How Many Angels – The Importance of Foundational Thinking

Arguing the fundamentals and foundational thinking can be tedious for a great number of people. However, some find it to be great sport. But does it have any value?

If the center of a circle is the most perfect foundation, when we get our foundation really close to it – or even not that close (relatively speaking), our foundational thinking might not appear to be very different from someone else’s foundational thinking… but if you drew a line from the point of perfect foundation through my foundation and did the same to the other’s foundation, what is built on those foundations starts to deviate a great deal. The distance between those lines grows the more we build onto those foundations.

For most people, this isn’t that big a deal. One of the fallacies of the Enlightenment was the assumption that all people put a lot of thought into foundational thinking, politics, and philosophies of life and governance. Most people just don’t. They follow the majority thinking – the cultural thinking. The thought leaders in academics, their churches, their government, and the authors of their stories and tales drive the cultural thinking and most people just absorb it by osmosis. They wouldn’t even need to perfectly follow the precepts to gain benefit from a solid foundation on which those precepts are built.

One of my arguments against modern thought and politics is that I think the thought leaders – including those on the Right – have created foundations on faulty ground… or they picked a precept that was built on a solid foundation and made that their foundation, instead – like individualism and captialism. Identifying the foundations and figuring out why those foundations are off needs to be part of whatever comes next for the continuation of our country and her governance or in building what comes next.

I don’t believe I am right for this, though I know I am a thinker. I will seed the foundational thinking in at least one of my children, and maybe one of them will be a builder. Or maybe the discussions of foundational principles on these pages will make it to someone else who will be a foundational builder.

5+

Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

14 thoughts on “How Many Angels – The Importance of Foundational Thinking”

  1. Individualism and capitalism are built on a solid foundation, but now have become the foundation?  I don’t understand .   Your title “how many angels” suggests  the “foundation” should be arcane religious lore, like the famous controversy about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but I can’t believe that’s what you mean…so?

    0

  2. What if we believe in things as if they are foundational but lost sight of THEIR foundations, opening us up to imputing meanings on them that don’t align with their foundations?

    It creates a perversion of what was hoped for when the people who came up with those ideas developed them from their foundations.

    Where was Locke’s center? Where was Adam Smith’s center? Where was Buckley’s center when he claimed patriotism and nationalism are different and nationalism is bad?

    Is our modern interpretation of individualism as a pillar of conservative thinking lining up with a deeper foundation? Or have we just decided it is the foundation, so everything that comes from individualism is necessarily good? Do we even agree with the underlying foundation of individualism?

    I didn’t think I did agree with the underlying foundation of individualism, but someone at The Other Place wrote about Locke and the importance he placed on the commonwealth and community. His kind of individualism doesn’t line up with where we have taken it, because we dispensed with his foundation and made individualism itself the foundation.

    The title is a tongue in cheek reference to debates that seem to pointlessly discuss nitty details that only serious nerds would care about. It’s usually a way of pointing out how meaningless an argument is. I’d think you, queen of tongue-in-cheek obscure references, would get that :p

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  3. I did get the reference, as my query demonstrated.
    I was asking you what you think the foundation is, or should be.  But reading your response, i guess all you wanted to do was pose the question.

    I long ago reached the conclusion that every idea or principle, taken far enough, turns into its exact opposite.  Therefore I don’t think it matters, practically, what the source or foundation of our present common beliefs was.   But it is an interesting intellectual  exploration.

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  4. I mention individual liberty and freedom of choice or individual free agency frequently when speaking about the Constitutional foundation of America. I don’t use the term individualism as frequently because it might mean to some a lot more or something different from what I mean to convey. I think we have the Bill of Rights because the Anti-Federalists from Virginia and a few other places had real concerns about making certain our Constitution made a connection to the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Capitalism as we see it here is not a product of the above way of thinking since we can see it is not practiced in anything even resembling a free market place. America is operating under many pressures on our founding principles so I suppose that means there are some competing foundations in play.

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  5. I agree.

    The problem seems to be the importance of trivial thinking in people’s decision making. Majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors.

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  6. 10 Cents:
    I agree.

    The problem seems to be the importance of trivial thinking in people’s decision making. Majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors.

    You mean like going to the gallows for using the wrong pronoun?

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  7. Bob Thompson:

    10 Cents:
    I agree.

    The problem seems to be the importance of trivial thinking in people’s decision making. Majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors.

    You mean like going to the gallows for using the wrong pronoun?

    Well, that’s important. (Who are [third person singular] calling “you”?]

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  8. The only foundation that is ultimately and absolutely reliable is faith in Jesus the Messiah of God.

    America became great on the basis of Christian concepts made to apply to a population of mostly Christian people, but without sectarian specificity, such that the principles could be applied to non-Christians.  So there is no national enshrinement of the Doctrine of Original Sin, but the concept was used to inform the development of a robust system of checks and balances.  There was no national law against coveting, but the Christian proscription against coveting resulted in an absence of law or policy intended to bring the wealthy down.  There is no Constitutional citation of the Biblical injunction that a judge “should be no respecter of persons,” but that concept is deeply embedded in the ethics of American judicial systems.

    Or, at least, that was the way it mostly worked until the Progressives started undermining western civilization.

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  9. G.D.:
    heavy….

    Yes it is!  Like the proverbial”lead balloon”! I note none of the comments have gotten more’n one Like.  Everybody’s just in “If you ask me..” mode.
    S’what I meant in my comment #1: if you know, or think you know what the foundation should be, just tell us!  

    MJB does not disappoint, I knew we could count on him to do it!

    0

  10. Hypatia:

    G.D.:
    heavy….

    Yes it is!  Like the proverbial”lead balloon”! I note none of the comments have gotten more’n one Like.  Everybody’s just in “If you ask me..” mode.
    S’what I meant in my comment #1: if you know, or think you know what the foundation should be, just tell us!  

    MJB does not disappoint, I knew we could count on him to do it!

    Personally, I’m interested in the foundation of nationalism as it is presented in scripture and how it works via free association – do natural alignments build cohesive nations, how do those nations protect/preserve themselves,  and are they biblically sound?

    Could the founders have built on an assumption of national unity and did our brand of patriotism weaken it by assuming the multi-culti good?

    Are our immigration laws that allow for changing our immigration profile easily how we maintain free association as a country? If it is, should its opposite be a valid function of the state (revoking citizenship) and if not, shouldn’t our immigration laws be tighter, not looser?

    Have we completely hamstrung ourselves by assuming valid means of running a country are evil? Are they truly bad, or do they just rub us wrong? Is more saved by adopting those means as valid? Or is more lost? What is gained? What is lost?

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  11. Hypatia,

    I get why you don’t like this post. It is pointless and doesn’t say anything on its own.

    I am a bad writer who feels a need to preamble to justify my arguments and help limit my scope, else I end up all over the place. My goal exists. And for once, I’m powering through it. I am drafting a 3rd post now, hoping to get through these ideas before I get distracted.

    0

  12. Stina:
    Hypatia,

    I get why you don’t like this post. It is pointless and doesn’t say anything on its own.

    I am a bad writer who feels a need to preamble to justify my arguments and help limit my scope, else I end up all over the place. My goal exists. And for once, I’m powering through it. I am drafting a 3rd post now, hoping to get through these ideas before I get distracted.

    Dear Stina, I didn’t say I didn’t like it.  I was trying to understand its, well foundation,  you posed and pose many questions, which writers  often do because they already know how they intend to answer them!   Also I was struck by the rugged individualism of the (mostly stand-alone) comments.
    Is your baptism post the next step?  I just skimmed that one…

    0

  13. Hypatia:
    Also I was struck by the rugged individualism of the (mostly stand-alone) comments.

    I probably show some of this deriving not from my thinking process but more from what little feeling process emerges in my personality and then leads to the rather small amount of free association with others. Hey, that’s just me, almost all of my time spent with others is with my family members. I don’t like to focus on the idea of ‘individualism’ but do emphasize the individual component in free association and free agency, the importance of being able to make choices as an individual.

    0

Leave a Reply