Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Obama
In a serious review of a serious author, one mind is bringing itself to bear upon another, in a process that is simultaneously passive and active. In order to enter the author's world, we must passively allow him to enter our head and make his presentation.
But in the end, this is no more possible than, say, listening to a new song while forgetting what one knows about music, most of which is implicit, not explicit. In general, our implicit knowledge surpasses our explicit knowledge, certainly in significance if not "amount" (i.e., quality vs. quantity).
Through implicit awareness, we are able to instantaneously and transrationally intuit potential meaning and significance, i.e., those avenues that are worth the trouble of exploring in order to gain explicit knowledge. Any kind of cognitive endeavor is characterized by this complementarity of implicit/explict (or tacit/focal, in Polanyi's terms), whether scientific, philosophical, or religious.
It is a dangerous error to regard oneself as a rationalistic "blank slate," for the human mind is filled with preconceptions, the most important of which antedate our personal existence. Some of these are genetic, others cultural and linguistic, others what we call "archetypal," still others "principial" or metaphysical. For the average person, his deepest assumptions are buried beneath the conscious mind, and never clearly articulated.
The most bitter political struggles are generally taking place at one of these much deeper dimensions, e.g., the war -- and it is a war, only generally without guns -- between conservative individualism and leftist collectivism. For as we have been discussing, "individualism" is an extraordinarily rare, subtle and infinitely significant cosmic fact.
From our perspective, just as the left assumes the existence of wealth that needs only to be "distributed" "fairly" after the fact, they also assume the existence of the individual, as if there are not very specific historical, cultural, familial, religious, and other factors that give rise to it.
This latter assumption leads to any number of psychopathologies, both individually and culturally (and to even conjoin the words "cultural" and "pathology" is a no-no on the left unless dealing with conservative Americans). One especially glaring example is the destruction leftist policies have wrought upon the black family over the past half century.
This is inevitable, because if one actually believes that a family is just "anything," then one will exercise no caution whatsoever in messing with its delicate environment.
Indeed, leftists will exercise considerably more caution in dealing with tree slugs or sea turtles than human beings. Leftists never conduct "environmental impact studies" to determine what their laws will do to the human soul. They are much more concerned with second hand smoke than with third rate Marxist professors blowing smoke at our young adolts.
But this only goes back to one of their implicit assumptions: that there is no soul to be impacted. Rather, the left's unending social engineering assumes that they can shape and fundamentally change the human being through public policy. What we call the immortal soul they call "putty in our hands."
For example, if human beings are "greedy," the left proposes to simply punish this anonymous group with higher taxes in order to create a vast state to make them more "generous." At best, this merely transforms private greed into public greed, except that, ironically, we have less power to fight public greed than we do private greed.
The democracy of the free market ultimately mitigates the latter, but there are parasites lodged so deeply in the leftist state that they are virtually "eternal" and beyond our reach. Is there no way to rid ourselves of the Education Department, deference to the UN, agricultural subsidies, foreign aid for Palestinians who seek the destruction of our way of life, funding for state-controlled media propagandists, abortion mills hiding behind "family planning," etc?
The welfare state is like Islam. Once the latter conquers a territory, it is supposed to be forever subdued and part of the Dar al-Islam. And once the left conquers a portion of our liberty, there is no going back.
This is the great danger of the regression to socialized medicine, which renders our physical well-being -- our most intimate private property -- an extension of the Dar al-Obama. This is a cosmic monstrosity that has no right to exist. It is entirely outside the limited constitutional government -- the liberal republic -- established by our founders.
Remember, there was a time, not too long ago, that no wealth existed. This would be prior to the agricultural revolution. The latter brought with it wealth, i.e., surplus, but no understanding of how wealth is created.
There was also a time that no individuals existed. Man evolves first as a social being; this must indeed be the case, for the individual can only evolve in the dialectical matrix of communion with others, beginning with the (m)Other.
I'm getting way sidetracked here. My original point was how differently we engage reality, based upon our implicit preconceptions. I notice this every day, on a moment-to-moment basis, as random things are simultaneously illuminated by, and attractive to, my preconceptions.
But "preconceptions" sounds too clinical. In reality we are talking about a "soul attraction" that exerts its force -- and it is an ontologically real force -- in two directions. This is what a Raccoon calls the essential erotics of being, a phrase which I have playgiarized from Christopher Bollas.
When you get right down to it, human being -- the beingness of our humanness -- consists of a kind of rhythm and economy of attraction. We are attracted to certain things; and certain things attract us.
Likewise with repulsion, which has its higher and lower modes of operation. For example, vomiting is a primitive defense mechanism for ridding our body of a foreign invader.
But so too is the queasiness we feel in the presence of certain malevolent souls and ideas. If you should ever lose contact with this critical soul-defense, you will surely become lost and disOriented in the cosmos. If certain people and ideas do not make you want to vomit, then you probably can't be helped. Even Jesus himself occasionally spews, cf. Rev 3:16.
I am fully aware of the fact that I cause indigestion in our trolls. The question is, why? And why do they enjoy making themselves sick? As to the first, it is because I challenge all of their deepest assumptions about the ways and whys of the cosmos.
I will be the first to acknowledge that the left has this adverse effect on me. But I certainly don't seek it out. I don't have to, because it is everywhere. Rather, I try to avoid it.
Conversely, people have to make a special point of coming to visit me in the slackatoreum. I know of no one else who shares my specific world view. If I did, it wouldn't be so lonely here in Upper Tonga. Indeed, even the people I most admire would undoubtedly want to keep me at arm's length, to put it mildly.
Regarding my delicate digestion, I could only stomach about thirty seconds of Obama's vulgarly self-aggrandizing statement on Sunday night. And it wasn't just the pettiness and gracelessness that I found disturbing.
My aesthetic sensibilities were also wounded by his attempt to reach beyond the limitations of his eighth-grade level of prose. Where is Bill Ayers when you need him? Probably professional courtesy. He didn't want to get involved in dissing a fellow terrorist.
a bright September day was darkened... The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory... a cloudless September sky... The empty seat at the dinner table... a gaping hole in our hearts.... the American people came together... We reaffirmed our ties to each other... we were united as one American family...
Oh, c'mon. Here's what happened in the real world: an evil psychopath with religious delusions took out two of our buildings with 3000 human beings inside. Do this and we will destroy you. We will dispatch men of granite from the future who will reach down into your festering sinkhole of history and pull you out by the gonads. We will tear your evil ideology from the earth, root and branch. If you want to live like a stinking animal, hey, move to some desolate corner of Pakistan and go nuts. But don't even think about imposing this on the rest of us, because we will put a sunroof in your skull faster than a jihadi can hide behind his whore, and pass the rest of you through whatever sea creatures happen to find you floating by.
Jeez, I keep getting sidetracked. Let's get back to the subject at hand. Yesterday I was reading the March 2011 Hillsdale Imprimus and came across the following statement by the eminent economist Gary Becker:
"I am struck by the similarity between the [Catholic] church's view of the relationship between the family and the economy and the view of economists -- arrived at by totally independent means. Economic and spiritual concerns appear to point in the same direction."
What direction might this be? Well, first of all it is a direction. And only an evolutionary cosmos guided by an attractor can have a direction.
Obviously, the Darwinian world can have no real direction, nor can any materialistic metaphysic in general. And since progressivism is ultimately rooted in Marxian materialism, it cannot have a proper direction either.
Which should not surprise us, since progressivism is the very codification of principles that erode progress -- principles such as private property, the rule of law (e.g., the Constitution), the sanctity of the traditional family, religious ethics, self-discipline, delayed gratification, etc. -- or what the Raccoon refers to as "vertical capital."
In short, horizontal capital is predicated on vertical capital, more on which as we go along. At the moment I'm swamped with work, and must get to it.