Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

Recommended reading, Rorty in a nutshell

Posted by DNW on 2013/04/27


In a nutshell

In a nutshell

There are some books, whether you agree with the perspective or not, that are just so useful in epitomizing a particular matter or worldview that they become necessary reading.

This book, “Contingency, irony, and solidarity”, published way back in 1989, is one of those books. In it Rorty does the average man an immense favor by clearly and unambiguously laying out the operating assumptions of at least one version of the post-modern liberal project.

Of course just what post-moderrnism is, is somewhat in dispute, as a glance at the Wiki editorial history shows. Nonetheless, with an appropriate shrug at the disciples of irony and deconstruction, this 2010 Wiki description (and post modernists are all about description and subversive redescriptrion) serves as well as many I have seen:

Postmodernism is a tendency in contemporary culture characterized by the problematisation of objective truth and inherent suspicion towards global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. It involves the belief that many, if not all, apparent realities are only social constructs, as they are subject to change inherent to time and place. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, and motivations …

This blurb from the back of the book may help as well.

Back Cover

 

So, what else is new, you ask? This book was written 24 or more years ago!

We’ve (you say) been confronting modern-liberals for decades now who seemingly cannot or will not explain how it is that they derive their conclusion that we must yield to their direction, from their seemingly – or so we infer – ultimately nihilistic worldviews.

Yet it is a fact that we continue to ask how it is that they think this all works. How, we want to know, do they get an affirmative conclusion, or an imperative statement, from what must be, when we take their other descriptions of reality into account, negative (metaphysical, ontological, logical, take your pick)  premisses?

Well, this book explains how it is done. Here’s the secret. The secret is that there is no secret. There are no inferences derived. There are no deductions believed to be entailed. It’s all just what they want according to their own, particular sensibilities. Just as we figured.

The point of view is anti-foundational, anti essentialist, nominalist, i.e., anti essential natures and natural kinds, in extreme. Therefore there are [so they believe] no real and objectively existing universals to even fill their places in universal categorical propositions.

Nice to see one of the princes of the pack admit it so clearly.  Yet, the blithe nature of the admission made those decades ago, confirms what nearly everyone – not just intellectuals – by now intuits directly: that the modern political left, so steeped as it is in this theory of meaning,  cannot really be argued with.

Let Limbaugh fume that words have meanings. The opposition shrug and say ‘our meanings are different from yours’.

With them, it’s not as we have repeatedly inferred, a matter of dis-covering an objective reality and reasoning from axioms based on it . What is at issue as far as they are concerned are their sensitivities and their imaginations and their desires: and your reality will bend to their narrative and program, or else.

This is not the place to examine just where their belief system degenerates into incoherence.  I am not sure that incoherence or what is an admitted self-reference problem is even a troubling issue with someone whose notion of “truth” is,

” … that since truth is a property of sentences, [notice it doesn’t say ‘propositions’ or arguments*] since sentences are dependent for their existence upon vocabularies, and since vocabularies are made by human beings, so are truths.”

Why should it? He just previous to that writes,

“The very idea that the world or the self has an intrinsic nature … is a remnant of the idea that the world is a divine creation, the work of someone who had something in mind, who Himself spoke some language in which He described His own project … [then later] On the view I am suggesting, the claim that an adequate ‘philosophical’ doctrine must make room for our intuitions [meaning immediate apprehensions of reality] is a reactionary slogan …”

As I said, you will probably not find a more concise,  lucid, and unabashed exposition of the doctrines we confront every day as the solidarity pedlars steadily gnaw away at our formal liberties in the supposed name of relieving suffering and humiliation and exclusion –  but of just what exactly, they cannot and feel they need not, say.

Thinking back, many of us will say that this entire matter feels like a rehash. Wasn’t the debate over the bankruptcy of post-modernism and deconstruction held back in the early nineteen nineties in the universities, the important journals, and the big papers? Didn’t Alan Sokal make public fools of them? Didn’t they fold up their tents and kind of go away?

Yes, yes, and no. They not only didn’t not go away, the theorist of 25 years ago has clearly written the psychic program that the modern-liberal Democrat runs today.

From academia to the street and polling booth  in a couple decades.

Once upon a time, even Democrats referred to a common reality, imagined that humans had a moral center in addition to inchoate urges, and could be thought to understand the difference between truth and falsehood and to at least know in their consciences if they were lying or not.

Only a fool  would make that assumption now.

 

* Note. Rorty was involved, his curriculum vitae reports, in analytic philosophy before abandoning it for a kind of deconstructive and ironic pragmatism. Therefore he well knows the traditional conceptual difference between a proposition and a sentence, and his use of “sentence” is, for those of us not yet familiar with him, pregnant with meaning and intent and back references. Get the book … cheap from a remainder bin or used book shop if you can.

28 Responses to “Recommended reading, Rorty in a nutshell”

  1. AOTC said

    the book, at first glance looks a little above my cerebral capacity but i will take your advice and give it a look. if i can stomach it. what i recognize as postmodernism almost makes me ill these days.

    my broad understanding is that they have all gone mad, full on crazy, actually.

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  2. DNW said

    Don’t buy it new.

    I paid 5 bucks at a used book shop for an unused copy. I’ll also work up a series of direct quotes with page numbers so that you can further determine if you’re interested.

    In my opinion having a copy of this text is like having a copy of Michael Bellesiles fraud filled book “Arming America”: useful as a reference point when the hand flappers begin hyperventilating that you have overstated the case when describing the left, its mindset and its aims.

    Not to say that Rorty was engaging in the same kind of conscious duplicity Bellesiles was judged as having been guilty of. But what Rorty did do was to draw together the main impulses, themes, and theories of the anti-essentailist movement, and encapsulate them in a way that clearly and unambiguously outlined their program, or method, for social (and therefore human *, on their view) restructuring.

    * If you think as they do that “socialization goes all the way down”, and you re-describe what the terms of social life have been and shall be, and hector and finagle until you successfully reset the social terms of what is considered “privileged” and what is thought brutishly outre, you will on your own theory be remaking man … whether it is actually true or not.

    And even if it is not true quite as imagined, one could expect a certain herd culling effect if only certain types of individualism, say, sexual as opposed to economic, were legally allowed. In other words, the cost of reproduction for the disfavored economic libertarian, would become quite high, as their life energies were redirected though law and coercive takings away from their own private interests to “alleviating marginalization and cruelty”.

    Now though, if you are a radical nominalist and if you don’t believe that there is an objective human nature, it seems to me a bit less than obvious what the word “cruelty” itself might mean in any “objective sense”.

    But I guess if you are a postmodernist, concerns like that don’t really have much force. “Cruelty” is what a postmodernist is determined and persistent enough to describe it as; be it deliberately starving children, or refusing to fund and applaud an “artistic” absurdity which some annoying neurotic has fixated upon.

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  3. DNW said

    AOTC says,

    “my broad understanding is that they have all gone mad, full on crazy, actually.”

    They certainly have cut loose from any of what we would think of as traditional moorings.

    I also notice that John referenced this issue back in June of 2011, with a link to a YouTube video by a famous Evangelical who was, as far as I can tell, characterizing postmodernism rather than citing “canonical” texts. .

    What I should probably do is revisit the entire series and look for names being named.

    I see that you and I, (AOTC and I) had a couple of previous exchanges on this matter, and I specifically referenced not only Rorty, but also Old Perry’s attitude toward “truth” and standards as something of a paradigm case and everyday level exemplar.

    “Full on Crazy” or morally mad, might not be a bad description.

    https://truthbeforedishonor.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/postmodernism-sucks/

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  4. AOTC said

    ha! i forgot about that thread till now.

    wow, that was pretty awesome.

    so, is “perry, in my view” still out there somewhere irritating all whom come in contact with him?

    geez, what a tool.

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  5. DNW said

    AOTC said
    2013/05/01 at 16:46 e

    ha! i forgot about that thread till now.

    wow, that was pretty awesome.

    so, is “perry, in my view” still out there somewhere irritating all whom come in contact with him?

    geez, what a tool.

    I really was not and still am not largely familiar with this Ravi fellow, but I took a look at the relevant YouTube series and I’d say that it is in the second part where he presents an avowedly sketchy overview of the road to postmodernism. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlmqXiqargw&feature=player_detailpage#t=63s

    Rorty in his book basically admits that the academic class in the United States and the Western world in general, has adopted a thoroughgoing values nihilism of which the general public is still largely unaware and would baffle it.

    When thinking about it at all, those disapproving of the smell, understandably refer to it as “relativism”, when it is in fact a very much deeper skepticism about all of reality and human existence.

    Yet, ordinary people do also gradually adopt the stance, even without necessarily having been trained in the particular philosophical outlook which shaped the original values nihilism claim structure. They just cease to care about meaning as they become preoccupied with ensuring their ease.

    However, ensuring their ease in a world where labor is still required to draw wealth from the earth, entails guaranteeing that they have access more or less at will to those who actually do the wealth producing. Which is why mere tolerance is no good to them: they require your affirmation and participation and involvement and risk sharing and open ended commitment to a “shared fate” (Rawls) lest you ignore them and go about your own projects.

    Totalitarianism (call it for now the soft variety if you want) is then the natural outgrowth of a hedonic armchair nihilism which plots to savor its pleasures for longer than its private resources or its ability to attract contributions voluntarily, would normally allow.

    What else can they do in order to get what they want, but turn all society into a redistribution machine run for the sake of their ultimately purposeless purposes?

    What strikes me as remarkable is how they incoherently “justify” it on the basis of a mere “taste”; which is, as they describe it, one of expressing solidarity with supposed “fellow sufferers”.

    The undercutting effect on this proposition of their own nominalism aside, (a nominalism which if taken seriously makes identifications based on universally applied identities impossible in principle) the additional question of how they balance sufferings is wildly funny.

    How for example do they determine just who is suffering, and then calculate relative deservingness while balancing, say, the “suffering” of an unappreciated thespian desirous of government funding, with that of a libertarian who’s suffocating beneath the demands piled up by the trembling and unappreciated sufferers of the left?

    That’s the kind of “problem” which would make their absurd ironist-solidarity buffoonery merely comical, if these no-limits cretins were not in fact so deadly in earnest, so uninhibitedly grasping, and therefore, dangerous.

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  6. AOTC said

    as far as christian apologists, i really enjoy ravi. i can understand what he says because his delivery paints a picture i can see in my head. i like cs lewis for similar reasons. i think William Lane Craig is probably the best apologist i have heard, but i cant put his words into pictures as easily so he is harder for me to understand. he deconstructs the deconstructionists in short order heh. . you have to have a sharp understanding of his references, i think that puts me at a disadvantage.

    for me, a very eye opening political description of what is now called liberalism is the following series.. i am struck by the inherent similarity of themes the christian apologists and then buckly and minogue use to explain what seems the same foe. i see a connection but cannot explain it. in fact your paragraph sums up the essence of the thing i see.

    “””” However, ensuring their ease in a world where labor is still required to draw wealth from the earth, entails guaranteeing that they have access more or less at will to those who actually do the wealth producing. Which is why mere tolerance is no good to them: they require your affirmation and participation and involvement and risk sharing and open ended commitment to a “shared fate” (Rawls) lest you ignore them and go about your own projects””‘.

    it’s essentially evil. evil being a parasite and not the original thing. (cs lewis)

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  7. DNW said

    AOTC says,

    ” … i really enjoy ravi. i can understand what he says because his delivery paints a picture i can see in my head. i like cs lewis for similar reasons. … i am struck by the inherent similarity of themes the christian apologists and then buckly and minogue use to explain what seems the same foe.”

    Good video.

    If you are familiar with CS Lewis, then you probably see some parallels between the relationships among the devils portrayed in “The Screwtape Letters” and a large swath of those now labeling themselves as liberals. They are ostensibly all about alleviating “suffering”; but their means inevitably become totalitarian, and their system a rigged game of centralized privilege dispensation.

    “Yield to us”, they demand.

    “In aid of exactly what?” we ask. They have after all, and on their own interpretation deconstructed the person into a loose congerie of impulses – not even an existentially coherent being. So what is it they expect “the other” they are always whining about, to recognize or respect in them, and why?

    Their answer of course is “just because” – reasoning about or to intrinsic ends having been abandoned by them long ago.

    Remember that angry little librarian clown from New Zealand? Remember how he once became indignant at what he apparently felt was the indifference being expressed by conservatives toward the fate of the liberal kind; and how when his buddy Perry was asked why such hypothetical indifference might a problem, he stood in and took up the cudgel instead, and began ranting that not caring about the fate of liberals and their pets was wrong, or bad or something, because “people matter”.

    I then asked Perry if all people mattered, and if so, if all people mattered equally. His unwary answer was “No”.

    End of that line of inquiry and discussion, then. What on those terms is left to discuss? Who should be considered to matter less by whom, and why?

    I then asked the librarian why people mattered.

    Silence.

    Ultimately, the only response you get from a modern-liberal is the noise they make while gnawing on the bones of their victims.

    If there is no hell, liberals will be forced to invent one. It’s the only place they can really be happy.

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  8. AOTC said

    yes, i do see the parallels you referenced regarding lewis’ screwtape letters. interestingly, another of cs lewis’ books, “The Problem Of Pain”, addresses the idea of human suffering you mentioned earlier. And, while Lewis discusses it from a position as a believer in God, there is no doubt one can starkly see the line of demarcation separating liberal and conservative political prescriptions regarding the human condition. It is ironic how leftists accuse the conservative worldview of individuality gone extreme, when in fact their worldview is based on total autonomy of the individual (a corrupt version of the individual) and that whatever they deem for themselves is ‘the way it is’. consequently, in reality, the conservative worldview is decidedly more community minded. the left has totally distorted the meaning of unity in diversity, has latched on to a good thing and devised its own version. like i mentioned upthread, evil is not original, it’s just a parasite on goodness.

    that same vein of irony exists in the leftist prescription for ‘doing good”

    i have always puzzled at liberal “do-goodery”. in modern liberalism, ’causes’ are really never about an individual, except where an individual can be trotted out for a public appearance to further the political gain of liberalism. the left’s claim to care about others, seems, merely ‘the claim’. before i even knew there was such things as politics, i understood about caring for people because of my dad. he, countless times, aided people in need. he never once crowed about it. he never once expected anything in return. he sacrificed for others one person or family at a time. he knew their names. his charity was never a ‘program’ it was how he lived.

    i really enjoy cs lewis. his writings are astonishingly revealing politically. while not actually political. he also captures the wonder, the possibilities, and the longing that is what is being human.

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  9. Eric said

    I’m a little late to this party.

    I’ll wager, 20 years from now, no one will know (or care) who this Rorty was.

    Heck, I’ll wager that, at present, 98% of humanity neither knows (nor cares) who he is NOW.

    He’s another academic blowhard preaching to other academic blowhards. He has nothing of value to say to any normal person.

    I think it was Churchill who said that the reason academic fights are so vicious is because the things being fought over are of so little importance.

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  10. DNW said

    Eric said
    2013/05/28 at 01:38 e

    I’m a little late to this party.

    I’ll wager, 20 years from now, no one will know (or care) who this Rorty was.

    Heck, I’ll wager that, at present, 98% of humanity neither knows (nor cares) who he is NOW.

    He’s another academic blowhard preaching to other academic blowhards. He has nothing of value to say to any normal person.

    I think it was Churchill who said that the reason academic fights are so vicious is because the things being fought over are of so little importance.

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  11. DNW said

    Eric said
    2013/05/28 at 01:38 e

    ’m a little late to this party.

    I’ll wager, 20 years from now, no one will know (or care) who this Rorty was.

    Heck, I’ll wager that, at present, 98% of humanity neither knows (nor cares) who he is NOW.

    He’s another academic blowhard preaching to other academic blowhards. He has nothing of value to say to any normal person.

    I think it was Churchill who said that the reason academic fights are so vicious is because the things being fought over are of so little importance.

    Whether most of humanity knows or cares who he is now, has little do do whether they live under rules made, and interpretations rendered, by people in politics who adhere to his nihilistic doctrines.

    In fact most of academia, and through them bureaucratic policy makers, agrees to a greater or lesser extent with him when it comes to the “meaning” of human existence and the limits, if any, of social engineering.

    Any kid who has been in college in the last couple of decades has felt the force of these doctrines up close and personal.

    I agree that 98% of humanity neither knows nor cares who Rorty, and those like him are. They are affected by the ideas he was promoting however, in the same way a law maker who admires Jefferson and respects the notion of constitutionality affects you when he fashions a law or sets policy.

    If behavior was never shaped by belief or conviction, I’d probably be more inclined to agree with you.

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  12. DNW said

    Bad typing day: “little to do with whether”.

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  13. Eric said

    I’ll wager you know more about this stuff than I do. All the same, unlike some conservatives (Dennis Prager, for example) I think these leftie academics have less influence than they think they do. I think most students who take their classes are savvy enough to know they have to regurgitate back to their professors what they want to hear (to get a good grade) and then flush the bilge out of their systems after they graduate and have to live in the Real World.

    Also, the BS mainly applies to those who get degrees in liberal arts, social “Sciences”, etc, where the propaganda is at its worst. Those of us who studied engineering or hard sciences or business, law, or medicine are largely immune to the crap. In short, the student who goes to college to learn Social Work was probably a leftie to begin with, and has only had their pre-existing views reinforced, wheras the engineering student does not. So left wing academic preaching is mainly reaching an audience that long ago joined the church in the first place.

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  14. DNW said

    Eric said
    2013/05/29 at 14:26 e

    I’ll wager you know more about this stuff than I do. All the same, unlike some conservatives (Dennis Prager, for example) I think these leftie academics have less influence than they think they do. I think most students who take their classes are savvy enough to know they have to regurgitate back to their professors what they want to hear (to get a good grade) and then flush the bilge out of their systems after they graduate and have to live in the Real World.

    Also, the BS mainly applies to those who get degrees in liberal arts, social “Sciences”, etc, where the propaganda is at its worst. Those of us who studied engineering or hard sciences or business, law, or medicine are largely immune to the crap. In short, the student who goes to college to learn Social Work was probably a leftie to begin with, and has only had their pre-existing views reinforced, wheras the engineering student does not. So left wing academic preaching is mainly reaching an audience that long ago joined the church in the first place.

    As I see it the problem isn’t with normal students flushing, or failing to flush, the postmodernist bilge out of their systems after graduating. The problem is with what is developing as a hereditary mandarin class in the United States which imagines in its unmitigated but empty postmodernist conceit that it’s essential to our lives. A class of people which will, because of their underlying values nihilism, stop or balk at nothing in order to keep themselves insinuated into the framework of our political institutions and thus free from the burdens of meaningful production.

    These testosterone deficient males and androgynous females manage to persuade themselves they are essential to civilization not because we cannot thrive without their subversive interference, but because the changes they seek will not be realized unless they do subvert the system.

    Since the changes they want are what they want, and what they happen to want is all that defines what is “good” to a postmodernist, it follows to their way of thinking that their plan to subversively reorder our social and property and family relations while engaging in a little population management and culling, is per definition, their definition, “good”.

    I would also disagree that the legal profession is immune to this. It is in the legal profession, at least in the more elevated reaches of it in the law schools and among jurists, where this attitude is most especially pronounced.

    Recall the evasive answer to this during the Sotomayor SC nomination hearings

    “Coburn had asked, “As a citizen of this country, do you believe innately in my ability to have self-defense of myself – personal self-defense? Do I have a right to personal self-defense?”

    The POS, aka “Wise Latina” being asked then retorted:

    “I’m trying to think if I remember a case where the Supreme Court has addressed that particular question. Is there a constitutional right to self-defense? And I can’t think of one. I could be wrong, but I can’t think of one.” She then went on to explain that self-defense rights are usually defined by state law.”

    Unsatisfied, Coburn continued, “But do you have an opinion, of whether or not in this country I personally, as an individual citizen, have a right to self-defense?”

    Sotomayor responded, “I – as I said, I don’t know.”

    Later in the exchange, Coburn said, “I wasn’t asking about the legal question. I’m asking your personal opinion.”

    “But that is an abstract question with no particular meaning to me,” Sotomayor relied.

    CNS

    We have Obama care because of pieces of shit like this. If, as old Perry Hood salivatingly hoped, social violence can be provoked to finally break out as the limits of what is tolerable to a normal human being are continually challenged and overrun by the abnormal members of the professional dependency class and its masters, it will be in large measure because of this as well.

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  15. AOTC said

    it is pretty evident this sort of worldview is being taught from the earliest grades in school. i have neices and nephews from 6 to 36 years old. every one of them have regurgitated some form of postmodern dogma they have picked up from a teacher, professor, or some social paradigm that reigns them in on a campus. preschool kids tv shows blur all sorts of boundaries and preach progressive “values”. one nephew is studying chemistry at W&J, he is spouting every gospel the liberals are currently preaching. he was never ‘political’ before college. he always signs up on the side of any “leftist deemed victim group”. there are usually natural divisions between parents and children during those years i think a lot of parents have no idea the influence their kids are getting. leftists have subverted academia.

    i think this excerpt form jonah goldburgs book “liberal facism” is spot on:

    “”This quote can be found in Liberal Fascism — along with many, many, pages on this eternal progressive dream of grabbing the kids. For instance, from page 326:

    Since Plato’s Republic, politicians, intellectuals, and priests have been fascinated with the idea of “capturing” children for social-engineering purposes. This is why Robespierre advocated that children be raised by the state. Hitler, who understood as well as any the importance of winning the hearts and minds of youth—once remarked, “When an opponent says ‘I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already . . . You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community.'” Woodrow Wilson candidly observed that the primary mission of the educator was to make children as unlike their parents as possible. Charlotte Perkins Gilman stated it more starkly. “There is no more brilliant hope on earth to-day,” the feminist icon proclaimed, “than this new thought about the child . . . the recognition of ‘the child,’ children as a class, children as citizens with rights to be guaranteed only by the state; instead of our previous attitude toward them of absolute personal [that is, parental] ownership—the unchecked tyranny . . . of the private home.” -Jonah Goldburg

    this one was good too.

    ” Quote

    Lowry, in his philosopher-king wisdom, beat me to one of my favorite stories about Phil Gramm. He once told a woman, “My educational policies are based on the fact that I care more about my children than you do.”
    The woman, in full Melissa Harris-Perry (the msnbc tv anchor who says our kids are not our own) mode, responded, “No, you don’t.”
    Gramm shot back, “Okay, what are their names?”

    leftist aims are vile.

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  16. AOTC said

    “rocks with eye sockets”

    this largely describes the lot we call leftists.

    heh

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  17. Eric said

    “I would also disagree that the legal profession is immune to this. It is in the legal profession, at least in the more elevated reaches of it in the law schools and among jurists, where this attitude is most especially pronounced.”

    Right, but I think within law, there is still a strong conservative contingent. Someone is graduating top conservative legal talent, from Scalia and Thomas at the Supreme Court to younger legal eagles such as Megyn Kelly at FOX News, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. IOW, conservatives have a presense in the legal field that just doesn’t exist in the humanities and social “Sciences”.

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  18. DNW said

    Aotc writes,

    “leftist aims are vile.”

    As you and others (to their great weariness in many cases) know, I have have made it something of a hobby, or obsession, to try and grasp the geometry of the modern liberals’ claim system.

    I have been interested not only in looking at how their deductions and inductions hang together and supposedly imply the conclusions which progressives assert them as implying, I have also been interested in examining what is left to the modern liberal if and once, they abandon the old “rational liberal” humanism ploy, for the tactic of postmodernism.

    So, either the people we have been calling progressives/modern-liberals have an interpersonal claim system based on the assertion of objectively discoverable facts and categorical class propositions pointing to conclusions necessitated by the arbitration of reason and the rules of inference, or they do not.

    It has become clear to both them and everyone else, that despite their deployment of reasoning-like rhetoric, they do not. They do not have the valid and sound arguments which in ordinary conversation and political discourse they have in the past pretended to have.

    This lack really shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us with a good memory for our own school days, and for what we were taught by our left-leaning teachers concerning the notions of truth, objectivity, fact, and reason.

    But with time and ordinary life, we tend to forget how seriously Freud or Skinner or Dewey or Marx or Mead were taken by our teachers and how emotionally committed they were to establishing a universal human sociopolitical regime based on these social principles and anthropological interpretations.

    This forgetting is especially likely if our post-collegiate adult social circle has a lot of naive traditionalists in it of the kind who until very recently were more or less able to stumble along without having their lives disrupted and moral values violently assaulted and dismissed by virtually all academic and governing institutions.

    Those days are over. Although the left has always been the enemy of the family, the private, and the voluntary, it now can reach down and tries to do so, into every nook and cranny of life and mind.

    This means, that the targets either dumbly succumb or get a rude awakening and begin to think the whole thing through.

    My thinking is that postmodernism – an abandonment of the illusion of reason directed liberalism – may be in part a reaction to more socially widespread recognition of longstanding but narrowly circulated conservative intellectual criticism of both the premisses and of the inferences habitually claimed in the past by socialist-liberals.

    They, the modern-liberals themselves came to the realization that conservatives had been radically correct when they pointed out that the socialist-progressive’s own conditioning anthropological assumptions regarding mind and matter and the status of reason undercut the social entitlement arguments they were advancing.

    And everyone else was finally catching on too. Or enough were to make business as usual untenable.

    So they, the progressives, incrementally and culminating in the 1980’s and 1990’s when many of us were already graduated, generally ceased making the kinds of arguments they had made from the 1870’s through the 1980s.

    After all, if you have your own fundamental dismissal of reason thrown back in your own face often enough when you are trying to influence someone with an ostensible display of reason, you are likely to at least have your behavior shaped by the experience, if nothing else.

    This all leaves open what is to me the really interesting question though.

    If you take the progressive’s naturalism seriously, and you grant reason as an conditioned artifact of evolution, mind as a delusion, the self as a psychological illusion, and human existence as primarily the mindless expression of “desire”, or appetite, or appropriative urges, or whatever postmodern characterization covers the idea best, then what is it that is left?

    And I ask this not in some “despairing” sense, as if offended, or as if I’m suggesting that one look away for the sake of one’s own equilibrium, but rather literally, (or phenomenologically for that matter) …

    What is the active residuum, when all the so-called folk illusions as to personhood, and self and mind are interpreted away?

    Grant for the sake of argument that you accept and then line up all these progressive doctrines (bracketing whether they are “true” or not) and just begin sifting existence through them. What then, is by using their own rules of anthropological interpretation, left?

    What is it? Where is its locus? What remains from the final progressivist reduction other than a mindless, pointless, futile, and meaningless ravening, concealed within a skin bag?

    Grant it, calmly. Consider it narrowly.

    Then, look in the face of a modern liberal as it puts its face in yours in order to squawk out a demand to your cost, and tell me what you really see.

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  19. Eric said

    “We have Obama care because of pieces of shit like this.”

    True, but Sotomeyer voting for Obamacare is like a pig sleeping in his own shit. It’s just something that occurs naturally. Roberts voting for Obamacare is like a cat sleeping in his own shit. It’s highly unnatural, and you wonder what the hell is wrong with the cat. My own theory on this (and totally unprovable) is Roberts had been to too many DC cocktail parties among the Washington power elites. He knew how mad they were about the Gore v Bush decision and the Citizens United decision. And he wanted to fit in. He wanted to prove to his new friends that his Court was NOT just a bunch of right wing radicals, and that he could be “Reasonable”. And that’s how we got this piece of excrement.

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  20. Eric said

    “As I see it the problem isn’t with normal students flushing, or failing to flush, the postmodernist bilge out of their systems after graduating. The problem is with what is developing as a hereditary mandarin class in the United States which imagines in its unmitigated but empty postmodernist conceit that it’s essential to our lives. A class of people which will, because of their underlying values nihilism, stop or balk at nothing in order to keep themselves insinuated into the framework of our political institutions and thus free from the burdens of meaningful production.”

    Yes, but is this the product of people like Rorty, or does it go back much farther, to the likes of Marx and before? I don’t know Rorty (and his ilk) like you do, but isn’t he just selling the same old rancid ideology, only packaged in a fresh new bottle?

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  21. Eric said

    “As you and others (to their great weariness in many cases) know, I have have made it something of a hobby, or obsession, to try and grasp the geometry of the modern liberals’ claim system.

    I have been interested not only in looking at how their deductions and inductions hang together and supposedly imply the conclusions which progressives assert them as implying, I have also been interested in examining what is left to the modern liberal if and once, they abandon the old “rational liberal” humanism ploy, for the tactic of postmodernism.”

    My own sense is that conservatives should study left wingers for the same reason the RAID company studies cockroaches.

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  22. DNW said

    Eric said
    2013/05/30 at 11:18 e

    “As I see it the problem isn’t with normal students flushing, or failing to flush, the postmodernist bilge out of their systems after graduating. The problem is with what is developing as a hereditary mandarin class in the United States which imagines in its unmitigated but empty postmodernist conceit that it’s essential to our lives. A class of people which will, because of their underlying values nihilism, stop or balk at nothing in order to keep themselves insinuated into the framework of our political institutions and thus free from the burdens of meaningful production.”

    Yes, but is this the product of people like Rorty, or does it go back much farther, to the likes of Marx and before? I don’t know Rorty (and his ilk) like you do, but isn’t he just selling the same old rancid ideology, only packaged in a fresh new bottle?

    The relationship of Marx to Rorty is a bit complex and not exactly straightforward.

    First Marx. To the best of my knowledge, and I am not a Marx scholar, Marx did not address moral or metaphysical questions directly: except to either sidestep them in the case of morals which would be seen to be a product of man’s productive life rather than a set of principles which conditioned any possible human life; or dismiss to them in the case of metaphysics, where he seemed to assert that metaphysics or any questions directed at “ultimate” questions or principles were either slightly de-pigmented religious questions, or futile and self indulgences.

    MCLellan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_McLellan_%28political_scientist%29 acknowledges that the question as to what moral component there was to Marxism is an interesting one, but he does not, as I recall provide a definitive answer.

    I think that we all can agree that Marx’s dismissal of ultimate questions as constituting what are in-principle impossible or worthless projects, is itself a kind of metaphysical postulate. Certainly dialectical materialism, if it can be attributed to Marx rather than Engels, constitutes in reasonable terms, a kind of metaphysical system.

    Where Rorty is clearly traceable to Marx (Rorty’s leftist family history aside) is in the historicist principle with a capital “H” which is probably safe to derive for our intents and purposes from the Marxist tradition of hermeneutics.

    It is one thing to say that to properly understand events is to understand them in the framework of their historical situation and antecedents. It is another to take as an axiom of all interpretation that man’s nature and mind is infinitely malleable and is radically and inescapably, and totally conditioned by his specific socio-material environment.

    Marx, as I recall, except for the fact that he grants that man has enough of a given nature to [subsequently] be called homo faber, agrees with or implies that. And Rorty, in saying that culture goes all the way down, and that we are purely historical products, and that metaphysical questions are unreal, aligns himself with Marx … or better Marx’s disciples’ theoretic tendencies.

    They share:

    – A rejection of the legitimacy of metaphysics and the project of philosophy as a whole.

    – The view that environmental conditions shape the human organism all the way down. (Though Rorty doesn’t really seem to believe it, even though he says it)

    – that there is no objective nature from which we can deduce morals or what should be … just what is and is becoming.

    In difference, I would suppose that Rorty is a welfare statist who aspires to bourgeois comforts and liberties so far as convenient for the shaping project he has chosen to align himself with. Marx would be a communist, who probably did not fully grasp where his “historical” method of interpretation would ultimately lead intellectually, and who thought that morals were artifacts of man’s productive life interactions with the material world, as a species being. (From Tucker’s Marx http://www.amazon.com/review/R1EW9QVYZ4G211/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=039309040X&nodeID=283155&store=books )

    Rorty as a nominalist cannot really say that there is an objectively existing human species in any neutrally observable sense at all.

    I suppose Marx would not have concerned himself with this question.

    In the unlikely event anyone knowing a great deal more about Marx than I do would be reading any of this and would wish to offer corrections or the result of updated scholarship, I would not be disturbed in the least.

    Whew … where was I? LOL

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  23. Eric said

    “First Marx. To the best of my knowledge, and I am not a Marx scholar, Marx did not address moral or metaphysical questions directly: except to either sidestep them in the case of morals which would be seen to be a product of man’s productive life rather than a set of principles which conditioned any possible human life; or dismiss to them in the case of metaphysics, where he seemed to assert that metaphysics or any questions directed at “ultimate” questions or principles were either slightly de-pigmented religious questions, or futile and self indulgences.”

    I’m not an expert on Marx, either. That said, his ideology (Marxism) seems to have instilled in its followers an almost unbelievable sense of arrogance and intellectual (and, more important) moral superiority. That’s why it’s impossible for conservatives to deal with them in good faith. The left winger does not see us as moral fellows who have legitimate views that are open to free and fair debate. No, they seem to see themselves as a new breed of god-men, who alone possess the Revealed Truth (as given by Marx, and maybe a few others). These people cannot be negotiated with, compromised with, or even co-existed with. Like the aliens in “Independence Day”, they want us to die, or, failing that, be reprogrammed to live as a drone in their new Borg-like universe. Their arrogance knows no bounds – when left wing turd (and Marxist “Historian”) Eric Hawgsbawm was asked if it would be okay to kill millions of people to achieve true Communism, he blandly replied “Yes”. Of course, what I’m sure he meant was “Yes, as long as none of those millions is me”, he probably had no desire to sign up for the Trotsky role in his new Socialist empire.

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  24. DNW said

    Eric said

    “I’m not an expert on Marx, either. That said, his ideology (Marxism) seems to have instilled in its followers an almost unbelievable sense of arrogance and intellectual (and, more important) moral superiority. “

    From their point of view there is no higher authority to consult than their own will or tendencies toward fulfillment. Man is merely the conscious part of an unconscious universe – kind of just oscillating along.

    Man in this view, is thought to differ from other life forms which are totally imbedded in, of, and shaped by the progressions of the processes of an unconscious nature, in that he, as a partial producer of the material means of his life’s support (tool making and agriculture and metallurgy, and eventually commodity production) is in turn himself evolved and shaped by the effects of his own materially productive activities and relations.

    Of course this in abstraction applies to the species considered as a whole.

    And the unevenness of the process in real time and geography and associative relationships, means that not everyone will be shaped equally, and in the same stages, or even feel – in the case of capitalism and the phenomenon of hired labor power – the effects of particular modes of production in the same way, or to the same degree.

    Thus, when liberals seem to think of themselves as “more evolved” it’s precisely because they really do feel that. They believe that the human herd shaping process goes on regardless, so they might just as well seize control it through political means in order to accommodate their personal sensibilities.

    Where it gets really comical is in their imagining that the human expression they instantiate is somehow a “higher” form: as if weak-limbed bespectacled masochist males represent a pinnacle of evolutionary development which everyone else is somehow morally obligated to respect.

    But of course, according to their approved dogmas:

    1. evolution has no direction. And therefore a moderrn-liberal cannot represent any objectively advanced development; but just an opportunistic adaptation to an historically happenstance environmental niche.

    2. morals are said to follow success in the battle for existence and the establishment of productive patterns, rather than to rightly guide it. And therefore modern-liberals are on their own theory as much an effect of a mindless process, as an agency. Where then comes the claim of a contingent thing to the moral status of an agent peer?

    3. humans have no intrinsic rights nor the universe or life any intrinsic meaning or value anyway. So how then, does the modern-liberal thing establish a moral entitlement to interpersonal regard to itself as a being in itself, rather than an object of social or other utility?

    So, given these and a multitude of other unstated logical considerations, just why, on the basis of their own anti-antropocentric dogmas, an annoying, importunate, hostile, malicious and actively subversive left-wing male should be logically less socially eradicable in a moral sense, than say a cockroach, is anyone’s guess.

    I imagine it would take a lefty male to explain how a positive conclusion that they have rights or value is to be deduced from their basket of negative existential premisses.

    In my experience when they do try, they fail spectacularly.

    Which it seems brings us full circle, and back to the motivations behind their postmodernist strategy of the abandonment of rational argument, in favor of “narrative”, in the first place.

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  25. Eric said

    Right, but this moral arrogance I speak of really IS real; the left winger really DOES believe itself to be morally superior to the rest of us. Have you EVER known a left winger to admit it’s wrong, especially on a moral issue?

    That’s why I say humans and left wingers can’t co-exist. A free person is an existential threat to their worldview. To tell a left winger “We don’t need you. We don’t want you” is to tell them they have no function, If they can’t be our lords and masters, what role do they have? To take this Rorty, for example – if he didn’t have a built in audience for his published bumwad, what use would he be to a free populace? He could dig ditches, perhaps, or man a cash register. But I don’t think he could design an airplane, build a computer, or perform surgery.

    But these left wing turds don’t care. The fact tht they are objectively useless to free men bothers them not. They have crowned themselves as being the moral elite, and, unfortunately, we humans rarely challenge them on this. I have said before that the coming battle between us humans and the left wingers is not an intellectual battle, but a moral battle.

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  26. DNW said

    “But these left wing turds don’t care. The fact tht they are objectively useless to free men bothers them not. They have crowned themselves as being the moral elite, and, unfortunately, we humans rarely challenge them on this. I have said before that the coming battle between us humans and the left wingers is not an intellectual battle, but a moral battle.”

    I was reading a little online the other day about Christopher Hitchens – who had his bad points, and increasingly, apart from a stubborn pridefulness and serious overestimation of his logical acumen, his good points as well.

    Any review of Hitchen’s many debates will bring up George Galloway, the Stalin appreciating sycophant for tyrants, and progressivist member of Parliament.

    One should take note of the strategy Galloway employs in dealing with critics. He will in the case of an Israeli for example, simply refuse to debate and walk out of the room.

    Ultimately there is no way of dealing with Galloway through purely intellectual means. He’s a pudgy swaggering lefty punk who for some reason seems to have impressed a few with his pugnacious attitude; though anyone looking at him will certainly be unimpressed.

    Galloway it is evident, sees himself as an existential enemy of freedom and life as we know it. His practice is not overtly violent, but flamboyantly on the edge; his posture overtly hostile, and his will, clearly malevolent. He – through his professed ideology – makes no pretense that those who merely wish to be left alone will be allowed to do so, nor that he would recognize any limits in principle to what those on his side may be justified in doing to others, in the name of his collectivist version of progress and humanity.

    He’s a man trolling for violence. One day, someone – to their eventual regret over the waste or misapplication of moral force to a petty, if vicious menace – may be provoked into providing him the denouement he seeks. Fortunately, given that conservatives are more soundly wired than leftists, this is probably only a slight possibility.

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  27. DNW said

    Eric wrote,

    “That’s why I say humans and left wingers can’t co-exist. A free person is an existential threat to their worldview. To tell a left winger “We don’t need you. We don’t want you” is to tell them they have no function, If they can’t be our lords and masters, what role do they have? “

    Your mention of the reciprocity problem for progressives is an important point, although we have discussed it before.

    The relationship between a producer and a director of production is not reciprocal.

    In a classically liberal polity wherein production is in the private domain and there are no legal compulsions that can force servitude, the director can only direct those who make a positive choice to subject themselves at will to a time and space limited and specifically focused direction, in return for payment received directly and individually. [the socialist shrugs at legal compulsion and points to natural exigencies as being equally coercive]

    The bosses’ powers in a classically liberal system are limited to the terms of the contract directing the temporary rental of the producer’s labor.

    In a political situation wherein the power of the state is believed to properly reach down into every aspect and phase of the individual’s material life, no demurrer from participation is possible. Couple that, to the reconceptualization of the human associative project from one of limited reach and based on volition, to one of an all encompassing “system” of human production and reproduction, and there is no way for the producer to distance himself from overreaching demands of a class of would-be directors.

    All human actors are viewed by the progressive as having a “role” in the support of “the system”. The benefits of the productive activities and sacrifices of the actual producers are not seen as expressions of their own virtues and powers in a neutral arena; but as being enabled in the first place by the beneficent ministrations of an expert class.

    The fact that individual producers as a class do not in fact largely need the plethora of supposed services provided by the expert class, is held by the expert class and their dependency clients to be irrelevant: as their focus is on a “system” which they envision as necessary in their question begging and circular manner.

    I’ve said it, just like many others have said it, and until we are all sick of hearing ourselves say it, that although Marx spoke of a return of all value to the producers, he did not mean a return of all value to exactly those individuals who were doing the producing.

    Where would a premise like that that leave a stocky, vicious, mentally perturbed bag of moral obnoxiousness like himself? After all, historians have pointed out that he was himself largely surviving off of surplus value produced by laborers in Engel’s factory, forwarded on to him by Engels. I imagine Marx and Engels self-servingly thought of it as a down payment by the proletariat on the liberation services Marx was producing through his theorizing.

    No, the actual progressive maxim as we all know is not “Return all value to the actual producers of the value”; but rather, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need (and we lefties will be the deciders of who is who, and what is what)”.

    Funny: the more one talks about progressives and just what it is that progressives actually do in their lives, the more egregious their moral crimes seem, and the more unhumanly alien they appear.

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  28. Eric said

    March of the Pigs – The coming battle between humans and left wingers

    This will be a war of annihilation. Humans simply cannot coexist with left wing scum. These turds, these cockroaches, will have to be wiped out entirely. Atomic weapons may be necessary. Whatever it takes to win the war against these vermin, these viruses. After all, they are parasites upon humanity. Like vampires, they want to suck us dry. Turn us into slaves or worse. Make us part of their Borg-like Collective.

    So, let us proud and happy warriors get ready to fight this filth with stout hearts. Let the Satan worshipping swine know just where we stand. Let this garbage know they will not win, that they CANNOT win. That God’s Laws will triumph over their Marxism and other forms of demonic rule. That they will lose utterly, and we will emerge victorious.

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