Statue of Socrates, Panepistimiou, Athens, Greece
Statue of Socrates, Panepistimiou, Athens, Greece

About the intellectual climate in the Middle Ages, we may find the following information in a history textbook for upper secondary students:

In the Middle Ages, certain scholarly men sat at the University of Paris and spoke about how many teeth the horse had. Instead of counting, they instead debated it as a religious issue. They were able to come to the consensus that the number could not be divided by three since doing so would be disrespectful to the Trinity. They also concurred that the number could not be split by seven since God slept on the seventh day after creating the world in six days. This illustration demonstrates the dominance of the church throughout the Middle Ages. It primarily dictated what people ought to say and think.

About the thinkers of the Enlightenment, it is written in another book:

The philosophers of the Enlightenment set the path for secularisation: More and more people started to see the world using reason and science, rather than religious justifications.

Then, it shouldn't surprise us when in a third book it is claimed that the eminent political philosopher John Locke, who served as an inspiration for the revolutions in England, the United States, France, and Norway, believed that politics and Christianity should not coexist.

For a very long time, people have been telling Norwegians the following about our history:

Ancient Greece introduced the globe to brilliant intellectual society.


After then, the Middle Ages became more inky before the Age of Enlightenment brought back the light. As a result, our pupils discover that the Christian faith meant freedom from light.

To put it another way, there is no reason to think that a Norwegian textbook would contain these words from Paul:

I'd rather speak five words in comprehension than hundreds of words in tongues when the crowd is gathered so that I may impart knowledge to them.

It seems as though we have forgotten that the church founded and safeguarded our colleges. For instance, the Pope was responsible for ensuring that universities received a free and autonomous status by the middle of the 13th century.

In addition, nine of the first 10 institutions in the USA were founded by various religions. The Christian religion inspired a hunger for knowledge and the capacity to comprehend the reality to which God had instructed us to surrender.

God desires that we comprehend his plan for us.

The fact that the two most significant political traditions to arise during the Enlightenment are not included in the textbooks is perhaps much more significant.

John Locke did not outright reject Christianity. Quite the opposite. He states the following in his well-known book, "Citizens and State Power":

Therefore, the rule of nature applies to all mankind, even lawmakers, forever. The guidelines they provide for other people's behaviour must, like their own and other people's actions, be in conformity with the natural laws, which are a manifestation of God's will, of which they are a part. Because "the constitution of nature is to preserve mankind," no human decree has the authority to go against this.

But not everyone shared John Locke's viewpoint. The general will was widely regarded as the proper foundation for democratic rule, according to Rousseau. While John Adams belonged to the side that want to maintain the institutions and confidence in the law as an expression of God's will, the eminent Thomas Jefferson in the United States became a spokesperson for Rousseau and the radical views of the French Revolution.

As you may have guessed, Thomas Jefferson is the one who receives accolades in Norwegian textbooks for a reason.

Since then, these two traditions—believing in the universal will or believe in God—have engaged in conflict with one another, but John Locke's views have dominated our perception of reality for far longer than most textbook authors are willing to acknowledge.

Marxists thought that we might reach the truth via reason, despite the fact that Marxism ultimately formed, rejecting God with its atheism and materialism.

 The West's ideological outlook, however, changed after the Second World War. The idea that the general will serves as the foundation of democracy has grown more popular throughout time. It became harder to maintain God's place in politics as the secularisation movement grew more powerful, and finally God was rendered irrelevant. We would be in charge of creating a code of ethics for political choices. God was defeated by the collective will.

During the push against abortion, we plainly observed it.

Something happened in our universities at the same period, particularly in France and the USA. Now, truth was also questioned and sent to the intellectual trash bin in addition to God's rejection.

Without any kind of public discussion, postmodernism swept across the Western world like an intellectual tsunami. Language became subjective, and truth became a relative concept. But we also lost our minds in the process. Because reason is powerless in the absence of reality, natural science and logic have lost their relevance. It has to do with identity.

Despite destroying the old class fight, Marxism was also involved in the new identity conflict.

Intriguingly, when Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stre informs Vrt Land that the choice on the number of genders must be made based on the party's core beliefs, including the ideals of freedom, equality, and solidarity, we are reminded of the historical assertion. The leadership of the Labour Party consequently occupies an office and considers the number of sexes in our society based on principles rather than biology. They don't go outside and count, to paraphrase the textbook.

Geir Lippestad, a different party leader, told the daily Dagen that it is absurd to define what a woman is. He and Jonas Gahr Stre are actually claiming that our modern ideals dictate what they believe to be true.

But then I should remind you that when the Discrimination Act was enacted in 2013, all parties concurred to eliminate gender as a relevant concept.

However, our modern beliefs go beyond just defining gender. It concerns the legality of conversion therapy, religion, ethnicity, and the ability of gays to adopt children, among other things.

Thus, we have reached the location that our textbooks indicate we were throughout the Middle Ages. Our ability to think freely has been replaced by a thinking that must conform to an entirely new concept of reality, one that forces us to reject even biological realities.

The staff at the University of Paris understood exactly how many teeth the horse had; contrary to what the history textbook claims, their faith did not restrict their work. However, that is where we are at this point.

What we observe is that postmodernism and the collective will have fused. It appears to have won completely, and there are no boundaries for it.

This movement views all of its prior successes as being irrevocable at the same time. Because of this, we frequently hear that attempting to alter them would be undemocratic.

Anyone who tries is branded as controversial, an extreme, a threat to democracy, or, of course, a fascist.

Or, as the Democrats in the United States put it when Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to be a Supreme Court judge: She discovered that her views on abortion and LGBTIQ issues are at odds with the fundamental principles of the United States. To put it plainly, the Democrats' onslaught on her was unworthy of a democracy.

Thus, even proponents of abortion are seen as a danger to democracy. We'll amend previously passed legislation, and that's why. That is to say, we are undermining popular opinion.

It represents the conflict between Locke and Rousseau in the modern era.

Few people struggle for John Locke and what we consider to be conservative heritage here in Norway, but this conflict is very much alive in places like Poland, Hungary, Italy, and the USA.

Therefore, we must recognise that John Locke and the country's conservative supporters, not Donald Trump, are to blame for the current political situation in the USA.

But now is the proper time to pose the query:

What kind of state is it when it rules on issues like the number of sexes, children's right to a father and a mother, or parents' ability to support their own children who are experiencing gender dysphoria while also declaring that those who do not bend are violating the law?

Even above the facts, the general will demands the right to define. It has made God a criminal.

But if it does, it will have to stand up for lies, and we will then give up on democracy.

It occurs more frequently in the West.

Both formally and informally, it occurs.

Some people lose their jobs because they support the idea of two sexes, while others—like Professor Anne Kalvig—are driven out by the crowd.

The state that cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood and which sees as its primary goal the education of its citizens in a doctrine that cannot withstand resistance has replaced John Locke, who made it clear that the most important duty of the state was to defend life, liberty, and property.

Everything occurs as a result of our political leadership's disregard for the truth and their decision to remain locked in their offices, as was the case with academia throughout the Middle Ages, so allowing the ideals of their respective parties to define politics.

However, things don't have to be that way.

We still live in a democratic society, and it is up to us to determine whether we will stick with the status quo or once more base our society on the truth.

The author Kjell Skartveit is a Norwegian politician.

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