[Continuation and expansion of this entry.
Over the last century we've 'ungrounded' both reason and faith. Both trends started in Germany around 1890, with von Harnack
deconstructing the Bible and Hilbert
deconstructing mathematics. Perhaps it's appropriate for Benedict XVI, a distinctly German scholar, to begin the task of reassembling faith and reason.
The current standard, enforced by peer review and peer pressure in both science and journalism, is pure formal analysis, never asking questions about connections to reality. We are not allowed to ask whether Newtonian or quantum physics works better. We are not allowed to ask whether Christ or Mohammed has led people to a better civilization. We are not even allowed to state that one form of civilization is better than another, though the data is dramatically obvious. We are only allowed to ask whether the researcher has quoted sources accurately.
*** Sidenote: in both journalism and science, this tendency may have more to do with female thinking than with political or philosophical trends. The basic job of a male brain, after all, is to generalize from facts; the basic job of a female brain is to tape-record utterances and play them back with remarkable accuracy. The present supremacy of quotation over analysis tells us which mode of thought has taken full control, in people of both genders. ***
When you remove the ground of faith and the ground of reason, you have no common sense. You must then rely on strict zero-tolerance rules, chosen arbitrarily and enforced mechanically, because your mind isn't allowed to delve into the reasons for having a rule.
But because humans can't really
get along without some form of trust or ground reference, the leftist ends up trusting personal authority rather than fact and logic. No amount of fact and logic can persuade a leftist to accept a statement if an Incorrect Person has said it; and no amount of fact and logic can dislodge an axiom if the Correct Person said it.
Thus the leftist always ends up following and enforcing zero-tolerance rules with no room for common sense, and the leftist ends up following a Dear Leader with pure personal authority. When you've never gained the habit of examining nature, mind and soul for yourself; when you are not allowed to form generalizations from your observations, not allowed to discriminate
in any way, the only path you can follow is rigid mechanical rules promulgated by a leader with brutal personal force.
Amazingly, Fox's E.D. Hill has come to the same conclusion. In an interview with Tony Snow last week she acknowledged that the media, including Fox, has helped to ruin common sense.
You know the drill: "Today we have Jim Evans who claims that 2 + 2 = 4, and Heather Samuelson who claims that 2 + 2 = 75908. Well, Jim, why do you make this strange claim?" ... and then we hear 10 minutes of simultaneous shouting by Jim and Heather; and then the host utters the unchangeable magic formula: "All right, guys, calm down, we obviously aren't going to settle this debate today."
Settlement only happens after a Trial By Jury and 20 Years Of Appeals. When Sandra Day O'Connor has flipped her coin, the media finally takes the debate as settled. We are then allowed to say that 2 + 2 = 4 or 2 + 2 = 75908, depending on which way Sandra's coin fell. After that, Jim Evans is no longer invited on the air, and any reference to the "4" side of the debate must be couched in careful euphemisms, such as "He dropped the between 3 and 5
bomb in a controversial comment."
According to E.D. Hill, this Due Process fetish is why the media can't simply state the plain and blazingly obvious truth that Joel Hinrichs was a Mohammedan convert who intended to blow up an OU football game. To Hill's vast and eternal credit, she finally did
state the obvious truth on the air in 'Jihad USA'. Perhaps this will break the barrier? No. Of course not. But it's still wonderful to have exactly one counterexample available for public viewing!