Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forgotten Beauty and lost Justice

Forgotten Beauty
I tried something this morning, something that is not advisable to do at work, or with family around, I opened up Google, clicked to 'Images', typed in 'beauty', and clicked search.

The first image returned on the page was of a tattooed African-African, in tribal getup (and frighteningly little of that) with her lips stretched around a 4 or 5 inch plate.

Next is a mock-banal poster for Beauty 'If you're attractive enough on the outside, people will forgive you for being irritating to the core.'.
Third is a barely clothed 'beauty' on turned back bed sheets... and her image is just that - an image - a computer generated image.

After that depressing start, then it hurries up down the sliding slope to some ads for makeup , underwear, then bikini shots, schlock art, a movie review, and then drops off into the various depths of porn.

You might say "Well, what'd you expect? That was foolish!"

Well... I agree it was foolish of me to expect otherwise, what with the state of things we find ourselves in today, but how did that become a situation that IS THE NORM!? How did society become a place where a search for Beauty, no matter the venue, should bring back various instances of social commentary and relativism, product sales, computer generated images, and porn... instead of results that consist of ...

... wait for it...

... Beauty!?

Hello... this is an important point. And if your beliefs or 'education' lead you to some contentless answers such as 'it's just progress', or it's due to industrialization or the oppression of the upper classes, or the lower classes, or any other similar bromide, that should be a cue that you are in the grips of the soul killer stalking the world today.

Here's another another question worth asking, how do we go through an examination of Justice, without an examination of Beauty? And if the connection between the two is not readily apparent to you... why not?

Let me put that this way. What kind of Justice can you expect from a society where the normal expectation of results through a casual search for Beauty, is an intellectual claptrap of assertions about how all things are equally worthy and valuable depending on your perspective or that it is determined by your genes, cash for eye candy, fake people, and the degradation and de-spiritualization and de-intellectualization of beauty which is porn?

Answer me that?

The same answer will be received, the very same answer, by walking yourself through Glaucon's tale of the Ring of Gyges (Plato's Republic, bookII), that if you had a ring that made you invisible so that you could be assured of complete anonymity, of never being identified or caught or the target of praise or retribution, no matter the virtue or vice engaged in, no matter the crime committed - what would you do?

What would be the value of Justice to you? That is a whopper of a question, not often appreciated as people dig into the details of the myth. Equally relevant will be, and perhaps an even more revealing answer to be had by asking, what is, and what is the value, of Art? To you?
Peace and Harmony
Grab any random hard-rapping thug off of the street and walk him through a museum of Fine Art (one of course which actually displays Fine Art in a fine manner and setting), and what do you suppose the effect will be upon our thug?

Or walk our thug-buddy by an open and unwatched cash register, or a cash packed wallet dropped before him on the sidewalk, and what will his reaction likely be?

Tear our thug away from watching Jackass, or Rock of Love, and have him sit through a performance of Oedipus Rex, or Antigone, or Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet or Cato... and what do you suppose will be his reaction?

Ok, try this, walk our thug-buddy up to a busy store counter to order a coffee... how do you suppose he will speak to get a clerks attention? Or, even better, how will he respond when someone accidentally bumps into him, maybe even causing him to spill a few drops?

Will it likely be "Pardon me, are you ok? That didn't splash on you, did it?" or will it more likely be, at best, "Hey asswipe! Watchwhereyouregoing! Youwannamakesomethingofit?! Backoff!"

Shut off his Snoop Dog or Metallica and put on Mozart, and what will he likely be humming afterwards?

Replace his lava lamp with the Pietà by Michelangelo...

where will his eyes come to rest? Will they at all?

If faced with something beautiful, will he know it? Will he respond to it? If something truly beautiful is actually SEEN, how is he likely to respond? Will that response likely be remotely similar to the response elicited by eye catching ads or 'beauties' in pornish poses?

Do you normally associate fine manners, respectful behavior, civility, grace, kindness with someone who grinds and gesticulates to hardcore rap, or metal, or [insert degraded artform here], or with someone who prefers to dress up elegantly and take in a symphony?

One other instance, lets tak the old fashioned image of an idealized gentleman, fresh from the symphony - to try to make it more imaginable, lets put him into the Victorian era -he's strolling home, rounds the corner and walks smack dab into a thug harassing a frightened looking lady. Does our gentleman,

a) avert his gaze and step around the scene (or turn back around the corner)?
b) step between them and say something along the lines of "Sir, I advise you to leave"
c) grin, chuckle earthily and join in on the fun?

You could extend this into considering the manners and responses of Chamberlain and Churchill towards Hitler's Nazi Germany. Or Axis-of-Evil era Bush and engagement-speak Obama towards Ahminijihad in Iran. (Yes Lance, they are all directly comparable, from the position of history being lived, where the outcome is not known, the actions towards Nazi germany in the 1920's-1930's is equivalent to 'open and non-confrontational dialog' being openly proposed (and implicitly practiced over the last few years) towards Iran).

Can anyone seriously look into Justice, without looking into Beauty, and the behavior which follows from an understanding, or misunderstanding, of them? And can anyone seriously examine either, without examining the ideas which form the canvass they are presented upon?

These are the questions which must be at least in mind, whose answers must at least be seen as worth pursuing, whether or not a fully satisfying answer is achieved.

A piece of art, say a sculpture, IS a finely crafted object, conceived and created through the mind, heart and body of the artist, it embodies the fruits of his labors... but are those fruits..., is the expression of Art which that sculpture embodies, VISIBLE, to anyone who looks upon it?

I say ... No.

Just as the beauty of fine manners, though physically displayed, are not visible, to one who has habituated the manners of a barbarian. Or rather, while the Art is perceptually available to all who look upon it, it will actually be perceived only by those who have developed the capability of seeing it. No I'm not going all relativist and subjectivist on you. I'll explain... a little bit here, and more so throughout the next few posts on Justice.

The physical block of carved stone is of course there and visible to the passing eye, but the Art which the artwork embodies requires a certain capacity, a certain amount of knowledge to be not only present, but rightly ordered, within the mind, heart and soul of the viewer, in order for it even to begin to be seen as the Art that it is.

Unless we happened upon a very unexpectedly remarkable sort of random rap/metal thug, our random thug is NOT going to see the Art that is present in the sculpture, painting, music or stage, without having first been educated to, and having developed the ability to recognize them. To a certain extent, the Art must be present in the viewer before it can be seen by them, just as Justice must to some extent be known to the people before it can defined or hold sway among them.

However, we shouldn't put too many chips down when we're betting on the odds that our _thug will be nothing but a thug. A person can awaken to the world around them, without outside efforts. All it takes to awaken the inner eye to perceiving the light above, is the willingness to become aware of what is all around him in every environment, in every place, and in every time. Perhaps the light in a young girls eye, that makes him wish to not only get her attention, but for her to think of him as worthy of her attention.

That, or maybe the realization that it would be desirable to not be the bullying type of person who he saw taking the toy... as well as something else... from his older brother, that maybe there was some way to manage possessions agreeably, to deal with each other agreeably... that would be ... better... in some way... why? And what type of personal mannerisms, behavior, actions, would such a conclusion tend towards?

Here's a hint, this,

or this,


And... what type of Art... or distraction... would likely appeal to which?

There are many roads that lead upwards, and a single path can lift one to the alpine heights, where all the roads begin to merge... but each path has a fork which can also take you right back down again, or even over a precipice.

Which path will you choose? This might help you in navigating the twists and turns, from an essay at the excellent Art Renewal, Good Art, Bad Art:

"The art of painting, one of the greatest traditions in all of human history has been under a merciless and relentless assault for the last one hundred years. I'm referring to the accumulated knowledge of over 2500 hundred years, spanning from Ancient Greece to the early Renaissance and through to the extraordinary pinnacles of artistic achievement seen in the High Renaissance, 17th century Dutch, and the great 19th century Academies of Europe and America. These traditions, just when they were at their absolute zenith, at a peak of achievement, seemingly unbeatable and unstoppable, hit the twentieth century at full stride, and then ... fell off a cliff, and smashed to pieces on the rocks below."

Is it a coincidence that that fall was followed by the most blood soaked series of tyrants and wars the world has ever known? Such a coincidence would require a strong belief in coincidences - I don't buy it - the two are related. Deeply. The article continues:

"Our children, going supposedly to the finest universities in the world, being taught by professors with Bachelors or Arts, Masters of Arts, Masters of Fine Arts, Masters of Art Education ... even Doctoral degrees, our children instead have been subjected to methodical brain-washing and taught to deny the evidence of their own senses. Taught that Mattisse, Cézanne, and Picasso, along with their followers, were the most brilliant artists in all of history. Why? Because they weren't telling us lies like the traditional painters, of course. They weren't trying to make us believe that we were looking at scenes in reality, or at scenes from the imagination, from fantasy or from dreams. They were telling us the truth. They were telling it like it is. They spent their lives and careers on something that was not banal, and not silly, insipid or inane. They in fact provided the world with the most ingenious of all breakthroughs in the history of artistic thought. Even the great scientific achievements of the industrial revolution paled before their brilliant discovery. And what was that discovery for which they have been raised above Bouguereau, exalted over Gérôme, and celebrated beyond Ingres, David, Constable, Fragonard, Van Dyck, and Gainsborough or Poussin? Why in fact were they heralded to the absolute zenith ... the tiptop of human achievement ... being worthy even of placement shoulder to shoulder on pedestals right beside Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Vermeer and Raphael? What did they do? Why were they glorified practically above all others that ever went before them? Ladies and gentleman, they proved ... amazing, incredible, and fantastic as it may seem, they proved that the canvas was flat ... flat and very thin ... skinny ... indeed, not even shallow, lacking any depth or meaning whatsoever."

Which would you choose as a better representation of Art, of Beauty,
Matisse's Woman in Robe,

John William Godward's Classical Beauty?

Are you balanced enough to bring forth Beauty and Justice, or are you one of those super smart people who allows your highly developed (read unbalanced) intelligence to make stupid and unjust decisions, because of what things you 'think' should be 'art', rather than what you know? I submit that that is exactly the same type of super smart decision, which allows every form of theft from welfare, to bailouts, to stimulous, to slavery-lite issues of income tax, gov't controlled healthcare, and eventually the gulag states of the Nazi's, USSR & Red China.

Which is Art? Which represents Beauty to you? Careful, your answer holds a mirror up to your soul.

*An interesting, if perhaps a tad to0 deterministic, series of articles by Satoshi Kanazawa, 1, 2 and 3, notes that

"They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which means that different people possess different standards of beauty and that not everyone agrees on who is beautiful and who is not. This is the first stereotype or aphorism that evolutionary psychology has overturned. It turns out that the standards of beauty are not only the same across individuals and cultures, they are also innate. We are born with the notion of who’s beautiful and who’s not."

(Note: You may want to keep his "Large Breasts" as a pinch of salt to weigh against his articles on beauty. Ahem.)


Ephrem Antony Gray said...

Flat art, like Picasso, is part of a religious system, as it is symbolic and abstract; it does not pretend to show the real world. Rather, its aim is properly to show the heavenly one. In this, all modern only fails to show a particular spiritual realm: hell.

It is no surprise that their 'breakthrough' happening the same time as the emergence of mass media, which is a truly religious secular system. In Orthodox terms, modern art is the iconography of the humanist, secular religion that is ultimately embodied in the various forms of socialism, one of which is the crazed consumerism/socialism that now dominates our world. What we have in reality are just the sects of the Humanist church. Mass advertising is a sacramental system; they don't care if you click, they want you to remember them and think on them always.

Such 'flat' art that probes the interior is the place for the religious painter, and not the secular egoist.

Porn is, of course, a religious system (in its modern form.) Of course, ancient porn was part of various cults.

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

Er, that is, it shows the second heaven. (My wording at the end of the first para is messed up.)

Those thugs are fakers anyway.

JWM said...

Superb, Van. This is one of your best. Yesterday, when I was on my coffee pot safari I happened to notice a kid riding along on a razor scooter. He was wearing the current homeboy inspired jailtime regalia that is so popular- ridiculously baggy mid shin length shorts. White socks up to the knee, and shaved head. This kid was capital U Ugly looking.
I would take it a step further, and look at what this kind of dress imitates, and emulates. Thug culture. This kid, safe in his affluent Orange County, CA neighborhood was dressing up like the real thugs in the real 'hood without a glimmer of irony. As I mentioned in my post the other day at the wfb, I worked in those neighborhoods, and tried to teach those thugs for ten years. The very few among them who have half a brain in their head work their asses off to GET THE HELL OUT! And they never look back. They know what that scene is, and they despise it on a level that you and I can't appreciate. But this little white kid on his razor scooter was sure, I'm sure, that he was on the cutting edge of hip hop hip. There is a very bad craziness loose in the world, Van. It scares me. How long will it be before we see white suburban girls sporting lip plates, and facial scarrings like the pulchritudinous Ubangi in your picture? I see the plates in the earlobes all too frequently around here. I wouldn't even bet that the lips won't follow.

JWM said...

(forgive me any typos. I woke up with a vicodin grade headache, and applied vicodin. I'm a little numb right now.)
Have you read Mencius Moldbug's
Unqualified Reservations? The guy is scary smart, and he's just enough over my head that I can read, and almost keep up, but not quite. You're in his league, and you could get a better appreciatiion than I. He could well be the all time greatest crank ever. If you haven't read him, be prepared to take a little time here. He's no raccoon. Not by a light year. But I think you'll find it time well spent. I'd be interested in hearing your response.


Anonymous said...

IMHO, Perception of beauty (and justice) depends on context. In order of importance:

1. The culture one must earn survival inside of.

2. The innate temperament of the individual within their culture.

Alpha types prefer status-oriented beauty.

Sensitive types prefer beauty that ‘touches their soul’.

Logical types prefer beauty that agrees with their needs.

Tribalistic types prefer beauty that follows cultural norms.

3. Personal experience.

Anonymous said...

Part II.

For the purpose of discussion, I’ll use a personal example.

I worked competently and successfully as a contractor in a technology field for many years. My career was suddenly derailed when I couldn’t adapt to the cultural and political realities within a particular company quickly enough. My adversary was my boss, who secretly demanded ‘favors’ out of me which involved unethical and highly risky attacks on his rivals. When I did not comply, he used covert means within that dysfunctional environment (which he understood well, having helped to create it) to make my life difficult. My attempts at self-defense involved working as the ‘perfect employee’, while quietly letting it be known that I was under political attack. The end result: both our reputations were stained. But I was laid off and not recalled, while he secured more “respect” within that organization with his reputation as a ruthless player. If one goes to, the reviews for that particular company (written years later by other, um... presumably victims) support my perceptions.

In real life, the solution to the above problem is obvious – just get the hell out of there. But (for the sake of simplicity) imagine that this is your only environment, your only chance for survival. Then imagine that your perception of beauty and justice involves creativity, competency, efficiency, conscientiousness, and productivity. But the culture which you must earn survival within only respects power.

The question is this: how does one survive within such an environment using ‘classical liberal’ philosophies? How does one influence things for the better? Do the means justify the ends?

And further, a societies culture is obviously influenced by its education. Yet how are educators influenced without infringing on freedoms or initiating force?

Van Harvey said...

I hadn't looked at MM since just after the election; I've been trying to read his latest ‘refresher’ posts since reading your comment it, but keep getting sidetracked... amazing how exhausting not having a job can be.

My general impression of him is that he's devastatingly good at identifying critical issues and putting them into stark relief. I think he goes a bit overboard in the 'the sky is not just falling, but has fallen and left a blackened crater behind' mode... but the times do seem to warrant it.

The last time I looked at him (in the comments section)I'd said:

"Nothing focuses Americans like being smacked upside the head where they weren't expecting it. And unless I miss my guess, we've got a big dose of that coming down the pike.

We'll see. We'll see."

Personally I've got triple red, black & blue contusions lumped about the side of my head. You?

(P.S. really liked your post on the well dressed thug - exactly the point)

Van Harvey said...

Anonymous@2/16/2009 2:33 PM ,

Hmmm… Context is a biggee with me, but I’ve gotta quibble with you there. I also think you’ve got the order reversed. Perception of beauty depends primarily upon your willingness to acknowledge reality and your reverence for, and acceptance of, Truth, and that is the primary context which overrides all others and which determines the grounds of your personal experience.

The depths to which the beautiful and just, or unjust, instances you encounter are likely to resonate within you are affected by your ability to evaluate and perceive both beauty and justice, and that ability is enhanced or degraded by your knowledge (not to be confused with ‘book knowledge’, but not excluding that either), and while your responses to them may be affected by your personality type and temperament, I don’t think that necessarily affects your ability to perceive them.

Your ability to find beautiful Art and to see justice done and to be dealt justly with, of course is greatly affected by the culture you are attempting to survive within, both on the wider and narrower contexts, and while that may affect your ability to acknowledge what is beautiful and justice, that doesn’t (necessarily) affect your ability to perceive beauty and justice – unless you allow yourself to begin ignoring what is uncomfortable, and then that puts you back to the beginning, willingness to acknowledge reality and what is true – consciously futz with that, and you’re hosed.

Van Harvey said...

Anonymous @2/16/2009 2:42 PM said “I worked competently and successfully as a contractor in a technology field for many years.”

As have I, and still am (hopefully). I’ve run into those foul types before as well. In one case, when it became apparent the corp culture would see his behavior as positive, I contacted recruiters who were able to find me another position and I got out (btw, the recruiters company, who had placed me there, had heard and experienced enough of the CIO’s behavior, that they willingly helped me out quietly and gave the company 1 days notice that they’d found another position for me and were pulling me then and there, burning their bridges to the company – there are business out there who won’t put up with that kind of crap, even when it seems to affect their bottom line).

On the other hand, in another instance, I let the recruiters (same company but it had been bought out and had a new mgmt team) know that I wanted out, not due to shady behavior, but mgmt by thugocratic behavior (“You’ll do this, because we say so, wise or not, do it now, and by this date, or you’re finished!”), this new guy let the company know, who let me know that I could ‘play ball’ or leave then and there, I left. It led to a couple painful months… but IMHO, that’s preferable to being thought of someone who will ‘play along’.

If you allow your circumstances to dictate what you are willing to perceive, and how to respond to it, I think you’re in danger of doing long term damage to your very soul. Which brings us to your later points,

“But (for the sake of simplicity) imagine that this is your only environment, your only chance for survival … the culture which you must earn survival within only respects power.”

Again, if you live in a free country, or ours (ahem), the answer is get out, fast as you can. But if you live in a situation such as the old East Germany, or North Korea, unless you have developed your mind and will to near superhuman degrees, it will unquestionably damage your soul.

I’ve made the argument elsewhere that Force destroys your ability to Reason, and by implication, your ability to respond to beauty and justice and all levels of our higher nature. There is a reason, not just isolated economic activities, why totalitarian societies are black holes of misery, ugliness, incompetence and stagnation. Capitalist oriented societies (and we have NOT been a proper one since the beginning of the 20th century) succeed not because they obey some mysterious rules of supply and demand, but because they are Free markets, meaning that their citizens are able to judge and act upon the basis of their own volitionally chosen thoughts, actions and evaluations.

The more freedom (which is tied to objective laws and property rights), the more the people are able to Reason, the less freedom they have, meaning the more imposed, stale behavior the more they are forced to follow ‘thinking’ removed from reality (imposed rules and unobjective laws), the deader that society becomes, and the less you will be able to find instances of Beauty and Justice to perceive.

“The question is this: how does one survive within such an environment using ‘classical liberal’ philosophies? How does one influence things for the better?”

When the ability to speak freely is lost, there is no survival within classical liberal philosophies – when that time comes, as John Locke said, you are in a state of war and are obligated to act accordingly. Until that time comes, you confront evil (and that which seeks to destroy your ability to Reason, to experience Beauty and Justice IS evil, and yes I apply that to all variants of leftism, though those espousing them may have varying degrees of understanding that) – that doesn’t mean violently, or even belligerently, it means that when someone pronounces how ‘evil’ capitalists are to not want to pay for everyone else needs, whims, healthcare, etc, you speak up and say you disagree, and to the best of your ability show them how violating property rights destroys the concept of all rights. If that’s beyond your presence of mind, or glibness, a simple “I disagree and believe such ideas are destructive to all our liberty” and leave it at that. To the best of your ability, you speak out against such ‘ideas’ and seek to defeat them in the arena of ideas, and politics.

“Do the means justify the ends”

? Do the ends justify the means? No. Your ‘means’ are your ‘Ends’ as concretized through your actions. Those who tried to justify Mao, Lenin, whoever, deathcamps and torture were their Ends, their Means, and the true meaning of their ideas and their consequent actions. As for do the means justify the ends, the ends, properly, are determined by your means, which are determined by your ideas. When there is no possibility of free speech and action, then War is justified, as our founding fathers realized “Give me liberty or give me death!”, but we are in no way near their situation yet.

“And further, a societies culture is obviously influenced by its education. Yet how are educators influenced without infringing on freedoms or initiating force?”

Absolutely, which is why I’ve been saying for a long, long time (such as this post), that until the nation is again familiar with the education that made our founding possible, no legislative actions will be anything other than stop-gap and holding actions. Public education, especially mandatory schooling, MUST be done away with, it mainlined the corruption of progressivism into the American mind, and until parents have a right to their own children, what other rights can they possibly fully have?

For those interested in what Classical Liberalism consisted of, before it’s corruption (beginning even as our constitution was being established), you can't beat the excellent presentation of the The Founders Constitution, from the University of Chicago Press and the Liberty Fund. It goes through the Constitution, line by line and hyperlinked to the relevant material which the Founders had in mind during the constitutional debates, and much more.

Anonymous said...

Hey Van, thanks for your response. Good stuff. A few somewhat random (but hopefully not too disjointed) responses in return. Who knows maybe some ideas for other posts?

I’m a big fan of Truth. But I’m also aware that Ringers “People say they love truth, but in reality they want to believe that which they love is true” is also usually true. Through the school of hard knocks, I learned the hard way, that “knowing thyself” was my first best step towards knowing more Truth. Revising my original list, I’d put "4. Level of disciplined self-knowledge, which aids considerably in filtering out #’s 1-3” on it. But I still believe this is dependant on #1-3 until one gets their Eagle badge in #4. How’s that for confusing?

If I had to classify myself politically, it’d be ‘formerly apathetic big stick libertarian’ (If government doesn’t screw with me, I don’t screw with it. But if somebody screws with my country, I’ll pay my government to build and use a big stick.) This self-classification came about partly as a result of observing other libertarian types in action. You know, if you locked a group of self-described constitutionalist/libertarians (in one form or another) into a room together, say, Chuck Baldwin, Bill Maher, Charles Johnson, Ron Paul, Glenn Greenwald, R.J Rummel, Lew Rockwell, what are the odds a brawl would not happen?

I purposely left Glenn Reynolds off the list, as he seems humble and level-headed enough to help prevent group brawling, and Noam Chomsky (a ‘libertarian socialist’, whatever the hell that is) as he’d probably be pummeled by everybody else.

Theoretically, if all these guys perceived Truth accurately, they’d be able to hammer out an elegant ‘unified theory/view’ of the truth which they all agreed on. I observe that their various opinions are reflective of their own wants and needs (among other things), and call myself a ’formerly apathetic big stick libertarian’, which reflects my own “Don’t start nothin won’t be nothin” want and need, which may or may not be Truth.

Truth is easy until emotions get involved.

“foul types”
I learned from my experience, but lost valuable time in doing so. If I could go back, I might have made things turn out differently. I guess the hardest part was accepting that in some situations the “play along” henchmen can outnumber and overpower ‘regular guys’.

"classical liberalism"
Another reason for the “brawling” of the libertarians I mentioned, seems to be their disagreement over ‘Where do we draw the government line(s)?’ and ‘What threats are real threats to everyone’s freedom?’
The Founding Fathers lived in a time when men who were determined to be free could gather together with their hunting muskets and defeat world powers that were intent on crushing that freedom. But today no number of hunting muskets could stop a nuclear missile fired by some two bit dictator from lands the Fathers knew for kimchi and rugs. Defending freedom can get expensive when power concentrates.

I see ‘classical liberalism’ as a naturally desired state, which most humans who are/were not “thugocratic” in nature ('regular guys', from cavemen to nuclear scientists), have had some instinctual need for. But it’s a far easier sell during good times, when powerful threats to ones freedom and happiness are few. Well-intentioned progressivism was a response to ever increasing concentrations of non-democratic power (via technology, population, etc..) which inadvertently spawned more of the same. And then thugocrats were naturally drawn to and infiltrated this concentration of power, which increased the size of the cycle. Teddy Roosevelt may have had the best of intentions as a “Square Deal” man and “trust-buster”, but I don’t think he could have forseen how another ‘concentration of power engine’ had been created. Now the hurricane’s so big everybody seems to accept that “Republican” means pitching smaller government via larger government and budget deficit.

I’d sure like to believe that some kind of quality Rule of Law enforced checks and balances against concentrations of power could free us from all that. Or something.

“public education”
Public education may already be on it’s way out. Technology and private schools competing for excellence in product and result could eventually assure this. But again, competition leading to quality of product is key. I used to love Home Depot, but when they became dominant in my area they really began to suck. If education became condensed into yet another large entity (this time a corporate monopoly) we’d be back to where we started.

Classical liberalism seems to be quite fragile without Rule of Law enforced checks and balances against concentrations of power. And sometimes I wish that guys like the group I mentioned in the third paragraph would just get together and duke it out like real men, not emerging from their brawl until Truth was found. Now that would be beautiful.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, Van!

Classical Liberalism is fragile without good morals or Religion.
If too many Americans fail to see "we hold these truth's to be self evident" then there is no way Classical Liberalism or Liberty can survive.

Anonymous said...

Right there, Ben. The ‘power and control’ freak I discussed in my second comment carried a public personna of moral strength and tolerance, but privately snarked at me his belief that Christians were a joke and that he was too smart to be held accountable for his Machiavellian behavior.

I think The Founders Constitution (and similar) should yield information to the wisdom behind non-forceful checks and balances against these “foul types”. I bet there's a common theme between Babiak's "Snakes In Suits" and what the Founders knew.

Van Harvey said...

Hey Anonymous, I wanted to answer your previous reply, but I've run out of time... probably won't have access online for a week.

In the meantime, the "Liberal Fascism" post's in my sidebar I think cover your points about 'Truth' and 'Classical Liberalism', or if overloads your html-meter, the last one should cover it Liberal Fascism - the spiral of knowledge.

(Hey Ben!)