Saturday, December 06, 2008

Anarcho-tyranny, Part Four.

The moral insipidity of self-abnegation becomes, in the sentimentalist extremity that we witness today as "political correctness," self-abasement. The self-abasement would be offensive to the eyes of most in normal circumstances, but as it is the leitmotif and raison d'etre of the professional and occupational Left as well as the conformists who assume and follow, unknowing and docile, it isn't just revolting but it is expected to gain one social acceptance and-- one shudders to think it-- .adulation from ones peers an strangers. Self-abasement is de rigueur in today's society, at least for smart people, for intellectuals, which means those who aren't stupid and bigoted idiots like me. And public self-abasement is a competitive, public activity among the smart set. Whereas a stupid person like myself sees only shameful foolishness and revolting pretension leading to the outbursts of violence by the primitives it's meant to play to, the latter not realizing it's not actually meant for their benefit at all but is a parlour game played by the low-rent sophisticate for his fellows only, those who play this theatrical, emotive, sentimentalist game in public do so as a religious enthusiasm. We witness today, thanks to this moralistic affectation of self-abnegation, a lethal phoniness among the pseudo-intellectual pseudo-religious classes. While some are genuinely professional in their self-abasement, men such as Greg Felton and Ilan Pappe, as examples, most are dilettantes at best, part-time poseurs. The latter vote once in four years for Obama and perhaps wear a button on their jacket or adorn their bicycles with a bumper-sticker with the latest slogan, and it goes no deeper. For some, though, self-abasement is a religious enthusiasm and more.

Partly it's Gnostic longings, but I think it's more likely a matter of personality rising from the chthonic depths. I'm happy to accept that some people are simply twisted in the soul. Some have a deep love of jaw-clenching anger. Life without this extreme of anger is meaningless to them. There is in some the Puritan frenzy of hatred toward mediocrity. Without visceral pain there is no life. This desire for pain is one that is "moral" and ennobling to them, and those who don't share the longing for torment and the joy of guilt are seen as pallid and disgusting in comparison, worthy of contempt for weakness, demanding of punishment. Some, and often these days even many, go along with this parade of flagellants out of the need to conform to the norms of the times and place and out of some admiration for the stamina of the creatures so whipping themselves. The "seriousness" of the flagellation is in a way impressive. It seems meaningful. If one can imitate it without getting hurt, so much the finer.

Intensity is a substitute for authenticity. Lacking the latter, one can substitute passionate emotion for the cold logic of mediocrity and compromise, in the contemporary case, epitomized by capitalism and the market-based consumer economy. "Possession"" is a moral evil in the life of the self-abnegator, and denial is holy. Self-abasement is thus holier still, more intense, high and better. An extreme of masochism is therefore the best one can attain to. Those who refuse this role and Will are seen by the indulgent as lower than the low. The consumer is "evil and stupid." Yes, Satanic. This leads to violence, at times, at least in emotion, as seen in Bush Derangement Syndrome. In the case of philobarbarism it leads such as the PCUSA to collaboration with Muslim terrorists. In the case of environmentalists, it leads to PETA and Earth First! terrorism. In the case of anti-racism, it leads to Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn, friends of president Obama. To live in a world of consumers as a pure person, one must live in poverty, if not personally at least philosophically, which is to say, one must promote the ethos of Povertarianism. Denial. Not merely of oneself but of all. To be righteously right is to lead to the Manichean rightness of perfect rightness against perfect evil, i.e. mediocrity. If to deny oneself is holy, then those who do not deny themselves must be unholy; and if one can see the ruin caused by the lack of denial, then one can see the evil of others and see too the need for them to be stopped, to be punished, or to be killed if they refuse to stop their sinful-- mediocre-- self-indulgence.

Holiness arises not from our good, it comes only from our suffering, which can be profound, and which others should share with us if they too are to be holy, which, of course, is the reason for being. Mediocrity cannot be profound.

Love can be profound, and to love those who suffer is perhaps a profound thing. Thus, to love those who suffer due to the mediocrity of the mediocre, i.e. who suffer because of the mediocre pursuits of the middle-class Westerner, is to demand the suffering of the middle-classes. They must be punished for the salvation of the Poor. This kind of Leftist "love" is profound for the Leftist. He will share the suffering of the Poor. He will feel-- profoundly. He will deny himself for the sake of others. He will defend them, the Poor. He is holy for doing so. His enemies, those like himself who do not suffer with him for the Poor, they are evil, the root cause of suffering among others. Holy, holy, holy.

Jewish, Israeli nationalism and patriotism are perceived as bad, as racist, they are therefore rejected, and projected. Arab nationalism and chauvinism are acceptable and accepted - and then enjoyed vicariously. [My emphasis.] Arab "rights" are considered "just", and the demand for them enjoyed vicariously, while one's still Zionist and patriotic brethren are deemed "extremist" and vilified.
Netta Kohn Dor-Shav, "The Ultimate Enemy: Jews Against Jews," Policy Paper No. 24; Ariel Center for Policy Research. 1998

Vicarious violence. There seems to be little the masochist enjoys more than seeing another suffer. "If I suffer, then he should suffer, too, because he deserves it, and I don't as much." We see this daily in the moral equivalence of "Yes, but we too...." Meaning not me but you. If I have atoned and repented and I suffer, then you who haven't deserve your suffering which is punishment, while mine is holy justice, and ennobling. Thus I can enjoy your suffering and want more of it. If I suffer too, it's because I am seen as like you, which I am not but can't be helped, making me further an innocent victim of your evil. thus, taking up arms to struggle on behalf of the victimised of the world is to be good. For those who don't actually take up arms, there is the wonderful substitute of cash donations and being photographed holding a gun while wearing a beret. Or, one might wear a lapel button and paste on a bumper sticker. The least one can do is say the right things and act offended and hurt by sinfulness at all opportunity. It's a matter of public display. Because this is a sentimentality, one must show it because there is nothing interior to feel. One must reify ones moralistic masochism by emoting publicly. One must "demonstrate."

The topic here is what Samuel Frances terms "anarcho-tyranny." The great crimes are ignored while the insignificant are hunted down and extirpated ruthlessly. Given that today is the anniversary of the Montreal massacre, it is appropriate to note that "all men" are responsible for the misogyny that lead to the murder of fourteen people at the university nineteen years ago; but we must forget or never know that the man who committed the murders is Gamil Gharby, a Muslim who hated women much the same as one would expect from a follower of the Sunna. Ignore the hatred of women that Islam promotes, canonizes, and deifies, look only to the mote in ones own eye. If our own transgressions are mediocre, then we must inflate them so we are noble in our hatreds of them. And we must also dismiss the evils of others in order to promote our righteousness in favoring them. Their evils are our fault, sayeth the masochist of the sadist. No, we don't really deserve this ill but we must endure it because our own are making us suffer due to their behaviour. They should be punished. They should probably be killed or at least be enslaved. They deserve it. We endure in noble silence, accepting our suffering, knowing we are holy for it. It is politically correct, and it is somehow great fun for those who indulge in it.

Self-abasement is proper for the committed masochist, but for the rest of Modernity's population it is a source of ill. the solutions? Unfortunately, turning against Modernity's masochist religious leaders and beating them silly is just what they thrive on. You can, dear reader, likely see them now in your mind's eye grinning and weeping and pleading for help from the bullies: "Save us, save us, we're being bullied by Rightwingers!" And they'd love every minute of it.

Until and unless people stop and look at the drama queen performance art that is our modern society, all of us will continue paying for the performance of dhimmitude and masochistic repercussion. There is no Mystery in this Play. It's just a shabby self-indulgence on the part of some few professionals who have managed to scam a whole lot of normal and otherwise decent people into following a sentimentalist Sadean melodrama. It's genuinely revolting, folks, and we might like to stop it. I'm suggesting soon.

I'll continue with this topic as time allows.


Anonymous said...

"...In the case of anti-racism, it leads to Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn, friends of president Obama."

You lost me when you went and threw this Fox News style quote into the mix. Let me know when you decided to stop choking down the shit-masquerading-as-news that seems to be plentiful there at the trough of conservative propaganda. Maybe then I'll consider your otherwise interesting points - some of which I wholly agree with.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dag,

I'll comment as time allows - this is sort of my taking a momentary break.

First of all, I think it's fascinating that this is your topic of discussion, as lately I've been giving this some thought, or something like it at least ( great minds, etc...)

To me, restraint and interaction are what make our society. It's a give and take. That's why I don't say certain things, or do certain things - it is by my own restraint.

I always find it rather interested whenever somebody says that I can't do something. Of course I can. I can do anything, provided of course, that it's in the realm of the physically possible. The only reason that I don't do some things is my own choice, and my limitations of myself. For instance, I don't kill people just for the fun of it, not only because it is morally reprehensible, but also because I have some basic respect for most people around me, and because I do not want people killing me in punishment.

These are all self-imposed regulations. Morality, as such, I believe is mainly self-imposed. I certainly believe that there are moral standards, that most of humanity subscribes to, ( I'm also tending to think that morality is tied to Truth, but that's another discussion for another time ), but I still have to choose to uphold the moral standard. In regards to respect, it's much the same thing.

And the fear of retaliation is another self-imposed limit. I can certainly perform an action, such as murder, but I will choose not to, because I don't wish to see myself killed in retribution.

In smaller ways, I think we limit ourselves like this in our interaction with the people around us. Not that I'm continually restraining myself from murder, but for instance, I'll say certain jokes in front of some people, that I won't in front of others, or certain words, or whathaveyou. Not that I couldn't say or do those things in front of all people; I just choose, for the sake of social interaction, not to.

As a side note, this is partly what...intimidates me about animal intelligence. Because if animals have intelligence -which I believe they do, to an extent - then what restrains them? I don't believe that they subscribe to any particular moral standards; indeed, I think their only restraint is the sort of natural hierarchy of animalism, and that our own intelligence is that much greater ( and emotion, to an extent ).

Personally, I find myself coming to the conclusion that most of the things that I do not enjoy in life ( certain jobs and the like ) are self-imposed miseries.

Anyway, self-abasement, or self-imposed limits, are all well and good; but they should have a driving reason behind them. Morality, for instance, or intelligence/reason. Guilt is not a good enough reason, in most cases.

Dag said...

I'm no fan of Pascal's Wager, the prudential argument. Neither is any true fascist, though for different reasons.

The struggle for authenticity requires the abnegation of prudence especially at the risk of death. Death, the least prudent thing most people can do to themselves, is also, to the fascist mind seeking authenticity, the most authentic aspect of living. There is a good argument for that position: That, as Theo. Adorno points out in Minima Moralia, "The wrong life cannot be lived rightly." I'm happy to otherwise ignore the author and context. The question then becomes: If one knows roughly at least what a right life is, and if one cannot live that life, for example, it's prevented to one due to FOX News destroying the population's ability to think straight, thereby making ones life of genius an intolerable stay among idiots, then, as I would suggest to those so lost, the alternative is to do as the Romans did: Bene Mori. Have a good death. We see this road less traveled in the actions of Muslim suicide/homicide bombers. It's like ly an eternal trait in Man, but there is a recent phrase to sum it up, and one that often elicits spews of ranting here when I use it: "The Fascist Grand Gesture." It's the ultimate Sado-masochist act of self-agrandisement/ self-abnegation, the two being one.

Because it's imprudent, it validates the authentic and unmediated, being a direct response to the universal experience of life, that which others are alienated from by existence in, for example, the capitalist system or the city or any other contrived and "unnatural" setting. It is the very imprudence to the gesture that is so liberating to the masochist/sadist. It is the ultimate expression of contempt for restraint and also a surrender to the ultimate constraint, which is death. It's also gratifying to the actor in that he is, in his own mind, central to all drama.

Most of us restrain ourselves not from prudence, otherwise the Left would have triumphed forever long ago and imposed totalitarian laws that would bring Plato to tears of joy, but from a sense of the validity of others' right to freedom, though that road is one even less well-trod than most, and only recently gone down far, though there are many, if not most, who would turn people back from it to the commune of Man as farm animal under the protective rule of the Gnostic elite. Yes, that would include Obama and company, as we hear on FOX news.

Where does that sense of the rights of others' right to own their own existence come from? I argue in a series of posts on Modern Agriculture, that it comes from the ownership of farmland, if only in small plots, that is tended rationally for profit that if a man can think about how to increase his crop yield and how to market it to others at a profit, then he can see himself as one of his own utensils, and he can see the need to value the needs of others who will provide him with a continuous outlet for his crops. There's no real prudence in it. If he can see that he is owner of his own life as his own private property, then he can see the same in others by mere extrapolation. He must extrapolate or he can't manage rational agriculture. Prudence is a mere back-up if anything.

The sado-masochism comes from the lack of ownership of oneself and the self-ownership of others: everyone is caught in a continuous web of cruelty, unending and always renewed, one kicking the other. One can see examples of such behaviour as motivated by the sado-masochistic drive in some of our commentators on occasion. They seem to seek recognition, as Hegel writes, by being arseholes. OK, maybe Hegel didn't put it that way. I'll leve it at that for now and hope for some intelligent commentary to come, or at least something witty.

truepeers said...

How dare you imply that bicycles have bumpers!!! No doubt you identify with the monster truck crowd and want to run us all down...

It's funny what parts of reality are offensive to people, that they can't see them. For some, it is Obama's associations with terrorists...

When I first read this post, I thought someone would complain about your Gharby/Lepine comment: as far as I know, the killer was baptized Catholic and probably knew little about Islam, besides that he hated his violent Muslim father.

But the point on which I would ask further clarification, since I have a half-written post in the works, is your apparent idea that consumer society is inherently offensive to large numbers of today's left. Perhaps, at times. But there is also a great desire to purchase indulgences of various kinds - moral and material - within a leftist consumer culture, such that the contemporary left is unimaginable without its own kind of market worship as the means by which it constructs anti-market identities. There are a number of paradoxes associated with market society of the type that people actively support it by opposing it and thus encouraging it to evolve in ways that strengthens it.

Dag said...

I use the terms "Left and Right" against my better judgment, deferring to convention for the sake of ease. I use, when appropriate, terms such as "Povertarian" and so on to show the collectivist and neo-feudalist nature of the so-called Left.

In the case of consumerism among Leftists, it is some kind of terrible joke to see them ride falling apart bikes bought from the socialist bicycle co-op for a few dollars each, a place that provides a genuinely "poor" bike one can be seen riding in public, and then one sees the same cyclists, as it were, wheeling up to the trendy diner for a bean sprout sandwich and a cup of scented coffee that costs them a significant amount of money, far an away more than they paid for their bikes. It's all for show. To look "poor" is a social credential. To actually be poor is a disgrace, even among Povertarians. To look "poor" one must spend a large amount of cash and put in much time to get "the look" right. And if one doesn't get it just right, then one actually looks poor, the bad kind, that is. It's a game. I suggest it is a game of sado-masochism. It is against Human freedom and against equality of opportunity. This sado-masochism breeds such evils as "philobarbarism," the love of primitives, who must be maintained as primitives for the sadistic enjoyment of the Povertarians.

Regarding Gamil Gharby, raised by a Muslim, it means he had the impact of a Muslim father, which is more likely his motivation than his Catholicism or innate nasty nature alone, though I'm open to discussion on that. One can asl what ocommon demoninators mass killers of women have, and if one finds misogynists killing women and also often being Muslim more than Catholic, then we have a trend hard to dismiss. To suggest that "all men" are responsible for the behaviour of Muslim honor killing is to miss an essential point somewhere along the line. But is it culture or religion? Does religion have something to do with the structures of culture? I have small ideas that mean little here.

truepeers said...

Well, given your anti-sentimentalist sentiments that I gladly second, let me be frank. I think you should give up the desire to pin the Montreal massacre on Islam; there is enough wrong with the Islamic world that we don't need to seek more scandal; and doing so impugns what is otherwise an important discussion.

If Islamic honour killing is to be a useful concept it surely needs to refer to people who live and practise with other Muslims. The anthropological purpose of all culture is to defer violence. Thus, if we wish to argue that a specific culture or religion encourages violence, we must necessarily mean violence carried out against the community's external or internal others in the name of deferring the community's own tensions by focussing its collected resentments on the other/scapegoat.

But how can a guy like Gharby/Lepine, a loner, be involved in Islamic violence against an other or internal scapegoat of Muslims? Was he really acting so as to maintain the "honour" of Muslims with whom he never associated? After all, he rejected his Algerian name in favor of Lepine.

Lepine's father was apparently a bad man, according to his mother; that badness may well have been related to the limits of the father's culture; and the sins of the father may have been passed on in some way to the son. But these sins would have more ones of omission than commission: the father failed to provide any model of how to successfully defer one's violent passions. In short, what was lacking was any kind of sufficient religion. And so when the son suffered various humiliations, he had no way to seek spiritual healing within any kind of religious tradition and he acted out against his own scapegoats that he somehow related symbolically to his own humiliations, but not, I'm sure, with any kind of religious discipline.

Dag, you seem to be a believer in metaphysical essences. You assume that anyone raised Islamic will somehow come under the influence of some such dogmatic essence ("the impact of his father... his motivation"). I would be much more inclined to see religion as something that either succeeds or fails in restraining people from acting violently than it is something that positively encourages any kind of practice beyond that which is ritually performed, or organized as communal warfare. There is no Islamic ritual for mass murdering defenseless women. And if a Muslim did murder women it would be more a sign of the failure of his religion to restrain him than it would be a sign of his religion telling him to so murder. People who think they hear a god, or such like, telling them to kill arbitrarily are mad people, who only very occasionally, and for other reasons, become recognized as prophets.

Religion is the foundation of culture, and while it thus has a genetic influence on what comes after, the foundations cannot determine what that will be. Human freedom is an inescapable and necessary part of reality, even for people who interpret their religion as slavery.

One may well come to the conclusion that Islam as it is currently practised does not provide sufficient spiritual discipline for adapting peacefully to modernity, though there are no doubt relatively modern Muslims about. But I think it is quite wrong to say Islam prescribes every honour killing of Muslims who can't deal with their sense of shame when living in the modern world. That shame is rooted in a primitive understanding of the sacred, but no such understanding can determine how one will act when, say, one becomes distressed by observing women with a modern degree of sexual freedom. I imagine relatively few honour killers are consciously thinking of any Koranic dictate as to how to treat women, when they prepare to kill; and if they are, that alone does not explain their actions. Violence that is not a somewhat rational act for preserving a community's order is simply beyond rational or religious explanation. It is unbelievable that Lepine thought he was acting to help preserve the Islamic world against the threats of modernity. And what is beyond any rational or religious explanation is simpy the sign of a lost man who is only kidding himself about his transcendent purpose. The most one can say, perhaps, is that his delusions were delusions emerging from an Islamic context. But I would bet they were to a greater degree delusions growing out of the kind of Western leftist context you are describing in this post.

It makes little sense to imply that there is some Islamic essence that through some osmosis infected Lepine and taught him to hate women. Resentment is a human universal, and among both men and women its object is often women. It is not so much the resentment that needs to be explained; it is the failure to restrain it.

Anonymous said...

Dag, if you'll permit me to interrupt the stream of conversation between Truepeers and yourself:

I think I find myself in agreement with you in regards to death, but also in slight disagreement. Namely, I do believe that there is such a thing as a good death - although perhaps not for the sake of authenticity. There is certainly such a thing as an honorable death; indeed, honorable deaths can make the life of someone honorable by the memory of such a death.

Death is also, unfortunately, a rather guilty pleasure, in some cases. Perhaps not the right thing to do, but best for one's own sake and happiness, or even for the sake of knowing that theirs was the hand by which they died.

Perhaps that's not what you're arguing against though ( I don't want to put words in your mouth ), and certainly in most cases death is imprudent, but I don't believe that prudence is the best reason to live. And some deaths serve a much greater purpose than any living aspiration.

In regards to agriculture and the sense of one's own identity, I think you make an interesting point, and again I'm fascinated, because I can remember something similar coming up in another rather unrelated conversation that I had a little while ago. Personally I think that yours is a very good theory for why we value the idea of property, but I tend to lean more towards the idea that we are simply realizing the concept, rather than having developed it. Truepeers will probably give me hell for this one, but I tend to think that such things as Ownership, or Liberty, are existent regardless of our acknowledgement, and we only sieze hold of them as that which we must have when we come to the realization that we need them - perhaps stemming from the realization that they have been taken from us.

I don't know if that was a particularly intelligent bit of commentary, but at least I tried...

Anonymous said...

Truepeers, if you'll permit:

In regards to religion, I have an argument, or perhaps it's a question.

To me, religion is not simply about devotion to certain behavior, or belief.

To me, religion is much more about the pursuit of truth, for reasons that I could go into more,for a very very long time, but perhaps not right now. Needless to say, I feel that the majority of what constitutes religion today is not what religion's purpose is.

And this, I think, further invalidates the actions of religious extremists, be they Islamic, Christian, Mormon, whathaveyou. Because then it is not a matter of interpretation of scripture or text. It is not a matter of God. It is a matter of truth ( arguably morality is a form of truth, or at least right behavior ), and therefore all dogma has no place whatsoever.

In regards to fellows like Lepine and his father, I think that this invalidation makes it much more about barbaric behavior, and much less about religious extremism - although the subversion of religion's purpose and the further corruption of that subverted purpose by people like Islamic extremists is certainly something to consider.

I don't know if I've particularly added anything to the conversaion...

Dag said...

"It makes little sense to imply that there is some Islamic essence that through some osmosis infected Lepine and taught him to hate women."

But I do argue that Gharby learned his misogyny from his father and his father's imparting of culture to the dysfunctional child-- by osmosis. I have some doubt the father had the slightest idea of Islam, knowing it likely by osmosis himself.

What we didn't see in Gharby's murderous rampage was him targeting "capitalists" or some other bogey-man. He went to the source of the threat to his life, i.e. successful and independent women. He murdered as many as he could before he killed himself in a homicide explosion. He hated his father, it's true, but he became his father when he began his murder campaign. He synthesized his sado-masochism and acted out the final fascist Grand Gesture, as mentioned above.

I'm shooting in the dark here, of course. I have no evidence to make my case other than an inkling of intuition.

"The most one can say, perhaps, is that his delusions were delusions emerging from an Islamic context. But I would bet they were to a greater degree delusions growing out of the kind of Western leftist context you are describing in this post."

I'm willing to fold that into the idea that he was accepting of the Leftist victimolgy of the (and our) time. As an intuitive Muslim culturally. i.e. by relationship with his father, culturally Muslim if not more, he was amenable to seeing himself through Leftist cliches as victim of a feminist conspiracy as well.

Regarding metaphysical essences, I must now point out that when I made claims to being Mr. Big Science, well, I was spoofing you all. I'm no firm believer in essentialist determinism such as ... what? Islam? Of course not. There are some examples, and fine ones at that, of converts to Modernity and Reason, such as Wafa Sultan and Ibn Warraq, among many others. I'm not confusing accident with property here. Islam is accident; free will is property. It's the latter I hold people to. Not attributes but essences. I can't prove it, but I argue regardless that people are free to choose to kill or not. I argue that that is essential.

Dag said...

Walker, we were typing at the same time, and you type faster than I.

I'll sleep on what you've contributed here and see if I can respond tomorrow. Thanks for the input. Always worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dag, and right back atcha. Take your time, I just have the luck of a lazy Sunday evening today...

truepeers said...

Truepeers will probably give me hell for this one, but I tend to think that such things as Ownership, or Liberty, are existent regardless of our acknowledgement, and we only sieze hold of them as that which we must have when we come to the realization that we need them - perhaps stemming from the realization that they have been taken from us.

-Hell no Walker. Your intuitions are pretty good. I agree that liberty is something that we only truly realize when we truly need it. It emerges from necessity. How this relates to your idea of ownership is not clear to me however. I don't quite see how what is for me a legal concept - ownership - can exist without people acknowledging it. In other words, I would distinguish between things that are inherently human, such as free will, and new ways of representing or organizing our humanness, representations that are not simply reducible to what existed before but reflect our freedom to bring into being new ways of organizing ourselves that could not have been predicted.

Yet I can see that there is a sense in which "ownership" is original to the human, given that I believe humanity was founded on a shared recognition of some thing being sacred, or untouchable. And once everyone involved shared equally in recognizing the sacred thing, by all performing the sign that made it sacred, they then had a new model for dividing up the materiality of the thing and thus overcoming the conflict that required them to make the thing sacred in the first place.

Thus our most primitive intuition is an equalitarian one: since we must all share equally in the signs of language, we assume that we all should have a more or less equal share of the things language makes sacred. And indeed primitive tribes are equalitarian, and indeed people still today do feel scandalized when they think this equality is being "taken away" by some big man. It takes maturity to see the need for big men with the rise of agricultural surpluses, and more generally the need for the freedom to differentiate ourselves in all kinds of ways so as to allow for expanded exchange based on those differences. Ultimately, reciprocity is more important than anything but a moral equality. Still, many resent our systems of reciprocity and feel their stake in equality has been taken away by the exchange system. And so they go looking for ways to make a claim on ownership.

truepeers said...

And this, I think, further invalidates the actions of religious extremists, be they Islamic, Christian, Mormon, whathaveyou. Because then it is not a matter of interpretation of scripture or text. It is not a matter of God. It is a matter of truth ( arguably morality is a form of truth, or at least right behavior ), and therefore all dogma has no place whatsoever.

-I don't mind the idea of religion being a search for truth, of religion's origin being the first moment of a new kind of dawning self-awareness. But what is essential is to recognize that there are two kinds of truth.

There is the kind of pragmatic truth that makes things work, that binds a group of people together in ways they cannot fully explain; and then there is the kind of more fundamental truth that follows later and explains, up to a point, how the pragmatic truth works, an explanation which has the effect of demystifying something once sacred, which makes that pragmatic truth no longer work so well and that then requires people to rediscover or re-present signs of a shared, open, exchangeable, not-yet-discounted truth that can bind them pragmatically, that can allow for a market or exchange to develop around the uncertainty about the fundamental nature of their pragmatic truth.

In other words, dogma does have a place, at least up to the point that we learn to discount it as anachronistic "dogma". If "dogma" first works to bring people together, to bind them in ways that are pragmatically useful, to save the community from its own self-destructive tendencies, including perhaps binding them in violence against external enemies or internal threats, then in some sense it is true even if we can anticipate that one day it will no longer seem so true, since its operations will have been partly unveiled by recognition of some more fundamental truth. But there will always be a mystery that our search for fundamental truth cannot explain. There are things we can talk about but never show, or recreate. The mystery by which men were first bonded together, sharing in an event that gave forth a memorable and shared sign of transcendence, cannot ever be entirely reduced to some kind of purely rational explanation. The process by which a shared transcendence emerges from lived experience cannot be fully explained. There is thus a pragmatic truth, which may involve violence, that we can recognize without ever being able to satisfactorily explain it or show it. Neither faith nor reason can do away with the other.

truepeers said...

But I do argue that Gharby learned his misogyny from his father and his father's imparting of culture to the dysfunctional child-- by osmosis. I have some doubt the father had the slightest idea of Islam, knowing it likely by osmosis himself.

-It's a cliche of our times that a child has to be taught to hate. Of course anyone who has seen how often a young child can fall into raging tantrums might have reason to doubt it.

It seems to me that we is taught is either 1) how to give a specific focus or shape to our resentment or 2)how to mediate our resentment so as to allow us to live more or less non-violently.
What's more, 1 and 2 are not completely distinctive processes but intertwine.

Now Dag argues that Lepine didn't target capitalists or any other of various possible scapegoats, but rather successful independent women. But perhaps if one or two events in his life had been different, maybe he would have ended up killing capitalists - fwiw there are certainly some Muslims for whom Western capitalists are a preferred target.

I don't doubt his father was to some degree a model for resentment of independent women. But then I would imagine there were several other good and bad models besides. To believe that it was the father's Islamic background that is key to understanding how Lepine came to model his resentment, and without successfully mediating it, is, I dare say, to reveal what one wants to believe, and not what we can possibly know. Lots of people resent independent women, but there is only one Lepine. At a certain point, we need to defer to the unknowable. For all i know, I am sitting here typing and typing because of my great grandfather's love of poetry and his young death in World War I. In fact, I think there must be some connection; but there are also more proximate explanations.

Dag said...

OK, I'm not going so far as to say of the father, post hoc ergo propter hoc. There is the case of the Quaker girls murdered by a non-Muslim. He did not grow up in a Muslim dominated family, to my knowledge. We'd be foolish to look for Islamic motivation in a killer who has no association with Islam. But with one who does, we must consider it cum hoc ergo propter hoc. WE can't rightly dismiss Islamic influence just because anymore than we should include it just because.

However, the point of this post is to show how some will ignore major problems we face and turn their attentions toward the trivial for the sake of elitist religious control and power over the people, i.e. turning a democracy into a state of anarcho-tyranny ruled by velvet fascsim. I'll continue with that soon as I can.