From the outset, one of the underlying themes of The Texas Pilgrim has been the notion that “ideas have consequences”, and one of the thinkers who inspired that notion in me is Richard M. Weaver, whose book of that name, published in 1948, has been an invaluable source of the wisdom of that aphorism. Weaver diagnoses the ills of the age as the culmination of an evolution of thought that began with a major change in philosophy when, in the fourteenth century, man’s conception of the reality of transcendentals was first seriously challenged. In short, the issue involved whether or not there is a source of truth higher than, and independent of, man. Thus was born the philosophy of nominalism—the idea that the only reality is that perceived by the senses. Once this concept took hold, the rest, as they say, is history. From there, we proceeded beyond the careful scientific study of nature to the denial of anything transcending experience, to rationalism elevated to the rank of a philosophy, to the materialistic idea of man explained only by his environment, and to psychological “behaviorism” and the abolishment of free will. And from there it was not a great leap to the postmodern abandonment of timeless moral truth and the attendant moral relativism that plagues our age. Needless to say, the consequences abound.
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