need to control it.

From an anthropological sense, human beings naturally create religions. Every civilization that has ever existed has adhered to some form of religion. It seems to be a necessity for the human condition. …

But even if it is, it is not a good thing for civilization to not have any absolutes. It’s for similar reasons that we have the Rule of Law and a Legal/Court system. You and I can argue and argue, and both of us will create a belief system for ourselves, justifying our position to ourselves, and creating a reality in each of our own minds – that will forever contradict the other’s view of reality. Therefore we must have a court system to decide, hopefully with impartiality, what is right and what is not. An absolute. Without it, things would never function.

A civilization needs a religion in the same way.

Marx and Engels were extremely excited when Darwin came out with his theory, because it was the “science” that supported their political philosophy – namely, that the Truth is Relative. Evolution indicates that the truth is forever changing. What was true yesterday, is no longer true today. And therefore, what is true today, does not neccessarily have to be true tomorrow.

This was great for Marx because he is preaching the political philosophy that man’s condition can be “altered”, basically, by use of force. One can therefore “force an evolutionary direction” upon mankind. Kinda like how an arborist prunes a tree to control how it grows and shapes itself.

I think Kuhn’s treatment of relativism in science, and Pirsig’s defense of Protagoran relativism versus Socratic dialectic, are two important instances of true, honest relativism. However, I think No Ma’am is objecting to dishonest pseudo-relativism, such as Marcuse’s repressive tolerance.

Update: The conclusion of the No Ma’am piece links to Craig Read; Read appears to be a Zionist worthy of attention at a later date. At present I can’t decide whether Read is feigning ignorance or whether he is genuinely self-deceived.

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