William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Their Science Or Ours

Kill kill kill kill kill.

Jim Fedako (who wrote this piece; send him email) is a business analyst and homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH.

To state the obvious: Briggs is a petty bourgeois pedant and moralista parasitic excrescence. Even a cursory review of his moral effluvia shows him chewing the rags of absolutist ethics and eternal truths, revealing him as nothing more than a vulgar philistine spewing ideas that colonize the masses and ignore the only end that needs no justification: the liberation of mankind.

The reader shouts, “Enough with the Marxist rhetoric!” But those ideas are not exclusively Marxian dialectics. They are, in fact, an admixture of Marxist and progressive nonsense—the writings of Lenin, Trotsky, and John Dewey, the progressive philosopher, academic, and father of modern education in the US.1

In his recent post, “Global Warming Hanger-On Says Ends Justify The Means,” Briggs noted that, “A progressive is an academic who looks upon a fallen world and would fix it by Theory, by preaching that the ends justify the means” (emphasis in the original). How true.

In 1938, just a few years shy of an ice axe to the forehead, Trotsky wrote his polemic, Their Morals or Ours, to differentiate the morals of Stalinism from those of what Trotsky alternatively termed Leninism and Bolshevism. In his pamphlet, Trotsky claimed that the ultimate end—the end that needs no justification—is “the liberation of mankind.” In other words, any intermediate end—any end that serves as a means to another end—is justified if it “leads to increasing the power of man over nature and to the abolition of the power of man over man.”2 True Marxist thought.

Into the fray—the internecine war between Stalinism and Trotskyism—entered John Dewey. Now Dewey had previously ventured into the Marxist morality play when his “Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trial” allowed Trotsky to defend his good name after being tried and sentenced to death in absentia by the Stalinists at the Moscow Show Trials in 1936. That the commission provided Trotsky with a western pulpit to justify his beliefs and actions goes a long way in explaining Dewey’s critique of Trotsky’s defense of Bolshevik morality.

In his response, Dewey agrees with Trotsky in the rejection of moral truths and absolutist ethics:

Since Mr. Trotsky also indicates that the only alternative position to the idea that the end justifies the means is some form of absolutistic ethics based on the alleged deliverances of conscience, or a moral sense, or some brand of eternal truths, I wish to say that I write from a standpoint that rejects all such doctrines as definitely as does Mr. Trotsky himself, and that I hold that the end in the sense of consequences provides the only basis for moral ideas and action, and therefore provides the only justification that can be found for means employed.

Yet, he also claims, “The liberation of mankind is an end to be striven for. In any legitimate sense of ‘moral,’ it is a moral end.” That Dewey claims the existence of a self-justifying, absolute truth—the liberation of man—while rejecting the existence of such a truth shows a serious misstep in logic. But such is life in progressive academia.

Dewey’s singular niggle with Trotsky was over the justification of the means to the ultimate end. Trotsky claimed the science of Marx proved class struggle is the justifiable intermediate means. And any action that tilts history in favor of that struggle is itself justified.

Dewey objects. As one under the sway of progressive scientism, he chides Trotsky for not submitting the supposedly historical concept of class struggle to further scientific analysis and testing. It is possible that Marx was wrong. And, according to Dewey, additional analysis and testing may have revealed a more justifiable means.3

Regardless, for progressives such as Dewey, with the ultimate end the ultimate given, the means only needs to be deemed scientific for it to be justified. From this, it can be reasoned that progressives may willingly accept any means justified by science (eugenics anyone?).4

To recapitulate, progressive thought is only different from Marxist thought in the justification of the means given their jointly agreed up ultimate end—the differences resolve to their science or ours. Morals just gets in the way.

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Notes:

1Of course, Dewey would never resort to the base language of Lenin and Trotsky. As a respected man of letters, he left the coarse attacks to those who did not mind dirtying their own hands.

2Rest assured, the concept of man over nature does not imply the domination and spoliation of nature by man. It simply means the removal of scarcity that is a product of capitalism—or so the Marxists say. You could easily incorporate the reduction of capitalist waste and its effect on global climate change into the liberation of man without offending Trotsky—as long as the control of the means of production was held by the masses and their unifying party, the Bolsheviki.

3Left unmentioned is the basis for the ranking of means—impossible in the absence of moral absolutes.

4Eugenics, which arose in the US, was advocated by many progressives. It was simply another manifestation of the liberation of man.

9 Comments

  1. “Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.”

    ― Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

  2. Wow, Trotsky candor is refreshing, if at the same time terrifying. This brought to mind how an academic says ‘the ends justify the means’:

    “Consider what effects that might conceivably have practical bearings you conceive the objects of your conception to have. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object.”
    – the Pragmatic Maxim of Charles Sanders Pierce

    At least, that’s my conception of the practical bearings the object of such a conception might conceivable have. Or something.

  3. I believe that behind the Marxist “ends justify the means” idea is their view that the future deterministic, and not influenced by the conscious behavior of individuals. It is in this sense, that no matter the means employed, the end will be the same.

  4. All,

    This is relevant and timely.

    The religious roots of the elite liberal agenda: Today’s liberal crusades are yesterday’s Christian anxieties

    http://theweek.com/article/index/258709/the-religious-roots-of-the-elite-liberal-agenda

  5. Of course we all live in an end justifies the means world.
    Our mantra is whatever it takes to win and the people who follow that mantra are our heroes regardless of the ratonalisations used. To change it try to change people.

  6. Mr David L Hagen

    March 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    To which I submit the Organic Law of the United States of America – The Declaration of Independence – 1776

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–
    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, . . .
    And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    The Articles of Confederation

    AND WHEREAS it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said articles of confederation and perpetual union

    Furthermore, The Judge said:

    But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

    Furthermore, John recorded:

    And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

    Jim Fedako cannot disprove this evidence.

  7. Our civil rights have no dependence upon our religious opinions more than our opinions in physics or geometry.

    — Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. Papers, 2:545

  8. “You cannot do evil that good may come”

    It has been tried, often, but evil begets evil everytime.

    Denying the existence of evil doesn’t help either, you just end up in a philosophical tangle.

  9.  D  C o t t o n 

    March 29, 2014 at 12:49 am

    It’s a question of IPCC “science” or ours.

    This is where we can pinpoint the key error in the radiative greenhouse conjecture promulgated by NASA, the IPCC et al …

    In the energy budgets (such as NASA’s here) they combine “Sunlight absorbed + IR back radiation” with components of 47.9% and 100% respectively. In other words, they are assuming that there is not only a warming effect from back radiation, but it is also just over twice the warming effect of the Sun. Hence, somehow the atmosphere supposedly multiplies the effect of the Sun by more than a factor of three.

    Now, they actually need to work with this combined amount of radiation (147.9% of incident solar radiation at top of atmosphere, or more than double the 70.3% that is not reflected) because that’s the only way they can get a realistic surface temperature when they use the total radiation figure in the Stefan-Boltzmann equation.

    However, the Stefan-Boltzmann equation is based on the assumption that the target (in this case the internal surface) acts as a true black or grey body which is not transparent to radiation and can only have its temperature raised if the radiative flux is sufficient and the source is hotter than itself, because otherwise entropy would decrease.

    Sadly about two-thirds of this combined radiation comes from a much colder atmosphere, and so doesn’t count in the process of raising surface temperatures.

    And even more sadly, the real surface that we are talking about, and which affects our temperature records, is a thin layer of less than 1 centimetre in depth which, for about 70% of Earth’s surface, is water. That 1cm thin layer of water is almost completely transparent, unlike a black or grey body, so most of the solar radiation (the only radiation that can warm) is passing straight through that thin layer. The weak back radiation doesn’t make it past the first molecule it strikes, from which it is immediately re-emitted.

    What it is really being warmed (to a much lower mean temperature) is the ocean thermocline which (as you can see here) extends quite a few metres beneath that one centimetre thin surface layer, and has a mean temperature roughly 8 to 10 degrees cooler.

    So if you get a gut feeling there’s something wrong in the NASA calculations, let me assure you that you are right.

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