Tuesday, March 20, 2007

R. Miller (First Things) Takes on the Cardinal, Badly

Robert Miller, an attorney, thinks that Cdl. Crepaldi is ...inaccurate.

Crepaldi: “Public reason is not possible in a culture that is dominated by the ‘dictatorship of relativism’ [a phrase from Benedict XVI], for a very simple reason: Relativism is a dogma and therefore it a priori rejects rational argumentation, even toward itself. . . . Relativism [denies] a capability of reason to argue truth . . . [and so] prevents the use of public reason.”

Miller: Just as a sociological matter, this should give us pause. Generally speaking, our society is more concerned with producing and responding to arguments than probably any other in the history of the world. Whether the issue is abortion or gay rights, tax policy or the trade deficit, global warming or third-world debt, everyone seems ready to adduce arguments in support of some position or other.

We suppose that Mr. Miller, an eminento in the constellation of First Things, is attached to 'argumentation-American-style.' But he chooses to miss the point of the Cardinal's discussion.

Of course, that has to do with the Cardinal's ignorance and/or blindness: The answer is that Crepaldi is in the grip of a serious misconception about the modern world common among Catholic thinkers.

Actually, Mr. Miller, the Catholic weltaunschuung is more comprehensive than your Positivist/Calvinist one, but...

That is, Crepaldi thinks it’s a foundational (and mistaken) premise of modern culture that the province of reason comprises natural science and mathematics, with everything else—including normative disciplines like morals or politics—being the province of subjective opinion, a realm in which no statement is objectively true or false.

Unhhh....not really. The "dictatorship" to which the Cardinal refers is 'relativistic' insofar as it acknowledges no Authority--and certainly not an Authority who was crucified; rather, it worships (or at least give fealty) to Positivist make-do, not eternal realities. (Shall we discuss the Relativist Judiciary of Roe? Or the Relativist regency of Economics?)

You'll have to do better in your next, promised, installment.


Fred said...

Part II was not any better.


Dad29 said...


Miller sees the trees very well, but missed the forest by a mile.