March 12, 2003

Sgt. Stryker: 'What in the ...

Sgt. Stryker: 'What in the World Makes You Think I'm a Conservative?': Great stuff from a man I'm glad is defending my little Hollywood meth-shack:

Except for a short Alex P. Keaton phase in middle school, I don't think anyone's ever considered me a conservative until I started up this thing, so the question I put to you is: How in the hell am I considered a conservative and what's your definition of a conservative? [...]

I don't think I've expressed my views on social issues outside of my normal derision of political parties and those who put the interests of a political group over those of the country. I guess that might be some sort of libertarian philosophy, but libertarians freak me out. [...]

I don't like political parties, I like making fun of dipshit kooks, I support the GWOT, I don't care one way or another about Iraq and I don't think Bush is the caricature most on the right and left make him out to be (e.g. "dummy", "master rope-a-dope strategist", or "gun-slingin' cowboy" to name a few). Is that what makes me a conservative? Or is this one of those "anyone who doesn't agree with me is a conservative/liberal" deals? What makes someone a conservative?

Posted by at March 12, 2003 12:55 AM
Comments

Don't be so hard on Conservatives. Wasn't it two Conservatives, Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan, who were instrumental in ending the anti-liberal institution of military conscription back in 1972? Should not today's Conservatives (some of them) who justly reject the shameful practice of racial profiling in hiring be respected? There's a certain kind of Conservatism to be admired.

Posted by: Don at March 12, 2003 07:26 AM

"master rope-a-dope strategist"? Hey, Matt, wasn't that your caricature of Bush? So is that a liberal or conservative caricature?
-Decnavda

Posted by: Timothy Roscoe Carter at March 12, 2003 10:07 AM

Don -- Who's being hard on conservatives? Not me!

Tim -- I never, uh, said Bush was a *master* rope-a-doper ... and I did point out that rattling the saber of the world's most powerful military & economy is altogether different than devising a defense mechanism against a stronger George Foreman ... but yeah, yr right.

Posted by: Matt Welch at March 12, 2003 10:20 AM

I know I've been at this old saw before on Matt's kick-ass website about politics and partisanship. Look, Sgt. Striker is making a massive non-sequiter when he says he deplores people putting party interests ahead of the well-being of the country. In this he's both right and wrong. If they truly are putting their interests above the well-being of the country (which parties often do) then, yes, they are acting like sleaze-ball jack-asses. But putting the interests of the country first is itself an inherently partisan activity. The United States Constitution is a partisan document since it calls for a certain form of government, republican democracy with all sorts of novel mechanisms of governance. People (special interests -- "factions" in Madison and Hamilton's language) will always disagree on substantive notions of what constitutes "the good" (the good, here, I'm talking about in terms of what Aristotle, Plato and other masters of poltical thought considered what constitutes the beest way of life; what satisfies any political communities need for morality). Partisanship, within the bounds of reasonable, civil discourse, is perfectly healthy. In fact it's essential. It is the only way to have a reliable check on authority and abuse of power. This is most succinctly explained in Federalist paper # 10.

Posted by: Robert Light at March 12, 2003 12:13 PM

A conservative, as I see it, is one who realizes that there are limits to what human beings can do -- that the contemporary liberal agenda of creating a return to the garden of eden, a garden with no forbidden fruit, is a potentially murderous agenda.

Moreover, a conservative (obviously, in the political sense) is one who sees that there are certain things, principles worth *conserving.*

Almost all of today's partisans of what constitutes the best way of life (i.e. all of us political beings) are purveyors of a philosophized politics and a politicized philosophy. Everything (as one of my teachers has pointed out, and as *I believe* I've come to see it) is shot through with this. It's this which accounts for the politicized desire to put an end to politics.

(Don't ask me to give a perfectly cogent explanation of what I just wrote! ;) I'm sort of "gadflying" and still trying to understand these concepts myself).

Posted by: Robert Light at March 12, 2003 12:21 PM

By "limits to what human beings can do" I have in mind that there are limits to reform -- that not all "change" is change for the better, that not all "progress" ("progressivism" being the fetish of twentieth century liberalism) is not always, well, progress (i.e. what is it actually "progressing" towards?).

Posted by: Robert Light at March 12, 2003 12:24 PM


"A conservative, as I see it, is one who realizes that there are limits to what human beings can do -- that the contemporary liberal agenda of creating a return to the garden of eden, a garden with no forbidden fruit, is a potentially murderous agenda."

I think humankind is making slow progress (don't ask me to define that if you don't have an hour or two), but trying to push that progress too fast is counterproductive (wild understatement).

On the other hand, some (not all but some) conservatives seem to think no human progress is impossible, humans are going to prey on each other and so the best you can do is try to be the predator not the prey (what I call the "I got mine Jack" school of conservative thought).


"Moreover, a conservative (obviously, in the political sense) is one who sees that there are certain things, principles worth *conserving.*"

I agree that there are many things worth conserving, but I often completely disagree with people who call themselves conservatives about what those things are.

Posted by: Michael Farris at March 12, 2003 12:56 PM

"On the other hand, some (not all but some) conservatives seem to think no human progress is impossible, humans are going to prey on each other and so the best you can do is try to be the predator not the prey (what I call the 'I got mine Jack' school of conservative thought)."

Indeed, very good point. That's the old social darwinism school which has strong strains and traditions on the right (William Graham Sumner, _What Social Classes Owe One Another_ -- i.e. might makes right)and, surprisingly, on the left (Lester Frank Ward, particularly cogent in his essay "Mind as Social Factor" -- a prefiguration of people like Stephen J. Gould; in fact the case could be made that there haven't been any new ideas among American liberals since the Progressive era a century ago. And I think that's right).

Not to get too esoteric here (since I'm still trying to come to grips with these issues) but what some "conservatives" take their stand for is preserving the natural rights basis of the Constitution (i.e. as Lincoln said, teh Declaration is the apple of gold in the frame of silver -- the frame of silver being the constitution, which when it was ratified was of course imperfect; concessions had to be made to the slave holding southern states). If the natural rights basis of the Constitution is true, that it is a self-evident truth that all men (the founders were in fact speaking of humanity, of natural as opposed to political rights -- a distinction lost on contemporary politicized liberals and traditionalist conservatives) are created equal -- i.e. that there is an *objective* morality that arises from all humans sharing the same *fixed* human nature (fixed as opposed to historical/socialized nature) -- then slavery was put on the road to distinction by the Declaration.

Now in our own day, the natural rights school is best exemplified -- perhaps solely -- by the political philosopher Harry V. Jaffa and his many followers at The Claremont Institute (and Hadley Arkes at Amherst College). If natural rights are self-evident (well, for Jaffeans, it's not a question of "if"...) then also things like same-sex marriage and abortion are contrary, indeed a threat, to good self-government since such practices are inherently opposed to nature. Nature is the basis of morality (though people who try to refute nature as a basis for a liberal polity, such as in my recent e-mail exchanges with bloggers Julian Sanchez and Andrew Sullivan, seem not to recognize that there are two senses of "nature" -- but that's a separate subject for separate time). The argument can be made (and in fact has been made with great bravura by Harry Jaffa) that same-sex marriage would threaten the existence of the traditional family. How he bridges that gap is interesting -- I'm not sure he's right, but his incredibly un-PC arguments deserve very much a hearing.

And Hadley Arkes's extremely thoughtful arguments against abortion -- arguments which appeal solely to reason and not revelation, or religious faith -- are eminently persuasive. His recently published book, _Natural Rights and the Right to Choose_ (Cambridge University Press) is something every libertoid and liberal needs to come to terms with.

But an OUTSTANDING place to start, which better fleshes out what I'm trying to articulate here is a talk given by Charles Kesler at the American Enterprise Institute (it should come up under their "Bradely Lecture Series").

Posted by: Robert Light at March 12, 2003 05:30 PM

That bit about political parties was shorthand for stuff I've already written earlier. In an ideal world, Congressmen and other representatives would form ever changing blocs or factions depending on specific situations, with members disbanding after a matter has been dealt with. This isn't an ideal world, and I'm aware that wishing for such thing is only that: wishing. That doesn't mean I can't speak out against the current system or if I chose, to work towards its destruction (political parties, not the government itself). Since I'm lazy, I limit myself to pointing out problems with permanent political parties and their members.

Political parties have one redeeming feature: They temper radicalization and provide for stability, allowing the population at large to eventually become used to new situations without alienating or unnecessarily radicalizing large blocs due to sudden and radical change. However, political parties are like any other organism, in that they are only concerned with their continued survival, sometimes at the expense of everything else.

The specific problem I have with political parties and their members is the tendency to develop tunnel vision and focus more on beating the other guy or promoting your guy based only on party affiliation. The good of the party becomes the focus rather than the good of the nation. They couch their language in terms of "so-and-so will be best for the country", but their actions betray the lie. If you had a guy (or gal) who in almost every way agreed or supported the published platform of your party, but belonged to another party, you would work to defeat them because of that inconsequential fact. Since they belong to the other party, you can't allow them to win or their party would gain an advantage. I don't believe that sort of thinking is good for the country and I also think that's what the two parties are all about. That's the cliff's notes version of what I believe.

Posted by: Paul at March 12, 2003 06:40 PM

Christ almighty -- not "slavery was put on the road to distinction" -- I meant to write that slavery was put on the road to EXTINCTION by the Declaration (i.e. natural equality -- people are regarded as equal before the law, not as members of groups and "group think" as our charming multiculturalist hacks who I've noticed berated poor Matt and the LA Examiner for a low presence of "victimized" groups).

Posted by: Robert Light at March 12, 2003 07:22 PM

Paul, I think your argument on parties makes no sense. Do you think representatives of the people, whether or not they are affiliated with a party, arrive at a position on an issue in a vacuum? Um, no. Basic philosophies drive how we come to view various issues, and those basic philosophies are what bind party people together. Occasionally those philosophies change and mutate and cause parties to shift directions (hence, the Republican Party is a lot more conservative and religion-friendly now than it was fifty years ago, while the Democratic Party has veered strongly secular and quasi-socialist), but ultimately, there are real ties that bind, which is why Trent Lott, Olympia Snowe, John McCain, and George W. Bush are all in the same party even though they have different views on various subjects.

As far as the whole voting for the party over the person thing, you have to inject pragmatism here. First off, 90% of what goes through a legislature usually gathers fairly broad bipartisan support, from different people at different times. The last 10% is often very partisan, and is where the lines are drawn. For instance, lots of conservatives love the Democratic Senator from Georgia, but he does the GOP no good if his first vote of the session is for Tom Daschle as Senate Majority leader, because then the Dems control the agenda. You can argue that it'd be a whole lot better if he just switched to the Republican Party since his views are so conservative compared to his party peers, but hey, the Dixiecrat mindset is still strong in some places, and some of those southern conservatives are still fiercely Democrat even if they'd vote for a Republican President like Bush or Reagan over Carter or Clinton.

Posted by: Andrew at March 12, 2003 07:24 PM

Let's look at a specific instance of this: the '94 GOP Revolution. Before '94, the Republican mindset in Congress was like the current GOP mindset in California: it's better to be consistently conservative and in the minority than to sacrifice some of our values and broaden our party and coalition to attain the majority. Newt and his cohorts then came along, took over the House GOP leadership, and said, "No, we're going to bring on board some Republican candidates who don't agree with all of our agenda, but this will help us win the majority." Then the '94 election happened, and voila! Much of the conservative agenda was passed because the new Republican leadership saw to it that the legislation got considered. A lot was stymied by President Clinton, but by sacrificing ideology at the beginning, they were able to control the agenda later.

The point is very simple: It's better to be in sometime disagreement with the guy on your team but yet have control, because then you guys can find compromises and hold onto power and see your agenda through. If he's playing for the other team, your differences become ten times more powerful than your agreements, and if he's in power, your agenda will not be considered.

Think of it in a parliamentary way: would you rather be the Tory leader right now if you oppose war against Iraq, or would you rather be one of Blair's chief ministers in his cabinet? You'd want to be in his cabinet because your ability to counter Blair is much more powerful because you help control the agenda, whereas as Tory leader all you can do is whine and bitch and complain and hope that when the election comes, the electorate agrees with you and votes your views into the majority.

Posted by: Andrew at March 12, 2003 07:32 PM

Paul wrote: "However, political parties are like any other organism, in that they are only concerned with their continued survival, sometimes at the expense of everything else."

Let "ambition counter ambition" -- that's the language from Federalist 10, derived from concepts put forth in Hobbes's _Leviathan_, and I see no reason to abandon such a mechanism of struggle and checks and balances. Ultimately, parties have to rally around the basic principles of the Constitution, or the rascals are voted out of office. So I don't buy your statement of "at the expense of everything else." Anyone who does that has his head served to him on a platter.

Now, part of the problem is that there's never been a time before in our nation's history when political parties have been weaker. And it's fascinating to observe how much greater the partisanship is (bad partisanship, in terms of ridiculous bickering and/or prevalence of extremists like the Progressive Democratic Caucus) since there is less rallying around core principles of the Constitution. As the natural rights basis of our government has been weakened, the greater has been the lack of party discipline. Hence, you have an odious hack like Tren Lott in the GOP. A member of the party of Jefferson Davis in the Party of Lincoln!! It's a fucking disgrace, to put not too pretty a face it.

As Jaffa has written is a very fine recent essay: "modern conservatism suffers from the same nihilism and postmodernism that dominate liberalism and that suppress dissent on our campuses. If conservatism is not to become a mirror-image of decadent liberalism, we have to return the movement to its roots in the political thought and actions of the American Founders and Abraham Lincoln. Nothing is at stake but the soul of the American Revolution, and the salvation of Western civilization."

Posted by: Robert Light at March 12, 2003 08:44 PM

It's also interesting to witness how much Woodrow Wilson's words from his "The Freedom Speech" resonate today among both libertarians, independents (of various stripes) and among contemporary liberals and leftists -- his llanguage is pretty much their language. Wilson was, in many ways, the most important, influential political figure of the last Century in that he is the one really responsible for molding the modern Democratic Party -- that he brought a party of Progressives which had oscillated in allegiance among Republicans, Democrats, and other political parties, and ensconced them in in the Democratic Party which has been Progressive's home ever since (but calliniberals" and who represent an _a_moral freedom -- something they have in common with libertarians). One can see from the below quote many of the ideas, in embryo, responsible for the silly notion, so prevalent today, that we can get beyond politics (partisanship) and develop a perfectly rational society. But contrary to this, I'll fervently take my stand with those sober people who believe that, because human nature is fixed (and not culturally based in Wilson's blending of Darwinism and Hegelian historicism [historicism is, to put it roughly, the notion that men and ideas, and reason itself, can be nothing more than a child of its time -- i.e. the reduction of reason to culture]) that we can never create society free of contradictions. (Marxism is the most sophisticated example of this dream of society free of contradiction).

Anyway, I'll shut up. Here's Woody Woo:

"The makers of our Federal Constitution read Montesquieu with true scientific enthusiasm. They were scientists in their way,—the best way of their age,—those fathers of the nation. Jefferson wrote of "the laws of Nature,"—and then by way of afterthought,—"and of Nature’s God." And they constructed a government as they would have constructed an orrery,—to display the laws of nature. Politics in their thought was a variety of mechanics. The Constitution was founded on the law of gravitation. The government was to exist and move by virtue of the efficacy of "checks and balances."

The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live. On the contrary, its life is dependent upon their quick co-operation, their ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence, their amicable community of purpose. Government is not a body of blind forces; it is a body of men, with highly differentiated functions, no doubt, in our modern day, of specialization, with a common task and purpose. Their co-operation is indispensable, their warfare fatal. There can be no successful government without the intimate, instinctive co-ordination of the organs of life and action. This is not theory, but fact, and displays its force as fact, whatever theories may be thrown across its track. Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice. Society is a living organism and must obey the laws of life, not of mechanics; it must develop.

All that progressives ask or desire is permission—in an era when "development," "evolution," is the scientific word—to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.

Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence, signed in Philadelphia, July 4th, 1776. Their bosoms swell against George III, but they have no consciousness of the war for freedom that is going on to-day.

The Declaration of Independence did not mention the questions of our day. It is of no consequence to us unless we can translate its general terms into examples of the present day and substitute them in some vital way for the examples it itself gives, so concrete, so intimately involved in the circumstancs of the day in which it was conceived and written. It is an eminently practical document, meant for the use of practical men; not a thesis for philosophers, but a whip for tyrants; not a theory of government, but a program of action. Unless we can translate it into the questions of our own day, we are not worthy of it, we are not the sons of the sires who acted in response to its challenguestions of our own day, we are not worthy of it, we are not the sons of the sires who acted in response to its challenge."

Posted by: Robert Light at March 12, 2003 09:02 PM

"If the natural rights basis of the Constitution is true, that it is a self-evident truth that all men (the founders were in fact speaking of humanity, of natural as opposed to political rights -- a distinction lost on contemporary politicized liberals and traditionalist conservatives) are created equal -- i.e. that there is an *objective* morality that arises from all humans sharing the same *fixed* human nature (fixed as opposed to historical/socialized nature) -- then slavery was put on the road to (extinction) by the Declaration."

Interesting viewpoint, it certainly took long enough. My timeline may be way off (relative dates of things hundreds of years ago aren't my strong point) but this sounds vaguely Rousseau-ish, were the framers of the constitution influenced by him?

Now in our own day, the natural rights school is best exemplified -- perhaps solely -- by the political philosopher Harry V. Jaffa ... If natural rights are self-evident (well, for Jaffeans, it's not a question of "if"...) then also things like same-sex marriage and abortion are contrary, indeed a threat, to good self-government since such practices are inherently opposed to nature."

How so? I'm not so sure if we really want nature as our sole or mainthe question of self-awareness among other animals).
Nature arguments that I've come across usually end up ignoring one or the other of those and too often treat people as the expression of species based drives whose highest purpose is perform pre-programmed biological functions. I think people (and morality) are a little more complex than that.

"Nature is the basis of morality (though people who try to refute nature as a basis for a liberal polity ... The argument can be made (and in fact has been made with great bravura by Harry Jaffa) that same-sex marriage would threaten the existence of the traditional family."

Whose traditional family?
The default human 'family' is not the nuclear model which arose primarily as a spinoff of the industrial revolution (it's called the "Eskimo" family by some anthropologists since they were among the very few pre-industrial peoples to practice such a thing).
The default human "family" is the vertically extended (multi-general) model. Lateral extension also usually occurs but just how it's extended laterally differs somewhat from culture to culture.
And don't get me started on marriage. Since monogamous emotion-based self-selected marriages are about as 'traditional' as the internet (I think both are good things but they don't have a lot of history on their side).


"How he bridges that gap is interesting -- I'm not sure he's right, but his incredibly un-PC arguments deserve very much a hearing."

I'll try to look up some of Jaffa's writings, but can we _please_ stop using PC as a shorthand smear for "liberal"? To me PC refers to unthinking adherence to orthodoxy and is not exactly rare in any political grouping you care to name.

Posted by: Michael Farris at March 12, 2003 10:48 PM

Hi Michael -- you raise some good questions. Indeed, there is a lot of Rousseau in the "background" thinking during the Founding. The Ant-Federalists were particularly Rousseauean. They were primarily concerned with civic virtue (as was Rousseau -- see in particular Rousseau's absolutely remarkable letter -- of frickin' book length -- to D'Alembert, which Allan Bloom published under the title _Politics and the Arts_) and were marked by a hostility toward government run by elites (and here, is an interesting point: the Anti-Feds were oposed to centralized, big government; however, it has been argued by some scholars that the New Deal and Progressivism is to some extent a legacy of the Anti-Federalists). Though the Ant-Feds were not victorious, they nonetheless exerted quite some influence on the ratification of the Constitution and had influence on the Federalists. Also today's "communitarians" are rather Rousseauean. Of course, this isn't to say that they're reading Rousseau; just that ideas started by philosophers gain a life of their own and insinuate themselves into conventional thinking. Seems human events are ruled by little else (to paraphrase John Maynard Keynes). And also, just to be sure, the Anti-Federalists were not doctrinaire Rousseaueans, in that Rousseau (as I'm sure you know) is a highly nuanced thinker and I imagine many of the ideas promulgated by Rousseaus would have horrified them (or indeed did horrify them, if they were in fact conversant with his writings).

It's important to recall that for Rousseau, modern society has destroyed equality. You need communal participation for equality--people need to be equal in decision making/participation. Without this there is no freedom, no participation in making laws, goals, direction of community. One is simply obeying and being dominated by others. Modern societies bring about vast inequality and class differences in wealth, social habits, political rights and knowledge. Modern life harms virtue and freedom by harming equality, pulls away from narrow devotion, participation, and pulls us to acquisitiveness, the "Enlightenment" (which Rousseau ruthlessly attacked -- he didn't want people to be enlightened!), sophistication, "cosmopolitan" attitudes.

One of the most interesting things about Rousseau is that despite all his talk about the state otle and Cicero knew all along.

Man is a species being, and has long been equipped with the natural understanding that a man and woman constitute the basis of the family unit. Even in Ancient Athens, which de facto tolerated (but officially forbad) sodomy and homo-sexuality had incredibly strong family units (read Fustel de Coulanges classic _The Ancient City: A Study of the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome_).

Michael Farris also writes:

"How so? I'm not so sure if we really want nature as our sole or main guide. Human nature is an uneasy combination of our primate/mammal heritage as a species and our self-awareness (we'll leave aside the question of self-awareness among other animals).
Nature arguments that I've come across usually end up ignoring one or the other of those and too often treat people as the expression of species based drives whose highest purpose is perform pre-programmed biological functions. I think people (and morality) are a little more complex than that."

To your last point, I'd be the first to acknowledge that morality is a _highly_ complex issue. And, I'm certainly not staking my claim on people like Steven Pinker (though there is much to admire in his work) and other socio-biologists whose understanding is, as you righly allude to, unqualifiedly deterministic.

What I'm up against in the point you raise is the "two understandings of nature" which I had mentioned in an earlier post (regarding my civil disputes with Julian Sanchez and Andrew Sullivan). To spare myself the time, I'll offer for your review Jaffa's reply to one of his critics. This is by no means an exhaustive answer to the very valid point you raise, but it effectively adumbrates what is at issue (i.e. the question of whether morality is objective [by, or according, to nature] or not):

"Professor Dynia prefaces his diatribe with an epigraph. A priest advises a sodomite that his sin is against nature. The sodomite replies, 'Oh, father, but it is so very natural to me.' Professor Dynia evidently thinks the sodomite's reply is a sufficient one, although it should be evident that the priest and the sodomite are using 'nature' in two entirely different senses.

The antebellum slave owner, who sipped his mint junlep while sitting in the shade, as Sambo chopped cotton in the burning sun, thought it entirely natural to do so. The Inca priests, who disemboweled maidens on their alters, evidently thought human sacrifice to be entirely natural. Hindus, who burned widows on their husband's pyres, evidently thought suttee to be natural. Hitler, of course, thought it quite natural to kill Jews.

The central point of my review — which Professor Dynia nowhere addresses — was that the only ground in unassisted human reason for objecting either to slavery or to genocide is the ground of nature, not in the sense of what 'is,' but in the sense of what 'ought' to be. We ought not to enslave other human beings — as we may "enslave" dogs or horses or oxen — because we recognize in them a nature that we share. We ought not to slaughter (or eat) other human beings, as we may cattle, for the same reason. All moral obligation arises form the perception that another being is a human being — towards whom we should act as we would have him (or her) act toward us — and not a being of a lower order of nature. At the normative center of the idea of nature itself is the distinction of male and female, which is the ground of morality because it is the ground of the existence of nature itself (the being of being). If then sodomy is not unnatural, in the same sense in which the priest said it is, then nothing is unnatural, and nothing (including the persecution of sodomites) is wrong."

You can read the rest of this exchange here:

http://www.claremont.org/writings/930819jaffa_dynia.html

A sample of Jaffa's writings are also available here:

http://www.claremont.org/about/staff/jaffa.html#articles

Jaffa loves Socratic dialogue, and is the only person I know of who is willing to spend his whole life talking to _anybody_ about Lincoln, Jefferson, and why the truths of the Declaration are not "new ideas." As he would have it, those who believe that they are "new ideas" are unwitting victims of Martin Heidegger -- Heidegger runs the modern American university. The truths of the Declaration are not new ideas. They have been true whether they were recognized and unknown or whatever. Permanent, immutable truths, like one and one is two.

And, finally, Michael Farris writes:

"can we _please_ stop using PC as a shorthand smear for "liberal"? To me PC refers to unthinking adherence to orthodoxy and is not exactly rare in any political grouping you care to name."

I'm not using PC as a smear for liberal. If anything I'm quite interested in a re-invigorated liberalism that doesn't succumb to the mind-numbing, soul destroying political correctness on which reigns supreme on American campuses (which are, pretty much, the fons et origo of PCism). Whatever is taught in universities eventually finds its way into public policy and "high culture" (the Marxist Antonio Gramsci knew this well). It is, sorry to break it to you, the Left which has forced political correctness upon our institutions. The forms it has taken are that of "diversity," "multiculturalism" and "hermeneutics" -- legacies of de-based Heideggerianism. That's just a matter of calling a spade a spade.

Now, in that previous paragraph, I wrote "pretty much" the origin of PCism. According to the "genetic fallacy" of logic, it isn't sufficient to refute a concept simply by showing where it comes from, its genesis; but nonetheless, I should point out that the origin of PCism lies deeper than that. Here one has to confront the Frankfurt School's Herbert Marcuse (student of Heidegger, btw). Read his short essay in the "Critique of Pure Tolerance," the locus classicus of "repressive tolerance." Just as an objective statement, Marcuse was WILDLY popuar among the left in the 60s and 70s. Those people who were threatening deans and administrations during that tumultuous time are the people today running college campuses (such as what recently happened to Claremont McKenna College, where I now study. The school has hitherto been a bastion of classical, liberal economics and Straussian-school political philosophy. That's all history in another generation, thanks to the new president -- who is exactly the radical type I've descibed. So long CMC! It's on its way to being another Pitzer College, another soporofic purveyor of Leftist inspired liberation studies.)

Moreover, I think it possible Marcuse is rigtht [!], insofar as I agree (possibly) with his point about all tolerance being repressive. There is not a person in the history of the world who has been "tolerant." Poeple hate, thoroughly hate, their enemies.

As an anecdote: my professor was recently having a discussion with a Scripps College feminist. She kept denying that she, as a liberal and a feminist, is NOT an "_elitist_." That she's tolerant. Now, this same girl, however, is practically ready to send in the fucking Marines to squash societies that perform clitorectomies (sp?). That's political. But she's working from a basis which is thoroughly non-political; in fact her basis, which is the basis I think all people (as victims of modernity), is _philosophic_, in that she thinks she transcends politics. Hence, politicized philosophy, and philosophized politics. Everyone today thinks they're a "philosopher" (in an age when football coaches have philosophy, you know somethings terribly wrong).

"In asserting that man transcends the city, Aristotle agrees with the liberalism of the modern age. Yet he differs from that liberalism by limiting this transcendence only to the highest in man. Man transcends the city only by pursuing true happiness, not by pursuing happiness however understood." (Leo Strauss, _The City and Man_, p. 49).

Posted by: Robert Light at March 13, 2003 07:44 PM
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omes from, its genesis; but nonetheless, I should point out that the origin of PCism lies deeper than that. Here one has to confront the Frankfurt School's Herbert Marcuse (student of Heidegger, btw). Read his short essay in the "Critique of Pure Tolerance," the locus classicus of "repressive tolerance." Just as an objective statement, Marcuse was WILDLY popuar among the left in the 60s and 70s. Those people who were threatening deans and administrations during that tumultuous time are the people today running college campuses (such as what recently happened to Claremont McKenna College, where I now study. The school has hitherto been a bastion of classical, liberal economics and Straussian-school political philosophy. That's all history in another generation, thanks to the new president -- who is exactly the radical type I've descibed. So long CMC! It's on its way to being another Pitzer College, another soporofic purveyor of Leftist inspired liberation studies.)

Moreover, I think it possible Marcuse is rigtht [!], insofar as I agree (possibly) with his point about all tolerance being repressive. There is not a person in the history of the world who has been "tolerant." Poeple hate, thoroughly hate, their enemies.

As an anecdote: my professor was recently having a discussion with a Scripps College feminist. She kept denying that she, as a liberal and a feminist, is NOT an "_elitist_." That she's tolerant. Now, this same girl, however, is practically ready to send in the fucking Marines to squash societies that perform clitorectomies (sp?). That's political. But she's working from a basis which is thoroughly non-political; in fact her basis, which is the basis I think all people (as victims of modernity), is _philosophic_, in that she thinks she transcends politics. Hence, politicized philosophy, and philosophized politics. Everyone today thinks they're a "philosopher" (in an age when football coaches have philosophy, you know somethings terribly wrong).

"In asserting that man transcends the city, Aristotle agrees with the liberalism of the modern age. Yet he differs from that liberalism by limiting this transcendence only to the highest in man. Man transcends the city only by pursuing true happiness, not by pursuing happiness however understood." (Leo Strauss, _The City and Man_, p. 49).

Posted by: Robert Light at March 13, 2003 07:44 PM
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