Friday, February 03, 2012

Government Of, By, and For the Ungovernable

Apologize for the Sun Ra freakout yesterday. Obviously my wires got crossed as a result of trying to blog while watching the Holder thingy, and that's what came out. Although Ra appears regularly in the 'Coon Club Au Go-Go showroom, I do not advocate him to the uninitiated.

It did form quite a contrast, however -- the penultimate retrograde reactionary establishment negro overseer of the Victim Plantation vs. the only-begotten post-racial interplanetary musical transponder of happy tomorrows: the entirely predictable type vs. the unprecedented and unrepeatable individual. I suppose Holder must have provoked his opposite number in positive space.

But none of this is actually irrelevant to our topic, which involves the limits of freedom. Much of Charles Murray's Coming Apart -- which is a must read -- revolves around the same subject, which ultimately comes down to the question of how a people can remain free if they reject the virtues -- i.e., the intrinsic limits -- that undergird the very possibility of freedom.

Murray cites various founders and foreign observers who were acutely aware of this. Indeed, in order to not know it, you must have either attended graduate school or else be among the underclass victims of the toxic ideology of our academic elites.

This is indeed one of the striking conclusions of the book, that our elites, instead of preaching what they practice -- i.e., the behaviors and attitudes that resulted in their own success -- preach exactly the opposite. In THE NEW CLASS: PROFITING FROM DECLINE, PowerLine links to a piece at Falkenblog that relieves me of the need to lay the foundation:

"Murray argues the well-off should set a better example by not apologizing for their squareness, but rather, by advocating their lifestyle and scorning those who fail to live up to it -- we need more of what is usually called ‘blaming the victim.'"

Nevertheless, the lower classes never stop hearing of "how great it is to be a victim, how noble it is to be poor, powerless, or discriminated [against]; to be wronged is the ultimate in righteousness." But this is not something our hyper status-conscious elites would ever indulge in themselves:

"Alas, successful people are ashamed to assert they have better genetics, values, and habits -- even though they quietly believe it to be true -- and so are content to let the media and intellectuals push the delusional idea that success is like when Paris Hilton had sex on a digital camera and built a career out of it: luck, connections, and chutzpah, but no discipline, ingenuity, and perseverence. With such examples it becomes defensible to suggest most of the rich are like that -- mere lucky hacks in the game of life. The flip side is that those who are unsuccessful are suffering for no fault of their own" (Falkenstein).

Speaking of Falkenstein's monster, the whole thing is a weird and twisted academic experiment in reverse-prometheanism: a misguided attempt to make man better by making him worse, or transcendence via regression.

I know many successful liberals who are full of covert (and not so covert) narcissistic superiority, which they deny through assimilation of the liberal sensibility described above. There is nothing empathic or compassionate about them. They live their own lives in a conservative, even blandly bourgeois, manner, and yet, advocate an entirely different set of values for the unsuccessful.

These unsuccessful victims of someone else's success function only as props in the liberal's personal psychodrama. They have no interest whatsoever in understanding the actual behaviors that result in poverty or in success. Indeed, they need the poor in order to elevate themselves, which helps explain their dogged adherence to policies that are guaranteed to create more of them.

Murray attempts to distill the cardinal virtues that resulted in America's unprecedented success -- which for him are marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religiosity -- and in so doing, show how unique they were to America.

In fact, this is something everyone once knew, both here and abroad. He cites an example from 1825, when a European observer wrote that "no government could be established on the same principle as that of the United States, with a different code of morals."

Furthermore, our Constitution "can only suffice a people habitually correct in their actions, and would be utterly inadequate to the wants of a different nation. Change the domestic habits of the Americans, their religious devotion, and their respect for morality, and it will not be necessary to change a single letter of the Constitution in order to vary the whole form of their government" (Francis Grund, emphasis mine).

How extraordinarily prescient! Yes, the ACLU is a strict adherent to the Constitution -- the perverse Constitution that results from a complete rejection of the spirit and values that inspired it.

Murray cites various founders, such as Madison: "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea."

Franklin: "only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

Patrick Henry: "bad men cannot make good citizens.... No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue."

Tocqueville: "travelers who have visited North America.... all agree in remarking that morals are far more strict there than elsewhere."

Even Jefferson (not that his erratic thought process should hold any particular weight, except that he seems to be the perennial favorite of the adultolescent left): "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?"

One could go on and on. The point is, self-government requires first and foremost government of oneself. But with the symbolic ascendence of Obama, we have reached the dangerous tipping point of a government of, by, and for the ungovernable. Or, perhaps of the insufferable over the ungovernable, the former enabling the latter with a poisonous and destructive ideology that is guaranteed to produce more of the victims that justify the ideology.

Again, all of the above goes to the ninth of our Ten Universal Principles, which concerns the limits of freedom. I couldn't possibly express it more clearly than Tocqueville, who is quoted by Murray:

"Thus, while the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from" doing so. The latter "must be regarded as the first of their political institutions," for "Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other."

But as we have said before, leftism is quintessentially "the possibility of the impossible," endeavoring always to bring about what can never be, through ideas and principles that should never have been.

To be continued, but no posts for several days....

57 Comments:

Blogger John Lien said...

We're doomed.

My only hope is that what we are exposed to in popular culture and the MSM are the aberrant few and the core of this country is still decent.

But, from my bunker, it looks like we're doomed.

2/03/2012 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Enjoy your trip.

...and so are content to let the media and intellectuals push the delusional idea that success is like when Paris Hilton had sex on a digital camera and built a career out of it: luck, connections, and chutzpah, but no discipline, ingenuity, and perseverence.

Intellectuals should consider how that would have turned out if Ms. Hilton had a body like Rosie O'Donut.

I read the Amazon reviews on Murray and it was funny to see the 1-star guy -- despite the fact that Murray limits the study to white people -- say that Murray thinks black people are poor because they are lazy.

He just used white people to cover up his racism.

2/03/2012 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Truly, "racism" has devolved to a word used by liberals when they have lost the argument.

2/03/2012 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Maybe it's just me, but I thought Sun Ra was a great example yesterday. As to today's post, it is tempting to agree with John. The problem of the self-hating elites isn't going to go away any time soon.

2/03/2012 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.

That's why I have given up 'Republican' and call myself a Christian libertarian. Even on places like Free Republic, this concept is foreign to many conservatives. They want to make people do what is right. It really doesn't matter that their "right" is consistent with truth and reality as opposed to, say, the views of Obama and Holder, compulsion is still inconsistent with liberty.

By the way, the head lizard had apparently tried to pick up some hits by getting an attack piece of his linked on FR. Somebody posted the link to your classic Talkin' Charles Johnson Paranoid Blues, so you might get some extra traffic today.

2/03/2012 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Apropos, it appears that the Susan G. Komen foundation has caved in to the pressure from Planned Parenthood. Disappointing; it would have much better to see them stand on principle - in this case, the principle that it is unwise to donate large sums of money to people under investigation for fraud by the feds (as I understand it, the decision not to renew the grant had nothing to do with abortion) - than to see them cave into brute tactics. When the leaders of the nation - whether individuals, businesses, or charities - repeatedly fail to stand on principle, how in the world is anybody in the growing underclass supposed to believe that virtue does have tangible rewards?

2/03/2012 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, that song parody's pretty funny. Highly recommended!

2/03/2012 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of which, that poster at Free Republic, Matchett-PI, whoever he is, is the only guy who knows what's in the arkive. He seems to be able to instantly draw up a post for any occasion, whereas it would be quicker for me to just write a new one.

2/03/2012 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Freaky fast on the draw. He seems to be from Florida and likes C.S. Lewis in addition to OC.

Maybe the PI stands for Private Investigator. My daughter-in-law does stuff like that for a government agency, and she can find anything.

2/03/2012 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or maybe Pneumatic Inventory.

2/03/2012 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

John said,
"My only hope is that what we are exposed to in popular culture and the MSM are the aberrant few and the core of this country is still decent."

I wonder about this too. I used to use this term "the invisible rich" because I lived near them but never saw them. Maybe we only hear from the ones who must be heard.
But where are today's Franklins, Madisons, Adams? They aren't made anymore? We heard from them when they were here.
Maybe they operate on a different frequency, like that Star Trek episode where the aliens moved so fast they just sounded like flies, but you couldn't see them.

2/03/2012 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob said,

"It did form quite a contrast, however -- : the entirely predictable type vs. the unprecedented and unrepeatable individual. I suppose Holder must have provoked his opposite number in positive space."

It gaffaw-ha'd me only recently -- maybe everybody knows this -- (if it is in fact true), that when Jesus says, "you will always have the poor with you", he is not saying "this or that poor person". Maybe he means, don't worry about "the type" or "the group" - you'll never solve that problem and it's no way to treat a person. Help the person (individual). The neighbor, not neighborhood (type).

2/03/2012 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Rick. Interesting insight. Yeah, when the individuals become a group then it becomes somebody else's (maybe the Government's?) problem.

It's just too big for me to address, you know.

2/03/2012 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...revolves around the same subject, which ultimately comes down to the question of how a people can remain free if they reject the virtues -- i.e., the intrinsic limits -- that undergird the very possibility of freedom."

To quote another musical head case "Same as it evah was... same as it evah was... Same... as it evah wazzzzzzzz"

2/03/2012 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"One could go on and on. The point is, self-government requires first and foremost government of oneself. But with the symbolic ascendence of Obama, we have reached the dangerous tipping point of a government of, by, and for the ungovernable. Or, perhaps of the insufferable over the ungovernable, the former enabling the latter with a poisonous and destructive ideology that is guaranteed to produce more of the victims that justify the ideology."

From my post today, in reference to a similar point and Founder's quotation,


"The more we learn today of what they knew then, the more brightly our flame will be able to blaze tomorrow. The more those 'pretentious allusions' fade away... so will our liberties and rights.

An Aperitif
Can you really and truly call an education as being worth it's name, if all it does is teach its students various skills and techniques? Is making someone more skilled at getting what they want, without teaching them to understand what is wise or unwise to want and why... can that really be called a good thing? An education was once understood to consist of conveying the significant issues of history and thought, forming a moral manner and enabling a self governing nature.

Where do you see that occurring today? Teaching anything less than that, such as useful skills only, was once thought of as instruction fit only for slaves. Is that what you want for your kids? Are you really so sure that those who understood those issues which we've mostly forgotten today, didn't know what they were talking about?
"

We ignore that, and we wind up with the default option when what is Right has been let go, and that is what promotes power.

2/03/2012 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Van, I'll have to read the whole thang. I saw your post yesterday evening but, my head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night.

Not sure when moral values left the educational system. I didn't get much, if any, starting in '67 but that was progressive, Montgomery Co. Md.

Only thing I can remember is a snippet from a cautionary poem about boys wearing hats indoors...

"...and never since the world began, has one grown up to be a man..."

Oh, wait. We did have a Latvian history teacher in junior-high who hated Commies with a passion and told us why but that was extra-curricular to the curriculum.

2/03/2012 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Finally: a theme song.

2/03/2012 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

On Komen, from R. Howell:

PP: Komen Foundation, you’re my older sister and I love you. But don’t ever take sides against the Family again. Ever.

2/03/2012 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. the music, that's just about perfect. Oddly, or perhaps fittingly, it doesn't mesh well with conventional music going in the background...

2/03/2012 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

Bobby, your posts always make me feel like our society is unrecoverably screwed. Most of the people I know are liberals, and I have to say, they are forever lost. They simply do not have the mental acumen to appreciate higher thinking, or to even discern good ideas from bad ones. As Voegelin would say, they are spiritually illiterate, and no matter how hard I try to expose them to better literature and philosophy, they simply can't understand it.

You say that a moral society is an imperative foundation for our government, however, how do you recover a moral law that is essentially hidden from a large portion (possibly a majority) of the population?

Unfortunately religion seems to have little impact on this front. Most of the liberals I associate with are active church going Christians. However, they seem unable to see the ultimate immoral implications of their horrible ideas, while I am seen as a foolish brute (once they find out I'm conservative) lacking empathy and compassion.

Can anything actually be done? I mean you can lead a liberal to water, but you can't make him stop from taking a leak in it.

2/03/2012 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Kv0n, it's a good question. For my .02¢, it seems like in the short term there isn't much to be done.

However, I hold out hope that in the long run, demography may be able to turn the tide. Comparatively speaking, conservatives (and especially people of faith) tend to have far more kids than leftists. Eventually that might make a difference, even factoring in the fact that kids don't necessarily follow the politics of their parents.

2/03/2012 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Kv0nT said "...they are spiritually illiterate, and no matter how hard I try to expose them to better literature and philosophy, they simply can't understand it."

The thing to remember is that though they are spiritually illiterate, they didn't get that way by spiritual means, but because what they've learned has led them into the wilderness, one interesting idea at a time.

The biggest and most destructive interesting idea of them all, came with Descartes who succeeded in tipping the intellectual world upside down by getting across the idea that epistemology was more significant than metaphysics; that what you know, is more important than what IS and what can be known. Ultimately that put YOU before what IS, before what is real, which I think was the moment that the West filed for divorce, or at least when it began committing adoltwhory - even his 'proofs for God', when you drill down through them, ultimately make God dependent upon Your existence, for His.

The next 'interesting ideas' came from Rousseau with the idea that marriage, family, property, were the causes of all that corrupted men out of the wonders of the purity of Nature and into the evils of civilization, and worst of all, that Free Will was an illusion, that people didn't really make choices, they just responded to their environment. And of course, if that was true... then those who knew better, meaning those who were smart and modern enough to believe in this new modern philosophy, had to take it upon themselves to arrange lesser peoples environments so that their lives were nudged, or forced (whatever) into 'what was best for them', as only the elites could know how.

With every subsequent development in philosophy, man put himself farther above what was actually true, and more and more resented what was true BECAUSE it was true. Art, which requires an understanding of and reverence for Truth in order to sing, was severed from justice and trut,h and was attached to power and falsehood, and with that we went from Michelangelo to Munch, Aquinas and Locke to Hegel and Marx, Adams & Jefferson to Clinton & Obama.

With the best of intentions, modernity's 'interesting ideas' have led us to hell via a fundamental rejection of metaphysics, of what is Real and True; that reality comes first, and you follow after - and believing that, religion and spirituality becomes impossible.

So turning all of that around, getting the world back to where the quotations in this post can make sense to those who read them, means consciously overturning nearly all of modern philosophy, so that we can make sense of things again, and that is going to be a long, long process.

2/03/2012 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Regarding the theme song.

It evoked the image of a bunch of raccoons squabbling around some freshly tipped trash cans.

That's gonna be hard to sing at the annual convention.

2/03/2012 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

What, isn't this the place where a bunch of raccoons gather around a freshly tipped trash can each morning?

2/04/2012 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

The WSJ reports: The Corporate Tax Rate is lowest level since at least 1972. Today - the Dow Jones finished at a 4 yr high, the NASDAQ finished at an 11 yr high, and unemployment is lowest in 3 yrs. You'll still hear conservatives telling us Obama is ruining the economy.

2/04/2012 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

William stop trolling. I know that you can only think in superficial terms, but at least try to dig a little deeper on topics that are obviously more complex than an isolated market number here or a Bureau of Labor Statistics report there. Also, even taken at face value your comments illustrate the absurdity of your standards. Unemployment at 8.3% is unnacceptable, even more so because the actual number is much higher. A workforce participation rate of 64.7% is the lowest in 3 decades. The corporate taxe rate may be the lowest since 1972 but it is currently the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

Seriously man, do some thinking for yourself. Uour lack of contextual knowlesge is disgustingly pathetic.

2/04/2012 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

William, In the not-too-distant future I will remember you and my men will come and provide you safe passage through the mountains to my tribal lands of what was known as central Virginia where I will rule and you will play guitar for me and my people and we will drink and sing and cry as we remember the old days and I will feed you a meal of mutton and bread and pay you in silver dimes.

2/04/2012 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

This is why I hate classical musicians (William). They obtain excellence in one field of obviously high quality (completely ignoring their general education) and suddenly they think they're flipping geniuses with aptitude for all fields of study. When I was at the NewEngland Conservatory the liberal bilge from my teachers made me want to puke. They constantly tried to make me read Bart Ehrdman (as if I'd never heard of or read the prick), Jimmy Carter, and any flavor of the week libtard that had caught their fancy.

2/04/2012 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Who was the president to get elected with the highest unemployment since WWII? Ronald Reagan (7.2%)

What president had the worst job creation tack record in modern tmes? GW Bush.

And we want to go back to those policies?

BTW... Why LIE and say the US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world when, as a % of GDP, the U.S. had the second lowest corporate tax rate among developed countries, behind only Iceland.

Keep lying... see where it gets you.

2/04/2012 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

@John - lol. If such a time should come to pass and I should find myself in your neck o' the woods, can I watch?

2/04/2012 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

@julie. Ya, sure. I'll send out an email to the raccoon user's group beforehand. Racoons get extra mutton (for nuttin!)

@Magnus. Belated LOL!

2/04/2012 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

President Romney.

2/05/2012 03:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Charles Murray submits to questions about the book.

2/05/2012 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Kv0nT:

I think the problem you describe applies to the educated in general, since the educated are by definition the people who are most subject to indoctrination. You might say that their intelligence allows them to be indoctrinated much more rapidly and deeply than the unintelligent. Throw in their inappropriately high self esteem for being so much smarter than everyone else, and you have a herd of elite conformists who mirror one another and banish new information via mass auto-fellation.

2/05/2012 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Good interview; I find it interesting that Murray is a Libertarian.

2/05/2012 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Kv0nT said "I know that you can only think in superficial terms, but at least try to dig a little deeper on topics that are obviously more complex than an isolated market number here or a Bureau of Labor Statistics report there."

Lol, better luck finding a new species of spot changing leopards.

Being superficial, eagerly jumping at the first smart assessment possible and going no deeper (lest you risk seeing how stupid it might be), is how leftists identify and find themselves. To break with that would be to risk being shunned by the herd, and that is unheard of... within the remaining herd anyway. Those who do, like David Mamet, are quickly shunned and forgotten and the herd goes on undisturbed.

I haven't had the chance, or stomach, yet to watch the moyers interview on this page a leftie friend enthused about containing such interesting and in-depth discussions, but scroll down to the next video with precious psychology professor Jonathan Haidt, and watch as he proclaims his Superficiality right off the bat in describing how two Americans, left and right, react to seeing Michelangelo’s David for the first time.

He says that one will be struck with awe at the beauty of the statue, and the other will be embarrassed at his lack of a fig leaf, and then asks the TED crowd "Which is more likely to vote for Al Gore, and which for George Bush?" ipso facto: lefties "score higher on a major personality trait, openness to experience.", they're open to new ideas, and conservatives reject them, "once you understand this major personality trait, you can understand why anybody would eat at Applebee’s, but not anyone you know."

He then spends the next 15 min, in true leftie tradition, going wide, rather than risking depth, to get more data to support how right his superficiality is and how tolerant he is, and should be, of the doltish conservatives, who after all, are a necessary evil.

The gem comes, when after making every insulting snark he can throughout the talk at conservatives, he then praises the virtue of aspiring to and practicing Dali Lama like humility in all you do.

Priceless.

2/05/2012 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Good grief - really? He really thinks all conservatives would see is David's Wee Willie Winkie, and be incapable of appreciating any of the rest? Well, all that proves is that he's never met a conservative.

2/05/2012 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Here's a bit of a parallel observation to Murray's view: “In contemporary America, we now have two parallel cultures: An anachronistic culture of independence and responsibility, and the emerging moocher culture."

The problem, again, is that the culture of independence and responsibility - or of "Belmont," in Murray's terms - is seen as anachronistic.

2/05/2012 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "Well, all that proves is that he's never met a conservative."


Or anyone else who eats at Applebee's I guess!

Hey, anyone know anything about Louis Menand? A friend just recommended a book “The Metaphysical Club”, about the formation of Pragmatism. The blurb on Amazon includes,

” Holmes, James, and Peirce all believed that ideas are not things "out there" waiting to be discovered but are tools people invent -- like knives and forks and microchips -- to make their way in the world. They thought that ideas are produced not by individuals, but by groups of individuals -- that ideas are social. They do not develop according to some inner logic of their own but are entirely depent -- like germs -- on their human carriers and environment. And they thought that the survival of any idea deps not on its immutability but on its adaptability.”

Mind Parasites anyone?

Despite the blurb, and while it may be good history, from my quick scan, it looks like he’s more of a fan than a critic. I know the history well enough already, and don’t need anymore fanfic about it.

2/05/2012 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Obsessed with sex in art? Thank God for projection, since it permits us to monitor at all times what's going on in the liberal mind.

2/05/2012 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

http://news.yahoo.com/police-11-arrested-occupy-dc-162011876.html

I think Alfred in the Dark Knight put it best. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

2/05/2012 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Apropos the prudishness of conservatives...

2/06/2012 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

Well since there is no post today I'll ask a question for those Cooniacs who poke their noses in on the off chance that Bobcoon wakes up.

We are always talking about philosophy, commentary, biographies, blogs, and comparative religion, but what literature do you read?

2/07/2012 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Kv0nT - I don't know that I'd call much of what I read for entertainment "literature," but lately I tend to gravitate either toward sci-fi or whatever my H is reading that seems decent. Not awful, but mostly what I'd consider "mental popcorn" compared to the OC-inspired books I've read. Lately that's been Niven and one by Greg Bear. Although the more deep reading I do, the less I tend to tolerate the mental popcorn. Like splashing in a wading pool after having explored real depths, though of course there's a time and a place for both.

2/07/2012 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

What lit? Well, Joyce is popular -- both Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. Rick is a Hemingway man, at least in part. ge is has convinced me that Kerouac is OK.

I like mostly everything by George MacDonald, possibly especially Lilith and all of the work of the Other Inkling, Charles Williams. All of Lewis, especially Till We Have Faces and Tolkien, of course. I like Chesterton and Belloc. Dostoyevsky -- Crime and Punishment more than The Brothers Karamazov. Henry James in very measured doses -- the same for Austen -- actually the same for a whole bunch of famous writers. Just tell me the story and don't beat me to death with it -- one of best points of Hemingway and Samuel Beckett.

Robin convinced me to read Cormac McCarthy and I really liked The Road. I'm still working on Blood Meridian.

A lot of science fiction, H. Beam Piper, Pournelle/Niven and Lucifer's Hammer and The Mote in God's Eye, Fritz Leiber, Simak's City, Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Let's see, Bobbie Burns, Gerard Manley Hopkins, W.B. Yeats. E.R. Burroughs (John Carter Lives!) -- William Burroughs not so much, Lovecraft, Howard, Robert Louis Stevenson, H. Rider Haggard, John Buchan, Joseph Conrad. I like Anna Karenina a lot. David Gemmel's Legend. And I have tons of other stuff on my reader, but that's what comes to mind.

2/07/2012 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Great list, Mush. I can only add:
The War of the Worlds
Animal Farm
Gulliver's Travels (book 4)
Robinson Crusoe
Some Jack London and Farley Mowat

2/07/2012 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Hell, y'all are making me feel quite illiterate. Well, maybe because I am. I'll be happy to finish MOTT by the vernal equinox. I don't know how you do it.

I enjoy watching Bob read like some out-of-shape sports fan enjoys watching an athlete.

2/07/2012 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

Mushroom, I think you would really like Thomas Mann, and probably Robert Musil.

2/07/2012 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Hmmm... favorite reads. I'm not a big fan of modern authors, in standard fiction anyway. I take the heretical raccoon position of not liking Joyce, though Gagdad has gotten me to the point of conceding that mayyybe he isn't as utterly foul as I once thought and admitting that it's possible that a person can find value in him. Not a fan of Hemingway either, though I have come around to liking F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I like P.G. Wodehouse, Checkov, Edmond Rostand, Robert Frost, Ayn Rand.

The modern fiction I do enjoy would be Sci-Fi/Fantasy... C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Isaac Asimov, Robert Jordon, Patricia A. McKillip.

Modern non-fiction, Thomas Sowell, Victor Davis Hanson, Joseph Peiper, Theodore Dalrymple, Richard Weaver, Richard Mitchell, Caroline Alexander - she's got an excellent perspective on the Iliad with "The War That Killed Achilles").

My favorites are the old guys though,

Homer,
Aeschylus,
Sophocles,
Thucydides,
Plato,
Aristotle,
Cicero,
Sir Thomas Malory,
William Shakespeare,
Dr. Samuel Johnson,
Edmund Burke,
Walter Scott,
Jane Austen

... Emerson,
Matthew Arnold,
Frederic Bastiat,
Edgar Alan Poe

... and Marcus Aurelius, Plutarch, Dante, Montaigne, de Tocqueville, The Federalist Papers Authors, Locke & Blackstone.. Alexander Dumas, Alexander Pope.

Geez... WIll Durant, Joseph Addison, Randall Wallace (screenwriter 'Braveheart')...

Peeking at others, Mushroom's, yep on Joseph Conrad, Chesterton and Dostoyevsky,Robert Louis Stevenson, W.B. Yeats, Dostoyevsky... no can do on Kerouac... I've wanted to read The Road's The Road but haven't gotten around to it yet.

ok, that's two extended blinks and a head nod, to bed.

2/07/2012 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Well the [local boy!-- santa fe] McCarthy to be sure & read is BLOOD MERIDIAN [1 masterpiece per life oughta be bastante] He must be forgiven that postmod ""-less dialog habit!
Try and catch Henry Miller's appreciation of Kerouac =part of the fwd to the reissue of THE DHARMA BUMS
“intoxicated from the moment I began reading. No man can write with that delicious freedom and abandonment who has not practiced severe discipline … Kerouac could and probably will exert tremendous influence upon our contemporary writers young and old … we’ve had all kinds of bums heretofore but never a Dharma bum, like this Kerouac...I say it’s good, very good, surpassingly good... He’s a poet. His prose is poetry. Or, shall I say, the kind of poetry I can recognize”

2/08/2012 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I owe Robin a lot for comparing McCarthy to another writer I like a lot from around Roedie'lund and thus getting me out of my rut. Of the people writing principally in the last half of the last century, McCarthy is a rare, unique and powerful voice.

2/08/2012 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

I burned out on novels and poetry a while ago and only seem to return to writers like Dante and Shakespeare. Not for snobbery, mind you, but for efficiency. I don't have Russian or German, so that leaves out some heavies like Goethe and Tolstoy. Dostoyevsky demands a lot of time. I find Joyce too heavy work for the pay. Maybe when I have more free time.

Short forms can be good, but their demand for skill is in some ways greater, which sets up a lot of writers for failure. Those who don't fail are James, Hemingway, O'Connor, Mansfield, Wilde, Waugh, Spark. I like a lot of what I read from southern writers in the US. One of the latter who is full of irascible flash is Barry Hannah.

I find myself responding more negatively than positively to my contemporaries, and I think it's because they presume my intimacy. I like third-person narration because it puts yourself out there in a way first-person narratives don't. The latter are always hiding their commitments behind the aw-shucks pose. Be a man and offer omniscience, I want to say. We readers get to decide whether you achieve it. Pony it up.

For poets, can't go wrong with the old classics written for people who read, but as time staggered on, poets sure had a harder time. I like Eliot, Rexroth, Wallace Stevens, and a smattering of others. It's hard to say -- the older I get, the more I keep saying "yeah, tell me about it." So there's less incentive to valorize the poets, as I did in my youth. I keep trying to dip back in to contemporaries, but so few of them are artful, and those that are artful, lack ambition. So I settle for smiling with recognition at well-rendered moments. I'm not waiting for something 'great,' leaving that to posterity. But I do want to read things that will pull me out of dullness and bad perceptual habits.

And sometimes I just want to kick back and be entertained. Usually by P.G. Wodehouse, who understands.

2/08/2012 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

happened on these opinions of DFWallace not long ago:

OK. Historically the stuff that’s sort of rung my cherries: Socrates’ funeral oration, the poetry of John Donne, the poetry of Richard Crashaw, every once in a while Shakespeare, although not all that often, Keats’ shorter stuff, Schopenhauer, Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on Method, Kant’s Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysic, although the translations are all terrible, William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Hemingway—particularly the ital stuff in In Our Time, where you just go oomph!, Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, A.S. Byatt, Cynthia Ozick—the stories, especially one called “Levitations,” about 25 percent of the time Pynchon. Donald Barthelme, especially a story called “The Balloon,” which is the first story I ever read that made me want to be a writer, Tobias Wolff, Raymond Carver’s best stuff — the really famous stuff. Steinbeck when he’s not beating his drum, 35 percent of Stephen Crane, Moby-Dick, The Great Gatsby.

2/08/2012 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

GE said "Socrates' Funeral Oration"

Typo? Pericles' Funeral Oration maybe? If that's not a typo, could you send me a ref?

I've got to admit that I do often find myself reading Descartes’ Meditations and Discourse on Method, Kant’s Prolegomena & Critique of Pure Reason, Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and to a much lesser extent William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, but only because I like to know my enemies... I can't imagine reading them for pleasure.

I can see why Kerouc would be on that reader's list though.

Oscar Wilde, yep. I'm going to have to get around to Cormac McCarthy, I do hear a lot of good things about him.

2/08/2012 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

here's the link to Wallace's
picks

---btw Wallace didnt list his fellow Pisces Kerouac; that was H Miller's POV

2/08/2012 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Kv0nT said...

Not many modern authors listed here.

I would recommend:

Robert Musil
Kobo Abe
Haruki Murakami
Herta Muller
Nicola Barker
Nabokov
Solzhenitsyn

And for our usual strain, I would recommend J. Budziszewski, particularly his book The Line Through the Heart

2/08/2012 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Vive les Frenchies:
Bien, the authors I spend most time rerererereading seem to be Raymond
Roussel [novels/poetry]
and RA Schwaller de Lubicz [esoterism]
I mentioned this book once before here but in case any missed it, no text reminds me more [in several ways] of MOtT than
The Dwellings of the Philosophers
which has the distinction of being occultly-authored likely by Schwaller! For that theory see
AL-KEMI

2/09/2012 03:54:00 AM  

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