Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Stories we tell ourselves

Although ideas do have consequences, it is possible to look at them and listen to them within a narrative. And for many people, most of us, I suspect the narrative is deeper, peopled by mythic characters created by complexes, those nodes of image and feeling that populate our psyches.

Conservative political philosopher Kenneth Minogue points out that part of the liberal mind  --a place where ideas and narrative appear in tandem-- is to postulate an ideal world and then, based on the distance between that ideal and current reality, to discover a problem that must be solved. And in the process, creating a need for...liberals and their cultural and governmental programs.

Lady Grantham once again encounters Mrs. Crawley, the archetypal liberal,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In our time at the university, academics were horrify'd that Straussians would teach the founding books of liberalism -- books by Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Kant.

Liberalism was a terrifying nightmare. You must remember this drama. Locke was an authoritarian. The execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927 was a recent event that ostensibly should rally the masses. Solzhenitsyn was lump'd in with Mussolini if not Hitler. I remember a poster »Smash Solidarity! Company Union for CIA and Bankers!« which I admit made me really laugh.

True Christians should be marching on various centres of power demanding justice, the way Jesus march'd on Rome and Amos march'd on Babylon.

Academics and journalists wrote and publish'd to put their careers in parallel solidarity with migrant farm labourers and the mentally ill homeless.

All that disappear'd. ... Admittedly, one can make a strong argument that liberalism was successful by its serviceability to the military-industrial complex. Kant approved of wars that advanced revolution. Nothing like a good war to end all wars. But traditionalist tribalism plans to be similarly serviceable, I suppose. Will it be more meaningful?

According to some ancient runes over at Facebook, Mr Chilton Williamson enthuses for »paleoconservatism as "the expression of rootedness: a sense of place and of history, a sense of self derived from forebears, kin, and culture—an identity that is both collective and personal".«

Even granting that self essence arrives re "forebears" via genealogy by Ham, and that "culture" indicates the tents by Shem, and "kin" Japheth, I must complain that Mr Williamson's own lifestyle expresses no very sure concern for rootedness, for he roves and rambles all over that land of exile usa: nyc, vermont, wyoming, new mexico; he now squats on a different part of wyoming, whence he "escapes" frequently to roll around other western states -- rolling along rootlessly as a Philistine or Pale-stinian. He praises a "sense of tragedy," but we must wonder about a sense of comedy.

Yes, no strong politics is necessary when one is only trying to preserve freedoms of speech [not "expression"!], assembly, religion, press, and the new "totalitarians" are ambitious only to dominate "health" "care" and impose restrictions on second-hand smoke and trans-fats.

But I suppose the dangerousness of the world is not suggested by the binary of Nancy Pelosi and Chilton Williamson, who rides horses and wears cowboy boots just like Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Heidegger and other spokespersons for danger. ... If American Mrs Crawley and Pantomime Dame Grantham threaten'd to expose the social basis of each other's position, we would have a really "dangerous" drama.

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