Mission Statement

The Solid Quarry of Relatively Sober Reason takes its name and mission from Abraham Lincoln’s 1838 Lyceum Speech.

The Founders were pillars of the temple of liberty; and now that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the Solid Quarry of Relatively Sober Reason.

Lincoln did not say relatively—I have added that. After all, who is really capable of strictly sober reason? Not me. So, I have to quibble with him there.

In general, though, I won’t quibble with Lincoln. Rather, I will defend Lincoln as the man who started from the bottom and rose to power mostly through rhetoric denying the absolute right of majority rule, contributed to ending slavery in America, prevented the further expansion of Manifest Destiny and the demise of what turned out to be the indispensible country of the 20th century.

But even more generally, this Abraham Lincoln website isn’t really going to be about Abraham Lincoln much at all. Rather, Lincoln is our Zarathustra. According to Nietzsche, “Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle of good and evil the true wheel in the working of things — the translation of morality into the metaphysical, as force, first cause, end-in-itself, is his work. But this question is basically already the answer. Zarathustra created this most fateful of errors, morality: consequently he must also be the first to recognize it as such.”1

Nietzsche had Zarathustra return to tell the world that he was mistaken—that there is no such thing as Good and Evil, or at least that they are merely ideas created by people in order to gain power. I am going to have Lincoln return to tell the world that Zarathustra was right the first time—that there is such a thing as Good and Evil. Lincoln seems appropriate because he is one of the great promoters of an abstract good in relatively modern times.

But what is this good to which I am referring? Although it certainly includes what we think of with morality, it is quite a bit more general than morality. Although Nietzsche certainly did take aim at the good as morality, he was aiming at the metaphysics of Classical Philosophy, which is more general than morality.

Aristotle adequately summarizes the Classical view of the good at the beginning of the Nicomachean Ethics when he says that “Every art or applied science and every systematic investigation, and similarly every action and choice, seem to aim at some good; the good, therefore has been well defined as that at which all things aim.”2 Therefore, something is good if it is what it is trying to be.

It should be clear that this applies far more broadly than to morality. Consider for instance, Metallica. Metallica is not what they are trying to be and so they are not good–nothing to do with morality. Part of the confusion becomes clear when reading works from Ancient Greece—they seem to refer to morality in terms of justice (Greek: dikaiosyne) instead of goodness (kalon). Whereas we would say that someone is a good person, they would be more likely to say that someone is a just person.3

This is the present task of The Solid Quarry of Relatively Sober Reason. A comprehensive analysis will be coming later this year. It could alternatively be stated as, can a philosophy be constructed on the basis of the Classics that is an adequate description of the modern world? The debut writing, Classical Philosophy > Classical Liberalism addresses many of the issues that lead up to the clash between the Classics and the Moderns.

I have always been more or less a Political Conservative, and my goal is not to remain one, but rather to have views that are adequate descriptions of reality. With this website, my goal is to put my present views to the ultimate test, and emerge from that test as either the ultimate defender or destroyer of them.

Finally, on a lighter note, this website is my boho dance. ‘Boho’ is the obverse of ‘hobo’ and short for ‘bohemian.’ In other words it’s a person that seems like a hobo because he is bohemian. In other words, it’s an artist. As defined by Tom Wolfe:

The Boho Dance, in which the artist shows his stuff within the circles, coteries, movements, isms, of the home neighborhood, bohemia itself, as if he doesn’t care about anything else; as if, in fact, he has a knife in his teeth against the fashionable world uptown.4

If anyone would like me to remove copyrighted material from my website (it would probably only be excerpts from writings), then please let me know and I will probably be happy to do it.

 

F O O T N O T E S

1. Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, ‘Why I Am a Destiny,’ 3

2. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1094a1

3. Consider that the controversy in Plato’s Republic is whether or not the life of a just or unjust man is more desirable—not a good or bad man.

4. Tom Wolfe, The Painted Word, p19

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