You will never understand politics and government until you appreciate the power of philosophy. You will never figure out ethics or psychology until you understand underlying philosophy.
It all boils down to a duel between the original two philosophers: Plato, who gave us subjectivism; and Aristotle, who introduced us to the power of objective knowledge. Psychologically and ethically, it boils down to how you answer this question: Is man’s mind competent — or is man’s mind helpless? How you answer the question leads to how you vote, i.e., whether you vote for freedom (so man may assert his mind) or totalitarianism (so man may be controlled). It also determines whether you have self-esteem, or not. It likewise influences whether you have mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and the like. It’s really that simple.
Today, we live in a Kantian culture. Kant was a subjectivist. He was a product of Plato, not Aristotle. Immanuel Kant inspired the likes of Marx and Hitler. He inspired the postmodernists in America who gave us first, Barack Obama, and now the totalitarian horror show the leftist “Democratic Party” is today. Today, we’re clearly moving toward totalitarianism politically — because we are already there, culturally. Frankly, the culture is lost. It can always be regained, but no culture as screwed up and messed up as ours can sustain itself on its present lack of foundation. Not everyone will admit this, but most, I think, at least sense it. Hence all the rage coming out masking the terror of what’s happening to us. Most people — whether voting for Trump or Biden — are scared s**tless. And with good reason, although they don’t really know why.
Ayn Rand summed up the duel between Plato and Aristotle brilliantly in this quote:
If there is a philosophical Atlas who carries the whole of Western civilization on his shoulders, it is Aristotle. He has been opposed, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and—like an axiom—used by his enemies in the very act of denying him. Whatever intellectual progress men have achieved rests on his achievements.
Aristotle may be regarded as the cultural barometer of Western history. Whenever his influence dominated the scene, it paved the way for one of history’s brilliant eras; whenever it fell, so did mankind. The Aristotelian revival of the thirteenth century brought men to the Renaissance. The intellectual counter-revolution turned them back toward the cave of his antipode: Plato.
There is only one fundamental issue in philosophy: the cognitive efficacy of man’s mind. The conflict of Aristotle versus Plato is the conflict of reason versus mysticism. It was Plato who formulated most of philosophy’s basic questions—and doubts. It was Aristotle who laid the foundation for most of the answers. Thereafter, the record of their duel is the record of man’s long struggle to deny and surrender or to uphold and assert the validity of his particular mode of consciousness.
Michael J. Hurd