Introductory Paradigmatics: New Wine in Old Bottles or Old Vinegar without Bottles
by Dr. Robert Dickson Crane
We’ve reached the point where even the parents of the younger generation have never heard of the 1960s. As the father of a former leader and treasurer of the Weather Underground, which bombed two hundred American banks in one year and made the Students for a Democratic Society (the S.D.S.) look like wimps almost forty years ago, I have followed nascent trends recently toward radicalization all over the world. Perhaps it is significant that efforts are now being made to revive Tom Hayden’s S.D.S. brainchild. The new revolutionary wannabees of the early 21st century are egged on by the radicals of the 1960s and early 1970s, now of retirement age, but Tom Hayden wisely warns that one cannot recreate the past.
The report from today’s Sunday New York Times, January 6th, 2008, quotes Hayden, who was the primary author of the founding document of the S.D.S, the Port Huron Statement, served as President of the S.D.S., and then went on, as a born-again conservative, to serve in the California State Senate. He has met many new members of the new revolutionaries but held back from giving guidance. “The war in Iraq vividly demonstrates that the issues of the ’60s have not gone away,” he says, “but this generation has an identity crisis that it will have to resolve on its own.” My comment is that all frustrated revolutionaries, because of their very frustration, have an identity crisis, which is a major reason why they always fail so miserably. Those who focus on pursuing the negative are condemned to eternal frustration until they recognize that the underlying purpose of the universe is positive and that they must get with it. At least then they might fail with dignity.
Long live my own American Revolutionary Party, which I co-founded a couple of years ago (as the principal revisionist author of its platform), to promote paradigmatic transformation. Negatively, its slogans are, “Close the wealth gap! Own or be Owned!” See http://www.americanrevolutionaryparty.us/partyplatform.htm Its .paradigmatic focus, however, is compassionate justice, which was the watchword of America’s Founders in the Declaration of Independence and, more recently, of their most articulate spokesperson, President Ronald Reagan. The aim of the American Revolutionary Party is not to destroy the old bottles of the two-party system, as was the goal of the S.D.S., nor even to compete with the two establishment parties, but rather to challenge each party to be more faithful to its roots. This has been the almost unique function of third parties throughout America’s history.
My principal project right now is to prepare and constantly update a wikipedic encyclopedia of natural law. My book, The Natural Law of Compassionate Justice, just published in 225 pages, by the International Institute of Islamic Thought, is the first volume of introductory paradigmatics. This new art (not a science) goes beyond conflict resolution and even beyond conflict management to paradigmatic transformation, which is designed to revive the best of the traditionalist past in the classical thought of all religions in order to develop and empower their common spiritual framework for a better global future.
In Christian terms, this is known as moral theology, and in Islamic terms as the universal principles of Islamic jurisprudence (the maqasid al shari’ah). They both provide pragmatic purpose for dogmatic theology, which is the teachings of each religion on what one cannot prove intellectually, e.g., whether there is an afterlife, whether there is such a thing as divine guidance and revelation, and even whether a sentient or conscious ultimate being can exist. Dogmatic theology addresses the first major category of the natural law encyclopedia, which is the nature of the human person. Moral theology addresses the second major category, which is the nature of human community and the responsibilities that this implies for social, economic, and political justice. Dogmatic theology serves iteratively to provide a higher purpose for moral theology.
In an encyclopedic symbiosis both moral theology and dogmatic theology serve to build a unified synergy between science and religion. They both need bottles, because like all approaches to truth, they necessarily must follow different paths. Their end, however, is the same. Like the liqueur of the Carthusian monks, celebrated in the recent documentary, “The Great Silence,” the millennia-old secret lies in the blending.