Wednesday, April 03, 2013

An Entomologist's-Eye View of Predatory Liberalism

Just finished After Tocqueville: The Promise and Failure of Democracy. However, there must be a Volume 2, because he left out the promising part. Rather, his description of the nature of advanced liberalism leaves little reason for optimism.


"[T]he moment the germ of liberalism is introduced into the traditional body politic, that body is doomed to death. And its death leaves Power standing alone above the brittle shell of its defunct contents."

If you've ever wondered why the state behaves so stupidly, this is why. The state is not about intelligence but about power. Which is one reason why things get worse only a little more slowly when Republicans are in charge.

In a functioning democracy -- not merely a place where "voting" takes place -- there are centers of power distributed throughout the society. But "the state is at war with the intermediary institutions of society." "All command other than its own, that is what irks Power" (Williamson).

We certainly see it in Obama, what with his attacks on the Catholic Church, private enterprise, the Boy Scouts, marriage, the family, self-defense, educational choice, etc. In each case the goal is to crush a little area of power that has the effrontery to challenge the state.

Thus, "these characteristics are entirely expectable in a pseudophilosophy emanating from a moral and intellectual delusion that fatally misconstrues reality, which it almost violently denies even as it revolts against that reality. Power is required to defy the universe..."

It takes a whole lot of energy to deny and defy reality (which is one reason why mental illness is so taxing). This would explain why the left, in order to have any power at all, pretty much needs all power.

Which is why they are so offended by the existence of, say, talk radio or FOX News. How dare they defy the herd! Likewise, one conservative truth teller in the humanities department is a major headache for the left, as is a black person who has strayed from the ideological plantation.

In addition to destroying intermediate institutions, the left must create a different kind of human being. The whole scam collapses if they can't accomplish that, hence the totalitarian temptation that is never far from leftist thought: "liberalism depends on a certain kind of human being, a type it must either create or extend, if necessary by eliminating uncooperative types" (ibid).

This is because "Liberalism is inspired by faith in a specific view of human nature to which it is irrationally wedded, a view that requires closing certain lines of enquiry on the assumption that they are beyond debate."

How, you ask, is this different from, say, the Inquisition? First, the Inquisition wasn't only an aberration, but perfectly contrary to Christian ethics. Conversely, inquisitorial tactics are essential to leftism.

Moreover, the Christian Inquisition only resulted in -- what, 5,000 deaths? whereas leftism murdered 100 million or so just in the 20th century. And this doesn't take into account the unintentional deaths resulting from, for example, the banning of DDT or the breakdown of the black family.

"Liberalism for this reason should be recognized as a new religion, a system of moral absolutes based on a denial that moral truth is knowable, which consists of nothing less than the deification of man" (ibid.)

No, it is not "ironic" that those who supposedly deify man also murder him in the tens of millions. Rather, predictable, for "Modern history is the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God, another who believes he is a god" (Davila).

Leftism is ultimately an assault on the very civilizational foundations that gave birth to it. Thus the special animus for Christianity:

"The Left hates Christianity and its satellite institutions because they represent metaphysical reality, which leftists have always despised, denied, and labored tirelessly to overthrow, for the purpose of supplanting it with a synthetic version of their own construction."

The resulting spiritually and intellectually enfeebled mass men are "fit for nothing but socialism." But the state prefers such a "mass undifferentiated man because he is easier to govern." Like shoveling around bags of wet cement.

Now that I think about it, contemporary liberalism features two main types, the agitated and excitable hysteric-activist and the LoFo slugs who are manipulated by them.

Marriage -- or the sacralization of the male-female union -- is the foundation of civilization, so the left's attack on it is utterly predictable.

Someone -- I think Mark Steyn -- mentioned that the same people who have spent the last 40 years telling us that marriage is either a meaningless piece of paper or an oppressive institution now want to buy into it.

This will work out as well as their infiltration into the educational system (or into anything else, for that matter; they can't even run the Post Office, but they're qualified to redefine man). Only an omnipotent state can presume to invent marriage instead of simply recognizing it.

But progressivism continues to progress -- or metastasize, rather -- so now we are stuck with "America's first ideological president," fully equipped "with his pseudo-intellectualism and suprapolitical vision."

Such "ideological thinking" is "an infallible sign of the hopelessly immature political mind." Among other things, it "induces a false spiritualism far more damaging and dangerous than materialism itself."

Indeed, "Civilization and ideology are mutually exclusive things" (ibid).


mushroom said...

Speaking of the Low-Flows (remember to flush the gene pool twice) and the warping of reality, Sultan Knish from Saturday: Instead of church and state, we are stuck with sitcom and state where the existence of a television comedy is a reflection of national values.

I believe homosexuals make up 4% of the population, yet, on television, they are probably 20%. If you ask many people, their guess of the proportion will be more in line with what they see on television than the actual population percentage.

It's true that gays tend to stand out in a crowd, but that's because they are so different rather than because there are so many.

Gagdad Bob said...

No way do homosexuals represent 4% of the population. Way less than that. In their bogus figures, they always include people who have had homosexual experiences and fantasies, as opposed to a rigid preference. And of the homosexuals I've evaluated, it's been pretty obvious that few were "born that way," as most were the victims of sexual trauma of various kinds....

ted said...

I once had a gay roommate who told me that 10% of the population was gay, 80% could go either way, and only 10% were strictly straight. I found it amusing to know I was now in the minority.

Christina M said...

We are surrounded by control freaks.

mushroom said...

Yes, I should have said "claim to make up".

I had a good friend in high school who really might have been born different in that he clearly suffered from a hormonal imbalance, including a severe shortage of testosterone. Other than that, you can usually find extremely dysfunctional family dynamics or molestation.


River Cocytus said...

One more reason to now keep your kids out of public school.

This is only going to increase the divide and spawn a vast underclass as it has done in England, methinks, but we really do not have any more power than what passes over our doorstep, if even that.

So many rules, so few enforced; enforced at the whim of the do-gooder state to prove that even the rule of law can be circumvented via draconian incompetence.

Christina M said...

My husband is dead-set against homeschooling. We have two sons. There's not a day that goes by I wouldn't like to pull them out of school, even though it is less worse than most of what you encounter in the news. For instance, they are both on an engineering course track at school that I could not give them.

My husband spent the last twenty-plus years working with young soldiers and he was not impressed with the brittle nature of homeschooled soldiers.

He wants our boys to already be learning how to deal with the stupidity they will always be faced with throughout life. I have finally come around to seeing the wisdom of his thinking.

River Cocytus said...

It always depends on the Public School involved. If you can get decent education for free, do it. But just because some hippie kids can't run and shoot doesn't mean homeschooling is a failure.

Even the public school I went to taught kids some really bad social behaviors, ones that could take a lifetime to unlearn.

For one, it is always a potential doorway into the pecking order that is Liberalism. That is enough for me to consider Public School a plague unless proved otherwise in Individual Instance and only in that case absolved.

julie said...

Christina - mine is much the same way. He's also opposed to private schools, because in his circles most of the people who put their kids in private school are exactly the sort of leftist elitists that he doesn't want our kids to become. We're going house hunting this spring, and schools are one of the primary considerations. On the plus side, charter schools are big out here, so we'll have options.

Christina M said...

River Cocytus, do you have kids? I don't actually get the impression that you do. Maybe I'm mistaken? The reason I ask, is that most people I run into who say, "Another reason to homeschool," so often turn out to be young men with no children.

My husband's concern does not have to do with running or shooting. In fact, very few soldiers actually run or shoot. It has to do with living, eating, sleeping, showering and conversing, in close proximity, with other people, 24/7 and not being able to do that.

Christina M said...

Hi Julie, I'm really comforted to hear that we are not the only ones who think this. It needed to be said.

Gagdad Bob said...

One reason why conservative thinkers are so much stronger than liberal ones is that they've spent their lives having to do battle in liberal institutions, whereas a liberal can spend his entire life without having to defend or even articulate his first principles.

Van Harvey said...

"If you've ever wondered why the state behaves so stupidly, this is why. The state is not about intelligence but about power... This would explain why the left, in order to have any power at all, pretty much needs all power."

Yep. And almost the very definition of stupidity, except that where the truly stupid are unable to recognize reality, those who seek power over it, refuse to recognize reality.

"Which is one reason why things get worse only a little more slowly when Republicans are in charge."

Left or Right, it always gets worse. The only known cure? Seeking what is True, and guiding your actions by that. If you go with what is true just to get something... you just go the same route, only slower.

Van Harvey said...

On the Home School, Private School, Charter School issue... my wife's tended to be against it, I've always been just one straw from yanking them... but we aren't able to home school, so that hasn't realistically been an option. And BTW, we've known, know, families that home school, and how well it works out entirely depends on how the family doing it - some have worked out great, some disasters.

As to private or charter... to what end?

When I began digging into the history of education, especially modern, the first thing that became obvious was that the teachers all come from the same place, the textbooks they use all come from the same place, and while one might oppose reality less than others... we're just talking speedometers.

And Charter Schools, especially if Common Core is in your state, they've got to follow the very same regulations and testing as the public schools... so while the janitorial staff might be better managed... that's about the only improvement you're going to be paying for.

The one disinfectant I've found, and which has managed to keep my camel one straw short of breaking, is that if you talk with your kids about their school work and the things teachers say, not to Tell them that it's wrong, but to get them to question it and realize that different answers are there to be found... they are inoculated against the worst of it.

It's worked out well with both our boys... juries still out on whether my camel survives Rachel... starting high school next year... we'll see.

julie said...

Yes - just because they go to school, that doesn't absolve us from the duty to teach them at home. It may turn out that my kids are badly served by being in school (I've seen it happen many times and in many ways), and should that be the case I'd gladly teach them at home. But I do think there is value in sending them, for all the reasons everyone has already stated. I don't ever look back on my school days with nostalgia, but I gained a great deal from going. Also, the liberal indoctrination I got at school and at home failed to stick. I have to trust that my kids will see through it, as well, especially if I do as I ought to teach them how.

julie said...

And good luck with Rachel, Van. Though with you as her dad, I'm sure she'll do just fine.

Van Harvey said...

Julie said "Yes - just because they go to school, that doesn't absolve us from the duty to teach them at home."

Yep. And all that being said, I would Not leave learning to spell, read, write or math, to the schools. They are at best inadequate, and more commonly destructive. With cursive writing and how to understand and solve equations, I told the kids 'You are free to get as many D's & F's as they'd like to give you for not following their steps and methods, so long as we can see you were doing it correctly.'

If you don't have kids in school yet... you really won't believe some of the stuff.

Van Harvey said...

;-) Thanks Julie.

julie said...

Heh. My first experience with American schools was in 5th grade. Before that, we were stationed in England and I went to British schools where cursive was never taught. Just a simplified version they called "joined-up writing." Basically, the letters don't change, you just don't take the pen off the paper until you reach the end of a word.

Anyway, when I told my 5th grade teacher I had never learned cursive, she looked, momentarily, like an owl might if it landed on a joy buzzer. I learned cursive, but oddly I had the impression that very few of my classmates ever did... And of course these days I only use it when signing my name.

While there is something to be said for beautiful handwriting (and if there's any other point to cursive, I don't know what it is) I much prefer the clarity of basic handwriting. There's a reason official documents always say "Please Print."

Van Harvey said...

Heh, yeah, I feel like the last living cheerleader for cursive writing. But if someone hasn't learned it, and comes across some old letters, journals - historical or family - they will be as good as an illiterate in trying to read them.

And while I won't say that I'm making any converts yet, I'm at least raising eyebrows on the tech front. I went to the twilight side (Apple would be full dark) and got an android Samsung galaxy note 10.1, and its handwriting recognition, especially cursive, is so good that it's actually improved my cursive writing, and I can enter text fluidly & swiftly in a way that print pecking, or keypadding, can't match.

Swype gives me a run for the money, but I still prefer WRITING.


Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of education, I'm always getting these fliers in the mail for upcoming continuing education seminars, this one from the Los Angeles Gender Center:

"Gender is categorized into binary groups, male and female; but what happens when children do not fit into those expected categories?"

I don't know. Flog the parents?

"This workshop will explore the domains of psychosexual development drawing clear lines between anatomical sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation."

At least they're clear about their confusion.

"We will discuss developmental trajectories for gender non-conforming children" and provide "strategies for how best to medically and psychologically work with these Very Special youth."

I'm old enough to remember when "special" connoted something good.

The seminar will also cover "puberty suppression -- what medications are used and how they are managed."

I did not know that liberals had a special drug to suppress maturity, but this explains a lot.

Meanwhile, no time for a post. Or, if you're a glass-half-full type, that was it.

Open Trench said...

When I was ten I got a BB gun and ran with a pack of boys who all had them. This was not in the country; it was a suburb and we renged widely.

We dinged a window, shot and ate birds, and one boy accidentally took one to the neck which was a bloody scene.

I recieved leftist indoctrination all through my youth in the California public school system and at home but it never did stick, and it seemed like that darned BB gun was the reason.

Let all kids have one if they want? Despite some risk?

These days I see air-soft but I don't see kids with BB guns anymore.

The feeling of hunting in a group was very primal and strong and seemed to trump any manner of social control. I wonder if such a milieu should be encouraged.

River Cocytus said...

Actually, I do have children. And that is why this has become so important to me. Fortunately, my wife and I are on the same page about it.

We like to talk about conservatives being tougher because they have to defend themselves, but this is like saying anti-bacterial soap is a way to make stronger bacteria. The stronger ones are the only ones that survive.

pro-Public school is rosy lenses these days, for certain. And I definitely agree public/private/charter school doesn't excuse you from teaching your kids.

Homeschoolers will probably also have to follow common core, at least to be able to ensure their children get G.E.D.s. Homeschooling has advanced greatly since most of y'all were kids, but again, if you're not able to homeschool because economic contraction forces both parents to work, the best you can do is find a good public or charter school.

Private schools can be great or completely monstrous.

But I just want to be realistic here - the trend and direction of public school combined with its current status is dismal and to generally rate it better than homeschooling by competent parents is pollyannish to the extreme. I will stand by that position and fight for it, ad hominems about naivete (veiled or otherwise) aside.

Van Harvey said...

Speaking of real education, two new additions to Peter Kreeft's "Socrates Meets..." series coming in a couple weeks:

Socrates Meets Freud: The Father of Philosophy Meets the Father of Psychology
Socrates Meets Kierkegaard: The Father of Philosophy Meets the Father of Christian Existentialism

Van Harvey said...

River said "But I just want to be realistic here - the trend and direction of public school combined with its current status is dismal and to generally rate it better than homeschooling by competent parents is pollyannish to the extreme. I will stand by that position and fight for it, ad hominems about naivete (veiled or otherwise) aside."

And let me be clear: Public, Private and Charter schools can only get worse, so long as they exalt skills over understanding - and very likely, prior to their absolute collapse, they will not abandon that.

And there is no extraordinary skill set necessary to home school, aside from loving your kids, having a clue, and some very learnable techniques of planning, pacing and presentation. Assuming that the intent is to teach them basic facts and habits of understanding and integrating knowledge, rather than molding them into parrots of what you believe, there are centuries of evidence in its favor.

I do think, based upon experience, that that can still be imparted to your kids while they attend school, but if you have the wherewithal to home school, I see no reason not to. I do not buy any of the 'awkward' arguments against home schooling (little league? etc?), or rather, I don't attribute it to home schooling itself, but to the parents intentions for it.

And really, one Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold example of 'publicly adjusted' kids, counters a whole host of concerns over 'brittle' wall flowers.

Rick said...

We've been fortunate in that we did not invest as much effort in the education search for our son who is now 19 and in a state university. We found a Catholic school nearby that we found welcoming as soon as we entered it. I think it was about $2,000 a year plus they offered an after school care thing which was out doors when the weather allowed. I don't know how they made the numbers work but the teachers were moms whose husbands made their household numbers work. They had children at the school.
My son went there until the 5th grade and then there was a good public school through high school. And it was good, much better than I expected it to be, especially for this area (coastal CT).
So I think starting with a good foundation can do wonders. The first school never had to say things like "some people believe there is a God". They just easily said things like "Jesus cries when you do that.." :-)
Milk before meat.
If you become the kind of parent your child will naturally look up to, your words and actions will work like magic.
I can't tell you how easily with just a few words I can undo wacky thoughts he brings home now from his college. And his BS detector works pretty well already. We dissect a lot of things all the time. Movies are wonderful critters for this. Bob mentioned this sort of homework he does with his boy re horror movies.
Anyway, "I do what I see my Father doing" is something I must live up to so that my boy will do the same.
I can't even spell calculus but I've got teachers for that.

Van Harvey said...

Rick, 'zactly.

Rick said...

Thanks, Van.

One other thing. When it came time to transition the boy to the public school I made the mistake of walking in there thinking my projected image of the place was reality. I thought I had good reason to expect the place to be more leftist than it turned out to be. Most voting here traditionally goes 60% Dem. But I've found most don't really live that way.
I remember being shocked the first time he came home for the summer with the "Summer Reading List" which was sort of optional anyway. It had a list of suggested books and one mandatory book. But there was also -- are you sitting down? -- a "Do Not Read List".
I called his English teacher and determined that she genuinely understood the list to mean that they would be assigning and studying these books in school over the coming years. But the students of course were welcome to read them twice -- which I suggested would be good for my son to do, but he disagreed. Because it was summer :-)
The name of the list still bothers me a little and that 1984 was on it. So I bought him that book for Christmas and told him it may be one of the most important he may ever read if never reads another.
(It was assigned eventually, by the way)

Also, these are not some sons and daughters, they are sons and daughters of Raccoons. They are made of the stuff you are made of. And will have the same concerns.

Christina M said...

Thanks for your answer, River C.

By the way, in case there was any confusion, I loathe public school. Both when I was in it, and when I had to put my boys in it. No rose-cloroed glasses here.

I have been a big fan of homeschooling ever since I graduated from high school and had hoped to do it with our children. That was not the case, for a number of very good reasons. My annoyance lately about the subject comes from the constant drumbeat since this last election from the conservative side, of which I'm a member, telling me that if my kids are still in public school at this late date, I'm knowingly putting them at risk.

"Yeah. Thanks. I got the message. How about not telling me how to raise the children God gave us. You're beginning to sound just like the manipulative Left."

There is no perfect system and I'm with Van Harvey's ( and a number of people here's) perspective on all of it. I've done the research. I've attended the school board and PTO meetings. I have come to the conclusion that what my husband and I have already doing been doing for the last twelve years WORKS. We practice daily subversion.

Both boys read like crazy, are good at math, are heading in the engineering direction. What's more, they brush-off the stupidity they have to put up with and have excellent senses of humor, like their dad. All raccoons. And one morose oppossum/husky dog.

Christina M said...

I forgot to mention, that a lot of my friends homeschool, and the results have been a mixed bag. I talk to lots of people who have done homeschooling or are in the midst of it right now.

I don't run into a lot of people who have actually worked or dealt with the homeschooled. I guess that will be my next research project.

julie said...

Yeah, I don't think anyone here looks at schools with rose-colored glasses. It's fair to say that my siblings, who all ended up getting GEDs, were poorly served if not outright harmed by the schools they tried to attend. Even so, my experience was pretty much the complete opposite, and in some instances that was even with the same schools and teachers. Ultimately, to some degree we each got out of it what we put into it. I expect that to be true of my kids as well.

The leftism I learned, both in the classroom and at home, obviously didn't stick. My kids won't be getting it at home. And maybe, by being there and being themselves, they'll be able to help a few other kids see clearly along the way.

River Cocytus said...

My point is that public schools are no longer part of our culture, from the conservative side of things. They have their uses but are not 'ours'.

Homeschooling in that context should be seen as the building out of the Other Culture, perhaps in places resulting in small schools more like what our ancestors had.

Not liberal said...

Came across this blog entry from the science fiction writer Orson Scott Card that speaks to this. A somewhat long but useful read.

Jack said...


Thank you for the heads up on the latest "Socrates Meets...". I have had a curiosity about Kierkegaard for a good while, but only have the most basic understanding of his thought. This could be the ticket.

I also see that Kreeft has a 3-volume History of Philosophy coming out at the same time.

julie said...

Going back to the school debate, this really is one more reason to consider homeschooling...

Van Harvey said...

I saw that last night... awful, isn't it Julie? I was hoping to get a post out tonight which would include that... but the eyes are collapsing, hopefully tomorrow.

Rick said...

Anyone else watch Mad Men last night?
Me thinks Don-te is taking a tour through the Inferno.

River Cocytus said...

I have printed mug with 'all your base are belong to us' (based on the hilariously bad translation of the old game, Zero Wing)

Perhaps instead I should replace it with "all your child are belong to us".

Interestingly, my Dad quit being a Democrat in the end of the 70's when he was watching TV and some Democrat senator expressed the obvious and unspoken truth (to a Democrat) that 'All money belongs to the government.' It was a crucial cognitive dissonance moment to my Dad: "Wait, that IS what they really believe?" (Looks at meager paycheck) "Hm...."

The first problem with 'from each according to his ability' is who gets to determine ability. If our own time shows a trend about such things, consider the case of gun control, where your best interests regarding something are determined almost entirely by people who know nothing about that thing. It's one thing to have, you know, actual advisers who know the subject. It's another to be a member of the Democrat party.


Gagdad Bob said...

You didn't build that. Nor did youreproduce that.

Rick said...

Riv said:

"perhaps in places resulting in small schools more like what our ancestors had."

Yes. Actually, this is how I believe our little Catholic school made the numbers work -- hardly any admin, practically no "upper management" layers.

Van Harvey said...

I finally got my post out,

The Common Core Curriculum: New answers to a very old question pt.1
"There's an interesting core issue which the Common Core Curriculum, CCSSI, Race To The Top, CSCOPE and all the other latest variations upon the theme have in common; they all have more a stake in providing new answers to a very old question. Surprisingly, the question is not concerned with the children - they are after all securely in the tender hands of the State. No, the common core question which our bureaucrats are struggling to spin their way around today, is the same one that two young reformers, Glaucon & Adeimantus, came face to face with in Plato's dialog "The Republic", when, as Socrates led them down the dazzling path of central planning 2,500 years ago, they too had to consider the question of:

'What to do about the parents?"..."

Rick said...

Party's over. Dan Brown has a book coming out in May called "Inferno" with Dante's mug on the cover.

Matthew Weiner will not be pleased.

Christina M said...

To River C: "My point is that public schools are no longer part of our culture, from the conservative side of things. They have their uses but are not 'ours'."

I think this is where our difference lies: I have always seen public school as inherently a socialist construct. It was never ours. It was never mine.