Indivisible Launches with a Bang!
Our friend and colleague Jay Richards's collaboration with James Robison, Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It's Too Late, launched this week with a bang, debuting at No. 2 on Amazon's bestseller list. Congratulations, Jay!
Readers of ENV will know Dr. Richards as a wonderfully illuminating and entertaining writer and explainer especially of all things touching on the relation of science to faith. Making the case that a society's economic flourishing is "indivisible" from its moral values, the book may seem off-topic for us here. But it emphatically isn't.
Discovery Institute, our institutional home, is unique among think tanks in being organized around the insight that every aspect of public and private existence follows from the fundamental question of how people in a society understand what it means to be a human being.
Are men just a species of hairless ape bearing no signs of ultimate purpose or design, or do we contain a spark of something transcendent? For a given culture, no question is further "upstream" than that. From our answer to it flow a myriad of attitudes that determine what it will be like to live in that culture -- whether humane or degraded, rich or void in meaning, creative or barren, prosperous or wretched, safe or imperiled.
This is the essence of the modern conservative vision. The book that launched the contemporary conservative movement, Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences (1948), traced man's devolving self-image through a line of influences with Darwinian theory as a lynchpin. Weaver saw every major deformation in our ruling political and social views as following from an error in how we think about being human. With "Darwinism... lurking in the background," he wrote, "Politics, arts, everything, came under the rule; man was primarily a food- and shelter-finding animal."
A mistake that some conservatives and many liberals have made is to imagine that much of anything in science, culture, morals or economics is "divisible" from anything else. In fact, nothing important in a culture stands independently of anything else. This explains why in the titles of Discovery Institute programs you will notice a proliferation of ampersands. ENV falls under the Center for Science & Culture. Jay's newly launched program is the Center on Wealth, Poverty & Morality. George Gilder leads our Technology & Democracy Project. And so on.
Believing that it makes sense to call yourself a "social conservative" or a "fiscal conservative" is as much an example of illusory thinking as imagining that how we think about life's origins and our origins as human beings stands apart from and irrelevant to how people will choose to live their lives, whether nobly and creatively or otherwise.
Existence is a seamless fabric: that is equally an insight of Biblical religion (as the Israelites declared in their chief watchword, "The Lord is One"), of Western philosophy and of practical wisdom. We wish Jay Richards and James Robison much success in bringing that message to an ever-expanding audience.