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The Enlightenment Keeps on Winning


The Enlightenment Keeps on Winning

James A. Haught

If you study history, you’ll see episodes that changed civilization.

For example, in Ancient Greece, for the first time, bright thinkers sought natural explanations for the world around them, instead of believing that phenomena were caused by gods and spirits. This started the science-versus-religion clash that still roils 25 centuries later.


We will someday be able to add this one to your list:
They tried to make slaughtering animals for food look normal, but they lost.


I think the whole article was about the Red team vs. the Blue team! (Why, oh why, must people see EVERYTHING through the lens of team competition, instead of competition between IDEAS?) Whatever "Obamacare" is or isn't, it had at least brought the US into the modern world, a world in which the IDEA of government (read: social) involvement in a more equitable and affordable distribution of necessary medical treatment has become an established precedent. Much like other progressive causes before (as enumerated in the article) once that genie is out of the bottle, it probably can't be put back in, anymore than the idea of the divine right of kings.



They are where we stop.
Hesitate and the waters will fail,
break the spine of the great trees
and nothing will survive.

We will call this The Darkness.
We will retreat into a Gregorian world
where single lines of notes
fly like scavengers

from the pages of our eruption.
Nothing assures us we will continue to win
if even in winning
the subterranean seas

are sucked up and poisoned
in the gyre of our shadow.
No one has calculated
the cost of our ignorance or our lies.

I lean into the solar wind
and the duplicate worlds dream us
while we dream them
still alone in some starry internet

of the sky. Starving gods and leavings
and the shells of our meals
are buried until they are the only
solid ground

no matter what brilliance we can speak.
Voltaire was a slob
and Rousseau walked until his blisters
wore off in his shoes.

No one wants to listen
to the wailing of hags:
our prisons are full of our future
and the great migrations?

determined by torture and the clowns
we vote for: who cares what we call
this tundra of creeps and disease.
No one lives through the darkness

and the mammoths are eaten
and buried with our cousins
who have gone extinct with the music
of the limits of their magi.


De Montesquieu was wrong. There can be no such thing as a "democratic republic". A republic is ruled by an elected, selected or imposed dictator, and a democracy is ruled by all the people.


"On and on, through recurring cultural battles, progressive principles that began in The Enlightenment have prevailed. For three centuries, liberals generally have won, conservatives lost."

And the stupid party argues over what candidate is not conservative enough?


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In the USA we have a mixed result over time. Income taxation has regressed. Equal time on the media has regressed. Regulation, in general, has regressed, resulting in the current recession-depression.

On the plus side we no longer have the military draft (did you mention that?). Tobacco smoking has switched from acceptable to unacceptable. I myself quit smoking on election day Nov. 1968 having smoked for 25 years prior to that. I still miss the pleasure it gave me, but I'm glad to be alive and enjoying other things.


Excluded from this conservative/liberal listing is the fact of participation of 'the excluded' from the history. It is model of history narrative based on 'terra nullius'. That is, nothing else exists except for an exclusionary construct of an empty vessel (western history of destruction of nature, peoples, languages and cultures, wisdom systems of living, walking 'encyclopedic' societies) into which an impoverished narrative is poured. Everything excluded can be considered extractable resource without 'identity'/ being identified as alive, sentient, indispensable.
For instance, not noted is that the Bill of Rights (the need for which should never exist in the first place - see above) - as derived from a selective and exclusionary reading of the Great Law of Peace of the Haudenasaune peoples - the six indigenous nations.
Result? A globalized power model foments precisely the genocidal precepts in exponential acceleration. What is accelerated? the model of life as battle rather than collaboration. Of course, collaboration is fine and dandy for the pinnacle of power and the dictates of the same. Odd how that counters every indication in nature. - oops- what does this model "think" (whopping big "NOT") of nature?

An interesting take on looking at military history not told, from an ethnobotanist's perspective.


Thank you for the history reminder. Although, I wouldn't have included mention of the ACA as it was merely a baby step in the right direction. So many conservatives these days do not or choose not to remember that a true conservative government is an aristocracy and that having a democratically elected government is a Classical Liberal idea. If conservatives don't like liberalism, they will just have to leave since America is by definition a liberal country. (That's not saying that I identify myself as a liberal) The Tories during the Am. Revolution were the conservatives of their time.


I cannot really buy this article. It smacks of male conceit. If the author's ideas are correct, how come we seem lined up for the next mass extinction event? Or does he imagine that Nature is going to suddenly allow us to butcher the biosphere without consequences as she utters Sorry, I nearly overlooked your human rights?


Absolutely right. A reshuffled right-wing Romneycare that further entrenched the parasitic private health insurance industry and sucked in the demobamabots to make a national health program harder to achieve.


Philosophy is nice. We can have some fascinating discussions about its relevance to real life, and whether or not it has any impact whatsoever right here, today.

In the end, it all comes down to power (domination) and survival. Our political/policy choices determine the course we take as a nation, a people. What we have today, right here in the US, indicates that nearly a century of progress toward enlightenment has been reversed. We are back to brute survival. Complex issue, but in a nutshell: We now watch as the rich do to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor, and there is nothing we can do about it.


The ACA is popular enough because it doesn't apply to our very poor. It gives a measure of relief to those who can pay for premiums.

On the broader issue of govt., what we really need in a modern society is representative government. Republicans represent the rich, and Democrats and current third parties represent the middle class, while our masses of poor have no voice in the public forum, absolutely no representation in government. We've (this generation) stripped the poor of a list of fundamental human and civil rights, and have felt entirely justified to do so, ignoring the consequences.


Well it was suppose to help the poor. But the court ruled that states didn't have to accept it, so many states refused to accept it.
Now as far as the rest, the poor have never been seen as deserving rights or representation. Even the founders didn't like the poor. That is why they set up the government the way they did, to prevent the poor from having a voice. The poor have had to fight, often bloodily to get any of what they have. As poverty increases, the poor will have to fight again.


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