By Audrey Sightler
Process philosophy is a philosophical tradition that emphasizes becoming and changing over static being. This philosophy is embodied in the concept that the supernatural does not exist, including God. "Process philosophy emerged out of the failure of Romanticism-Transcendentalism, which resulted in a profound theological shift" 1 "Romanticism-Transcendentalism was primarily a reaction to the dominant role reason and science played during the Enlightenment, and their ensuing consequences for people and society."2 In addition, Process Philosophy has had a large influence on our society; thus, it has impacted the foundation of our government. Process philosophy is based on moral relativism, the idea that there are no universal or absolute moral principles. This concept is based on the fact that morality is reliant on what society thinks is acceptable at any given time; this leads to society not having a moral compass whatsoever.
Relativism plays an essential role in Process Philosophy in which it is a revolt against the objective reality of God. Moreover, God creates the possibility of truth, and relativism is the belief that there are no absolute truths. While America is not a Theocracy, the Founding Fathers did base the founding of our nation on Christianity. We can see this from our first president, George Washington, as he stated, "Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people" (George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789). Moreover, we can also see it in John Adams inaugural address, stating, "And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence" (John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797)
Additionally, process philosophy endangers the founding documents because it is the same philosophy that can be found within Karl Marx's writings, such as in German Ideology, "The way men produce their means of subsistence depends first of all on the nature of the actual means of subsistence they find in existence and have to reproduce. This mode of production must not be considered simply as being the reproduction of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are. Therefore, they are coinciding with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production" 3
Process Philosophy completely contradicts the Founding Fathers who were greatly influenced by Scottish Common Sense Realism, such as Thomas Jefferson, who's tutor, William Douglas, studied in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Still, it was William Small who was Jefferson's most significant influence. Small was a notable figure during the Scottish Enlightenment. The Scottish Enlightenment was studied and fiercely debated throughout colonial America, and Scottish Realism took root within our founding. As we all remember, the most familiar line within the Declaration is, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness," this undermines process philosophy. The Declaration just doesn't claim that these are "truths" it claims there are self-evident truths and process philosophy defines truth as an unattainable goal.
Furthermore, the impact that Scottish Realism had upon the foundation of America has been largely forgotten. Process Philosophy is identified with the intellectual expressions of Darwinism, Marxism, Pragmatism, and Freudianism. Likewise, Process Philosophy results in a type of totalitarianism, in which power is concentrated in the state; the state has total jurisdiction to effect change in policies of egalitarianism, this results in a social approach to people and all life. Furthermore, it progressively gives birth to socialism and communism by Relativity replacing absolutism: thus, the reality is continually changing, developing, and progressing evolutionarily. Moreover, Darwinism's evolutionary theory of natural selection through the survival of the fittest would be adapted by Marx, who will promote a historical economic dynamic that demonstrates the development of history through class conflict. It would be Hagel's triadic or synthetic thinking that would replace antithetical thinking, thus resulting in a dialectic that Marx would assimilate with Feuerbach's materialism.
In conclusion, Historical materialism is dialectical materialism applied to history, or through the dynamic of economic change leading to communist utopia. Much of the political realm, such as the progressive political parties, has adopted this philosophy and can be seen throughout various policies but it can most recently be seen in the most extreme form, which is the Green New Deal. Thus, as the original philosophies and beliefs of our Founding Fathers slowly drift further and further away; one can only assert that it is a vastly growing problem that our Founding documents may one day be at risk of being replaced.
1. Martin, Glenn R. (2013). Lecture on Worldviews from the 1870s to the Modern Era. Personal Collection of Glenn R. Martin, Liberty University, Lynchburg VA.
2. Ferdon. (2019). Constitutional Government and Free Enterprise: A Biblical Christian Worldview Approach and Emphasis Interactive Notes. [Liberty University Online Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://libertyonline.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781792402081/
3. Nielsen, K. (1988). Marx on Justice: The Tucker-Wood Thesis Revisited. The University of Toronto Law Journal, 38(1), 28-63. Doi:10.2307/825761
Audrey Sightler is a Louisiana native, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration, as well as a History Minor with Liberty University. She is an active member of the International Churchill Society and the Royal Economic Society. Moreover, Audrey has achieved multiple certifications in International Business with the University of London. Audrey is a fourth-generation American descendant of an Ellis Island immigrant; her forefathers also worked alongside the Founding Fathers to establish our freedoms during America's founding.