Mandeville, LA – [Editor’s note: Michael Hanby is a philosopher that has some interesting things to say about our Constitutional system as being THE reason our Order is so DIS-ordered- M.C.]
(Excerpted from Rod Dreher’s The Dissolution of The Real) “First, says Hanby, the US Constitutional order presupposes the modern view of reality and nature. In that view of nature, there was no such thing as intrinsic order built into reality. There is no ultimate meaning to things beyond what we choose to impute to them. Freedom, then, becomes not, as in the classical and medieval world, about having and exercising the power to live out the good, but rather about acquiring and utilizing power to enforce one’s will.
“The view of freedom that we have enshrined in our political order corresponds to our view of the natural order. They reinforce each other,” says Hanby. “In effect, the state leaves us free to transgress these limits.”
“Possibilities are more beguiling than what’s actual,” says Myers. “That’s the modern mentality.”
“It’s the essence of the modern mentality,” replies Hanby.
In modernity, says Hanby, the state “exists to protect me from the claims of reality.”
“What happens then is in the name of protecting freedom [the state reserves] the right to define, or define away, reality.”
What’s the classical Christian understanding of the world, and how does it differ from the modern, technological view of the world? The simplest way to answer that, says Hanby, is this:
Your final philosophical options come down to two. Either there is a word, or alogos, at the foundation of reality, so that reality is inherently intelligible and meaningful, and therefore there are natures, forms, that persist in spite of the flux of history and time; or, reality is fundamentally meaningless, and meaning is kind of an epiphenomenal construct superimposed upon it.
If reality is inherently meaningless, says Hanby, then the only important things to know about them is how they came to be, what they are capable of doing, and what we can do with them. The logic of this process is to create an order undergirded by a view of reason “that cannot even think about what things are.” – Michael Hanby, narrated by Rod Dreher