Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed editor and publisher Rebecca Bynum of the New English Review in studio to discuss a new book she’s published entitled Dangerous God, A Defense of Transcendent Truth by Albert Norton Jr. which examines the underlying destruction of metanarratives in society.
Leahy: We are delighted to welcome to our microphones in studio this morning our good friend has been in studio before. Rebecca Bynum, who is the editor of the New English Review Press. We’ve talked about her books before. I have one here. Rebecca, I’m delighted to have you in studio. I found out that you are one of the few people in Nashville who get up as early as I do.
Bynum: I do. I’m an extreme lark. I get up by 4:00 a.m. every morning. 3:30 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. It’s ridiculous.
Leahy: Wow. How did that happen?
Bynum: I’ve always done that. I was a dry cleaner for a number of years because that worked in with my schedule. I’ve always been an early riser.
Leahy: Well, I’ve not always been an early riser at this level. When I delivered newspapers in college, I got up about this time and then I would go back to sleep after I delivered the newspapers. But we’ve been doing this for two and a half years, up at 3:30 every day and in studio. Today was unusual because I knew you were coming in. We got in here about 10 to five.
And the show starts at 5:06 and I’m usually in here by 5:05. And our producer Scooter is going, I hope he shows up this morning. I hope he shows up. Well, you have been in studio before. You’re going to be with us for an entire hour this morning. It’s about midday for you. You are leading the way.
I’m so impressed with you and I’m so impressed with the New English Review. Your books are fantastic. Although you are set up as a non-profit, you’re making money. It’s incredible! You’re making money publishing books as a small publisher and my hat is off to you for doing that, because, as we said during the break, I’ve self-published about five books. I haven’t made money on any of them.
Bynum: It’s difficult. It’s very difficult, but yes our books cover the magazine and cover everything that we need to do. And we have been able to stay in business for 15 years now.
Leahy: Incredibly impressive. And we’ve had a couple of times one of your authors here, Michael Rectenwald who is a great thinker and former NYU professor. That guy knows exactly what’s going on in America, and it’s always a delight to have him on.
Bynum: He’s interesting because he was a former Marxist himself and so he really understands the mindset of the left and articulates it beautifully.
Leahy: Now, you have a new book here. We’re going to talk about it. It’s called Dangerous God, A Defense of Transcendent Truth by Albert Norton, Jr. You’re pretty excited about this book. Tell us why.
Bynum: Yes. It’s a wonderful book. Anyone who’s interested in what’s going on now, as far as why we can’t talk to each other anymore and why this great split in thinking and perceiving the world. And it comes back to the idea of what is truth. Pontius Pilate’s old question.
Leahy: When you say, in defense of transcendent truth, what exactly does that mean?
Bynum: There’s a difference between what contains truth and what is truth. There’s a difference between what contains goodness and what is goodness. What contains beauty and what is beauty. And these transcendent values are attributes of pure spirit.
Leahy: Let me read the first paragraph of the introduction of this book, Dangerous God, A Defense of Transcendent Truth by Albert Norton, Jr. published by the New English Review Press. That’s the company that you operate.
Leahy: ‘There is a sickness at the heart of Western civilization. It is worse than racism, sexism, xenophobia, injustice, incivility, loneliness, isolation, or inequality. We are anxious about these things, but not about what underlies them all. We’re like a person with both a hangnail and terminal cancer obsessed with the hangnail because the pain is more immediate.
The more lethal sickness which we too often ignore is the collapse of belief in objective goodness and truth. From transcendent truth springs the meta-narrative of faith we have inherited, but which we are on the way to destroying. The meta-narrative that built civilization should be mended, not leveled. The sickness is curable, but only if we see it for what it is.
Bynum: Yes, I absolutely agree with that. We’ve come to the point where secular society is taking over the role of religion in a lot of ways. We’re having religious and moral responses to things that are not spiritual.
Leahy: Climate change. Critical race theory.
Bynum: Absolutely. These things are becoming very dogmatic as much as the medieval church was ever dogmatic.
Leahy: Perhaps even more in some regards.
Leahy: You talk about climate change, for instance. And there’s a physicist out there I don’t know if you’ve talked about this but his name is Koonin, I think. And he basically was the policy advisor at the Department of Energy under Obama in the first couple of years. And he said, basically, the climate change rouse is just that, a rouse.
He says objectively since 1900, he believes that the evidence supports the claim that the worldwide temperature has gone up one degree. And he thinks that over the next hundred years it looks like based upon the models that he believes and it’ll go up another one degree. But beyond that, to call it the man-made and not a natural change in climate that’s happened for eons he says, is just ridiculous.
Bynum: Yes. And think about the hubris. The climate has changed throughout all history and throughout the time the earth has been in existence, the climate has been changing. We have the hubris that we should fix it to what is right now during our lifetimes, forever and ever. And it should never change. It’s odd. It’s strange.
Leahy: And the fixes are, let’s be honest, idiotic.
Bynum: Yes. Absolutely.
Leahy: There are so many things about the use of science in public policy today that are idiotic. We could spend the entire program listing an example of those.
As an engineer - someone quite well-versed in (applied) science and mathematics, the whole climate change thing (I was in the "renewable energy" field for a number of years 'way back when it was totally unfashionable) is frustrating in the extreme, but I have no outlet into which I can vent myself... A combination of a general ignorance of science and an unwillingness to think... From a transcendental standpoint, I have studied and practised this grand "philosophy" - some of the variants of it - for a goodly number of years, and items such as racism and critical race theory too get on my nerves, so to speak, for a number of reasons I won't get into. As for discussing this "philosophy," this is something even more of a problem than discussing science...