Christianity and Western Culture vs the “Fact-Check” Cowards

It seems to me that the whole “fact check” industry is just a front for “I’m afraid to face ideas that run counter to my own thinking”. Fact checkers seem to be simple ideologues who all quote from the same ideological sources. It’s a big echo chamber. And it’s cowardly.

That’s precisely the opposite of why universities (for example) rose up in the first place. Universities were hotbeds of ideas in the middle ages.

I don’t remember the exact citation, but I was surprised to hear that Carl Trueman suggested (around the turn of the year 2000) that the most important “event” in the previous 1000 years was NOT the Reformation – rather, it was what he referred to as “the rise of the universities” in the middle ages.

It was here that all learning and systems of learning came together. It was here that the chain of events began that led to genuine understanding in virtually every field of knowledge.  

… early and high medieval scholasticism is marked by synthetic and systematic thought in all disciplines, the creation of general syllabuses including everything a student needed to know, organized in coherent form.

The goal of pedagogy [teaching] was now to train professional, full-time scholars with a substantive and methodological grasp of entire fields of knowledge, enabling them to push back frontiers [i.e., learn new things] and to defend their own positions against rival views.

Debate with other interpretations, articulated by proponents both living and dead, was expected to take place as a normal condition of intellectual labor.

In all fields, the expression of a range of competing views within the boundaries of acceptable teaching was seen as a natural outgrowth of scholarship and was regarded as invigorating and healthy, not threatening.

From Marcia L. Colish, “Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition: 400–1400”, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, ©1997 [Reprinted 1998], p. 265.

It is this systematization of every discipline (including theology, philosophy, and natural sciences) that led to the Protestant Reformation and also to the development and implementation of the scientific method.

Rodney Stark writes:

As the distinguished historian Edward Grant noted, “Within Western Christianity in the late Middle Ages … almost all professional theologians were also natural philosophers. The structure of medieval university education also made it likely that most theologians had early in their careers actually taught natural philosophy.”

… in the West, Grant explained, “natural philosophy could attract talented individuals who believed that they were free to present their opinions publicly on a host of problems that formed the basis of the discipline.”

It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of the bond between theology and natural philosophy for the rise of Western civilization. As a result of this bond, the pursuit of knowledge about the natural world became central to the medieval university curriculum and led, ultimately, to the rise of Western science.

Stark, Rodney. How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity (p. 183). Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ORD). Kindle Edition.

Not all cultures are alike. Western culture and civilization became what it is because Christianity enabled westerners to have the freedom to explore unknown avenues and to learn what those avenues could teach.

The “fact check” industry wants to shut off other roads. This doesn’t preclude the fact that some people will follow Marx or Q, but these also need to be subjected to questioning by “rival views”.

Above all, we need the kind of openness and honesty that a strong Christian faith will foster. The entire universe is God’s universe. “Fact-checking” as it is practiced today is simply a road back to the dark ages.

Thoughts about Patrick Buchanan

I came across this link on Facebook to an interview with Patrick Buchanan on Facebook, and it prompted some thoughts.

Populism’s Prophet: A Chat with Pat Buchanan

Buchanan is a smart guy, and I took a liking to Trump in 2016 when I first recognized how closely his agenda followed the 2010 Tea Party, and before that, Buchanan’s agenda. Not necessarily a 1:1 correspondence, but very close. There are interviews of Trump from the 1980s, articulating some of his trade policies even back then.

Looking back, I wonder how much Buchanan’s run for President in 1992 was responsible for some of the real trouble that we’re facing. I say this considering Trump’s agenda to be a very good thing, and “the backlash against Trump” as “the trouble we’re facing”.

In one sense Buchanan exposed “the trouble” as a policy option. The second was accidental.

Regarding Buchanan’s nationalism, vs George H.W. Bush’s internationalism — his policies challenged GHW Bush’s “new world order”. The elder Bush in 1990 did a remarkable thing, bringing 35 or so nations together in “Operation Desert Shield”, to oppose Saddam Hussein’s intervention in Kuwait. Perhaps Bush was able to do so by appealing to fear among the middle east nations — “join with me or Saddam may some day conquer you” — but in doing so, he set a pattern that the left has picked up on, and seemingly perfected, in the era of Covid. (“Wear a mask, or you will die”).

The accident was, his Primary challenge weakened Bush in the 1992 General Election, leading to Ross Perot entering the race. Perot won something like 19% of the popular vote, and maybe Electoral votes in one or two states, enabling Bill Clinton to gain the presidency with only 43% of the vote. I don’t know how much of that was due to a cause-and-effect, however.

Clinton himself was a longshot candidate. He finished third in Iowa — but he won New Hampshire. The media picked up on this, and Clinton became the media darling. He himself had been a long-term governor of Arkansas. He was a scoundrel, but more than that. He was intentionally evil.

Later investigations (primarily by Christopher Ruddy, but there were others) portrayed Clinton as having run the state the way a Mafia Don runs his family.

And he had Hillary, the Allinsky-ite, in tow. Together, they crafted the schemes that enriched them and perpetuated their ongoing political power. I believe that the fraud that is so evident in the election that we have just witnessed was modeled after, if not the actual brain-child of some Clinton associates in the Democrat party.

Trump has, in his brief four years, brought a severe challenge to the Clintonite scheming, mostly by functioning as an “anvil” (to the Clintonite “hammer”). Lord willing, Trump will continue as President, to investigate and root out the cancer that the Clintons brought (and exacerbated).