Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

Archive for August 5th, 2011

E’reway Inway The Oneymay

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2011/08/05

Seems oddly fitting to see Ginger Rogers sing that song in Pig Latin during this timeframe.


Posted in economics, history, music | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on E’reway Inway The Oneymay

But, but, but, this wasn’t supposed to happen if we raised the debt ceiling!

Posted by Dana Pico on 2011/08/05

Reuters Top News

@Reuters Reuters Top News

From the PuffHo:

The U.S. government reportedly expects the rating of U.S. debt to be downgraded by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s, according to ABC News. U.S. debt currently holds a triple-A credit rating, the highest possible.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed an agreement to raise the debt ceiling of the U.S., after a political dispute that lasted for months.

UPDATE 7:10 p.m.: S&P is reconsidering its position on a potential U.S. credit downgrade after the Obama administration challenged the credit rating agency’s economic model, CNN reports, citing a senior Obama Administration official, who said the analysis was off by “trillions” of dollars.

Politico’s Ben White tweets the supposed errors are said to display “incompetence.”

You think that continuing to borrow and borrow and borrow, and then borrow some more to pay off past borrowing, just might have something to do with this?

Our friends on the left have been fond of saying that we aren’t in Greece’s position; Standard & Poors is saying that’s right, but we’re on the road to it.

Posted in economics, politics, Tax, TEA Party | 2 Comments »

Trying to peek inside …

Posted by DNW on 2011/08/05

A rough and preliminary exercise in sympathetic imagination and in drawing conclusions from the reading.

We have all experienced an “ah ha” moment when we thought we had gained some breakthrough insight into the hidden motivations or ultimate goal of some program. This usually occurs after working its effects backwards to what we surmised must be it’s purpose, or at least to a hidden conditioning state; only to then find out later that this information was openly available all along.

We just didn’t know it.

This doesn’t mean that every human exercise in the drawing of such inferences, and more importantly perhaps implications from those inferences, is a valid or even sane one which turns out to have been obvious on other grounds.

Political progressives are for example, notoriously and often comically observed as engaging in the imaginary and crazy uncovering of all manner of wild supposed conspiracies. These are usually plans to kill old people or destroy the earth, or set up a fascist state. They are “deduced” on the basis of some evidence such as that a certain number of their fellow citizens believe themselves to be taxed enough already and balk at paying more. Apply progressive interpretive axioms and the pudding is cooked.

Now, a somewhat more plausible parallel case could in fact be made out regarding the motives of the political left. Which leads us to wonder if they are not merely projecting.

It’s no secret after all, that the left has long – since Marx, and Lenin after him at least – pursued an explicit strategy of destroying their classical liberal enemies from within, by means of using the social and political instrumentalities of the classically liberal polity against itself.

Those among you who asked what could possibly be better designed to collapse dual federalism into a unitary welfare state beneath the weight of redistributionist policy, than that which the Democrat party and it’s progressive wing were already trying to implement in law and policy, have had the grim satisfaction of being reminded of the so-called Cloward-Piven agenda. However imperfect in execution, it’s clear that for many on the left, the intent was there all along. As with leftist sociologists, so we have seen it is with leftist social workers, leftist lawyers, and leftist doctors.

Now, in the scenario described above, there is one common assumption used by both the right, and, at least superficially, by the progressive/left. That assumption is the role or place of the concept of human intentionality as a kind of end-directed cause.

Yet of Aristotle’s famous four: final, formal, material, and efficient, only the efficient cause if any, say philosophers, is still recognized as a legitimate heuristic concept by people generally, and maybe loosely, identified as materialists.

This state of intellectual affairs is no new phenomenon. It dates back, as most everyone bothering to glance at these kind of remarks knows, to the 17th century at least.

So what happens when we try to take the Humean formulation “really really” seriously and to follow the navigation charts drawn by a sympathizer like say, Jeremy Bentham, to modern times?

Well, we arrive in progressive land, naturally.

Since, as the law prohibits it, we can’t cut the inhabitants’ heads open in order to look inside, and the visible contents might not tell us much if we did, we have to try and gain our insight by other means.

What follows, is the result of a few moments of reflection on the mental furnishings of a hypothetical run-of-the-mill-political progressive, the evolved product of the spiritual voyage they have undertaken.

It’s an attempt to informally exercize a sympathetic imagination based on what they themselves say about their own perspectives; while simultaneously bracketing any affirmations and exploring for those potentially broader implictions that are not generally proclaimed aloud by the citizens of progressive land.

What does it mean then, to be a progressive when it comes to a psychological discipleship that identifies the good with pleasure, as Bentham did? What potential extrapolations can be made regarding a modern progressive, who affirms this general outlook?

First we have to remember something important: Don’t ask why.

“Why?”, is not taken to be a useful question, unless we are excusing terrorist attacks on people we don’t like.

Not only, as most college sophomores understand, does it covertly taint questions about the material world with the scent of intentionality where no such end cause can be scientifically justified; we can go further: Minds, even human minds, don’t have proven intentions in any sense that cannot be explained by antecedent material causes described by states in the brain which are in turn wholly determined by other antecendent material causes. There is no why …. anywhere.

Minds of the free-will intention forming kind, don’t actually exist. Therefore, intentions as the products of such minds, do not exist.

The average progressive would call that the substance of a modus tollens argument, if the average progressive knew what a modus tollens argument was.

Regarding what is? Well, it just is.

To think otherwise, is to look backwards as if at the trail a snail has left, and then to imagine that it was a road planned to somewhere.

Raw and insupportable teleology of the clockwork universe kind aside, even the more limited kind admitted by Mayr is indefensible, to wit: Teleonomy: biology :: Anthropic principle : Universe

This interpretively corrected state of affairs implies [is taken to imply] that the true picture of the nature of human morals is the Utilitarian one.

Utilitarianism is both a conception of what it means to make statements concering good and bad, and a sociopolitical scheme for bringing about a human state of affairs which aligns with that conception.

The conditioning principle is that Good is simply and irreducibly a name for Pleasure; and Bad is simply and irreducibly a name for Pain.

That is all there is to it. There is no deeper reasoning possible.

Do bear in mind however, that pleasure experienced by people you do not care about is nonetheless somehow objectively Good, and the experience of pain by people you do not care about or are unconnected to, is Bad. Or maybe this formulation isn’t really objectively true. But nonetheless, those who deny it are certainly misanthropes. Which, i.e., being a misanthropist, isn’t really objectively good or bad in itself either, of course. It’s wrong to kill the annoying man, but only after we have decided it’s wrong.

But isn’t it wrong to kill him and cut him off from pleasure?

Not so fast there, amigo.

Nor, can one, go so far as to say that this goodness of pleasure implies that it is good to be in order that one can have the pleasure experience, and bad not to be, because then there is not a one to enjoy the experience.

The analysis ends according to the definitional rule, with Pleasure in Itself as the Good; and not with pleasure identified as a signal regarding an ulterior good concerning the state of affairs of some experiencing being or another.

The maintenance of the experiencing subject is then not to be identified with the good; just as pleasure per se cannot be taken as implying the “goodness” of the existence of some vessel capable of experiencing it.

Since further legitimate analysis is cut short by the rules on the first page of the no-teleology don’t-ask-why interpretive game, the good of pleasure is justified only by the fact that it is pleasure, and not because it signals some state of affairs that is conducive to the maintenance of an imagined greater good such as the continued being of a being. [Please, calm down and remember to ignore any logical incoherence in the run-of-the-mill progressives argument. Recall that I am reproducing it (casually) and pondering (loosely) it’s implications, not asserting any original validity]. To resume, any such move adverting to a back story, if allowed, might lead to teleonomic, if not full blown teleological schema of interpretation

So then, taking a breath, and stepping back: what actually happens to the moral subject on this progressivist-utilitarian theory of the “good”?

It appears on the face of it, and if we hew to the rules they have set up, that the existence of the subject, following the utilitarian interpretive schema, disappears from the moral equation as part of the good, and reappears as merely a locus for its (Pleasure’s) appearance.

The locus being outside of, or beyond the domain of the good conceived of as pleasure, has then no claims to be made within that framework which defines good and bad. Regarding the preservation of its own status as a locus for the appearance of pleasure, i.e., the good, it has no claim to make against the good so defined.

Those that do, do; those that don’t, don’t. The rest is just feelings.

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must pass over in silence.” Ohhhhmmmmmm

Posted in funny business, Liberal, Philosophy, politics | 3 Comments »

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