Thursday, February 29, 2024

Why are our Culture Wars focused upon winning battles instead of winning the war - where's our Gen. Sherman?!

“...all knowledge that is divorced from justice [must] be called cunning rather than wisdom...” — Cicero
So... strategy. I'm not a big strategist myself, but I do get some of the basics. Like, the point of strategy & tactics is ultimately to win, and that using your opponent's strategy & tactics that are designed to ensure you lose, won't help you to win. Pretty basic stuff. So why do so many who are to the right of the...[what, Left? Woke? Modernists? Establishment? Ah, here's a term that entails them all:] Pro-Regressives, fail to grasp that? In our Culture War's battle of ideas today, too many enter the argumentative fray to 'own 'em!' and accumulate 'likes', clicks, and glory, unaware that their strategy & tactics are utilizing those that were developed by their opponents to oppose them with, the effects of which they'll use to launch new attacks with that will always be one step ahead of the losing side - ours.

Why does the Right's approach to strategy and tactics in our Culture Wars today, differ so much from how winning strategies & tactics were developed in, say, our Civil War? At the start of that war, the strategy of the establishment favorite Gen. McClellan, looked good on paper, seemed sensible, popular, and sure to hold this or that piece of ground and win glory for the Union. However as it soon proved to be effective only at producing loss after loss as Gen. Lee chewed the North's ground up and spat them back out upon it, the Union's strategy & strategists were soon changed. Gen. Grant, elevated because 'at least he fights', began utilizing the North's greater ability to absorb casualties to win battles, but he soon realized that his 'terrible arithmetic' was primarily leading towards more and more battles, rather than to ending the war, so he listened to Gen. Sherman's idea that the path to victory lay in identifying & eliminating the Confederacy's ability to stand and fight against them, and despite there being little popularity or glory in battling agriculture, plantation houses, and morale, he began burning them to the ground in his "March to the sea", and so brought about a swift end to the war.

That is not how strategy & tactics have progressed in our Culture Wars today. We're still using the 'good on paper' establishment strategies of textbooks, testing, and 'choice', that Pro-Regressives have been chewing up & spitting out The West with, for a decade of decades. And though the recent parents' revolt against CRT & SEL seemed for a moment to be an indication that we'd taken a Gen. Grant-like turn to at least start fighting, beyond a handful of parents and grassroots groups, few others are following their lead. Instead, most others attitude seems to be that given a choice between doing the work of identifying and burning down what sustains the Woke confederacy, or posturing about with ineffective strategies & tactics that bring popularity, clicks, and glory, most today choose clicks & glory.

Why? Maybe because they aren't as far to the right of the Pro-Regressives as they imagine themselves to be?

The main issue thought, is that there's work to be done before we can begin burning down what sustains the Pro-Regressives, beginning with learning to identify what it is that needs to be burned down - not to mention separating ourselves from it. So, what is it that sustains the modern Pro-Regressives, is it Academia? Entertainment? Media? The Administrative State? Our school systems? Those are all important grounds that have been captured, no doubt about it, but what we need to begin publicly targeting and burning to the ground, IMHO, is what gave the illusion of legitimacy to those pro-regressive ideals and positions which enabled those grounds to be captured in the first place.

What it was that enabled the typical American to first begin accepting those positions as seemingly credible, is modern Epistemology; it is what provides the illusion of legitimacy and credibility to those ideas that fuel and sustain the Pro-Regressives' positions to this day. But as laying its falsehoods bare for all to see is even more lacking in glory than battling against agriculture ever was, glorious or not, it is the unexamined lie which lies within the heart of modern epistemology which sustains the legions of ideologies that they've swamped our culture with.

End that, and the Pro-Regressives' ability to project power over others - be they from the Left, Woke, Modernists, Establishment, or others - ends with it.

Doing that effectively will require our consistently subjecting their premises to an epistemology of metaphysics (what is), logic (what follows), and ethics (what, if anything, should be done about it), in order to expose their true nature to such widespread public ridicule, that they won't dare to speak openly of them again, and so bring the Culture Wars to an end.

Few have shown any interest in even bothering to identify what sustains the Pro-Regressives, and not a few are actively using and even unwittingly (?) promoting the opposition's strategies & tactics, which can only work against their own, and they do so without a care in the world.

Why?

Possibly because they either don't see its connection to what sustains those who see them as their enemies (details to follow), or they don't really think such things matter, and that's a big part of what sustains the Culture War they're waging against us. Unfortunately as the habits of modern epistemology have been engrained in us through 12-16 years of schooling, it escapes our attention how much time & energy we waste in furthering those strategies & tactics that were designed to waste our time and energy, and so most of us unwittingly end up giving aid and comfort to ideals & positions that are actively undermining the very ground we're trying to make our stand upon, while our side just stares in amazement as both the positions and grounds we'd been clinging to, are progressively lost.

What first brought this to mind was seeing another fruitless exchange several months ago from someone nominally on 'my side' doing just that, and then something recently that was unlooked for and out of the blue where several people of national and even worldwide prominence, casually employed a Sherman-like strategy that burned the positions of the person confronting them, to the ground, in front of their peers and the general public. They were glorious moments, that, unfortunately seem to have been brushed off as amusing 'hot takes' which no one else seems to see anything of significance in, and so I'll do what I can to bring the attention of as many people to them as I can.

First to the worst, with a moment of despair from a few months ago when in a comment thread that'd been highlighted in my newsfeed under a post against "people "deconstructing" their faith", an fb 'friend', JR, whose libertarianish positions have occasionally aligned with mine (though rarely deeper than a 'Yes' or 'No' on an issue), was making comments that were directly advancing the strategies & tactics of those who're opposed to his positions, and was succeeding in burning nothing to the ground but time.

The post itself was too focused upon sectarian issues for my tastes, but the thread of his that'd been highlighted in my feed drew a painful lol from me with his comment that:
"Deconstruction of one’s religious beliefs is simply critically examining what you believe."
, apparently entirely unaware that he was using and promoting one of the primary ideological weapons of those opposed to his notions of 'liberty', which can only advance their positions & goals while undermining those he believes himself to support. What gave away the fact that JR had no idea what he was advising people to engage in, was signaled by a single word:
"...simply..."
, as it doesn't take much familiarity with the literature of the deconstructionists to realize that 'simply', simply does not apply to the methods of 'Deconstruction', which deliberately utilize the most difficult, convoluted, and opaque language possible, to make obscure points that are famously difficult to even identify, let alone 'understand'.

Why'd JR have no issue 'simply' using the term 'Deconstruction' without understanding what it means (a point he later unconcernedly admitted to)? My guess would be that he assumed it to be just one of many legitimate means for examining an issue to better understand it, possibly because of what he assumed he knew of 'Deconstructionism', had come from one of those 'humanities 101' courses that engineering and business students are required to take, which present their convoluted and confused ideas as being the height of modern intellectual engagement. If so, perhaps his good intentions and false assumptions about what it probably meant, outweighed any concerns being raised over the actual meaning of what it was he was advising other people to engage in.

Unfortunately, his assumption was at least as 'problematic' as it would be if he were to advocate for communist policies and statist controls to improve the Free Market with, on the basis of his intending such advice to be helpful. If a similar idea had been put to him in terms of Marxist economic theory, he'd doubtlessly have recognized it for what it was and spurned it right away, but because it comes from the 'soft' humanities, it apparently held no real meaning, importance, or concern for him (which is an epistemological legacy of the 'empirical' thinking he sadly prides himself on). The problem is that all such efforts give aid & comfort to the enemy of all that is worth valuing, and cannot avoid doing so, and our ignorance of this is one of many factors that have us continually shooting ourselves in the conceptual foot before any battle of ideas is even begun.

For those who do take the trouble to read beyond the required reading list and venture into the Deconstructionist's founding theories and how it's been practiced, they'll find that the intent of its authors (one of whom authored a paper arguing that there is no such thing as an Author), is to artfully employ equivocation and fractured logic to disassemble and destroy any and every Western ideal and concept (hello: de-construct), not for the purposes of developing a better understanding of them, but for bringing about an end to the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian culture of The West. That is their stated purpose (see below) and it should not be excused, ignored, or forgotten.

My problem with issues like these, is how do I condense a useful amount of the preceding into a comment that's brief enough to be read? And sadly, being the last one to look to for tips on brevity, I have no good answer to that. Still, with past interactions with JR in mind and not wanting to sidetracked either of us into a pointless skirmish that would have no winner, I still hoped that I could at least get him to give a bit more thought to what he was encouraging other people to get engaged in. For good or ill, I commented that:
"If you think that Deconstruction is or can be positive, or is in anyway equivalent to carefully examining a subject - any subject - in order to understand it better... you really need to turn your analytical skills to the term 'Deconstruction'."
It's probably no great surprise that my comment was not well received by JR, but his reply to me provided a surprisingly good demonstration of the self-defeating nature inherent in battling with philosophical positions while epistemologically blind. How epistemologically blind a person is, can be guessed at by whether they treat the power of ideas seriously, or simply use them as ideological props to spar with - you can judge for yourself which one the three lines of his response most likely reflects:
  1. "I am not interested in the semantics, so feel free to define that term as you see fit." - meaning that he believed that understanding the meaning of the term that he'd used and advised others to employ, wasn't meaningful to the discussion. Funnily enough, it's his misuse of the word 'semantics', that's typically meant by 'playing semantics'.

  2. , which was followed by:
  3. "My interest is in the idea of critically examining ALL of one’s premises and where they came from and if you actually believe them and why." - IOW he's happy to doubt 'ALL' of your premises, but is unwilling or unable to question his own (which demonstrates what 'critically examining' has always meant in practice. More on that in coming posts)

  4. , he then concluded with this punchline:
  5. "I think that is both positive and necessary to avoid the kind of cognitive dissonance that is obvious in so many people." - which takes a lack of philosophical self awareness to a new level.
I don't know that I could ask for a better demonstration of how failing to develop the habit of applying an epistemology of metaphysics (what is), logic (does it follow), and ethics (what, if anything, should be done about it), to the ideas you are thinking with in 'the real world', leaves a person unaware that their own thoughts have broken free from reality and are tripping up their pursuit of what it is that they claim to believe and value.

It seemed likely that this was going nowhere fast, but keeping in mind that other people reading along might be persuaded to give the matter further consideration, I pointed out that:
"Semantics and philosophy are two very different things, and failing to recognize that will have you accepting and furthering premises that you never considered or thought to question. Your comment here is a fine case in point."
, and as you can imagine, not only did the tone not improve or turn him towards examining the term he misused, but he also took my questioning of his premises as an indication that I was the one who feared examining their own core beliefs. JR then doubled down on his statement, repeating that:
"Defining the term “Deconstruction” is semantics, and I will leave that to you and others."
Indeed. As noted, there is a problem with Semantics, but it doesn't come from paying too much attention to the meaning of words, it comes from ignoring their meaning and simply assuming that 'differences of semantics' are meaningless. That lackadaisical attitude is the very thing that is exploited through an especially effective and damaging tactic of post-modernists and deconstructionists, which has been identified as 'Semantic Deception' (also the lead post in my series on SEL & CRT), which means:
"Redefining terms to get agreement without understanding. Example: use of words that mean one thing to parents and another thing to change agents."
Semantics indeed. Failing to pay attention to what words mean, and what is being promoted by the bad actors who utilize them, as JR blithely did, is a significant feature of the chaotic mess our world is in today. Post-Modernists and Deconstructionists have used the tool of semantic deception for decades - it is what's been at work when parents hear their school's promise to teach their kids about Liberty, and assume that they'll learn about Liberty in the American context, while what they'll be teaching them will be in the context of 'liberating' students through the Marxist lens of the Brazilian Marxist Paulo Freire (Freire's subversive books have been the most popular text in teachers colleges for the last 40 yrs).

Worse still, blindly using words with double (and often malevolent) meanings, transforms those who imagine themselves to be neutral, or even opposed to what its concealed meaning serves (think 'diversity', 'equity', 'inclusion'), into the 'captured opposition' who unwittingly enable the solid ground that their position once held, to be infiltrated, undermined, and repurposed, into hostile ground (oh hi Harvard!).

JR, as blind to the irony of his own words as he was to the epistemology that formed them for him, had the gall to conclude by asking me:
"How do you define the term?"
I was tempted to ask him how he defined 'define', but seeing no point in trading words with someone who finds no value in their meaning, I replied with a few of the points above for whoever else might be reading along, as well as a link to New Discourses which gave a deeper explanation of how 'Deconstruction' operates as "... a process of forcing the marriage of the truth to a lie...", and I noted that unless he showed an interest in that, I'd leave JR to continue the thread on his own. He continued on in much the same manner, adding a lengthy criticism of my not providing him with a 'definition' - seriously - and he pointedly refused to look at the page I'd linked to. Had he bothered to follow the link, he would've found the definitions he sought, as well as further explanations of it from deconstructionists themselves, followed by commentary which analyzed those to convey the actual meaning of the term, which the self-serving definition's of the deconstructionist's semantic deceptions, intentionally leave out.

The failed strategy of doubtful definitions
Brushing off the meaning of words as 'mere semantics', and expecting definitions to make arguments for you - which they are not and cannot be - is a failed strategy. A definition does not persuade or provide an argument, it only provides a high-level "...statement expressing the essential nature of something..." from someone presumed to have an authoritative knowledge of the subject, but what is accepted without questioning, is believed without understanding. Attempting to use a definition as an 'answer' to an argument that has not been made, is engaging in an 'argument from authority' fallacy, which not only hinders understanding, but is likely to become the proverbial 'answer that kills the question'.

Definitions can be used to raise a philosophical point, and they can, as I often do here, be used to indicate questions that need to be considered, but they can't make that philosophical point or pursue those questions for you, or install an understanding of its meaning in anyone's mind.

Checking back on the thread one last time, I saw that JR had actually gone to Wikipedia to find a definition of 'deconstruction' that was friendly to his assumptions, and from that he astoundingly concluded that:
Deconstruction” and "deconstructing religious beliefs" was "something completely different, as Wikipedia explains here. Apparently the term was stolen and applied to Evangelistic Christianity."
, which further demonstrates how the problem of arguing by definitions has been compounded, as many such terms in our dictionary definitions have been defined or redefined to glide upon the politically correct winds of the day (see 'antiracist' and 'racist'), with academia's semantic deceptions worded in a wholesome manner to appeal to the general audience, while masking a very different esoteric and activist meaning for 'those who know best'.

Bad as that and his interpretation of it was, even those who're wise enough to prefer dictionaries to Wikipedia, will typically find 'Deconstruction' being defined, as Webster's online does, as being just another philosophical term:
1: a philosophical or critical method which asserts that meanings, metaphysical constructs, and hierarchical oppositions (as between key terms in a philosophical or literary work) are always rendered unstable by their dependence on ultimately arbitrary signifiers
2: the analytic examination of something (such as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy
, which presents it as the means of pursuing some deeper understanding which JR assumed it to be, and makes no mention of its having been designed to de-construct - destroy - your ability to understand and reason.

In practice that means confusing our language (which has been job#1 since before Plato) into weaponized terms that're primed to explode in the public's face at some later date, just as 'antiracist' by definition purports to oppose racism, while in practice it entails promoting aggressively racist activism throughout our society. That ulterior motive of 'Deconstruction' can be glimpsed by reading between the lines of one of the supporting explanations found on the link JR didn't dare venturing to, taken from Jonathan Culler's "On Deconstruction", from Cornell University Press, which takes a very favorable view of Deconstructionism, says in part:
"...The term deconstruction has thus come to designate a range of radical theoretical enterprises in such fields as law, architecture, theology, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, ethics and political theory, in addition to philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literary and cultural studies. Though diverse, these enterprises share a critical dismantling of the conceptual oppositions that had previously been regarded as fundamental to the disciplines."[emphasis mine]
If any of that sounds innocuous to you, you might ask yourself what happens when you dismantle those 'conceptual oppositions', AKA: 'binary oppositions', such as True and False, Right and Wrong, and Male and Female (yup)... what understanding do you suppose you'll be able to retain, once the meaning they were meant to convey has been lost?

Derrida began his project of Deconstruction by exploiting issues he found in those philosophies that Post-Modernism evolved from, with Structuralism (language has less to do with meaning, than with functioning to signify differences in objects and societal structures), Existentialism (life is absurd and meaningless), and Phenomenology (metaphysics is rejected in favor of the belief that meaning comes from how our own attention shapes perceived experiences into structures of consciousness). He used criticism of them to target Platonic metaphysics (through a Kantian lens) with the intent of challenging even the status of the idea of a pure 'substance' of reality - the 'thing in itself' that Kant said we can never truly know - being higher than the words it dimly appears to us through (again, Kant). Derrida contended that the phenomena of being is not pure, as from the moment of experience it is 'contaminated' with memory and expectation, conditioned by time - past, present, and future - to form binary oppositions spiraling away from the instant being experienced, and the words we vainly attempt to capture it with.

To the extent that Derrida's ideas actually mean anything at all, this meant that as the instant being experienced by us is being fractured by a "violence, a rending of oneself, an incision" in the moment and is contaminated by memory and expectation, that gap between being and becoming:
"...consists in the small, 'infinitesimal difference' (see Of Grammatology, p. 234) between me and an other, even between me and an other in me... a 'différance'..."
, a gap which he calls "the worst" which affects not only our understanding of the world, but of ourselves as well, as those words we repeatedly use to signify each unrepeatable event, over time, come to signify something progressively different from what we intended them to mean in the context of that moment that's been lost to us.

To Derrida this 'means' that all 'true' meaning is lost to time, and that our words are therefore meaning-less to us, but as they are all we have, then all we can and must do, is to continually 'Deconstruct' the binaries of experience and our words for it, seeking to reveal at least some shade of what has been repressed in them, in an endlessly recursive and futile effort that justice nevertheless demands we relentlessly subject our every thought and action to.

This new plan of Deconstruction hit Kant's 'Copernican Revolution' with a revolutionary spin that not only flattened its hierarchy by reducing it to a binary of "essence and appearance", but then inverted it by concluding that since our words are all that we actually experience, they are more real and important to us than the Kantian experience of reality which only distantly gives rise to them.

In applying Deconstructionism to a few of the binaries he found, Derrida revealed that:
  • in Friendship and Hospitality, as we must unconditionally share all we have with all friends and strangers even though we are unable to do so which shows how we betray our ideas even as they are betrayed by experience,
  • in Justice, as the 'gap', the 'differance`' between the word of the law and administering it in action (contaminated by memory and expectation, dontcha know), dooms any and all efforts to deliver justice to injustice and does violence to all (so we must continue to criticize and deconstruct it, not to improve matters, but because we must and will necessarily make matters ever worse ('Social Justice', anyone?),
  • and in religion, the 'differance`' caused him to equate God with Kant's 'radical evil', as described by the 'Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy' as,
    "The worst violence occurs when the other to which one is related is completely appropriated to or completely in one’s self, when an address reaches its proper destination, when it reaches only its proper destination. Reaching only its proper destination, the address will exclude more, many more, and that “many more,” at the limit, amounts to all. It is this complete exclusion or this extermination of the most – there is no limit to this violence—that makes this violence the worst violence. The worst is a relation that makes of more than one simply one, that makes, out of a division, an indivisible sovereignty. We can see again that the worst resembles the “pure actuality” of Aristotle’s Prime Mover, the One God: the sphere, or better, the globe of thought thinking itself (Rogues, p. 15)." [emphasis mine]
, and that is positively upbeat in comparison to his takes on responsibility and secrets, as is found in his 'Secrets of European responsibility'.

Are you getting the picture? Does that sound like somehting you'd recommend to others as a mental template to help them get a better understanding their lives, premises, and religion? Would you gloss over the differences between that, and reasonable thinking, as merely an issue of 'semantics'? Even the 'Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy', which overall gives a fawning analysis of Derrida and Deconstruction, says that his thinking:
"...comes to be associated with a form of writing and thinking that is illogical and imprecise..."
Ya think? Contrary to the advice JR had blithely given, Deconstruction is not intended to improve our understanding of what is real and true no, no, noOooo; instead Derrida uses the failures of modern philosophical systems to legitimize discarding what is real and true in favor of a verbal turbulence of meaninglessness. He justified that, by tracing his way back through preceding misosophers from Heidegger on back through to Descartes, as a means of "...deconstituting them...", and as "...the most daring way of making the beginnings of a step outside of philosophy...", to escape being "swallowed up in metaphysics" ('Structure, Sign, and Play' 1966).

Having done all of that, he concluded that the belief that words have meaning is an illusion, as are our ideas of right and wrong, and true and false, etc., and indeed that the relentless deconstruction of such binaries, which we must do, will take us ever further away from a better understanding of what is real and true.

Those who've followed after Derrida, have continued to operate (wherever it suits their purposes) on the assertion that since words as such are meaningless, then the only thing that is of any 'value' in the words we use, is the power found in their reactions to hearing the sound of them, and it's that power, and indeed Power in and of itself, that in practice (or praxis) is in the end all that matters (resist asking if they mean that - that's how their virus is spread).

These tools of Post-Modernist and Deconstructionist thought have been relentlessly used to strike at the heart of the West's thinking for quite some time now, and what Derrida intended them to do to that heart, was, as his translator puts it, the

"... project of critical thought whose task is to locate and "take apart" those concepts which serve as the axioms or rules for a period of thought, those concepts which command the unfolding of an entire epoch of metaphysics..."
, and that metaphysics he's aiming at taking apart - de-constructing - is what every ideal and value you have, rests upon and depends upon - Science most definitely included - and, to put it bluntly, failing to grasp that suggests that your own metaphysical foundations are already in such a state of disrepair that you are senseless to any further damage being done to them (oh hi Neil deGrasse Tyson!). And yet the likes of JR are everywhere, whether consciously or witlessly, are recommending forms of them as a means to attaining a 'better understanding' of their religion, and as ways of "critically examining ALL of one’s premises" - how do you think that will turn out?

It's high time we realize that Derrida's 'illogical and imprecise' language, and that of his compatriots, is less a result of error or ineptness, than a deliberate effort to construct tools for accomplishing a very particular kind of job: Deconstructing the Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian West.

That strategic intent was perhaps most vividly illustrated by Audre Lorde, the Marxist, black, lesbian, feminist, activist (do you feel "the exasperated etc” in that listing?), who's infamous statement has become a rallying cry of what Deconstructionism is all about:
“the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
Get it?
  • The Master's House that they want to dismantle (deconstruct) is the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian West.
  • The Masters Tools which they've realized are of no use to them - and which they want to keep out of other people's hands as well, are Reason and Logic and the culture which values them.
Whenever their activist followers and functionaries do and say seemingly senseless, illogical, and unreasonable things, from demanding the use of ridiculous pronouns, to claims of being "non-binary!", or labeling you (meaning any Westerner of any color) as a 'White Supremacist', they're not doing so because they're fools, but because those illogical and unreasonable words and actions are the most suitable tools at hand in their Post-Modernist toolbelt, for them to utilize as 'the right tools for the job' of dismantling 'The Master's House', by producing reactions of discomfort and anger in you, which deconstructs its fundamental norms from within you.

And when the tools at hand in the activist's tool-belt aren't up to handling the heavier demolition work that's often required, they'll reach into their toolbox for the 'academically respected' power-tools of Deconstructionism, Queer Theory, Intersectionality, and others, which they put to expert use - as often as not with our invaluable aid and unwitting assistance - in dismantling those fundamental ideals of Western Civilization, which our entire culture and understanding rest upon.

Consequently, when we reply - oh-so logically - with 'but I'm not racist!', or 'a boy can't menstruate!' to them, as if they had somehow made legitimate errors in an attempt to make an actual argument, we are not countering their statements in doing so, we're furthering them! By engaging directly or indirectly with such provocations, we give the impression that their 'arguments' have made a valid point to be argued with, when in fact they've only made an arbitrary (and absurd) point that isn't even up to the level of being wrong, and our engaging with them enables their statement to slide forward into our discussions as if they'd said something worthy of rational discussion, when they most definitely have not.

Not for nothing was it once commonly understood, that to keep conversatins rational and reasonable, you must be quick to:
"nip the arbitrary in the bud!"
Unless we begin to actively call a halt to the train of their jumbled words, and learn to point out where they left the track of fact and principle, their assertions will continue rolling on down the track, derailing further discussions, as people directly or indirectly engage still other people in their comments, as if they were worthy of being considered on the merits of an argument, that was never even made.

When we allow their terms and statements to slip through our conversations without having been fully stopped and utterly rejected (which is not the same as disagreeing with them), it informs them that they've been successful at de-constructing at least one more small part of 'The Master's House' which your life and peace of mind represent. The foundations of that House become progressively undermined and de-constructed by way of the arbitrary and unreasonable confusions that they're allowed to sow into people's sensibilities of what is good, beautiful, and true, by way of their 'illogical and imprecise' language, operating upon us from within our own minds.

Whatever the particular issue happens to be, and no matter what or how absurd they claim an issue to be about, we need to remember Alinsky's dictum, that:
"The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution"
, meaning that whatever the issue is that's being raised, their point in raising it is to be a tool that's useful in dismantling 'the Master's House', and furthering their revolution against the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian West.

Pardon me for repeating that - the issue is never the issue, the issue is always about furthering the revolution. When we engage with their deliberately confused and deconstructed language by arguing with their 'points', we're helping them to spread their weopanized language ever wider into our personal and societal conversations, like a virus, which is the nature of what Derrida and others consciously modeled their ideas upon: ideas which are sure to sicken all who engage with them.

The practice of being sure to doubt everything except what you believe (?!), didn't start with Derrida
What enables their arbitrary and unreasonable attacks to move forward, are a set of common assumptions that underlie the actions and priorities of people like JR, which are assumed to excuse their own stated intentions, such as his claim to be 'critically examining ALL of one’s premises', while never questioning his own. The manner of thinking behind that, goes all the way back to Rene Descartes and his 'Method of Doubt'.

That was where the advice was first given that in order to be certain of anything, we should methodically doubt everything we are certain of - not by reasonably questioning our way towards a deeper understanding of a matter, while honestly acknowledging & examining any discrepancies that might be found regarding it, but by causelessly and arbitrarily doubting everything ('relentlessly criticize all that exists!', is how Marx would re-apply it centuries later), and actively assuming everything to be false until you feel that something 'somehow' satisfies those doubts which you had no actual cause to feel in the first place.

And how do you know that these doubts have been satisfied well enough that you can now be certain of something? When you 'clearly and distinctly believe [it] to be true' - IOW what you feel no doubt about, is what you can be certain of!

That, ladies & gents, is not a method for carefully examining your own premises in order to discover what is real and true, it's a method for attacking everyone else's premises and defending what you wish was 'true'!

Not so surprisingly, the 'Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy' points out that:
"...we can get a general sense of what Derrida means with deconstruction by recalling Descartes’s First Meditation. There Descartes says that for a long time he has been making mistakes. The criticism of his former beliefs both mistaken and valid aims towards uncovering a “firm and permanent foundation.” The image of a foundation implies that the collection of his former beliefs resembles a building. In the First Meditation then, Descartes is in effect taking down this old building, “de-constructing” it. We have also seen how much Derrida is indebted to traditional transcendental philosophy which really starts here with Descartes’ search for a “firm and permanent foundation.” ..."
In light of which it's especially worth considering the effects of Descartes' doubtful approach to certainty and life, by imagining the effects that allowing habitually and arbitrarily fabricated doubts, to form the foundations of your understanding. Far from helping you to build your ideas upon a firmer foundation, you're instead planting your feet upon grounds that will be continuously shifting beneath them, in an ever present & undefined state of anxiety, caused by the attempt to standing upon it.

One way to visualize that worldview, which might bring it more clearly home, is to imagine it through the judicial context of presuming all defendants to be 'Guilty as charged... until proven innocent', versus that of presuming each person to be 'Innocent until proven guilty' - which do you suppose tends more towards constraining those in power to the pursuit of justice, and which is more likely to entices them towards imposing a tyranny they find favorable? Imagine the self-satisfaction of being a 'good' prosecutor, who can be certain of what you most want to believe, and having the power to dismiss any quibbles about what you have no doubt about, as... mere semantics.

Given that Justice at the level of society, is a reflection of the sense of justice that is understood and practiced by its people, is it really so surprising that the state of justice in our world today is as it is, when this worldview is at the root of so much of what we say and do?

It's no coincidence that Descartes is who moderns of all stripes cite as the beginning of 'modern epistemology', and though others preceded him (Occam, for instance, the father of Nominalism), it was his works more than any other that succeeded at leading popular philosophical thinking away from pre-modern Metaphysics, and instigated the undermining of the foundations of Logic, and the separation of Ethics from both. That trend began to hit critical mass with Hume's skeptical 'empiricism', followed by the German idealists' reaction to that in the late 1700s, which took form in their '4th branch of philosophy', and fully kicked into gear under the label of 'Epistemology!' in the mid 1800s. From that point on, the Pro-Regressives (Left & Right) began explicitly operating outside of, and in opposition to, a sound and integrated understanding of Metaphysics, Logic, and Ethics (which is what Epistemology must be to live up to the name coined for it).

The problem for us today is that we've become deaf to traditional metaphysics, and so we easily become lost in the echoes of Descartes, Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Marx, Dewey, while we're not even somewhat aware of how they've re-terraformed the logos out from under our feet, with most being unaware of how unsteady the mental ground that we stand upon, has become. Mistaking our shaky foundations for steady ones, leaves us tending to ignore those seemingly incomprehensible quibbles of 'social constructs' and 'mere semantics' that arise, and are too easily assumed to be of no real importance, and those assumptions leave us unable to identify, let alone burn down, what it is that sustains the Pro-Regressives strategies & tactics that are actively acting against us.

Remaining blind to those realities, means continuing to accept their illusory positions 'for the sake of argument', as if they were 'only fair' - effectively 'sowing the dragon's teeth' into the ground we're fighting over - a ground that's easily transforms into an army of strawmen who derive real power over us, through new societal norms derived from them. Rest assured, that as those doubts rise up around you, your own familiar 'binaries' (you know, True & False, innocent/guilty, Man & Woman) will be deconstructed by them, into the itty bitty pieces of logic defying narratives that post-modernists and deconstructionists glibly use, to become the new 'privileged' of our society with, and all without the need for or benefit of, having any 'useful merit'.

Should you object that their rules 'make no sense!', you'll soon see firsthand what the very real-world consequences of modern epistemology are. The responses you'll receive to any objection you might make to them, are sure to make Kant seem like a model of brevity and succinctness, and unless you strike them like a Gen. Sherman, rather than Gen. McClellan (or even Gen. Grant), they'll verbally pin you to the mental ground in the blink of an I, as surely as if they were Andre the Giant, rather than as the illusory wisp of nothingness that they actually are.

We need to become aware that the disintegration of our understanding, is what each and every instance of deconstructionist & post-modernist thinking is aimed at.

Those like JR who assume being 'smart' is even more valuable than knowing what they presume to talk about, see themselves as being the empirical voices of 'reason!' and 'science!', and do so precisely because their unconscious epistemology is derived from the modern claims that we cannot know what is real and true. They're also especially quick to take a dim view of those ideas and concepts that can't be reduced to measurable quantities (oh hi again Neil deGrasse Tyson!) of this or that accepted fact. Such nominalistic 'STEM' centric thinking, which is self-limited to having no more depth than an instruction manual, mistakes the machine-like logic of spreadsheets & flowcharts, for the due consideration and reflection required for honest Science and Reasoning, and lead to views that readily lend themselves to virtue signaling, and calling people to doubt any 'non-scientific' certainties that hinder the advancement of one utilitarian effort after another 'for the greater good!', epistemologically blinded as they are, to the fact that they are steadily distancing themselves ever further from being able to understand what is real and true.

Never forget that the Pro-Regressive's real focus is not on the issue that they've succeeded at getting you to fight them over, but on winning the war - "The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution"!

As such our Culture Wars cannot be won with tactics that are focused on engaging (enabling) and besting the Pro-Regressive on the grounds of whichever issue they've lured you into being outraged over once again, or by relying upon definitions - or redefinitions ('racist' for instance) - instead of insisting upon arguments that are epistemologically sound (adhering to metaphysics (what is), logic (does it follow), and ethics (what, if anything, should be done about it)), and every moment of pretended legitimacy that they gain by your battling them on the ground they prepared for that purpose, cedes that much more of your ground into their control.

If we want to stop losing ground, we've got to stop using the strategies & tactics which they've prepared that ground with so as to benefit them, in every battle waged against you upon it. The consequences of brushing their philosophical strategies and tactics off as 'simply' semantics, borders on a criminal level of intellectual negligence.

Look through Gen. Sherman's eyes: Identify & locate their 'intellectual homeland' and burn it to the ground
So that was what I'd despaired over a few months back. What brightened my outlook, OTOH, were a few choice media moments which showed that some are refusing to be suckered into the same old verbal battles of attrition that the Pro-Regressive confederacy wants and needs us to fight on, and did so in a very Gen. Shermanesque manner, that showed that we might actually have a chance of escaping from the long line of unlearned lessons of history that we need to stop repeating. If we do, the rickety foundation of lies that their whole pseudo-reality is built upon, will come tumbling down in flaming ruins.

The first thing they didn't do, was step into the Utilitarian and 'Pragmatic' pattern of 'being practical' which conservatives have been mistaking for 'common sense' for well over a century. Although such actions have the shallow appearance of practicality, what it actually entails is the rejection of thinking in principles, in favor of a narrow focus on the details of the moment, which necessarily rejects anything worth conserving. Semantic Deception at its 'finest'.

An excellent example from the recent past of how this works, was the question that lured conservatives into being chewed up and spat out in their opposition to 'Obamacare', with:
'30% of Americans are not covered by healthcare, what about them!'
, and the moment the conservative considered the question and offered up a 'more reasonable' percentage or policy detail, they'd unwittingly abandoned their own principled ground of individual rights and private property, which legitimized the activist's position and effectively lost the fight without saying a single 'intolerant' word. That proven strategy of defeat has led conservatives to lose one battle after another in every conservative effort of the last century, and has brought us to the point where entire states are now outlawing parents from preventing the 'educational/medical complex' from chemically mangling & surgically butchering their children's bodies, in the totalitarian name of tolerance.

The truth is that there is no compromising between principles, only the abandonment of them. That's not a knock against compromise, but against habitually using the pretense of compromise, as a cover for abandoning your principles. Compromise, when mutually struck within a larger principle, can be reasonable and even admirable. It is, for instance, very reasonable to compromise over price and terms for what someone has the right to sell to you - that is seeking a principled compromise by finding common ground. But dickering over price & terms of stolen property, is digging your own grave beneath the common ground which the more ruthless villain will soon be walking over.

We've become so conditioned to 'pragmatic' thinking, that we rarely even think to turn to first principles when facing a problem, and those that do, are too easily led to undermine them afterwards with pragmatic concerns over what's 'practical'.

What enables error and falsehood to appear to be 'common sense' is modern epistemology, which begins in the assertion that you cannot know what is real and true, and therefore we must settle for what others accept it to be. Even if you didn't realize that to be the case, nearly everyone you listen to and look to for advice, abides by that presumption, and if we don't soon recognize that for what it is, it will fully consume us. Truly, our Culture War is 'not against flesh and blood', but against principalities and powers, and any battle of ideas that doesn't insist upon starting with what is real and true, is begun in failure and can only continue to fail, as it has from the start of the 20th Century, on down to today.

It was with that almost unbroken pattern of failure in mind, that I was startled to see not one, or two, but three examples of, if not exactly the Gen. Sherman strategy I've had in mind, at least the spirt of it in action. And surprisingly - or not - they came from the 'fight world', two from the mixed-martial arts world with UFC fighter Shane Strickland, and a follow-up smackdown from UFC owner Dana White, and 1 1/2 from the political arena of Argentina's new president, Javier Milei. Milei's solid first strike knocked my socks off with his rebuke to a reporter who wanted to 'engage him' in a discussion about Leftist policies, which he delivered in a direct and fiery style that cut the 'engagement' off before it could begin :
"...You can’t give leftist pieces of shit even a millimeter because if you give them a millimeter they will use it to destroy you..."
, that refusal to treat the socialist/communist Left with any respect at all, while pointedly identifying their anti-human agenda, was the style he used to win the Presidency of Argentina (the 1/2 point coming from his confrontational, but polite, speech to the WEF).

And then came the press conference for Sean Strickland's fight. He refused to treat a reporter's 'trans' question as being worth answering, and instead went straight to the heart of the matter that the reporter was attempting to advance by baiting Strickland about his 'insensitivity'. Strickland knocked his question aside and then beat him down with the ridiculousness of it, showing the reporter to be the worthless and opportunistic ideological poser he was:
"...people like you have weasled your way in the world you are you are an infection you are the definition of weakness everything that is wrong with the world..."
Later, the same (I assume?) reporter tried to engage Dana White in an apology for Strickland's 'insensitive' speech. White did not answer that, but instead went straight to the heart of the presumptions behind asking such a question of an MMA fighter, and batting aside the attempted 'followup' question that implied that White gave too long of 'a leash' to his fighters, White called his presumption out into the open and burned him down to the ground for the anti-free-speech thug he was:
...“I don’t give anyone a leash,” White said. “A leash? Free speech. Control what people say? You’re going to tell people what to believe? I don’t f*cking tell any other human being what to say, what to think. There are no leashes on anyone. It’s ridiculous to say that I give somebody a leash. Free speech, brother. People can say whatever they want and believe whatever they want.

“We had two gay women who fought in the co-main event. They sat on the stage with Sean Strickland (at the press conference). They could give a sh*t what Sean Strickland says or what his beliefs are or what his opinions are...”
I've no doubt that I'd disagree with all three of these people on mucho-many issues, and much as I'd personally prefer straight talk without the F'bombs of Milei & White, to say nothing of the veritable carpet bombing of F'Bombs that Strickland does the job with... I'm happy to enjoy the win they achieved with them. If your ears aren't too tender, each exchange is well worth listening to, as they give an excellent demonstration of how to refuse being distracted into fighting on the Pro-Regressive's tactics of 'factual' attrition, while driving straight past their defenses to expose and fire-bomb their unstated assumptions, and so easily seizes a victory that sends their opponent to an embarrassing defeat.

While neither of these instances went as far as going for the epistemological root of the matter, they each struck low enough to the ground-level of their opponent's ideological positions, to identify and expose the pretended 'principles' within the questions being asked of them - which they identified and mocked, rather than swallowing and groveling before them. In each of these instances, the person being targeted by the interviewer pointedly refused the usual invitation to get bogged down in fighting a pointless battle on the pragmatic 'factual' grounds that'd been prepared for them to be defeated upon, and by doing so they successfully exposed their questioner's agenda and burned it to the ground! If that approach were to become anything of a norm, it would knock the pro-regressive Left & Right back on their heels, and they'd have to withdraw from the public ring for at least a while. Maybe even for years.

But. Without formally burning their epistemology to the ground, the Pro-Regressives would eventually be able to return, and I'd much prefer that they be utterly destroyed for both now, and for the foreseeable future.

Study these fighter's moves: notice how they look past the opponent's tactics to identify their motive 'principle' (which they hope to disarm you with) and burn that to the ground. Learn to see the latest outrage being waved in our faces as the latest pragmatic tool of anti-principled thinking that it is, identify its motive power that traces its roots down to modern Epistemology itself, and burn their entire intellectual plantation to the ground.

Imagine if a Ricky Gervais style of roasting Hollywood celebrities were to become the norm that the post-modernist & deconstructionist Woke-folk had to look forward to in their everyday conversations and public interviews! If it became the norm to identify the noxious ideological roots of every ridiculous proposal they throw at us, to be publicly exposed, mocked, and brushed aside, we'd be well on our way to taking back the grounds that've become the dark-heartland of Modernity during their 'long march through the institutions', and to putting an end to the Culture War as swiftly as Gen. Sherman's march to the sea had.

But doing so will absolutely require us to practice an epistemology of metaphysics (what is), logic (does it follow), and ethics (what, if anything, should be done about it), to burn out the sustenance of modern misosophy, burning it out at its roots and salting that ground, to finally bring this war against the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian West to an end.

And then of course there's the fact that Gen. Sherman had an army to direct and execute his strategy - we don't - and we can't wait for such 'leaders' to come along and give us our marching orders.

SoOooo... what do we do?

What we have to do, is to become an army of Gen. Sherman's ourselves, with each of us having an understanding of the strategy to be practiced, and each willingly taking the lead ourselves, in our own corner of the war. Recruit your fellows to understand and take on Gen. Sherman's role themselves; each of us, one at a time, giving no more time to their skirmishes than is needed to march on and burn their epistemology to the ground, by understanding and exposing what it really is, we can deprive them of the ability to sustain themselves upon our lack of attention, which is what they always relied upon and expected from us.

It's true, there's no glory in learning to fight against our modern Pro-Regressive's epistemology, but it's the only path to defeating those who absolutely depend upon you accepting their positions as solid or respectable ground. And just as there seemed to be no glory in battling against crops and burning down plantations, learning to do so is the only thing that will save those like JR who blindly assume that they are fighting the 'good fight' and championing what is 'real and true', when in fact their actions are undermining everyone's ability to live a life worth living, in our still very real world. The culture wars won't end on our terms unless we begin cutting their legs out from underneath them, and doing so requires our exposing and destroying the epistemology which their every action is rooted in and dependent upon - that is what it will take to burn the modern Pro-Regressive (Left & Right) homeland to the ground.

With that in mind, what I've laid out in the previous posts, is the ground we need to map and hold as our home ground. What I'm going to turn to in the coming posts, is identifying and exposing the source of what enables the enemy's figments and lies to appear solid and formidable, both with what it draws from, and how it shapes them into an appearance of substance, which it can only do with our blind acceptance and participation. That should bring to mind once again, Solzhenitsyn's powerful and fundamental point:
Live not by lies, and don't participate in their spread.
Hold to that, and victory is inevitable.

Monday, January 01, 2024

Have a Questionably Happy New Year!

While I still have zero interest in making New Year's Resolutions, if you're one of the 67 percent of men, and 25 percent of women who'd rather give themselves painful electric shocks, than spend an uninterrupted 15 minutes of being alone with their own thoughts, without any distraction at all, I think you should not only resolve to fix that, but make sure that resolution isn't one of the 81% - 92 % of New Year's Resolutions that fail.

To help with that, I'll again suggest that you begin the novel notion of getting comfortable with your own thoughts, by, wait for it: Thinking upon things worth thinking about, beginning with some old questions, newly asked. Not only will these resolutions not tie you to any membership fees if you fail to answer them, if you get in the habit of just asking them, you might also get to the point of preferring your own company, to that of a painful electric shock!

Start off with some basics:
"...Western Civilization didn't catch on because of its answers... those are still being argued about more than 3,000 years on... but because of its questions, and its method of comparing your answers to reality, and pursuing the questions which those answers lead to. Questions such as:
  • What is real and how do we know it?
  • What is Good? Why should we care?
  • How can we recognize what is not Good?
  • What is a Good life?
  • What is Happiness?
  • Should what is Right and Wrong, guide our actions?
  • What is Beauty?...What is Truth?...What is Justice?
  • What does it benefit a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?
Ask the right questions, and your listeners [even if that listener is you] will question their own answers, and reality will do the rest...."
Most of all, question what you assume to be true.

There is of course also another very practical, and very important reason, to get comfortable with asking yourself these questions, and for questioning what answers you might first come to, and that is that they are consequential to your life, and to the future of this nation in the year 2024, and for the coming decade of the 20's. The immediate impact of considering such questions is in fact very likely to be far more compelling to our new present, than when I first suggested asking yourself them eight years ago:
"...As the old year slips out and the New Year opens up, it's a particularly good time to ask questions that have to do with what is timeless... lest auld acquaintance with them should be forgot. And while it might not seem so, on the surface, these questions we've been asking most definitely involve issues that are timeless - see if you can see how. For instance: Where do you think you fit in, in today's world, are you Pro-Progress, or Pro-Regress? Are you for the Rule of Law, or the Rule of Rules? Are the 'Big Ideas' of Western Civilization something you think much about, or do you mostly shrug them off and just kinda make a snap judgment on various news stories that happen to flit into your view, now and then... and then forget about 'em? Or are you one of the many of us who don't see the point of considering such questions at all, especially not in the midst of the current events raging around us today - ''I'm not getting sucked into THAT mess!'? I hate to cast a pall upon the coming New Year, but I have a sad suspicion that what most people think doesn't matter, isn't going to matter much longer.

Can anyone really think that the precious snowflakes on our college campuses, or the SJW (Social Justice Warriors) brigades in our streets who are openly advocating to eliminate the Freedom of Speech, or 'unbiased' newscasters talking openly of how those they violently disagree with are 'enemies of the state', can anyone really think that these types are going to be tolerant towards those who say 'Oh, I don't pay attention to that stuff' for much longer? How much longer? And when that vocal 'majority' refuses to allow others the choice to either disagree or evade deciding, what do you suppose is going to be the reaction of those who do disagree with them, and what options will they have to do so?

Will the one side have any option left open to them, but to take the other side at their own words, as being their enemies?

No, the time is coming where all will have to decide, one way or the other, where they stand on these issues, because they are what is driving our current events, and your place within them, and brushing them off cannot remain an option much longer. Each person is going to have to choose what they support, and what they will reject. But for those who haven't been paying attention, those - Left, Right, Libertarian and the target rich Moderate center - who've been coasting along on the strength of their snap judgments on this and that - what are they going to base those decisions upon?..."
Again, don't worry so much about whether the answers that come to your mind are correct, just focus on questioning them. Even questioning just one or two of those questions, is likely to carry you through at least fifteen minutes of time. And at the very least, the results are likely to be less shocking than being left alone with nothing to distract you from them.

And remember, as the 'studies show' showed,
"Try to notice: Right before you reach for the habit you want to break, do you experience an uncomfortable feeling that you are trying to distract yourself from?

You won’t break a habit if you are not comfortable with being uncomfortable...."
Break the habit. Prefer the company of your thoughts for fifteen undistracted minutes, to getting an electric shock, for after all, the new year, not to mention the new decade, is going to be very much longer than 15 minutes!

Happy New Year! ... and remember...