Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Would you trust a liar who told you he was going to lie to you? - pt 5

"Progressivism is the wish to eliminate effects without wishing to eliminate their causes; it is the wish to abolish calamities without realizing that they are nothing other than what man himself is; they necessarily result from his metaphysical ignorance..."
- Frithjof Schuon



Would you believe someone who told you they were going to mislead you so that you’d do what they wanted?

Would you trust a liar who told you he was going to lie to you? Would you trust the people who did trust him even after he told them that? Would you trust your children’s lives and dreams to the care and direction of any of these people?

And yet You do.

“I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith”.

That is the brazen declaration in the preface to one of Kant's main tomes, “Critique of Pure Reason”, of his "Copernican Revolution" in philosophy. Why ANYONE would bother reading a single word more of it in the pursuit of Truth and understanding, I can not for the life of me understand. What he is declaring is his intent to deny, twist & lie about how things are, in order to accomplish (or so he thinks) some higher task. In so doing, he set the pattern for what, in short order would become, the leftist pattern of self justification for all of its morally questionable thought and actions over the next 200 years.

This alone should declare nearly as well as branding a big red "L" for liar smack dab in the middle of his forehead, that he has failed to grasp the most rudimentary understanding of Philosophy and its foundational principles – mainly that the love of wisdom (Philosophy means “love of wisdom “) hinges on, at the very least, a respect for Truth.

If you were considering two sales pitches from salesmen to sum up their particular philosophy they were peddling as a method for leading you to a better understanding of the world, and they gave their respective pitches as follows:
Aristotle: - "’A’ (thing) cannot both be ‘A’ and ‘Not-A’ at the same time.”
and “The ends don't justify the means"
Kant: - “Reality is unknowable” and “I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith”.

You would think that that would be an easy decision.

The fact that the majority of Intellectuals not only read on, but sought to understand the lies he already declared he would be feeding them, is testament to how far principled adherence to reality had already been damaged among the philosophers of the west by the errors, misunderstandings and outright lying of Hume, Descartes, & Rousseau.

Why would they allow this, promote this, Celebrate this? Because they too, wanted to promote the ideas that they were enamored of – whether or not there could be established any correspondence to truth for those thoughts. From Descartes saying that thought comes prior to, and independent of Reality, to Rousseau promoting the idealization of the primitive over the civil, emotion over reason – these ideas were already in their dreams and desires, as if each saw themselves as their own little Dr. Faustus’, Kant offered them a bridge to respectability and a free ticket to peddle their personal favorite slop to their hearts content.

So now that this horrid swill had been perpetrated on a self stupefied mass of intellectuals, whose integrity had been willingly self crippled, they needed a method that would enable them to peddle it's corrosive evil off onto those honest and innocent students of theirs who would look towards them for wisdom. Kant gave them the method by example in spades: throw so many trees directly into your face, that not only are you not able to see the forest for the trees, but you can't even step back & see the forest, let alone notice that his forest is floating in nothing but rationalistic thin air.

One way Kant attempts to throw trees into your face, is with his extensive use of “necessary" and "contingent" statements or truths. The classic example of "2+2 equals Four is a necessary truth", and that there can not be round squares - because we cannot imagine (hear Descartes echoing through here?) it otherwise. Their purpose is to trick you into looking so closely at the particulars, that you miss the sleight of hand removal of the wider context within which they both reside - all issues of the molecular structure of water and your experiences of life here on earth, in reality, are removed from your consideration by the Kantian 3 card monty player who says "But Ice sinking in water, is merely a contingent truth, because we can easily imagine ice sinking to the bottom of a glass of water.", as he whisks reality, unseen and out of your attention, off of the table without your even relaizing it.

It is as if they are stymied by anything deeper than the perceptual level concept. Circles & Squares are too two dimensionally defined by their appearance for even them to deny. But anything whose conceptual depth is deeper than those 2 dimensions, and their conceptual grasp is strained, their mental gripping power too weak (Hume suffered from the same lack of conceptual gripping power 'Principle'? Too darn heavey) like an Ostrich, they seem to think “If I can’t see it’s properties, it must not be important”.

What that actually means, is that they've divorced their thoughts from having any connection to the real world. They've lost the understanding that reality IS. Things are. Squares are 4 sided objects where each side is of equal length - in that the length of the sides are all properties of a square, in the same way as the properties of Ice are just as integral to it. Just as they like to rip the meaning out of a word, while cherry picking it's desirable connotations to be used regardless of it's actual meaning - they do the same thing when having you imagine Ice as having the "look" of Ice, maybe being cold also, but then scrapping away all the other properties of ice such as being lighter than water. Ice is Ice - it is defined by all of its properties, you can’t separate its buoyancy from its temperature, its essential properties are reflective of what it IS, you cannot pick and choose them.

Whenever you hear them talking about whether something "could be true or false in some other universe", you should reject it outright as the worst of hypothetical garbage designed to divorce truth from that which makes it true, divorcing mind from body, thought from reality. Whenever you hear them start “Imagine a universe where…” they are not only going to play “lets pretend”, but then try to convince you that their conclusions formulated in their pretend world should take precedence over yours, and then even that their pretend world is more real than the real real one we live in. It is the source of all of their 'errors', and their disappointment in, and neurotic rejection of Life, and which can be seen in their art, literature and failed lives.

There are few words that can illustrate the world that the opposing philosophies must bring to life, better than an example of their idea of Art. Compare Munch and Godward.




Note the view of life in someone like Godward's style of classical influences, descended from the Aristotelian side of philosophy. "He was the best of the last great European painters to straight-forwardly embrace classical Greece and Rome in their art. Herein lies his significance to art history. With him and his colleagues, we see the nightfall of five hundred years of Classical subject painting in Western art... It vanished during Godward's generation -- killed, as it were, by contemporary nihilistic philosophies".




And compare it to the type of life exemplified by Munch, illustrating the nature of expressionism, the "artistic style in which the artist seeks to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in him. He accomplishes his aim through distortion, exaggeration, primitivism, and fantasy and through the vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic application of formal elements" directly influenced by Rousseau, Kant et al.


The core trick which Kant used to deliver us from the world of Godward and into the world of Munch, is to say that “[tons of unintelligible blah blah] and therefore X must be true. If that is so, then, this Y and Z Must be true as well” The result is similar to that of Zeno's paradox of Achilles not being able to beat a turtle in a race, if the turtle is given a head start. Zeno says that if you think about it, Achilles will be able to halve the distance between he and a turtle halfway down the track in the first 5 sec, and the same for the remaining distance halved in, say 2 sec, and half that in the next second, and so on - with the conclusion being that all Achilles will ever be able to do, is to continue halving the distance. The paradox being that Achilles, the fastest Greek won't be able to out run a turtle with a head start, because he'll only be able to continue halving the distance between them for eternity.

The trick is to zoom in the focus of your attention onto a specific, somewhat plausible, but isolated fact, and derive an unsupportable conclusion from it - leaving you with the sense that it was approached in a logical manner, and so, well... “it must be true...”. Once he's accomplished that, then he can continue to pronounce what you should think next based on that conclusion, “don't you agree?” So it is that Kant does with his Critiques, Metaphysic’s, Noumenal and Phenomenal worlds.
Here's a translation from paragraphs 29 & 30 from the Preface to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason:


























He Means:He Says:
Blah-Blah- Blah-Blah- Blah-Blah- Blah-Blah- Blah-
Blah

This discussion as to the positive advantage of critical principles of pure reason can be similarly developed in regard to the concept of God and of the simple nature of our soul; but for the sake of brevity such further discussion may be omitted. [From what has already been said, it is evident that] even the assumption--as made on behalf of the necessary practical employment of my reason -- of God, freedom, and immortality is not permissible unless at the same time speculative reason be deprived of its pretensions to transcendent insight. For in order to arrive at such insight it must make use of principles which, in fact, extend only to objects of possible experience, and which, if also applied to what cannot be an object of experience, always really change this into an appearance, thus rendering all practical extension of pure reason impossible.
ThereforeI have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.
X and Y must be true - thought shall be divorced from realityThe dogmatism of metaphysics, that is, the preconception that it is possible to make headway in metaphysics with-out a previous criticism of pure reason, is the source of all that unbelief, always very dogmatic, which wars against morality.
Blah-Blah-BlahThough it may not, then, be very difficult to leave to posterity the bequest of a systematic metaphysic, constructed inconformity with a critique of pure reason, yet such a gift is not to be valued lightly.
Therefore the ends DO justify the meansFor not only will reason be enabled to follow the secure path of a science, instead of, as hitherto, groping at random, without circumspection or self-criticism; our enquiring youth will also be in a position to spend their time more profitably than in the ordinary dogmatism by which they are so early and so greatly encouraged to indulge in easy speculation about things of which they understand nothing, and into which neither they nor any-one else will ever have any insight -- encouraged, indeed, to invent new ideas and opinions, while neglecting the study of the better-established sciences.
We must divert people down a false trail so that we can be secure in our pretentions to a faith we don't really have in a God we fear isn't strong enough to defend himself against the Reason he CreatedBut, above all, there is the inestimable benefit, that all objections to morality and religion will be for ever silenced, and this in Socratic fashion, namely, by the clearest proof of the ignorance of the objectors. There has always existed in the world, and there will always continue to exist, some kind of metaphysics, and with it the dialectic that is natural to pure reason. It is therefore the first and most important task of philosophy to deprive meta-physics, once and for all, of its injurious influence, by attacking its errors at their very source.


Never forget, that behind all of Kant’s and his Intellectual descendents posturing and sneering at “simple people”, is the fearful statement: “I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.”

Kant then enforces his fantasy worlds through the Categorical Imperative, which is supposed to be a statement of ethical conduct that will be true in all situations – regardless of context. This is a typical example of what comes from Elites who not only distrust peoples ability to act morally, but fear their ability to judge for themselves. Typical of Listicism (the attempt to substitute “To-Do Lists” for active thought), is it's intent to make thought unnecessary and judgment replaced.

It is interesting to note that his own categorical imperative “Never Lie” is in direct opposition to “I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.” – or do you think such categorical statements allow for little white lies of omission? Nah.

Kant's philosophy did get some attacks from his contemporaries, but unfortunately they bought enough of his contingent/necessary mind body conflict, that they ended up using his philosophy to attack it – and in the act became his supporters. Hegel opposed some of Kant, but again bought the main points of it, essentially only substituting his “World Spirit” of History for Kant’s ‘Religious’ mysticism. Marx branched off through Hegel, with his own variations, and a much more visceral application of both philosophies – much to the world’s detriment.

More on that and how it was spread into the American mainstream of life, next time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Worth Fighting For

Excellent posting on Deep Thought "Worth Fighting For" summarizing the craddle to grave cycle of civilization that cycles on if it's citizens allow it to.

The Barbarians we really need to fear are those among us who reject their own civilization. Those who claim to uphold Western Civilization, but really only seek to grab the nice sounds, the connotations and respect still given the word "Civilization", while rejecting all of the substantial meanings and responsibilities required for the word to retain it's meaning and its standing.

Western Civilization is worth fighting for, and the first line of defense is for us all to stop allowing its enemies to gut its most valuable words & customs and use them like jewelry "bling" to dress themselves up in while stabbing it in the back.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Trees That Bare The Barren Fruit - pt 4

Irrationality, like buried chemical waste, sooner or later must seep into all the tissues of thought.
- Richard Mitchell - Less than words can say


What Roots produce Trees which bare such barren Fruit?
To make and hold such ideas as those of the Leftists discussed in the previous post, they must hold concepts that have little to do with the reality that you and I experience here on earth, which is a perfect point from which to introduce the following quote, directly from the Horses Mouth of Chomsky himself:

"These ideas grew out of the Enlightenment; their roots are in Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality, Humboldt's Limits of State Action, Kant's insistence, in his defense of the French Revolution, that freedom is the precondition for acquiring the maturity for freedom, not a gift to be granted when such maturity is achieved. With the development of industrial capitalism, a new and unanticipated system of injustice, it is libertarian socialism that has preserved and extended the radical humanist message of the Enlightenment and the classical liberal ideals that were perverted into an ideology to sustain the emerging social order."

(Make a mental note of the statement that “that freedom is the precondition for acquiring the maturity for freedom, not a gift to be granted when such maturity is achieved” it is a common formulation that we’ll come back to later.)

(And by the way, “Libertarian Socialism”? Excuse me? Though I feel the libertarian movement is flawed, one thing Libertarians are not known for is supporting big government intrusion and welfare programs of Socialism. Again, leftists seek to take the positive connotations of a word, while discarding all of its actual meaning in order to lend those positive connotations “Liberty, Independence, Success” to their real goal – the all pervasive controlling hand “for the peoples best interests”.)

Where he and his kind got such ideas to make such bizarre thought possible, was from The Rationalist school, first advanced in the modern era by Descartes. They hold that the truth is accessible only by using your faculty of reason – exclusively. That means that you get ideas and understanding, by thought alone, and any static accidentally picked from the outside world through things like Facts, will have to be worked around as best as you are able.
Seriously.

“I think therefore I am” means that only the thoughts which are somehow occurring within his head are valid! [ignore the fact that he couldn’t have detailed thoughts, or words, or any idea of what words referred to without the Reality of what they refer to – to refer to!] Descartes even formulated an entire theory of Physics – without referring to the real world! And his followers – Kant, Hegel, Goethe and more, even fought to have his bogus ramblings reign supreme over that of Newtons, which was so vulgar as to actually use reality to test & validate it’s propositions.

They feel that Knowledge developed through the use of reason alone is more certain and reliable, because it was more closely connected to pure “Idea” thought while the senses are, at best, inadequate and, at worst, deceptive.

The problem with rationalism, in a nutshell, is that it leaves reality out of it’s description of reality. Descartes’ ludicrous physics, were constructed wholly from rationalistic assumptions about motion, which are so amazingly wrong – it’s hard to see how even in his own head, he thought they might be “true”. (Keep that word “True” in mind – what does it mean? True in relation to what?)

Newton’s physics, came from the motto “I don’t hypothesize [in the absence of facts],” which was and is essentially true and remains part of the scientific toolbox to this day.
As another amazing example, Goethe even sat alone in a completely darkened room to “observe” the behavior of his eyes, in order to test theories of…
…wait for it…

Light.

Yep.

Descartes’ principle of “I think, therefore I am,” is the starting point for all knowledge in his philosophic system. Think of all the pointy headed theories you’ve ever heard – and reflect that they were derived with this philosophic framework at the shaping root of it all, designed by what their theorizers wanted to believe would be true within how they felt the world should be, and then the answer to your oft shouted question of “how the HELL could someone really come up with this stuff?!!!” will become much clearer to you.

As helpful & beneficial to the world that Descartes one contribution of truly astounding value to the world, “Analytic Geometry”, was, his attempt to use it to reduce everything, and I do mean everything, to quantitative analysis, has been nearly as destructive, as analytic geometry was constructive. If it couldn’t be quantified, it couldn’t lay claim to real knowledge. Whenever you hear Sociologists reduce feelings to 30% negative – or a Utilitarian claiming that they can balance this action, which may rob some amount producers of some portion of their wealth, against the good they believe will be created for the needier segments of society, you’re hearing the echo of Descartes.

Poison BlossomsSo Descartes got this ball of thought disconnected from reality rolling down the philosophical hill. While Kant would eventually provide it with a massive amount of writing to serve as its foundational theory – it isn’t very solid, but it is very big, it would be Rousseau whose theories would supply the emotional impact and staying power – particularly among the Educational Establishment, which it needed to carry it past Kant’s coming philosophic ballast, and into the ‘practical’ application within the visible world, through Marx.

It’s worth noting that Kant, whom people actually did set their clocks by as he walked down the street at the same time each and every day, blew his routine once, in order to finish Rousseau's 'Emile' – his treatise on what and how education should be conducted. He was hooked. You might want to keep in mind that all five of Rousseau’s children, illegitimately conceived, were given by him, over the objections of their mother, to a foundling asylum (essentially an orphanage), one after the other – a near certain death sentence at the time, which indeed proved true for each of them, as they all died there – this man is the fount of wisdom for our public schools). It was Rousseau's portrait that Kant had mounted in his study.

(Rousseau’s educational concepts expressed in Emile essentially encouraged the teacher to allow the child to attend to whatever seemed to interest him, at what ever pace seemed agreeable to him, without taxing his mind with anymore scientific ideas than absolutely necessary, and similarly for any Artistic practices that didn’t exalt the community first and foremost. It is Rousseaus pen that we have to thank for all the structureless classes lacking in content and intellectual discipline, the “New Math” and “See and Say” educational trends that have turned this country, once the most educationally advanced countries in the world, into the present nation of mostly illiterate and scientifically ignorant that has come down to us in the progressive school theories of today. But that is for a later posting.)

In contrast to what Kant would feel towards Rousseau, Voltaire (France’s last bright light) saw the viciousness of Rousseau’s views, even while his fellow "Philosophes" cheered him on. Voltaire believed that it was only through the disciplined practice of Reason that any possibility existed for eventually throwing off the chains of the worlds ancient passions and superstitions. After reading a copy of Rousseau's 'work' The Social Contract, Voltaire replied:

"I have received your new book against the human race, and thank you for it. Never was such cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit for more than sixty years, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it. Nor can I embark in search of the savages in Canada, because the maladies to which I am condemned render a European surgeon necessary to me; because war is going on in those regions; and because the example of our actions has made the savages nearly as bad as ourselves."

In his debut essay written on whether "Progress of Science and the Arts" had been morally beneficial or not, Rousseau held that once people had lived lives that were simple, virtuous, and happy. Iron, wheat and other such benefits of Science and the Arts, had given rise to population increases and wars making the peoples lives more complex, more corrupt, and unhappy. Governments were more powerful and individual liberties were lost. Anticipating Marx's "Opiate of the masses", Rousseau held that Princes promoted the peoples involvement with the arts because they helped to "wind garlands of flowers around the chains that bind them".

While Rousseau marketed (anachronistic, but accurate) the idea that there should be an equality in political rights and duties, there was also a "general will" volonté générale which should be interpreted and imposed in order to limit the ability of the wealthy to impose on the freedoms and the lives of others.

As historian Will Durant notes in In "Rousseau and Revolution", vol 10 of his monumental "Story of Civilization", about one of Rousseau's entries in Diderot's Encyclopedia, 7 years before writing his Social Contract:

Now for the first time Rousseau announces his peculiar doctrine that there is in every society a "general will" over and above the algebraic sum of the wishes and dislikes of its constituent individuals. The community, in Rousseau's developing philosophy, is a social organism with its own soul:

"The body politic is also a moral being, possessed of a will; and this general will, which tends always to the preservation and welfare of the whole and of every part, is the source of the laws, and constitutes for all the members of the state, in their relations to one another, the rule of what is just or unjust."

What Rousseau means is that there exists overseeing all, a disembodied general Will, independent of insignificant individuals and which they foresee qualified elites will be required to reveal that Will’s its meaning and purpose.

As Irving Babbit at the close of the 19th century, often summarized in books such as "Literature and the American College", Rousseau held that men and women naturally have sympathetic feelings toward their fellows; hence, all that is needed for good to emerge is for people to give free vent to their impulses. If corruption is evident, according to this view, its source must be sought not in the hearts of individual men and women but in social and political institutions.

This of course also means that new social and political institutions must be continually erected and empowered to correct and guide the poor people back into their simple natural lives.

About Emile, the book that stopped the clock of Kant’s regular walk, Durant notes:

For a moment he (Rousseau) doubted whether a man who had sent all his children to a foundling asylum, and who had failed as a tutor in the Mably family, was fit to talk on parentage and education; but as usual he found it pleasant to give his imagination free rein, hampered by experience.

Why should he have doubts about his fitness to write on educating children? Hmm, perhaps this line from his Confessions might give a clue:

“My thoughts were incessantly occupied with girls and women, but in a manner peculiar to myself. These ideas kept my senses in a perpetual and disagreeable activity.... My agitation rose to the point where, unable to satisfy my desires, I inflamed them with the most extravagant maneuvers. I went about seeking dark alleys, hidden retreats, where I might expose myself at a distance to persons of the [other] sex in the state wherein I would have wished to be near them. That which they saw was not the obscene object- I did not dream of that; it was the ridiculous object [the buttocks]. The foolish pleasure which I had in displaying it before their eyes cannot be described. From this there was but a step to the desired treatment [whipping]”

Obviously still a role model for many public school teachers (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Essentially Rousseau took Descartes one step further, where Descartes held that “I think therefore I am”, Rousseau can be summed up by saying “I Feel therefore I Want it to BE!” He exalted the idea of the Noble Savage, over that of society. In his view, civilization went horribly wrong when it left the path of nature’s basic subsistence level living, and pursued Reason.

Edmund Burke said of the French Revolutionaries about Rousseau:

“… there is a great dispute, among their leaders, which of them is the best resemblance of Rousseau. In truth, they all resemble him.... Him they study, him they meditate; him they turn over in all the time they can spare from the laborious mischief of the day or the debauches of the night. Rousseau is their canon of Holy Writ; to him they erect their first statue.”

And Philosophical historian Bryan Magee noted:

"With Rousseau the individual has no rights at all to deviate from the general will, so this democracy is compatible with a complete absence of personal freedom. Here was the first formulation in Western philosophy of some of the basic ideas underlying the great totalitarian movements of the 20th century, Communism and Fascism—which likewise claimed to represent the people, and to have mass support, and even to be democratic, while denying individual rights; and which also allotted a key role to charismatic leaders; and which waged both hot and cold war against the Anglo-Saxon democracies who based themselves on Lockean principles."

When you convince a people that a General Will exists, & the best ideas results from urges & feelings over Reason – what types of philosophical, educational & political systems must result? What kind of society are such ideas likely to result in? Whatever it might be, it shouldn’t be surprising that with ideas such as Rousseau’s inspiring it, the anarchic terror of the French Revolution, is what must follow. And it was led by one of Rousseau’s most admiring students, Robespierre.

In Robespierre’s utopian vision, the individual has the duty "to detest bad faith and despotism, to punish tyrants and traitors, to assist the unfortunate and respect the weak, to defend the oppressed, to do all the good one can to one's neighbor, and to behave with justice towards all men." Robespierre was a disciple of Rousseau--both considered the general will an absolute necessity. For Robespierre, the realization of the general will would make the Republic of Virtue a reality. Its denial would mean a return to despotism. Robespierre knew that a REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE could not become a reality unless the threats of foreign and civil war were removed. To preserve the Republic, Robespierre and the CPS instituted the Reign of Terror. Counter-revolutionaries, the Girondins, priests, nobles, and aristocrats immediately fell under suspicion. Danton (1759-1794), a revolutionary who sought peace with Europe, was executed.

Though the movers and shakers of the French Revolution attempted to couch its statements in similar clothing to the ideas of the American Revolution, it focused on the collective rather than the individuals.

It’s interesting to note that the American Constitution and Bill of Rights came down to us, intellectually, through Locke, and the movers and shakers of the French Revolution read it and then filtered it through the warping lens of Rousseau, and the policies and documents they produced (this should seem familiar by now) attempted to keep the favorable connotations of “Rights” and “Liberty”, but they proceeded to discard everything which Rights and Liberty would depend on to be supported. Where the American Bill of Rights lists what government cannot do, the Revolutionaries’ declared that citizens must be enabled to be Free.

In Rousseau’s view, property laws existed for the wealthy to protect their wealth. According to Rousseau, the mere existence of property, and the laws that went with it, was what were most responsible for pitting men against each other. How Chomsky-like.

As seems to be the case with many aspiring socialist tyrants, Rousseau admired the ideals and practices of ancient Sparta, especially their system of mandatory public education for all children, which he felt would instill a love of country, morality and martial spirit in its youth. That was the surface connotation that he and so many others peddled. The underlying facts about the Spartans were that they were an elite few who brutally ruled the much larger population of Helots in their country as slaves, slaves who were forced to tend to and provide for their masters every need.

Rousseau’s (and his spiritual offspring, Marx) special perspective on the Spartans however, was to recommend reversing the tables, somewhat, by making the wealthy into societies virtual slaves, by suggesting that significant taxes should be levied on inheritances and luxuries in order to be used to provide an income for the state, and its many needy works.

The desire for the unearned, and a special kind of anger towards that which is Earned, is I think the real tie that binds the leftists together from Rousseau through Marx and down to our present day Progressive/Leftists.

More on that in the next post.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Low Hanging Fruit - pt 3

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things
that men of intemperate minds cannot be free;
their passions forge their fetters.
- Edmund Burke


When I first began this Post it was with the idea of supplying gobs of horror quotes from Descartes, Rousseau, Kant, Marx & their mental children on down the line to Chomsky, to back up what I have said in the previous 2 posts.

While I will supply a few quotes/links, it was as I nearly finished this post the 1st time, that I realized that not only was it getting quite lengthy, but that it was wrongheaded in that it missed the central question altogether. I’ve since revised it, and broken it into several Posts which I’ll put out this week. Honest.

What I realized was missing in the quantity of detailed horror quotes, though plentiful, was that the individual horrors were far less meaningful than the fact that leftists such as Chomsky unerringly prefer to always assign the lions share of blame to the West in general, and the US in particular, in any cultural comparison. Why is that?

The Low Hanging Fruit
Chomsky is particularly easy pickings for finding disturbing and ludicrous statements, though his particular technique is not to make up facts, but to mention only a fragment of the entire picture, just enough to make it look like the picture he sees, instead of the big picture. Then with that established, he finds some nice point to equivocate on (using one word which can have two separate meanings in different contexts, such as the word “Empire” which has two vastly different meanings when used in “business empire”, and in “Roman empire”), then he drops the wider context which would make such differences clear, and in the process he succeeds in lifting up the bad, and dragging down the good.

When discussing the behavior of two or more countries, even countries with well known tendencies towards slaughterous deeds (Tojo, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc), and the US - even when in the course of the same paragraph or even sentence, attention is drawn to barbaric atrocities of the other side, the bad guy in question is excused and their transgressions smoothed over, and the US is condemned. A case in point, is when describing Japan's behavior in china pre-WWII, and US, and CONDEMNS the US behavior and assigns RESPONSIBILITY for Pearl Harbor, to America!

The following is from Chomsky’s collected speeches ("Imperial Presidency"), in which he states that when considering the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor which pushed America into WWII, it is America which comes out on the short end of the comparison.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Imperial Presidency
"… No one, for example, celebrates Pearl Harbor day by applauding the fascist leaders of Imperial Japan. But by our standards, the bombing of military bases in the US colonies of Hawaii and the Philippines seems rather innocuous. The Japanese leaders knew that B-17 Flying Fortresses were coming off the Boeing production lines, and were surely familiar with the public discussions in the US explaining how they could be used to incinerate Japan's wooden cities in a war of extermination, flying from Hawaiian and Philippine bases -- "to burn out the industrial heart of the Empire with fire-bombing attacks on the teeming bamboo ant heaps," as retired Air Force General Chennault recommended in 1940, a proposal that "simply delighted" President Roosevelt. That's afar more powerful justification for anticipatory self-defense than anything conjured up by Bush-Blair and their associates -- and accepted, with tactical reservations, throughout the mainstream of articulate opinion…"

What isn't mentioned is the slightly larger context of the fact that Retired General Claire Chenault, was serving in China at the time with a squadron of American pilots that formed the “Flying Tigers” squadron, flying P-40's against the Japanese in the defense of China. It seems that the Imperial Forces of Japan were invading China and slaughtering the Chinese enmasse.

Some additional context that might help to understand Chenault's mindset, was the fact that Japan had, 2 years prior, begun the infamous rape of NanKing, where some estimates are that three hundred thousand Chinese were slaughtered. Chenault, on the front lines of true barbarity, was able to see the true nature of the Japanese Empire first hand, and was under no illusions of what war with them would likely mean. Meanwhile back home, where such knowledge was very distant to most Americans, "Chennault wrote Hap Arnold concerning the potential of small incendiaries against oriental cities. The United States, Arnold responded, was only interested in the precision bombing of military targets, and the "use of incendiaries against cities was contrary to our national policy of attacking military objectives. Chennault countered that, with 500 aircraft built, crewed, and maintained by Americans, [his Chinese airforce] would be able to "burn out the industrial heart of the [Japanese] Empire" .

Arnold and his airmen rejected the idea, but Roosevelt did order that the plan be looked into. You may recall that Roosevelt and Churchill were among the few world leaders who saw the necessity of standing up to Hitler and Tojo, before it was too late – unfortunately the rest of the world weren’t convinced until it was too late. It wasn't until late 1941, when we had intelligence through code breaking (our capability to do so the Chicago Tribune leaked, anticipating the N.Y. Times by 60 years, and probably preventing us from discovering the exact time and place of the attack that did take place at Pearl Harbor) that Japan was indeed planning to strike the United States, that "on 15 November 1941 Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall gave a secret briefing to seven Washington journalists in which he told them that the US was on the brink of war with Japan and "intended to fight a merciless war, with B-17s being 'dispatched immediately to set the paper cities of Japan on fire. There won't be any hesitation about bombing civilians-it will be all out"

It would still appear that this was only in the theoretical stages though, considering that it wasn't until April of 1942 that Doolitle's Raiders, Flying B-25's from an aircraft carrier sailed as close as they dared to sail towards the islands of Japan. Even so, and even though Doolittle and his pilots ripped all unnecessary equipment from the planes in order to stock it with as many 5-gallon cans of gas as they could carry, they knew they wouldn't have the gas to make it to a landing strip after flying the mission; all but one plane ditched or crash landed after the attack.

And incidentally, if it was a plan so well advanced as to be seriously threatening to the Japanese, as he implies to be, why did it take 26 months to repeat it?

Chomsky's tactics are nearly always the same - sparse context, carefully selected facts that encourage opposite meanings to be inferred than would otherwise be the case. As with the preceding quote where Japans already established atrocities and Proclaimed Imperialist intentions are not even mentioned, they are portrayed as if they were innocently minding their own business when all of a sudden they caught wind of the Evil American's desire to fry them in their huts. There is always some such context dropping and key equivocation in his statements that allows some perhaps unflattering fact of ours to be "just as bad as" some horrendous evil of theirs, thereby making America to seem the larger and more duplicitous evil.

Another case in point:
"… consistent anarchist must oppose private ownership of the means of production and the wage slavery which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle that labor must be freely undertaken and under the control of the producer. As Marx put it, socialists look forward to a society, in which labor will "become not only a means of life, but also the highest want in life…"

Here "Wage", which is an agreed (between both parties) amount of wealth paid for services rendered, is affixed to the idea of slavery, which allows no choice whatsoever on the part of the slave. If a slave says no, the slave owner can beat or kill him. If a worker says “No”, he can attempt to bargain with his employer, or quit and leave for greener pastures. If he does so, the employer’s limit of power is to say “You’ll do it or you’re fired!” which is of limited use if the employee has already quit. The context dropped is of course the entire circumstance of workers seeking work from an employer who is seeking employees, and the fact that they don’t become employees unless an agreement is freely made between them.

Here’s another from his favorite hits:

Domestic Constituencies - Noam Chomsky Z Magazine, May, 1998
"The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations. The decisions reached by the directors of GE affect the general society substantially, but citizens play no role in them, as a matter of principle (we may put aside transparent myth about market and stockholder "democracy")."

Here he plays his equivocation game by speaking as though “kings, princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships” and “modern corporations” are equal in moral standing, behavioral policy, and practical function. Most of us realize that the first names refer to those who rule by brute force, with the power of arbitrary imprisonment and even death, and by including corporation with them he implies that it is just another form of the preceding power players. He also drops the context of the wider society where all operate within – the Kingly rulers create, drop and or violate “laws” at their whim. Corporations can only exist where there is an established rule of stable law that protects the rights of the citizens to be secure in their lives and property.

He drops the meaning not only of a publicly traded Corporation, but also of citizens. A corporation is answerable to the shareholders (aka citizens) and if it’s publicly traded, its shares are bought and sold by those of the public who chose to invest their hard earned “wage slavery”, in the expectation that more wealth will be created & so benefit them. The Corporation is answerable to these citizens based on the corporate officers’ proven ability to effectively do the work of the business profitably – that is, produce a product that other citizens find useful (and in the process paying an agreed upon wage to other citizens, here or abroad) at a profit to the business and it’s shareholders.

Fortunately there are a lot citizens who are not fooled by “the transparent myth” of there being a “transparent myth” about markets and stockholders – many a corporate honcho, and not a few politicians who have been perceived as impeding them, have felt the wrath of millions of 401k & mutual fund shareholders.

Try telling a King, the Politburo, or the Chinese Communist Party that you think that they are not managing the business of the State efficiently. Press releases are not what they’re going to fire off at you in reply.

Darkening Counsel With Their Words
Examples like these are numerous, but they are mind numbing, and it is frankly pointless to examine anything of his in further detail. Once his method of context dropping and equivocation has been identified as a tactic of his rather than as an isolated, or even occasional error - he can safely be dismissed as someone who "Darkens counsel with his words". If you’re not satisfied, and you have the stomach for more of it, a huge amount of his "work" is flatteringly displayed online.

What I am interested in, is an explanation for the level of animosity he and his kind have for the West in general, and the US in particular. It isn't because of the particular deeds which they decry. Though I consider the Ideals of the United States of America to be the finest in the history of the world, and whose existence has brought more prosperity, freedom and aid to the world than all other countries combined, I won't paint the US as always enacting those Ideals into it's actions, after all, nations are led by men, and sometimes those men pursue and commit actions which are in error - or worse. Teddy Roosevelt, McKinley & Wilson come first to mind.

Blame America First
But the leftists are not attacking America’s deeds, they are attacking Americas Ideals and Principles, and though I risk being labeled a Totalitarian by Chomsky (“The very fact that the concept "anti-American" can exist -- forget the way it's used -- exhibits a totalitarian streak that's pretty dramatic.” ), I will say that that is the true meaning of being Anti-American.

And in comparison to those who Chomsky and his ilk routinely flatter (Stalin, Pol Pot, etc) and give moral passes to, it is as if comparing the empires of Bill Gates to that of Genghis Khan, using the same word to tie two completely different meanings together as if there were no difference between them, a ludicrous thing to do – and a practice which we have already seen, is routine policy for them.

Note that whenever considering any role of the US, it is a virtual axiom for Chomsky-types that we are motivated by, and are actively promoting evil Imperialist motives & dark hegemonic goals. From the fundamental identification of the US as opposed to other powers, there is some one quality which to their mind presupposes error & evil on our part, and some equivalent quality (or lack of the 1st) which enables him to give others, such as Stalin, Pol Pot, etc, a moral pass.

For that to so consistently be the case, for one thing – and this was the hardest part for me to get my head around - they must truly believe it. For that to be true, there must be some fundamental idea which is at the root of our branch of Western European civilization which has come down to us through America and England, which they are fundamentally opposed to.

This is one of the more prevalent clues indicating this “badness” they see inherent in the West, the following statement which Chomsky made concerning Karl Marx is key to identifying it:

http://www.chomsky.info/books/state01.htm
“As Marx put it, socialists look forward to a society in which labor will "become not only a means of life, but also the highest want in life,''[16] an impossibility when the worker is driven by external authority or need rather than inner impulse: "no form of wage-labor, even though one may be less obnoxious that another, can do away with the misery of wage-labor itself.''[17] A consistent anarchist must oppose not only alienated labor but also the stupefying specialization of labor that takes place when the means for developing production”

This, the concept of wages paid for work done, to their mind is evil.

Seriously.

To their minds working for wages dehumanizes, it institutes conspiratorial government oppression of workers, in collusion with Robber Barons to manipulate the dense masses, and forces them to accept their will.

Leftists like Chomsky like to play around with the language of freedom, but only on the surface. They used to routinely make declarations that the USSR or Castro’s Cuba (and even Saddam Hussein!) were truer democracies than those of the west – because everyone voted in them (the bit about being killed or sent to a gulag if you attempted to vote for someone not approved of by the State, they neglected to make much mention of). They like to throw about phrases such as "libertarian anarchism" but they mix with the idea of freedom and choice only up and until the concept of Earning something is raised.

Earnings, or receiving just compensation for services provided (which encompasses both employer and employee) – rather than being given from the state what they determine you need, Earnings which you can then use to secure those things of life which you desire, and which they may disapprove of, Earnings is a concept which is at the core root of what they despise and rail against. It implies Free Will, it implies independent minds free to reject a ruling elites “Wisdom”, and it implies along with a sound Rule of Law (without which a free market cannot persist), the need for people to develop control over their passions, those daily whims & urges which adults learn to bring under control through a steady, reasoned maturity – an ability which those immature intemperately minded children of all ages never acquire and which they deeply resent in those who do develop such an ability.

What thoughts bare such barren fruit; I’ll take a look at in the next post.

Tomorrow. I promise.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Behind the Ad Hominem's stand the... (Updated 8/12/2006)pt2

Sound and Unsound Thought
I wanted to get farther with this post, but due partly to my Wife & Kids insisting that I actually am part of their lives (the nerve), and shear Post space, I’ll have to leave the remaining portion to the next post (and the ever important example's & links, so Nagarjuna, theory only this time, backing it up with examples next time). For this one I want to illustrate where conflicting Ideas are still debatable among people, and when there is just no point.

Starting at the top, thinking requires evaluating, reaching conclusions, integrating those conclusions into wider hierarchies of integrations, like climbing the stairs of a pyramid as you build it, step by step to the top of the conceptual pyramid. Once you’ve reached the peak, if you’re conscious of what you’re doing, you plant the flag of a Name on top of that structure together with an evaluative conclusion or connotation attached, identifying this conceptual pyramid as "This is Concept X and I judge it to be Sound (or unsound)", and that applies to all that lies under it.


Whether or not you’re not conscious of what you’re doing, your mind is still creating conceptual pyramids, but if unnamed, they will remain a vague “sense of things”, and their associations with other concepts will likely be weak and their integrations probably made somewhat shakily. An example might be one of a general sense someone might gather by associating sneaky people seen steeling things, noting their obvious race, creed or nationality, and make a conclusion from what stood out about them the most – say race or accent, and decide “those people” like that are sneaky thieves, and the flag planted on top of that pyramid might be “People who look like X do bad things”, and the evaluation “They’re bad, distrust them”, whereas if they had be thoughtfully examining the situation, the flag might have said “Behavior like X and/or Y may indicate bad intent” and the evaluation “Keep a close eye on people behaving this way”.


A thoughtful person should be aware of the possibility that they’ve unconsciously made errors in forming some concepts, and keep an eye out for contradictory information. There are two things that should cause you to want to reexamine either your structure or conclusion or both. One indicator might be the discovery of error in several small segments of data that on their own seem insignificant, but when taken together become weighty and possibly indicative of larger errors. A Second would be on being presented with additional info you hadn't before integrated with Concept X, or fundamentally different info being discovered within Concept X than that which you've used to build your conclusion with.


Unless presented with this additional info, or fundamentally different info, then your original conclusions must stand. Obviously, info of compelling evidence invalidating any fundamental part of the structure would, or should require you to reexamine your conclusions. But barring significant info, then no, you don't have to reevaluate your previous conclusions.


What to Criticize
When you come upon a new edifice of conceptual thought, and within which you can recognize an Idea that contains one or more of these faulty conceptual building blocks (for example Marxism, Kantianism, Rationalism) in positions key to the overall structure, then you should have no problem whatsoever declaring this new Concept Y as being unsound, and in fact it would be wasting considerable mental energy for you to rehash all of the reasons why you came to the conclusions you've previously reached.


Now, when you discover someone using Concept X or Y who you think to be innocent of the existing flaws, then it would be necessary to at least discuss some of the key flaws you've found within, and you should do that rationally and with as little emotion as possible, at least up until the point of summarizing all the conclusions you've already walked through with them. Anything else would be trying to sway, rather than convince them, to your conclusions.


When it's Appropriate to Criticize
You've also got to judge when it is and isn't appropriate to rehash ideas which should be understood for that setting. If you're teaching a class of Algebra II, and someone continues to ask questions that should have been understood in Algebra I, Basic Math or even English, if you're a decent teacher you're going to ask them to see you after class & not bore the rest of the students with such questions. If the stumped student continues to interupt the class you're going to have to tell them to keep quiet or leave.


When discussing matters with others that have reached similar conclusions (or when there's reason to assume that they have) there is again no need to explain each of the many conclusions that went into arriving at the crowning, or even fundamental, conclusion that you have reached. And you're free to indulge in whatever rhetorical flourishes you feel inclined to use amongst them.
When Discussion Is and Isn't Worth ItAlso, keep in mind there are some people who you can have a discussion with, and some you cannot, based on the number of numerous concepts that they have deeply associated into their beliefs, when most or all of those you profoundly disagree with. There are enough shared fundamental concepts and perceptions of the world, that I can and do have lively and enjoyable discussions with and even though I likely would still disagree (read "often LOUDLY", but with mutual grins at each others intermittent flying spittle), someone like a Joe Lieberman for instance. But there are people who have such radically different conceptual systems and Ideas adopted, that discussion just can't happen.


Shifting Conceptual Gears
I’m going to shift gears here, and mix metaphors with a different analogy. When I started this I was going for a more 21st century image of interfaces, templates, relational databases, etc, but that’s going to take a lot of explanation and space. Maybe something more physical would work best here instead.


Picture a person’s personality as if it were made up of a series of gears, with each of the conceptual structures I’ve been talking about making up toothes on those gears. If you tried to mesh it with one whose teeth didn't match up and interlock well with its own, it would clash, create sparks, and eventually become jammed. But, a pair whose essential values, "gears", interlocked, even though one might be larger than the other, as long as their teeth, their essential ideas & values, meshed, they would work with and power each other. The better conversations & relationships will be driven by the larger, lower gears merging smoothly together, and the smaller ones pick up speed from them and zing away at high speed. Though one may have developed, in their smaller more delicate gears, a taste for classical music and a dislike of football, and vice versa; their lower drive gears, even though spinning at different speeds, could still work well together while enjoying a discussion, maybe even a growing and rewarding friendship.

Less durable conversations & relationships - acquaintances - will be those that come together at the higher levels only, sports, entertainment, and on that level they carry on fine, but if the lower gears aren't able to mesh, the strain will be too much for the smaller gears to sustain their entire connection for long periods of time - like trying to stay in 3rd gear for street, highway & starting & stopping.


The Drag of Error/Falsehood

In relationships, using the image of the gears, truth, knowing the truth about each other, is going to allow each others gears to see what is compatible, remain clear and ready to match and mesh properly, enabling a smooth transfer of energy, motion and progress, or quickly make it apparent that you don't match up, and need to look elsewhere.

Falsehood and error in your ideas & relationships gives the impression that your gears will line up well when in fact they're not a true match at all, but have been altered by a layer of cheap plating, to make them appear to be the same size. Trouble is, that plating of falsehood is weak and easily cracked, once that happens you have to begin slopping grease and eventually a sawdust of excuses & ‘epicycles’ into the works, and keep slopping more and more in it to smooth out the chips that keep appearing, and the ever weakening plating cracks and chips, and those chips keep falling into the works, causing the gears to slip and bind and work against one another, if at all.


Some people when they come up against each other find no matching gear sets for their conversational machinery to interlock – there’ll be no transfer of power at all, and the work of conversation & thought will just grind to an immediate halt.


Where the Rubber Meets the Road

The same thing is going to occur in a person’s interaction with reality. Again, at some level, the gears must interlock. While they’re raised in idle, some gearings can dazzle you with their interlocking Ivory Tower combinations & whirring sets, and aren’t the little bitty ones just humming and spinning at a mile a minute! But when you bring them into contact with the driveshaft of reality, if those lower gears don’t mesh with the real world, there’s going to be a grinding and chipping, and the whole structure begins to lurch to a halt.[insert any Marxist, Communist, Socialist theory & 10 year plan here], and if that gear box represents an entire society, the more the dictator tries to jam the gearshift into place, the more the transmission shudders & rattles, and the shrieks of millions of lives being used as sawdust to smoothen the process is horrendous.

There are people that you can imagine having a conversation with - areas where you think you'd be able to connect, and although you don't see right off the full sense of their ideas, you think if you could talk, you might be able to get up to speed with them. Then there are those that, to your mind, their gears are so glazed with false plate, grease & sawdust, you can't imagine any points of communication being open. I don't think that I could find any matching splines or shared ideas with the machinations of someone like George Soros, to establish or expand any useful communication. I don't think I could at all with Noam Chomsky, unless it was a highly formalized setting such as a public debate, where we wouldn’t be trying to communicate or convince each other of anything, but would instead be talking for the benefit of the audience.


And in similar fashion, in ANY discussion of legitimacy between any of the terrorist types or their supporters and sponsors – with Israel - there is no equivalence. I give no credence what so ever to the claims of the terrorists or their sympathizers. None. And to the people of Lebanon, while the families have my sympathy (the thought of the children in that... it shreds your soul), but to put it coldly, they actually voted for Hez-Ebola – and will, not too surprisingly, inevitably suffer the consequences of bringing a terrorist organization into their government.
(Again, I'll dive into the gory details next post for examples pertaining to Soros, Chomsky & Hez-Ebola .)


Calling a Spade a Spade

But as I mentioned in an earlier Post, I have read a representative portion of what Chomsky has written, I was initially intrigued with what he had to say, but his political comments are - frankly, ludicrous. I have spent several hours watching him speak on what he considers sound reasoning. IMHO, there is so little correspondence between what he says and with what I can see as being the facts of reality, that I must say that he's as nuts as you can be without being put into a straight jacket. And if he was to ever implement his Ideas, the grinding from the gearbox would surely reach the level coming out of North Korea in no time flat. (I know, I know, examples – next post)

Nagarjuna asked "Are you telling us that all Chomsky's EVER done with respect to China from the time of Mao to the present is praise it?" No, what I am telling you is that there was plenty of evidence available at the time as to make any pronouncement of the kind he made, glaringly irresponsible, off base, and actually lending moral support and the appearance of credibility to Evil, and I mean Evil in the foulest and most secular sense of the word. And personally, I do think that that is a bad thing. Chomsky may have hedged & backed off a few of his statements over the years, such as with Cambodia, but only by quibbling degree not in significant kind.


His positions leave me no other choice than to radically disagree with very nearly everything he has said. The very nature of those disagreements, and the potential damage, yes real damage, I see inherent in the thoughts he promotes, tends to crank up my emotional response plugs because he supports and promotes that philosophy, which brings to power, and sustains, Despots of the worst kind imaginable.


So yes, I do think that by giving moral and intellectual support to evil, you promote and guarantee the further spread of evil and at an increasingly greater magnitude. Hitler, Stalin, China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Syria, Iran… and they all thrive on that support given them by such Intellectuals. As a lower level example, why do you think that the Hez-ebola are bothering to stage their "Innocents Killed! Get your Innocents Killed Photo ops here!"? It feeds the sympathetic MSM, which feeds the sympathetic Intellectuals, the U.N. and so on.


The True Powers of History
But on a historical scale, such Political/Military leaders are really the merest of piker’s when it comes to creating either prosperity or destruction. The greatest amount of destruction done in the world is due to the philosophers, Descartes, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel & Marx being our modern plague rats, and their footmen, the intellectuals.


Descartes, with his Cogito Ergo Boom! "I think therefore I am" (yes I know he didn't originate it, but he re-popularized it) set one of the most destructive cycles of Philosophical history into motion. Perhaps we can say he was in "honest" error and deserves the benefit of the doubt as to his intent, but it is true that from that point Western thought began dividing from Reality in the Modern Era.
Does Rousseau deserve the benefit of the doubt? No, he was downright wicked. Aside from his writing, look to the fate of his children for evidence (and his influence on the education of generations ever since for further evidence).


Kant? Most respectable Professors acknowledge that it was Kant that did the most to bring the Age of Enlightenment to a close (one reference I know off the top of my head is Robert Kane, Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin). There is also debate about whether he was knowingly evil or not (mostly among Objectivists), but whatever the case, you can't read him and think that his major ideas were his honest interpretation of how the world (noumenal or otherwise) worked; they were what he thought would fly high enough to give cover to his overall philosophy, which as he stated, he wrote "to make the world safe for religion". The irony is he nearly destroyed both science and religion as a result of his efforts.


Kant said he awoke from his dogmatic slumbers to write his philosophy after being alarmed for the safety of religion, after reading Hume's new scepticism (I just finished re-reading Hume and that man was a major bonehead! Hume also introduced large errors into Western thought, but without the larger disturbances from Descartes & the boys, his errors would have been self correcting as scepticism always runs itself into a deadend rather quickly), but the result of his meditations, more than any other person or event, was to undermine and bring to an end the enlightenment.

Thank God the Founding Fathers came together before Kant came to his full influence.

So Descartes goofed and began gave credibility to the separation of thoughts from reality in the West, Rousseau twisted them into knots, Kant codified their errors into a philosophic force, and soon after Hegel & Marx applied their systems of thought divorced from reality, into political forces capable of justifying any evil for whatever idealized Whim happened to suit your dogmatic pleasure. Napoleon was the first to pick up on the early stages of this, and the world has bled & bled and bled ever since.

Laying the Blame
What portion of that blood do you measure out to the Philosophers and the lower Intellectuals as a Just portion of guilt? I don't know, it may be more a case of in for a dime, in for a dollar, but the guilt is there for all of them to bear. Descartes, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel & Marx delivered up such a blizzard of disconnected thoughts, that they released justifications for violence and destruction unprecedented in history. I lay the deaths of hundreds of millions of people at their feet, and I make plenty of room for each of their followers (hello Chomsky) to draw their fair share of that guilt.


Did they intend such bloody consequences to come from their cogitations? Probably not (with the possible exception of Rousseau - yep, I really, really despise him). But what they did intend to do, was to make the causes they favored appear to be respectable and true, and without the benefit of their ‘proofs’ blurring the issues and undercutting the positions of those who might otherwise have been better able to defend Reason, it is their Philosophies that have produced the world wide horror we've witnessed over the last 200 years.


Identification vs. Name Calling

Now back to your point about ‘Name Calling’ vs. fully explaining your each and every point. We all tend to get our ideas & their gearboxes set up just how we like them, and when everything seems to be zooming along just fine – why should we change them? For one thing, since everyone experiences a little grinding when shifting gears now and then, you should always be open to examining your thoughts, but it’s not something you can or should do whenever you bump up against someone you don't successfully mesh with. Cracking open your conceptual gearbox and rebuilding the transmission is a tiresome and time consuming operation.

When you should do it, like it or not, is when you become aware of evidence showing that any of your concepts or the conceptual structures built upon a concept, are questionable or downright invalid. If someone were to come along with conclusive proof that "these seven neurons are responsible for the appearance of free will, but they are actually directly determined by events occurring in your background”, and I could see that the underlying structure of that proof was indeed valid, then in that situation you're going to have me doing some serious re-evaluating and rebuilding, overhauling and downright replacing my entire mental drivetrain - but without that, not so much. Any speculation or 'proof' that rests on questionable or invalid concepts, have by implication, already been evaluated, found to be wanting and in error, and worthy of no further thought than to be labled as such, along with those who might propose them.


Nationalized healthcare? Minimum wage? Protectionist economic policies? Subsidies? Worthless, and those who support them I dismiss out of hand. They are ideas that have been exposed & refuted over and over for over a hundred years - see "The Law" or "Economic Sophisms" by Fredrich Bastiat
(one of the last worthwhile Frenchmen) for some of the first, and very readable, refutations of each, from 150 years ago.

Also, look at the space I’ve taken up with this post, and I don’t doubt that you’ll agree that I’ve still fallen far short of making a thoroughly complete & convincing case for my point of view. A Blog is simply not the forum to fully and deeply justify every opinion and assertion each and every time they are raised. If you've already looked into, reviewed the material, reached your conclusions, and indicated the general direction & justifications for your positions, you simply cannot continue rehashing them over and over before giving your conclusions - you simply have to say "It's Wrong!" or "He's Nuts!", indicate the direction of thought for your conclusions, and let it go at that.


Trust but Verify
You have to have some respect for your readers own ability (and free will) to look for further information to back up ideas which they may be unfamiliar with, or in conflict with, what they thought was so. I find it interesting that those who lean towards a deterministic viewpoint tend to think readers must be protected from a lack of detail & false information, and those with a free will viewpoint tend to think people will discover the facts as long as they're free to look for them.


There are several more points I intend to delve into deeper to give some more solid background to what I think is important for the views I’m developing – how we integrate our thoughts & why, how errors in that process give rise to the unease & chaos we experience daily, how that process might be reflected in the spiritual & religious sensations prevalent amongst us. But it’ll take time & post space.


And lots & lots of examples.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ad Hominem Ad Hominem Ad Infinitum Part 1

This post is coming about in reference to a comment by Nagarjuna regarding our previous discussions about posts & comments at Gagdad Bob’s One Cosmos and Gagdad’s blogging style. Nagarjuna made several points, I want to select two key topics from his list to address,

"Should "taking a stand one way or the other" mean ad hominem attacks on those who take a different stand, or should it mean substantive and respectful discussion of your differing stands? And once we take our stand, should we cling to it no matter what new facts and insights come our way, or should we keep our ears open to the different stand of others and our minds and hearts open to the possibility that they might contain some truth?"

I want to approach this in two Post parts (since one extended spaghetti-styled comment I typed on a pocketPC wasn’t near enough – and will make me shake my head at myself for ages to come).
1- What is an appropriate approach to such discussions on a blog, and
2 - What is sufficient info to form a concept and when is it appropriate to dismiss someone (based upon their public statements) out of hand.

I’d intended to establish a larger base of posts on issues fundamental to concepts as a whole, before attempting to post on any of these subjects, so I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, but... (I'll just say I’m being fancy by jumping "in medias res" and pretend it's justified and intentional).

Take a look at this first:
- "should it mean substantive and respectful discussion of your differing stands"

I’d say first you’ve got to consider the context. In a Blog, to a certain extent, you can assume that readers have some degree of familiarity with your general points of view, particularly if your Blog has been posting for months and years. And within that context, the audience you’re targeting are going to be familiar with common points of view on people, trends & events; they are neither going to need or want, to have to wade through justifications and explanations of all the terms and issues, particularly if they’ve been posted on heavily over the lifetime of the blog, and or if you’ve favorably linked to articles & other blogs that have delved deep into the subject.

As for quips about derisive comments on another Blog or article – no I don’t think those need substantive and respectful discussion of them or the stands involved. As I said previously, quips about rival blogs points of view, tend to take a tone of the belly up to the bar and good naturedly slam the rival team with in-jokes and cheeky insults that will be winked at amongst the blogs community. I really don’t think such “Yankees vs Red Sox” type put downs are worth much more ink than they cost to put up on the screen, and it’s a bit silly to behave as if they do. Quips are quips, they’re not intellectual discussions.

When a subject is the topic of a post, and not just a quip, then yes, it should be dealt with in a substantive manner, and given the respect that depending on it’s familiarity within your blog, and its community and their expected familiarity with it – it may or may not deserve. The subjects that Gagdad Bob posts on, I think he gives a well rounded digging into – again assuming a certain level of understanding from his community.

Blogs are a new and unique literary form. They blend aspects of the 17th & 18th belles letterix, where people in a certain field or clique would circulate letters among themselves and their Salons, expounding on some new ideas, commenting on familiar ideas or individuals. They also can be a means to dig into new ideas, or new perspectives on an existing idea, they also can be a clearing house for breaking news, and much, much more.

Where the readers find the post to be lacking, they can comment, criticize & link to further discussions to their hearts content – often producing quite remarkable discussions, and sometimes light fluff. The Poster & Commentators have the ability to go as in depth as they feel they need to, and those who don’t feel that they’re getting what they need from it can express their dissatisfaction and or move on.

Blogs are neither primarily intellectual journals, water-cooler chats nor gossip columns – but a new blend of all those and more. In the case of One Cosmos, I think Gagdad Bob provides plenty of information in his posts for interested readers to be able to follow his train of thought, how he reached those conclusions, and the Google next door is readily available for me to supply any and all means necessary to help me clarify or counter any of those thoughts I might question.

I first happened upon One Cosmos, by way of one of his comments on American Digest. I thought his perspective was interesting, I clicked over to his site and read a few posts – some of it I got, some seemed a bit odd, some very intriguing, and some baffling. Vertical? Horizontal? What the heck did directions have to do with an otherwise intellectual discussion?

I clicked further, read some other posts & comments, and over a short period of time, found it to be such an excellent illustrative image for essentially how I used “Higher level Concepts” and “Perceptual Level thoughts” that it’s become favorite terms in my own thinking.

Provided that the Blog supplies some level of explanation within its several posts & related links, then I don't see any problem with the Blogger using an appropriate amount “sizzle” in its posts to say what the Blogger thinks needs to be said. What level is appropriate to both the Blogger and the reader is going to be worked out between them in the comments section. It really is the perfect Informational Free Market, sans the Cash transaction.


Does Gagdad Bob engage in biting statements, one liners & zingers? Yes in deedy! Do I consider any of them "Ugly"? No, not at all. Do I think that anyone with the least bit of initiative would be at a loss to find more detailed explanations within One Cosmos and its related links to back them up? Not at all. And of course those who disagree with his (or my) thinking can comment, ask for clarification, or just move on. Not a problem.

Again, for examples of Ugly, refer to Huffington Post or Daily Kos. Do I feel a need to expand further on what I find ugly or despicable about either? No, not in the least. I trust that any reader, who is unfamiliar with them, will be fully capable of checking them out & judging for themselves.

Nagarjuna also stated "I have never seen Bob take any of Chomsky's statements or opinions and rebut it. Instead, he engages in ugly name-calling."

Ok. Try this.

At the top of One Cosmos's blog (and I think all Blogger Blogs) there is a little search field, and if you type in "noam chomsky" and click "Search This Blog", which will return hits from 21 different posts involving varying degrees of detailed discussion of Chomsky, including this clicked at random:

From Monday, June 19, 2006, "We are Endowed by our Biology with Certain Unalienable Illusions and Appetites" , there is a lengthy post on Chomsky regarding an article he wrote (which is linked to), including:


"But you knew Chomsky was going to say that. He doesn’t “think” so much as apply a template over reality so that it always comes out looking the same: U.S. bad, enemies of U.S. good. Chomsky, of course, is one of the intellectual luminaries of the far left, and the far left is increasingly becoming indistinguishable from the left (which long ago abandoned liberalism). "

This is followed by 37 comments by those involved in the conversation taking the opportunity to work it over to their hearts content.

What more do you want? And to indulge in a minor return zing, how could you make such a statement without even the simplest steps to check your facts?

Once again, for examples of Ugly, refer to Huffington Post or Daily Kos.

"... Peoples separated by a common language."

In my comment to Gagdad Bob regarding Nagarjuna "I did catch on towards the end of the "Free Will" comments - still though, I am a bit of a glutton", what I meant was that I suspected that in the end we would be talking past each other; but that is something that fascinates me to no end. How two people, using the same language, whose words allegedly have the same meaning, with no conscious intent on either party to deceive or trick the other, can nonetheless manage to effect almost to communication in their discussions.

Just fascinates the beejeebers out of me.

Thomas Sowell may have been on to something in his "A Conflict of Visions", with what he describes as the Constrained and the Unconstrained Visions. A brief summary of a very full book, would be that even when the two believe in the same goal, their respective Visions put them at absolute odds and generate deep misunderstandings not only through the way they use their words, but also how they believe things can and cannot work.

The Unconstrained Vision believes that people's character and abilities can be changed through educaiton, and that goals can be achieved only through collective engineering of the results, one milestone at a time, through mandates, policy & jiggering of the system, will result in people who make the (politically) correct decisions required to bring about the collective goal.

The Constrained Vision believe that people have relatively fixed characters and abilities, and such practices that are proposed by the Unconstrained Visionaries are not only too complex to be properly conceived, but that people can't be engineered from without, but must be the result of choices made by the numerous individuals, which through processes of individual choices made, will result in the goal beneficial to all.

Interesting to note that the Unconstrained Vision seems to tend towards some form of determinism and larger government to engineer their fine policies and make sure people make the correct choices, while the Constrained tends towards a reliance on Free Will and small government - though they tend to be very suspicious of how people might use that free will, Got to be kept a close eye on, ensure that that people believe they have Free Will... up to a certain proper point.

I tend towards the Constrained Vision. Tend. I think that there are still things to be learned in philosophy & how the mind & body function, which will ultimately reveal both visions to be but refractions of the same light source, caused by a mutually flawed lens. Looking for that flaw, and repairing that flaw (Narcissistic aspirations? Naw! I just want to fix the world through my blog, nothing grandiose about that) is the ultimate point of this blog.

And of course anything else that interests me along the way.

Simple.


[By the way, I haven't figured how to turn on all the links & goodies in Blogger yet. I can write Software just fine - figure out how to use it? Forget about it!]

Monday, August 07, 2006

Comments? sigh. Microsoft + New! = pain

Well that was exhausting.

After a number of problems, speed issues & difficulties from people trying to post on my original site at msn.spaces, I've finished moving it over to here, where I expect to remain.

Replying to Nagarjuna, Chomsky and the implied allies

August 07
This is not something I intend to do much of, (and shudder... it's another after midnight post...), but this began with a series of comments on One Cosmos (), spilled over onto Nagarjuna's sites comments , and I'd like to wrap it up here.

Blogs, when quipping about rival blogs points of view, tend to take a tone of, at best, collegial belly up to the bar back slapping & trading back & forth of in-jokes and cheeky insults amongst themselves, which I don't give much stock to one way or the other beyond light hearted impishness.

I think that anyone who doesn't expect & even occasionally revel in intra-blogal fraternal rivalry is dreaming, and not taking advantage of a little well intentioned high spirited fun & frolic.

However, some tend to go way beyond such levels crossing forcefully into the vicious - Daily Kos & Huffington Post come first to mind. This
guy at Vanity Fair I know little beyond he doesn't seem my cup of tea & that's fine & dandy.

When we take that wise-cracking seriously, as Nagarjuna did, and as I did in response, it is a bit ... um, well just a step above silly, but worth no sweat. The effective result was Nagarjuna said "...Bob never admitting that he's wrong or that he even could be wrong about any of his spiritual and political pronouncements, and disparaging the intellectual capacity, psychological maturity, or morality of those who disagree with him. Perhaps he's mistaken about this. If he is, I hope you can cite examples for us that illustrate this." And so after the least bit of effort,
I did refute it.

Nagarjuna said he knew before I posted my reply to his reply of Gagdad Bob's reply... to whoever's reply, that I'd resort to the examples I used (from the same weeks reincarnation post 8/4/2006). Fine. I didn't consider it worth researching much further. Although fairly new at
One Cosmos, I tend to move on rather quickly from sites that exihbit the traits he described - and frankly I don't see that at One Cosmos. You may disagree.

Nagarjuna however went on to mention Noam Chomsky. I think bringing in his name, goes beyond a little point for point ribbing of Gagdad Bob, it casts this in a light I didn't at first intend, but perhaps should have seen from the start.

I remember reading something of Chomsky long ago, having to do with what he actually is, a linguist, if I remember right (this was at least 10, maybe 15 years ago?) having to do with there being a single ancestral language that all languages are descended from... and I remember thinking it was fascinating.

Afterwards I read an interview in Bill Moyers "A World Of Ideas", which was a bit jaring, and since then I've rented a couple DVD's of his seminars - and after the most cursory research, he stands out in my opinion, as far as the world of political analysis & judgment go - as an absolute twisted wacko. Someone who selects facts, shorn of context, in order to advance an anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist agenda over and above any honest consideration of nature and the requirements of humanity, Individual Rights or (in a secular, Objectivist sense) morality.
I propose a hypothetical - which from
previous commenting back & forth's you should know I feel is a shaky thing to stand on at the very best, but still, humor me.

It is 1937. Winston Churchill is a mostly discredited hasbeen - a big time drinker, one time reporter, adventurer, political hack supposedly responsible for leading Britain into the disaster of Galipoli. He's continually railing against the political celibrity movement of the day, socialism, drawing all kinds of apocolyptic conclusions from their every move.

Those who agree with him - he calls wise, those who disagree with him, who think we just need to dialogue with Hitler & Mussolini & Tojo, he calls fools and wrong beyond measure.

Now, we know from our stand point in history that he was right, and they were wrong, but forget about what we know at this end of history - at that 1937 end of the tunnel, one group felt they were right to keep communication open to all, one felt such discussion folly bordering on treason. Where would you fall in that time frame? I have my suspicions - I may be wrong, but the real point, is that not that Churchill proved them all wrong and He himself right, but that a person must read the tealeaves of current events in conjunciton with your best analysis of history, and take a stand one way or the other.

It is proper to identify what you consider to be Right and what you consider to be Wrong, and responsible to also provide the context and facts pertaining to your conclusions.

More than likely one camp will be proven right, and the other wrong, in histories due course - but I'm not going to condemn either for making their opinion known, providing that they back it up with their reasoning, best analysis, and examples from current events. Each of us must do the same, and point out where you think yourself right and the other wrong. People will consider our points, history will swell forward in it's own time, and our grandkids will know for sure how it turned out for each camp.

My point is don't condemn Gagdad Bob, or even Chomsky, for saying what they think is right, criticize what they're saying, point out what you see to be the flaws, and let the conversation go forward.

In my opinion going from commenting on the needling of Gagdad Bob and your Cafe buddy, or Bill Harryman of whom I know nothing, is but intra blogal rivalry - Chomsky however rises to an entirely different level. Stepping up to Chomsky, it's as if you equate the silly spinmeistering of a Mike McCurry and Ari Fliesher, with that of a Joseph Goebles.

" I dare say that if Bob or any of his obsequious "Bobbleheads" were to attempt to debate Chomsky on American foreign policy, THEY would undoubtedly be the ones made to look like ranting, paranoid fools. This is not to say that I agree with all or even most of what Chomsky says, but I respect the fact that he stays focused on issues ..."

What would you have said of Goebbels ability to say that the Jews were undermining the master race? He kept on point?

Chomsky was an apologist for Pol Pot, an excuser of 911, and all around condemner of America, he is... well perhaps Goebbels is going a bit far - at this point in time anyway, but at the very least he is an enabler of the evil to come.

Chomsky said of China, who's policies at the time (mid 1960's) were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of it's own citizens:
"China is an important example of a new society in which very interesting and positive things happened at the local level, in which a good deal of the collectivization and communization was really based on mass participation and took place after a level of understanding had been reached in the peasantry that led to this next step. "

Where do you start with someone who claims that:"Of all the major powers in the Sixties, according to Chomsky, America was the most reprehensible. Its principles of liberal democracy were a sham. Its democracy was a “four-year dictatorship” and its economic commitment to free markets was merely a disguise for corporate power. Its foreign policy was positively evil. “By any objective standard,” he wrote at the time, “the United States has become the most aggressive power in the world, the greatest threat to peace, to national self-determination, and to international cooperation.”

The United States of America, the greatest threat to peace. Greater than China, North Korea, Syria, Iran and all of their client organizations combined.

Chomsky recently says, in an interview posted on his website: "One day before, on June 24, Israeli forces kidnapped two Gaza civilians, Osama and Mustafa Muamar, by any standards a far more severe crime than capture of a soldier..."

A random Googling of the news (this from YNet daily) says:"Army officials confirmed the operation, saying that the two Hamas activists were involved in planning a terror attack in the immediate future. One of the brothers arrested is a student at the Islamic University affiliated with Hamas, Osama recently returned from Sudan."


That two suspected terrorists, sons of a Hamas terrorist, are equated with a member of the military defending a liberal country, is to my mind, sick.

And then of course, on 9/12/2001, Chomsky wrote:
"The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton’s bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people."

Who do you ally yourself with? You can say that you don't agree with everything he says, but you still imply that in a debate over foriegn policy, Chomsky would aquit himself quite respectably. You say you "... respect the fact that he stays focused on issues". Respect. Respect?! Again, your tendency to paste a words label where it looks nice, after gutting it of all meaning... are you aware of it?

Who do you ally yourself with?

You can dismiss this, and say you aren't really allying yourself with Chomsky, that you're just being open minded - but just as we look back on 1937 and the years that followed, our grandchildren will do the same from the future. One of us they almost certainly will condemn, one of us they probably won't.

Are you so confident of those you ally yourself with, to think that the road they are attempting to stear us down, will be one of reason and peace?

At this point in history, without the benefit of future hindsight - we must all make our stand. I have chosen my stand and I hope to be proved wrong. But I seriously doubt it.


Original Comments:

Blogodidact
I did catch on towards the end of the "Free Will" comments - still though, I am a bit of a gluton....August 07 12:38 PM(http://normalguy.spaces.live.com/)

Gagdad Bob
Van-- I should have warned you about Nagarjuna, but you had to learn for yourself. By the way, Chomsky is not only clinically paranoid, but he is a fine example of someone who has a deep soul pathology as well. He is one of the sickest wackedemics in the entire looniversity bin, and that's saying a lot. I don't believe it is streching the point to say that he would require the services of an excorcist as much as a psychiatrist. Or put it this way: if he's not demon possessed, he might as well be. Keep up the good work. August 07 7:02 AM(http://www.onecosmos.blogspot.com)