Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Intellectual’s Fall From Grace

I reported a couple of weeks ago that I had started reading The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt Against the Liberal Elite by Lee Harris. Life is hectic, and has thrown me a few curve balls in the meantime, so I’m still reading it. Circumstances seem to conspire to minimize the amount of time available for extra-curricular reading.

In Chapter 4 Mr. Harris continues his observations on the influence of the different philosophical strains of the European Enlightenment — particularly the conflict between Burkean and Lockean concepts of human liberty — on American political culture. The clash between these competing ideologies has flared up again in recent years, with the Tea Parties, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin representing the Burkean viewpoint, and the rest of the political establishment — including the entire Democrat Party and the vast majority of Republicans — channeling Locke.

The European Enlightenment was a response to the unprecedented explosion of scientific knowledge that had transformed Europe during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Rapid advances in the physical sciences, and later biology and medicine, led to the conceit that human society — especially political economy — could also be understood and improved by the enlightened scientific mind.

The Ranting ManThis has been the gravest and most fundamental error of the last three centuries. The philosophe arrogated unto himself the role of architect of a new society, in which outmoded customs and traditions would be discarded in favor of an improved model of society constructed by scientists armed with their superior knowledge and understanding.

The results of all this utopian tinkering — the French Revolution, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, Multiculturalism, and the modern welfare state — brought untold suffering upon the human race, culminating in the heap of corpses that is commonly known as the 20th century.

The lesson has yet to be learned, unfortunately. Political hubris is endemic in Western intellectual culture. The utopians are still with us, and the closer we come to the utter collapse of our civilization, the more determined they are to have their way with us — the ignorant peons who so stubbornly resist our transformation into a more perfect version of the human race.

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Here’s what Mr. Harris has to say about the huge divide that has emerged between ordinary people and over-educated intellectuals (pp. 62-64):

Generally speaking, people who have only a high school education or less will be inclined to have more conservative or traditionalist views on all sorts of contemporary issues than people with a college education or advanced degrees. These two groups will normally tend to disagree on immigration, gay marriage, the war on terror, the threat of socialism under the Obama administration, and a host of other questions. It does not matter in the least which group is right or wrong — all that matters for the purpose of my argument is that there will be substantial disagreement between the two groups. It is obviously true that there will be a certain amount of crossovers from either side. There will be college professors who oppose gay marriage, and high school dropouts who approve of an ultraliberal immigration policy, but they will tend to be the statistical outliers.

At this point we are only dealing with a sociological phenomenon, namely, that better educated people in the United States today tend to be liberals, and that liberals tend to be better educated. But this phenomenon is open to two radically conflicting interpretations. One way of interpreting it would be to argue that better educated people will obviously have the right answers on the issues of the day, because they are smarter and see things more clearly. Needless to say, this interpretation of “the education gap” tends to be favored by educated liberals. Yet there is another way of interpreting this phenomenon, which is to argue that the so called education gap is really an “indoctrination gap.” The wide consensus among the better educated on different questions is not proof that they have been taught to think for themselves, but irrefutable evidence that they have been programmed to think alike.

To most of us, education is good, while indoctrination is bad. But how exactly can we tell when a program of education has in effect become a program of re-education? The underlying metaphor of education starts with a blank slate that represents the student’s fresh and open mind, so that the teacher’s mission is simply to fill him full of knowledge and information. But the premise of re-education is quite different. It assumes that the student’s mind is already cluttered with ignorance and prejudices, normally those he has picked up from his family’s inherited traditions. This means that the first task of the re-educator is to cleanse and purge the student’s mind of those traditions he has been taught to accept by his family. Only then can the re-educator fill his student’s mind with the right ideas and opinions — namely, the ideas and opinions to which the re-educator subscribes. But this kind of re-education seems suspiciously like straightforward indoctrination.

The slippery slope between education and indoctrination is an ambiguous heritage from the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. It is a direct result of the new way of looking at the world adopted by the enlightened elite of that time. Before the Enlightenment, European intellectuals most often saw their job as defending the status quo. After the Enlightenment, they came to see their mission as improving the world in accordance with their own values and ideals. These improvements, however, came at a cost. They required the abolition of traditions and customs that ordinary — that is, unenlightened — people dearly cherished. But this abolition could not take place without a power struggle: The average person did not want his traditional world turned upside down. The unenlightened fought back and resisted, and this required the enlightened elite to enter more forcefully into the political arena. Hitherto the intellectual had contemplated the world. Now he was determined to reform it. Thus the enlightened intellectual began his struggle to achieve cultural hegemony and domination — a struggle he inevitably justified in the name of human progress, often employing the standard argument that the end justifies the means. This was his fall from grace, for the intellectual, by committing to the implementation of his utopian visions of a perfect world, deliberately risked his most precious asset — his reputation for being reliably objective and disinterested about all the questions that came to his attention. But the enlightened intellectual is willing to take this risk because he is convinced that he has a world to win, and ever since the European Enlightenment, he has been trying to win it. And today he is succeeding, which is precisely what is driving the populist conservatives nuts.

94 comments:

Matthew said...

The black American academic Thomas Sowell wrote a book entitled 'The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy'. It's worth a read.

cumpa_29 said...

All this should be common knowledge, but sadly it isn't.

The Enlightenment appropriated the intellectual tradition of the West that formerly existed under Christianity. The Romantic era was a direct consequence of this for two reasons. First because humans instinctively rebel against a soulless, mechanical view of the cosmos, and second because the Western mind had formerly acknowledged the possibility of mystical understandings of the truth. Christians many times say they "feel" the presence of God. With the Romantic movement, mysticism became secularized, and the old ecstatic current of Western life found a new expression.

College profs will never admit this since it entails recognizing the Christian roots of our culture, both mystical and intellectual.

Baron Bodissey said...

Matthew --

Yes, I read The Vision of the Anointed, and I highly recommend it.

spackle said...

"Matthew --

Yes, I read The Vision of the Anointed, and I highly recommend it."

Me three, and I recommend it too. And I didn't even go to college! ; )

Quite interesting. I was just thinking the other day how this "University for everyone" or 'No College equals failure" philosophy is a fairly recent phenomenon. Not too long ago going to university was not only a fairly hard and uncommon thing for most people, but there were tons of vocational schools that were available and filled with students to do real jobs. Gone are the days when you would hear someone being made fun of for being a "College boy".

Universities are now mere diploma mills of worthless parchment for the most part and are (as pointed out) just expensive re-education camps. So when I start getting down on myself that I should have gone to College I remember that I saved myself a lot of money and a lot of philosophical heartache.

Dymphna said...

@cumpa_29 ...

College profs will never admit this since it entails recognizing the Christian roots of our culture, both mystical and intellectual.

Precisely.

Your comment packs into a lot of implicit knowledge re our Mandarin Class.

1. It's a herd, one that is largely atheist;

2. in order to belong, would-be members must accept unquestioningly all the tenets of the Mandarin Class to which they aspire;

3. to even apply for membership (i.e., tenure), a would-be mandarin must have left a long paper trail of correct thoughts for close inspection by his mentors;

4. when you sell your soul in this fashion, the pay-off is very great. No "mess of pottage" for sure. There are slaves (teaching assistants) at your disposal,even as personal servants at your home. Your 'work' load is exceedingly light so that you have lots of free time to write and PUBLISH your work. In reality, your slaves do the research & you sign your name.

And so on, with sabbaticals and free summers and lots of payola from whatever commercial enterprise is connected to your field. Then, as one fellow put it in the Weekly Standard, early retirement from a cushy job into an even cushier pension.

-------------

These mandarins are parasites. Their pensions are breaking the budgets of many states. Illinois has been financially in the hole for years and yet it has to fork over great gobs o' cash to this bloated demographic. The Boomers are ageing out & have begun sitting athwart the productive sector, sucking it dry and killing off initiative.

Just one small part of the (planned or not) mechanism to bring it all down.

Erich said...

I'm not impressed with anything Burkean, now that I have learned that Burke was blind to the evil and danger of Muslims qua followers of Islam.

You New said...

Long ago I taught school but didn't last long when I saw that the system is basically a holding tank for children so that parents can make lot's of money and pay lots of taxes.

Hey, 12 to 20 years of education without mom and dad watching. They say an idle mind is the devil's workshop, so we might as well use these long boring years for the indoctrination of the entire next generations. Try to beat that one.

It used to be that the rednecks and country folk had quite an immunity to this stuff, but that's all breaking down very fast, sad to say. Your redneck buddies may be just as inclined to use their gun to support the fuzzy New World Free Chicken Dinner Order as to shoot a druggie trying to break into their shed. Real rednecks are dying off.

Also, the psedo-intellectual crowd has already factored in those Burkean arguments and is going to continue to perfect their false humility, false compassion, false science and they are getting better and better at it faster than we are getting our side together. Mr. Rogers now has a SWAT team and everything in between.

Folks, we aren't anti-intellectual, we're anti-pseudo-intellectual. The meme is stronger that way. And I'd rather have a conversation with Spackle then with a college drone. I'd certainly trust him more.

Regarding resistance to this: we aren't inoculated by first-hand Communist experience like the Czech, Milos Zeman. Only a few of us, the ones that that can interpret history and do mind experiments, can self-inoculate. We are way behind on all this kind of real honest educational learning.

Hesperado said...

"Erich" is moi, btw.

Czechmade said...

This inoculation is alive with older generation, young generation does not get access to the same easily, as we entered the New Brave World.... and are supposed to take it for granted....EU subsidies, you know. Still there is a lot of sound dissent and derision of this freshly installed and
imported NBWorld.

EscapeVelocity said...

Just to add a bit different perspective on this topic.

Essentially, school always was the place where kids were inculcated with culture and the norms of society instilled in them.

The real problem is that the 60s NewLeftwingers have walked through the institutions and are The Establishment now. They teach the societal norms to the children.

That is why we call it a culture war, its the battle for control of the future. One tha Libertarians dont think worth fighting about...they have reduced humanity to the economic concerns just as the classical Marxists did.

Welcome to the real battle.

ClearlySecret said...

You New = brilliant

cumpa_29 said...

@YouNew

Perhaps you should start a "Save a Redneck" foundation a-la Sally Struthers. Be sure to include tragic images of sad, broken-hearted guys with flies buzzing around their faces. Only a dollar a day could be enough to get him that confederate flag, Harley, and mullet haircut he so desperately needs.

On a more serious note, these "educated" secular progressive types are the same ones who shove Multiculturalism down everyone else's throat, when both in Europe and the US, they live in nice, uppity all-white neighborhoods far away from the consequences of their utopia.

Czechmade said...

This was called in communist times "inner emigration". In a sense we are all in this situation now, including those MC PC fools. It is crumbling here quite fast in spite of the media, that are mostly not in our hands....but again, you want to believe (those stupid schools denounced here told you) we are "eastern Europe", so that you cannot mark a victory coming and prefer to follow some boring guy called Strache.

Unknown said...

If you are ever buying a present for a 12-year-old, I recommend The Giver by Lois Lowry. She does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of a totalitarian society at the middle-school reading level. She creates a dystopia that sounds seductive at first, like an anodyne New Age colony, and slowly reveals what a horrible place it is. And she does it all in fewer than 200 pages.

Dymphna said...

@ Unknown--

Here it is:

The Giver.

The sales on this are massive. Over 3300 reviews!

It has a Newberry Medal, too, so uber left parents would be reassured. However, it has generated controversy:

Although it is a Newbery Award Winner, The Giver is a controversial book that has been challenged and even banned. After parents complained that the violent and sexual passages were inappropriate for children, the Bonita Unified School District in California temporarily banned the novel from classes. The Giver has been challenged in other school districts around the country for its "mature themes" of euthanasia, infanticide, and suicide.

I do not agree with banning and challenging of this novel. It is a great book, and part of what makes it so great is the incorporation of these controversial issues. They force readers to wrestle with their own thoughts and figure out their stance on the issues. Good literature makes readers think
.

Hmmm...I can see parents going off over that one.

One responded:

These books need to at least be screened by parents. I homeschool so that's not an issue with me. This is not appropriate for 12-14 year olds -- especially public schooled kids, who have enough angst as it is.

In my own children's case, I would've held off till high school, though the Newberry Award would've lulled me. Euthanasia and infanticide are subjects best considered by older kids.

Not to say it wouldn't be a great book for a "resistant" reader in high school, esp. given the enthusiatic reviews from that group.

I saw that many of the nay-sayers in the one star reviews were children who found the book confusing or disturbing.

Sounds like it would make a good book for a discussion group.

Unknown said...

Good points, Dymphna (“Unknown” was me. I goofed.)

Parents should have the final say in what their kids are ready to read. I read it as an adult, so I can’t say how it would have affected me as an adolescent. And the themes in this book are dark, to say the least. How could it be otherwise?

I like the way she tells the story with such economy of form. She distills the totalitarian project down to its ultimate evil goal: erasing memory and erasing the past. People are trapped forever in the present tense. For example, the 12-year-old protagonist, Jonas, is astonished to learn one day that his parents had parents, too.

BTW, I recommend this book for adults, too.

Discussion group? Count me in.

Blogger said...

Can someone please explain the main differences between Lockean and Burkean philosophies? Thanks

Hesperado said...

Lockean bad, Burkean good.

Burke was blind to the dangers of Muslims following Islam. And he had no excuse: he was intelligent, he read the Koran, and he lived and worked amongst Muslims in India for years and was closely involved in issues related to Muslims and Hindus in British India.

I cannot trust him with anything else. But I suppose he may be attractive to Conservatives who think the Real Problem is not Islam, but the West.

EscapeVelocity said...

Burke agreed with Locke.

The thing about Burke is that he was not a reactionary, he was conservative. He reacted to radicalism, but embraced reform.

That is what the Conservative is, a Classical Liberal with respect for deeper cultural understandings that shouldnt be tossed aside willy nilly.

He also thought that cultural mixing was dangerous and harmed those tossed in the Salad Bowl (or the Thunder Dome) as the case may be.

Genetics my prove him right, that certain groups have adapted cultural solutions to suit their genetic propensities and vice versa.

EscapeVelocity said...

That should read Burke agreed with Locke on some things. Their thinking is not mutually exclusive.

Blogger said...

Can it be summed up by saying that Locke believes in equality between all humans, where 'mob rule' is the negative outcome. Whereas Burke believes in equality between humans, but that only those with higher education can make decisions, as in government?

laine said...

Sorry if this has been covered here before but Angelo Codevilla wrote a brilliant summary of America's ruling (liberal) class versus what he termed the "country class" with perhaps less education/indoctrination but more common sense. http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the/print

Thomas Sowell has also made mincemeat out of our self-appointed "intelligentsia" in more than one book but "The Vision Of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy" comes to mind.

Baron Bodissey said...

Blogger --

Rather than have me type it all again, read the summary of Burke vs. Locke in my earlier post.

I'm not concerned about Burke's views on Islam, but on liberty, where he and I are in general agreement.

cumpa_29 said...

Locke believed in inalienable rights, which no state could take away. He wrote that Life, Liberty, and Property are the fundamental rights of all men. Sound familiar? The Founding Fathers were wise enough to strike out "property" and put in "pursuit of hapiness," largely because they no doubt saw how hard such a thing would be to legislate and manage. But I'm speculating here.

I know next to nothing about Edmund Burke (my knowledge of Locke is little better). I do know that he saw the French Revolution as dangerous, and the American Revolution as praiseworthy. If I'm not mistaken, I believe it was Burke who understood the difference between equality of opportunity under the law, and equality of outcome. He realized that the American Revolution enshrined the former, and the French Revolution the latter. Burke knew that the French Revolution would sire some very, very ugly things.

These ideas are important because Secular Progressives (and all other heads of the Enlightemment hydra) enshrine equality of outcome. They view the rights of the collective as the proper focus of the law. Burke and Locke did not. In their view, it was the individual whose rights needed to be elucidated and preserved.

Whereas Locke was clearly channeling much of the Wests Christian moral worldview (the rights of one person end where another's begins --these rights given by the higher power), Burke disagreed about the "inalienable" quality he ascribed to them. On what basis he did so I have no idea.

Our enlightenment-spawned elites are in love with the notion of collective rights and salvation. The millions of dead in the 20th C. don't give them pause. Why? Because its a secular religion, thats why. Justify collective rights long enough, and you'll end up with brutal forms of political correctness that see no value in you as a human being.

BTW. I had no idea that Burke saw Islam in a positive light. If he did so, he may have done it out of hatred for Christianity (an illness typical of enlightenment thinkers).

cumpa_29 said...

I was going to ask others to correct me if any of my last post was wrong, but now that Baron put up a link to an essay on the subject, I'll just check it out and see if I got the gist of it right.

I could use a brush up.

EscapeVelocity said...

They view the rights of the collective as the proper focus of the law. Burke and Locke did not. In their view, it was the individual whose rights needed to be elucidated and preserved. --- cumpa

I believe that Locke was the radical individualist, while Burke acknowledged the individual as fundamentul unit of morality, he also had communitarianist proclivities.

Unknown said...

If I remember correctly, one of Burke's contributions was the idea of the social contract between generations. Society is made up of 3 groups: the living, the dead and unborn future generations. The living have an obligation to conserve the inherited store of social knowledge from their forebears, and pass it down to the next generation.

I wish that idea had more support among conservatives today.

cumpa_29 said...

@EscapeVelocity.
Thanks. Aun aprendo.
I checked out Baron's link and it filled me in.

What I couldn't figure out (largely because I find it hard to believe) is whether Burke was a relativist. I know (thanks to Baron and Lee Harris) that Burke was a traditionalist, seeing that tinkering with long established customs and notions in the name of abstract ideas can be dangerous. I also now know that Burke said some swell things about Islam. Putting two and two together, it doesn't seem like Burke believed in any objective notion of truth at all.

Am I right here? If so, it goes a long way to show why Enlightenment thinkers did much to ruin Western Civ. (Although to be fair, Enlightenment thinkers were NOT relativists...that comes later, so perhaps Burke was ahead of his time.)

The whole thing reminds me of gay marriage, really.
Locke (at the risk of putting words in his mouth), would have no doubt seen marriage as a divinely based expression of the natural way of things.
Burke would have said that heterosexual monogomous marriages are valid simply because of our tradition.

Frankly, once you take God out of the equation, its off to the races. Marriage ceases to have any objective meaning AT ALL. And if Burke can't/wont say why one culture's notion of marriage is better than another's, (again, using marriage as an example of larger issues) then he has nothing to offer. Tradition for tradition's sake is devoid of meaning. The only thing you are left with is Burke's word of caution that disrupting culture is dangerous.

I reiterate what I said much earlier in this thread. When Western Civ decided to cut its connection to religion (rather than reforming it again instead), things were bound to end up badly.

Blogger said...

Thanks Baron; I must have missed that post.

My next question - one that has been on my mind for a while - is why did the American revolution turn out positively while the French one devolved into mass violence. I was wondering if it was the 'Quaker ethic', which was influencial and popular at the time, that was behind the American Revolution's success?

Unknown said...

Blogger said:
"My next question - one that has been on my mind for a while - is why did the American revolution turn out positively while the French one devolved into mass violence."

Because the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution were believers in Christ, while the engineers of the French Revolution were atheist. Once you've made it your goal to create a heaven on earth, you can feel justified in sweeping as many people out of the way as you want.

cumpa_29 said...

@Blogger.
One possible answer is that the American Revolution did not seek to destroy all that came before it. Our Founding Fathers originally rebelled because they thought that their rights as Englishmen had been infringed upon. Though they sought to curtail religion (with good reason, since religious hatreds were still strong in their day), they did not seek to abolish it.

The French Revolution did more than try to sweep away the aristocracy. They tried to sweep away huge parts of their culture and remake the world anew. These guys hated religion and attacked it with a vengeance. The calendar was changed, and the Goddess (or was it God?) of "Reason" was worshipped at Notre Dame.

The French Revolution changing too much too soon, and doing so for abstract notions, was a big factor (if not the biggest) in its failure. Enter Burke.

The French Revolution isn't dead, though. Its killing our culture and our own revolution as we speak.

Where's King Louis when you need him?

Dymphna said...

@ laine --

Mentions of Angelo Codevilla are always welcome.

The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It

The reviews are full of life. One fellow from last month titles his, "The Book to Give to Your Snotty Friends"

My own sister, a brilliant, talented and well-educated person with more upstairs than 99 percent of humanity, immediately toes the party line when somebody says a certain pol is "stupid." Sarah Palin is a "joke," Bush is an idiot and Rick Perry is the latest moron in her pantheon of stupidity.

…I am ordering this book for her. I will ask her, before she calls me stupid one more time when she knows it's not true, to read it all the way through, though it will doubtless cause her pain to do it

----
Besides this book, Codevilla has a whole passel of tomes still available. Here's his Codevilla Page

Look at his other ventures:

The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family, and Civility (2010)

Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft by Angelo Codevilla (2010)

Here's one obviously meant for a classroom text.

The Prince (Rethinking the Western Tradition) by Niccolo Machiavelli and Angelo M. Codevilla

editorial snip:

… includes an introduction by Codevilla that places Machiavelli in the context of his own times…also contains three essays that explore …ways "The Prince" clashes with the other main branch of western civilization…

I read that first booklet, laine. Doing so in tandem w/ Rasmussen's In Search of Self-Government is a useful exercise.

EscapeVelocity said...

Though they sought to curtail religion --- culpa

This is a comonly believed myth.

Only a couple of main figures expressed any sentiments as such. But the US Constitution as more of a weak central government defense pact, was severely limited in this regard, not because these arguments won the day, but because the State's wished to retain declarations on those issues to themselves. It was a Federalist issue, not a Church State issue.

If you wish to see where the majority of the Founding Fathers stood on religion (and they were a very religious bunch) look at the State Constitutions. Those paint a very different picture.

The fallen nature (the imperfectiblility) of man is a central tenet of Christianity. Men strive to live without sin, but they are all sinners, and forever will be.

cumpa_29 said...

@EscapeVelocity

Thanks for the education. I did not know that.

EscapeVelocity said...

Seperation of Church and State is not in the US Constitition.

The Free Excercise clasue was a Federalist provision, that was later incorporated (along with the 14th Amendment) to the States via the expansion of Federal Government power vis a vis the US Civil War. (You will see a lot of adjustments to State Constitutions with regards to religion were made just after the US Civil War)

Then a new narrative was pushed by the Secularist and Minority Faiths Anti Christianists, and a whole new revisionist history is now taught in schools.

cumpa_29 said...

Either way, though. What ended up happening is that religion in the US was not attacked wholesale (perhaps due to our constitution's recognition of retail interests --ie local religious fervors). In France, there was no such thing.

Dymphna said...

The American Revolution was not an American Destruction. It was largely a resolve to grow up.

The French Revolution occurred after America’s Revolt. Different grounds & goals, largely ignoring America's experience as irrelevant. Rousseau's simplistic ideas re "natural man" and his airy-fairy utopia drove much of the ephemera of the FR – e.g., renaming the days of the week.

America codified the separation betwn churches and states. Religion wasn’t forbidden (until it was to crack down on Mormon polygamy). “Rights” inhered in the individual.

Catholics were mainly in Maryland, though there were many further north. Enclaves of French Catholics, long predating the French Blood Bath settled all over, notably Quebec, New Orleans and New England. They did not assimilate.

The Church of Virginia (a descendant of the Church of England) became the Episcopal Church eventually. Methodists from England began to proselytize to the west of those original C of E settlements on the coast of Virginia. They served the isolated settlements of rural villages as “circuit preachers”.

The Puritans morphed into, among other things, the Congregationalists in Massachusetts.

The first Jewish congregation was in Rhode Island. R.I. was settled, iirc, by Penn, who fled Massachusetts' religious strictures and established "freedom of religion" as part of his territory.
Pennsylvania was full of German Catholics, Quakers, Irish Catholics – a real polyglot, but in separate areas.

The Huguenots, Anabaptists, Mennonites, settled throughout the south. And there were Dutch versions further north.

The Quakers, pacifists,, were in disagreement re war. Ben Franklin negotiated with them, esp. for goods & supplies.
The course of the American Revolution followed conventional theories of war. Declaring independence, beginning of hostilities and a windup to victory in Virginia. It was never close to anarchy, though impoverishment was feared.

France largely destroyed religion, replacing it with vaporous ideas about the will of man, etc. Liberty? Not hardly. Equality? They didn’t understand it. Fraternity? Blood feuds.

Two adjectives, American & French, prefixing the word “Revolution”. There the resemblance ends.

Dymphna said...

There was much tension re religious expression in the late 18th century. Washington attended his local church to avoid scandal. But like most, he was at best a deist.

Thomas Jefferson's ideas (including his own New Testament, sans miracles) was distributed to all the members of Congress. It's an interesting work.

The Universalist-Unitarians grew out of Jefferson's ideals. The joke goes that it's the refuge of Jews and atheists, their final stop before exiting entirely.

There have been at least three "Spiritual Awakenings" -from the late 1700s thru the 19th century. Next to the Bible. "Pilgrim's Progress" was the most widely read book in a surprisingly literate land...

America splinters and fragments Christian experience and doctrine like a kaleidescope...Christian pantheism sums it up best.

We probably have more churches per square mile than any other country. And more varieties of architecture -- from the store-front next to the bodega to the crystal palace.

cumpa_29 said...

E Pluribus Unum....Unfortunately we ended up uniting under a French inspired anti-religious orthodoxy rather than the more liberal christian one which could have surfaced, had it not been for the new religion of "Man as the measure of all things".

C.S. Lewis' idea of "Mere Christianity" came too late. Sadly, I think this notion owes most of its existence to the Secular Progressive mentality that forced different notions of "THE TRUTH!!" under one umbrella.

Had people been more interested in God rather than dogma, they would have agreed on the essence of the message/identity, and agreed with each other's right to their own views, BEFORE the French Revolution shat us to oblivion.

Befitting a people at the rear-end of History, we live under the shadows of History's sins.

Sagunto said...

"Locke believed in inalienable rights, which no state could take away."

Catholics and certain unorthodox protestants somehow fell outside of his particular view on inalienable rights, which shows that his perspective wasn't about inalienable rights at all. Jefferson saw that flaw in his vision and sought to correct it.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

cumpa_29 said...

Sagunto.
How so?

My guess is that they disagreed with the amount of truth Locke garnered from reason alone, and placed higher emphasis on revelation and tradition. But that both Locke and his more religious detractors agreed that inalienable rights ultimately came from God, I think is basically beyond dispute.

an EDL buck said...

Truth be told, I could not afford to go to uni, Nowdays I see that I escaped a brainwashing. As I once in a while I bump into my old classmates I thank whatever I could not afford uni, because they're brain dead. Left wing *Bleeps* ( hope that keeps with your pg 13 rating)

Sagunto said...

cumpa_29 -

No need to guess if you read his letter(s) on "Toleration". His viewpoint was more or less in line with that of the so-called "Reformation"; he judged Catholics a threat to the social order because of their alleged double loyalty (to the state but also to the Pope).

And his toleration letters are mild in tone, compared with his earlier writings that are rife with anti-Catholicism.

Take care,
Sag.

Nilk said...

The calendar was changed, and the Goddess (or was it God?) of "Reason" was worshipped at Notre Dame.

Ah, yes, the whore plying her trade on the altar of the cathedral.

Excuse my tone. I've just been participating in a catholic-bashing thread on facebook.

The French Revolution did indeed unleash some foulness. Lee Harris in his Suicide of Reason provides an excellent look at that.

Unknown said...

@ Dymphna:
Thinking about the French Revolution, it's always a good idea to revisit the ideas of Rousseau, aka "godfather of the French Revolution," aka "godfather of totalitarianism," aka "godfather of the 60s," since they are all points on the same continuum.

Rousseau had 5 children with his live-in girlfriend, had every one of those infants taken down to the orphanage and deposited there anonymously. This at a time when childhood mortality in orphanages was about 98%.

His rationale: better for the State to raise children; otherwise, they might grow up hating their fathers (the way he hated his).

xlbrl said...

When Tocqueville declared Americans to be the best educated people on earth, he wrote that this was due to becoming literate through a few years of schooling--or in the case of frontier people, reading the Bible, periodicals, and the odd volume of Shakespeare (Lincoln)--combined with an early and continual experience with work and problem solving.

We have traded 18 year olds who are literate, confident, and several years up the ladder of work for unemployable and sullen 18 year olds drenched in boredom, "educated" by the lowest acheiving seekers of higher education and their puppet masters.

Hesperado said...

Rousseau wrote:

When Christianity gained power with the conversion of Emperor Constantine in the 4th century A.D.] the humble Christians changed their language, and soon this so-called kingdom of the other world turned, under a visible leader, into the most violent of earthly despotisms... Mahomet held very sane views, and linked his political system well together; and, as long as the form of his government continued under the caliphs who succeeded him, that government was indeed one, and so far good. (from his book The Social Contract, 1762).

We have a two-fer here:

1) funny how this Proto-Leftist repeats the same prejudice about post-Constantine Christianity (= Catholicism), as though original Christianity was pristine until it was "corrupted" by Constantine and other evil clerical Elites.

2) And, of course, the admiration for Mohammed -- held also apparently by Eisenhower, Bush, McCain and Mitt Romney, among other illustrious Conservatives.

Hesperado said...

Addition to the above:

I forgot to include a point in my #1, which I shall re-word:

"Funny how Rousseau, this Proto-Leftist, repeats the same prejudice against "organized Christianity" (i.e., post-Constantine, when the evil Catholic Church began to become solidified and the purity of Original Christianity -- during which time only Proto-Protestants roamed the Mediterranean singing "Amazing Grace" in praise of their Simple-Hearted Gospel -- was "corrupted" by "institutionalized religion") of which modern Protestants (particularly of the American non-liberal variety) are so fond."

Hesperado said...

Baron wrote:

"I'm not concerned about Burke's views on Islam, but on liberty, where he and I are in general agreement."

I suppose one could argue for such a compartmentalization. For example, a we may be horrified by the ethics of a Nazi concentration camp scientist, but still appreciate and utilize his scientific knowledge if it was independently valuable. Or, to use a less extreme analogy, a politician may think that there's no problem with the inundation through legal and illegal immigration of Mexicans into the U.S., but otherwise he delivers impassioned and articulate orations against the social ills of gay marriage (or whatever other social issue du jour is one's pet priority). One would thus use this politician for the latter ideal, while ignoring his blindness to the former problem; as Baron seems to do with Burke.

There is a distinct, through related, point here, though. The fact that a Burke -- otherwise such a fount of noble and beneficent ideas and arguments about political science approved by True Conservatives -- can be essentially PC MC about Islam (with a few Kiplingesque rough edges here and there unsurprising for his era), is one more indication among many that the problem of the West's myopia to Islam and its policies logically consequent upon that myopia is not a "Leftist" problem, nor (if this is distinct) a problem of Elites Out of Touch with Reason (if not downright Evil) -- since one of the Godfathers of Modern Reason, Burke, was myopic to the danger and evil of Islam.

Thus, at the very least, if one insists on valuing and using Burke, one should readjust one's paradigm about the etiology and career of the West's Islamomyopia.

Hesperado said...

Speaking of selectively useful thinkers whom one must compartmentalize in order to salvage their Dr. Jekyll, we have Angelo Codevilla, who reinforced the classic TMOEWATHI meme (the "Tiny Minority of Extremists Who Are Trying to Hijack Islam" -- where "Tiny" is of course elastic and fungible but always ends up saving Islam qua Islam from condemnation) in an article in Islam Daily:

The war on terror will be won only when Islam’s Wahabi heresy is defeated -- by orthodox Islam.

And later makes more explicit the TMOEWATHI meme implicit in the above statement (if the word "heresy" -- "defeated" by an "orthodox Islam", no less, for crying out loud! -- wasn't already a flaming clue):

Murderous heresies arise as revolutionary movements. They take one, or more, of the faith's central tenets and twist it into a warrant for overthrowing the norms and practices first of the ordinary faithful, then of mankind. This kind of heresy sets itself apart by entitling the heretics to do whatever they want.

And what, precisely, is it that these "Wahhabi heretics" are "twisting" that, left untwisted, would be benign? Islam? The four schools of Islamic law (Shafi'i, Hanafi, Hanbali, and Maliki) that flourished centuries before Abdul Wahhab (the 17th century founder of "Wahhabism") was even in his swaddling towels? The Koran? The Hadiths? Over 1,200 years of Islam before "Wahhabism" began to "radicalize" Muslims in the 20th century?

On Islam, Prof. Codevilla is a bloody idiot (and I am heroically restraining my fury here). And once again, as with Burke, it shows that people can be intelligent Counter-Elitist Conservatives, and still be not only clueless to the problem of Islam, but positively (if witlessly) reinforcing our PC MC blindness to its deadly evil which is endangering us.

EscapeVelocity said...

Actually Hesperado, I read that from Rousseau as simple minded superior virtue of the oppressed language.

It's similar to what happened to the Jews with regards to Israel. Jews were swell, when they were an oppressed minority, but now that they are the regional power in their own nation, they are the penultimate evil incarnate.

Unknown said...

Every now and then I like to remind people that Islam is not just a problem for the West, it’s a problem everywhere it rears its ugly head.

Muslims invaded India and conquered large territories by brute force, killed and enslaved Hindus, kidnapped Hindu women and forced them to convert to Islam so their families couldn’t take them back. The mountain pass in India’s Northwest Frontier Territory is called the Hindu Kush, “Slaughter of the Hindu,” from the time when Hindus were transported into slavery into Central Asia.

Muslims hate Hinduism; they consider it even more heretical than Judeo-Christianity. They destroyed Hindu shrines, ground idols made of gold and jewels into dust, burned down temples and put mosques in their place. They drove the Buddhists out of India, destroyed Buddhist monasteries and libraries fabled in the ancient world. They drove the Rom people (gypsies) out of India as well.

Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal, upon its completion, had all the architects and designers blinded so they would never be able to construct another one like it.

Hindu folk tales are full of stories about Muslim rulers and their Hindu grand viziers, where the Muslim ruler makes some kind of stupid, disastrous decision, but the Hindu advisor saves the day by finding some diplomatic persuasive way of making him see his error, without telling him forthright that he is an idiot.

Today India’s Leftist elites in government, the media and film suck up to Islam the exact same way they do in the West. Every time there’s a clash between Hindus and Muslims (much worse than we have here), it’s always the Hindus’ fault.

Westward Ho said...

When I read something like what Hesperado quotes from Angelo Codevilla, I immediately say to myself "This is simply someone who hasn't themself read the Islamic scriptures." Few people have. Most opining on Islam today is done without that exposure to the source. Codevilla appears to have believed what he read in the panopoly of "explanation" and "analysis" that one must cut through (like with a machete) to get above. And such analysis sources ooze a curious feeling of authoritative surety. Try to tell someone overeducated in such sources about the simple facts of islamic doctrine and Mo's example and how that shapes Muslims' relation to others, and you may find this weird confident certainty that infuses that commentariat subculture. I must agree with Hesp - it is galling. The Chinese wall separating such equivocators from the AIM supporter is READING THE SOURCE TEXTS.

So much for Codevilla. *But what then of Burke and others from way before the befogging modern memes?* They should have been unable to opine on Islam without reading - at minimum - the Koran and some history. And I'd expect them to sound like Jefferson and Adams on that. What subspecies of the intellectual disease is the symptom of?

Westward Ho said...

@Unknown,
Could the British have transfered from Europe the befoggery of facts, morals, and danger that you describe (among India's elites) to India? I don't think so. I think Bat Yeor's Dhimitude explanation may be closer: Islam insidiously exploits peoples' inclination to cower to oppressors who *might* hurt them *worse* than they are apparently choosing to. And so the victims support the sinister status quo. Including today's Indian elites.

That would make this less some recent Western intellectual corruption, but a much culturally wider human matter. In which case we won't decode most of it by searching the genealogy of Western intellectual history (although we may find how some symbiotic germs evolved that helped enrich the soil for dhimmitude to thrive).

Hesperado said...

Westward Ho,

Burke's admiration for the Muslim system of laws reminds me of Montaigne's admiration for (and justification of) the Noble Savage. Burke in his years in India must have encountered many Muslim scholars, clerics, and "cadis" (Sharia judges), and I assume he was impressed by their Oriental panache and seeming ability to organize society in sophisticated ways. In doing so, he mistook a fanatically sociopathic obsessive compulsive disorder for sophistication -- much, perhaps, as a Star Trek expedition member might be impressed by a Klingon delegation.

Burke erred, in my estimation, in failing to cut through the ostensible Oriental claptrap to the heart of the matter: the evil and deadly essence of Islam which Muslims fanatically enable, an essence making all Muslims who do not at the very least explicitly renounce it unfit for any intercourse whatsoever with other societies.

Burke claimed he read the Koran, by the way (and claimed it in such a way as to distinguish himself from his less open-minded peers who would sweepingly condemn Muslims and their laws).

Another bloody idiot about Islam.

As far as Islamoliteracy goes, I'd rank Ann Barnhardt as light years ahead of the august Sir Edmund Burke.

Unknown said...

@Westward Ho
"Could the British have transfered from Europe the befoggery of facts, morals, and danger that you describe (among India's elites) to India?"

To some extent, yeah. Nehru and other architects of India’s Congress party were Cambridge-educated Fabian socialists who did whatever they could to whitewash the history of Muslim rule of India, to discourage people from thinking they might have been worse off without the British.

But that doesn’t explain it all. I don’t know what makes people cave into Islam the way they do. It beats me. Fear alone doesn't explain it. People suck up to them for no reason.

When the 9/11 attacks happened, a coworker of mine suddenly decided that Muslims are gentle, peace-loving people. Then she decided to convert to Islam. Trouble is, she’s a lesbian. So she went online and found a gay/lesbian/ transgender Muslim group. That meant she could do both.

What makes people do that? People who are otherwise sane, intelligent and normal-appearing? She wasn’t motivated by fear. There was no peer pressure. She did this completely of her own will. There’s something about Islam that throws a switch in people’s heads. I will never understand it.

Westward Ho said...

@Unknown
When the 9/11 attacks happened, a coworker of mine suddenly decided that Muslims are gentle, peace-loving people. Then she decided to convert to Islam....There’s something about Islam that throws a switch in people’s heads."

Yes. That.

The nonwestern nonwhite 3rd worlder's negative emotions (including jihad) are an instant rebuke to the oh so guilty Westerner for her privileged white western good life. She was groping for redemption and expiation.

She didn't find it.

Hesperado said...

Unknown, it's often a combination of factors. The biggest factor is the PC MC mindset, which is as dominant and mainstream throughout the West as the sunshine on a sunny day.

According to PC MC, if a people seems Ethnic and in addition wears cool ethnic clothes and has cool ethnic customs, then their culture is irrationally exempt from criticism -- and indeed the worse their culture is, and the worse they behave in following their culture, the more the PC MC Westerner forces himself to excuse, justify, defend and even find yoga-pretzel-contorting ways to admire them.

The flip side of this particular aspect of PC MC is an irrational self-criticism of one's own West.

I suspect your lesbian friend already had healthy doses of both (irrational respect for The Other + irrational self-hatred of her West) and when Muslims came along mass-murdering, they just had to be Misunderstood Victims with, on closer inspection, a fascinating and alluring culture to offer the Alienated Westerner.

Zenster said...
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Zenster said...
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Zenster said...

Matthew: 'The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy'.

Boy howdy, if ever there was a more damningly succinct summation of modern Liberalism, I've yet to see it.

As one anonymous wag put it:

Never has there been a generation so full of self-esteem … or for so little reason.

Westward Ho said...

And to continue about Unknown's coworker, this regret for being on top, for lacking the "virtue of the pitiable," so to speak, that ennobles the nonwhite non-Christian 3rd worlder, I consider to be the conscience's reaction to colonialism. It wasn't mainstream until recently, but there are specters of it going back to before 1600, as Hesperado pointed out, such as Montaigne.

I believe reasonably civilized people cannot but feel uncomfortable at the suffering imposed on the people taken over brutally, as it they know in their marrow that they'd hate to be treated thus. The golden rule - the preference for cooperativeness (as we would ourselves detest being treated without it) - is a strong force, and we rightly have second thoughts about dropping it. I have read that Caliban was Shakespeare's sympathetic symbol of colonized natives in the Caribbean and elsewhere, that written just a couple decades after Montaigne wrote sympathetically about the cannibals of S. America. So even back then, when colonialism was newer, some intellectuals and others were expressing their second thoughts about the immoral cruelty to and dehumanization of many colonized people. Long before it developed further with romanticism etc, as colonialism developed further. And how could they not, they are wise enough to know inside that they don't want to live in a world that abandons the golden rule, as it would be hell, even as another part of their thinking prefers to be dominant over others. It's complex.

The awareness of such things seeps deep inside, and today we find the expressions of a desire to expiate ourselves before those identified with those wronged (i.e. during colonialism).

Unreasonable madness, anger, and attacks from, suppose, Scandinavians, would not provoke the urgent drive to find empathy for the attacker, that Unknown's co-worker displayed. I believe there'd be NO impulse in that case to invert the innocent and the perpetrator. But she felt that 9/11 was her society's deserved spanking for its sins, and her only redemptive choice is to make a common cause with the aggrieved attacker.

Unknown said...

Yeah, maybe. But I don’t sense that she was motivated by redemption or expiation. Most Americans, at least the ones I see, are very comfortable with having everything they want. They might feel a trifle guilty but I don’t think guilt is what motivates them to grovel to Islam.

A while back, Vogue magazine did an interview of some actress, Charlize Theron, I think it was. This interview took place in a Los Angeles restaurant. The Vogue writer reported that, seated nearby was a large group of Muslim women and girls celebrating a graduation. They recognized Charlize Theron and gave her a thumbs-up, and she gave them a thumbs-up back.

I’d stake my life this story was a fabrication. I know for a fact that Muslim women do not socialize in public without their menfolk, at least in the next room within earshot. Nothing makes me think a Vogue writer can tell if someone’s Muslim just by looking at them. What did she do? Go up to them and say, “Hey, are y’all Muslim?”

I doubt Vogue magazine is trying to help its readers find salvation. I don’t picture Vogue readers being troubled much by guilt. I expect them to have a strong sense of entitlement, if anything.

Sucking up to Islam has acquired a sort of snob appeal. Like Mark Steyn, said, “Muslim is the new cool.” Don't ask me why, it makes no sense, but there it is.

Westward Ho said...

Muslim is the new cool

Ultimate uncool is to be "racist," or an "oppressor," or, really grit your teeth for this one, "privileged."

A distinct coolness is easy for the publicly certified victim group member, victimized by the above referenced criminals. And cool is unattainable for the "privileged."

Many westerners feel the pressure to try to make that leap, if possible. Your coworker crossed over.

Hesperado said...

Westward Ho,

A massive shelf of data about Colonialism has been eliminated by PC MC revisionist historiography: the natives we found -- whether in the South Pacific, the Americas, or Africa -- more often than not were brutal, cruel, and bizarrely irrational savages who mistreated their own far worse than we could have done, and in addition too often reacted to our presence with shocking and grotesquely barbaric violence.

A second shelf of data, even more massive, similarly eliminated or warped into its opposite, were the myriad ways by which Western Colonialists helped to improve the lot of life for innumerable natives around the world.

Given such massive myopia about the facts, reasonable guilt doesn't stand a chance of coming to the surface of consciousness in a healthy manner.

The proper view of the Colonialist enterprise as a whole is that it was beneficent, and that anything to feel guilty about constitutes exceptions that prove the rule which characterize any endeavor of imperfect humans and therefore remains unremarkable.

Hesperado said...

Unknown persists in being baffled by a massive phenomenon:

Like Mark Steyn, said, “Muslim is the new cool.” Don't ask me why, it makes no sense, but there it is.

That's like being baffled by sunshine on a sunny day.

PC MC Commandment #1: Ethnic People are cool.

PC MC Facts: Muslims are Ethnic People. Whites are not.

PC MC Commandment #2 (also known as "Auster's Law of Majority/Minority Relations"): Violent Ethnic People are even cooler, because their violence threatens to challenge our Tolerance and Admiration for their coolness -- and so every time Muslims explode, we must be extra careful to redouble our efforts to "understand" and not forsake our Pledge to Tolerance and Diversity.

What's difficult to comprehend about that? All this has been standard fare out in the Western sunshine for decades.

Before Muslims, it was blacks. Now, Muslim is the New Black.

Unknown said...

@Westward Ho:
Many westerners feel the pressure to try to make that leap, if possible. Your coworker crossed over.

Only because it didn't cost her anything. If she were to wake up tomorrow under Muslim rule, she'd change her tune that quick. They only think being Muslim is fashionable as long as they don't actually have to act Muslim.

George Orwell: "So much of liberal thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't know that fire is hot."

cumpa_29 said...

The Enlightenment thinkers that praised Islam did so out of their loathing for Christianity. They used the former to bash the latter. This currently definitely still runs strong today.

The Romantics who praised it did so out of a desire to celebrate exotic realities. This current is also still alive and well.

Then you have things like "white guilt", which was mentioned earlier here on this thread (though not using that exact term). Still going strong? Oh GOD yes.

Also, I think a lot of the MC PC BS comes from a desire to show SO much empathy towards others, as to bring them into a common understanding and brotherhood with ourselves and others. It represents a touchy-feely end-of-history scenario, like Francis Fukuyama meets Oprah. The more distant and anti-western the culture, the greater lengths "coexist" Westerners go to in order to show their compassion and willingness to hold hands at the UN.

Lastly, there's just plain fear. The Europeans are now mostly afraid. And so are our elites here in the US, for that matter. People will do ANYTHING in order to avoid an endless war of civilizations in an interdependant world filled with WMD's and ubiquitous AK47's.

It wouldn't surprise me if one day in the not too distant future, the elites and their servile and cynical supporters amongst the masses, FINALLY end up selling out to Islam. Instead of praising themselves with "Peace in our times", they'll do so by declaring the whole farce a great "miracle".

Unknown said...

@Hesperado:
"A massive shelf of data about Colonialism has been eliminated by PC MC revisionist historiography: the natives we found -- whether in the South Pacific, the Americas, or Africa -- more often than not were brutal, cruel, and bizarrely irrational savages who mistreated their own far worse than we could have done, and in addition too often reacted to our presence with shocking and grotesquely barbaric violence."

Some years ago, there was a made-for-TV movie called “Stolen Women, Captured Hearts,” which claimed to be based on the true story of Anna Morgan Brewster and Sarah White, two pioneer women in Kansas in the 1870s (near where I was raised). Brewster was a 22-year-old bride and White age 16 when they were kidnapped by a band of Sioux, gang-raped, beaten, and forced to do slave labor, until they were sold to another tribe, and went through the same ordeal, over and over again. In the beginning, they were worth 16 horses apiece; a few months later, only 2. General Custer brilliantly managed to track them down and negotiate their release.

The movie—can you guess? Changed it all into a PC bodice-ripper where the Indians treated them decently and Brewster actually went back to live with them by choice.

They can make movies about whatever they want, but this claimed to be based on a true story. It was like watching those 2 women being violated all over again.

No blogs in those days—otherwise, I’d have had a place to vent!

Dymphna said...

It was unfortunate to have to delete two long comments into which the writer obviously put much thought and energy.

However, I will reiterate a standing rule about courtesy, per this particular violation re civility and decorum: dismissing someone else's ideas as rubbish is not acceptable.

I am too fatigued to go thru all those words, pick out the offending one, remove it and then repost.

Careful arguments deserve careful responses. "Rubbish" is dismissive, uncivil, and lacks decorum...

I haven't attempted to read everything here so I have no idea if there are other violations. Those were the ones reported to me.

More light and less heat, please.

Dymphna said...

That reminds me: Have been getting feedback from our community of writers, translators, translators, etc. about the comments sections of posts.

Generally speaking,

*those in favor of having comments are running about 2 to 1 in favor of retaining them,

*most emphasize the need to moderate the threads.

*For those who answered the question about closing comments at the essayist's request, all agreed with that sentiment.

*Many suggested a limit of the number of comments on a given thread. The limits given ranged from 50-75.

I'll have more later.

Dymphna said...

@an EDL buck

Truth be told, I could not afford to go to uni, Nowdays I see that I escaped a brainwashing. As I once in a while I bump into my old classmates I thank whatever I could not afford uni, because they're brain dead...

Precisely. Some analyst said recently that universities are going the way of newspapers and they’re no better prepared to deal with the reality than all those jornolists & their managers are.

Hesperado said...

Unknown,

That example you gave is typical, and could be found in a thousand different permutations over the years -- whether in Academe, journalism, in high schools (probably also in grade schools and even Kindergarten), in popular fiction, coffee-table "non-fiction", in movies, in TV and cable shows.

As I distilled the essence of the deformation in Western reason after analyzing Montaigne's complex argument defending his contortions, the PC MC pathology boils down to this:

We are worse because we are better.

(And if Muslims were consciously in touch with their Satanic inspiration (and perhaps many of them already are), they would know that what lies beneath the welter of malignantly confused brain tissue of their thought is a mirror image of our Western ethical anxiety -- the clarity of Lucifer's lucid disease:

We are better because we are worse.

Unknown said...

@Hesperado:

You just made my week. What a gift. I hope you win the lottery or something.

This will conclude my comments on this thread :)

Hesperado said...

Thanks Unknown. If I win the lotto, I'll cut you in.

Westward Ho said...

Hesperado:
I honestly find it hard to believe that colonialism wasn't largely staggeringly barbaric, what with African slaves replacing the Caribbean natives after they were worked to death, etc. At least honoring such suffering - much of which is fact - seems correct. Admiting an awful lot of eggs broken along the way, at least.

At the same time, having read you, I expect that the case you'd make is not weak. And especially, the other idea, that whatever the West touches it ruins, tainting the spiritually pure native with our corrupting ways is everpresent. This, without any brutality needed and regardless of benefits. Probably 1 in 3 of NPR's stories imply this. I yesterday read this Mother Jones article (dreadful rag) about Indian call centers, which bring so much good employment to India, with the banner quote:
"We were asked to hate everything Indian," said 26-year-old Arnab (shown in his Delhi flat)

Toward the end, they explain that Arnab is an activist for India's communist party. The editor selected his whine for the banner message! Their readership so aches for the redemptive self-accusation, to ease the burden of their modern original sin (Oppressive White Western 1st world good life enjoyer -aaagghhh). Every story becomes that despite being from *the* thinnest gruel imaginable.

That this current has such history behind it, some of which you've described, is an amazing notion. Speaking of original sin and long enduring memes, I've lately felt that "original sin" is what this is the secular form of - literally. It changed outer clothes as Christian belief was abandoned by critical mass of society. The need to expiate it still persists, and a new framework was employed. If so, then Montaigne was adapting something from his environment to work in a newly developing framework, in which case his new contribution wasn't so out of the blue. I'm not sure if this holds up, but I'm looking for further roots, feeling more is there.

EscapeVelocity said...

For a highly informed apologia of European imperialism and colonialism, see Niall Ferguson

LAW Wells said...

For those curious on how to take Burke's views on Islam versus his general conservatism, I might point out he was a Whig in his day, meaning he was to the progressive side of Parliament. The Tories were more conservative still (Anglo-Catholic and loyal to the Stuarts - they called it a sorrowing loyalty to the Crown).

That he enunciated a great principle of conservatism (organic reform) does not change his general position.

EscapeVelocity said...

Niall Ferguson - Civilization: The West and the Rest

also

Collosus
Empire



Western Imperialism to Blame or Islam? - Niall Ferguson on the ME

Michael Servetus said...

I would like to add a somewhat vaporous theory to the discussion as to why people do things such as grovel to Islam.

Well, first lets consider the idea that is most prominent and at work in Islam, that is Submission, in fact I have read that it means submission. So we are talking about a cult that has been testing and perfecting the various modes and methods of enforcing and promulagating submission. Their speech and everything else down to their mode of dress is designed to intimidate and impress or be prominent. There is a hidden language in all o fthis and it is a language of a symbolic nature that is understood psychologically and that is tyhe language of dominance, confidence, rulership, master, independence.
There is a master -slave dialectic going on there or if you will a masculine-feminine dialectic going on. One can also say thsat Islam has been dominating females for centuries and have been very successful at it, which may be something Burke admired, not the domination of women per se but the success at ruling and enforcing submission.
In this conversation, when it comes to some of us here in the "West", our encounter with Islam is one of persistent, in your face confrontation, behavior that tests and pushes and which is really a questioning of authority and of course trying to implicitly assert its beliuef in its own "authority".
Minds such as the lesbian mentioned are really weak and want to submit, I would also theorise that the collective mind of the West in its PCMC manifestation is perhaps a unexpected form of self abasement, self enslavement, self submission, because it has a hard time being the leader. It is si free, cutting edge and free of all authority that the only way it can submit is to find something of its own making to submit to. I will not say more and I am not sure I have been entirley clear or lucid in my conveyance of this ethereal idea of mine but I think there is a spiritual, soulful or psychological dynamic at work that is not immediately apparaent and there is a a bit of this masculine feminine priciple at play here, where Islam represents a masculine domineering one and parts of the West, especially those that readily submit recognize a male bull like a mare in heat.

Michael Servetus said...

I would like to correct myself, I got my bull and mare idea mixed up, I should have coupled stallion and mare.

Michael Servetus said...

or preferably bull and heifer

Westward Ho said...

I see your point. Their dominant state of mind pulls some "submission strings" in many people, totally subconsciously, like the animal mating instincts you mention. Since a key part of this is not perceived intellectually, we so struggle to intellectually model what the mental process is behind the irrational behavior toward islam's threats.

Hesperado said...

The Submission explanation would fail one crucial test: PC MCs would not submit to a White Power group that behaved as aggressively as Muslims do.So it's not merely a culture of Dom-Sub going on, but also the exploitation of White Guilt wishing to expiate itself of its sins against the Non-White.

Westward Ho:

As bad as Western slavery could be said to have been, Islamic slavery was astronomically worse -- in terms of duration, geographical extent, brutality of treatment of the slaves and, finally, no sociocultural political process of voluntary Abolition based upon "we made a horrible mistake and we're going to stop it" -- for, as we all know, slavery is divinely mandated in Islam (and indeed is deemed a good thing to last for eternity in Paradise as well).

Sagunto said...

Hesperado -

To chip in on your remark:

"no sociocultural political process of voluntary Abolition based upon "we made a horrible mistake and we're going to stop it" -- for, as we all know, slavery is divinely mandated in Islam (and indeed is deemed a good thing to last for eternity in Paradise as well)."

Whereas in Christian Europe and later in America, slavery and slave trade met with stern opposition. In 1537, Pope Paul III condemned and excommunicated those Spaniards who'd enslave Indians, Christian or not, and "rob them of their rights and property".

In 1596 a Dutch slave trader once dropped a cargo of slaves on the market in the Low Countries. But the Dutch folk got so angry over this that the local city council declared all of these slaves to be free. These stories of outraged common Westerners are reported from all over Europe at that time.

The contrast between Western participation in the (African and Arab driven) slave trade and the Muslim atrocities (who declared slavery equal to jihad): today there is a recognizable group of "Afro-Americans", but in Muslim countries there are few if none "Afro-Arabs". The descendants of black slaves who ended up in America are far better of than the black descendants of the slave hunters/sellers who stayed in Africa. History can be quite ironic.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Hesperado said...

Yes Sagunto.

And in fact, we have Muslims to thank for the fact that the vast majority (if not virtually all) of the blacks imported as slaves into the New World were non-Muslim Africans -- since Muslim slave traders didn't abduct and sell fellow Muslim African converts. I.e., the Arab/African Muslim slave traders selected the slave population for us, by default. Had it been otherwise, the black problem (such as it is) in the Americas would be considerably worse, having inherited the cultural virus of Islam.

Indeed, I don't doubt that there exists evidence that black African slaves imported to the Americas counted themselves as lucky to have escaped their Muslim masters -- though such evidence would be difficult to come by and publish, given our Academic bias these days. Still, any enterprising grad student with enough diligence winnowing through the primary sources I am confident could find it. Good luck then finding graduate advisors to encourage and help him or her develop his thesis!

You New said...

Hi Dymphna, suggestion numero dos

Why worry about cutting the number of posts to 50 or 75 when 10 or 20 of them are commonly by one person?

If I start sending 15 posts, which I won't, how is that not hijacking the comments section?

In my view your hijacker has done much more harm to your comments than the Hebrew-jeebers-Ceasars.
Just because someone is relatively "on topic" doesn't mean that they are not bogarting and refocusing a thread into their own worldview.

I'd tell him to straighten up or you are deleted.

Lawrence said...

Within the realm of "well-educated" people, university liberals and like thinkers are in the minority. Most of our well-educated populace are leaders in the business world and leaders in the community outside of the public political realm. And most of these people tend to be more realistic in their thinking, and more conservative about what it takes succeed.

The lesser group of liberals among the population in which I reside lean heavily toward political power as their means to accomplish what they "feel" is right, and promoting whatever feel-good ideologies that lead people to follow them.

In the end, the educated conservatives among my population tend to strive for success and wealth, while the educated liberals strive for power and influence.

The lesser educated who find themselves at the lower end of the economic spectrum become enamored by the promises of power and influence, in contrast with the established economic structure that they think keeps them down at the bottom.

The fact the Conservative economic structure they feel keeps them down, is the structure that keeps them employed and in fact keeps them self-reliant, and free.

While the liberal power structure they seek after in contrast provides no security other than entitlement programs making them reliant on the state, and subject to the dictates of the state.

Zenster said...

Rapid advances in the physical sciences, and later biology and medicine, led to the conceit that human society — especially political economy — could also be understood and improved by the enlightened scientific mind.

Other than an oxymoron of the very worst sort, what in Hell is "political
economy"? The path of so-called "political economy" is strewn with over a hundred million corpses.

Aside from that tidy little malapropism, the bulk of the above excerpt is dubious, at best.

It is patently clear that "human society" has indeed been better "understood and improved by the enlightened scientific mind". This is indisputable.

That said, is essential to sort out what constitutes an "enlightened scientific mind". This is especially so with respect to the critical distinction between knowledge and wisdom.

Per Harris: One way of interpreting it would be to argue that better educated people will obviously have the right answers on the issues of the day, because they are smarter and see things more clearly.

To the author's credit, he is obviously disputing this and rightly so.

Simply put, how many of these "better educated people" could survive more than a few wretched, hunger-filled days in a wilderness situation? How many of them could subsistence farm?

With ever increasing magnitude there is now a yawning chasm that separates educated "intelligence" and actual wisdom.

For convenience's sake, I'll define wisdom as applied knowledge, also known as method, process, technique and a host of other "hands-on" terms. A more familiar context of this argument is that of book-learning versus battlefield experience.

Per Harris: Needless to say, this interpretation of “the education gap” tends to be favored by educated liberals.

If there is one thing that continues to be a glaring hallmark of Liberal policy it is the impact upon it by the Law of Unintended Consequences™. Also conspicuous is the tendency for Liberals to engage in Magical Thinking™. The modern American welfare system's deleterious effect upon its Black population ― for instance, in the form of Welfare Queens with a dozen illegitimate children ― is a sterling example of this. Liberal policy-making, often Socialist in nature, is riddled with these sorts of landmines and "Easter Eggs"*

* ("Easter Egg" is a computer term for a dormant virus that is timed to emerge at a later date and cause major damage. It is derived from a holiday hunt's forgotten Easter egg that proceeds to rot in its unnoticed and hidden place.)

Per Harris: The wide consensus among the better educated on different questions is not proof that they have been taught to think for themselves, but irrefutable evidence that they have been programmed to think alike.

Such was not always the case until this post-modern era when critical analysis and other expository skills were radically de-emphasized. Modern university level education bears all the outward signs of Jesuit-style training without any of the forensic or parsing skills that usually accompanied such rigorous Catholic indoctrination.

[to be continued]

Zenster said...

Per Harris: To most of us, education is good, while indoctrination is bad. But how exactly can we tell when a program of education has in effect become a program of re-education?

This is a specific and exceptionally deleterious conundrum brought about by the de-emphasis of critical and analytical thought. Without such vital mental faculties, there is no possible way to distinguish between actual education and indoctrination. Such intellectual hobbling is a conscious and intentional choice among many modern Liberal educators.

Stark evidence of this malfeasance exists in the form of students who are frequently demoted or censured for holding views which oppose those of their teacher. Such malicious oppression of free thought is tantamount to criminal behavior and certainly dereliction of academic duty on the part of such clearly biased educators.

Per Harris: But the premise of re-education is quite different. It assumes that the student’s mind is already cluttered with ignorance and prejudices, normally those he has picked up from his family’s inherited traditions. This means that the first task of the re-educator is to cleanse and purge the student’s mind of those traditions he has been taught to accept by his family. Only then can the re-educator fill his student’s mind with the right ideas and opinions — namely, the ideas and opinions to which the re-educator subscribes. But this kind of re-education seems suspiciously like straightforward indoctrination.

Which it quite obviously is. No better example of this exists than the modern maxims of how, "There is no right or wrong, only shades of gray", "You can never know anything for sure", "Truth is subjective", "Logic is relative" and other such nonsense that is used by Liberal educators to cut loose once functional minds from their foundations of reason.

Per Harris: The slippery slope between education and indoctrination is an ambiguous heritage from the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. It is a direct result of the new way of looking at the world adopted by the enlightened elite of that time. Before the Enlightenment, European intellectuals most often saw their job as defending the status quo. After the Enlightenment, they came to see their mission as improving the world in accordance with their own values and ideals.

Again, the author skirts misrepresentation of the truth. Along with the Enlightenment was born the tradition of Classical Liberalism, a far cry from today’s modern Liberalism. Classical Liberalism was epitomized by critical and analytical thought. It also embodied many of Conservatism’s most basic roots regarding individual rights and liberties, such as free speech or private property. To declare that “indoctrination is an ambiguous heritage from the European Enlightenment” is misleading, at least to some degree.

[to be continued]

Zenster said...

Per Harris: Thus the enlightened intellectual began his struggle to achieve cultural hegemony and domination — a struggle he inevitably justified in the name of human progress, often employing the standard argument that the end justifies the means.

The author is direly mistaken when he conflates original efforts by Classical Liberals to unseat Feudalism and the divine right of Kings with latter day modern Liberal efforts to “achieve cultural hegemony and domination”. These are two very different things in that “cultural hegemony and domination” absolutely flies in the face of Classical Liberal values and, therefore, genuine enlightenment.

Per Harris: This was his fall from grace, for the intellectual, by committing to the implementation of his utopian visions of a perfect world, deliberately risked his most precious asset — his reputation for being reliably objective and disinterested about all the questions that came to his attention.

To willingly sacrifice ones “reputation for being reliably objective”, regardless of the ultimate goal, is a direct indicator of anti-intellectualism. Read Ayn Rand’s “The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution” if any of this is unclear.

If there is one thing we can be sure of, the perfectibility of mankind must be a voluntary issue. The idea that mankind’s perfection can be legislated or otherwise forcibly implemented is every bit as despicable as Islam’s notions of coerced conversion and compulsory faith. Both are abominations of free will and free thought. Both have spawned the most brutal and totalitarian institutions imaginable. Both have been the source of lethally morbid cultural stagnation and both have littered their respective paths with mountains of dead bodies.

EscapeVelocity said...

There is much truth in what you spoke Lawrence.

What we need is Conservatives to advance into the government sphere, because leaving it to the Left will bring everybody down.

Dymphna said...

a reader, Gadfly, was unable to access the comment section, so this is his contribution, several days late:

...I am sending this as an email.

I spent nearly 33 years in military intelligence.

When I was a young intelligence analyst newly working at the national level, I had the opportunity to have a casual conversation at an informal social function with one of the more senior analysts. I asked him why it is so difficult to get the members of the intellectual class to understand that the Soviet Union really was a threat to the West. (This was during the Carter years.) He told me a parable that I have never forgotten and have since used often:

If you take an ordinary man, put him to sleep for a long time and then wake him when the sun is just below the horizon, this ordinary man will not be able to tell you whether it is dawn or dusk. The average person does not have the knowledge of the subtle differences of light in sunrise and sunset. Nonetheless, give this ordinary man a little time and he will recognize that it is getting lighter (reaching the perfectly commonsensical conclusion that it is dawn) or it is getting darker (reaching the perfectly commonsensical conclusion that it is dusk). However, only an intellectual would ever confuse high noon for midnight.

Thank you for the wonderful work on your website.

Dymphna said...

# 87@ You New said...

Hi Dymphna,

suggestion numero dos


(I looked, cannot find numero uno suggestion)

Why worry about cutting the number of posts to 50 or 75 when 10 or 20 of them are commonly by one person?

If I start sending 15 posts, which I won't, how is that not hijacking the comments section?

In my view your hijacker has done much more harm to your comments than the Hebrew-jeebers-Ceasars.
Just because someone is relatively "on topic" doesn't mean that they are not bogarting and refocusing a thread into their own worldview.

I'd tell him to straighten up or you are deleted.


This is a problem about which many reaaders of GoV have emailed us. They complain that the many repetitions by a few people make it hard for them to find the few posters who say something new.

Thus, I would ask those who have left more than five comments or so to consider You New's idea -- i.e., that NUMEROUS comments by one person is a form of hi-jacking, even if they are on topic.

I wouldn't have seen You Knew's suggestion had I not happened to come on here to leave Gadfly's comment.

Who are the hijackers in this particular thread? Please, don't be bashful, step forward and respond to You New's suggestion. I could slog thru with a "Find" and tick off y'all's names, but why waste my time and yours when it would be so much easier for each of you to answer her?

BTW, as I have mentioned before, it was when the Baron and I noticed we were taking up too much bandwidth at Belmont Club that we decided to do the obvious and start our own blog. We weren't asked to do so; it was simply obvious we were taking up too much room.

I'm still puzzled as to why others wouldn't perceive that re their many comment responses. Or why those who *do* have blogs already wouldn't invite the ppl who respond to them most often to come over to their home base and have a go at it there.

You New is right: hijacking via numerous comments lacks courtesy. The question that remains is how to solve this knotty problem.

[Note as to tone: I am not being sarcastic, nor is this comment edged with irony. I present one commenter's idea & my endorsement. I'm also asking for feedback. That is the sum total of my tone: simply asking for information.]