Monday, May 14, 2012

Ideological Intolerance of Reality and Metastatic Hope

Sounds complicated, but you can see how one would lead to the other, or how the two are dialectically related. Presumably someone wouldn't reject reality unless they were hoping for something radically better. Nor would they live in a state of cancerous -- which is to say, radical -- hope unless reality were intolerable.

Hope itself isn't the problem, properly understood. After all, it is a theological virtue. I have here a handy little book called The One-Minute Philosopher, which distinguishes between Hope and Wish.

The former "involves the conviction that, despite appearances to the contrary, truth and goodness will prevail." Thus, it is not at all easy to maintain hope in the teeth of this decayed world, which is precisely why it is a virtue.

Please note that the hope is for this world, not for a magical one dreamt up by ideologues. Any tenured yahoo can imagine something better, but that isn't what we're talking about.

Rather, we're talking about accepting the world for what it is, and committing ourselves to its betterment. If we do not accept the world for what it is -- and human beings for what they are -- then our hopes will be completely misplaced. They will be reduced to wishes, and wishes to ashes.

And what is a wish? It "involves the fancy that, despite appearances to the contrary, our desire will be satisfied. To wish is to invoke fortune to bring us what we want, even when what we want is not good" (Brown).

Consider some of the implications drawn out by Brown: "hope is creative," but "wish is imaginative." While "I can wish for anything, I hope only for what is possible. My hope looks to the future, but is rooted in reality as it is."

And importantly, "what we hope for, we are also willing to work for." Thus, working for Obama's re-election so that the state will provide me more of what I desire, is not hope. I wish I could play tenor sax, but I realize Obama can't help me there.

That's a wish. A wish "has no particular bond with reality as it is, but feeds on fantasy.... Wishing is like dreaming: it is not confined to reality as it is, nor is there any good reason to believe that my wish will come true.... [U]nlike when we hope for something, we are not necessarily willing to work for it. We wish for all sorts of unattainable and frivolous things" (ibid.).

The left wishes socialized medicine would work, that the welfare state wouldn't bankrupt the nation, that we could borrow our way to prosperity, that members of the same sex could marry each other, that racial discrimination could end racial discrimination, that human fetuses aren't human, that women aren't women, that men aren't men, that palefarces were Indians, ad gnoseam.

But none of these things can be. We can try to force them to be, but the system will crack under the pressure of the denied reality. And it must remain cracked in order to continue "functioning."

I heard someone make a good point about this on the radio. Why have our Supreme Court hearings become so contentious? One reason, really. It is because of the twisted pettifoggery of Roe v. Wade.

Today, we are all supposed to bow before this grotesque example of judicial wishery, so that only those who reject reality are acceptable to liberals. This is bound to create tension, to put it mildly. The same will happen with regard to the redefinition of marriage if it is forced upon us by the court.

The marketplace of ideas is supposed to be a struggle of truth against truth, or, more accurately, a struggle for or toward truth. But what if it becomes a struggle for and against truth? For Voegelin, that is precisely what the political struggle involves, because it is the same struggle that is "waged on every level of human existence."

For example, it is axiomatic in psychology that pathology results from one part of the mind being at war with another. An unwanted truth is denied, repressed, or projected, and the lacunae is unconsciously filled with the wish, the desire, the preferred state of reality.

Likewise, we enter dangerous pneumapolitcal terrortory when confronted "with persons who know that, and why, their opinions cannot stand up under critical analysis and who therefore make the prohibition of the examination of their premises part of their dogma. This position of a conscious, deliberate, and painstakingly elaborated obstruction of ratio constitutes the new phenomenon" (Voegelin).

I wish it weren't so, but it is what it is. Or isn't, to be exact.

To be continued....

16 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

This is a good topic; I wish I had gotten enough sleep last night to intelligently comment. The sad reality is, this is about all I can muster. I hope all you raccoons won't think too poorly of me as a result.

5/14/2012 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Frank J has some relevant remarks, however:

"Let’s face it: We’re never going to deal with the serious problems in our county. The economy is still faltering, our debt seems insurmountable, gas prices are out of control and terrorists are still trying to blow us up with their underwear. But what issue is dominating the presidential race right now? Gay marriage.

Just a few weeks ago, the hot topic was some radio host calling a woman a 'slut.'

I’ve noticed a few things about the problems we face. Each is a great threat to our way of life, every one must be handled right away, and every one is extremely boring."

5/14/2012 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Don't worry, Julie, it won't hurt for you to be merely brilliant once in a while.

I am a connoisseur of sleep deprivation; everybody else thinks I'm just a grouch.

...that racial discrimination could end racial discrimination...

I'm sure that will work out as well as making selling guns to Mexican drug cartels to end drug-related killings.

5/14/2012 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Roe is a watershed, no question. I used to think Miranda was, too, but now we have no-knock warrants and warrent-less searches that go too far the other direction. I would like a right to privacy in my own house. The entire legal system has lost sight of right and wrong.

5/14/2012 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

There is indeed nothing constitutional about Miranda. Although I suppose one could make the argument that it is necessary if the suspect is retarded or something.

5/14/2012 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The left wishes socialized medicine would work, that the welfare state wouldn't bankrupt the nation, that we could borrow our way to prosperity, that members of the same sex could marry each other, that racial discrimination could end racial discrimination, that human fetuses aren't human, that women aren't women, that men aren't men, that palefarces were Indians, ad gnoseam."

That describes the left, in a nut shell.
If you don't like reality and truth wish for something you do like.

History if rife with spectacular (and horrifying) examples of how this never works.

So what does the left do? Wish for a history more to their liking.

What can possibly go wrong?

5/14/2012 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie: what Mushroom said.

Mushroom: I hear ya. N one appreciates sleep deprivation conosseurs.

We ain't grouchy, dammit!

You know, I've been called grouchy even when I keep my trap shut.
What's up with that? Sheesh!

Let's not forget the life of Julia.
If Obama was President for life than everyone can live like the fabricated but real Julia.

If we can wish it, it must be true! Yay! We're on our way to utopia!

No wonder they hate reality and truth. It threatens their very sanity, or what's left of it.

5/14/2012 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

There was nothing constitutional about Griswold either, which established a level of individual privacy that was used as precedent in deciding Roe. One slightly off the mark decision built upon another and another and here we are.

Now we have SCOTUS justices openly admitting they look beyond the US Constitution and US legal precedent to form their opinion on cases before their court. This is a conscious breaking of the oath they took to "bear true faith and allegiance" to the Constitution.

5/14/2012 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

It might make sense if there's no applicable precedent, but with precedent law (the common law tradition) you're supposed to start with precedent.

Of course, what everyone's been saying points to the fact that it's been sort of sliding off the rails for awhile.

Amusing in this whole thing is that Obama's campaign is so worried that they're willing to alienate a certain number of people just to keep their eyes off of the worse issues.

If recall, a lot of the hard leftists felt very betrayed by Obama quite early on in the term. This is a blatant grab for their vote I think, but I wonder if it isn't a kind of rogue strategy?

Then again, with the Repubs in disarray they've got a better chance with the hard left... might as well not alienate the only people that won't say, 'Ah, screw it. I'm voting for Ron Paul.'

5/14/2012 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Another good illustration of this post for today: $21 carbon-neutral chocolate.

“We want to re-establish sailing ships as a natural alternative to an anti-ecological culture. We want to see a revival of the great age of sail, as a means of Fair transport for cargo around the Atlantic”.

That is a wish, not a hope, for a host of reasons. Not least of which being that there is little to nothing ecologically friendlier about wooden sailing ships vs standard cargo ships. In fact, I'd guess that pound for pound of cargo shipped, the sailing ships do vastly more damage at far greater expense, much like most other "green" technologies.

5/15/2012 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yep.. I guess it depends on how you define 'cleaner'? Usually it is defined by the experience of being cleaner, not by the actual pollution created. Case in point - hybrid cars - while you (the CONSUMER) are saving gas and feeling greener, the tech required to make these 'green' vehics is much less... efficient than making a basic fuel injected gasoline vehicle.

As usual, ideas are simply selling points and rarely have substance behind them.

5/15/2012 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yep.. I guess it depends on how you define 'cleaner'? Usually it is defined by the experience of being cleaner, not by the actual pollution created. Case in point - hybrid cars - while you (the CONSUMER) are saving gas and feeling greener, the tech required to make these 'green' vehics is much less... efficient than making a basic fuel injected gasoline vehicle.

As usual, ideas are simply selling points and rarely have substance behind them.

5/15/2012 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Why have our Supreme Court hearings become so contentious? One reason, really. It is because of the twisted pettifoggery of Roe v. Wade.

Today, we are all supposed to bow before this grotesque example of judicial wishery, so that only those who reject reality are acceptable to liberals."

Got that right. But I think Roe was only an example of the precedent which enabled such twisted pettifoggery to be acceptable in court, the real ground breaking work in legal pettifogging came out of Brown vs the Board of Education. It was the first real example of not just ignoring what was right in order to favor prejudice, as in Plessy v Fergusson, but instead sought to correct something that nearly everyone agreed was an outrageous wrong, 'separate but equal', but did it by getting to the conclusion which everyone thought was right... while gyrating wildly around the only legal, and proper, basis for doing so - individual rights & property rights. Instead, they went completely outside of the Law and the Constitution, in order to justify their popular personal preferences based upon on sociological studies (which were soon after shown to be highly flawed & bogus) which concluded feelings were hurt by segregation, and so it shouldn't be allowed. Read the transcripts and decision, they could find no legal basis for what they wanted to do, that they were comfortable with at least, and instead based it upon the first fig leaf they could find.

The reason why they didn't feel comfortable using the proper legal basis to decide the case, was because the rising power of the state had already required those to be shunted aside in several cases by the SCOTUS, the 'Gold Clause' case in particular, and so

The argument that parents, had the right to expect and demand that their children receive the same quality of education as other parents received for their tax money - property rights, equal representation and equality before the law - required asserting property rights and contracts, which they'd so recently undermined. And of course the idea that parents had rights to oversee their children’s education was already implicitly denied by authorizing the state to mandate that IT had more right to their children's education than the parents did (and in fact that the State has more rights to your child, than you do).

When you've already undermined Individual Rights, Property Rights and Parental Rights in an argument based upon the direct violation of those rights to begin with (State mandated and provided education)... what're you going to fall back on to bring about the decision you want to have made? The answer is, whatever convoluted and emotionally appealing excuse you can manage to whip up to make seem as if it has substance. Problem is, then the Law is at the service of whichever ideology is prevalent among the judiciary, and then we become a nation of men, not laws.

The Law is Force, if it is used in anyway other than to defend against clearly objective infringements upon rights, if it's allowed to be used to pursue and bring about 'fair' goals... it ceases to be objective law and becomes a loose cannon.

(Duck)

5/15/2012 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

"A wish "has no particular bond with reality as it is, but feeds on fantasy.... Wishing is like dreaming: it is not confined to reality as it is, nor is there any good reason to believe that my wish will come true.... "

If I were a Liberal, I might as well ask for "a slice of cheesecake served to me by Natassja Kinski" and then tell the government its not fair that bodcaious babes such as her are doing it merely for the ones they love and that such selfishness must be penalized until she complies with my request.

If I were a conservative, If I wish for millions of dollars and expect a chance of results, I get a lottery ticket. With my own money. Or start a business. With my own expertise and time.

Novel concept that is. Much cleaner (and simpler, too.)

...and since we are talking about liberals not being able to differentiate between a wish and a realistic goal, I present to you my latest find called

LiberalLogic101

http://liberallogic101.com

5/15/2012 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

"The marketplace of ideas is supposed to be a struggle of truth against truth, or, more accurately, a struggle for or toward truth."

Absolutely. Due to the commplexity of reality, a simple truth is far more complex than it appears. There is a big difference between Half Truths and Half Baked Truths with honesty at the core of that difference.

It is esy to life in a fantasy - until reality intrudes. Most of us, most of the time, live in our own little fantansies based off of beliefs that are inherited, taught, or just dreamed up. We can take out time with the truth and 'climb the ladder' at our own pace most of the time. It is the person who denies reality continously, where trouble is eventually visited upon that person- unless this is Star Trek and they have a Holodeck where any fantasy world can occur.

Unfortunately, as Dave Barry pointed out - that would be the end of civilization as nobody would want to come out again.

5/15/2012 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

"An unwanted truth is denied, repressed, or projected, and the lacunae is unconsciously filled with the wish, the desire, the preferred state of reality. "

One tactic used by the Liberals (and others in the polticis of hte office place) is the Spit-ball arguement:

'I reject your reality' (because you made a silly error that is ancillary to your argument):
http://liberallogic101.com/?p=267

Or the Drive-by argument where your viewpoint (or position) is known to them, yet their's is not (and prepared). You make a known statement or opinion that is your general stance, they respond with a flurry of 'errors' you made. The sooner they hit you with it (and the more often they do it) in the light conversation, the greater the effect (cognitive Dissonance and then self doubt creeps in), then the mental shutdown. Qutie a beautiful tactic - and yes, this strikes me as a social-warfare tactic of which I do not know how to counter yet (as it is a recent phenomenon I have been dealing with for the last 10 months from several people at work). Maybe ask them to put their arguments in writing so that I may respond in a proper fashion. I don;t know....

Definate conversation killer. ugh...

5/15/2012 02:28:00 PM  

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