Thursday, February 16, 2012

When you think of it

it's really pretty amazing that anyone would buy this worldview.

".. Liberals believe in

the utter plasticity of human nature,

in the avoidability of evil
through education and change of institutions,

in a happy historical future.

Liberals assume

that politics consists of “problems” to which one can find “solutions,”

that all “truths” are relative (unless it's one of their dogmas)

that distinctions between men are politically irrelevant,

that social hierarchies are always bad,

that the government is obligated to guarantee to everyone
food, shelter, clothing, education,
security against unemployment, disease, and want."

A nice summary, in Gerhart Niemeyer's review of Burnham. of a "self-constructed dreamworld, which one is determined to accept as if it really existed."
And he goes on to make this point, which certainly matches my experience:
Liberals feel guilty at the thought of any condition of wretchedness, anywhere... This vulnerability, and his peculiar sense of guilt, so often breeds in the Liberal a generalized hatred of Western civilization and his own country.
The classic example: in all the years since 9/11, I have heard from them only a ritualized and rather muted disapproval of Islamic violence against us, but when it comes to evil icons like George Bush, or Republicans or The Religious Right, or Corporate America or "racists", the bile easily spews forth in torrents. When I make a test and offer a criticism of America, they always join in and ramp it up. Never a defense. Never. As Nick Cohen admitted,

Accepting that fascism is worse than western democracy, even western democracies governed by George W Bush and Tony Blair, sounds very easy in theory, but it is very difficult to do in practice when you are a habitual enemy of the status quo in your own country.”

The cover to Kenneth Minogue's Pure Theory of Ideology, where he points out the character of ideology as a religious revelation:
The term “ideology” can cover almost any set of ideas, but its power to bewitch political activists results from its strange logic. It is part philosophy, part science, and part spiritual revelation, all tied together in leading to a remarkable paradox—that the modern Western world, beneath its liberal appearance, is actually the most systematically oppressive system of despotism the world has ever seen.
Bewitch, accurate enough, also made me think of hypnotize and trance.

As my friend Rosamonde Miller often says, "An idea is something you have, an ideology is something that has you."


Anonymous said...

Yes, although, 'when you think of it' liberals have maintain'd their semi-political cultural supremacy by tentatively offering their acolytes a lot of 'dark' stuff yet dark not as irreducible evilness but as if mistakes made by inadvertentness or obtuse short-term focus and obliviousness of long-term results.

My sense is that formerly, liberals shied away from presenting Evil Figures, since the charisma of darkness that attach'd to such imagery might suggest that "progress" is impossible at least in a 'good direction.'

I guess Marxist activists led the way by rallying "workers" and "peasants" around hatred for landlords, politicians, owners, bankers, et al -- but without quite 'demonizing' these figures lest Marxists activists and neighborhood organizers had to do some CPsplaining about the underground man who undermines progress and scoffs at plans for improvement.

The Marxist preference was for very shallow, cardboard figures of Evil -- whose power was based only in control of artificial "structures" of one sort or another. But, ultimately, the anti-semites prevail'd -- by abandoning progress (sc abandoning making man less and less "violent" [except as necessary during liquidations of enemies of the Revolution]).

Anti-semites offer'd "socialism for fools" as Lenin admitted, with Strauss hinting that this gave anti-semites a great advantage in struggle vs Marxists who had to explain "dialectical materialism." ... Arendt (and Sartre too) notes that Marxists gave up 'dialectical materialism' -- and promoted anger against this or that group of conspirators, saboteurs, profiteers. But this wasn't as exciting as anti-semitism (Jews' blood rituals, sacrifices of Gentile children, infinite evil extending back to the very beginnings of stuff), and neo-pagan Valkuries to rapture up warriors who fall in Wagnerian street fights vs police, communists, anarchists, et al.

(Communists used to offer street fights for excitement, but they were committed to saying that such violence would be unnecessary -- as if violence isn't exciting to Communists --after the revolution, or at least after the Revolution gets consolidated during a transitional era. ...

Anonymous said...

But I suppose that even roping off the Ukraine, say, and depriving the population of food, and abandoning them to starve, isn't as exciting as a street fight. Irish Catholics and French Catholics used to have tremendous street fights in Montréal -- and just for the excitement. No competing ideology was involved, no differing agendas for the future -- not even different hockey teams.

But Marxists, unable to extricate themselves from Hobbes' trick, still have to say that one should fear violent death more than anything else or at least one should do risky behaviour only for the sake of abolishing risk, as when one must charge at a police barricade during a strike and die for the sake of the Revolution. Bo-o-o-oring! ... Hegel doesn't consider he is pessimistic for declaring that Lord Death won't always be necessary and more than necessary for Life. (Who will be biophilic if not Death? and who loves Death if not Life?)

Anyway, the material the League of Women Voters had for presenting to rally motivation for liberalism's improvements wasn't as exciting even as the Marxists' material, let alone the anti-semites' material.

But desublimation plus a semi-politics of blame-shifting onto low class white males, especially if "conservative" Christian, gives us the figure of the White Male as Evil-As-Such. For instance, depictions of a white slaver owner c. 1850 flogging a black slave atop a blogging article on how white privilege must be stop'd in America today.

The dangerousness of this tactic for preserving liberalism in its desublimational version (porno as "speech" deserving of first amendment protection) is diminish'd by giving the Evil figure contemptible low-class qualities (perhaps as when Christians were urged to laugh at the Devil as a ridiculous personage), and especially a foursquare version of conservative Christianity, creationism with perhaps a know-nothing basement.

But then, hasn't post-Nietzschean post-Freudian liberalism arranged for us to see the underground man after all? What becomes of Jefferson's idealism? »All underground dudes, who if we're going to be honest enjoys letting it all hang out, have been created equal and are endow'd by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Getting Off in whatever polymorpous gratifications he happens to opt for.«

Liberalism, then, reduces to worry that 'fascism' (Bull Connors, Mussolini, the Crusaders, Cromwell, et al) will take away the freedom enjoy'd both by the underground dude and the ordinary person who happens not to want to live in a desublimational way?

A political system of democracy (freedom to speak and think, or freedom to get off, whatever; Republic 561b-e) based in freedom for the underground dude happens to congrue perfectly with meaningful freedoms, e.g. for Catholics who attend mass, students of Renaissance art, Buddhist searchers, parents of actual families, et al. Both decent people with meaningful purposes and the underground dude agree that Bull Connors is the enemy.

If you don't support desublimational freedoms you're implying Torquemada has the right to have you shot by firing squad for not believing what he believes.

The desublimational dispensation is perfect, since presumably Nietzsche is stymied and can't think of a single noble purpose for underground man. ... Socially economically etc this dispensation maybe isn't sustainable.

The anger of low-class white guys at having to accept the karma of women and subalterns and high-class white males maybe doesn't matter. It can be a "negative privilege" as the sociologists used to say.

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