Monday, November 17, 2014

The Spiritual Unthropology of the Left

What kind of person concocts hysterical lies about President Bush lying about WMD, or about "torture," and now casually lies about Obama's actual lies?

No, that's not just a rhetorical question, because the answer denotes a very different anthropology -- even an unthropology, really, since it is so anti-human. In my the margin notes to The Gospel and the Mind, I posed the questions: "what kind of person does liberalism produce?" and "What is the anthropology?"

Those questions were provoked by a brief discussion of Alan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, where he writes that "the teacher, particularly the teacher dedicated to liberal education, must constantly try to look toward the goal of human completeness..." (in Green). (Bloom is obviously referring to liberal in the classical, not contemporary political sense; in order to avoid confusion I will use the word "leftist" for the latter connotation.)

Since contemporary leftism knows nothing of "human completeness" (which it would reject on a priori grounds, i.e., a fixed human nature), this implies that an education steeped in leftism will not only fail to complete us, but actually aggravate our incompleteness and nurture a deeper alienation. It will thereby defeat the very purpose of education, and become a symptom of the disease it is supposed to treat.

It can hardly be overemphasized that Obama is our first president who is totally a creature of this illiberal, infrahuman, postmodern academic environment. A plurality of voters might well regard him as diabolical, but on a college campus, nothing about his beliefs would stand out.

For example, in The New Class Conflict, Gilder notes that 96% of presidential donations from Ivy League schools went to Obama. That is a level of ideological conformity that surpasses totalitarian states, because in the latter, people know they are being lied to and are therefore more skeptical.

And this depressing level of conformity is obviously similar in the media, so there is truly a media-academic-political complex at the root of the new anthropology: in short, it involves a system of people similar to Obama, reproducing people similar to Obama (foreseen by Bram Stoker's Dracula, in that the spiritually undead survive by putting the bite on the fresh living).

What does stand out about Obama -- and accounts for his success -- is a superior ability to conceal what he is about. In other words, what stands out about him is an ability to not stand out (at least to the "stupid" voters identified by Jonathan Gruber). Most likeminded ideologues are not the least bit ashamed of letting the world know what they think (speaking of Gruber).

For example, Dinesh D'Souza's America is full of leftists who are eager to beclown themselves, even knowing what D'Souza's project is about! That is, they are so insulated, that they think they can say the same things to D'Souza that they tell their impressionable students. Thus, they are clueless precisely where Obama is clever.

For us, the mandate is to be as wise as serpents but innocent as doves; but for Obama it's the other way around: dumb as a pigeon, cunning as a snake.

Everyone is a liberal and everyone is a conservative, in that we all have things we would like to change and things we'd like to conserve. Above all, the left wants to conserve its new anthropology, since it is the key to everything else.

Just as we have "organized crime," the left may be thought of as organized vice. For most of the history of the west, vice was recognized by the majority, and certainly had no articulate collective to defend it. The notion of vice being "organized" would have been absurd, except in the sense that satan must have his own way of organizing things.

But you name the vice, and it's there in the DNC's platform: class envy, homosexual lust, racial pride, slothful welfare dependency, greedy public employee unions, feminist wrath, and a fantastically gluttonous state -- not to mention violations of virtually every commandment, e.g., idolatry, atheism, theft, dishonoring the centrality of mother and father, and the main subject of this post, lying.

"What each generation is," writes Alan Bloom, "can be best discovered in its relation to the permanent concerns of mankind." To which the leftist responds: permanent things? No way.

In the relativistic and historicist fantasy world of the left, there can be no permanent things, which goes a long way toward explaining the systematic spiritual incompleteness it engenders.

That is to say, in reality, we are only made "complete" with reference (and in living relation) to things that are not only permanent, but outside and beyond us. Exclude these things from an education, and it is like excluding the answer from the equation. Or insisting there is no right answer, just meaningless equations for which we may supply our own answers.

Therefore, ironically, there is a kind of faux completeness to the left, something that has been true since at least Karl Marx. That is, Marx had all the answers; Marxism is a complete system that unfolds with scientific inevitability (the source of the progressives delusion that the left side is the right side of history). As with Islam, if it's not in the book, then it's untrue. Likewise scientism, despite Godel's assurances that such (merely) logical completeness is strictly impossible.

And nothing could possibly be as joyously incomplete as a genuine religious education, since this education is precisely a lifelong process of completing oneself via a living relationship with permanence as such.

"No real teacher can doubt that his task is to assist his pupil to fulfill human nature against all the deforming forces of convention and prejudice" (Bloom).

Which means that academia is overflowing with unreal teachers who deny and stunt human nature with deforming forces of social convention and ideological prejudice.


Magister said...

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn

mushroom said...

"Dracula" is a good myth for socialism. It works great until you run out of other people's blood.

OT -- by the way, did you know that they didn't use a wooden stake? Bram Stoker had his vampire killed with a Bowie knife through the heart and a Kukri to behead him. That's multiculturalism I can believe in.

mushroom said...

The Left's Shema: There is no god but Procrustes and we are his prophets. We have made this bed, and you will lie in it.

Van Harvey said...

" In my the margin notes to The Gospel and the Mind, I posed the questions: "what kind of person does liberalism produce? What is the anthropology?""

What indeed is it? The leftist looks to the lie, not as dupes, but, knowing that it is a lie, they look to it for bearings and guidance. WTF is that? !

julie said...

Mushroom, that would be a lot funnier if it wasn't true.

And nothing could possibly be as joyously incomplete as a genuine religious education...

Here again is the importance of Mystery - those truths which are infinitely discoverable, but always ultimately beyond our grasp.

katzxy said...

'Tis a good thing that Gruber couldn't bear to hide is brilliance. Obama has much more discipline.

John said...

There could not be a more slippery slope for attempting to argue for authentic conservatism that Allan Bloom and the Straussian school:

I find it so cute when people actually think GWB was a conservative and a truth teller as compared to Obama. No Child Left Behind, is all one needs to know. Or, you could look to his father and his dreams of a new world order. Or his grandfather and the financing of both sides in WWII. I look forward to his brother leading us in conservative talk as well.

JP said...

"What indeed is it? The leftist looks to the lie, not as dupes, but, knowing that it is a lie, they look to it for bearings and guidance. WTF is that? !"

Well, if you divide ideas into good ideas and bad ideas, then that would be in the bad idea list.

Kind of like walking around naked in rush hour traffic. Except for a giant pink bow in your hair, of course.

Or eating cherry-flavored sawdust.

There are a ton of bad ideas out there.

Magister said...

Look no further than:

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it." -- Brecht

There is no "transcendental signified" to these people. All meaning is a function of will-to-power.


Simple as that, really.

Van Harvey said...

Magister said "There is no "transcendental signified" to these people. All meaning is a function of will-to-power. "

I think that's about the size of it.

To me, a 'bad idea' is one that is simply in error, inefficient or foolish. But this is a deliberate seeking after an absence of Truth, would 'knowingly' exclude what was True, and I can only imagine that even the mere presence of Beauty would be shunned. That leaves no room for anything but the naked worship of Power.

I didn't think that the average person had sunk so far as to accept that... the tenured, and the political apparatchics, sure, but... not my neighbor, not my aunt (in-law).

Not a good sign at all.

julie said...

Hijacking the thread for a moment; I just had some good news: So with medication, my boy has been seizure-free for a year now. Last week, he went in for a follow-up EEG, and I just heard the result. His EEG is normal, which means we will probably start weaning him off the meds, and essentially he's grown out of his seizures.

Now if you all will excuse me, I think it's time for a happy dance!

Van Harvey said...

Happy dance double time! Congratulations Julie!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, Julie!!! That is awesome-good news! So happy for your little guy, too!

We'll keep praying that the weaning-off period will be incident-free. :)

Joan of Argghh! said...

"Unthropology" is more fine coinage. Almost as good as Lumbersexual.

So much good tweetage in one post, but "Gruber Alles" is just.damn.awesome.

julie said...

Thanks, Joan - and yeah, I saw the article about lumbersexual beard-wearers today.


EbonyRaptor said...

Good news Julie. Your mother's heart probably started happy dancing as soon as you heard the news. With all the crumby news we hear on a daily basis - it feels good to hear some good news.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for. the good news, Julie.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

No internet for me last weekend so it's catch up time.

A neighbor got internet installed and the installer guy cut my internet line. Grrr..

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Organized vice" is a keeper.

Van Harvey said...

Am unintended autocorrect keeper, while talking about Gruber and trying to swype 'moral high ground', I got 'moral lie ground'. I'll take that.

Rick said...

Julie -- that's wonderful news!
Keep it coming!

Rick said...
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