Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What Is We?

That is the implicit question in the title of Samuel Huntington's last book, Who Are We?: The Challenges to American's National Identity. It could scarcely be more timely, being that we are living in a civil war with two absolutely irreconcilable ideas of Who We Are. The controversy over our dimwitted athletes Disrespecting the Flag for Some Reason is just a microchasm.

Before asking who We are, one must first define what We is. Analogously, the question "who am I?" is different from the question of exactly what the human person is. A materialist who asks the question will likely arrive at a very different answer than the transmaterialist.

Ultimately, the former will "discover" an object that has the meaningless side effect of thought, the latter a meaningful soul with the side effect of embodiment. For the materialist, word is reduced to flesh; for the Christian, word is instantiated in flesh, such that the soul is the form of the body.

Indeed, to a large extent the conclusion one reaches will be a consequence of the premise with which one begins. Recall Kruschev's remark that when a Soviet cosmonaut was up in outer space, he didn't see any God there. Likewise, I've seen human brains before, and I've never see any souls in there.

Is there something fundamentally different in the way left and right go about defining the We? Oh yeah. The I too, since I and We are irreducibly complementary. Not only is threeness built into the nature of things, but this nature goes to the very essence of the differences with our spiritually blind com(un)patriots.

It has been many years since I've been in a flame war with the opposition, but I stupidly got into one on Sunday, over at the MLB website. I mentioned that I had been a Dodgers fan since 1965, but that if any player tried any stupid s*** during the anthem, I was done. Things deteriorated from there.

Some of the left-wing comments were unbelievable to me, but it's been a while since I visited the dark precincts of the internet. The media try to put a sane face on the left, or just ignore things that will expose the insanity for all to see. For example, they reframe fascist Antifa rioters as "protesters," so their insanity looks like Courage in the Face of Oppression or something.

There are hundreds to choose from. Here are a few of the more thoughtful ones:


The Disgrace is the Racist, Sexist, Xenophobic failed business man and crook who is the accidental president in the WH.

if there's no place on the field for political expression... which does each game start with a nationalist pep rally?

can't we all agree that the presence of the flag is the cause of the issue? Stop with the jingoistic Nationalist propaganda of going through the ritual of singing the national anthem. I'll flag has no place in a baseball game I didn't go to the baseball game to look at a flag.

you tried to use your military service as if it gave you superiority. It does not especially since the USA have been the aggressors in every war since WW 2, and then was totally wrong in using nuks. So even when the US military has moral High Ground we have chosen to be the bad guys. Anybody who joins the military doesn't deserve respect in my book.

It couldn't be any worse than the Sexual Assault Grabber-in-Chief of 'alternative facts', N-A-Z-I sympathizing, and Russian treason.

These folks are crazy or stupid or ignorant, or likely all three. You'd think they'd have a hard time fitting into any "we," but you'd be wrong. Turns out there is a vast movement of misfits, cranks, perverts, cosmic inverts, bitter females, beta males, overeducated fools, undereducated animals, race-obsessed losers, and generally lost souls.

These in aggregate constitute the sufficient reason of the left: there is no effect without a cause, and the cause of the left is always some kind of alienation from, or inversion of, reality. The alienation is a treatable condition, susceptible to correction. The inversion is generally not. Once a person has inverted reality, he tends to stay there. But thanks to the left, he's never alone.

I'm thinking, for example of all those rock star cosmic inverts who haven't taken a new cognitive imprint since the 1960s: people such as David Crosby, Bruce Springsteen, Grace Slick, Paul Simon, Carole King, James Taylor, et al, are saying exactly the things they said fifty years ago, like a cognitive tick.

Which in effect it is, i.e., an obsessional defense mechanism that helps organize the psyche. It conveniently displaces evil and hatred and projects them into a fantasized right wing -- just as hordes of leftists literally believe President Trump is a white supremacist or Nazi sympathizer.

I've highlighted so much of this book, I don't know where to begin. Maybe I'll start with some of the notes to myself in the back, such as: "How to have one nation with two such completely different experiences?" You might say this goes to an identity crisis, only on the collective/interior level -- the We rather then the I.

What is the meaning and purpose of a nation? These two are nearly synonymous, or at least two sides of the same reality, since purpose follows from meaning. If you think America means Equality, then you will have a very different purpose from the one who believes it means Liberty.

I also have a note to myself about deconstruction and historical revisionism being analogous to False Memory Syndrome, only afflicting the We rather than the I. If, say, you major in history, then false memories of America's past are implanted into your psyche -- like those of the commenter above, who "remembers" America being the aggressor in every conflict since 1945. Remember when we invaded Korea and enslaved the south?

But one no longer even has to major in history to suffer from False Memory Syndrome. Rather, the implantation process begins in grade school, which essentially softens the ground for the reception of even more outrageous lies in college and grad school. The idea of tearing down historical monuments or insulting the flag doesn't come out of nowhere. Rather, it's just the reductio ad psychotum of idiocies people assimilate as early as kindergarten. It's why we homeschool our son.

It is also important to bear in mind that you can't implant one set of symbols without first destroying another. For example, when I was in school, George Washington was still the unproblematic father of our country, which in turn made us all siblings, i.e., members of the American family. The left has succeeded in killing Washington and other symbols of unity, such as the flag, so what takes their place?

Ideology. Ideology creates a false past in order to justify its current wishes. A nation's identity is a vertical phenomenon involving both imagination and recollection. One commenter above calls the anthem a form of "jingoistic Nationalist propaganda." That is what he imagines and remembers when he hears it. That's the vertical space he inhabits when it is played at a sporting event. I suppose when the fighter jets fly overhead, he thinks of the vast Military Profit Machine that benefits Bankers and Corporations.

Thanks to multiculturalism and identity politics, we are not one nation (a we) under God (the source and ground of unity), but many warring tribes under Diabolos, i.e., the sprit of division and father of lies.


Gagdad Bob said...

Literally living in another world. Literally.

Van Harvey said...

"jingoistic Nationalist propaganda."

That seems to be one of the passphrases that identifies the infra-we. One, who should have known better, used that, while dismissing my comments, since "obviously you've already made your decision and won't consider other views". Blink much?

julie said...

Maybe I'll start with some of the notes to myself in the back, such as: "How to have one nation with two such completely different experiences?"

It's like that in families sometimes, too - one kid's experience of childhood is completely, 180 degrees at odds with his siblings, even when the parents try to treat everyone with essentially the same level of care.

julie said...

One commenter above calls the anthem a form of "jingoistic Nationalist propaganda." That is what he imagines and remembers when he hears it. That's the vertical space he inhabits when it is played at a sporting event. I suppose when the fighter jets fly overhead, he thinks of the vast Military Profit Machine that benefits Bankers and Corporations.

That's what really makes me the angriest about the kneeling issue. They are equating the flag with evil badcops out to slaughter innocent black men at any opportunity (to the extent they even know why they are kneeling), ignoring the fact that the flag represents an entire people. People such as the literal armies of helpers who volunteer their time, labor, tools and ingenuity to go rushing in to help any time a disaster hits. Part of the reason traffic was so bad getting back into Florida after Irma is that there were fleets of power crews rushing in from all over the country to render aid. Meanwhile, for those who evacuated, we were greeted with warmth and kindness everywhere we went - regardless of race. THIS is America. THIS is who the flag represents. In addition to all who serve this country, THIS spirit is what they are rejecting every time they publicly disrespect the flag, even as we pay them to be there, whether we want to or not. One way or another, those ridiculous salaries come from our pockets, and they are spitting in our faces.

Gagdad Bob said...

The last time I spoke to a brother who has cut me off, he asked What do you suppose it was like to have a brother like you?

I had no idea, and he never told me.

Gagdad Bob said...

(That was in response to the comment on families. Suffice it to say, we are far from being One Family Under Godwin.)

EbonyRaptor said...

I'm reminded of an event Barack and Michelle attended as POTUS and FLOTUS where military personnel folded the American flag with proper deferential procedure and the camera caught Michelle looking bored and saying to Barack "all that for a flag", followed by Barack nodding.

And we elected him twice. Lord have mercy.

Christina M said...

"....a brother who has cut me off...."

Been there; done that. *sigh*

My brother actually called last year, after our estranged aunt died (there's a lot of multi-generational estrangement in the family) and apologized for maybe finally understanding me, after seeing how my dad treats my mom, and all women, firsthand. We had a family reunion for the first time in six years last Thanksgiving. It went well and we plan to do it again.

There are a lot of things that we cannot discuss due to living in those two different worlds: one of moral absolutes; one of moral relativism. We almost got into a virtual fistfight over Dada, of all things. He likes Dada; I loathe it.

Here's hoping, at some point, your bother might answer the question.

Rick said...

Vox Day's next book:


julie said...

Though we are on good terms, my sister once said similar things of me. It was only well into adulthood that I understood she had long been measuring her life by mine, and thus of course feeling wretched and tormenting herself because - duh - she's not me. Conversely, as a kid at least, I envied her in some ways, too.

Same house, different universes.

Rick said...

SJWs Always Ruin Our Lives And Eat All Of Our Steak

julie said...


I was just scrolling up, trying to figure out if the acronym was in the post somewhere...

Paul Griffin said...

Indeed, to a large extent the conclusion one reaches will be a consequence of the premise with which one begins.

Unless one's logic is flawed (bearing in mind that logic is only a measure of consistency), the conclusion one reaches will entirely be a consequence of the premise with which one begins. Acting as though the premise was the conclusion is the illogic that so many seem to embrace, as the thought that one's commitments are ultimately faith-based (as Polanyi has shown us is always the case) is too frightening to be allowed.

Rick said...

Saying "Taking a knee" will soon become the new "wazzaaaaaaaap!"

E.g. "No thanks. I'm taking a knee on that Rusty Jones."

Oh yes, it will be in no time flat THAT annoying. Good news, it will completely eclipse the original virtue signal it was meant to be.

You heard it here first.

Leslie said...

I hope your homeschool is going well. I am sure you all love it.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes -- wife says she never thought it would be such a wonderful thing. Really, just a natural extension of parenting. Or extending biological parenting into higher realms. We use Prager University all the time, so he's learning stuff I didn't learn until I was in my 40s. And more important than the learning is all the nonsense he's not learning in a regular school. Even his Catholic school used "Time magazine for kids," which is nothing but early indoctrination into the liberal narrative. In fact, I would use it in a "meta" way to teach him about the Narrative.

Maybe the low point at his school was when they put on a talent show, and one 8th grade girl accompanied herself on guitar while warbling John Lennon's Imagine. Yes, imagine there's no religion, no heaven, no borders. Right there inside the church, with the priest looking on benignly. Parents all clapped, seemingly oblivious to the irony. This was Malibu, of course. Still. Malibu Catholics are at least Buddhists or new-agers. They're not atheists.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie and Bob.

You might want to ask, "Are there nations in Heaven?"

Contemplating this will lead to the realization that nations are a provisional thing, developed as a survival strategy in a brutal world. There is nothing sacred in measuring off a quanta of territory, drawing borders, establishing rule of law, legislative apparatus, a standing army, and a taxation apparatus. So the national flag, seen in that context, becomes less of a burning issue. Each individual is a son or daughter of Earth, however we get roped into nations out of expediency and practical concerns.
God accepts nations as a step on the way, but not directly related to His worship in any way. Which is why the Catholic Church is everywhere.

Before nations there were competing cities, and before that villages, and before that small nomadic bands. All clashed.

Things have continually coalesced, so we will progress to a planetary government, and then after colonization of the solar system, a federation of planets, and so on.

So kneel if you want to, God won't mind.

Leslie said...

Homeschool: I once told a new schooler, who was completely freaking out that she was "doing it wrong!!", - "If you do nothing else but read to your children for a couple of hours, they will be way ahead.". Good books, no undoing the nonsense, no homework...it is ALL good. They next year she let me know, that "permission" I gave her, finally allowed her to relax and enjoy it. SO much good stuff out there, and time to pursue it. So glad you are enjoying it, too!