The Science of the Anti-Scientific Left
One can only assume -- I know, no shit, genius -- that he regards us as the real enemy. Since his world is inverted in every other way, it should come as no surprise that it is morally inverted as well.
(I'm not just thinking of the Iran deal, but the new federal assault on the suburbs, the totalitarian policy of forcing racial division into our neighborhoods. Now, only extremely wealthy people such as the Obamas will be able to afford living in a place free of diversity.)
People have called Obama a sociopath, but a sociopath -- a person with no morals -- would actually be preferable to one with an inverted morality, or with a hypertrophied sense of moral righteousness directed at the wrong objects, an attitude which combines the worst of both worlds. Give me an amoral Clinton any day.
We've discussed this in the past -- the distant past, in fact, as it is one of our cosmic touchstones. Others have analyzed the same phenomenon in different ways, but I first encountered it in Polanyi's The Logic of Liberty. Up to then, I didn't even know that Polanyi had delved into politics.
Rather, I knew him only as a philosopher of science. Interestingly, when I first began reading Polanyi -- must have been in the early '80s -- I was still a liberal. Had I known about his political ideas, it might well have turned me away from the rest. So God spared me the deeper truth until I was mature enough to handle it.
But as I believe we are about to see, his whole philosophy is of a piece, such that the science, economics, anthropology, epistemology, and politics cannot be separated. Furthermore, I have a feeling that this all relates to what we've been doing vis-a-vis Sowell, that is, relating economic truth to deeper metacosmic truths, or to Truth as such.
From the foreword of Logic and Liberty: "What Polanyi finds peculiar about totalitarianism is that despite its rejection of transcendent reality, it exhibits a high degree of moral passion. This passion, however, is not a mark of honor -- instead, it is a mark of dishonor." (Think, for example, of the moral passion of Reverend Wright, or Al Sharpton, or V.I. Lenin.)
"Polanyi argues that the moral passions that in fact can animate totalitarianism -- and also some of the less virulent strains of human folly -- have become unhinged from any reality that could constrain them. Here we have moral passion without moral judgment." Here we have Obama.
In this scenario, "a 'moral inversion' has occurred: moral passion now invokes any means, however grotesque and immoral, to satisfy its longings. Under this guise, moral passion serves rather than spurns" the immoral cause. Genocide to follow.
Fascism has been called the violent rejection of transcendence. Given the grossly asymmetrical power relation between the state and the individual, one would have to call Obama a fascist, whatever ideology he clothes it in.
When he cannot find a legal way to assert the state's dominance, as in the race-based assault on the suburbs, he finds an extra-legal way to do so, as in the IRS harassment of conservatives or in encouraging and condoning racial resentment and violence (not to mention hatred of legitimate law enforcement).
In the margin I have a note to myself: "Left: materialistic rejection of realities on which public liberty rests -- truth, justice, equality under law, etc."
That's another way of saying the same thing, i.e., that materialism isn't just a passive "acceptance" of matter but a violent rejection of spirit. It explains how they put the fist into pacifist, whether it involves Obamacare, Israel, the redefinition of marriage, the barbarian invasion of the suburbs, whatever. None of those have anything to do with liberty -- and therefore liberalism.
As mentioned above, I first encountered Polanyi as a philosopher of science. One might say he analyzed the Science of science, or the structure of meta-science. His philosophy answers the question of what we are actually doing when we are doing this thing called science. Note that the emphasis is on the doing, in that it is a free and spontaneous activity long before it is an ideology (i.e., scientism).
Here we see the obvious link to economics because, like economics, science is a spontaneous order resulting "from the interplay of individuals mutually adjusting their actions to the actions of others. Spontaneous orders are the result of human action but not of human design."
It is no coincidence that both science and free markets developed only in the west, because they are two sides of the same metaphysic. Science develops with no one in charge for the same reason there is enough bread for everyone with no bureaucrat telling bakers how much to produce.
In short, there is an invisible hand at work in both domains. And this is what distinguishes the liberal from the libertarian, in that the Scientific Hand only works because there is a nonlocal order for it to grasp:
"... [F]or there to be a scientific order something more is needed -- a channeling 'device' through which the diverse actions of scientists are coordinated. This 'device' is the goal, or end, of science, and Polanyi" -- naive man that he was -- "identifies this end as the pursuit of truth. For Polanyi, it is in the belief in the transcendent reality of truth that science has its extraordinary character as an intellectual system."
When science is corrupted there is top-down interference with the system, a violent forcing of order, as in how climate scientists manipulate data so as to save the theory, or how the state manipulates economic data to benefit itself.
What especially distinguishes classical liberalism from the left is the question of real freedom vs. mere horizontal openness. Yesterday we noted the truism that freedom, in the absence of a telos, reduces to nihilism. Polanyi "champions a free society and not an 'open' one," because the free society is 'dedicated to a distinctive set of beliefs,' namely, belief in the transcendent realities of truth, justice, charity, and toleration." The open society, in contrast, redounds to the tyranny of relativism.
Just as the left must undermine freedom, it must undermine science. For the left, certain beliefs must be true, which shows how a counterfeit transcendence actually reenters through the side door via political and academic correctness. Science is thoroughly corrupted, since certain scientific truths are simply impermissible. Even looking into them will get you into trouble and certainly prevent tenure.
But the central pattern of this corruption is the top-down imposition of order, which always destroys information. To take an obvious example, "rent control" destroys information regarding the supply and demand of rental property, just as Obamacare destroys vital information about the real cost of medical services. What does an apartment in San Francisco or New York "really" cost? No one knows, because the left outlaws the knowledge.
"All movements of thought and practice that attempt to render spontaneous orders nugatory -- that are captured by the idea that all social order either is or should be planned -- also threaten public liberty and, thus, threaten the fabric of a free society."
And a free society is only a good society because it is "animated by a belief in transcendent realities" and because its citizens are free to pursue them.
We'll leave off with some aphorisms, in a step-wise lowerarchy of leftwing horror:
None of the high points of history has been planned.
Elections decide who may be oppressed legally.
Leveling [equality] is the barbarian's substitute for [spontaneous] order.
The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues.
And Hell is the place where man finds all his plans realized (Dávila).
Iran always says we're the Great Satan. Before Obama came along, I didn't really understand what they meant.