Us and Them

By Neil Lock

This is the final essay of six in in a re-appraisal and re-working of my philosophical system. I am calling the new version of this system “Honest Common Sense 2.0.”

Today, it’s time (at last!) to offer some thoughts on how we might seek to move from where we are today towards a better world. Some of these ideas, I’ll warn in advance, may seem radical to many people. To some, even scary.

I’m going to try to make this essay as stand-alone as I can; so that even those who haven’t read the preceding five parts should be able to appreciate my points of view. To that end, I’ll begin with some brief summaries culled from the earlier essays.

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The “We” Dimensions

By Neil Lock

This is the fifth essay in a six-part re-formulation of my philosophical ideas. It covers, at a similar level to the previous essay, the fourth and fifth dimensions in my system, which in classical philosophy correspond to Politics, and to Economics and Aesthetics, respectively. I call these two the “We” dimensions. For the questions, which must be answered in these dimensions, are phrased in the first person plural. “How should we organize ourselves for maximum benefit to all?” And “What are we here to do?”

Today, I’ll be looking to outline a new system of governance, to supersede the states and bad politics under which we all suffer today. I call it “just governance.” I will deliberately try not to map things out in too much Utopian detail. For I expect just governance to evolve organically, getting better as it goes. So, what I will try to do is merely lay down some guidelines, and give a flavour of how the system might work. This is also, I think, a good moment at which to issue a plea for feedback on my ideas; particularly from those who share my pro-freedom views, but have different expertises.

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The “I” Dimensions

By Neil Lock

This is the fourth part of a six-part re-formulation of my philosophical system. In this essay and the next, I aim to put a little more “flesh” on the five dimensions of my system.

Today, I’ll cover the first three dimensions, corresponding to Metaphysics, Epistemology and Ethics respectively in classical philosophy. I call these three the “I” dimensions. For the questions about humanity, which must be answered in these dimensions, are phrased in the first person singular. “What am I?” “How do I know what I know?” And “How should I behave?”

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Two World Systems

By Neil Lock

This is the third part of a six-part re-formulation of my philosophical ideas. Today, I’ll give an overview of my updated framework, which I am calling “Honest Common Sense 2.0.”

My title alludes to Galileo’s famous work, the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Now, he compared his heliocentric model of the universe to the prevailing geocentric model. But I shall instead compare my bottom-up model of humanity and human interactions with the top-down model, that prevails among the political classes, their hangers-on, and other enemies of humanity today. This top-down model I call Downerism, and its practitioners I dub Downers – short for “top-downers.”

Further, I’ll introduce and discuss three common-sense ethical and political principles, which I have built in to the foundations of my system. I call them: ethical equality, voluntary society, and common-sense justice. You may be surprised at how radical these simple, common-sense ideas turn out to be, when contrasted with today’s received wisdom!

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The Rhythms of History

By Neil Lock

This is the second – and longest! – part of a six-part re-formulation of my philosophical ideas. In the first part, I discussed the ideas of six thinkers who have significantly influenced me. In chronological order, these thinkers were or are: Aristotle, John Locke, Franz Oppenheimer, Ayn Rand, Jason Alexander and Frank van Dun.

In this essay, I’ll put our situation today into historical context, and try to draw out some of the rhythms of history. Further, I’ll introduce some of the thinkers and doers of the past, both on our side and on our enemies’, who have orchestrated these rhythms.

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Six Thinkers

by Neil Lock

Back in 2014, I wrote and self-published a short book called “Honest Common Sense.” In it, I sought to explicate “a brief, radical Philosophy, starting from first principles and aimed at non-academic people.” I diagnosed what I saw as the root of the problems we good people face today: “that we are in a war of the political means versus the economic, the dishonest versus the honest, the state versus Civilization.” And I made some suggestions as to how we might set ourselves to win that war.

But as a friendly thinker, who calls himself Jason Alexander, has told us: “Ideas that are alive, grow and change.” And my ideas are certainly no exception to that rule. Ten months ago, I determined to re-visit my philosophical thinking, and to put it in context with the ideas of others from whom I have drawn material; including Jason Alexander himself. The task has been long and hard. So much so, that this essay introduces a set of no less than six. And all six are long; representing, as they do, the product of ten whole months of hard mental labour.

But I have found the work worthwhile; for in the process, I have found several new insights. New to me, at least. And I’ve gained a clearer grasp of some areas I had thought I already understood. The major new and clarified ideas are all in the areas of ethics and politics; and particularly around the dividing line between them. Happily, these are good areas for thinking people to be looking into in the current, parlous state of human civilization. I hope that these ideas may, perhaps, help to suggest some fresh possibilities for how we humans might go about re-claiming our rights and freedoms, and bringing to the enemies of humanity the justice they deserve.

One observation before I begin. We are living in a strange time, in which virtually the entire intellectual class in Western countries has become corrupted. The reason is not far to seek. Academics and other intellectuals are, with only a few exceptions (and most of those are in their 70s or older), all bought and paid for by the state. So, we cannot expect today’s professional thinkers to do anything to help human civilization or human freedom; for they cannot, or will not, go against their paymasters. That means that amateurs like me have to step up to the plate.

Six parts

In this, the first essay of the set, I’ll review some of the ideas of six thinkers who have influenced me. In chronological order of their births: Aristotle, John Locke, Franz Oppenheimer, Ayn Rand, Jason Alexander and Frank van Dun. In the second part, I’ll seek to put our situation today into historical context, and to draw out some rhythms of human history. I shall be making particular use of the ideas of Jason Alexander in that exercise.

In the third part, I’ll give a broad outline of my updated philosophical framework, which I’m provisionally labelling “Honest Common Sense 2.0.” I’ll also compare and contrast my approach with the philosophy of our enemies; the political classes and their hangers-on, that collectively I label the “Downers.”

In the fourth and fifth parts, I’ll describe my system in more detail. And I’ll sketch out a possible future system of minimal government. I call it “just governance,” and I describe its remit as: “to enable people to live together in an environment of peace and tranquillity, common-sense justice, and maximum rights and freedom for every individual.” Finally, in the sixth part, I’ll offer some thoughts on how we might seek to move from where we are today towards a better world.

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The Problem of Modernity and the Radical Orthodoxy Movement — a conversation with Dr Paul Tyson

Radical Orthodoxy (otherwise known as the Cambridge School) is a movement of traditional Christians from across the denominations, including John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock, William T. Cavanaugh etc., which criticises modernity, especially the modern state, and attempts to trace the steps of Western civilisation back to the point of departure from the Platonist lifeworld of Christendom.

So, what were the philosophical missteps which brought Western civilisation from the lifeworld of Christendom to a modernity that has left our stomachs full but our souls empty?

In the interview below, Paul Tyson discusses this movement’s critique of modernity and the unguided Hobbesian Leviathan state, and he presents suggestions of how we might set the West back on track, and perhaps take steps towards the reunification of Christendom.