Monday, December 01, 2014

Who and Whom in God and Politics

In reading this new biography of Stalin, it struck me that the 20th century's most evil men had one thing in common: they were all lazy and shiftless pseudo-intellectuals with no direction in life until they became professional revolutionaries, or ruthless do-gooders.

Stalin, Hitler, Mao; and although I don't know for sure, I would bet that Castro, Pol Pot, and Kim Jung Il never held proper jobs, or at least not for long. Work is for little people. Being the workers' messiah -- well, if you don't have the looks to be an actor or the chops to be a musician, that seems like an ideal solution to the problem of work.

In Stalin's case, he generally had no means of support aside from "sponging off colleagues, girlfriends and the proletarians he sought to lead." That was before you could just get into politics and live off other people's taxes.

I bring this up because our president has a similar biography. He too was a professional revolutionary, although that term doesn't go over well in America, so they call it "community organizer." But it is essentially the same thing: enlightening the slumbering proletariat so as to throw off their chains and seize political power (never personal power, i.e., self-improvement; if they were to do that, then schemers like Sharpton and Obama would lose their gigs).

This is what is known as the defense mechanism of "reaction formation," in that the leftist's contempt for the common folk is transformed into a rescue fantasy (we saw this in Jonathan Gruber's open contempt for the stupid liberals who needed to be deceived for their own good in order to pass ObamaCare; note that conservatives were impervious to the deception).

"The young Jughasvili [Stalin's real name]," writes Kotkin, "found a lifelong calling in being an agitator and a teacher, helping the dark masses see the light about social injustice and a purported all-purpose remedy."

The movement was led by similarly "educated yet frustrated individuals" who "defended the dignity of all by generalizing from a sense of their own violated dignity." There is no pride like intellectual pride, hence the excruciating vanity of the tenured.

We say that "only in America" could an anonymous nobody attain the highest office. Well, the anonymous nobodies mentioned above beg to differ. The difference is, for the unknown Stalin "to rise anywhere near the summit of power, and seek to implement Marxist ideas, the whole world had to be brought crashing down." In that way, World War I was a big help. Never let a crisis go to waste, in the current argot.

This also goes to Stalin's -- or was it Lenin's? -- principle of making things worse so as to make them better. You could say that the white liberal attitude toward race revolves around this axiom. For the past fifty years they have been making things worse for the black community, while promising to rescue them from the problems they have created. They do the same with education, with the economy, with sexual relations, with pretty much anything they touch. Then they sell us the solution.

But this is apparently off topic. We've been talking about The Divine Relativity -- or quite simply, the God to whom we relate and who relates to us.

Which reminds me. Either Lenin or Stalin said something to the effect that it all comes down to Who or Whom, or in other words, agent or object, hammer or anvil, pitcher or catcher.

What I mean is that if God is all active Who, them we are 100% passive Whom. But if we are in the image of God, then I don't see how this could be possible. Human beings are an indivisible combination of Who and Whom, of subject and object. We have free will, but we also suffer many things that are outside and beyond our will. Indeed, to refer to Christ's "passion" is to say God-as-Whom, isn't it? Which is a pretty shocking concept.

Back to Stalin and the left for a moment. I think it is accurate to say that in horizontalizing the Hegelian dialectic, Marxism -- at least in its Leninized form -- created a new Who and Whom. Instead of the bourgeois Who and the proletariat Whom, it was now the Who of the intellectual revolutionary vanguard and the Whom of everybody else -- the 99%.

Which brings to mind an aphorism: "Every non-hierarchical society is divided into two parts" (Dávila). And for the revolutionary Who, "Democratic elections decide who may be oppressed legally." (Shouldn't that be whom? "Whom may" doesn't sound right, though.)

Well, I have to get ready for work. Let us just conclude by saying that if God is both omnipotent and omnipathos, then he is the ultimate Who-and-Whom.


julie said...

There is no pride like intellectual pride, hence the excruciating vanity of the tenured.

I'm reminded of the trolls we used to get who could not resist claiming, at some point or another, that they were in some way smarter than everyone here (either by virtue of tenure or Mensa membership, usually) and therefore their opinion somehow carried more weight than anyone else's. Their brilliance alone was argument enough; "Because I said so" should have been all the reason we needed to agree with them, and they were deeply offended when we did not.

Magister said...

Buy the way, Bob, (it being the Xmas retail season) thanks for the post on the 26th about Hartshorne. Interesting to think about! Hope you and all the Raccoons had a wonderful Xgiving.

And Thanksgiving, too. And of course, a blessed Advent.

mushroom said...

What I mean is that if God is all active Who, them we are 100% passive Whom. But if we are in the image of God, then I don't see how this could be possible.

You're right. Paul says to ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

I'm responsible for doing what is being done to me.

I don't want to think about that too long.

John said...

Speaking of race. Wondering if you are familiar with Richard Lynn and Phillipe Rushton's studies on gentic factors In race/IQ/cultural development. Seems a compliment to your work in some ways. Controversial, of course, but quite grounded in research. Also, a compliment to Murray's Bell Curve.

John said...

Genetic not gentic, though that is funny

Gagdad Bob said...

I don't know of those two, but it looks like someone else has been dabbling in the tarot.

julie said...

I saw that link from Vanderleun today. I'm half tempted to scroll back through the guy's earlier posts to see what else he had to say.

Gagdad Bob said...

We need a volunteer to go through it and get back to us.

julie said...

Scrolling back through his tarot series, he's actually just talking about the plain history - what they were originally made for, what the imagery represents, and how in the 1800s people just flat-out made up the whole divination thing. They really were just illustrated playing cards.

Seems like a decent enough chap, though I don't know that I'd call him a raccoon.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Navy: never again volunteer yourself was the motto of the 10% losers that infested that fine branch of the military while I was in.

Ergo, I'll volunteer. :)

Michael Marinacci said...

Ben: And of course,
Marine = Moron Always Riding In Navy Equipment

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Semper Fi, Michael! :)

Van Harvey said...

Browsing up on John's suggestion, a paper by J. Philippe Rushton, which I've skimmed only. It has interesting data, which BTW is a theme that Thomas Sowell hasn't flinched away from, as with Race And Culture: A World View.

And if body types, bone structure and muscle content can evolve differently within racial groups, I see no reason why the cranium and brain would be excluded from such changes. What I question is whether or not brain size means more intelligence, and whether or not synaptic speed means more intelligence, or even, assuming that material brain structures would affect the quantity of synaptic integrations, whether or not that means more intelligence.

I doubt it. And especially since more intelligence does not mean more wisdom, I not only doubt it, I mostly discount it as an, almost literally, knee-jerk assumption.

I think culture is the key, and while to some extent environment could plausibly play a contributing factor to that, colder climes confining people together possibly leading to a more ingrained conversational habit, etc. But playing a possible factor in no way translates into being the cause, or even a governor of quality produced. But even so, as in so many areas, the Jews throw a wrench into the determinist's works.

There's no point blaming others, or the world, for our failures or successes - you yourself are the culprit.

Gagdad Bob said...

I don't think there's any doubt that intelligence evolved differently in different groups. Rather, there is a growing consensus.

julie said...

Yes. And still, maybe even for all the more reason, culture matters.

In recent years, I accidentally managed to trigger a sort of family reunion among very disparate members on my mom's side of the family, after publishing a side blog with some old family memorabilia. My heritage on that side is very mixed, but as it turns out one of my ancestors founded one of the oldest Lutheran churches in the US. He was a freed slave, and also (apparently) one of the wealthiest people in New Jersey. This was 300 years ago, so maybe that's not saying much. But anyway, to the point, I can't imagine he'd be anything but horrified at what has become of most of the black community today.

Regardless of racial background, we are as Van noted, each responsible for our failures and successes. Any society that tries to foist that responsibility off on the shoulders of the successful simply guarantees that the failures will fail ever more. This is as true among the welfare classes of Europe as it is of the near-permanent black underclasses of America.

Van Harvey said...

Yeah, I don't have any trouble with noting that intelligence, or intelligent behaviour, has developed differently in different groups. I also have no problem with the idea that some groups have better hardware & clock speed than others. I just have a problem with the two being more than correlative.

Van Harvey said...

The hardware explanation also runs into difficulties explaining Eskimos,who are Asian hardware, and German, Slav & Norse, who are essentially the same as the original Greeks. Just doesn't wash.

julie said...

I don't know anymore what I think of the hardware issue, except that with the wrong software, you can't often expect a positive outcome.

One of the miracles of Christianity, it seems to me, is that it is compatible with pretty much anyone regardless of intelligence, provided that it is downloaded adequately. Conversely, when it is absent, anything goes.

julie said...

Or looked at another way, consider all the money being thrown into schools to supposedly improve educational outcomes. What if, instead, the focus was aimed less on improving intelligence and more on teaching useful skills such as a basic grasp of the Golden Rule and a decent work ethic? Maybe people wouldn't be any more learned, or intelligent, but at least they might retain some semblance of human dignity throughout their adulthood. Which is more valuable?

Van Harvey said...

Julie said "One of the miracles of Christianity, it seems to me, is that it is compatible with pretty much anyone regardless of intelligence, provided that it is downloaded adequately. Conversely, when it is absent, anything goes."

Not coincidentally, the same can be said of Western Civilization itself. It doesn't matter one bit your race, ethnicity or origin, you simply need to adopt the ideas and habits, and you can be Western, and that applies even more to becoming an American.

In fact any insistence upon reference and value of your origin for standing (or excuse) will almost certainly lead to anti-Western, anti-American thoughts and actions.