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Political Action and the Call to “Do Something”

Every time we have a tragedy or catastrophe happen, there are calls to “do something.” Often, the “something” we’re supposed to do isn’t specified. In fact, politicians rarely get specific so we cannot hold them accountable. But, is reactive political action good? Should we continue to react to problems at the surface level or dig into the roots instead? Grayson Quay and I discussed this and much more in this episode.

Here’s what we discuss:

  • Problems with the call to “do something” in reaction to a terrible event
  • Politicians’ perverse incentive to “do something” rather than nothing, even if the something is counterproductive
  • Whether reacting to catastrophes or tragedies makes good policy
  • Times that government action exacerbated problems
  • Some of our favorite literature, including Notes From Underground and C.S. Lewis

Reactive Political Action

When we take political action after a tragedy, we are normally not thinking straight. If emotions are high, we act irrationally, which makes for policy that feels good in the moment, but doesn't fix the issue. Plus, acting quickly can mean we aren't taking into account all of the factors that lead to a problem. National issues rarely can be solved by policy, and can never be solved with a quick piece of legislation.

Better Political Action

Political action that makes sense is proactive. Instead of waiting for a tragedy to respond to, we ought to look for negative trends in our society and the causes. We know we have issues with mass shootings, drugs, mental illness and more, so why don't we respond? We ought to be able to take political action to prevent these problems from getting worse. Furthermore, each of us can play our part in fixing the issues. Don't wait for politicians in Washington D.C. to fix our issues, but solve your own problems as best you can. Politics should be a last resort.

About Grayson Quay

Grayson Quay is a freelance writer based in Arlington, VA. He earned his MA in English literature from Georgetown University in 2019. Grayson's work has been published in The American Conservative, Reason, The National Interest, and the Spectator US. You can find him on Twitter here. Here's the link to the article we discussed.

235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly - Conversation of Our Generation

According to Wikipedia, Naturalism is "the idea or belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual ones) operate in the universe. Adherents of naturalism assert that natural laws are the only rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural world, and that the changing universe is at every stage a product of these laws." In this episode, I'll take a look at some of the good points and valid concerns of Naturalism. Then, I'll discuss how it falls short, and what corrections it needs. Valid Concerns and Good Points One of the good points of naturalists is that we can attribute most things to natural laws and forces. Every little thing that happens doesn't have to be a supernatural intervention. And, we know it isn't random due to the consistency of events. There is a time in pagan cultures when everything was attributed to the supernatural. Even in the Judeo-Christian world much of the natural order was attributed to angel's intervention. I don't begin to say that I know how Heaven governs this world and it's laws. But it appears to me that there are natural laws and that God created the world with a discoverable order. When looking into that order, it is good to work within it's bounds, which is why we have science. Errors of Naturalism The cause of why I burn my tongue on hot coffee or the sun rises everyday can be naturally accounted for. But, the fact that all these beings exist as well as the laws that govern them, none of which fully account for the existence of the universe, has to have some other explanation. Naturalism cannot account for that. Instead, it seeks for a self-explaining cause that's within the natural order. Furthermore, there are well-attested events that do not fit into the natural world. Inexplicable miracles are one. But, there are phenomena like love and beauty that we do experience. However, the naturalist cannot explain these fully by neurons and brain chemistry. We need a deeper, spiritual explanation if we want to cohere with our universal experience. Corrections There is one major correction a naturalist needs to incorporate all truth into his worldview. That is a recognition of the spiritual. Miracles, religious experiences, emotions, and beauty aren't simply natural phenomena. Rather, they are true experiences of something outside of the natural order. To see this in art, read The Soul of the World, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to see how this plays out. They demonstrate that there is more to this world than the naturalist can explain. And, they do it both with philosophy and story-telling. Related Episodes in this Series What is Objective Reality? What is Subjective Reality? Unity of Subject and Object The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  2. 234. The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality
  3. 233. Is Patriotism Good? | Reflections on the 4th of July
  4. 232. Unity of Subject and Object
  5. 231. What is Subjective Reality?

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