Friday, July 01, 2011

Real Socialism is the Only Remedy for Socialist Fantasies

Via American Digest, John C. Wright provides a pithy description of the implicit principles that animate the left.

You will need to read the whole thing, but in summary, "The central tenet of the cultic and hysterical [entity] called Leftism is what I call ‘the unreality principle.’ This is the principle, baldly stated, that reality is bad and unreality is good, therefore unreality is real." (I would just add that this applies with special force to vertical, or principial, reality.)

The immediate corollary is that "anything one would like to believe about Leftism is real, and that the facts are not real. Hence, the Leftist believes his cult is not a cult." It is the cult to which no one may belong and few ever leave, especially in its upper wretchelons.

Who hasn't confronted this in virtually any conversation with a leftist? It almost comes down to a tautology: leftism is good because it is good, and conservatism is bad because it is bad. For the the exegetes of the left, everything else is commentary.

The third tenet is that "there is no war, there is only rebellion" (especially against reality, hence its never-ending nature). Taken together, we have something analogous to "the Gnostic belief that the world is an illusion created by an evil demiurge in order to trap the souls of us, we enlightened who are actually gods in disguise."

This is certainly how I regarded the world back when I was a default leftist. And when I say "default," that is indeed a critical point, because it was never anything I "chose" in any meaningful sense, if by "choice" we mean being given a sober and disinterested presentation of the alternative metaphysics that underlie illiberal European-style leftism and traditional American conservative liberalism.

Rather, it cannot be overemphasized that, given the quality of information available to the average -- or even highly motivated -- citizen back when the left had a total monopoly on the dissemination of news and propagation of scholarship, one would have had to be a real oddball to hold alternate views.

I frankly didn't know any conservatives. Like the Jew is for the Arab Muslim, the conservative for me was just a mythologically malevolent beast who was not only patently wrong but also intrinsically bad (e.g., "greedy," "misogynistic," "homophobic," etc.), and, worst of all, a judgmental case, a buzzkilling scold, the death of the party.

When I say "oddball," I mean this in both its positive and negative connotations, in the ironic sense captured by Don Colacho: "Conformism and non-conformism are symmetrical expressions of a lack of originality."

For example, people who do not "fit in" will often adopt a philosophy that accounts for their failure to do so, and then put it "in your face," daring you to reject them. Then the person can say to himself, "they don't like me not because I'm a jerk or a weirdo, but because I'm a whatever."

Nowadays one sees the same pattern in blacks, homosexuals, and feminists with little else to recommend their nasty personalities. Think of how Al Sharpton can explain away how the normal person cringes in his presence with recourse to "racism." "They're not cringing because I'm a lying sleazebag, but because I'm black!"

In another sense, to be an "oddball" is simply to be oneself. In an epigram Petey whispered to me long ago, If you're not eccentric, you're wrong. Petey is, of course, subject to bombast and over-generalization, but his point is that since each human being is as unique as a snowflake, we will all be a little flakey in our own particular way.

Importantly, for the believer, our uniqueness is not accidental, but absolutely essential -- which is none other than the true meaning of "liberalism," for real freedom is genuine individuality lived.

In other words, we cannot "become who we are" except in the context of ordered liberty. (And bear in mind the truism that liberty in the absence of order is another word for nihilism, or Sartre's existential "nothing," or the Jews' "cosmic bupkis.")

Recall Ratzinger's answer to the question of how many ways there are to God: "As many as there are people." It can be no other way. It is reminiscent of Sri Aurobindo's comment that each of us is a "unique problem of God," with no one-size-fits-Allah solution. Indeed, to suggest that there is one solution (in all its details and particulars) to the problem of humanness is the very definition of tyranny.

But there are obvious forms of "hard tyranny," e.g., the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and more subtle forms of "soft tyranny" in the post-Christian and neo-pagan west. If the essence of tyranny is the denial of freedom and therefore self-discovery and development, then the pneumacognitive prison of the west is built by pricks of political correctness.

Unlike brick-and-mortar prisons, one can live one's entire life without awareness of being imprisoned, so long as one doesn't breach the invisible walls. Touch one of the walls, however, and the snipers begin firing from the parapets.

For example, in this prison it is permissible to smear a non-leftist president with the most vile and over-the-top epithets -- nazi, mass murderer, racist, war criminal -- but if you happen to notice that the current occupant is, you know, kind of a dick, you'll be spending time in the gulag for re-education.

I personally do not condone such language, but what do you expect from a dick like Halperin? Besides, it is much worse to falsely accuse someone of racism than to accurately describe someone as a dick.

Now, what does this all have to do with John Paul? First, let's begin with an aphorism or two from Don Colacho: "Liberty is the right to be different; equality is a ban on being different."

To paraphrase another one, the only permanent cure for socialism is actually living under it. Until then, the fantasy can be indulged and dressed in the garb of intelligence. But once the concrete reality of socialism intrudes, the abstract dream collapses upon itself. Either that, or you run out of other people's money.

Obama's example is only the most recent, but this is a persistent collective dream from which man must awaken generation by generation -- similar to how each individual man must evolve and go through the civilizing process one assoul at a time.

In other words, each person who comes into the world must master himself -- his pride, greed, gluttony, et al -- while acquiring and perfecting the virtues, e.g., wisdom, courage, temperance. No one else can do it for you, much less the state.

For the paradorks of the left, one might say that there are no virtues, and that the statist defines and enforces them. Thus, to paraphrase Eliot, they dream of political systems so perfect, that no one needs to be good. Like, say, Al Gore, one can live an opulent lifestyle that emits more pollutants than a small country, but be lionized as a secular saint so long as one mouths the proper words.

In this bizarro world, Hugh Hefner and Keith Olbermann are "feminists," Jesse Jackson and Johnnie Cochran "civil rights leaders," Deepak Chopra or the Marxist Dalai Lama "spiritual leaders," etc.

Back to the point about nothing being quite so effective in curing socialism as actually living under it. This was the source of one of the enduring themes animating John Paul's life and papacy, for he had known nothing but freedom prior to the National Socialist occupation that occurred in his twentieth year, followed by the Soviet occupation that commenced six years later. As an old joke has it, Poland was the only country to lose World War II twice.

Especially during the Nazi occupation, Christians were driven underground, where the truth had to be preserved and passed along in secrecy, under the constant threat of death if caught.

This modern catacomb-Christianity wasn't just a kind of oasis of freedom in a spiritual desert, but was the only defense against the systematic de-spiritualization of man.

In the west we all take our Judeo-Christian spiritual matrix for granted (especially unbelievers), but in Poland there was a vivid awareness of how the Gospel "had a more compelling answer to the perennial questions of human life than the purveyors of the official state ideology. Christian humanism, in other words, was quietly but unmistakably counterpoised to Marxism."

To the everlasting bewilderment and frustration of leftists everywhere, fidelity to Christianity -- not to mention Judaism -- is something they simply cannot explain or eliminate. Indeed, the mere survival of Judaism has to be counted as miraculous evidence of its providential source, in the teeth of thousands of years of efforts to exterminate it from the planet.

In this regard it is the very opposite of socialism, in which living under it is its own worst enemy. In contrast, Jews -- and Christian martyrs -- were so attracted to the truth that they were willing to die rather than relinquish it. The only thing that can get a socialist similarly worked up is to threaten his pension or vacation time.

For the leftist, there are several fronts in the cosmic battle: God, the individual, and the family, the latter two being reflections of the first. Thus, communists "understood that men and women secure in the love of their families were a danger. Housing, work schedules, and school hours were all organized by the state to separate parents from their children as frequently as possible."

There was certainly nothing sacred about the family or about sexuality. Rather, as for the left in general and our troll William in particular, no intrinsic morality attaches to sexuality -- much less male-female sexuality -- which sets the termites loose at the very foundation of civilization. Gravity and tenure take care of the rest.

93 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

Bob, normally(?) you are on fire compared to everyone else. Today, you are on fire compared to your normally.
Reading this post I felt like I was on foot chasing Paul Revere down the road.
Were your little fingers saying to you, "Dude! Slow down!!1!"?

7/01/2011 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No, my mind is always telling my fingers "catch up!" (I failed typing in high school, and am no more proficient today.)

7/01/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

When I read the John C. Wright piece, I just knew that it would show up here. It arrives at a good time. As of late, I've been asking myself, "just what is this best that we call leftism?" I look for a succinct tidy definition- something that will define the 'what', if not explain the 'why', and 'how' of it without an essay length discussion. It is not easy. The word that recurs most frequently is 'inversion'- as in leftism is the inversion of Truth. It is the war against the good, the true, and the beautiful.

But that still doesn't quite sum it up the way I want. Any thoughts, gang?

btw- I got new cats- a little black and orange Manx, and a very generic gray Tabby. We're laughing a lot these days.

JWM

7/01/2011 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

"...what is this BEAST..."

I blame the cat for the typo.

JWM

7/01/2011 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

"communists "understood that men and women secure in the love of their families were a danger. Housing, work schedules, and school hours were all organized by the state to separate parents from their children as frequently as possible.""

Very interesting.

We voluntarily did much of the same these last 40 years or so with our two-income persuit of material wealth. I acknowledge that for many, it was by necessity just to keep up.

Those of us who didn't play along took a big financial hit.

7/01/2011 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

JWM - good to hear about the cats and the smiles. Re. The beast, I have to agree. "Inversion" is as good a descriptor as any I can think of.

7/01/2011 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

John:

Absolutely, and the cultural effects have been devastating. In being sold the idea that some stupid job is more fulfilling than motherhood, women were inflicted untold damage. And if you want to understand the effects of daycare, just look into the eyes of someone who was raised by strangers instead of a loving mother.

7/01/2011 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

So, how was your week Bob? Did you cure any children of their 'gayness'?

Note the childish projection. One who stands for gay rights 'must be gay' and is therefore 'intrinsically sexually immoral.'

Keep the women subservient, barefoot 'n pregnant. That's the way of the Lord. Otherwise, 'untold damage' will occur.

Now that's more like it! Family values.

7/01/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

William,
You have a very low opinion of women.
I see this often. Particularly from the so-called pro-choice mancrowd.

7/01/2011 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Warren-G said...

JWM,

I view leftism as a Christian heresy, actually, rather than a pure inversion of the truth. If it were the latter, I think it would gradually peter out, but it shows remarkable staying power in spite of its incoherence and proven unworkableness.

It gets its staying power from its huge appeal to self-righteous morality, or (more accurately) moralism. This unquestioned self-righteousness is the absolute core of leftism. In this way, leftism is the other side of the same coin as religious fundamentalism - which is why they both show so many of the same characteristics (such as the aforementioned self-righeousness, intellectual narrowness, evangelizing zeal, intolerance of differing viewpoints, etc).

I do think it's important to understand that leftism is a purely Western phenomenon - ie, that's it's a product of Christendom specifically. This is what gives it it's special flavor. Most of the left's moral beliefs, which they view as self-evident and universal, are actually nonsensical or just unknown outside of a Christian context. This is what makes Obama's dealings with other cultures (for example) so pathetically naive.

As has been pointed out, leftism is basically a modern twist on Gnosticism, only with a less coherent metaphysics underlying it. It's what happens when you take certain mystical Christian beliefs (concern for the poor and powerless, etc), isolate them from the whole belief structure of which they are an integral part, and then elevate them to the point where they wind up bulldozing all other beliefs and values.

My $0.02.

7/01/2011 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Concur. There is also an important "inverted Jewish" component as well. In a certain sense -- given the disproportionate number of Jewish socialists who had abandoned their faith -- the same people who discovered the Absolute helped invent the modern false absolute (e.g., Marx).

7/01/2011 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"If the essence of tyranny is the denial of freedom and therefore self-discovery and development, then the pneumacognitive prison of the west is built by pricks of political correctness."

Lol... Pricks & dicks as far as the I can see....

7/01/2011 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

I have been tempted to create a

Keep Abortion Legal (for Liberals)

Bumper sticker.

But I think it would create more dischord than contemplative thought. Besides, I like my car.

7/01/2011 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Rick @ 11:24 - a low opinion of both women and children, since he apparently doesn't consider that children lucky enough to not be aborted are worth staying home for.

Being a stay-at-home mom isn't a burden, it's an honor and a delight. I can't imagine going through all the trouble to have a child, only to leave him in the care of impartial strangers, even though I understand and sympathize with families who don't have much choice in the matter. I literally can't think of anything better I could or should be doing with my time than raising my son. He's worth it.

7/01/2011 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

The abortion argument is always framed with the rights of the murderer instead of the murdered. So can we call the Holocaust a late term abortion?
This is the inversion with abortion, where the murderer is the victim.

7/01/2011 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

debass--

Yes, as I said, it all goes back to first principles and the implications thereof. Our visitor is a staunch manichean/dualist who maintains that humaness is defined by some scientistic abstraction -- I forget what, brain waves or something -- hence the disposability of the unborn. All one can say is that his conclusions are unassailable if one accepts his daft premise -- which, of course, must be taken on faith -- of what a human being is. But if he is right he is wrong, because his own beliefs would be reducible to so many squiggles on an EEG.

7/01/2011 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Especially during the Nazi occupation, Christians were driven underground,

Oh, not all of them. Some were happy to collaborate with the Nazis (and were later beatified by your hero JP2).

7/01/2011 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

...and some Jews were happy to collaborate with the Nazis also:

http://www.thehotjoints.com/2010/09/07/george-soros-not-sorry-he-helped-nazis-kill-his-fellow-jews-in-wwii/

7/01/2011 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

Elizabeth Scalia knows what's wrong.
The problem is The Fruit.

No, really.

JWM

7/01/2011 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Poor Willionymous. The man has only been nominated a Righteous Among the Nations. All people should be such nazis.

7/01/2011 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anyone who thinks Willionymous is careening wildly off-topic needs to reread the post. Trolls are never here to learn, always to teach. Just not what they imagine they are teaching.

7/01/2011 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, once again he serves as an all too literal demonstration. If I didn't know better, I'd think he was deliberately playing the fall guy, which would be funny. As it is, his lack of self-awareness is mostly kind of sad.

7/01/2011 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Julie, yes.
I have seen people improved by children. That potential is there. And people are capable of way more than they think. I want to say especially so of women since I've seen it with my own eyes in my own family, friends and under my roof.
Frankl said, “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how.'”

7/01/2011 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

That was to your comment @ 2:40.

7/01/2011 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Really, it is a vivid cautionary tale about the universal application of certain myths and archetypes. He is neither the first nor last to live out a script written "before the beginning," which is just a new iteration of the entirely predictable. It is quite the opposite of how grace works in such a way as to renew what "has always been" in new and creative ways. The "deadness" of his prose speaks volumes about its source. It is more subtle than the anger and resentment, but more determinative.

7/01/2011 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob @ 3:07,
I think "person" is a wonderfilled word to yous here, instead of "human". I'm not entirely sure why, but it is used in the Trinity as well so maybe that's why I favor it. Human reminds of species and I've said how I feel about that.
Person is good to since you can't use it ever for any other creature. See? Now I've said creature. Everyone knows what person means. Or they dance around to deny they do. Person is never used in in the collective either. You can with human, I think.

7/01/2011 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I might add that to respond to his "content" is somewhat beside the point unless one appreciates that it cannot be separated from the underlying affect motivating the compulsion to comment -- again, my site meter reveals that he is perversely my most loyal reader.

7/01/2011 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, "person" is a specifically human category, not merely physical, biological, cultural, historical, or anything else. It is the Thing Itself, stripped of all the modern and postmodern abstractions that obscure this most awesome cosmic fact. It is the human understood in human terms.

7/01/2011 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Everyday that goes by I am astounded by how I could have ever thought otherwise. It will be a wonderful day should William come to the realization. Maybe a terrible one too. Anyway, I sympathize and that may be our motivation for responding too.

7/01/2011 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Anon @ 5:52, yes, that's usually how it goes when leftists manage to get enough control. See also the Gulag, the Killing Fields, the Holocaust, North Korea, etc., ad nauseum.

Rick, as I said yesterday at the end of the lightbulb thread, I actually hope that will be the case, but I really don't envy him the head and heartache he's likely to feel upon awakening. Especially as old as he is. But Bob's right, too - responding to the content is mostly pointless, since he's not here for a discussion. Engaging at the surface level just reinforces his position and allows him to dig in.

7/01/2011 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Something got through my thick skull! As I was just wandering around the house waiting for the wife to get home with FOOD (I unchained her from the kitchen, just for today), it occurred to me that everything I ever wrote -- even when I was writing the kind of sheer bullshit William mouths -- was bearing on God. It was just a process of eliminating all the culture- and timebound incidentals and accidentals, and focusing on the thing itself. Every conscious person is on a quest, but unfortunately, they often have no idea what they are in search of.

7/01/2011 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That was in response to Rick @ 6:03.

7/01/2011 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Jinx!

7/01/2011 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Every conscious person is on a quest, but unfortunately, they often have no idea what they are in search of."

You sure you're not reading my book?
:-)

7/01/2011 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Julie,
Maybe it is why Saul was blind for three days. The weight of what he had done. Which is really only acting on ones thoughts.

7/01/2011 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

For William,

(singing)
I hope one day you join us,
and the Coons will be n+1

7/01/2011 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Concert Classical and Flamenco Guitarist William has quite a bit of spare time to spend it here. I wonder at it. Is he bored with it?

I cannot imagine being bored with music, were it my sublime privilege to be so schooled and trained in her beautiful disciplines! I am thrall to her graces and beauty; how she soars and expands within the exacting constraints of measure and scale. It is a beauty next only to Truth for intangible loveliness.

Maybe that's why "experimental music" is so disappointing to one's soul-- as if one could destroy a flower and offer it to the Lady who inspired the bloom to blossom!

That William engages in the classics and the fiery Flamenco gives me some hope for him. That he has mastered Music's boundaries is commendable, of course.

He may yet learn to let Music master him.

Oh happy day. . .

7/01/2011 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

You folks do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time celebrating your own superiority.

7/01/2011 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Yes, but it's not an elite superiority. If it were, it would be unworthy of us.

7/01/2011 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Generally I've found that people who need to do that have a vast gaping black hole of doubt inside them, that they are desperately trying to paper over with their makeshift belief systems.

If I may adopt your terminology, a "leftist" has this too, but acknowledges it and tries to deal with it, while wingnuts can't face the truth, instead preferring to erect rickety structures of belief that requires constant maintenance.

Good luck...but you can't avoid the void.

7/01/2011 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...


Good luck...but you can't avoid the void.


Well, no. Not if you keep commenting here.

7/01/2011 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

structures of belief that requires constant maintenance.

Any discipline worth mastering requires maintenance. Surely you know that much. That someone should find delight in a skill you have yet to be curious about should not evoke in you the thought that it's rickety and unreal.

I daresay there are those who cannot appreciate your skill and find it to be so much boring noise;preferring some din of lazy rap to your exquisite efforts. You cannot make them see what you have trained yourself to know and appreciate. Just so, one may be tempted to feel superior to the incurious street-rapper or karaoke singer.

7/01/2011 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of music, here's a lyrical interlude courtesy of Iowahawk...

7/01/2011 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

Leftism is cultural AIDS.

I knew I could do it.

JWM

7/01/2011 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jewel said...

This is slightly topical to the discussion here, but relevant.
My eldest daughter works in a café. Her boss is from Hong Kong and is often verbally abusive to Emily. Usually, she comes home feeling defeated, as though nothing she does is good enough. But there is always that final straw which breaks the camel's back, and it came last week.Her boss, a Cambridge Educated Ivy League Progressive said,
"Emily, if you were Chinese, you would be a better person. But you are ugly and you are fat (Emily is 5'0 and weighs 125) Chinese women are much prettier and slimmer.
Emily responded this way:
"If I were Chinese, I'd be adopted by an American family, because Chinese girls are aborted. If I weren't adopted by an American family, I'd have been aborted. And even though I am the first born in my family, I would still have been aborted, because I am a girl. And all my sisters (she has no brothers) would have been aborted, too."
Madame S had nothing more to say.
Emily is a twin, by the way. A preemie who was 3 lbs and 3 oz at birth. She lagged in school, incapable of reading a coherent thought or being able to do math. She is now 24, a college graduate who put herself through school and will be going into the Air Force next month.
I quit my job at the newspaper, amid a chorus of 'Traitor" because I didn't want to put the kids in day care. Yay me. I often get calls from my daughters who thank me for staying married and for raising them at home.
Yeah. I am a lucky woman and a day doesn't go by that I don't know it either.

7/02/2011 01:56:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Leftism is cultural AIDS.

And contracted in much the same way.

.

7/02/2011 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Jewel, (so aptly named!) your daughter is blessed with wisdom and grace. . . and the courage to use them openly. When it counts. Hers is a beauty beyond price. Well done!

7/02/2011 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Indeed, What Joan SaidTM.

7/02/2011 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

My cousin waited something like 3 or more years for her adopted Chinese baby. It may have been 5 years. Anyway, I've seen pictures of the second Chinese baby coming soon. I've never seen the family so happy when they receive the news or pictures. I mean the extended family. The miracle of birth may be how much it transforms other people. It's difficult not to notice this phenomenon. It wasn't there a minute ago.

7/02/2011 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Cultural AIDS" is an excellent metaphor, although it would immediately be attacked as analogous to Nazi racial theories about the "Jewish bacillus" and all that.

The difference being, of course, that this has nothing whatsoever to do with race, but ideas. Are there ideas that operate like viruses and kill the host? Obviously. We know all about neuroses, complexes, delusions, fixations, etc. In my practice I deal with them on a daily basis.

Certain ideas are clearly not only unsustainable, but destructive of the very culture required to nurture them. For example, we all know that socialism always fails because, even under the best of circumstances, you eventually run out of other people's money.

Likewise, can America survive without the Judeo-Christian system of morality that gave rise to it? I don't think so, and I don't want to find out. And it's not only because of concern for the distant future, but because it thoughtlessly casts aside the most deep and beautiful way of living in the present.

As readers know, I have never spent much time discussing the "afterlife," since I don't really have much comprehensive first-hand information about it. Rather, I prefer to focus on the immediate and tangible benefits of the spiritual life, which all fall under the heading of "Light" in one form or another: love, truth, beauty, peace, wisdom, creativity, et al. Each of these necessarily perishes as a consequence of the cultural AIDS.

Again, we should all be able to agree that either the illiberal left or conservative classical liberals are suffering from a kind of deadly virus -- deadly to both the individual and culture. Indeed, anti-religious bigots such as Dawkins regard Christianity as the equivalent of cultural AIDS -- i.e., a destructive meme -- so the underlying principle is sound. We just disagree on who has the disease.

And in case it isn't clear, this blog has no interest in convincing the victims of cultural AIDS that they have it. I am under no delusion that I have that kind of power anyway. And I mean that quite literally, because the very essence of curing cultural AIDS begins with abandoning the attempt at self-cure.

7/02/2011 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yep, what Joan said x2. Thanks for sharing your daughter's story, Jewel.

And Bob, thanks for illuminating the cultural AIDS concept. That was like a Saturday morning bonus post!

7/02/2011 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No joke: if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stranger.

7/02/2011 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Cultural AIDS in action. Or maybe they're just Koch heads.

7/02/2011 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Oh my... where to start at... eh, maybe just ignore the nolights and hit the highlights:

JWM @11:25:00 PM & Joan@05:53:00 AM - LOL & "!".
I'll save time & space and just second Julie@08:04:00 AM

(sometimes being longwinded gets old, even for the longwinded)

7/02/2011 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good news in my state -- California Democrats haven't yet run out of other people's money. So says the spokesthief for the California Federation of Teachers:

"I think there's a growing recognition that it's not that California's broke. We have plenty of money in this state; it's just in other pockets."

7/02/2011 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

Again, we should all be able to agree that either the illiberal left or conservative classical liberals are suffering from a kind of deadly virus...

You know, ten years ago I would have strenuously objected to this. I'm a leftist, but true to my own values I value diversity, and wanted to learn more about conservatives and even have productive debate with them.

After seeing sites like yours, and the many other wingnut echo chambers out there, I've given up on that. Epistemic closure, mind viruses, whatever -- it seems impossible to bridge the gap. Common humanity and citizenship is not enough.

It's a pity, the internet ought to be a great tool for dialog but instead it seems to create further walls and deep silos of thought.

7/02/2011 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob, wow - so as long as someone who isn't government has a penny in their pocket, the state ain't broke. Good to know!

WV says that's quite a bit of brasness...

7/02/2011 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, consistent with the AIDS motif, the Dems are killing the goose that lays their golden eggs. Businesses are fleeing the state -- which is a big reason they need illegal immigrants to take up the slack and pay into the system.

7/02/2011 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Anon, there can't be "productive debate" on most of these issues. There can only be clarity about the disagreement. Either abortion takes an innocent human life, or it does not. Either gay marriage is the same as marriage, or it is not. There is no middle ground where we can "agree" on the finer points and both come off the better. Bbut if you really think it's fruitless, there's no reason you must keep subjecting yourself to our mind parasites. Lord knows, we don't enjoy being subjected to yours...

7/02/2011 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Ah! The incurious troll blames us for not accepting his reasonable and non-sarcastic attempts at dialogue, such as, "Keep the women subservient, barefoot 'n pregnant. That's the way of the Lord. Otherwise, 'untold damage' will occur."

Yes, come in here, drop a turd in your first comment, and blame the smell on someone else.

7/02/2011 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Like the Hun, the troll is always either at your throat or at your feet.

7/02/2011 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Joan - yep. Although I'm sure he justifies it by the fact that we've never been receptive to his ideas. Of course, that's because he almost always charges in with insults first, then lame attempts at "reason" and "debate" later. Kind of like he's walking into a bar, throwing a punch at a guy sitting on the counter, then whining and calling for dialog when he gets the snot beaten out of him for being such a dick.

7/02/2011 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Or what Bob saidTM

7/02/2011 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

@Julie *snerk*

However, I suggest we not ameliorate the term, "dick" from its current state of abject derision by wasting it on a mere unemployed musician.

Can someone please pay William for the pizza and get him offa the porch?

7/02/2011 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

Anon, there can't be "productive debate" on most of these issues. There can only be clarity about the disagreement.

Well, that's a pity, because we have to live in the same country.

Of course the conservative-leaning states are pretty much equal to the old Confederacy, which seceded the last time dialog and compromise failed in this country. Bob has declared his admiration for southern culture, despite inexplicably choosing to live in Los Angeles rather than Biloxi or Birmingham. If right-wingers really can't find a way to live with more civilized people, why don't they all concentrate themselves in Mississippi and Alabama and Texas, and form a separate country? I think we'd all be happier. We can tell the ghost of Lincoln, nice try preserving the union, but looks like it was a bad idea and we should cut our losses.

7/02/2011 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh just man-up and call us all racists fer cryin' out loud!

Dear sweet Heaven, he can't join us, doesn't want to understand us, won't ask a single question, rejects us and. . .

. . . finds he can't quit us!

7/02/2011 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Acceptance is the first step in conquering racerism.

7/02/2011 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

anunce said "...and even have productive debate with them."

Bullshit.

You want to trade words, gutted of meaning, hoping to overpower your opponent if possible, but more importantly preen yourself for your own admiration.

It's hard to do much preening when covered in dung.

Successfully anyway.

It's damn funny for the rest of us to watch though.

7/02/2011 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

How are words without meaning supposed to overpower anyone?

You people are strange.

7/02/2011 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It just occurred to me that liberal subjectivism -- their ubiquitous flight into fantasy -- is a kind of determined revolt against the very world created by their own arid and flattened consciousness. In other words, they create both the spiritual void and the false way out of it: a bogus cure for a made up disease.

7/02/2011 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

(nut)Case in point: The Reverend Al.

7/02/2011 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"More than that, the former vice president’s troubles don’t just reflect his personal ideas and limits. Gore’s errors are exemplary: by studying where he goes wrong we can see how a substantial section of our ruling elite has lost its way. Al Gore is steeped in the Blue Social Model that I’ve been posting about; his social imagination has been so molded by modern American progressivism and the liberalism of the late 20th century that he literally cannot conceive of solutions in any terms the conventional center-left wisdom doesn’t make room for."

7/02/2011 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"he is a living example of what you get when a worldview outlives its time. He presses the old buttons and turns the old cranks, but the machine isn’t running any more. The priests dance around the altar, the priestess chews the sacred herbs, but the god no longer speaks. Like President Obama watching a universal healthcare program that he thought would secure his place in history turn into an electoral albatross and a policy meltdown, Al Gore thought that in the climate issue he had picked a winning horse. Judging from his Rolling Stone essay he has no idea why the climate movement failed, and no clue at all about how he could re-think the issue."

7/02/2011 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anon said “How are words without meaning supposed to overpower anyone?”

Exactly so, hence our continued laughter in your direction.

But maybe you're feeling up to the aninny challenge...? Hmmm... well, if you want to claim that you're able to use words with their meaning intact, I'll play along if you'll agree to start with me at the beginning.

To start at the beginning means accepting three axioms, without which, your words cannot be credibly claimed to have meaning. I'll warn you though, no leftist worth his salt in cynicism would dare agree to it.

Ready? Here we go:
1. Reality - it exists.
2. Identity - What exists, exists as something, and cannot at the same time and in the same context be something else.
3. Consciousness - through our awareness of what existence exists as, we become conscious of the fact that we are conscious, and are able to identify the world around us.

You've gotta start here if you want to even try to claim that anything can be factual, that words can meaningfully convey anything about them, let alone hope to be able to arrive at the truth of anything.

If you'll agree with that as a starting point, further discussion might actually be interesting, and I'll play along.

Without that agreement though, we'll just have to settle on laughing at you.

7/02/2011 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. The Goreacle series, it's been a real pleasure to read. One of the things that's so incredibly irritating about leftists, particularly the limousine liberal set, is their presumption that they can, like feudal lords of old, dictate to their inferiors how they ought best to live - even though the advice they give is often so awfully wrong. I'm reminded of the rich patroness in Pride and Prejudice who made it her business to not only provide a home and an income for her local clergyman, but also directed all the minutiae of his life. He, being something of a lickspittle by nature, was only too happy to receive her solicitous attentions, but any normal person could only be repulsed by the dynamic. To live that way is, at the very least, particularly unAmerican.

7/02/2011 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It is also critical to point out that when the tenured sneeze, the poor catch cold, e.g., the way in which the black family was decimated as a result of policies based upon wacky sociological theories. No one has been more harmed as a result of Obama's policies than than low-income Americans. At least they're wising up.

7/02/2011 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I guess they figured out that Obama isn't going to pay for their bills after all...

7/02/2011 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anunce said "...reheated Ayn Rand is even less appealing than the fresh version..."

Lol. I believe that that would be combining a straight ad hominem fallacy and a guilt by association variation into one neat package (we'll skip over the strawman & others... too messy), in order to get out of answering. How surprising.

Actually, no, though Rand got me going, it was in discovering her, and many of her follower's errors, that I went back to basics a couple decades ago, starting with Homer, and worked my way forward. Note I didn't say "A is A", that's a misstatement of Aristotle's principle of non-contradiction, and he had a reason for not stating it as she did. Aristotle had it right.

However, I believe Rand also mentioned a few other things, 2+2=4 for instance... gonna discount that on the basis of her being a 'sociopath' as well?

But really, I'm sorry you don't have the courage to argue for your errors, but I suppose your having the sense to know that you can't defend your 'ideas' will have to suffice.

It's certainly funnier. And besides, it just makes this days post even more tailor made for you:

" This is the principle, baldly stated, that reality is bad and unreality is good, therefore unreality is real." (I would just add that this applies with special force to vertical, or principial, reality.)"

7/02/2011 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Oops, sorry, I didn't realize Cuz had already cleaned up on I'll Three.

wv:nowei
Way.

7/02/2011 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jewel said...

Goodness, I wish I'd been commenting here more often. You all have such a way of fisking anons with the brownest of words!
When I worked with the strange people of journalism, (unreality is a vortex that ceases once you leave the building)I was often called a racist for my political views, even though they could never quite find the definition in the dictionary to describe what it was I believed that made me racist. This was in 1991! So I coined the definition for them: A racist is anyone who disagrees with a liberal. And by golly, it's twue! It's even more fun when their assumption that all black people think alike comes falling apart at the seems, by which I mean, seems many black beneficiaries found out some time in their lives that it is better to work than to receive, and there wasn't any going back, and that paying dues to the NAACP left them colored somewhat jaded.

7/02/2011 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Cultural AIDS works, although I would call it a sindrone rather than a syndrome.

7/03/2011 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Recall Ratzinger's answer to the question of how many ways there are to God: "As many as there are people." It can be no other way. It is reminiscent of Sri Aurobindo's comment that each of us is a "unique problem of God," with no one-size-fits-Allah solution. Indeed, to suggest that there is one solution (in all its details and particulars) to the problem of humanness is the very definition of tyranny."

Leftists believe in the one-size-fits-allah solution:

"Give us allah your money."

Which is probably why so many of them have sympathy for their Islamic brethren.
They really do have a lot in common, including a fundamentalist radicalism in their own respective cults of unpersonality.

7/03/2011 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

zehsaYous guys really handed
Will-I-Aint his proverbial ass!

You done Skully proud.

7/03/2011 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Er...zehsa was the wv. Not sure how it got in the last comment.

Incidently, it's funny (in a sad way) that Will-I-Ain't (just tryin' to avoid the I Am in yer name, wily, knowin' how much that offends you) thinks we could ever have any commonly held humanity with leftists.

How can anyone have anything in common with those on the left who are so inhuman they would deprive us of liberty...by force?

How can we ever have a productive discussion with those who wanna enslave us? What would we talk about? How purty those chains are?

Besides, words have no objective meaning for leftists. Language is only a tool for them to fool people, since they can't say what they really mean and still have enough converts to survive as an idiotology.

As Bob said, each generation must fight liberty, and the responsibilty that that intales, as well as the leftist slavers who fight tooth n' nail to keep their plantations stocked with fresh slaves.

7/03/2011 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Compromise: a position between what reality is and what leftists wish it was.

7/03/2011 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ben, ROFLOL!
Gagdad:"Compromise: a position between what reality is and what leftists wish it was."

Comedy central sucks eggs, now this is The Deily Show!

7/03/2011 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Off topic, if you folks could say a couple of prayers for an older friend of mine who was admitted to the hospital last night with a blood clot in her lung, it would be appreciated.

7/03/2011 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/03/2011 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

And Jewel, your comment reminds me of my great-aunt, a blue-eyed black woman who lived near Detroit. My family was visiting her back in the early 90s when my mom discovered Aunt W was a Limbaugh fan. My mom was secretary of the local branch of the League of Women voters at the time, and she was scandalized. "How can you listen to that man? He's a racist!"

Aunt W just cocked an eyebrow and said, "Have you ever listened to him?"

"Well, no, but I just know he's racist!"

Little did my momma know she was planting a seed just then...

7/03/2011 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Jewel said "So I coined the definition for them: A racist is anyone who disagrees with a liberal. And by golly, it's twue!"

Yep, it really does work out that way, and it always boggles our minds... but that's because we're expecting reason to be used as a tool to help us down the path towards truth, but as the NY Times recently told us (looks like the article is subscription only now, I posted on it here), that's just silly, the real purpose for reason is to win arguments. Period. And fallacies aren't failures of reason, but powerful techniques to aid in winning arguments.

And naturally the best place to teach children what's useful is "...if they are put into a group and allowed to reason through a problem together. " . The individual, like the truth, for the leftist, is very much beside the point.

Gaining control over people, and even reality, is their point. Or as alinsky's hero said "Ye shall be as gods..."

Julie said "Little did my momma know she was planting a seed just then... "

So, so, sooo true. I try to always remind people that it isn't necessary to 'win' when you speak up to leftists spouting their nonsense, but simply to point out that what they are saying is non-sense.

People are listening, even the ones nodding for the other side, and you've no idea how that seed might blossom later on.

Always speak up. You don't need to win, and you don't need to be rude, we just need to state what is true and expose what is false. Have faith that reality will take it from there.

7/03/2011 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Like Bob, I'm in this for the Light. And the thing is, if you can't see the Light, there is no point in discussing who is blind.

The Light in a person's words is kind of between the lines. It is not about facts as such.

Any Holy Scripture worth its salt has factual errors. You see, if God came down in our generation and wrote a Holy Scripture, God would have to include numerous factual errors simply in order for us to approach the text at all. We may not be aware of this usually, but we don't know everything even about the natural world. Ten years from now some of the things we know will have to be unlearned, and fifty years... at this speed, there will be very little left of our certainties regarding the material world.

But the Light will remain. It is beyond time.

7/03/2011 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger David R. Graham said...

"Importantly, for the believer, our uniqueness is not accidental, but absolutely essential -- which is none other than the true meaning of "liberalism," for real freedom is genuine individuality lived."

Uniqueness as essential nature and essence as one. One God, One Essence makes of Essence in-numerable essential uniqueness-es. From One many Ones from many One.

Some feat, quite remarkable, transcends comprehension, well, mine anyhow.

7/04/2011 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

Bravo.

Linking.

We live in interesting times.

10/01/2013 07:19:00 PM  

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