Saturday, August 28, 2021

What Have We Learned?

As most everyone understands by now, our ruling class hates -- for lack of a better term -- "Trumpist populism" because it has revealed their utter cluelessness to anyone whose livelihood doesn't depend upon maintaining this institutional stupidity. 

No sentient person is surprised at the sudden "realization" that our president is a feeble but compliant tool of various and sundry interests that are not our interests, from technofascist thought police to greedy public employee unions to the lucrative racist-industrial complex.  

So, what's the bottom line? What have we learned? Speaking for myself, I have learned that real intelligence is much, much rarer than people realize. What does it say that even a crank blogger such as myself knows more about military strategy than the woke heretic-hunting generals advising our president? Or that even I know more about the cause of inflation than his economic advisors?  

But these examples are too specific. I'm making a much more general point about the rarity of real intelligence. There are people who will tell you with a straight face that Ours is the most educated citizenry ever!, which just makes you want to laugh, after you're done vomiting. Can you even imagine deferring to someone because He attended Harvard!, or worse,  He's an Ivy League professor! 

Not to boast, but I'm guessing that longtime readers are attracted to a blog that speaks intelligently of religious matters. Now that I think about it, I only write to serve a small niche audience called myself. If there were someone else doing it, I could retire from blogging as well. (To be perfectly accurate, I know that others exist, but it takes me less time to write than to read.)

Anyway, back to Real Intelligence. Back when I finished grad school in 1988, I was still naive enough to believe that a PhD conferred some sort of special status. And now that I'm thinking about it, I'm sure that a big part of this was due to my own needs for status and distinction, long since extinguished. Back then, I still wanted to be a little Somebody instead of a big Nobody.  

Intelligence and Authority are intimately connected. Real intelligence -- the kind we're discussing here -- cannot be conferred in any extrinsic manner. Rather, it is communicated directly, intellect to intellect -- or better, heart-intellect to heart-intellect, since it transcends any transmission of mere "information," factual or otherwise. 

It's enough to hear it to know it's authoritatively true -- not necessarily because of the content but because of the mysterious source -- as in how some village carpenter said "follow me," and they did. Not only was his authority granted by no man, but the men with authority saw to it that he was given the Socrates treatment. Socrates too spoke with Authority, which brings to mind an Aphorism:

As long as they do not take him seriously, the man who speaks the truth can live for a while in a democracy. Then, the hemlock.

Or cross. Or cancefixion. The logos must be punished!

Most readers of this blog know when they are in the presence of this subtle intelligence-light (≈), and cannot be fooled by the other kinds. Some people radiate intelligence; others radiate stupidity. Who can see the face of Chris Cuomo or Sandy Cortez or Kamala Harris and not feel the stupid? 

But again, those examples are too specific, when I'm referring to something far more general: in our day and age the stupid pervades the pneumosphere; its sophicating presence is everywhere, so much so that it is difficult even to have an intelligent conversation with these spiritually coarse and intellectually crude masses of asses. It is much easier to have an intelligent conversation with my gardener or pool man than with a fellow psychologist. 

As if that's not enough, the diabolical alliance of tech giants and the DNC has emboldened the powers and principalities that aren't content to just marginalize intelligence, but ultimately wish to criminalize it. And one way they achieve this is by outsourcing the suppression of intelligence to hordes of credentialed submediocrities who gain a sense of identity and moral superiority by punishing and excluding people who are much more intelligent than they are.

Do you have any idea of the billions of dollars it costs to prop up the university apparatus designed to enforce this institutional stupidity -- i.e., the diversity goons, antiracism thugs, feminist whordes, multicultureless zealots, etc.?  The cost isn't just measured in student indebtedness, but in the assimilation of an impenetrable farcefield that repels all appeals to intelligence.

Imagine spending that much money to make oneself that stupid! These indebted students think they merely got a bad deal, but they have no idea, because they still think the product just cost too much, when the real problem is that the product is spiritually and certainly intellectually toxic.  

You can have the most expensive educational establishment in the world, but it will do nothing to alter the sobering reality of the Bell Curve. You can give a PhD to a person with a 100 IQ, but the former has no impact on the latter. 

Suffice it to say that this credentialism is one of the reasons that the ranks of our elite are packed to the gills with stupid. Not only is it affirmative action all the way down, but it is... how to put it... affirmative exclusion all the way up. In other words, they see to it with tools such as "diversity," "equity," and a ruling class that looks like us! that intelligence is not a criteria.  

But normal people are beginning to rebel, as we're seeing with CRT protests, mask rebellions, the homeschooling movement, etc. Here in California there is a slight chance that the handpicked face of technofascism will be defeated by the Black Face of White Supremacy -- in other words, an intelligent black person.

Now, all of the above was provoked in the course of reading Lee Siegel's latest collection of essays, The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump (in sidebar).  It provides a lot of history and context as to how we got here. HISTORY is difficult to see when we're in the middle of it -- which we always are. 

But Siegel vividly traces the line of progressive stupidity back a century or so, to the days of Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Croly, the latter being one of the fondling fathers of progressive perversity. Come to think of it, a better book to start with would be Siegel's The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Classwhich goes into more detail on how we ended up mired in this tarpit of stupid.

Friday, August 27, 2021

It's All Fun & Games Until Your Delusions Collide with Reality

Generally speaking, things are never okay. Nor are they not okay. What mainly changes is the collective perception -- the group fantasy -- that things are or aren't okay. At the moment, the group fantasy that President Biden is okay -- that he is in charge of anything, including his own mind -- is crumbling. 

They gave me a list here... The first person I was instructed to call on was Kelly O'Donnell, NBC.

Thanks for the tip, Creepthroat! If I'm Kelly O'Donnell -- or a journalist, rather -- I'm obliged to cut out the muddleman and find out who they are: Who gave you the list, Grandpa? An extra scoop of ice cream if you can remember their names! 

In any event, this crumbling of the protective group fantasy leads to an upsurge of primitive emotions, including anxiety, fear, rage, and even panic. But it can also provoke primitive defense mechanisms such as denial. Wait -- are there still people in denial about Biden's cognitive dysfunction? 

It depends on what we mean by "denial, i.e., whether we mean it clinically or colloquially. People in the former category are just crazy and/or stupid and obedient, while folks in the latter category are either the usual cynical and manipulative political sociopaths, or else terrified for another reason, one that can be conveyed in two dreadful words: President and Harris

As is the case with the individual, the breakthrough of primitive emotion reveals what the defense mechanism had been defending against: individuals and groups inhabit fantasies of various kinds in order to ward off the emotions they would feel in their absence. When it happens to an individual, it's called "decompensation." When it happens to a group, it's called... 

I don't know if there's a specific word for it, but one can certainly see the effects of the crumbling group fantasy. But only those who weren't plugged into the fantasy can perceive it. Readers of this blog -- trolls excepted -- never adopted the delusion that Biden is in full possession of his faculties. We've been full of dread since last November, with no comforting delusions to distance ourselves from the cold hard facts of life. 

For us it hasn't been a matter of "if" but when: when will reality and delusion collide? In one sense we've drawn comfort from the truism that what cannot go on will not go on. Still, it's always a shock when it suddenly ceases to go on. This doesn't happen to other animals, only humans. Rabbits don't convince themselves that coyotes are their friends so they can go about their lives in peace. 

But in the past week or two, millions of Americans have been shocked to learn that their president is a cognitively diminished husk of his former mediocrity, truly incapable of leading a Cub Scout troop, much less the military. When did this happen? And why so suddenly? Poor Jill Biden! Her husband was so strong and vibrant just seven months ago, when he was sworn in!

The power of denial. 

Let's leave politics per se aside and go to the deeper metaphysics of it all. Again, other animals don't have this problem. Why? How are human beings different?

Ultimately it has to do with the distinction between appearances and reality. (Ortho)paradoxically, a properly functioning human being lives in neither, but rather, in the tension between these poles. This hardly mean reality doesn't exist. Rather, it exists and we know it exists, but we can never know the thing itself in its totality. This latter is reserved for God -- or, if you prefer to leave him out of it, just the nonlocal sponsor, or Principle, of our intellection.

It is possible, however, to live in the -- or a, rather -- world of appearances. Every ideology, for example, is but appearance, some more ludicrous than others. Why do people choose to inhabit this or that ideology, e.g., feminism, or environmentalism, or progressive wokeism? There's no specific answer, since people are motivated by different unconscious agendas. But generally speaking, it's in order to make the bad feelings go away. Remember?

Yes, but so many of these ideologies are the cause of bad feelings. Look at all the kids who are depressed because they think the world is going to end because of global warming, or the blacks who think they're being persecuted by imaginary white supremacists, or feminists who fantasize that their happiness is thwarted by Big Daddy, et al.

As we mentioned in the previous post, this is where the personal and political intersect: if I've got a lot of personal issues, the culture provides a menu ideologies to help me articulate and contain them. For example, if I'm a typical depressed woman, I can project it out into the Patriarchy, thus distancing myself from my dysphoria while nurturing a false sense of control and even hope for a cure: I'd be so damn happy and fulfilled if it weren't for those toxic men! 

Look at the ridiculous buffoon General Milley. The world is a dangerous place. Enemies are everywhere, and we don't mean loitering grannies, Ashli Babbitt, or the QAnon Shaman -- rather, people who will happily commit suicide if they can just bring a few Christians with them. No wonder he seeks refuge in the safety of his own delusions:

I want to understand white rage, and I’m white, and I want to understand it.

Wait, you want to understand yourself? Why not just go into therapy? Why involve the whole military in your Daddy issues?

Me? I know why I'm angry. And I'm always angry; or rather, given the human condition, there are always reasons to be angry.  #1, this isn't heaven and never will be. #2, people aren't perfect and never will be. #3, come to think of it, people are inclined to evil and always will be. 

Memo to this thoroughly postmodern Milley: if you really want to externalize your anger, might I suggest Islamist rage? That should be enough to keep you busy for the next millennium or so.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Lazy Raccoon

No, not the tavern in Bismarck, North Dakota, but just me, too lazy to post anything more than a disorganized jumble of otherwise fine insultainment

Multiculturalism just means multiple standards, which happily for the left redounds to no standards at all.

I can't think of a term for the promise of liberation from one's own nature. Only the source.

Psycho-political viruses, unlike their material analogues, evolve to kill the host. 

Transcendence can never be eliminated from the human state, which always exists in the space between it and immanence. Progressivism pretends to deny it while seeking it from below, in pre-rational instinct, feeling, and dissolution of ego into the hivemind. 

New word: Tyranniscendence

Leftism always involves delusions of transcendence in one form or another. What was Obama and his grandiose promises of fundamental change! but a ridiculous, almost slapstick, dream? For the left it doesn't get better than that, and yet, in the end it amounted to nothing. A reminder that there is no political cure for man, and that believing so only makes a man worse than he already is.

Younger readers may not know this, but liberals -- back when Bob was one of them -- used to question authority, embrace reason, and vigorously defend freedom of speech. Now they do the opposite, but retain the brandname. It reminds me of how they still call it Coca-Cola, even though they removed cocaine from the formula in 1929. 

Being a knowledge worker is fine, but today the real money is in ignorance work. It's why half the wealthiest counties in the U.S. surround the imperial capital, and indeed why we have a president who literally knows nothing.

Much of the appeal of progressivism comes down to the joy of contempt. It compensates for the bitterness of envy.   

If only the Resistance could resist indoctrination. Yes, and if only Antifa could resist fascism, or BLM racism.

The '60s was the first decade in which we had more college students than farmers. After that our fate was sealed.

That's also the decade when black elites joined hands with white statists to destroy the black family and ensure a permanent voting bloc. As with ignorance work, the big money is in poverty.

The personal is the political. Translation: the pathological is the political. Hence microaggressions, wokeness, trigger warnings, censorship, cancel culture, et al.

What is the root cause of seeking "root causes"? Denial of free will teleologically ordered to the Good.

What is the first principle of unprincipled postmodern relativism? Denial of the free intellect teleologically ordered to the True.

The Democrat party is an alliance of the top and bottom against the middle. The purpose of eliminating our southern border is to flood the bottom with enough low-IQ parasites to declare permanent victory. Things will get interesting when the unintended consequences inevitably swamp the intended.  

Identity politics is a 5,000 year regression to a time when man's identity, loyalty, meaning, and authority revolved around the tribe. Proving that the "progressive" universe is both closed and circular. 

In contrast, our cosmos is an open spiral, which is the foundation of any conceivable progress.

Must there always be a Sacrifice? Yes, but it can be either His way or his way. What we're seeing in Afghanistan is his way. Come to think of it, the road to Utopia is paved with human sacrifice, every time.

There is no surpassing the principle of Equality under the law. The current arrangement of equity under the lawless is but one small step for the left but a giant leap backward for mankind. 

Any academic department with the modifier "studies" is geared to students for whom no amount of study could result in mastery of a real subject. Whole academic departments had to be invented for certain genders, races, ethnic groups, and sexual deviants. It begs the question of why Asians are so good at white European studies.

25 years ago, Alan Sokal proved to the satisfaction of the left wing reviewers that gravity is a linguistic construct.  In such a universe it isn't difficult to understand how men can give birth, how we can power our economy with renewable energy, how the government can print trillions of dollars without causing inflation, and how defunding the police will reduce crime.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Fascism is the New Liberalism

I'm just sitting here waiting for Dementia Joe to give his Remarks on Our Ongoing Efforts in Afghanistan. As usual he's late, so I'm gonna pass the time by free associating on the passing scene.

I'm a big believer in intersectionality -- specifically, the intersection of stupidity and viciousness, AKA progressive wokeism.  

The left's dictatorship of relativism is one way to escape from the tyranny of reality -- of merit, standards, and intelligence.  

The massive rise in the educated class over the past half century in no way tracks with a rise in intelligence, since the latter is constrained by genetics. There are always cognitive elites, and it is the task of the progressive education establishment to make it more difficult to identify them. It's very much like inflation: flood the intellectual market with paper credentials, and they're no longer worth anything.

Our knowledge class has neither. 

Increased mass education correlates with the shocking increase in mass illiteracy. The left is making it official by insisting it is racist to require high school graduates to be literate and numerate. Equity in a nutshell: if we can't make everyone equally intelligent, at least we can make them equally ignorant.

For Siegel, "the 60s" wasn't a decade, but rather, more of an era that hasn't yet ended. To be sure, the old liberalism ended -- we can argue over when, but Siegel picks 1972, with the McGovern nomination. Although he lost the presidential election in a landslide, his side has increasingly dominated the Democrat party ever since. 

Biden has been around so long that he now believes the opposite of what he did 50 years ago (for example, he used to pretend to be against racial discrimination), but with no explanation. This amount of cognitive dissonance would kill a normal man. How does he do it? Yes, dementia surely helps, but something else is needed to explain how an entire party can become proudly illiberal while still calling itself liberal.

I suppose deconstruction helps, in that it severs the link between words and reality. Therefore, words mean whatever we want them to mean. Language becomes entirely expedient, in service to political power. The rest is commentary.

I don't want to get too far afield, but it's very much like end-stage nominalism, which entails the utter loss (or effacement, rather) of transcendent reality -- a reality upon which our nation is founded, including such perennial realities as natural law, natural rights, and just nature, period, as in the nature of things

Quite simply, postmodernism is the denial of essences. The rest is commentary. And it couldn't be easier: detach, say, "sexual identity" from biological reality, and anything is possible. 

But you will have noticed that they nevertheless draw necessarily arbitrary distinctions of various kinds, distinctions that their principles do not permit. On what principled basis can a man not marry his pet, or his toaster? Why can I not identify as black? In one one sense it comes down to majority rule -- that is, just get five justices to agree with you. 

But this can be further reduced to the rule of one person, i.e., the Almighty Fifth Vote. And people say the Pope has too much power, and that "papal infallibility" is absurd! But for the left, there is no principle preventing the Fifth Justice from infallibly ruling that men are women, such that biological reality -- AKA reality -- is against the law. 

It's just a matter of time before the Catholic Church -- the first and last bastion of natural law -- is declared illegal. Which would represent paganism coming full circle and making a frontal assault on the very foundation of western civilization.  

Indeed, that's how I would proceed if I were the devil: don't mess around with effects, go straight to the cause. The only surprise is that they haven't yet ruled the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional because it anchors our rights in the Creator. For that matter, the Constitution renders itself unconstitutional by virtue of its talk of the "blessings" of liberty. Those blessings com from God, so they negate what follows.

"Today's identity politics took hold of liberalism in 1972" (Siegel). He mentions, oh by the way, that there were in excess of 1,900 terror bombings in the U.S. that year, none by white supremacists or by QAnon, whatever that is. One of terrorists also helped launch Obama's political career. At least he's consistent, in that it too was a bomb.

Yesterday, one of Cuomo's last acts as governor was to pardon another liberal terrorist, David Gilbert. The progressive circle of death!

"It has been largely forgotten," writes Siegel, "but for the left of the 1960s it was liberals and not conservatives who were their primary enemy." Correction: still are their primary enemy, except now we're called fascists, white supremacists, and insurrectionists.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Nothing Human is Alien to Me, and It Doesn't Get Worse than That

What comes first, ideas or things? Let's consult an eminent and highly influential left wing philosopher:

For Foucault, a gay man who saw AIDS as a social construct rather than a physiological disease, reality did not exist. "Language is all there is" (Siegel, Sidebar).

I know what you're thinking: didn't this deviant lunatic die of AIDS? Indeed he did, but "death" is just a social construct -- just a word that points to another word. We are enclosed in a circle of language from which even death offers no escape: to paraphrase Orwell, imagine the liberal narrative stifling our curiosity forever:

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always... always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever.

In an unintended sense Foucault is correct: language is all that is; for it is one of the names of God, AKA logos. We could say that God is both source and substance of the Word, without which language is strictly impossible, literally inconceivable. In other words, like everything else, language cannot be without a reason for being. 

For the fatuous Foucault, the sufficient reason of language is power. End of story. Of course, he is half-correct, in that this has always been true of the left (another case of bad philosophy reducing to unwitting autobiography): the common denominator of all left wing policies is the expansion of state power. It's what relieves them of the formalities of fact, logic, principle, and even plausibility. 

For example, what is the principle that unites such disparate items as, say, climate change, COVID hysteria, the redefinition of marriage, state-mandated racial discrimination, transgender rights, and the imaginary wage gap? Correct: each is a pretext for the concentration and extension of state power. For if the state can force us to pretend a man can marry a man, or that men can give birth, there is nothing it can't do.  

Back to the opening question: where do we begin our epistemological ascent, with ideas or things, concepts or objects? We won't re-belabor the point, because even if you have a hard time understanding how traditional realism can be true, we can eliminate the alternative because it leads straight to absurdity. Being that absurdity is ruled out, we are left with the traditional non-absurd principle that knowledge begins in the senses. 

Besides, the notion that words only point to other words is so preposterous that one would have to be mad or even irreversibly tenured to believe it. And we use the word "pre-post-erous" advisedly, because deconstruction reverses the order of pre and post: in reality, words are existentially posterior to things, even though, at the same time(lessness), the Word, AKA logos, is ontologically anterior to things. 

I hope this makes sense: if the world is intelligible to intelligence -- which it self-evidently is -- then there must be a reason. The sufficient reason of each is the logos that pervades and illuminates being. We could say that modernity is merely a rebellion against this principle, while postmodernity is an outright revolution against it.

When did this revolution get underway? Our usual answer is Genesis 3 (All Over Again), which is true as far as it goes. But revelation goes to ontological, vertical, and principial truths, not horizontal, historical, and contingent ones per se. 

Let's ask Fred Siegel, whose latest book, The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump, offers a likely story. Which, by the way goes to the definition of history, which is a plausible narrative linking event-objects: a likely story

And just because no story is perfectly adequate to the events, it hardly means that some stories aren't more likely than others. The same descent into relativism makes leftists believe that no culture is worse than any other (except for our uniquely bad White European Patriarchal Christian Slave culture).  

By the way, analogous to what was said above about the logos, we could say the same vis-a-vis profane history and salvation history: history is One Big Story, and Christ is -- or so we have heard from the wise -- the key that unlocks it. Notice, for example, how the Apostles used this very key to illuminate the Old Testament. Without the Inkeynation, it's somewhat impenetrable.

Apologies to our Jewish friends, who obviously see things differently. Not to veer off on a tangent, but we're not so different, you and I. This is from one of my favorite little books, Honey from the Rock by Lawrence Kushner:

For the word is very near to you....

It is to begin with, all inside us. But because we are all miniature versions of the universe, it is also found far beyond. And because we are all biologically and spiritually part of the first man, the place preceded us. And because we all carry within us the genotype and vision of the last man, the place is foretold in us.

Very Coonish! Touching on what was said above about Likely Stories, he writes that

The great stories did not happen to the masters of old alone. They happen to us. You and I. This moment. A tale unfolds.

It is only that we have lost the narrative element of our existence. 

True, he can at times be a bit new-agey, but the underlying principle is sound.

Back to Siegel. Like us, he is an old-fashioned liberal, not the malevolent illiberal progressive kind: for his liberalism 

is focused not on addressing postmodern concerns such as transgender rights, recasting American democracy as primarily an instrument of racist oppression, or the need for draconian steps to address climate change and the pandemic (Kotkin).

Rather, he "wants something more prosaic: the opportunity of ordinary, and extraordinary, people to get ahead in life." Same.  So what prevents this? 

Yes, you could say "the left," but in my opinion, this doesn't go far enough, for the real problem is human nature -- especially a metaphysically untutored human nature that is naive and even blind to the nature of human nature. Really, left and right can be distinguished by their antithetical visions of human nature. 

We, of course, believe Man Writ Large is a lousy sonofabitch, even while he is an Image of God. We are inveterate underachievers, to put it mildly, always living beneath ourselves. 

The left implicitly believes the same (even while denying the existence of human nature, much less its Creator), except they project the lousy SOB into America, Toxic Males, deplorable Christians, irredeemable Trumpians, etc. 

The point is, leftism is like human nature only worse, for reasons we'll get into. To cite one especially obvious example, human beings are uniquely susceptible to envy. Envy was socially adaptive in the small bands through which we evolved in prehistory, but nowadays it's as useful as is our appendix. 

Therefore, envy is something that needs to be transcended, not politically nurtured and indulged.  For to indulge it is merely to awaken a barbaric and precivilized primate, or maybe you haven't seen what the left has done to our inner cities. Antifa is just masked envy clad in black and living in mother's basement -- pure destruction of things others have built. 

I'll have to continue this tomorrow or Tuesday. I need to run some errands.