Saturday, June 27, 2020

Radical Anti-Racism

Perhaps you haven't heard, but slavery is wrong. So too is racism. But why they wrong? By virtue of what principle(s)?

I know why they're wrong: ultimately because all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with... you know, the thing.

So what. The founders believed the same nonsense but some of them owned slaves.

Yes, but that was wrong, and they knew it was wrong. Democrats didn't invent the positive good defense of slavery until a generation or two after the founding.

The positive good defense is rooted in very different principles from the founding, and these principles have guided the Democrat party ever since, from Jim Crow to racial quotas to the war on cops.

The latter, for example, insists that different standards should be applied to policing blacks just because blacks commit a vastly disproportionate amount of crime. This is analogous to applying different college entry standards to Asian Americans just because they commit a vastly disproportionate amount of scholarship. Which Democrats also do: different races, different standards.

Blacks lives matter. No doubt, but why? By virtue of what principle?

I know -- because ALL lives matter!

Wrong. That makes you a racist.

Hmm. I don't have a second guess. I give up. What's the right answer?

No, I really do give up. What is the Politically Correct answer? Be right back. I'm gonna go to the source.

Perfect: What We Believe. The mission: "to build local power and to intervene when violence [is] inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes." Vigilantes? I have good news for BLM: 86% of unorganized, non-state interracial violence is committed by Blacks, despite Blacks comprising only 13% of the population.

And the state? The top 20 urban areas that feature the most Black-on-Black violence are all run by Democrats, often for decades (or maybe it's 19 out of 20).

I'll cut to the chase: I don't see any principles here. There is (in their words) rage, commitment, desire, fighting, catalyzing, healing, struggling. There's a lot of talk about "Black people," but no attention to actual persons.

There'a a lot of sub-literate nonsense such as

We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.

Does that make any sense to you?

We are unapologetically Black in our positioning.

That's neither here nor there. I am unapologetically white. I'm also unapologetically male, Homo sapiens, mortal, married, a father, a baseball fan, a beer lover, a record collector... I'm not proud of any of these, just not apologetic. Why would I be? It won't help. I do, however, apologize for being a psychologist. That was never my intention. It just turned out that way.

We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world.

Ah ha. I think I've identified the essential flaw in their anthropological reasoning, and which makes for a smooth segue into our next subject, which is very nature of the human subject, AKA The Selfhood of the Human Person.

Our approach will demonstrate not only why Black lives matter, but why they are of literally infinite value. Note that this statement cannot be true if the belief animating BLM is true, that "to love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others."

This has it precisely backward and upside down. For in reality, human rights are prior to their instantiation in a racial (or any) group.

In short, these rights inhere in individuals, never in groups, races, tribes, classes, genders, political parties, etc. You possess them because you are a person, never because you are a black or white person. To believe otherwise is a truly grotesque and dangerous regression to an earlier understanding of personhood (because it is, as we shall see, a denial and defacement of personhood).

Let's begin with a question. Let's say you know nothing about me except I am Black. Knowing I am Black, do you know anything of substance about me?

That is correct: you know nothing (except that I am a person, with all this entails, which is a great deal). If you believe otherwise, there's a name for that: racist. Even if one believes different racial groups may on average do better or worse in this or that endeavor, this tells you nothing about the individual.

Perhaps you assume that because I'm, say, Asian American, I must excel at math. Maybe, but you won't know until you actually meet and get to know me. Or, maybe you think someone is "privileged" because he's white. If so, you're just another racist.

This is all so elementary, it's distressing it even has to be said. But this is the progressive Age of Stupidity we've been born into. As a psychologist, I deal with every race under the sun, but I never make any assumptions -- good or bad -- going into an interview. Why would I? I'm not evaluating a group but a person.

But what is a person? And what makes them so special? I learned in biology that human beings are just randomly evolved animals, no better than any other. I learned in ecology that humans are like any other animal only worse, and I learned in neurology that there's not even any such thing as a human self, just neural activity.

Back to our question: what is a person, anyway?

Almost every answer to this question begins in a certain independence in being and acting.... a person is never a mere part in any whole but a whole of its own... (Crosby).

Since a person is never a mere part in a whole, a person can never be reduced to his race. Indeed, no person is even a "member" of a race, certainly not in any meaningful sense, since it again tells us nothing about the actual person.

Does this mean community is of no importance? No, of course not. But it does mean a community must be of and for persons, not reduce person to group or engulf the individual in the collective:

personal selfhood provides the only possible basis for all deeper forms of community.... the defenders of community and the common good should beware of certain proposals of restoration, such as those that reject the idea of the person as subject of rights. There is a core of personalist truth in the individualism of rights, and this has to be preserved in all attempts at renewing the bonds of social solidarity (ibid.).

Any person matters because all persons matter, period. But today, radical anti-racism such as that discussed here is considered a form of racism by the racists of the left, the great majority of whom are, as usual, white Democrats, not black.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Volk Lives Matter

The moment we're living through seems more consequential than can be discerned from the usual media hysteria.

Come to think of it, being that the media is always hysterical, it is impossible to determine the importance of an historical event based upon how Don Lemon or Chris Cuomo or the New York Times react to things. Besides, is girlish hysteria ever the appropriate response to anything?

More generally, it is difficult if not impossible to gauge the cosmo- or world-historical importance of this or that present moment. Some people magnify the moment out of all proportion, while others can sleepwalk through the most significant events in history. (As to the latter, one must only notice how the MSM is ignoring what is by far the greatest political scandal in American history.)

So, we're attempting to use our pure Coon Vision to drill down to the ground of this moment, in order to discern what's really going on. As mentioned in yesterday's post, we insist that it is possible to do this via the Pure Thought described therein, i.e., to read the Signs of the Times.

And again, this does not mean it can be exhaustively described in an apodictic, systematic way, because this would constitute ideological Gnosticism and not open engagement with the ground; it would reduce to the wrong answer, whereas a Raccoon is always in search of the right questions in the correct order.

All we're asking for is a little peek outside Plato's Cave or beneath Jeffrey's Rug, and we are absolutely convinced that this is possible, otherwise there would be no need to put the honest prophets to death.

Now, this hardly means we cannot read the signs incorrectly. We all know this happened once, and we've already apologized for it. No prophet bats 1.000, not even Petey. We admit when we are wrong, even if a part of us still believes the Monkees will some day enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Let's begin with an analogy. Let's say the historical moment is like an ocean. Certain qualities of the ocean are apparent -- waves, tides, wind currents -- while others are hidden, for example, large scale circulation and depth. Who could tell by looking at the ocean that certain currents have been stably flowing for thousands of years?

Indeed, Prof. Wiki claims that some currents have "a transit time of about 1000 years" and that current velocities can range "from fractions of centimeters per second" to sometimes more than a meter per second.

This makes the analogy even more useful than I had hoped, because history also flows at different rates of speed in ways that are impossible to discern by looking at the surface, AKA journalistically.

To take only the most obvious example, the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection continue to reVerberate and flow through history, usually in an imperceptibly slow way, occasionally in dramatic fashion (for example, in the American revolution, which was at once rooted in a generation-long spiritual awakening which was in turn nested in a much longer arc of salvation and evolution, AKA salvolution).

We're in danger of running out of time before we ever get to the bloody point. Perhaps I should just jump ahead to the point, and flesh it out out as we proceed.

Much of what I'm about to say has been provoked by another providential collision with a timely book, this one called The Selfhood of the Human Person. It is so dense with implications that it's a slow read, even though the material itself isn't beyond the abilities of the average Christian Subgenius.

Concur with this reviewer:

This is a brilliant essay on the human person following the personalist/phenomonological line of thought (a philosophical approach taken by our beloved pope John Paul II).

To do this book justice, a single reading does not suffice; it needs several readings, not because it is hard to follow -- not at all! Crosby is very readable -- I found it very comprehensible and I am not trained in philosophy.

No, it is simply because there is so much in this book; such as the role of immanence and transcendence in the human person -- what does it mean to say that persons possess a kind of incommunicability?

What I want to focus on is the critical distinction between the group/collective and the individual/person, and how the Present Moment is showing us a very different conception of this from the traditional American and Christian view (the former current thoroughly embedded in the latter, as per the above).

For us -- i.e., for both Christians and Americans -- the individual is not only sacred, but a kind of intra-historical telos. You could say that the achievement of the Mature Man is the point of this whole cosmo-historical flow, and that it took a very long time to get here (only 50,000 years or so of human development).

But now we are faced with a very different historical movement (to be precise, it is an anti-historical movement, a turning back from maturity) that wants to efface individuality and plunge us back into the tribe, the race, the volk.

And just look at the intellectual and emotional maturity of the human specimens producing and produced by this movement! You can't reason with them, any more than you could teach algebra to a pig or economics to AOC.

Identity politics is a lack thereof, i.e., of proper identity and personhood; or, it is collective identity effacing personal identity rooted in trinitarian intersubjectivity.

To be continued....

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The De-Nazification of the Left

We've had two days to meditate on, or stew in, Eliot's advice that the only proper philosophical method is to be very intelligent. Well, what if the person who disagrees with you is also very intelligent? Easy: you have to be very, very intelligent.

Let's see if that chapter has any other helpful tips. Here's one:

One must never forget that all classic philosophy is built on common sense, while no ideology is built on common sense.... Realizing that is a great breakthrough (Voegelin, in Sandoz).

That is a very good point. You will have noticed....

I often say that, don't I? You will have noticed. When I do, it's probably because I'm directing your attention to something plainly commonsensical. It's a kind of compliment, because I'm assuming my readers are gifted with a fully functional common sense with which to perceive the bleeding obvious. To put another way, every troll is missing something, if not everything.

But this also means that someone who disagrees on the point at hand isn't necessarily stupid, just lacking in common sense. You will have noticed that a person can be quite intelligent, and yet, be utterly lacking in common sense. Many intelligent people, for example, believe Black Lives Matter has something to do with Black Lives instead of being just the latest iteration of totalitarian leftist ideology (but I threepeat myself).

Indeed, the observation that intelligent people can believe idiotic things qualifies as a banality, but why is it true? I'm sure we've discussed this in the past, so I won't spend a great deal of time on it. Taking myself as a prime example, I'm as intelligent as I was when I was younger (if anything, less intelligent), and yet, like any liberal, I believed all sorts of nonsensical things. Why? What was going on?

Gosh. So many things. As I said, I don't want this tangent to hijack the post. Is it possible to cut through the archetypal Jungle and identify one or two principles that explain my former idiocy? Think, Bob, think....

Okay, that phrase right there: think, Bob, think. It reveals one of my principles, i.e., that a type of pure thought can disclose the nature of reality. However, the operative word is pure, which goes to the moral requisites alluded to in yesterday's post. Does this imply a moral oneupmanship on my part? As in, "I know better than you because I am better than you."

No, I don't think so. Rather, the opposite, because we're talking about reverence and humility in the presence of Truth, which form the essence of intellectual honesty. As Voegelin emphasizes time and again, philosophy is not a body of knowledge, rather, a whole way of life.

Yes, it sounds pretentious to say I am a philosopher. That's for others to decide. But I can say I practice philo-sophy as a way of life, and that the practice of it requires several things, including love of wisdom and truth, perpetual openness to the transcendent, and lots of drugs. (I apologize. Some jokes insist on writing themselves despite one's best efforts to make a serious point.)

Back to the principle of Pure Thought. There are several wrong ways of engaging in it that we must rule out straight away, for example, any form rationalism. That's just a nonstarter for any number of reasons, but let's just say Gödel and move on.

In a way, we could place all forms of endeadening Wrongthink into one huge casket of deplorables called ideology. We might say that the way of ideology is at antipodes to the way of philosophy, largely because it reduces philosophy to a specific content and thereby closes off the divine ground, AKA reality.

Various profane dogmas, doctrines, and ideologies are indeed secondary realties that eclipse first reality (and there can be only one). These are "deadening to the living spirit of faith no less than to the living tension of the philosopher's contemplative (noetic) quest" (Sandoz).

Which reminds me of another critical point: living. Just as there exist biological life and death (the latter only intelligible in the context of the former), there are intellectual and spiritual Life. If you are lucky, then somewhere along the way you had exposure to, and were drawn into the attractor of, a Living Man who initiated you into the life of mind and spirit. If not, then you'll have a hard time understanding what we're talking about.

At the moment, we are enduring a tsunami of spiritually demented ideology washing over what remains of our civilization. It is quite obviously dead, deadening, and deadly, both spiritually and intellectually. Ironic, is it not, that its standard bearer is literally a dead man walking, Joe Biden?

No, not ironic. Inevitable.

How to combat this zombie apocalypse, or anti-political night of the living dead? Has anyone seen the movie Shutter Island? I saw it just the other night, but it's difficult to discuss without being a spoiler.

Let's just say that you can't just push back against a delusion, for the deluded person will simply incorporate you into their delusion -- like when Adam Schiff accused Tucker Carlson on live TV of being an agent of Putin for questioning the Russia hoax. Likewise, the surest way to be called a racist is to point out the intrinsic racism of the identity politics of the left.

The crisis of consciousness that has propelled alienated intellectuals' assault on all that our most venerable traditions hold dear and true cannot be met merely by reasserting dogmas even more loudly than before (ibid.).

You can't just yell back at the screamers, hate the haters, or resurrect the soul dead. "Rather, something more is needed."

The rightness of what has always been right must not only be reaffirmed but also recaptured in the hearts of men and as the living truth of a science of human affairs...

Yes, there are short-term mitigations, but let's be honest: the de-Nazification of the left is a multi-generational project, nor can it happen without divine intervention -- or better, without widespread openness to the divine ground. Which is why we agree with the Aphorist that

In history it is sensible to hope for miracles and absurd to trust in plans.

Never did get to my original point. I'll get straight to it in the next post.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Qualifications of Intelligence

A short list of the evils to which man is inevitably heir would include -- off the top of my head --

--pain, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual


--organic disease

--mental illness

--immorality and evil


--want (because it is infinite and therefore insatiable)



--status anxiety and the desire for distinction










--time (to the extent that it is limited)

--the necessity of labor

--unjust violence



--annoying people

--hair loss

None of these can be eliminated by politics, although it can ameliorate some of them at the margins. On the other hand, politics can serve as a fine distraction from them. Say what you want about the imbeciles going on about "white privilege," at least they don't wonder about the meaning of life, nor how to solve life's problems. It's easy: eliminate white people.

No wonder the left refuses to relinquish this seductive delusion, considering how it shields them from the distressing reality of genuine evils, privations, and existential nuisances. How tempting it must be to ensconce oneself in the comfort and safety of a collective hysteria over race!

What's the real solution? Ultimately there can be only one; or perhaps two or three that are ultimately reducible to one.

In The Politics of Truth, Sandoz alludes to a remark by T.S. Eliot on the character of proper philosophizing, to the effect that the only method is to be -- wait for it -- very intelligent.

Well now wait just a minute. Our political discourse -- and every other kind of discourse for that matter -- is crawling with mild-to-moderately intelligent people with idiotic opinions. Their intelligence, such as it is, does nothing to shield them from error, prejudice, wishful thinking, delusion, Trump derangement, or hateful ideology in general.

Let's try to track down the source of Eliot's comment. Surely he knew plenty of intelligent idiots, being that he worked in the publishing industry.

No luck. I do, however, have some aphoristic back-up from a man who was obviously well aware of the dangers of intelligent stupidity, but who could nevertheless affirm that

The intelligent man quickly reaches conservative conclusions (Dávila).

Yes, but what about the intelligent man who doesn't reach conservative conclusions? What happened? What has caused his intelligence to turn on itself, or to negate its own efficacy?

Well, one can obviously be quite intelligent, a genius even, and lack wisdom. There is also general intelligence and partial intelligence, or intelligence in this or that field as opposed to the Pure Intelligence that radiates through certain people.

It reminds me of "pure musicians," in contrast to a trained musician who may well be a virtuoso but will never attain the pure musical genius of even certain "primitive" and unschooled musicians out of whom musical genius flows freely. Some people make music. Others are music. Analogously,

There are men who visit their intelligence, and others who dwell in theirs.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but I want to mention something I'll expand upon later. It is the principle that real intelligence has moral prerequisites, for example -- and this is only the most obvious one -- intellectual honesty.

You will have noticed that it is strictly impossible to dialogue with the intellectually dishonest person, since the two of you are not converging upon truth; or, you don't share a passionate love for the truth that transcends the two of you. Certainly you can debate such a person, but this is a worthless exercise if it only involves defending a position as opposed to advancing together toward truth.

By the way, we're not talking about the legions of credentialed idiots who attended college, learned the right things, and have never had a creative thought in their lives -- an Obama, Cornell West, Chris Cuomo, Rachel Maddow, and thousands of others. Of these it may be truly said that

There is an illiteracy of the soul that no diploma cures.

And that

The learned fool has a wider field to practice his folly.

Rather, we're talking about the seeming paradox of intelligent stupidity, not middlebrow convention and conformity. By itself, A high I.Q. is indicative of distinguished mediocrity.

As to the moral qualifications needed in order for the intelligence to be perfected, Dávila reminds us that Intelligence by itself possesses nothing but rebellious slaves.

Boy howdy, has this proved true over the past several weeks! A reminder that

He who jumps, growls, and barks has an invisible collar and an invisible chain.

And the chain wasn't put there by us. Rather, it was placed there by white liberals and their designated "black leaders."

Almost out of time. We'll leave off with this, and explain how it can be true in the next post:

Agreement is eventually possible between intelligent men because intelligence is a conviction they share.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Purpose of It All (or Best Alibi Ever)

The penultimate chapter of The Politics of Truth addresses the question of whether Eric Voegelin is (was) a conservative. He was one of those caviling types who was paranoid about being pigeonholed -- like Hayek and Polanyi, who also denied being conservative per se.

But "conservative" has very different connotations in Europe, having to do with the conservation of throne and altar, and all that mystagogic nonsense that justifies the rule of the ruling class. In Europe conservatism often conserves self-serving magic, whereas in the US it mainly conserves commonsense.

And some people are so preoccupied with being perceived as an individual that they make it difficult to appreciate the universality of their message. In denying being part of any larger movement, they only assure their own practical irrelevance. I'm sure this is one of the reasons Voegelin never gained, and never will gain, any widespread acceptance beyond his fervent little cult.

As Sandoz correctly points out, "the unique is baffling." Yes, every human being is unique. However, the uniqueness can only be comprehended in the context of a universal human nature. Then again, human nature is complex and multifaceted.

To simplify, let's say human nature is comprised of 100 different facets. We put them into a tumbler, shake them up, roll them out onto the existential plane, and a new and unique individual is born, each having a different proportion, so to speak, of human elements.

Voegelin actually addresses this in his book on Plato and Aristotle. He doesn't just come out and say whether he approves of Aristotle's stance on the ultimate purpose of a political order, but I have no hesitation in saying that I agree with it 100%. But then, I'm not a scholar, just a blogger. At any rate, Aristotle is in agreement with what I just said about various admixtures of human elements:

All human beings have, indeed, the same structure of the soul, but differentiated according to the predominance of one or the other parts.... All must partake of them, but not in the same manner (Voegelin).

The best political order is simply the one which allows "the fullest actualization of human nature" and "the maximal actualization of human excellence." But if you believe in the existence of human nature and of objective human excellence, you are certainly not a leftist Democrat, rather, quite the opposite, whatever you wish to call it.

You may not like being called a conservative, but there you are. I too was uncomfortable identifying myself as one at first -- there are stages of acceptance, from non-leftist Democrat, to libertarian, to classical liberal, to Independent, to okay, f**k it, I'm a conservative, to HELL YEAH, I'M A GUN TOTIN', 'MERICA LOVIN', GOD FEARIN' REACTIONARY!

But here's the part I really like, for it is a variation of Jesus' wise crack about how the last-shall-be-first. It elevates slack-loving wise guys such as myself (and, one suspects, Voegelin) to the top of the cosmic heap!

The life in the best polis must be organized in such a manner that the actualization of the man of leisure is achieved.

Well, mission accomplished. I am an unapologetic Man of Leisure, but this must not be confused with the similar looking Lazy Man, or Layabout, or Antifa stoner living in mom's basement. I may be devoid of horizontal ambition, but I am insanely ambitious as it pertains to the vertical, ever striving to make myself utterly useless, especially to my readers. And you are no doubt too kind to tell me I've succeeded.

If education serves the necessary and useful only [read: horizontal]... then the full actualization of human excellence becomes impossible, because men will not know what to do with their free time that is supposed to serve leisure (Voegelin, emphasis mine).

I'll say it again... nah, just read it again, the italicized part, because that's the key to understanding and appreciating the Raccoon lifestyle. It is why the Raccoon is never bored except insofar as he must attend to horizontal obligations and nuisances.

For the average human, the primary escape from horizontality is via some more intense form of horizontality, e.g., skydiving, the once-in-a-lifetime vacation, the Dream House, the Street Demonstration, whatever. It never succeeds beyond the momentary, and like any drug requires an increasingly larger dose: bigger, faster, grander, looting an even larger TV screen, etc.

I am the last to deny the pleasures of the horizontal, but it's so much more interesting and less expensive to explore and homestead in the vertical. Establish a beachhead there, develop your own little plot of real estate, and it will soon surpass the overpriced and underperforming thrills of the horizontal. Moreover, you'll enjoy the horizontal diversions that much more.

For proof, aphorisms:

Men tend not to inhabit any but the ground floor of their souls.

The modern aberration consists in believing that the only thing that is real is what the vulgar soul can perceive.

When their religious depth disappears, things are reduced to a surface without thickness, where nothing shows through.

We are saved from daily tedium only by the impalpable, the invisible, and the ineffable.

Religion is not a set of solutions to known problems, but a new dimension of the universe. The religious man lives among realities that the secular man ignores (Dávila).

But leisure isn't exactly analogous to playtime:

Play may be necessary after work in order to achieve a state of rest as the precondition of leisure, but it is no occupation for leisure itself.

Real leisure involves the pursuit of things "which serve no further ends and can be pursued for their own sake, as a way of life."

To summarize: "Political society is the field for actualization of human nature"; and vertical recollection must be counted as the highest and most useless actualization of all.

[L]eisured life is the purpose for which we undergo the work of our practical life....

Of such a life we must say that it transcends the merely human level. Man can lead it only in so far as he is more than man, only in so far as something divine is really present in him. Since this divine part in the composite nature of man is nous, the life of the intellect is divine as compared with life on the merely human level of the practical excellences....

It is our duty to make ourselves immortal, as far as that is possible in life, by cultivating the activity of the best part in us which may be called our better or true self (ibid).

Challenge accepted.

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