Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Unrealpolitik: Power is the New Truth

The Betrayal of the Masses is so rich with insights and provokes so many thoughtstreams that it may surpass my ability to blog about it.

I see that many of my obscure notes to myself would serve as decent titles, such as:

Escape From Human Nature

Intellectual Fraudevillians

The First Law of Liberal Thermodynamics: The Conservation of Failure

How to Boost Self-Esteem by Sucking Dignity from Your Constituents

The Way of the Superior Mediocrity

Daddy, What Did You Tax in the War on Poverty?

Amnesty and Electoral Success: The Juans We've Been Waiting For

The New Indulgence System: Purchasing White Redemption by Giving to the Church of Racial Grievance

One theme that emerges from the book is just how wrong, and even deranged, various liberal luminaries have always been, e.g., Herbert Croly, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Malcolm Cowley, G.B. Shaw, Sinclair Lewis, and all the Frankfurt School weenies, e.g. Adorno, Marcuse, Norman Brown, and many others.

As I said, Siegel has a much better mastery of their own literature than they do. Rather, contemporary liberals simply project into the past and cherry-pick absurdly self-flattering items. They are, of course, the originators of self-esteem via revisionism: unattractive women's history, homosexual history, black history, and all their other agenda-driven intellectual ghettos.

Of the latter, Siegel writes of how liberals found a way out of their own nonsense via deconstruction. Just when reality had caught up with them in the late '70s, they slipped through the linguistic net with postmodern antithinkers and philosophical celebrities such as Foucault, de Man, Derrida, and the rest of that sinister rabble.

Because social science had been such an epic fail for them, they switched over to this new literary "French-influenced romantic irrationalism" featuring "priestly truths much beyond the ken of the general public."

You might say that postmodernism is to thinking what climate change is to global warming -- a way to stay one step ahead of an inconvenient truth via word magic. This is why no conservative embraces deconstruction: because we believe language is a function of reality, not vice versa.

You know the drill, at least if you've been to college: there are "no objective truths," only the "truth-effects created by the workings of power" and the manipulation of language. Since All is Power, there is nothing wrong with seizing it and using the state "to break through the invisible web of coercion spun by everyday fascism."

You are either oppressor or oppressed, and if you are a fan of this blog, then you are the former, you Nazi bastard!

Speaking of intellectual fraudevillians, it's a great gig, because they somehow transform what can only be called "epistemological nihilism" into "political certainty." How do they do that?

For example, how did Obama arrive at the confident but utterly absurd conclusion that our nation is founded upon (in his words), "a rejection of absolute truth" and the dismissal of "any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations [read: ME] into a single, unalterable course..."

In other words, the Constitution is designed to ignore itself, to make way for the Rule of Man. At least the Right Man, i.e., the Divine Lightbringer. But... isn't that what we were fighting against from '76 to '83?

Insolence! As we know, if there is no truth, then power rushes in to fill the vacuum. Like all postmodernists, Obama wants it both ways: "there is no truth, only the truth that there is only power, so I will seize that power, thank you, and use it to impose my truth."

Where on earth did he get such a crazy idea, and why did no one ever correct his misunderstanding?

What a naive question. Such ideas are not subject to correction, but to tenure. He was, after all, an associate professor of constitutional law, so he knows better than anyone else that the law means what he wants it to mean.

Note that in order to harbor such an illusion, Obama must place himself above the Framers, just as he knows better than you do how to run your affairs. Obama must actually believe he never faced failure in life thanks to his own abilities, instead of being wafted to the top via upward political mobility: the right ideology wrapped in the right color. Thus, he is the epitome of illegitimate political power, so I guess he's right about that.

Like their dear leader, today's college students learn "that alternative opinions [are] merely masks for racism, sexism, and homophobia," and that America is "objectively racist, evil, imperialist, sexist (pick your term of opprobrium)."

So, how is the postmodernist exempt from his own sweeping verdict?

Easy: shut up! As we know, there is no place where speech is less free than on a college campus, since the ideas that predominate there cannot withstand scrutiny, and even the tenured know enough to know that.

Speaking of titles, this post could also have been called Feelpolitik, since liberal positions are felt and not thought.


NoMo said...

My go to question to atheists:

So, the only Absolute is that there are no Absolutes?

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, except for the Elect.

mushroom said...

Won't the atheist claim that absolute truth equals objective truth? That is, truth is the material world.

I get confused about the rules of logic. Is that a category error?

Gagdad Bob said...

I suppose they'd say that, but it makes no sense, since any truth statement transcends the material.

Gagdad Bob said...

One reason why they reject human nature is that they don't want to be bound by any reality. Thus, homosexual marriage and other impossibilities.

NoMo said...

Truth is transcendent, i.e. universal (and beyond), always true, everywhere.

Unless, as Bob noted, reality is a function of language - in which case manipulation of language manipulates reality. So conveniently.


Even for the elect.

mushroom said...

Right. That's why people talk about "facts" instead of truth as if they meant the same thing.

Gagdad Bob said...

One way or another, in the beginning is the word, the question being whether it is with God or with man.

julie said...

One theme that emerges from the book is just how wrong, and even deranged, various liberal luminaries have always been...

It occurred to me again this afternoon how purely misanthropic leftism truly is. Over and over, in the guise of "helping mankind," they do everything they can think of to rob others of their very humanity.

julie said...

Further, when leftists refer to people they disdain as "sheeple," it is not out of a desire to see the mass of humanity embrace freedom and break out of "groupthink," but rather because they believe they do not have enough control over the thoughts of the flock.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The New Indulgence System: Purchasing White Redemption by Giving to the Church of Racial Grievance."

Libs definitely know how to give lots of grief. It's their favorite charity and it's tax deductable to boot.
They give until it hurts...everyone else, that is.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie: the left is kind of like the Borg but more annoying.

julie said...

Ben, lol. It's good to see you back online :)

ge said...

If you label a guy like this 'postmodern' & so avoid his mind, you'd be missing good stuff ...He like me has delved far enough into a few of the main French "B" names that they become at least worthy elements/tools/arrows in one's quiver, POV's in one's lex. {he's a 'generalist'-- super-erudite & well read-- as opposed to 'specialist' like he sees ruining academia}, and doesn't shun the mythical or sacred a bit.

julie said...

Interesting review, ge. Thanks.

son of a preacher man said...

The Borg, now there are some honest liberals.

"We are the Borg. Existence as you know it is over. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile."

"Your culture will adapt to service ours."

"Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply."

"Negotiation is irrelevant. You will be assimilated."

"Well we don't care as long as he stays out of our way."

Oh wait that last one was from a liberal friend of mine upon hearing I was a "Republican".

Van Harvey said...

"The First Law of Liberal Thermodynamics: The Conservation of Failure"


Magister said...

Bob, I had always heard that Obama was a lecturer at Chicago Law School, not a professor. That means he was untenured, adjunct, could not vote in faculty meetings, etc. Sure, he was considered faculty as distinct from "staff," but "faculty" is a general category.

I surfed over to the Law School and found a statement for the media. This statement puzzled me. I wonder who wrote it. At one point, it says:

Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years...

This is not the prose of someone from the Chicago Law School. "Has careers"? Using a numeral instead of writing out a number below 100? The latter contravenes the Chicago Manual of Style. (Pardon the detail.)

I would bet it was written either by a secretary with no higher-up editing, or by an Obama staffer who doesn't know any better, or care.

The statement seems to be at pains to suggest that Obama was seriously you guys a professor. This is misleading. Obama was a member of the untenured teaching faculty. This is considered second-class citizen status among faculty.

He's ideologue, not an intellectual, and his position (and "Senior" status) was honorific. I doubt he was offered a tenure-track position. To get such an offer, you need to publish your ass off, and the bar is higher for lecturers because they didn't, like faculty on the tenure track, go through peer review processes, third-year review, etc. There was no way he would be tenured with his negligible publishing record.

As an academic, as in much else, Obama is a fraud.

Magister said...


I believe the root claim of the deconstructive project you mention was made by Gilles Deleuze:

Deleuze's main philosophical project in the works he wrote prior to his collaborations with Guattari can be baldly summarized as an inversion of the traditional metaphysical relationship between identity and difference. Traditionally, difference is seen as derivative from identity: e.g., to say that "X is different from Y" assumes some X and Y with at least relatively stable identities (as in Plato's forms). To the contrary, Deleuze claims that all identities are effects of difference. Identities are neither logically nor metaphysically prior to difference

Which is to say, that there *is* a metaphysical claim in deconstruction, i.e. that the primordial ground of being is a process of differentiation. (Think of what happens at the quantum level.) In a way, this amounts to a kind of polytheism.

Of course, C.S. Lewis (following Aquinas, I think) pointed out the logical problem of polytheism by noting that all differentiation occurs in a context, and that this context is ultimately God.

Deleuze et al hate that idea. They want to avoid God at all costs, so they try to suggest that differentiation ("différance") is somehow primordial. It isn't, but it does let them go on to suggest that differentiation is produced by power, that power relations are arbitrary, oppressive, and so on.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Julie!