Philip Kosloski graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Catholic Studies and completed his Master of Arts degree in Theology with the Augustine Institute. He is a writer and author of In the Footsteps of a Saint: John Paul II’s Visit to Wisconsin. He blogs at philipkosloski.com and writes to help all Catholics master the art of prayer by conquering the practical obstacles that prevent a fruitful relationship with Christ.
Could we have a do-over? When looking at the list of candidates running for president, I wish we could stop everything and start over. Why? Because the people of our nation are too easily led like sheep and we listen more to “experts,” spectacles, and impossible promises than reasonable arguments.
What I see in America is the loss of reason and it has become the devil’s playground.
C. S. Lewis frames the situation this way in The Screwtape Letters:
But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that….He doesn’t think of doctrine as primarily ‘true’ or ‘false’, but as ‘academic’ or ‘practical’, ‘outworn’ or ‘contemporary’ or ‘ruthless.’ Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous–that is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.
We can see this use of “jargon” in our society even today, where we believe everything we see without testing it to determine if it is a valid argument or not. In the eyes of many, whomever “sounds” more convincing will win the election. Whoever uses words like “Change,” “Forward,” “Trust,” “Renew,” “Revolution,” “Champion,” or “Great,” will get the most votes.
Reasonable arguments have no place in our society. All we need to know is that building a wall is “strong,” and “courageous” for us to be convinced. Just tell us that college will be free for everyone and we will eagerly submit our ballot. Use words like “civil-rights” or “equal rights for all” and we will raise our fists up in the air in agreement.
Don’t explain to us how or why you will accomplish these things, or even explain with a reasonable argument why it is a good thing. Just say it in words that sound good and we will vote for you.
What the Enemy Hates
It is obvious that the devil hates a return to reason. To teach our children how to make choices based on sound arguments would be the end of all the devil’s hard work. As Screwtape puts it:
The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle on to the Enemy’s [God’s] own ground. He can argue too….By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?
It is not surprising then that school systems across the board, including Catholic schools, have done away with Philosophy or Logic. The devil applauds this loss of reason in our education and it only makes his job easier. However, if we are able to recover this sense of reason in our society, it will have drastic effects on our culture and can very easily turn the tide.
But we must remember that reason by itself will never be our salvation; it must be a proper marriage between faith and reason. If these two are reunited in our education systems, we won’t have this problem whenever election season comes around.
Until then, I say we need a do-over.