Response to Michael Rectenwald's A Critique of 'Social Justice' Ideology: Thinking through Marx and Nietzsche
Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
July 29, 2017
Dear Professor Michael Rectenwald,
Hello, interesting reading, enjoyed it. Some quick thoughts that spring to mind which I would like to share with you as an invitation to probe further and with a tad more pertinence to empirical reality.
While I am not a philosopher Michael, I do use philosophy as a reasoning tool, particularly as a means of parsing both logic and arguments. One thing the study of philosophy and the philosophers' thoughts taught me early on is to seek (or look for) self-consistency between their arguments and the presuppositions that these are based on.
When arguments are self-consistent with their presuppositions, then the reasoning is usually weighty, whether or not it matches with reality. Seeking that match is what empiricism tries to do when the domain is within the purview of falsifiability, and it becomes “religion” when the domain is either un-empirical or the axioms are unfalsifiable. In either case, when there is self-consistency, the logic of the argument passes the first test of acceptability. Meaning, the argument, theory, ideology, logic, cannot be rejected just because it may not be empirical or non-falsifiable, primarily because it is self-consistent with its own axioms. In other words, this arguably [is] the sole exception [to] reductio ad absurdum --- even if the [conclusion] is shown to be absurd, if the argument, logic, theory, is consistent with its fundamental premise, it cannot be (easily) rejected. For instance, the Euclidean geometry is built with great self-consistency and with considerable completeness upon its principal axiom that parallel lines don't meet at infinity. One can however also create a fully self-consistent and equally complete non-Euclidean geometry by assuming that parallel lines meet at infinity. Its theorems and corollaries also being entirely self-consistent with that unfalsifiable axiom. Of course we may find little use for such a geometry in non-relativistic space, since its theorems might simply lead to absurd results in our non-relativistic daily experience. But we also can't reject its theorems outright just because they don't apply in our daily experiences, principally because of the self-consistency of the theorems with its own fundamental axioms.
However, when theorems (arguments, philosophies, ideologies, logic) and their axioms are inconsistent, it usually, nay almost always, means sophistry! In the worst case it is bullshit disguised in erudite demagoguery and the foundation of propaganda warfare, often the purview of the Übermensch. In the best case it is merely incompetence of reasoning when employed by those of limited intellectual acumen. In either event, it is a false argument, false logic, false theory, false ideology, when the argument does not follow from its axiomatic presuppositions. The truth of this statement is self-evident, rather obvious, and does not need any further proof or discussion.
What is fundamentally common between the two philosophers is that, by virtue of their both being atheists, they both believe in the natural law as a presupposition. That axiom cannot lead to any theory of social justice (fairness, egalitarianism) except in sophistry, even if it is enacted by the fiat of law. This fact is irrespective of the particular argument, theory, or ideology, whether broad-spectrum (Marxism), or narrow-spectrum as enacted within a subgroup or clique or tribe by mutual considerations of survival (Nietzsche) or domestic or international law by mutual agreement (policy-making). Since Natural law is presumed to also apply to humans, it fundamentally governs their very existence, development, evolution, and thus subsequently arguing social justice and egalitarianism among them as the supposed mutually agreed upon civilizational construct is inconsistent by definition. It is inconsistent with the supposition of natural law governing mankind, whether in individual, or in aggregate.
That is such a basic and most obvious truth that I am sure it is no news to you. So I am surprised that I missed its deeper exploration in your Critique.
This inconsistency of natural law applied to humans and the vague altruistic notions of egalitarianism will naturally give rise to primacy, hegemony, despite all the platitudinous window dressings they might be couched in for the benefit of the sheep by those who will themselves be self-consistent with their axiomatic premise of natural law. This is both philosophically true, and also empirical.
Just for completeness, that is the premise that laws of nature apply to all existence, to human beings, to animals, to animate and inanimate objects, and in that ambit of natural law, there is no equality. Might and power by definition reign only by the superiority of force, and this is seen empirically not only within the natural forces of nature, but also within the natural forces of jungle. The lion can never be equal to the sheep, nor wolves equal to sheep, but certainly the wolves might vociferously argue egalitarianism between themselves and the lions (had they any ability to reason logically for survival).
So, in response to your interesting article, I would observe that Nietzsche was perhaps more self-consistent in his reasoning of the Übermensch being the natural shepherd because they are more able than the sheep, just as Plato was in his logic of Philosopher-king being the natural shepherd otherwise the Übermensch controllers would naturally enslave mankind, than anyone else in Western humanist philosophy. Marx was entirely inconsistent. And so were the deist philosophers who crafted the American constitution. Anyone can easily see the fruits of that inconsistency in the wonderful Bill of Rights, wherein, only if you are the right racial and genetic (European) makeup are you deemed a “human being” enjoying all the natural rights of pursuit of happiness --- the imported Negroes and their descendants bonded into slavery, and the native inhabitants of the land ten million of whom were mercilessly exterminated from their own soil, were evidently not deemed fully human when those Rights were crafted by the founders of United States of America.
The more interesting question of philosophy in this domain of social justice is really this Michael: under what set of axioms or presuppositions can egalitarianism and social justice be a self-consistent ideology among mankind?
Nietzsche confronted that question head on and as you too correctly observed in your article quoting someone: "… all ethical systems, that is all those ways of thinking which are generally accepted as such, have a basis for judgment which lies outside that which is to be judged." But since Nietzsche was also an avowed atheist and had killed God, to be self-consistent with his own presupposition and belief in natural law, he had to reject any outside source, and thus forthrightly rejected egalitarianism, except of course by mutual consent among the Übermensch themselves!
Nietzsche only re-laid the modern foundation of the same old white man's burden, and as you well know, that foundation of primacy is quite ancient, and which the late Dr. Brzezinski summed up with the greatest laconic wit in perhaps the shortest sentence in human history to convincingly legitimize international primacy: "Hegemony is as old as mankind." It was his justification for continued primacy of the sole superpower despite all the conventions of international law thrust down the individual national throats. Just look at the egregious title of his realpolitik book, which is of course only the American Mein Kampf: "The Grand Chessboard -- American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives". Merely the white man's burden revisited --- wouldn't you agree --- so what's all this specious discussion of egalitarianism in the postmodern contemporary setting?
I look forward to you examining that aforementioned pertinent question if you are keenly interested in any notion of the viability of social justice among mankind. Nietzscheanism today governs not just ideology, but also all law, policy, and dispensation. Its pinnacle is to be reached, I imagine, when the religion of secular humanism is enacted in the world by the fiat of power and international law in a one-world government.
Thanks for your frequent emails from legitgov. I often have to mark it "not spam". Keep up the good work. I am sure that you will agree that we must all continue to seek self-consistency with axioms as the first rejection criterion of absurdities that are couched in erudite philosophies and specious logic, the main gift of reason and philosophy, and continue to teach those tools of philosophical reasoning to others as a means of parsing reality for self-preservation from the Übermensch. In human society, some are wolves and the rest are sheep --- there can be no egalitarianism between their imperatives unless both are forcibly subjected to a higher force. That force both mathematical logic and the quest for survival of the sheep dictates, should be self-consistent with the axioms which give birth to it, and above that which it is meant to govern.
Let me hasten to clarify that this humble entreaty of teaching those who are ill-equipped with a sophisticated intellect to survive the Übermensch's Machiavellian jungle only applies to those who do genuinely proclaim (or seek) social justice and do not believe in the presupposition of atheism. I guess I am hoping that all who are inclined towards social justice would logically reach the self-consistent realization that there must be a higher force or authority that one must accept as the source of egalitarian morality in order to have social justice among mankind. Without that presupposition of higher authority, there can be none! Thus, it follows that atheist by the demands of self-consistency with their own axiom must either give-up social justice, or give up atheism. They cannot have both.
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Zahir's Response to Michael Rectenwald's A Critique of 'Social Justice' Ideology