Friday, October 23, 2020

The Eternal Clash of the Imbeciles

First, my unsolicited and entirely predictable take on last night's presidential debate -- and on every presidential debate, past and future.  In the words of Señor Dávila: 

The approval of imbeciles is the final factor in victories.

Of course I hope these imbeciles decide to pull the lever for Trump -- assuming they know how -- but they're imbeciles nonetheless.  Imagine how stupid one must be to not know whether or not one is a leftist!   And yet, the question of whether or not the United States will continue to exist as the United States is in the hands of these oblivious low- and no-fos.  

The principles that define left and right are deep, wide, pervasive, and irreconcilable.  Last night's moderator was, like Chris Wallace, another leftwing imbecile, but her final question was particularly imbecilic -- something along the lines of "if you win the election, what will you say to reassure those who didn't vote for you?"

There is nothing Biden could say to reassure me. Unless maybe he renounces Satan, which I don't see happening.   

Speaking of whom, let's get back to his revolutionary activity. 

No, wait.  One more thing.  What would Gagdad say to reassure those who despair at the prospect of a President Harris?  Once again, I will channel the good Señor.  I would draw from my own Book of Pointed Gags & Wisecracks, but they're too scattered and disorganized for quick reference:
Christianity does not solve “problems”; it merely obliges us to live them at a higher level.

The conservative is a simple pathologist. He defines sickness and health. But God is the only therapist.

I do not belong to a world that perishes. I extend and transmit a truth that does not die.

Defeats are never definitive when they are accepted with good humor.

With good humor and pessimism it is possible to be neither wrong nor bored.

Resignation must not be an exercise in stoicism but a surrender into divine hands.
There's another principle I like to keep in mind: that that which cannot continue will not continue.  After all, I live in California, which is a daily experiment in trying to prove that the impossible is possible, e.g., mandatory electric cars when there's not enough electricity to keep the lights on, or open borders when there's not enough water for existing citizens, or more funds for public employee unions when we've already accumulated $1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion) in unfunded pensions.  

Which of course is why Nancy Pelosi is trying to lard the COVID relief bill with bailouts for Democrat run disasters such as California and New York.   

Back to the book we were discussing in the previous post, Revolution and Counter-Revolution.  I'm going to cut to the chase and give my bottom-line take before I proceed to defend it:  when we talk about the demonic or diabolical, we are fundamentally describing the "spirit of revolution," bearing in mind that we must define what we mean by "revolution."

For example, in this context it is entirely inappropriate to call our founders "revolutionaries."  In fact, they were very much the opposite, in that they wanted nothing to do with overturning the order of the world, but rather, restoring the ancient rights to which we were and are entitled.  Our founders were terrified of revolution, which is precisely why they created a constitution to "contain" and neutralize such destructive impulses and energies.   

Conversely, everything about the left -- especially since the Wilson administration -- is about weakening our Constitution in order to strengthen the Revolution.  Now they want to pack the Supreme Court in order to transform it into a revolutionary body, but this is what the left does:  it ruins everything, from art to religion to education to whatever it touches.  

Of course, they wouldn't agree that they're ruining anything, rather, perfecting it.  Marriage is better now that it isn't restricted to one male and one female.  For that matter, women are better now that they are free to deny their femininity and pretend to be men.  Likewise a pajama-soyboy castratti is a perfect man.  

Which reminds me of an article by the always excellent David Solway.  I still haven't figured out how to embed links with the new blogger format, but here it is:

(https://pjmedia.com/columns/david-solway-2/2020/10/17/the-despair-of-feminism-n1066231)

I was going to discuss the piece anyway in the context of the Revolution, because the denial of male and female nature goes to its very essence; you might say to its denial of essence, for denial of essence is the essence of the Revolution.  And no, I'm not just trying to be clever; this is the thesis of Weaver's classic Ideas Have Consequences, the most consequential idea of all being....

Put it this way: you really have only two choices, or a choice of two principles.  Depending upon how you choose, hundreds of implications and entailments follow, right down to whether you are a conservative or revolutionary (of course, the leftist is never intellectually consistent, so in his case it doesn't matter that he believes mutually exclusive ideas).  

The choice is:  common sense realism or nominalism; Aquinas or Kant; God or nihilism; intellectual or anti-intellectual; order or dis-order; freedom or egalitarianism; light or darkness; individualism or conformity; gratitude or envy; racial colorblindness or racist identity politics;  justice or "social justice";  Etc.  

Exaggeration?  Polemical?  Simplistic?  Tendentious?  I really don't think so.  Let's cite some passages from the book in question.  Here's a description of how the Revolution kills institutions and souls:  it attacks Christian civilization like a certain tree in the Brazilian forest, the "strangler fig," which wraps "itself around the trunk of another tree, completely covers it and kills it."

Analogously, "the Revolution approached Christian civilization in order to wrap itself around it and kill it." Consider how homosexuality infiltrated the priesthood with predictable consequences. It very much reminds me of Iowahawk's Timeless Tweet about the four stages of leftist destruction:

1. Identify a respected institution.
2. Kill it.
3. Gut it.
4. Wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.

The Supreme Court.  Marriage. Academia. Journalism. The "art world." And increasingly, science. 

Oh yes, and gender.  Back to Solway's piece and then we're out of time.  Why are feminists such miserable people?  This is like asking why the palm tree you're trying to grow in northern Canada isn't flourishing.  You're denying its essence, which is to say, its reason for being (i.e., its formal principle).  

By the way, I haven't even finished the article.  I just know ahead of time that it will provide us with some insultaining examples of what we're talking about:

The weakening of men and the empowerment of women, as “women claw their way to ever increasing power and fix men (especially young, white men), in their crosshairs,” destroy the sexual, romantic and institutional bond between the sexes. Similarly, the common preachment that men should jettison their manhood and become more like women is to distort the gender relationship and introduce a schism into the culture that can lead only to turmoil and unhappiness for both men and women....

Modern feminism, however, is determined... “to depict everything pertaining specifically to women as ‘oppression’,” leading to a pervasive resentment that vitiates their “essential nature”....  

Feminism is a conspiracy against productive relationships, romantic love and the traditional family—a conspiracy disguised as a historical necessity, much like the anti-family [Revolutionary] communist doctrine with which it has close conceptual ties....

What we are witnessing, in Robert Curry’s terms from Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World, is a war on the crucial role common sense plays in our lives, for example, “the denial of plain fact that humans are either male or female,” with all that the genetic binary has implied since the beginning of recorded time. This “plain fact” has been routinely and programmatically denied by feminists and gender mavens, for whom sexual differentiation is “fluid” and a matter of choice or feeling. The real “deniers,” however, are the feminists and their male enablers.... As a result, the culture is in disarray and its future, as Kierkegaard saw, is despair.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Rules for Counter-Revolutionaries

Let us bow our heads and begin with a benediction... Better yet, let's lift our heads and begin with a malediction:

Transforming the world: the occupation of a convict resigned to his punishment (NGD).

Am I a reactionary?  I suppose not, if only because going back in time is impractical and impossible anyway.  No one believes more in progress than the Christian.  Indeed, we invented it.  It all depends on what one means by "progress."  Here is one man's definition, which we long ago adopted as our own on the basis of common sense:

The only possible progress is the internal progress of each individual.

And

Social salvation is near when each one admits that he can only save himself.  Society is saved when its presumed saviors despair (ibid.).

As a clinical psychologist I saw how difficult it was to facilitate "fundamental change" in so much as a single person. Beginning with myself, of course.  So much easier to change the world!  Just ask Obama.  

Yes, there are aphorisms for him -- aphorisms he will never understand, which means he is condemned to a certain kind of systematic stupidity -- or structural idiocy --  that debilitates whatever native intelligence he might possess:

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems (ibid.).

Imagine telling the average BLM member to rechannel his destructive revolutionary energy into something constructive, for example, working hard and studying in school.  The problem here is that doing so would reveal his lack of intelligence and talent.  Failure evokes the Revolution.  

Thus the perennial temptation and seduction of the Revolution -- a Revolution that will indeed turn the existing order upside down, such that the scum rises to the top.  

Which it already does, pretty much. It's why Al Sharpton is a Black Leader instead of Thomas Sowell (who would never accept the job anyway, since he doesn't believe blacks have some special need for leaders).  It's why Joy Reid has a network TV show instead of Candace Owens.  For that matter, it is also why pre-Trump Republicans were and are such cowardly mediocrities at best.

To fight the eternal Revolution we need counter-Revolutionaries.  Obviously. 

But in order to do this, we must first recognize the Revolution.  What is it? And why? And what do we do about it?

In one sense, we could say there has been only one big Revolution.  It takes place outside terrestrial time, and its outlines are transmitted to us via Genesis 3.  In response there has been one big counter-Revolution, which we might call John 1:  problem and solution.

By the way: which comes first, the problem or the solution?  One might be tempted to say the former, but if we stand outside and above time -- instead of being lost in the flux of historical contingency --  there is a proportionality and fittingness between these two that is not coincidental: a BIG solution for a BIG problem.   Man is sick, sick, sick.  Nothing short of a radical cure will suffice.  More on this as we proceed.

As I was saying above, I suppose I'm not a reactionary.  Nevertheless, the bad folks at Amazon directed this book to my attention, on the grounds that "people like me" had purchased it:  Revolution and Counter-Revolution  (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1877905178/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=onecos-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=0063d3cf3d4727a621761b6afb5fb095&creativeASIN=1877905178). 

Apparently the author is "controversial." I don't know anything about that. I only know that this is one of the best books I've ever read on the deep metacosmic structure of revolutionary leftism, AKA the Revolution.  I don't agree with everything the author says, but I do agree with just about everything he says about the Revolution.  Time enough for only few excerpts, but we'll get more deeply into it in the next post.

By Revolution we mean a movement that aims to destroy a legitimate power or order and replace it with an illegitimate power or state of things.  

It is a vision of the universe and a way of being of man that the Revolution seeks to abolish with the intention of replacing them with radically contrary counterparts.

Two notions conceived as metaphysical values express well the spirit of the Revolution:  absolute equality, complete liberty [which is of course an impossibility, thus guaranteed to generate only chaos and dis-order].

Among the intermediate groups to be abolished, the family ranks first. Until it manages to wipe it out, the Revolution tries to lower it, mutilate it, and vilify it in every way.... Even the psychological and attitudinal differences between the sexes tend to diminish as much as possible.

[L]iberalism is not interested in freedom for what is good. It is solely interested in freedom for evil. When in power, it easily, and even joyfully, restricts the freedom of the good as much as possible. But in many ways, it protects, favors, and promotes freedom for evil.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Is Leftism a Lie or Something Worse?

I want to pull a couple more passages from the article cited yesterday, each going to our exploration of the deepest deep structure of the left.  First, for the activist of the left, “to be antiracist is to see all cultures in their differences as on the same level, as equals”:

“When we see cultural difference we are seeing cultural difference—nothing more, nothing less.” It’s hard to imagine that anyone could believe that cultures that condone honor killings of unchaste young women are “nothing more, nothing less” than culturally different from our own. But whether he believes it or not, it’s obvious that embracing such relativism is a highly effective tool for ascension and seizing power (Weiss).

Even on its face the claim is absurd, for in this formulation, isn't the culture that makes no distinctions between cultures the morally superior one? If not, then what are we arguing about?  

My culture, for example, understands that "homosexual marriage" is -- no offense -- impossible in fact and in principle.   But my culture is regarded by the totolerantarian leftist as hateful, whereas, say, Islamic culture is considered beautiful despite sanctioning and encouraging violence toward homosexuals.  In my culture, that would be evil.  Yet, I'm the immoral one.  

Normally -- speaking now as a psychologist -- when a person is able to maintain such starkly contradictory ideas it points to pathology.  This is because the mind as such is designed to seek unity.  A normal person is distressed by contradiction and  attempts to resolve it, either by ruling out one of the theses or integrating them at a higher level.   This being the case, how is it even possible for someone to make the claim that "all cultures are equal except for mine, which is superior to the rest, and yours, which is inferior to the rest"?

This claim is either self-refuting or merely the pretext for a raw power play.  No, it's actually both.  In fact, one of the reasons the left is so furious at President Trump is that he refuses to play by the rules of this corrupt power game.  It's why the very idea of MAGA is a moral obscenity.  For the left, America can indeed be great, but only by acknowledging that it's rotten.  What the left is really saying is:  "All cultures are equal and America is the worst of the bunch."

Exaggerate much, bOb?

This is no longer a fringe view. As the philosopher Peter Boghossian has noted: “This ideology is the dominant moral orthodoxy in our universities, and has seeped out and spread to every facet of American life— publishing houses, tech, arts, theater, newspapers, media,” and, increasingly, corporations. It has not grabbed power by dictates from above, but by seizing the means of sense-making from below.

Over the past few decades and with increasing velocity over the last several years, a determined young cohort has captured nearly all of the institutions that produce American cultural and intellectual life. Rather than the institutions shaping them, they have reshaped the institutions. You don’t need the majority inside an institution to espouse these views. You only need them to remain silent, cowed by a fearless and zealous minority who can smear them as racists if they dare disagree. 

Sense-making from below.  Now that is a bingo. For it is literally the imposition of meaning instead of its discovery, and as we will explain, this is the very structure of paranoia and of mental illness more generally.  I read something about this just the other day, but where is it?  I've been cramming so much into my noggin lately that I've exceeded its already limited carrying capacity.  

This also happens to be a VERY LARGE subject, being that it goes to the whole metaphysical question of whether reality is discovered or projected -- in other words, whether common sense realism is the case, or if Kant got it right after all.  If you presume to practice philosophy -- and we all must, on pain of cashing in our humanness -- this is among the very first questions that must be settled: are my concepts about reality true?  Or just forms of my own apperception?  What comes first, the thing perceived or my perception of it?  

One can ignore this question, which is precisely how one is reduced to being the village atheist, e.g., "our minds are totally contingent and that's the absolute truth."  

More generally, materialism is the abstract doctrine that holds abstractions to be unreal.  But like the multiculturalist referenced above, the materialist is too naive or incurious to follow his train of logic until it blows up the tracks.  If you believe that perception is prior to the thing perceived -- pro-tip here -- you have permanently sundered the link between perception and reality.  

Not only can you never get back to reality, but by all rights the word should be abolished from your vocabulary.  To say "perception is reality" is to say "perception is perception," all the way down. It is the negation of reality.  These are nihilists, Donny.  Everything is true because nothing is true.  It's how a mentally ill man who wants to hack off his penis is normal, whereas Amy Coney Barrett is depraved. Come to think of it, it is how Jeffrey "Keep Your" Toobin has the moral standing to denounce ACB.  

The party of science.  Okay, here's a clarifying question: does science deal with the real world, or not?  Are its conclusions purely subjective, or do they describe reality?  Are our minds the measure of reality, or vice versa? 

Not only do we believe science is both objective and true, we don't leave it at that.  Rather, we go to the deeper question of how science is even possible in principle.  So, yes, science describes reality (on its own plane with its own methods, of course).  But by virtue of what principle?  Yes, the principle of creation, through which being bifurcates into intelligence and intelligibility.

But we're getting rather far afield.  Back to the damn quote I'm looking for.  Ah. Here it is: from Sheen's Philosophy of Science (see sidebar).  He notes that the intelligence -- to the extent that it is intelligence and not something else! -- "never communicates to the phenomena an intelligibility which they do not possess themselves."

Example.  Actually, it isn't a perfect example, because the people propagating it presumably know it is a baseless lie, because they can't be that crazy.  Can they?  

I'm speaking of our media and big tech overlords who are trying to pretend this whole business about the Biden Crime Family is just Russian propaganda.  To the extent that someone actually believes this, it is a case of  "communicating to the phenomena an intelligibility which they do not possess themselves."  In short, it is a paranoid delusion. 

Didn't get as far as I'd hoped, but we're out of time.      

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Ultimate Principle of the Ultimately Unprincipled

It's difficult -- impossible, actually -- to see a cloud when one is inside it. Rather, one can only recognize its contours from a distance.   From the inside it's just a fog.  A blob. 

Same with a diabolic infestation.  One can only recognize it from outside or above.  Or better, only with recourse to a vertical axis or center can the diabolical be seen at all. It's why cannibals don't know cannibalism is evil, or why leftists can't see that Antifa is more than an idea, or that Hunter Biden's laptop is real.  

You'd think evil would be easy to recognize, but moral clarity is the exception, not the rule. In the 1930s people dismissed Churchill as deranged for his moral clarity vis-a-vis National Socialism.  And from the revolution of 1917 all the way up to its demise in 1991, leftists defended the USSR against the naive and simplistic moralism of Ronald Reagan and other anticommunists.   

Buried somewhere at the bottom of my library is a 1996 book by the eminent hisorian Eric Hobsbawm called The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991, in which he persists in defending Marxism.  Even from a distance, he couldn't see the outlines of the demonic swarm; or, he could, only he located it in the U.S. and not the USSR.  Extremes -- you know, like Americanism.

Hobsbawm was obviously an intelligent man, so mere intelligence is entirely insufficient to explain why someone would defend such patent evil. Writers for the New York Times are -- or used to be, anyway -- of at least average intelligence, but the paper declared Hobsbawm's magnum dopus to be a "powerful, bracing and magisterial work."   

Lately I've been bombarded with vertical murmurandoms regarding the essential nature of the left.  Over the years -- exactly 15, come to think of it -- we've obviously discussed the nature of leftism from various angles, but I'd like to get to the bottom of it once and for all:  what is it? And why?    

Of course, we want to be scrupulously fair and balanced.  We don't want to eviscerate a straw man, nor do we wish to pretend that anything with which we happen to disagree is a priori evil.  Let's give the devil his due.  Above all let's not imitate the left and merely project our own unacknowledged impulses, plans, and desires into our opponents.

This will no doubt be a long and rambling series of posts. Nevertheless, by the end of our exploring we hope to rearrive at the beginning and know it for the first time, such that our solution can be reduced to an aphorism or printed on the front of a t-shirt. 

Now, when I say I've been bombarded with vertical hints and clues, I'm talking about the old Baader-Meinhof effect, whereby you see something once and then see it everywhere.  So, everywhere I'm seeing things that go to the deep structure of the left.  

I'll start with this essay by Bari Weiss which I read yesterday, called Stop Being Shocked.   She's that leftist lady who quit the Times because it was too far left, so naturally she's shocked at the nature of the left.  While she makes some excellent points, she can't see the meta-forest evil for these trees. Nevertheless, if she continues on her present course, she may well find her way out of the forest.  

She notes that

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

There is no name for this illiberal force. What could it be?   What does it involve?

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.

We can't yet name the forest, but some of the trees that grow and flourish in it include postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality.  Not to mention anti-female feminism, anti-science climate hysteria, and anti-biology gender confusion. 

Now, is there something that unifies these cosmic heresies, some underlying principle that renders them sensible -- even inevitable -- instead of absurd?  On their face, these ideas are intellectually suicidal. By what magic do they hijack the mind and ape the living?

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game—due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself—must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with—designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power.

Now we're getting a little closer to the target, for it looks like we're dealing with a kind of inversion; there is a method to their madness, which is to say, a principle of the unprincipled.  

As one leftist puts it (quoted by Weiss), they are using "the master's tools" (i.e., principles) to "dismantle the master's house" (i.e., the political body that is both a cause and consequence of these principles).  So it's intellectual suicide, but more like an Islamic suicide bomber who uses his own suicide as a means to homicide (and even genocide).  The leftist might well be saying:  "yes, I've lost my mind, but I'm taking yours with me."  

And before you are tempted to think that's an exaggeration, Weiss quotes a legal scholar who writes that 

Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.

Again, homicide by means of suicide:

Critical race theory says there is no such thing as neutrality, not even in the law, which is why the very notion of colorblindness—the Kingian dream of judging people not based on the color of their skin but by the content of their character—must itself be deemed racist. Racism is no longer about individual discrimination. It is about systems that allow for disparate outcomes among racial groups. If everyone doesn’t finish the race at the same time, then the course must have been flawed and should be dismantled. 

Here again, this is a transparent inversion of our founding principles. Now, if our principles are arbitrary or false or pernicious, then it scarcely matters what principles we use. More to the point, principles by definition come at the beginning.   A principal that comes at the end is no longer a principle at all.  This is like saying that one's team lost the baseball game because the rules of baseball are wrong.  We can only be certain that the rules are correct if every game ends in a tie.  

And now you know why the left invented affirmative action and other participation trophies.   It takes the markers of success -- which are only revealed at the end -- and frontloads them at the beginning.

For example, just yesterday I read of how the San Diego Unified School District is going to see to it that all races are graded equally.  If too many blacks fail, then their grades will be inflated so as to render them better at math and reading.  "Intelligence" is a matter of tweaking its effects -- like turning back the odometer to make your car newer.  

Thus the efforts to do away with the SAT, or the admissions test for elite public schools.... Or  the argument made recently by The New York Times’ classical music critic to do away with blind auditions for orchestras.

In fact, any feature of human existence that creates disparity of outcomes must be eradicated: The nuclear family, politeness, even rationality itself can be defined as inherently racist or evidence of white supremacy, as a Smithsonian institution suggested this summer. The KIPP charter schools recently eliminated the phrase “work hard” from its famous motto “Work Hard. Be Nice.” because the idea of working hard "supports the illusion of meritocracy."

Our detective story is about done for today, but we've picked up some valuable clues that seem to point to a cosmic inversion of some kind. However, it won't matter that the left is upside down unless there is a right-side up: objectively, intelligibly, and metaphysically.  To be continued....