Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The contemporary totalitarian left in full bore

Charles gets a laugh out of visiting these lefty sites when they fight. Once a year is about enough for me to get the gist of what is not going on.

... check out the netiquette of the leftist sobriquets(which one is O'Keefe?), and the rush to exit:
babble: AP Photographer films women being executed (via Five Feet of Blazing Cat Fur)

Apologists for the Taliban... or near mindless junkies whose first and last thought is keeping an eye on supply?


Dag said...

I got this far into the comments: "It's pretty normal for insurgents to summarily execute people who are collaborating with an occupying power. It was standard operating procedure for the French resistance to consider prostitutes and consorts of the Germany occupiers to be collaborators, and to assassinate them, or execute them. They certainly had no compunction in making them collateral damage.

I say: There is nothing unsual about this in the circumstances. Sorry, I wish it were otherwise."

I suspect that that commentator is what passes for an intellectual in our day. Things weren't greatly better in previous times, as we know from reading, if nothing else, but at least fewer people expressed opinions about things they really had no idea of.

I started with an intense dislike of Ortega y Gasset but after reading Benda again and thinking on Hoffer for a long time I come to the conclusion that perhaps things intellectual should be left outside the realm of the video arcade, left to those professionals who can only damage each other with this kind of evil, leaving the peasants alone to mull over their privacies like they have done for most of time.

truepeers said...

Yes, but even the peasant's privacies derive from the public sphere; his folk religion/ pop culture is a distillation of earlier publicity and retains a periodic need for new injections; hence the desire of some to return to the Zocalo and compete for better bread and bull will be eternal. Courage, my friend.

Dag said...

A momentary grumpiness over-came me. It is true that the public is better suited over-all to decide things than is the elite who "know." The problem is when the public think they are the tiny elite who "know." They act as if they, the mass of democratic people, are actually an elite who should decide for the world all that is to be decided. And such a thought comes from above, from a dishonest intelligentsia. It's a battle forever.

Benda's point is that when intellectuals stuck to intellectual pursuits, i.e. to religion and philosophy, things of intellectual import had no meaning to the average person, and he was untroubled by their Gnostic inquiries. At worst, and worst it was, the intelligentsia involved the masses in wars few if any understood; but the masses resisted it as against their interest, had little or no enthusiasm for it, and carried on as private persons to the bet of their abilities. Recently, though, the "philosophes" have taken the place of the philosophers and turned the masses into cheerleaders and spear-carriers, people who act as if they have a stake in such arcana and lacunae. Thus, "anti-war" becomes war against legitimacy in favor of power struggles between elites, as usual, for the benefit of the counter-elite, i.e. the intelligentsia of our day, the neo-feudalists. Those who don't have an interest in war, i.e. property owners and such, find themselves thinking they have no interest in self-defense.

Not everyone has the luxury of time and energy to put into looking at the world of ideas. Those who do are often dishonest and resentful of their lack of status, it seems, resentful that they are today not kings and lords such as they feel they should be. An honest intellectual like Barzun can live next door to a house-painter and be quite satisfied that he is contributing to the world in a positive way. But Noam Chompsky cannot look upon anyone but the filthy rich as his equal. To be less than filthy rich and worshiped is, for his kind, to be resentful. More status, more power, more of everything. All at the price of humility and honesty. It's a parody of medieval entitlement.

American democracy is a good alternative in the public meeting hall: men and women who own property, who have a stake in the nation and the community at a personal level, won't likely go stupid in a frenzy of potlatch mania. Not everyone owns property, and still they should vote. But they should be encouraged and shoved and pushed into wanting to own property. That's the basis of democracy. Property "grounds" people, whether that ownership is in family or church or simply in patriotism. Ideas are fine, but they have to be somehow real to be of benefit to those who hold them and act on them. Our intelligentsia cheat us by depriving people of a stake in their own lives as owners of their own lives. If people keep investing in utopia, then we are all going to fall apart. Betrayed by intellectuals. Too dull to see it coming. It's a choice people have to make alone. Good grief.

truepeers said...


Chomsky is filthy rich and worshiped (if not universally) and he's still resentful! They could make him President of the US, the World Bank, the New Soviet, anything, and he'd probably still be resentful. In our fallen world, one might imagine that little will give him extended peace except some kind of religious conversion whereby he recognizes his own sinful nature and learns to respond in greater humility. So he'd also have to grapple seriously with the nature of resentment, which should throw his own autistic theories of language into trouble. For Chomsky, the "language acquisition device" is something located in the individual brain. He shows little understanding of how language must have emerged in a *public* scene, how our real language acquisition device is actually not in any of us but only among us when we are together collectively and the human problem of how to act while gathered in public is renewed. The common scene on which is figured the sacred, the transcendent, is the basis of all language and culture and peasants cannot be excluded from this human reality.

Ultimately, the point I'd make is that even the peasants need to be educated in the truths of their own humanity. So we agree on the importance of property and personal responsibility to make and pursue a stake in the system in the education of the modern citizen. I'd just shy away from theorizing that peasants of the past have ever been entirely removed from public intellectual questions. It's not really humanly possible to be ruled without the ruled having some kind of feedback and negotiation with the culture of rule. The sacred is always and everywhere contested even as yes in some places it is much more in the control of a big man than elsewhere.

Stay tuned, I'm about to post more on hierarchy!

truepeers said...

Property "grounds" people, whether that ownership is in family or church or simply in patriotism. Ideas are fine, but they have to be somehow real to be of benefit to those who hold them and act on them. Our intelligentsia cheat us by depriving people of a stake in their own lives as owners of their own lives. If people keep investing in utopia, then we are all going to fall apart. Betrayed by intellectuals. Too dull to see it coming. It's a choice people have to make alone. Good grief.

This is very well put.

Anonymous said...

You three should start your own forum. Every day you could post on CZ the latest thoughts and discussions that you have had.

Dag said...

Walker, I am truly blessed to be a part of this meeting of minds, both in the general sense of being one who recognized the problem of post-Modernity and the need for a renewal of what we have come to call a renewed Covenant, and particularly in knowing my friends and colleagues here. I see this as the work of the Hand that Leads, (to lapse into my kind of metaphor,) and I suspect there are people awaiting everywhere such a possibility if only others would attempt it. Such a thing is not something one can plan, it being from the aether, in this case literally, a meeting of minds and men over the Internet and finally in person. Anyone can do this, though I blush to see how lucky I am in finding such friends.

Peers' comment above on Chomsky will keep me pondering for the full day and beyond, it's depth and perception so far beyond the norm that I stand in amazement and gratitude.Yes, others are as able to write and think deeply, but here is our chance to meet and discuss.

By the way, Walker, thanks for your contribution from Catholic theology recently. It was a wonderful piece of insight that I knew not from theology but from business and military affairs, neither of which I have any successful experience of. Lovely contribution. Thanks for making it work for me in the here and now.

Anonymous said...

Dag, I too am blessed, to be a part of what is going on here at Covenant Zone. There seems to be a small group of bloggers, like yourselves, Blaze, Eowyn, Findalis, who, while a good conservative voice ( in general, I'm assuming ), are not a part of the blogging tories.

Not that the blogging tories are necessarily the conservative medium online, but it's just interesting to be a part of another, smaller group of equally, and I would say, even more insightful bloggers.

As for the Catholic principles, I"m glad that I was able to contribute, but I'm afraid that we both kind of got lucky on that one. I'm not too familiar with Catholic theology. My experience with that particular principle came about while I was doing some research on homeschooling. You can sort of see the connection between the two there :)