How often we hear it from leftist social critics. “Be reasonable! Youth are for it. The courts have recognized it. Academia has created language to describe it. Legislatures have encoded it in law. The majority of the people accept it. We see the logic of it. Be reasonable and give in to the inevitable!” Whatever the current thinking is, anyone who opposes it is declared an unreasoning bigot.
When reason is invoked what is it that is being invoked? The vast majority of the time reason is announced as the purveyor of truth and fact. If only we would open our ears, eyes, and minds, reason will lead us unerringly to the conclusions reached by leftist social critics. As they wield it, reason is the throne of all authority and we must bow to its moral, social, and legal absolutes.
However, when we begin to reason about their reasoning, questions arise. For example, how does reason become engaged in the human intellect? Where does it get its start? Reason begins to operate when a person calls it into action based upon an assumption or belief. If someone believes in God, every effort will be made to support that belief through reasoned evidence. The same is true of someone who does not believe in God. Any interrogative exploration of reality is initiated by desire. Desire then commissions reason to find whatever it can to justify the desire. Reason may be a first responder but never an initiator.
A second question arises. How reliable is the evidence produced by reason? Reason is asked to uncover and arrange factual information in a manner understandable to the person whose desire set reasoning in motion. This is fine, up to a point. Unless the facts gathered are accurate the resulting evidence is spurious. Unless reasoning is put in a place where salient information is available and obtainable, reason cannot furnish reliable results. As with a computer, junk in means junk out.
Yet, an even more important question arises. What is the difference between reason and rationalization? Are leftist social critics being reasonable or indulging in rationalization? It is possible for objective reason to produce facts leading the desirer to amend desire. But rationalization is deliberately designed to block any facts that may lead to amendment of desire. When someone rationalizes their attitudes or behavior, a filter is placed on incoming information. It either distorts items it doesn’t like or blocks them altogether. Then the desirer produces a mental landscape amenable to the original desire and portrays the landscape as a genuine portrait of reality. All this can take place in a nanosecond and becomes habitual, even addictive.
In many political and social ways, leftist social critics have forsaken reason for rationalization. For example, take the claim of transgenderism. It is said by them that a man may attain the being and status of a woman, and vice versa. They hold this position as a reasoned and obvious fact. However, factually and in demonstrated reality, no man can exchange his male physiology for a female one. No amount of drugs, surgery, or counseling has the power to switch the DNA of one person’s gender to another. A person’s desire may be strong enough to move them to seek a transgendered life, and they may claim that it is reasonable to do so. Yet, with all their striving and all the leftist social critics in the world applauding the reasonableness of their actions, genuine reason demands the recognition of the fact of male and female irreversibility.
That leftist social critics have turned to rationalization on social issues instead of honest reasoning is demonstrated by their vocal, vociferous, even violent, responses when their demands for reason are questioned. Even teens know that a loud tantrum can turn attention away from the superficiality of their arguments. Our LSC friends are trying to force us to accept their rationalizations as reason and thereby reframe the nature of human community in their image. It is time to tear down the idolatry they have created.