Collateral Damage is the term used by the military for damage done to civilians in order to accomplish a military mission. It seems to me that this debate between Greg and Dan is over collateral damage.
Greg argues Both Christian teaching and conservative beliefs about human behavior explain why we shouldn’t expect to find that our opponents are conscious of the destructiveness of their policies.
Dan disagrees by saying Let’s not step into the OK Corral thinking the cultural elite don’t know what they’re doing.
The question is do the cultural elite know what they are doing? To Dan’s point, of course they do! To Greg’s point, of course they don’t! How can both Dan and Greg be correct. The answer is collateral moral damage. In Dan’s examples, the cultural elite certainly know that supporting abortion does harm for the sake of sexual liberation, just as the media chooses multiculturalism over the defense of women and children. What these entities do not recognize is the moral damage done well down the line.
Consider the influence of psychology in our country. I’m a supporter of psychology and believe it has a lot to offer, but when self-esteem and psychology became the basis of morality, moral character slowly disappeared. Check out James Hunter’s excellent book Death of Character. Did the elites know this would happen? No. In fact, they still don’t know that it has happened and is happening but still think psychology will pull us out of the moral pit that psychologically based moralism took us into! Why did they not see this coming?
They did not see the moral damage because of their misunderstanding of human nature, which is Greg’s point. Entities who do not believe in the corrupt nature of mankind cannot predict the moral fallout of their policies because they lack an understanding of the depravity of the human heart and soul! They believe that people are by nature good and have such a positive view of humans that if mankind is simply released from what supposedly holds it back people will flourish and lead moral lives. The reality is that mankind will seeks it owns selfish ends and invent new ways of doing wrong. The issue is not simply epistemology but anthropology.
In the short term, Dan is right. Entities know that they often have conflicting, destructive policies. Greg’s point is that since these cultural elites have an errant view of human nature, they cannot predict the depraved twisting of the best intentioned policies. Consider Gay Marriage. Do those in the places of power understand the contradictions and immediate consequences of such policies, such as the devaluing of marriage and the elimination of gender? Of course they do. But do they understand what happens to a culture when masculinity is emasculated and men no longer step up as leaders? No, they cannot predict the Hell that will break loose when men are no longer men and women are no longer women. Do they foresee what will take place morally in this country when all decisions are based on what feels good, regardless of order or design? That is collateral moral damage that can only be predicted by someone who understands the depravity of mankind.
So, I would say Greg hits Dan in the leg with his first volley. Dan then wings Greg in the arm with his response, at which point they up in side by side hospital beds sipping coffee and watching the presidential debate.