Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Islamists, Leftists, and Failure to Launch: It's a Peter Pandemic

Failure to launch is a big problem for humans. Not just on an individual basis--as in the case of the adolescent in an adult body who is still living with his parents, trying to figure out what to do with his life--but with mankind as a whole. Why are human beings--who have such incredible potential--such persistent underachievers, to put it smiledly?

To a certain extent, people remain stuck in adolescence because they can. It’s amazing what human beings can achieve when they don’t have a choice. Thankfully, when my father emigrated to the United States in 1948 after being discharged from the British Army at the age of 21, he didn’t really have any choice but to be an adult. (Interestingly, he was actually stationed in Palestine, trying to prevent Arabs from doing what they do best, which is failure to launch anything but attacks on innocent Jews.)

Failure to launch was not an option for my father. Although he had only an 8th grade education, he eventually, by the age of 40 or so, became a midlevel corporate executive and sent all four sons to college. (Of course, this was in the days before the university had become its present-day ovary tower looniverstiy bin.) My father was not wealthy by any means, but it certainly never occurred to him that someone else should bail him out of life. Nor, in fact, did he bail me out of paying for graduate school myself. He was perceptive enough to realize that my primary motivation in attending graduate school was to extend my own adolescence, at least at the outset. Fortunately for me, things changed when I realized I actually had a knack for human pslackology and advanced psychobobblery.

It is bad enough that leftist thought is so emotion-driven, irrational, and mired in hopelessly obsolete ecognostic theories. But my main objection to it is on the moral/psychological/spiritual plane, specifically, for its corrosive effect on character. That is, it disrupts the developmental arc toward maturity and replaces it with selfishness, entitlement, and dependency--all under the sanctimonious guise of altruism. This is one of the great bait-and-switches in history, for what could be more selfish than to vote to raise someone else's taxes so you can get a lot of free stuff? The left always talks about “free medical care,” as if someone won't have to foot the bill. And to paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, “if you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.”

Likewise, promoting the goal of making college accessible to everyone can only have two effects: college will become a mediocrity enabler, full of people who don’t belong there; or it will become a stupid factory, an outcome it is well on its way to achieving already. And, shielded from market discipline, it will only become more and more expensive. Eventually, the ability to attend college and become stupid will be financially beyond the reach of most Americans.

Someone--maybe Petey but possibly Theodore Dalrymple--once said that misery rises to the level of the means available to alleviate it. This is one of the reasons why most liberal programs don’t work. No matter how much better off people are, if they are unhappy and envious at their core, they will find a way to express their bitterness and resentment. And envy is ubiquitous. It cannot be eliminated in the collective, as the history of leftist collectivism vividly demonstrates time and time again. Rather, leftist policies fuel envy because they detach effort from outcome and nurture a cosmic sense of entitlement--wanting becomes confused with deserving, as in a child.

Envy can only be transcended on an individual basis. One must consciously cultivate gratitude, which is the polar opposite of our envy (envy being both innate and unconscious).

A corollary to the maxim of rising misery would be that “immaturity rises to the level of the means available to nurture it.” In this regard, historians now understand that adolescence is culturally constructed to begin with. You don’t have to go too far back in history to see that there was only childhood and adulthood, with nothing in between. Only when societies become relatively affluent can they afford a period of adolescence, during which time young adults toy with different identities and enjoy a life of leisure and extended learning before committing to an adult identity. But only when cultures become extremely prosperous is there no compelling reason for adolescence to end at all. You really can "die before you get old."

Today the transition to adulthood can be delayed indefinitely. In fact, children are not even taught that there is a self-transcending destination or goal to life. Imagine, for example, a sex education class that taught children that human beings are not merely instinct-driven horizontal animals, or that marriage was not the only, but the most appropriate outlet and goal of sexuality--in other words, that sexuality had a transcendent meaning and an objective vertical direction toward personal wholeness and social utility.

Of course, once you have chosen one option in life, all of the others are forever foreclosed. If you choose one career, it means all the other possibilities are ended, at least temporarily. If you marry one woman, you are really denying yourself the rest of womankind, and who would want to do that? It seems that many people would prefer to live in the realm of infinite (but unrealized) potential rather than finite, but real, existence.

Because America is so affluent, it can tolerate an unusual amount of foolishness, but not an infinite amount and not forever. In my lifetime I have witnessed the corrosive effect of leftist thought on our culture, as it insinuates itself into, and begins to weaken, the uniquely American character. But I am actually more interested in the more general failure to launch that afflicts mankind at large. What is the cause of this? For example, there is no question that this is the problem we face in the bulk of the Arab Muslim world. Something in their cultural DNA has left them mired in an historical and developmental eddy, sitting on the launch pad below, just where we left them 700 years ago. What happened? Why didn't they grow up? Why didn’t they launch? And why do they want us to join them on the launch pad?

As we have discussed in a variety of contexts, humans inhabit a horizontal and a vertical world. Among other things, the vertical world is the world of psychological and emotional development. We are the only animal that comes into the world with an almost infinite potential that may or may not be fulfilled in this lifetime (actually, being infinite, it is never completely fulfilled). Other animals--assuming that they aren’t eaten or die prematurely for some other reason--inevitably reach their developmental goal and achieve maturity as defined by their species. But not humans. Yes, barring some kind of unusual disease, all humans grow to physical maturity. But it is fair to say that the vast majority of human beings down through history--right through to the present day--do not make it to psychological maturity: they do not come close to fulfilling their developmental potential.

This is a question that has always intrigued me, because it goes directly against the grain of any facile Darwinian explanation. That is, I believe that human development is guided by a telos or an end state that we are supposed to achieve. But unlike other animals, there is no way this end state can be accounted for by natural selection, because it never existed in the material world--it remains latent unless or until it is realized. Only human beings can "not be themselves."

In short, while we certainly have our genetic blueprint, we also have some sort of nonlocal “archetypal blueprint” that draws us toward it. But any number of personal, cultural and historical conditions can conspire to prevent us from realizing this blueprint. For example, if you are a woman in Saudi Arabia, what are the chances you will have the opportunity to become who you are? Approximately zero. But if women can't become who they are, neither can men--which is why there are so few developmentally adult men and in the Arab Muslim world. Likewise, if you are a tenured radical in an American university--say Noam Chomsky or Juan "Osama's Pawn" Cole--what are the chances that you will ever grow up and know reality, much less live in it? Probably zilch.

Another way of saying this is that human beings alone among the animals are somehow built for transcendence. Not only do human beings have the capacity to rise beyond and surpass themselves, but this is our essential nature. No one looks at a pig and says, “Why don’t you grow up and start acting like a proper pig?” But we ask this of humans all the time. In fact, it is the question that answers the question of what a human being is.

Failure to launch is ultimately failure to transcend. As Meister Eckhart wrote, “When the higher incorporates the lower into its service, the nature of the lower is transformed into that of the higher.” But it also works the other way around: when we fail to transcend, the higher is incorporated into the lower, creating a perverse version of itself. Thus, we have the counterfeit transcendence represented by everything from the narcissistic and infantile "new age" movement (what a breathtakingly idiotic deepack of lies from this wholly manboy) to radical Islam, which thoroughly conflates the higher and lower, so that the most bestial acts are celebrated as divinely inspired.

Likewise, here in the United States we have an entire political party that has been hijacked by children suffering from FTL syndrome, and thus replaces transcendence with selfish visions of utopia: dailykos, huffingtonpost, the Hollywood crowd, Air America, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan, the perpetual adultolescents of leftist academia--all are in one way or another living in the bubble of immaturity that our affluent society provides. They are failures to launch, and they hate the symbolic parents that remind them that it’s time to move out of their childhood room, get a real job, and grow up.

They certainly hate me, which is a bit embarassing. That is, being a humble individual, they lavish upon me an encomium of which I am unworthy, for, as ever, the fool's reproach is a kingly title. Charles Johnson is a king. The Powerline guys are kings. I am but a mere foot soldier.

In short, there are three essential causes of error; lack of intelligence, lack of information, and lack of virtue, that is to say of beauty, in the receptacle.... The problems of our times are either the results of abnormal situations or the fruits of accumulated errors, and it is these latter which must first be corrected before even raising the question of whether objectively possible solutions exist.... Man poses as a victim when faced with the fruit of his sin, but without giving the latter its name, indeed quite the contrary. --Frithjof Schuon

30 Comments:

Anonymous Lasch 2.0 said...

This is a fascinating argument that I find myself largely in agreement with. There is a valorization of adolescence and perversion at work in the culture that is creating a society that worships mediocrity and infantile personalities, while disdaining maturity and genuine achievement.

By your conservative critique lets capitalism off the hook. You make a vague allusion to America's "prosperity" as if it's an abstract force rather than a very coherent system that thrives on extending the reach of the market into every aspect of life. Self-reliance and community are capitalism's enemy: perpetual adolescence, with its dependence on external factors for pleasure and distraction, is its goal.

Christopher Lasch saw this very clearly, from a (admittedly idiosyncratic) Marxist perspective. I think his work is well worth checking out. He wrote about the blue state liberal media elite -- and its hatred of the structures of family life and community life -- well before anyone else in "The Revolt of the Elites." And his defense of the family in "Haven in a Heartless World" remains trenchant.

Both the left and the right have a lot to answer for in today's America.

7/18/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Lasch--

I agree with you about capitalism, except the problems to which you allude would tend to be softened and self-correcting with vertical maturity, whereas leftist schemes are structurally flawed and incapable of self-correction.

We need an "overwing" movement to compensate for the left and right wings. This may be the next stage in history, what I call the "new affluence," that is "inward mobility." It's already the leading edge of the cosmos, where all the real action is.

7/18/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tamara said...

The whole 'Failure to Launch' problem is one I think of all the time as well. Think about phrases such as 'college is the new high school,' or 'forty is the new thirty,' which glorify extended adolescence.

It's the chief reason I homeschool. I want my boys to grow into men, and not remain big boys well into their twenties.

As regards envy, there's a reason that not enying your neighbor is one of the Ten Commandments.

7/18/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Bunnies said...

“When the higher incorporates the lower into its service, the nature of the lower is transformed into that of the higher.”

This, to me, describes the beauty of capitalism. If we consider selfishness to be "low," capitalism morphs it into something that benefits us all.

Leftism, on the other hand, takes one of our noblest instincts, the desire to benefit others, and steals away our souls in the manner you so aptly described in your post.

Notice (as I'm sure you have) that not a single comment at Kos addresses any of the issues you brought up. They simply get in an argument as to whether you're more obnoxious than Pat Robertson (Robertson wins that contest by a longshot).

Nevertheless, Kos noticing you, as annoying as I'm sure it will prove to be, is evidence that you're saying what needs to be said. Since you're not a fundamentalist but one who appreciates the finer points of both eastern and western philosophy, any who investigate you further will find that you are a traitor who shouldn't exist. The guy who writes Protein Wisdom, a professor of literary criticism I believe, has been singled out for an especially virulent hatred for similar reasons.

The Pharisees have noticed you, Bob. Get ready for some fun.

7/18/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One esteemed rabbi said that curtailing envy is more than a commandment--it is a divine reward.

7/18/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael Andreyakovich said...

Maybe I've been reading too much Rand, but I thought self-reliance was what capitalism is about. Two people trading for their mutual benefit - one hands over some money, the other provides a good or service - is the basic unit of capitalist activity; if Lasch saw something childish about that, I'd like to figure out why.

7/18/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger The Bunnies said...

I agree with Michael, but think I can respond to lasch.

If a capitalist society values something stupid, then stupid people will make a lot of money. If the same society undervalues something else, then even if it "should" have more resources dedicated to that end, in the short term, it might not.

However, things tend to work themselves out under a free market, albeit imperfectly and sometimes not as quickly as we'd like them to. Nevertheless, the left labels something as a crisis and takes other people's money to "fix" it.

It almost never fixes it, and usually what they consider a crisis would have worked itself out anyway.

There will be "dependence on external factors for pleasure and distraction" in every society. I find people like this immature, but I find those who say "you're dependent on external factors for pleasure so I'm going to fix you through the economic system" much more so.

We need to persuade and help each other grow up, not pretend that regulating stuff a lot will make what we don't like about people go away.

7/18/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Lasch 2.0 said...

Lasch's materialism probably won't resonate with the idealists on this board. Lasch would contend that capitalism shapes the subject, not the other way around; so we can't really rescue ourselves if we don't know there's a "we" to "rescue." The explosion of global capitalism -- its reach into every aspect of our lives, our most intimate regions -- has effects that many can't gauge. Lasch was from an older generation and like Bob (and, I imagine, many others here), offered up different structures that would produce different subjects.

I am 31 and so grew up right before the huge explosion of the information-based economy that Neil Postman says inspires "amusing ourselves to death." The only reason I was able to escape becoming the subject I was turning into was really that I was fortunate enough to have a good education, and encounter good teachers who exposed me to critiques -- from the left and right -- of the system I had grown up in. I would describe myself as largely conservative, with an absoute disdain for mainstream liberalism. Yet I do see in the market a force which cannot be changed by free will, education, religion... it is simply too powerful. And of course market capitalism infects education and religion as well, as we can see from the appalling p.c. attacks on the canon at major universities, and the cynical use of marketing techniques in the mega-church movement (popularized by new age Evangelical guru Rick Warren).

I don't see how there can be any stop to capitalism's erosion of values, its deep reach into the recesses of our lives, without limits being placed on the system itself. I am not a utopian and don't believe we can ever legislate our way around stupidity and greed; but I do believe that the systems our government supports have a profound, unconscious effect on the subject, and that only changing those systems can give us a shot at producing the kinds of mature, industrious, self-sacrificing, realstic, spiritual subjects Bob writes about in this blog.

7/18/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Lasch--

Again, I very much appreciate where you're coming from. I do believe we need a systematic critique of captialism that is entirely divorced from the pathologies of leftist thought. It has to be an entirely new way of thinking that takes into account the vertical. Something that is entirely and unapologetically capitalistic but also transcends it--"transcapitalism," so to speak.

I'm not talking about the so-called gap between the rich and poor, "global warming," lack of universal healthcare, or things of that nature. Rather, I am specifically concerned about the soul pollution in our midst, the absolutely toxic culture we are creating. How do you change the direction of that? Is it even possible, except by trying to influence one person at a time?

I think I posted about it in the past, I'll try to dig it up.

7/18/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of the Culture of Narcissism, this post touches on it somewhat:

http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/2005/11/luxury-of-narcissism.html

7/18/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Spomer said...

Wow! The comments on that Kos thread really grew since the last time I read it!

I note with interest that no one took issue with your posts. Rather, they hurriedly drew out the long knives and tried to hack your character (of which they no absolutely nothing) to bits.

I get more scared of those folks with each passing day.

7/18/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Lasch 2.0 said...

"The Luxury of Narcissism" is a very interesting post. When you write of "a narcissistic baby with unlimited desires on one end and no responsibility on the other end" you speak to my greatest concern about capitalism: that it takes advantage of that infant which is the indestructible core of every human being. It is civilization's job to tame, teach, and transform that infant. Perverse capitalism wants only to exploit it.

I should note that by criticizing capitalism I don't mean that I think another economic system is superior; only that capitalism's reach and ambition must not be idealized, must always be open for critique.

I am an artist who would never dare truly express his opinions -- I fear I would never work again. The valorization of perversion -- the fantasy of the infant-who-can-be-gratified-and-live-in-a-utopian-world-if-only-x-y-and-z -- in my industry takes my breath away. Artists create myths that tell people how to look at themselves, how to think, what to imagine is possible from life. And I can tell you that if my community is any indication of current trends, then we have seen just the beginning of narcissism at the center of the culture.

What a vexing problem!

7/18/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Transcapitalism, I love it. I think I shall start calling myself a transcapitalist! I am one of the few lucky people who is able to own their own business and profit from people being more healthy and moving without pain. What more can a person ask for. It is really fulfilling to be able to do what you love to do for a living and actually help to improve the quality of life for your fellow human beings.

Too bad leftists can't actually follow their own advice without government dependence and are only willing to constantly argue, score points, and belittle their ideological opponents. Boring!

I am ashamed to admit that I am smugly getting some satisfaction when dealing with my dear old liberal Jewish friends that are torn between their political half-baked, inconsistent ideologies and the reality Israel and the US is facing today. They honestly don't know which way is up right now! Horror upon horror, when the realization dawns on them that perhaps Bush was right! ;0)

7/18/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Lisa--

How about "inwardly mobile overwing transcapitalist" or "vertically free marketeer." That'll raise some eyebrows,

7/18/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'll never be able to remember all of that! I'll start with the acronyms: IMOT or VMF and then make everyone else feel stupid by saying, "You don't know what that stands for?" Heh, heh, in truth, I won't remember exactly what it stands for to tell them! It's just something you have to feel! (Yes, I know for all you literalits out there, I really don't want to make anyone feel stupid, ok?) I was just joking, sort of! ;0)

7/18/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

It is entirely possible not to watch TV, smoke a cigarette, even to hear an evil word, for days and weeks at a time. All it takes is the sincere wanting.

I guarantee lasch, if the choices are put in collective, even "tasteful&mature" hands, there will be more that is objectionable to avoid, and fewer means to evade it. The only thing worse than the vulgarity of the free market are the consequences, the perqs, the distortions, the coercion, the elitism, concretized by the efforts to "fix" it. Fix yourself, and then make the right choices for maturity and genuine achievement, and the welfare of those in your immediate circle. That will keep anyone busy.


The transactional, free-exchange (contractual) relationship between human beings is the clearest space for creativity and health, for fellow-feeling and vertical lift: preference, desire, freedom of association. There are certain blessed, covenantal, altruistic, unconditional connections between people, but they are not the norm. If strangers pretend to "oneness," at best someone's pocket will be picked and their hopes pilfered.

Saints can sometimes push the rock up any hill, but rocks and steep hills don't make saints. Don't lend well-meaning weight to the Let's Re-Jigger the System, Utopia-Now-or-Soon crowd. They're not building Eden, and you won't like the architecture.

7/18/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger The Bunnies said...

I don't object to "transcapitalism" as such, for I agree that we do need to get away from our cultural narcisims.

However, I still disagree with one premise of lasch, and I have a fear in regards to how some might interpret transcapitalism.

Capitalism is often described as a system, but if we assume individual freedom, property rights, and prohibitions against fraud, capitalism is simply what happens. Certainly it's developed multiple institutions and structures, but in and of itself, it's nothing more than the logical extension of the things I just named.

I therefore disagree that it's impressing all this stuff on our collective free wills. Of course many of our society's negative lures can be quite powerful, but under the same system, if we were spiritually more healthy, would the lures be as strong? I, too, am inundated with ads and pop culture, but I am free to reject most of it, and I do. If somebody else can't avoid eating The Fruit, is it because the Tree's there, or is it because of something within themselves? Some people fall for the ads but recognize that there's something more and redirect themselves. Others don't, but doesn't the fault ultimately lie with them?

I love the idea of a lifted-up-consciousness-free-market-wonder-society. However, history is replete with failed experiments enacted for our own good. The Founding Fathers succeeded where other failed because 1) they respected individual freedom, and 2) they understood human nature.

I suspect that any for any future experiments to be successful that they will also have to take these into account. None of the advocates of this higher plane have explicitly stated that they have any intention of restricting freedom, but the idealism of others has been misconstrued to create some awful tragedy, so certain forms of idealism make me leery.

In the minds of most people, there's a very fine line between "I know what's best for you, but you have to choose it on your own" and "I know what's best for you and that's what I'm gonna make you do." People often hear or the latter and then act out the former.

7/18/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous larwyn said...

Dear Robert,
Might want to put link to "The Peter Principle" for the youngsters.
Since this weekend with the LEFT calling for sending the "experienced" Clinton hands over to settle the MidEast, I have been calling it the "Peter Principal Evoys".
DiFi (CA DEM SEN) quote on CNN LK Sunday was priceless:
"Bill Clinton knows the terroritory like the back of his hand."
DiFi has never gotten the msg that the hand is just not the portion of his anatomy that one considers when thinking of Slick Willie's "knowing"!

Just put excepts from your post in thread re Joe Wilson. Your post is a psych profile of Mr.Val Plame - bolded the crux of
Joe & Val:
http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2006/07/the_wilson_civi.html#comment-19916865


.......doing a fine job taking apart the "lawsuit".Joe Wilson 4 or 5 fits so exactly the Robert Godwin post today. It just captures the essence of Joe
and Val and all their buddies:
Islamists, Leftists and FailureLaunch: It's a Peter Pandemic"

In short, there are three essential causes of error; lack of intelligence, lack of information, and lack of virtue, that is to say of beauty, in the receptacle.... The problems of our times are either the results of abnormal situations or the fruits of accumulated errors, and it is these latter which must first be corrected before even raising the question of whether objectively possible solutions exist.... Man poses as a victim when faced with the fruit of his sin, but without giving the latter its name, indeed quite the contrary."--Frithjof Schuon.........
Someone--maybe Petey but possibly Theodore Dalrymple--once said that misery rises to the level of the means available to alleviate it. This is one of the reasons why most liberal programs don’t work. No matter how much better off people are, if they are unhappy and envious at their core, they will find a way to express their bitterness and resentment. And envy is ubiquitous. It cannot be eliminated in the collective, as the history of leftist collectivism vividly demonstrates time and time again. Rather, leftist policies fuel envy because they detach effort from outcome and nurture a cosmic sense of entitlement--wanting becomes confused with deserving, as in a child. ......... Likewise, if you are a tenured radical in an American university--say Noam Chomsky or
Juan "Osama's Pawn" Cole--what are the chances that you will ever grow up and know reality, much less live in it? Probably zilch.
.......
Likewise, here in the United States we have an entire political party that has been hijacked by children suffering from FTL syndrome, and thus replaces transcendence with selfish visions of utopia: dailykos, huffingtonpost, the Hollywood crowd, Air America, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan, the perpetual adultolescents of leftist academia--all are in one way or another living in the bubble of immaturity that our affluent society provides. They are failures to launch, and they hate the symbolic parents that remind them that it’s time to move out of their childhood room, get a real job, and grow up.


Sounds like of psych profile of Joe Wilson the 4th?/5th? and all the VIPS/VIPERS
. Who are Cheney and the Bush Admin if not symbolic fathers?
_____________
OT - Mideast & LSM:
CNN & MSNBC find every "Americans" they can get on camera to tell of worry and the terrible job we are doing getting them out.Duh! Kiera Phillips (married to Iranian) is sooooo concerned - she won't ask "Why none of these people considered fact that Cedar Revolution was only 6 months ago"Albright is on CNN - enough said.Finally a President and SOS one can be proud of.Israel still has not killed one "freedom fighter" - only civilians per LSM.
Posted by: larwyn | July 18, 2006 at 01:47 PM











Click here: JustOneMinute: The Wilson Civil Suit - All Applaud!

7/18/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Bob--As you describe it, humans have both a vertical and a horizontal aspect; the horizontal aspect, I gather, reaching toward God or transcendence or maturity or whatever. If this is the case, how do you interpret/explain the apparent flight of many mainstream religious denominations in the U.S.--not only the Episcopalians, but some Catholics and others, away from core religious issues-i.e. death, the nature of God, the nature of the World, Good vs. Evil--one would think primary religious issues-- and towards pap and social work?

7/18/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

Snowonpine:

I think that in this generation, the new holy men of the churches - like their parishioners - have lost sight of the idea of preparing us for the next step up the vertical stairway, in their eagerness to work some sort of justice on this level.

Contemporary, not classical, liberalism has this strange belief that this world we live in not only deserves to be a Utopia, but should be forced in the direction of Utopia by all right-thinking people who want to ensure a better future for the children. The last time I checked, we weren't the ones to decide that.

I can only refer you to the phrase immanentizing the eschaton - they are trying to create the heaven of their choice on earth...no matter the expense or the demands of such an effort, nor the objections raised by people who disagree with their vision of Heaven. Instead of pointing us to the ideal, they are trying to drag the ideal down here.

I have so much more to say about this, but it'll have to wait for a time when I can actually find the words to communicate it.

7/18/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Jacob C--If liberals, indeed, want to force us, willing or not, to create their heaven on earth then they've probably read an obscure book by J. L. Talmon titled "Totalitarian Democracy." I discovered the book while doing resesarch on Chinese Communism in grad school and was impressed with his idea that Liberal ideologues who want to forge a perfect society, as they define perfect, would find no problem with coercing or killing those who would thwart the realization of their vision. He used the example of Robespierre in the French Revolution to illustrate his point.

7/18/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

The vertical
http://tedblog.typepad.com/tedblog/2006/07/rick_warren_on_.html#

vs. the horizontal
http://tedblog.typepad.com/tedblog/2006/07/dan_dennett_on_.html#

7/18/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Lasch:

I fundamentally disagree with you about capitalism.

First of all, freedom is necessary for vertical growth and capitalism is the only system we have come up with that fully respects freedom.

Secondly, the flaws you see in capitalism are really the flaws in us. Show me a flaw in capitalism and I will show you why it is caused by a flaw in us rather than capitalism.

Now, you could have a different definition of capitalism than me, but from accepted definitions, I hold to my conclusions. Perhaps Bob could address capitalism in

I couldn't give my infant son a chainsaw because of the damage he would cause to the world and to himself. However, a chainsaw is neither evil nor dangerous in and of itself. The maturity of the person using it is what causes it to effect good or evil.

7/18/2006 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous jonathan rosen said...

You need to review your history of Palestine in the 1940s:

The British army in Palestine devoted considerable efforts to limiting the zionist enterprise and appeasing the Arabs. In the words of David Ben Gurion in the 1940s: we will fight the British like there are no Nazis and the Nazis like there are no British.

The major activity of the right wing Zionist groups was to drive the British out of Palestine to clear the way for an independent Jewish state. Do a google on the bombing of the King David hotel in which zionist guerillas killed several British officers.

7/18/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous sam jason said...

1. Didn't the state of CA "bail" your father out by providing highly subsidized college tuition for his 4 sons.

2. Wasn't the part of the California university system (cal state) that you attended established so students not qualified for the UCs could still get a state subsidized college education even though they had lesser (mediocre ?) credentials?

just checking facts

7/18/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous ben usn (ret) said...

Sam-
Do you realize how immature and infantile you sound?
Bob doesn't play the "baiting game".
Your envy, hate and bitterness should be self evident by now.

7/19/2006 01:19:00 AM  
Anonymous response39 said...

"Something in their cultural DNA has left them mired in an historical and developmental eddy, sitting on the launch pad below, just where we left them 700 years ago."

They have a huge allowance from the rest of the world - oil money! Nothing is more corrosive to one's development than being given lots of something valuable - time, money, food and water. Poor littl rich kids with guns.

7/19/2006 02:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

Keep in mind that their is no "capitalist system" out there that is acting, extending itself into corners of the world, peoples lives, or anything else. There is no Ministry of Capitalism that makes capitalist decisions or marketing plans, and any Gov's attempt to act as if it were such a thing, to guide or regulate it, is but Gov's attempt to exert power & skim some wealth from it's people.

Capitalism is more of a lack of system, than a positive set systems - it is what results when people are free to live, trade, speak & do as they see fit - secure in their rights to pursue Happiness (however well or poorly they understand that concept) where they will. It is people's philosophy (or lack of it) that guides what they will seek after, which others will provide for them for a fee, whether it be refined or vulgar.

What people seem to miss, is that freedom, to be stable & prosperous, REQUIRES that people behave in an Adult like manner. Gov, and the demagogues who feed it, understand at some level that peoples worst fear is having to be responsible for their own convictions and actions - more than anything else they are terrified of that - of growing up.

In a proper "Capitalist System", i.e. freedom with sacred Rights, and the rule of Law, that type of evasion isn't possible - not for long anyway, and so people out of necessity will grow up and behave responsibility. In this system, there is a balance, the wheel spins smoothly and swiftly, and any rocks or mud flung upon it is flung back off rather quickly.

It has been from Gov stepping in to "fix" this system, that has given us the systematic problems we have now. Each correction (establishing the Fed, IRS, Mandatory "Education", Welfare...) afixes a weight to that smoothly spinning wheel. The shimmey that people begin to notice soon afterwards, is "fixed" by attaching another weight to the wheel, and the shimmey turns to a wobble, and so on.

Gov action in the economy (into our lives and responsibilities) in an attempt to relieve people of the need to be responsible for their own lives.. and people (not most, at least not at first, but only the noisiest) like being able to evade their responsibilities, so they support more and more of it, which further throws the system even further out of balance.

People now don't "feel" (Feelings soon take the place of thoughts when the sense of there being consequences for your actions is removed) they have to take an active hand in many areas of their own lives, such as the education of their children, or even of themselves for that matter "Look there are Gov standards(!) and regulations! I escape having to think any further on this one too! I have a diploma, I'm Educated! All is well!".

And so the wheel wobbles on - for awhile, and the shimmey becomes a vibration, then a wobble, and begins to wear dangerously into the tread.

7/19/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

What the world of Islam has never had, because of the all encompassing nature of it's religion which dictates right action in all areas of life - is freedom. The freedom to choose, for well or ill, and to suffer the rewards or consequences of their actions. The people of Isalm don't have the luxury even of deciding whether or not to shave, or what to put on in the morning, some aspect of the Koran, or Sharia, has already made that decision for them.
There will be very little adult behavior, where adult decisions are never given the freedom to be made.

7/19/2006 05:51:00 AM  
Anonymous sam jason said...

no ben usn here's the hatred:

my father "put his 4 sons through collegr" conveniently ignoring it was courtesy of a massive govt subsidy. But NOW all govt subsidies to educ are lefty socialism.

I went to a part of the state university system specifically created to make college education available to students that didn't meet the elite academic standards of the UC system. But NOW there is a threat of polluting the higher education system with mediocre students because of lefty policy.

It's called myopia and selfishness. It it wasn't there I wouldn't bother to point this out.

7/19/2006 07:35:00 AM  

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