Monday, May 09, 2011

The Genesis Myth of the Left: I Want, Therefore You Work

Why are liberals so resistant to economic truth? Truth is a realization. Once realized it cannot be unrealized without damaging the psyche. You cannot put the truthpaste back into the tube. Thus, truth is part of the temporal irreversibility of the cosmos, which moves forward and not back.

This is one of the deeper meanings of Genesis, in which humans are exiled from paradise. Looked at it more abstractly, it clearly memorializes a catastrophic realization that expels man from a prior and more harmonious mode of being. One could say that it marks the transition from childhood innocence to the burdens of adulthood, or from unconsciousness to self-consciousness, or from unity to division. According to Kass,

"If read historically, it it shows how and when human life got to be so difficult. If read philosophically and anthropologically, it reveals the basic and often conflicting psychosocial elements of our humanity, thus making it clear why human life is always so difficult. And if read morally, it enables us to see clearly and to experience powerfully the sources of many of our enduring moral dilemmas and much of our happiness."

But since the secular left regards our own wisdom tradition -- the very tradition that gave rise to the precious civilization they devalue and undermine -- as so much superstition, they end up not only blindly reenacting our founding myth, but failing to even draw its philosophical, anthropological, psychosocial, and moral lessons. In trying to reinvent the wheel of karma, they simply get rolled. Every time.

What is the founding counter-myth of the left? One could cite a number of possibilities, but certain themes emerge repeatedly in Rousseau, Marx, Keynes, and other deep stinkers. Is there a unifying strand beneath them all? Dennis Prager says that it almost always involves naivete about the nature of evil. Others might say that it revolves around the political legitimization of constitutional envy.

In the modern world, it often comes down to the systematic effort to superimpose rationalism (in the vulgar, tenured sense) and scientism over the soul, thus sMothering it in a kind of "monstrous trivia," if one may put it thus (cf. the French Revolution, which combined the height of sterile reason with the depth of vibrant barbarism; likewise Nazi Germany, demonstrating how the most "advanced" culture lives quite easily with the most depraved impulses).

For example, our latest troll would simplify politics by consulting brain scans in order to know how to best govern man. No need to read the Founders, much less all that complicated stuff by Aquinas, or Locke, or Burke. The aforementioned people were really just "closed off to experience," and if you don't believe me, there is a barbarous neurologist somewhere who can prove it!

Science!

Not for nothing are our adversaries called the terrible simplifiers.

In the real (i.e., qualitative) world, "A life of sinless innocence and wholeheartedness is virtually impossible for a human being, thanks to freedom, imagination, reason-and-speech, self-consciousness, and pride, and in the face of neediness, sexuality, ignorance, self-division, dependence, and lack of self-command" (Kass).

Please note that these are all existential conditions that the mature person realizes and accepts. Which means that there are millions of immature souls who neither realize nor accept them.

For example, another central theme of the left is the failure to accept the awful gift of freedom. Of course they conceal this beneath layers and layers of pretense and sophistry, but when you penetrate to the heartless heart of the matter, the leftist is really telling you that he knows better how to ruin your life, and that decisions made by a central authority are superior to those made by you morons. Believe it or not, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know better how to take care of your health than you do.

Genesis poses a challenge to the proud man's rational self-sufficiency, helpfully informing him that if you go there, you will experience an epic FAIL. It "challenges the human inclination to try to guide human life solely by our free will and our own human reason, exercised on the natural objects of thought" (Kass).

Go ahead, if you must. Just bear in mind that you may not have enough time left once you reach the end of that ontological nul de slack. Consider yourself fortunate if you hit that wall by the age of 30 or 40, which will give you sufficient time for a midcourse correction.

Note that ADAM, or man as such, epitomizes our existential situation. On the one hand, he is constituted of dirt ('adamah means ground or earth). This is our horizontal being.

But on the other hand, man has been inbreathed a spirit of life, thus meaning that our very existence is an intersection of vertical and horizontal vectors. This complementarity breaks out in diverse ways, including time/eternity, form/substance, wave/particle, absolute/infinite, male/female, heaven/earth, sun/moon, etc.

Such complementarities are not resolved, but lived. They are not riddles to be solved but mysteries to be savored. To "demystify" them is to commit cluelesside, or autoflimflammery.

"Progressive" visions of paradise are not actually in the future. Rather, their source is in the ontological past, only naively projected into the future. This accounts for the curious inability of the leftist to appreciate the ironyclad law of unintended consequences, for this beastly law is obscured by the innocent beauty of their political fantasies.

Remama, in paradise man is free of the annoying baggage of manhood. He has no shame, no guilt, no envy, no conflict, no want, no knowledge of death or scarcity. It is Marx's workers' paradise, minus the work.

Which reminds one of the infant who indeed lives in a primordial paradise in which wish is instantaneously converted to its fulfillment. I cry, I eat. The credo of the left! (Which of course ignores the reality of the exhausted mother and taxpayer who make it possible for the recipient to maintain his edenic omnipotence.)

Now, back to the subject at hand, the childish economic myths under which the left habitually labors -- the fantasies for which they fight. Richards conveniently lays out a Top Eight for us. They include

1. The "nirvana myth" (i.e., the paradise myth as discussed above).
2. The "piety myth" (i.e., the naive idea that good intentions lead to positive outcomes).
3. The "zero-sum" myth (failure to grasp the strange idea that free markets create more wealth for all).
4. The materialist myth (a projection of the junk metaphysics of scientism onto economics).
5. The greed myth (including the myth that the state is somehow not greedy).
6. The usury myth (touched on in the previous post).
7. The "artsy myth" ("confusing aesthetic judgments with economic arguments").
8. The "freeze-frame" myth (i.e., that there is some economic norm which leftists can achieve by manipulating the whole economy through centralized authority -- not dissimilar to the myth of centralized climate control).

To these I would certainly add Hayek's knowledge problem, which truly is the Fatal Conceit of the left; also the myth that there is this thing called an "economy" separate from the individuals who use their freedom to derive value and increase aggregate wealth by serving one another.

I've run out of time so I'll have to belaborate on these points later.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Bleeding Brain Conservatism and the Human Margin

I much prefer "bleeding brain" to "compassionate" conservatism, the reason being that conservatism is already the height of compassion, at least if we examine results (which are objective and measurable) and not just good intentions (which are entirely subjective). Just look at India and China, where a billion or so people have been lifted out of poverty as a result of putting a brake on socialist compassion and inching toward the free market.

It is always possible to have boundless compassion, but only if one is a liberal. The moment we are dealing with the real world, compassion is not only bounded -- because scarce resources with alternative uses is a price of existence -- but fraught with unintended consequences.

To be a man means to have an envy-haunted imagination, which means that there is never enough stuff for anyone. This is proved by the fact that two-thirds of Americans go to bed hungry and fat. Or that half of them insist that the state isn't big enough. Or that my child is bored by Christmas afternoon.

If we consider only intent, then quite naturally pretty much everything is compassionate, from socialized medicine to the Islamic Jihad to purchasing another toy with which my son will be bored in five minutes.

I will stipulate that the majority of people who wish to impose state controlled healthcare believe they have my best interests at heart. But so too do the Islamic barbarians who wish to impose on us a Caliphate worse than death.

So everyone -- liberal and conservative alike -- should be able to agree that compassion as such, unleavened by deep and sophisticated thought, is a childish thing. Which doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing -- indeed, it is clearly a good -- if limited to the micro realm in which it evolved, i.e., to family and friends.

But if we try to systematically translate it to the macro realm, then trouble is in store (there are exceptions of course, eg. large scale and unforeseeable disasters).

"Love thy neighbor" is one thing. But to imagine it is possible to love 300 million strangers if only we can extract sufficient taxes is lunacy. The philosophists behind the French Revolution loved everyone, as did Marx and Lenin. America's founders, not so much.

Besides, the government doesn't love. Rather, as our Founders recognized, governments have powers and that is all. That being the case, they decided to create a government with clearly defined and strictly limited powers. This means that there are certain things it is forbidden to do, no matter how "compassionate" its vulgar representatives.

Conversely, a monarch -- or religious leader, for that matter -- can be guided by malevolence, or compassion, or any other emotion. There is no limit to feelings.

This preramble has been brought to you by our sponsor, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, which I read last weekend. There's not much in it that a libertarian or (classical liberal) conservative won't already know, but there is quite a bit that the religious believer might not.

As a result, a religious conservative might well have some residue of cognitive dissonance in enthusiastically embracing capitalism, since we are often told that there is something incompatible between the two. The purpose of this book is to disabuse us of any such notion, and to demonstrate that free markets are the only cosmically correct economic arrangement for the thinking Christian.

A key principle is evolution. All of the major religions were born and developed in static and unevolving cultures. Thus, certain doctrines will apply only to this specific type of culture.

Put it this way: limiting our discussion to Christianty, it has certain core principles that of course transcend history and culture. But certain other aspects are worked out at what Schuon calls the "human margin," and are not necessarily eternal. They are inspired and "sanctified," but cannot be applied universally when conditions undergo a fundamental change.

This is just common sense. We all know that lying is bad, but not if you lie to the Nazi who wants to know where Ms. Frank is hiding. Is this hypocrisy or inconsistency? Hardly.

"Divine influence is total only for the Scriptures and for the essential consequences of the Revelation"; but this "always leaves a 'human margin,'" where the revelation "exerts no more than an indirect action, letting ethnic or cultural factors speak" (Schuon).

It is generally the transitional area where certain exoteric pieties and practices emerge and crystalize, but again, these conventions can be counterproductive when terrestrial conditions change. A most obvious example is envy, which served a purpose under conditions of band-level organization, but is extremely counter-productive in the contemporary world.

The human margin is what allows the universal revelation to be tailored to this or that group. Most people are not esoterists, and therefore require the human margin as a point of entry into the divine.

As Schuon explains, if this were not the case, then "there would be no theological elaborations, nor would there be any divergences in orthodoxy, and the first Father of the Church would have written one single theological treatise which would have been exhaustive and definitive." There would have been no need for an Eckhart, an Aquinas, a Balthasar, and a host of other religious geniuses.

Schuon makes the subtle point that there are "men who are inspired by the Holy Spirit because and to the extent that they are Saints," but "others who are Saints because and to the extent that they are inspired by the Holy Spirit."

To put it another way, these two may be visualized as:


and



But in the overall scheme of cosmic recycling, these two movements break out into time and person and back into God and eternity in one deuscontinuous mattercycle ride (according to metaphysicians as diverse as Aquinas, Eckhart, and Maximus the Confessor).

In my opinion, nearly all of the traditional objections to capitalism were and are at the human margin. A quintessential example is the injunction against the charging of interest, which Richards deals with in chapter six.

The very concept of "interest" meant something entirely different in a static agrarian culture in which a handful of oligarchs ruled over a vast majority of subsistence farmers, who mostly bartered with neighbors and kin. No one had the slightest notion of a fluid and dynamic economy in which money is abstract, immaterial, fertile, and a key to unleashing human creativity, growth, and efficient allocation of resources.

In order to understand something at the human margin, we must try to apprehend the principle it embodies. Just as you wouldn't loan money to your wife or child at usurious rates of interest, it would have been wrong for, say, a wealthy nobleman in medieval times to trap peasants into a cycle of debt they could never repay.

This is still wrong today, which is why it was wrong for Jimmy Carter to ever sign the Community Reinvestment Act into law, and why it was wrong for private actors to exploit reckless or irresponsible borrowers through subprime loans. But we cannot generalize from this to say that "interest is bad." One can never condemn anything on the basis of consequences that flow from its misuse.

As Richards writes, "What's interesting about the Christian West is not that it once condemned all charging of interest, but that it eventually learned to make careful distinctions and develop vibrant, wealth-creating capitalist economies with sophisticated banking systems."

He quotes another scholar, who writes that "The scholastic theory of usury is an embryonic theory of economics. Indeed, it is the first attempt at a science of economics known to the West."

In other words, Christians began using their heads and not just their hearts to think economically.

Just as we shouldn't look to scripture to tell us about the laws of physics, nor should we expect it to reveal the laws of economics. But it reveals much about the purpose of physics and of economics. Which, oddly enough, converge upon the same Attractor.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

God Spends Most of His Timelessness Arranging Meetings and Marriages

In Money, God, and Greed, author Jay Richards visits some of the same themes we've been discussing, in particular, the relationship between Christianity and the free market.

Obviously, capitalism wasn't always embraced by Christianity, and in certain two-bit quarters it is still regarded with deep resentment and suspicion. Fortunately, in the long run Christianity is -- and must be, if it is to embody Truth -- self-correcting.

No one would deny that evil is and has been done in the name of Christianity. But this does not mean that the evil is compatible with, much less authorized by, it. The same cannot be said of other religions of our acquaintance, some of which go so far as to make it a core principle to wage war upon those who do not buy it.

The fact that Christians are required to evangelize -- i.e., spread the good news -- is a source of great irritation to its detractors, as if another man's free exercise of his First Amendment rights is an affront.

But the same people are rarely bothered by the fact that one of its primary global competitors requires adherents to spread the awful news by waging violent jihad.

I am not troubled by the sappy religious folk who come a-knocking the odd Saturday to propagate their faith. I just politely inform them that we are one people divided by a common deity.

One time I even mentioned that they are wasting their breath, because I am already a devout Jehovial Witticist. It seems that they are trained to deal with most exigencies -- i.e., angry or busy residents, touchy atheists, the occasional paranoid Jew burdened by family memories of European pogroms. But that was a real conversation stopper. Try it at home!

It would be different, would it not, if the evangelists came equipped with Korans & Kalashnikovs, the latter imbuing the former with a little more gravity if not credibility?

Then, if they inquired as to whether I might like to consider their brand, I'd betray a tad more interest. "No, I am a stranger to this delightful kornucrapia of allahgory of which you speak. Tell me more!"

Back when I was a prickly atheist, I was much more combative with these porch-dwelling idiobots, in the manner of our loonitarian trolls. Polymythic hack of all tirades that I am, I would unleash the full irehose of absecular certainties, secure in my manmode knowledge that Science had vanquished the mysteries of existence.

I would try to hang them up with the good noose of natural selection, bop them with the big bang, darken my doorstep with the arrogance of the Enlightenment, sometimes even depack them with the tired gnostrums of some windy Hindi or commie swami, but to no effect. It all went straight under their heads. Their faith was equal to mine, plus they wouldn't even admit that I had none!

Ironic, isn't it, that I now have more in common -- even if it isn't much -- with these naifs than with my former knave? How did this happen? How did the previous Bob turn out to be nothing more than a chrysalis presence with a big kookcoon inside?

That would be a long story, a soph-indulgent autobobography co-wrotten to the core principles. What was is none of my isness.

Now, as to the above-referenced book, it is an excellent corrective to the idea that capitalism is incompatible with Christianity. To the contrary, it is the only economic system that is (potentially) fully compatible with its principles.

And of course, it is only compatible to the extent that it is populated by souls within the Judeo-Christian historical stream, if not in word, then certainly in deed. Is the latter possible? Of course not.

It very much reminds me of our Constitution, which was hammered out by Christian men animated by Judeo-Christian principles (the Bible is cited far more often than any other source in the writings of the Founders), fully enmeshed in a Judeo-Christian civilization.

But actually putting the document into practice was a very different matter. In reading this excellent biography of Hamilton, it becomes quite evident that the whole thing would have gone to pieces if the right type of men had not been there at the start.

Forget party, ideology, philosophy. If a valorous, virtuous, and incorruptible man such as George Washington hadn't been there, our nation never would have left the starting gate. And if an insanely brilliant and hyperactive visionary such as Hamilton hadn't been there at his side, forget about it. Washington could never have done what Hamilton did, and vice versa.

And the trail of unlikely events and bizarre coincidences that links a singular Washington to a singular Hamilton is just too outlandish to contemplate. It's as if the only two men in the world capable of accomplishing what they did somehow bumped into each other. You are free to dismiss it as coincidence. I do not.

For I do not believe that something so cosmically profound, so fraught with world-historical significance, can be likened to a couple of billiard balls randomly pushed around in the void. (By the way, the same applies to the origins of existence, life, and mind).

I understand that the secular weltanscam is founded entirely upon the premise that the lower fully accounts for the higher, chaos for order, and meaninglessness for meaning.

Different yolks for different folks. I realize mine is somehow over easy and sunnyside up. If that makes me a free-ranging fertile egghead, then so be it.

Apologize for the abloviated post, but I have an early day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Why the Chosen Always Have Arrows in their Backs

Let's be honest. When we talk about American exceptionalism, we're really talking about Judeo-Christian exceptionalism, since we are literally the only nation founded upon, and imbued with, Judeo-Christian values and principles.

And when we say "exceptionalism," does this equate to triumphalism? Of course not -- any more than Jews being the "chosen people" implies some sort of crass self-aggrandizement.

To the contrary: chosenness is a grave responsibility from which most peoples would -- and did, in the oral tradition -- shrink: "thanks but no thanks." God only makes offers you can refuse.

Most worthless cultures can bumble along in the shadows of history and escape getting screwtinied, while the Israelights had to glow up in public and to this day cannot evade the slimelight of dimmer bulbarians.

No one expects anything of Chinese, or Arabs, or Eskimos. The UN holds them to no moral standard, and rightfully so. When Muslims desecrate an American soldier, we are appalled but not surprised. But mishandle the body of a genocidal Muzz-murderer? Day of rage!

It is very much as if the dark powers do indeed recognize Israel as chosen, hence their double standard in a psychopathic worldview that is otherwise devoid of a single standard. For the other nations, whatever; for Israel, perfection.

Thus, the UN's vicious defamation of Israel is a kingly title. As is the left's vilification of America. After all, how is the left supposed to react in the face of wanton and senseless goodness? With indifference? The left is under no moral obligation to turn the other cheek to decency, but will attack it with a vengeance, from the Boy Scouts to the ROTC to the sanctity of marriage.

This just in, a comment from Mizz E linking to Mark Steyn's take on Fukuyama. Let's see what he has to say....

Very good. It's just a short blast, but he points out the absurdity of holding out socialist Denmark as some sort of ideal toward which the cosmos is laboring:

'The Muslim world is certainly “getting to Denmark”. It’s also getting to the Netherlands, to Austria, to France, and beyond. In Scandinavia and in other advanced western societies, the state grows ever bolder in constraining freedom of expression and other core western liberties. In the interests of enforcing the state religion of a hollow and delusional “multiculturalism”, basic tenets of Fukuyama’s “rule of law” – including due process, the truth as defense, and equality before the law – are tossed aside in the multiculti version of heresy trials. As recent decisions in Michigan suggest, America is not immune to this trend.'

No. The question, as always, is how to get to America, both literally and figuratively. As to the former, is there any nation on earth to which more people would rather get? That was certainly the case for my father, who gettled here in 1948.

And why did he want to get here? Because he knew that he would have the uppertunity -- only the chance, mind you -- to embark upon the adventure of consciousness and be someone. Had he remained in England he would have likely stayed a no one due to the sclerotic and ambition-killing class system of the time. There he would have been a mason or mechanic; here he was able to leverage an eighth grade education into a corporate executive position.

When we say "class," it is really another way of saying "tribe." The more abstract notion of class is nevertheless superimposed upon the subterranean waters of blood and kin.

Thus, to escape from class or kin is to make a run for individualism, for a true individual is always in a class by himself.

Which is why the B'ob can neither follower nor followed be. Trolls who accuse him of failing to meet the requirements of some fantasied group are missing the point entirely. It is like telling a jazz musician, "hey, you just strayed from the melody! Get back in line!" But to paraphrase Einstein, to be in a marching band requires nothing more than a hindbrain.

Now, as we have always emphasized, the family is the penultimate basis (the Trinity being ultimate) of our unique identity, and all three -- God, family, and person -- are sacred. Different family arrangements result in very different kinds of people. This is axiomatic, but Fukuyama provides abundant historical evidence for skeptics who will not believe unless they can place their hand in the wound.

Each part of the trimorphic family -- Mother-Father-Baby -- is equally important to its evolution, which is why, for example, cultures that value the female will produce healthier children. Just look at the Arab world, where females are second-class citizens and the men are first-class nuts. (And of course we are speaking in generalizations, without which thought is impossible.)

It is an absurdly self-flattering myth of the left that the "feminist movement" somehow emerged from nowhere in the modern west. For one thing, the movement was an effect, never a cause of what it purported to seek. These bitter misandrists continue to throw themselves like lemmings against doors that are wide open. Or so my wife tells me.

At any rate, Fukuyama shows that in the West there was a more enlightned attitude toward women very early on -- certainly prior to the so-called Enlightenment. Even in the late Middle Ages, "Englishwomen had the right to hold and dispose of property freely and to sell it to individuals outside the family..." From no later than the 13th century, they could "sue and be sued, and make wills and contracts without permission of a male guardian."

This is an indication not of liberation from men -- since true liberation always involves a co-evolution of all members of the trimorphic family -- but "of the deterioration of tribal organization" (ibid.). While the latter may well have been "patriarchal," to suggest that the average man of 1000 AD gloried in his worldly power is just so much feminist piffle.

One critical point about the healthy trimorphic family is that it is future-oriented, a stance that is rife with implications. Fukuyama contrasts this with the Chinese, for whom the family was upside-down and backward: "Confucian moralists were clear that individuals had stronger obligations to their parents than to their own children, and Chinese law severely punished children who behaved in unfilial ways."

In profound ways, this created a backward-looking, static, and unevolving culture, which is a major reason why the transition to communism was really just more of the same, only under a modern ideological guise. It is the same with the backward-looking progressives of the left.

Since the family is the hinge of psychopneumatic evolution, it should come as no surprise that Job One of the left is to undermine the family in each of its three components.

It devalues fatherhood by replacing it with the state (and that's just for starters). It devalues motherhood by insisting that women should emulate men (so long as the men are safely neutered); and it systematically assaults childhood in any number of sinister ways. I won't even chronicle them here, for if you have a child and you are sane, you are already well aware of them. To be a responsible parent now includes protecting your children from the toxic soul environment of the left.

In these parts it began with Marx, who reduced the family from sacred soul-incubator to mere "money relation."

Indeed, one of the central arguments for the redefinition of marriage is its supposed monetary benefits. Thus, to even respond to such a vulgar argument is to concede the argument to the vulgarian who advances it. Marriage is a cosmic sacrament. Man did not invent -- and could not have invented -- this Fact.

Rather, we can only preserve and memorialize it through ritual and ceremony. "Homesexual marriage" simply cannot be without undermining the foundation of the cosmic spiritual economy. To imagine that two men can marry is to literally have no idea what marriage is. Conversely, to know what marriage is is to place a bullseye on one's back.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Obama

In a comment yesterday, ge linked to a review of Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order at Slate. Although there is nothing wrong with the review, it highlights the truism that a review is always as much if not more about the reviewer than the object under scrutiny.

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.

Monday, May 02, 2011

God Hates Equality

I thought that might grab your attention. Yes, it is hyperbole. But it's not just hyperbole, for if God were partial to equality, he could have created a static and unevolving cosmos with no distinctions or levels whatsoever, just a big relativistic blob of multicultural goo -- instead of a liberating universe, a liberal university.

But our cosmos is nothing like this, thank God! That we are created equal, we know; but "equal" hardly means "equivalent."

For not only is it a full employment cosmos, each with his proper role to play, but it is characterized by an inward mobility through which we may ceaselessly develop and improve -- or fully actualize -- the gifts conferred by the Creator.

This latter characteristic is especially queer, for there is no other realm in the world that is subject to unlimited growth. Only the soul may continue assimilating reality and expanding forever.

Or at least no one has yet come close to reaching its limits. Even the cosmos -- paradoxically -- is closed and finite. And yet, it "contains" something that not only contains it, but is ultimately contained by nothing with the exception of O, which is extra-cosmic and beyond being.

One of the reasons Christianity is here is to annunciate and memorialize this metaphysic, and to render it operational.

Conversely, to the extent that man forgets this primordial truth, he is lost. He can be lost in a primitive way, as in the Islamic world, or in a pseudo-sophisticated way, as are the tenured, but he is nonetheless Ørphaned and adrift in a meaningless world, condemned to shout his inanities into the void.

Critically, this escape into the inscape occurred in only one place in history, in the Christian West (for our Jewish friends, we are naturally assuming the Judeo- component, since we are talking about a single "arc of salvation"). Fukuyama -- who is again clearly not coming at this from a religious perspective, but a disinterested sociological one -- documents how differently western Europe developed in comparison to China, India, and the Ottoman empire, each of the latter being rooted in very different metaphysics.

Now clearly, we cannot speak of "multiple" metaphysics. Of all the sciences known to man, only metaphysics can be truly "one," truly objective, and truly true (or "relatively absolute"). It is nothing like science, which has competing or tentative hypotheses for every phenomenon.

Science is a paradigm we superimpose upon phenomena, but it knows nothing of the noumenon beneath, behind, or above it all, for the phenomena are its shadow, so to speak. Plus, science can never be truly unified unless it sacrifices either completeness or consistency, a la Gödel.

But metaphysics is the "science of the whole," so to speak, so there can be no entity or event or theory or even religion (if the religion is to transmit Truth) that exists or takes place outside its purview.

In the past, we have spoken of Christianity not as a religion, but as the cure for religion.

This is only half-ironic, for in very important ways Christianity either contradicts what called itself "religion" prior to its emergence, or else it assimilates and sanctifies partial or garbled religious understandings in a higher Light (and again we are not speaking of Judaism, which is a special case).

One very obvious way that Christianity corrects and "cures" pre-Christian religion is in its emphasis on the sanctity and supreme worth of the individual. It cannot be overemphasized the extent to which the emergence of the individual marks an unprecedented and shocking Cosmic Fact -- the most important "fact" in all of creation.

This is a fact that cannot and will not be denied, for to deny it is to affirm it. In other words, the Knower of fact is obviously superior to the fact; either the Knower knows and therefore contains the fact, or vice versa.

"European society was," writes Fukuyama, "individualistic at a very early point, in the sense that individuals and not their families or kin groups could make important decisions about marriage, property, and other personal issues."

Cosmic evolution is very much rooted in the family, which is entirely conversant with what I know to be true of human psychological development: "Individualism in the family is the foundation of all other individualisms. Individuals did not wait for the emergence of a state declaring the legal rights of individuals and using the weight of its coercive power to enforce those rights."

"Rather," -- and this is a key point -- "states were formed on top of societies in which individuals already enjoyed substantial freedom from social obligations to kindreds. In Europe, social development preceded political development" (Fukuyama).

And what was true in Europe was and is even more so in the New and Improved World, which codified this metaphysical principle in its founding document. Men did not first figure out that they were created in liberty; rather, they first lived and embodied the freedom, and only then reasoned about its source, its foundation, and its ultimate purpose. Only posterior to this embodiment does it become cosmically "self-evident."

Prior to this, we must take it on faith that the Bible is telling us the truth when it affirms that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17).

Liberty and equality are inverse variables, and in critical ways define the distinction between contemporary conservative liberals and illiberal leftists.

Ever since the French Revolution, the cosmically reactionary left has vaunted égalité over liberté, while the conservative revolution of America was fought for our freedom.

Our founders were freedom fighters, not feudal fighters struggling to make everyone equally beholden to the state master. And they were passionate about the relationship between hierarchy and liberty, for nothing destroys liberty like egalitarianism (not even the system against which they were rebelling; to the contrary, 18th century England was the freest place on earth).

Like all primitive peoples, the pre-Christian west was originally organized on the basis of tribes. In the past we have discussed how, in order for economic development to occur, human beings must crash through the "envy barrier."

But in many ways, the envy barrier is simply a function of the tribal barrier, for envy is one of the psychic mechanisms through which the tribe imposes unity and survives through time.

The question is, how did we accomplish this? And why the counter-revolution of the reactionary left?

Gotta take the boy to school. To be continued...

Yeah, baby, gotta be me, even or especially if I'm the only swingin' black Jewish Nixon-hugging dwarf in existence:

Friday, April 29, 2011

No Christ, No Evolution

It was once thought -- as long as a decade ago, since Fukuyama's End of History is predicated on it -- that cultural evolution is universal, and that there are clearcut, unidirectional stages from primitive band to modern liberal democracy.

September 11, 2001 more or less applied the kibosh to this idea, or at least made it clear that certain cultures have a very long way to go if they are ever to break through the tribal barrier and join the ranks of the civilized.

I read The End of History when it came out, and found its thesis to be entirely persuasive. I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't prefer individualism to collectivism, liberty to authority, the rule of law to the rule of man, democracy to autocracy, civil rights to unlimited state power, free markets to command economies or crony capitalism?

The operative term is, of course, right mind. "Mind" is the most important variable, both individually and collectively, because it is obviously the case that many people prefer all of those social arrangements that we find anathema.

So Fukuyama can be correct in essence, or "archetypally," even if things are much messier on the ground. This should come as no surprise, because this is Just the Way the Cosmos Works.

For example, my racket, psychology, is implicitly predicated on the idea that health exists and that it is preferable to pathology. Any organism is internally directed toward its archetype, but that doesn't mean everyone is healthy.

To the contrary, pathology in any organic system is a measure of the distance between reality and ideal. We could say the same of cultural pathology, at least so long as we have an ideal. Modern liberalism, of course, has abandoned this in favor of a horizontal multiculturalism, in which all cultural comparisons are considered invidious and probably racist.

The result is that for the politically correct left, there is a ban on the exercise of judgment and discrimination, and therefore wisdom. One can certainly see this in the field of psychology. Like most every other profession, mine has been hijacked by left wing activists who substitute their collective ideology for individual discrimination.

In certain areas, one is not permitted to entertain thoughts that are counter to various reflexive leftist memes, especially as they pertain to race, sexual orientation, sexual differences, family structure, mothering, fatherhood, and cultural practices.

If in our view a person is enmeshed in a pathological culture, then it is our problem. As in the old Soviet Union, we need the psychologist. We need a dose of sensitivity training in order to overcome our bourgeois indoctrination.

Here one can appreciate one of the many contradictions at the heart of the left: that all cultures are equally precious except for traditional American culture, which is uniquely bad and oppressive. No leftist ever condemns, say, homosexual activists, for insensitivity to the Judeo-Christian norms of the majority.

You will have noticed how this mechanism operates in your personal life. I assume we all have crazy relatives.

The annoying thing about crazy relatives is that they always insist that you adapt to their craziness, and if you don't, you are considered crazy, or impolite, or inconsiderate.

This conceals the fact that the crazy person is crazy specifically because he has no insight into his craziness, nor can he adapt to the real world. Screwball comedies from Shakespeare to Seinfeld are based on this idea, but it's not funny when it's happening to you.

A friend of ours recently endured a three week visit from especially difficult in-laws, and was nearly insane by the last day. Here we see how mental pathology is exported into others in the psychic environment.

Conversely, the healthy person is more empathic and flexible. He can see that the crazy person is actually in pain, and he will try to minimize their pain by adapting to their nutty world. But often a line is crossed, whereby the crazy person becomes a tyrant because of our indulgence of them, i.e., our desire to spare them of pain.

When people accuse Petey of being unkind, this is usually what is going on. Since he has no one to please, he has no interest in making crazy people feel comfortable. He is not going to adapt to them. Rather, they must adapt to him. If they don't like it, they can find someone else to manipulate. It shouldn't be difficult. Don't you have family?

It is the work of a moment to see how this identical mechanism operates on the world stage. What is the UN but a bunch of crazy autocrats who expect the world to fall in line behind them? Look at their favorite mascot, the dreaded Palestinians. The UN has spent the last 50 years indulging their madness instead of pointing it out to them, which would obviously be the helpful and "therapeutic" thing to do. Indulging madness only results in more of it.

Now, back to cultural evolution. As we have discussed in the past, the word "evolution" in its original sense is completely at odds with any materialistic/relativistic/Darwinian framework, since evolution is by definition directional. So when we talk about cultural evolution, we are implicitly saying that there is an ideal way for man to "be."

And as soon as we say this, the psycho-spiritual left will accuse us of some nonsense such as "cultural imperialism" or "religious fascism." But this is no more fascistic or imperialistic than to say that some diets are better than others for cardiac health. Only if one begins with the assumption that clear arteries are no better than atherosclerosis can all diets be considered equal.

Fukuyama -- who is clearly not coming at this from a personally religious standpoint -- writes that "The only part of the world where tribalism was fully superseded by more voluntary and individualistic forms of social relationship was Europe, where Christianity played a decisive role in undermining kinship as a basis for social cohesion."

That's odd. It's almost as if Christianity, far from being at odds with evolution, is the key to it.

And when we say "Christianity," please do not make the multicultural error of substituting "religion." For example, "In India, kinship interacted with religion and mutated into the caste system, which up to the present day has proved much stronger than any state in defining the nature of Indian society" (ibid.). And let's not even talk about Islam.

However, this raises the immediate objection of why evolution didn't proceed apace in South America despite its conversion to Christianity, or in the Orthodox east, where church was generally subordinate to state.

We'll deal with that later, but it's a little like asking why one brother turns out to be a sterling chap, the other an assoul. This problem was recognized before the beginning. Look at Cain and Abel. Same family. Same God. What went wrong?

Indeed, what went wrong between Judaism and Islam? They're both tribal, strictly monotheistic, and conspicuously porciphobic. How come the former raced ahead of the pack, while the latter is stuck in the wayback machine?

Early day today. Gotta get to work. To be continued...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Founders and Bounders, Panderers and Slanderers

Continuity? Yes, where were we?

It's tricky to simultaneously pick up a strand of thought while abandoning memory, desire, and understanding in order to plunge into the wild godhead of O and encounter a fresh cosmos each morning.

Any repetition is due to the currents and patterns of my own ocean of being, although we are always endeavoring to conform ourselves to the Real. Naturally some biography always slips into one's cosmography. If only science would acknowledge this.

But that's the thing about any cultural elites, who inevitably believe their point of view is "normative" and that opposing ones are deviations. Which is especially ironic in relativists who not only reject norms, but believe they are oppressive -- even biological norms such as male and female, which are transformed into bloodless and soulless "genders."

Thus, for example, the mainstream liberal media pretend there is "media" and "conservative media," but no liberal media. Likewise, irony-proof secular fundamentalists believe there is science and faith, but no faith in science. Put these two errors in the same person and you have the typically clueless Times reader or NPR listener whom the future laughs at even now.

Is it even remotely correct to maintain that primitive peoples practiced a pure form of communism, and that this is somehow normative for humans?

Beginning with the latter, the answer would have to be yes if you believe that our genetic endowment is normative -- that it is not only an "is" but an "ought."

It is analogous to nutritionists who believe we should all adhere to the "caveman diet" -- which at least makes sense in light of the fact that our physical form is presumably identical to what it was as long ago as 200,000 years.

But does this mean that we should in effect adhere to caveman psychology and group dynamics? Underneath it all, this is what romantics from Rousseau to our latter day tree-buggers are saying.

I might add that the the modern faith of AGW would have no psychic traction if it weren't rooted in this romantic fantasy of primitive harmony with nature.

There is a reason why properly religious people tend to be immune to the fantasy. We know there's no backward-looking return to Eden. In a temporally irreversible cosmos, that is a non-starter. There is paradise, to be sure, but it is up and ahead, not down and back.

So Marx and Engels "argued that an early stage of primitive communism existed prior to the rise of exploitative class relationships, an idealized state that communism sought to recover" (Fukuyama).

How's that working out? I mean in the real world, not in the fantasies of the tenured?

"[R]eal-world Communist regimes in the former USSR and China forced millions of unrelated peasants into collective farms. By breaking the link between individual effort and reward, collectivization undermined incentives to work, leading to mass famines in Russia and China, and severely reducing agricultural productivity" (ibid).

Amazingly, in the Soviet Union, the tiny four percent "of land that remained privately owned accounted for one-quarter of total agricultural output" (ibid.).

Does this settle the argument over private property? Hardly. Again, leftism is a religion. Its idol is equality, irrespective of how self-defeating it is. We see this in Obama's insanely wasteful spending spree and in his authoritarian appropriation of the healthcare system.

Again, leftism is not something one can be argued out of, only awakened from. Nothing short of that can disabuse them of the faith that smart people with good intentions can create paradise on earth by appropriating your liberty and deciding what is best for you, right in the brisket, Chicago style.

But this is somewhat beside the point, because primitive peoples were not communists and they certainly weren't environmentalists.

First of all, since they weren't even individuals as we understand the term, no one argued for, much less decided upon, "group sharing," any more than the various organs of one's body get together and decide to share the food.

This is man's default state, and he needs to be educated out of it, not plunged into it -- even though the latter may well be more "natural."

It is also natural for a man to defecate in the street or to rape the next attractive woman he sees. Only the supernatural saves us from nature. Nature certainly doesn't. Nature couldn't care less, so long as we reproduce. And even then it couldn't care less, because it doesn't care, full stop. Only humans care.

I might add that primitive peoples not only weren't environmentalists, but were the greatest despoilers of nature the planet has ever known. Only Malthusian population constraints prevented them from destroying the place.

Individual <--> Environment is a complementarity that only fully blossoms with modernity. Only when man is ousted from Eden does he know of its existence. Which is the whole point. Growing up is painful, and is always accompanied by loss.

Primitive peoples shared everything within the boundaries of what they considered "the one." For them, oneness was not instantiated in the individual but the group. Thus, they lived not in a dialectical space of "me <--> you" or "I <--> thou," but of group <--> stranger, or insider <--> outsider.

And just as an individual has psychic defense mechanisms to keep out the not-self, the group has defense mechanisms to protect its own integrity -- mechanisms such as human sacrifice, ancestor worship, and ritual warfare.

These primitive mechanisms come with the terrortory of "communism," so never ask why the left requires enemies to slander and defame. It needs them for the purposes of primitive group cohesion. Conservatives have no use for race, but the left couldn't do without its hyperbolic fantasies of racism (or misogyny, or homophobia, or Islamophobia, or class warfare, or Gaia rape).

Perhaps it is no surprise that of the Big Six Founders, the conservatives -- Hamilton and Adams -- were implacably opposed to slavery, and never owned any slaves.

But the founders of the Democratic party, Jefferson and Madison, each owned over 100. And the conservative Washington not only freed his upon his death, but even provided for them, while Jefferson's were sold (and families hideously broken up) to pay off the debts from his insanely extravagant and self-indulgent lifestyle.

You will note that to this day, the brilliant but erratic Jefferson is the favorite founder of the angry adolescent left. He said so many intemperate things, that he provides a goldmine of unwise cracks for the left to legitimize its anti-American ideology through one of America's founders.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Essential Idiocy and Absolute Power

When a boy reaches 13, all of his thoughts turn toward forming a band. Indeed, there is no real mystery as to why human bands formed, since they are just the exteriorization of our interior, which is intersubjective and trimorphic right down to the Ground.

In this regard, John Lennon's creation myth is as good as anyone else's: "I had a vision that a man came unto us on a flaming pie, and he said, 'You are Beatles with an A.' And so we were."

But how and why did humans leave intimate and independent bands for more anonymous corporate record labels? While one could argue (I wouldn't) that the formation of bands is fully explained by natural selection, this cannot account for the evolution to tribal societies, i.e, for something that only emerges much later.

Obviously, natural selection does not plan ahead. If it did, then mosquitos, or dysentery, or MSNBC would not exist.

Right away we meet that troublesome word "evolution," which means very different things to different primates. For if one is going to maintain an intellectually consistent Darwinism, one cannot distinguish between bands and tribes on the basis of "evolution."

From the Darwinian perspective, human beings are "complete" as of 200,000 years ago, so anything we happen to do afterwards with our genetic endowment is entirely beside the point. To put it another way, whatever "point" there was to the human genome, it was established way back in the archaic environment to which we are an adaptation even now.

In this regard, our recent troll was more or less correct (or at least consistent) in his explanation of human origins. For him, and for all materialists, we are just a transient adaptation to an environment (including the weather) which no longer exists.

Thus, we are truly orphaned in the biosphere, just as Genesis says we are. Everything was beautiful back in the archaic environment of Eden. But ever since then we've been wandering in the desert bewilderness, looking for home in all the wrong places. Any existential pain is really a kind of phantom limb pain resulting from being a bunch of saps amputated from the tree of life.

Speaking of tree-buggers, I think this is what the environmental fanatics are on to. Since they are generally pagans or atheists, for them there can be no Reality above or ahead; instead, reality for them is below (in nature) and in the past (our genes).

In this romantic creation myth, they would like us all to revert to living as our primitive furbears, which would reinstate peace and harmony and recreate heaven on earth. To them I do not say "earth first" but you first!

Now, either one is a relativist or one is an absolutist; there can be no in between, just as there can be nothing in between something and nothing. One cannot be a little bit pregnant with being. Either you is or you isn't. O or Ø.

A Raccoon is an unyielding absOlutist, and this is the ultimate source of virtually all of the disputes with our detractors. Whatever the issue, we can usually mark the difference down to this single question: what is your lexical Orientation -- O or Ø?

Is a tribe more developed than a band? We say yes, no question. Why? Because we believe in evolution. Is the tribe the end of evolution? Clearly, no. Evolution -- if it is to be called evolution and not just change -- has a point.

Thus, like anything with a point, we judge it not in terms of the past but the future; we look at it in terms of its archetype, which is to say, its truth, or essence.

Is a man more developed than an infant? Yes, because the essence of the infant is to develop toward its archetype, which is implicit in the present but actualized in the present-and-future.

Does this mean that the man is more valuable than the infant? Obviously and emphatically, NO! Rather, the infant is precious precisely because of what he is in essence: a human being. Existence has no value in the absence of essence.

Now, to say that a Raccoon is an absolutist is another way of saying that he is an essentialist. For us, essence is prior to existence; for the vast and powerful anti-Bob community, existence is prior to essence. Simple as. For our distinguished adversaries from nowhere, essentialist is a bad word.

For the Raccoon, the very purpose of existence is to disclose our essence, which is to say, achieve a deustiny that is ultimately union with our source and ground. Like any destination, it is again not down and back but up and ahead; in short, it is O, not Ø.

But for the relativist, there can be no purpose to existence. To the extent that the relativist insists that there is a purpose, you must continue vigorously applying the cluebat upside their head until this elementary truth sinks in. Either he is a nihilist or he is lying to himself, most likely the latter, for the consistent nihilist is rara avis cerebellus, or a true birdbrain.

I apollogaze for the preluminary refractions. But we do need to define our terms and establish our metacosmic position at the outset, for it will prevent any number of dis- and misunderstandings in what follows, and allow us to cut straight through to the nub of the gist of the essence. Armed with our mighty metaphysical bullshit detector, we may proceed anywhere in the cosmos without fear of getting lost or even tenured.

Fukuyama properly notes that "One of the biggest issues separating Right and Left since the French Revolution has been that of private property."

Rousseau, in one of his seminal tractpot rants, "traced the origins of injustice to the first man who fenced off land and declared it his own." Karl Marx took over from there, and you know the rest of the story, which continues to unfold.

For the Raccoon, the origin of injustice is -- obviously -- Justice. Justice is prior to injustice, certainly not anything bipedal apes could establish on earth. We can only know of an explicit injustice because of our tacit knowledge of justice. Obviously, natural selection does not know of, and cannot speak of, injustice. Is it just that the lion eats the lamb? That the Lakers defeat the Hornets? Of course not. It just is.

Marx is the quintessential example of an absolutist masquerading as a relativist. Please note that an insistent relativism always results in tyranny, for in the end it will devolve to the enforcement of one man's opinion, to which the rest of us must conform. Don't like Obamacare? Too bad. It's all about the power, baby.

Please note that absolute relativism is the very foundation and essence of fascism. Absolutism proper is its converse.

The American founders are the opposite of Marx, not just in the details, but again, in essence. For in essence they were absolutists.

For example, to say that human beings are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, is an absolute statement beyond which one cannot go (and governments may not transgress). It is now and forever.

This is what we meant when we said that man (as such, not such-and-such a man) cannot be surpassed, because the Absolute cannot be surpassed. You are born free. Now deal with it. And I don't mean by diminishing my freedom, moron.

Fukuyama notes that Madison, in Federalist #10, asserts that one of the most important functions of governments is to protect private property rights. Thus, for the modern Marxist, this is the very codification of Cosmic Injustice. For example, recall Obama's indictment of the Founders, and his gnostrum for how to remedy their cosmic errors. The Supreme Court must address

"the issues of redistribution of wealth and the more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society, and to that extent, as radical as, I think, people try to characterize the Warren court, it wasn't that radical; it didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.... You can craft theoretical justification for it legally, and any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts."

Right. It's easy. The way one does this is to find a nuanced, subtle position situated between what the Constitution says and what Obama would like for it to say. In short, one establishes a shadowy area between Truth and the lie, or between O or Ø. Then call it "settled law," which absolutizes the newly minted relativism.

But again, there is no place between O or Ø, unless it is understood to be a kind of shadow -- or better, prolongation -- of O. Indeed, "shadow" is a misleading term, as it may lead one to regard the world as maya, or illusion (which it must be under the constraints of any post-Kantian metaphysic).

But the fact of the matter -- and of matter! -- is that the world is precisely real, or "relatively absolute," because it is sponsored and nourished by the same O in which our intelligence is rooted. Ultimately -- or in essence -- intelligence and intelligibility are the same thing, complements to O.

To be continued....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Leaving Eden for the Big City

We left off yesterday discussing the "tyranny of cousins" -- i.e., band-level societies -- and how they are held together not so much by blood as by what Melanie Klein called "constitutional," or innate, envy.

Speaking of bands, oddly enough, it reminds me of a lyric by Alice Cooper: What's keeping us apart isn't selfishness / What's holding us together isn't love.

As Fukuyama explains, these societies "are highly egalitarian." They are essentially horizontal, with primary distinctions falling along the lines of age and sex.

This is primitive communism in all its naked glory. But note that the result -- or basis -- is the same as its modern version, the effacement of individuality by a kind of coercion that is always operating under the surface.

What is the nature of this coercion? As Fukuyama describes it, it is a kind of passive-aggressiveness that keeps everyone in line. No one has to even explicitly tell anyone else what to do.

While some members with leadership abilities will naturally emerge -- as when boys play together -- they do not have any formal power, nor are there any explicit rules or laws. Fukuyama notes that there is "authority" but not power; or again, the power is implicit and spontaneous.

Here again, this reminds me of the implicit regime of political correctness, which is also always present, aggressively pushing people into little boxes of identity in order to enforce community standards. Political correctness is like the rule of law, only furtively established by totalitarians.

And one only becomes aware of the law by transgressing it. Then you understand that there is this alternate source of power and "justice" in the world. It is decentralized and dispersed, but comes together like a collective defense mechanism when needed to attack liberty and enforce ideological servitude.

Importantly, political correctness results in a false unity, since it is founded upon fear and hatred rather than love. It is rooted in thanatos, not eros (or a "false eros," i.e., (-L), as when the troll leaves us with a chirpy namaste, assoul!).

An image occurs to me. If I remember correctly, there is a kind of fungus that exists as individual cells, but which can come together in the form of an elongated tube, which can then "walk," so to speak, by falling forward.

Now, a fungus is neither plant nor animal, but one of those "in between" entities that escape our clear-cut boundaries, like viruses or Michael Jackson.

Like the Walking Fungus, tribal societies "can aggregate at a high level," but "are prone to immediate fissioning once the cause of their union (such as external threat) disappears" (Fukuyama).

Fukuyama mentions an old Arab wisecrock: "Me against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the stranger." This explains how the only real "unity" in the Arab-Muslim world is deeply rooted in the cosmic thanatos of Jew-hatred. This is the same unity as human sacrifice, which I believe Gil Bailie calls "unanimity minus one."

The Walking Fungus also reminds me of zombies who walk around but aren't really alive as we understand the term. Is it possible for Death to be "alive" and running around loose in the world? Or does this only happen in movies?

Oh no, it happens. More on which as we go along. (Click to embiggen.)

How did humans transition from band to tribe? It occurred only yesterday, about 10,000 years ago, and accompanies the development of agriculture. Correlation is not causation, so it is impossible to say which came first.

But on the psychic plane, this represents a profound shift, for it is the transition from a life of freedom and movement within bountiful nature -- one might even say Eden -- to one that is stationary and for the first time involves work that is actually toil instead of "adventure."

There is a big difference between getting together with the boys to go on a hunting trip vs. turning soil and picking weeds. Ask any man.

The need for constant mobility limited the size of bands, but agriculture brought with it great increases in population that required new modes of interaction. Now, for the first time, human beings had to deal with others outside the clan without simply killing them.

As a result, roles that were once concrete and implicit now must become abstract and explicit. For example, instead of "authority" incarnated in the form of "father," the authority must be pried away from the object and understood as role, not person.

Importantly, the authority will still be rooted in the unconscious archetype of Father, only projected into the Chieftain or Big Man.

This kind of arrangement is still halfway between tribalism and a fully developed society, the latter of which is (supposedly) fully conformed to abstract roles and laws. For example, for us moderns, the "president" is primarily an abstract office, not a concrete man.

But not really, for as we were saying yesterday, later stages always contain -- and are sometimes contained by! -- elements of earlier ones. This is true both on an individual and a collective basis. Indeed, Obama's fundamental problem is that the left's archetypal projections of the godman have gradually been withdrawn, thus revealing the emperor's empty suit.

Fukuyama doesn't get into it, but what are the implications for religion of these different stages of development? Joseph Campbell wrote a big-ass, expensive book -- which he considered his magnum opus -- on this subject (published separately as The Way of the Animal Powers: Mythologies of the Primitive Hunters and Gatherers and The Way of the Seeded Earth.

Wait. Fukuyama does get into religion, but not too deeply. In fact, he says that the reason band-level organization "took hold across human societies was due to religious belief, that is, the worship of ancestors."

The spirits of the dead require "continual maintenance on the part of their living relatives, who had to provide them with regular offerings of food and drink lest they become angry" -- like in-laws who never leave.

The bigshots who unified the society were subject to the same courtesy, only on a grand scale -- for example, as exemplified by the pyramids of ancient Egypt. When a pharoah died, it was considered good form to entomb him with a bunch of slaves to tend to his needs in the afterlife.

Likewise, in ancient China "the graves of high-status people were filled with... the bodies of horses, slaves, and concubines" -- not to mention plenty of food -- "intended to accompany the dead person into the afterlife."

Even so, the problem with a Chinese burial was that the spirits were still hungry an hour later.

On that note, I must stop. Time to earn some bread by the sweat of my brow.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Envious Cravemen and Liberal Proglodytes

As we were saying in the previous post, the origins of everything are obscure. One of the reasons for this is that science has no difficulty tracking continuity. The trick is how to account for true discontinuity and still call it "science."

Inevitably, science deals with the problem by explaining the novel and unknown in terms of the past and the known. It superimposes what it knows on what it doesn't.

In so doing, it drags life into matter, pneuma into brain, and subject into object, and then just ignores both the remainder that defies such a simplistic reduction and the many irreducible paradoxes that result.

For the scientistic mindset, the emergence of a puzzling discontinuity such as humanness is not really a radically novel development, only a continuation of monkeys. Life is nothing special, just a statistically rare arrangement of matter. And even the cosmos itself is no big deal, just a random fluctuation in the quantum void.

Thus, when science tries to explain everything -- or when it tries to leap outside itself, toward ultimate explanations -- it necessarily explains nothing, for science can no more explain itself than the eye can see vision or the fingers can grasp the hand.

The purpose of science is not -- and cannot be -- to explain "everything." Science always requires an implicit frame of reference in order to make sense, and this frame of reference is always metaphysical and/or theological.

We would have no objection to this if they made their metaphysics explicit, but they never do this. Instead, they make the most outrageous claims while pretending that these claims are not rooted in a metaphysic that the science itself can in no way support, for the science is a posteriori to the metaphysic.

We must bear these caveats in mind as we search for the "origins of politics," for we will not actually discover them through the methods of science. Science will show us shadows and footprints, but never the thing itself. Irrespective of whether one calls oneself scientific or religious, rational or transrational, a leap of faith is required in order to "settle" the matter. A matter is settled when our mind is at peace, and no longer persecuted by the presence of the unKnown.

Take the example of those 3D magic eye pictures. In Bion's metapsychology, the random-appearing dashes of color are analogous to "thoughts without a thinker," or what he calls beta elements. These are the raw material, so to speak, of thinking.

It is the work of a moment to analogize this to the human condition, for we all find ourselves immersed in a giant 4D Magic Eye Motion Picture we call the Cosmos, and starring you in the lead. The odd thing is that you must simultaneously play your role while figuring out the plot.

The sudden emergence of the three-dimensional image out of the chaotic void is what Bion calls alpha function, but you are free to simply call it "thinking." A person who fruitfully thinks will constantly be engaging in alpha function, that is, continuously bringing together and synthesizing the raw stuff of life into novel syntheses. As we mature -- so long as we are rooted in, and guided by, the teleological attractor of Truth -- these syntheses are successively wider and therefore deeper.

Thus, our psychospiritual development is intrinsically non-linear and discontinuous, as we gather more existence into our being. And to say "depth" is immediately to leave science behind, for depth is a measure of soul -- in fact, the most adequate measure of soul, in any field.

Why is Shakespeare deeper than [fill in the blank]? For the same reason that Aretha is deeper than Celine Dion, or any artist or thinker is deeper than another. The deepest idea can be made shallow in the head of a shallow soul -- for example, the profound ideas of God, or Creation, or Evolution (or Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, respectively).

So let's keep this in mind as we search for the origins of politics, which are buried in the mythterious origins of humanness.

Fukuyama reminds us of that quintessential example of scientistic materialism gone nuts, Marxism: "they posited a theory of developmental stages -- primitive communism, feudalism, bourgeois society, and true communism -- all driven by an underlying conflict between social classes."

There is so much wrong with this formulation that we don't have time to fisk it to pieces -- besides, History has already done so.

But note that it begins with materialistic assumptions -- it is, after all, "dialectical materialism" -- so that its conclusions are foreordained. It is a perfect example of a theory that explains everything and therefore nothing. But do the tenured nevertheless put their faith in postmodern variants of it? Does a boor shoot hoops in the White House?

Fukuyama is correct that "the evolution of political complexity" is "not linear: a given stage of development often contain[s] characteristics of earlier ones, and there [are] multiple mechanisms moving society from one stage to another."

Now, once we even use the word "stage," we are talking about hierarchy, about evolution, and about superiority. In other words, we are outside the domain of science, and inside the qualitative and properly human domain of values.

But liberals are profoundly uncomfortable with the human world, so they deicided to abolish the hierarchy with their doctrines of cultural relativism and multiculturalism. In this weird variant of Marxist materialism, all modes of production are equal, except for capitalism, which is worse.

This is another example of the incoherence of any form of secular materialism. As we have said many times, it is not the Raccoon who denies evolution, but the metaphysical Darwinian. Just as the leftist stole the term "liberal" to conceal his essential illiberalism, the Darwinist has stolen the word "evolution" to conceal his necessarily horizontal worldview, in which nothing can be higher or lower than anything else.

Properly speaking, the metaphysical Darwinist believes in change, not evolution. This was exemplified by our recent troll, who explained to us that human beings are simply an adaptation to funky weather. Since no weather is objectively better or worse than any other weather, humans are no higher or lower than anything else in this 2D unmagic eye picture. Suffice it to say, this doesn't even explain our cosmic funkmanship, let alone less important capacities.

Thus, Fukuyama is again correct in noting that "cultural relativism is at odds with evolutionary theory, since the latter necessitates identifying different levels of social organization and the reasons why one level gets superseded by another."

I also want to return to Fukuyama's previous statement about later stages containing elements of earlier ones. This is indeed a key principle, for any transformation must work with the existing material. Thus, I am not surprised that the laws of physics explain certain things about me. But to pretend that I can be reduced to physics is just stupid. Indeed, it is the other way around: humans explain physics, not vice versa.

Likewise, to pretend that humanness can be reduced to genetics or environment is equally stupid. Nevertheless, we should not be surprised to find traces of apehood in man, elements of primitive communism in modern economies, and elements of tribalism in liberal democracies. This hardly means that the latter terms can be reduced to the former.

One of the principle ways -- perhaps the principle way -- tribalism endures in the modern world is via the left. In defining itself as "postmodern" and "progressive," the modern leftist ironically becomes an atavistic proglodyte, for extremists meet in this cosmos.

Fukuyama notes that in the world of early humans, there is "nothing resembling modern individualism," which reminds us of the forced anonymity of the leftist hive, which reduces us all to racial, or gender, or socioeconomic categories.

For example, in Obamaworld, a hard working person earning $250,000 a year, who has five children in private schools, a wife at home, a mortgage underwater, and no net worth, is a "millionaire." Any individuality is effaced by the ravenous demands of the state.

In both the premodern and postmodern worlds, we are bound by what the anthropologist Ernest Gellner called the "tyranny of cousins." This is obvious in the former, as everything we think and do is defined and constrained by our place in the clan: "That is, your social world was limited to the circles of relatives surrounding you, who determined what you did, whom you married, how you worshipped, and just about everything else in life."

And in our opinion, one of the key psychic mechanisms that held this system together was and is envy. Envy was evolved to solve a serious problem, i.e., group unity and harmony, for human beings cannot survive outside the group. All primitive groups are characterized by the "evil eye" of envy, which makes its target feel uncomfortable and persecuted by these envious projections. But in order to evolve out of tribalism toward universality, we had to first break through the envy barrier, hence the 10th Commandment of spiritual evolution: you shall not covet your neighbor's whatever. In short, envy is natural; transcendence of envy is supranatural.

Thus, the leftist hardly needs to invent envy. He must only provoke, legitimize and exploit it in order to gain power over the envious, and eventually over all of us. Like the cravemen they are, they just want to be fair, and spread the poverty around.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

OMary Don't You Weep

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Origins of the Origins of Political Order and the Purpose of the Purpose of America

Fukuyama begins his search for The Origins of Political Order with the state -- the state of nature. And although he doesn't express it this way, he is absolutely correct to locate that origin in our irreducible intersubjectivity, or shared being. He rejects what he calls the "Hobbesean fallacy,"

"the idea that human beings were primordially individualistic and that they entered into society at a later stage in their development only as a result of a rational calculation that social cooperation was the best way for them to achieve their individual ends."

As I explained in the book, not only did human beings not evolve as individuals, they could not have done so. The mere evolution of a larger brain would have been insufficient to sponsor or host our humanness.

Rather, humanness emerged as a consequence of the unique circumstance of runaway growth in brain size, which ultimately resulted in mothers giving birth to premature and neurologically incomplete infants. At the same time, the mother's defenselessness in the face of having to care for a helpless infant created and strengthened the role of Father, bringing the trimorphic family into existence.

Thus, in my view, the internally related family is the first (and very possibility of) political order. But prior to it is the mother-infant dyad, which is not really a dyad per se, unless only looked at externally.

Rather, this is a uniquely interior dyad. In the orthoparadoxical formulation of D.W. Winnicott, there is no such thing as an infant. Instead, there is a single organism -- one might say the quintessentially human organism -- with mother acting as the infant's "auxiliary cortex," so to speak, to translate what is otherwise an infinite and dread-prone space into thought, or nonlocal being into local existence.

I don't want to get bogged down in details here. Interested readers can check out my book, or peruse the psychology department of the Raccoon Store -- in particular, the works of Schore (hard), Siegal (easier) or Greenspan (easiest).

A more subtle point, but critical to psychoanalytic neuro-developmental theory, is that the thinking process itself is intersubjective.

In other words -- and this is bobvious once you look at it -- human beings are intersubjective with ourselves. We are always in dialogue with an Other, and sometimes it is difficult to say which end of this relationship is more "us." I would say that neither side is, because we are again dealing with a fruitful complementarity, not a vicious duality.

Put it this way: if we weren't "two," we couldn't think. But if we weren't "one" underneath that, we couldn't actually know anything. So one might say that the One is revealed in the bipolar space between oneness and twoness, which we might call the psychic Third.

This third area is where it all goes down for human beings. It is the actual space we inhabit, only (for most people) projected out into the world and reified. This is why one jaded person can be "bored" with the world, while another sees it as an unrolling theophany, the very garment of divine being. Both are fundamentally interior states, apprehended externally.

Where I believe Fukuyama errs is in failing to appreciate the spiritual oneness that underlies our existential twoness. As he puts it, "it is in fact individualism and not sociability that developed over the course of human history. That individualism seems today like a solid core of our economic and political behavior is only because we have developed institutions that override our more naturally communal instincts."

This passage is fraught with potential economic and political mischief. For while it is correct to say that individualism (which is to say, colonization of the interior) evolves with time and history, Fukuyama implies that it is therefore completely contingent and historically conditioned, which would be the postmodern, ultramoronic view of the tenured.

I cannot emphasize enough the arbitrary and self-defeating nature of such a distorted view of human beings. Yet, it is so pervasive in academia and in culture, that we are in danger of revoking our essential humanness as a result.

Again: human beings are two (i.e., intersubjective) only because the subject (and ultimately the metacosmic Subject) is fundamentally one.

But the oneness of the subject cannot be known or thought about until it bifurcates into two, e.g., thoughts and thinker, conscious and unconscious, Father and Son, form and substance, Absolute and Infinite, space and time, etc. What evolves is not the "individual" per se; rather, what specifically evolves and deepens is the process, which, in my symbology, reduces to O ←→ (¶).

Now, since the ultimate purpose of life is, and can only be, the sat-chit-ananda, or being-consciousness-bliss, of O ←→ (¶), it stands to transrationality that the best political order will be the one that makes this possible, or at least gets out of the way and doesn't stifle or prevent it. It will be the political order that quite explicitly begins with the idea that all men are equally endowed by their Creator with the liberty to pursue their happiness, which is again rooted in some form of matterimanyall engagement with the Real, i.e, O ←→ (¶).

This is why human life is uniquely and cosmically worthwhile, and why the state's first duty is therefore to protect it. Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness = Being Consciousness Bliss, deusrespectively.

The main purpose of the state is to accomplice things we cannot accomplish on an individual basis, which is to say, smack down all the deviants who wish to deny the human reason for being, either through physical or intellectual or spiritual violence.

Obviously, as Cosmo-Americans, we cannot support any state which undermines the explicitly spiritual assumptions of our having brought this great nation into being before its beginning (for in our end is our beginning, and vice versa). If the purpose of America isn't to facilitate the Adventure of Consciousness, then for what Good is it in the ultimate scam of things?

I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth. --John Adams

Nevertheless, I'm not completely close-minded on the matter. Liberals do make an articulate and passionate case for a contrary view.