First They Came for the Dumpsters...
The book is a meditation on Plato's Phaedrus, a dialogue on whether it is a good idea for pedophiles to be in love with their victims. A guy named Lysias says No, just be detached and dispassionate about the whole thing, while Socrates disagrees.
Am I missing something? I mean, right off the top of my head I can think of a third option.
At any rate, Plato's evocation of Athenian society very much reminds me of the contemporary left's culture of death, with its childishness, pseudo-intellectualism, and irony toward everything except itself. Pieper writes of how Plato depicts the callow intellectuals of the day: "Theirs is a world of sophisticated irreverence and detachment, of enlightened health doctrines and simultaneous depravity."
Enlightened health doctrines and simultaneous depravity. What a perfect description of the contemporary left in general, and of my city in particular. Here in Calabasas, the city council has infamously banned cigaret smoking even outdoors, and has also outlawed plastic bags in grocery stores. I'm having to deal with these fascists at the moment, because of the remodeling.
In fact, looking back on it, it was probably a mistake for me to call the city planner a fascist, because it seems to be slowing down approval of the Plan.
We came to their attention due to having a dumpster on the street from an Unauthorized Company. Something to do with a certain environmental policy that the trash company must promise to uphold in Calabasas. That's when I called him a fascist. "I know, I know. just following orders. Where have we heard that before?"
First they came for the dumpsters, and I said nothing...
The Phaedrus, according to Pieper, "is from the start governed by the enthusiasm of the younger generation for Sophistry. Perhaps we should term it fascination and enchantment rather then enthusiasm."
Either way, we can see that human nature hasn't changed, and that even 2500 years ago there were plenty of youthful, low-information Obama supporters.
Pieper writes that sophistry is indeed a phenomenon we "encounter in every epoch": "It is inherent in the nature of Sophistry to expound the avant-garde ideas of any given time. It always presumes to be exactly what is necessary and correct 'now'; to be the timely and modern thing. Sophistry and topicality are co-ordinate concepts in a highly specific sense."
So, sophistry is always temporocentric, which is why, for example, Obama's so-called "evolution" on state-imposed redefinition of marriage -- which amounts to a ban on human nature, or to mutation by decree -- is really just another typical example of leftist regression. It has nothing to do with human norms or with the nature of reality, and everything to do with popular sophistry and crass political utility -- "as though," in words of Socrates, "it were good sense to deceive a few miserable people to win their applause."
Well, I suppose I'd better hit the publish button before the electricians flip the switch...