In modern usage, the terms sophism and sophistry are used interchangeably with “inaccurate” or “deliberately misleading.” A sophist is someone who relies upon fallacious arguments or reasoning to win a debate. Someone can be accused of sophistry because they are too stupid to see the flaws in their reasoning. Other times they are accused of deliberately misleading arguments. The motivation is malice rather than stupidity or carelessness.
This negative view of sophistry was not always so. We get the word from the Greeks who used the word to mean teacher. A sophist hired himself out to rich families to instruct their sons in philosophy, math, rhetoric and music. The ability to debate in public was an important skill for an ambitious Athenian, so educating your children to be convincing orators was a primary goal of rich parents. A good sophist was one who was good at making convincing arguments.
Our negative view of this also comes from the Greeks. The reason we know about Socrates is we have the writings of Plato, who tells us Socrates was opposed to sophistry in his day. He thought arguments had to be logically sound and factually accurate, rather than just convincing. Of course, Socrates was forced to drink poison by the Athenians, because he was condemned for undermining public virtue. It turns out that the truth does not always set you free.
The reason any of this matters is that in democratic societies, there is a tension between these same two claims. On the one hand, winning the crowd is vital to democratic politics and the marketplace. This was true in ancient Athens and it is true on social media today. On the other hand, we are a society that believes deliberate deception is wrong, so factual accuracy is important. Winning the crowd through deceptive means is viewed as immoral.
This tension has been at the heart of mainstream conservative politics. One camp, the Straussians, think that winning the argument, which in politics means winning elections, is all that matters. The alternative camp insists that being right is what matters, even if it is not always popular. The former camp is correct that the goal of politics in a democratic system is to win elections, but the other side is also right that winning elections means nothing if the result is bad policy.
This conflict is at the heart of this back and forth between Michael Anton and Paul Gottfried over natural rights and traditionalism. Anton is a Straussian so he is therefore unencumbered by logic and factual accuracy. He simply wants to convince people that a society rooted in natural rights is the only choice, if America is going to hold together for much longer. Gottfried and others point out that natural rights do no exist and therefore they cannot be a foundation for anything.
What you see in the back and forth is that Gottfried in his short responses is describing things with as much accuracy as possible. He makes a descriptive claim, while Anton, in his lengthy responses, makes prescriptive claims. One side describes things as they are, while the other side argues for how they should be. Anton believes he is in the right because his proposition would solve the problem of governing a majority-minority society, while Gottfried is right because he is factually correct.
This conflict between the descriptive and the prescriptive is turning up in the dissident critique of the conservative movement. Conservatives argue that they are upholding the constitution and the natural rights tradition in America. Dissidents point out that no matter how elegant the arguments are in favor of conservatism and its natural rights foundation, the results, to this point, have been disastrous. In other words, the facts contradict the claims, no matter their intent.
The shadow over all of this, of course, is the purging of the paleocons from conservatism by the neocons and their Straussian enablers. Free from facts and reason, the winners in that struggle were able to conjure the history they needed to support their prescriptive claims, which solved a problem for conservatives. Like a python, they swallowed the Civil Rights Movement whole and digested it into their theories of the founding and their natural rights arguments.
That bit of history is what hangs over the back and forth between Gottfried and Anton and it is what hangs over the dissident critique of conservatism. The neocons and their Straussian enablers won the argument, but to what end? What was the point of winning the argument if the result was the present catastrophe? Anton would like to reframe this as the old neocon versus paleocon dispute, but no amount of words can conceal the elephant in the room. His side won the battle and lost the war.
In the end, this is the lesson of sophistry. It can only flourish in a culture that sees winning the argument as an end in itself. This is the curse of democracy, which brought down ancient Athens and is bringing down the New Athens. The truth is like a corpse in that it can never be truly concealed. The sophists think they can weigh the truth down with words, but like the body bobbing to the surface after the spring thaw, the truth eventually reemerges into the life of a society.
That truth in the current crisis is that the clever arguments and complex logical constructs of the last half century contained no truth value. The sophist of our age profited greatly from their arguments, but the result is the ungovernable mess that is modern America. Like Havel’s green grocer, we must now live in the truth which means shedding the sophistry that has led us to the present catastrophe. The truth may not set us free, but it will keep us from being erased from the book of life.
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“When I hear the word ‘ideology,’ I release the safety on my Browning!”
Socrates believed death would set him free as immortal soul to rise to heavenly bliss, He wasn’t forced to drink hemlock, he followed the law voluntarily when he could have chosen self imposed exile.
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The salient fact missing from the argument between Straussians and their as yet unnamed opposite numbers is that Western society was once premised on a Biblical foundation. As such, it could and did successfully contain anyone who shared that Biblical foundation, even though the people groups within the larger social milieu had vastly different views on many vital topics, including how best to arrange and govern themselves. Once the Biblical underpinning was removed, everything that had been built on top of it began to crumble, leading us to the present moment in which we are debating what to do next. The enemies of our society, who are best described as totalitarian Marxists have no problem hewing to their foundational document, viz., Das Kapital, which forms the basis of all their actions. That explains why they are successful in advancing their cause and we, i.e,, the formerly “Christian” West are so lacking in our defense.
Excellently thought-provoking as usual.
My contribution: Truth is what works to your advantage. Given that logical bind, I’m not sure the accusation of sophistry is really of any help to the case in hand, because nobody is free of it (and religion, which I advocate for everyone except me, is the apotheosis of sophistry).
The current problem concerns the cult of compassion. Compassion is now driving the west and co-opts morality on its side and therefore is (currently) unarguable. What we need are arguments why compassion is inappropriate as an overarching precept of social organisation. This is easy: opposites must be allowed to oppose. That’s a fundamental natural principle to achieve balance. People have started to forget what Nature has always known.
I’m not trying to abolish compassion – we need it – but we also need hard-headedness because the two have to keep each other in check. We need somebody with sufficient intellect and charisma to get the message of ‘necessary balance’ into the mainstream. I think this is really the last word on the subject and if we can’t do that then we’ve lost.
We need lies as there is no way for us to live together in harmony without them. We perpetually move from one to another until we settle on one that seems best to the lie adjudicators.
But! Not all lies are equal. We have noble lies and evil lies. Santa Clause, Sky Gods, All Men are Created Equal, Natural Rights, 2 + 2 = 5, Gender Monomorphism, White People are Evil, astrology, the Pope is in regular contact with God…the supply is inexhaustible.
So it’s just a matter of which set of lies to chose to live by next. That that Hope & Change guy who was our savior, was a whopper, if only for a brief time.
Great essay. I will confess I don’t grasp all of the detailed arguments over the concept of natural rights although I grasp enough to know that
“ rights” is not a thing I can point to like my home or my car and say it’s mine, I have the title that means something.
Natural rights to me lies in the realm of lawyers and legalities that unfortunately appear in the modern world as very unstable and fungible to mean whatever the purple haired lawyer wants them to mean.
We must find our way back to reality and the real world.
That’s the point I get from the Z mans argument
We can grasp reality.
Let’s start there.
I am reminded of what the Spanish Felangist Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera said about “talking” and “dialogue”;
“I believe in the dialectic of fists and pistols.” He eventually was caught in a “Republican” (i.e. communist) sector in Spain and murdered like a dog.
It seems like there are three possible outcomes for today’s America:
1) the commies win, and crush us.
2) the Right stops talking and “destroying” people in debates and instead takes up the “dialectic of fists and pistols”
3) the Lord God breaks through into our world and changes the hearts of men.
I am a Christian, with kids of my own who just want to live and have their chance at the brass ring. So obviously, I am praying for option 3. Choosing option 2 makes me a criminal, and clouds my conscience and makes it impossible to pray. But if I do nothing then option 1 will most certainly happen.
This Christmas I have found my own emotions to be very brittle, and it’s a strange sensation to KNOW that 2023 will be worse than 2022. I’m 57 years old and I’ve never felt this way before. It’s awful.
Strike Three. I’m with that guy. Keep praying Striker. It’s only in baseball that 3 strikes and you’re out.
“ rights” is not a thing I can point to like my home or my car and say it’s mine, I have the title that means something.
Funny you should say that – because the car or home “title” means only what the purple haired judge says it means, too. At any moment, on the whim of the state, it can be taken from you.
The concept of “rights” has been abused to the point of being meaningless. Anything which can be taken away from you is not a right, it is a privilege. Even the so-called “right to life” is a false argument as everyone will die. Personal property, constitutional rights, in fact, virtually everything which we think we have a right to is not really a right at all, but just something which we have at the moment.
There are really only a few things which can be called rights (natural or not does not enter the equation) and are timeless and guaranteed. Following are two examples. There may be more.
1. We have the right to choose between good and evil. This has been the principle from the very beginning and we see it in the narrative of the Garden of Eden. This is a God-given freedom which cannot be rescinded. No one will ever be able to say they were restrained or prohibited from making a choice on this issue. It is an absolute right.
2. We have the right, always, to choose how we respond to any given situation we find ourselves in. This was laid out in Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning. No matter what happens to us, we have the absolute power to determine our own attitude, mentally and/or spiritually, whether for good or ill.
Of course, this is purely theoretical and it says nothing about our relationships with other human beings or with God, for that matter, but it does serve the purpose of understanding that we truly can call very little our own.
Southwest has ceased to be an airline, as they can no longer operate; 70% of flight canceled today, same tomorrow expected. TVA cannot provide power during Winter. To me, this shows why there will not be a police state in AINO; the people in charge are lunatics and are dismantling everything that would allow them to manage such a country. I think these episodes are apropo of this post’s topic, as it demonstrates how TPTB believe they can control reality through magic words. If they decide all vehicles will be electric, then there is no need to allow fossil fueled vehicles. Really, it wouldn’t take many people to completely disable the regime’s ability to communicate with the outside world.
The infinite digital control grid they dream about requires infinite electricity, which their green power grid won’t come close to producing.
china’s will though.
either that or it’s the beginning of a depopulation agenda by the WEF/CCP . makes more sense than believing they really believe what they are saying . https://www.theburningplatform.com/2022/12/27/world-economic-forum-cancels-twitter-directs-followers-to-chinese-social-media-apps/
The WEF is a weapon of the CCP . just like the WHO , only much more powerful.
Excellent retort to Anton’s attack manifesto (that man has entirely too much time on his hands). The fact is. when the founders spoke of rights they were speaking of their traditional rights as “free Englishmen.” In the years leading to the Revolution, they argued their conflict with the king was in defense of the “ancient constitutions.” Anton, who is clearly rooted in the left, seems to think these arguments were made in defense of a grand set of universal rights. No, they weren’t. As they clearly said, their arguments were based on the defense of their English traditions. They were making a cultural argument. They viewed “natural rights” as the rights of free Englishmen. That is the reason they excluded blacks, Indians, women to a certain degree, etc… Event Jefferson stated that his “all men are created equal” thing was a “throw away line…a bit of rhetorical flourish.” The last paragraph of the Declaration was what mattered, not the second. The Straussians, most of whom are the descendants of new immigrants (Strauss himself was a German Jew), seem to be bothered by this and feel the need to turn those cultural arguments into grand metaphysical universalisms so as to “write themselves” into American history. It would seem easier to just embrace the culture, but that simply isn’t part of Straussian philosophy which rejects organic culture–people and place. Anyway, nice job…and nice self control. Anton is annoying.
I’m not old but I’m older than Anton, so “the rights of Englishmen” is a grand cliché I remember. Strauss knew it too, and he knew what it meant to forget it.
Funny when you think about it….Strauss, Jaffa, the Frankfurt School loons, Emma Lazarus, Israel Zangwill, Irving Kristol (and little Billy), Marx, Bloom, etc…. What do all of these strange people who have collectively ruined the American republic have in common? Hmmmm
It was said (pejoratively) of Gorgias that he was so gifted in argument that he could take either side of a controversy, and win.
Personally, I’m not a fan of rhetorical flourish: I prefer the old phrase from Lucian (“How to Write History”, 41)
Call figs figs, and a tub a tub.
And I have a strong bias for Bias’ famous apophthegm:
That’s usually translated as ‘Most people are wicked’, but I prefer “Most people are shit”.
Bias – being a Sage and all – was careful in his use of the word κακοί: it has a range of acceptable translations.
I note that it has the same etymological root as κᾰκκᾰ́ω – shit – and anywhere you see ‘κακο’ as a prefix, it can be replaced with ‘shit-‘ without loss of meaning. (κακοήθης = shit character; κακούργημα = shit deed; κακόφωνος = shit noise; κακόθυμος = shit-spirited; περικάκησις = extremely shit luck…)
And of course in the modern political context: κάκιστος = the most-shitty … as in ‘kakistocracy’: rule by the most-shitty.
“I am not so sure philosophy has much to offer here. The place to start is that our senses evolved to give us either a greater understanding of reality or they evolved to improve our fitness. The latter is the correct answer, but then the question is, does a more accurate conception of reality improve our fitness?”
I’d suggest that the answer to that question is yes: that evolutionary fitness is so inextricably dependent on having an accurate knowledge of the environment, that *the two are actually referring to the same thing*
But let’s start by imagining two seemingly-separate categories; two different ways of conceptualizing the functioning of our sensory capabilities:
1 Sensory capabilities which enabled a more accurate understanding of reality; that is, which helped us to better grasp the true nature of the environment we were operating in, as it related to us;
2 Sensory capabilities which improved our evolutionary fitness.
‘Fitness’ in the evolutionary sense is defined in terms of adaptation and survival: we can be said to ‘fit’ an environment when we have adapted to it sufficiently that we are able to survive long enough to produce offspring which themselves survive to reproductive age.
(Simply attracting a mate and having a lot of kids isn’t enough; only those kids who survive long enough to have kids of their own, can be said to have improved our evolutionary fitness.)
Pondering these questions of how knowledge and evolutionary fitness are related, it immediately becomes clear that there are several sorts of knowledge which had to have improved our evolutionary fitness:
knowledge which kept us from being killed;
knowledge which made us more healthy, and thus better able to survive;
knowledge which made us more attractive to the opposite sex;
and knowledge which improved our offspring’s chances of survival.
‘Knowledge which kept us from being killed’ would certainly include accurate knowledge about our environment:
What times of the day the sabertooth tiger is likely to appear at the waterhole, for example.
‘Knowledge which made us more healthy’— such as knowing the difference between plants that nourished us and plants that poisoned us— also depends on having an accurate knowledge of our environment.
‘Knowledge that made us more attractive to the opposite sex’ also falls into the category of having accurate knowledge of our environment; in this case, knowledge about the preferences of the females we were likely to run into.
‘Knowledge which improved our offspring’s chances of survival’ would also fall into the category of accurate knowledge about the dangers present in our environment.
From these examples, it also becomes clear that there is plenty of knowledge about the environment which *wouldn’t* have helped our human ancestors. Knowing the specific chemical compounds which rendered the poisonous plant poisonous, for example, wouldn’t have increased their chances of survival once they knew not to eat it.
> So clearly, our senses didn’t evolve to give us a greater grasp of reality in general. Rather, they evolved to give us a greater grasp of *those aspects of reality which impacted our chances of survival*
So while it’s not the case that all knowledge is evolutionarily beneficial, it seems irrefutable that ‘fitness’ and ‘relevant knowledge of the environment’ are two sides of the same coin.
Fitness in the evolutionary sense means adaptability; and adaptability to any particular environment necessarily includes having an accurate knowledge of that environment: of which aspects of the environment are likely to harm us, and which are likely to help us to survive.
So it seems reasonable to conclude that— like all of our traits— our senses evolved in the direction they did, because that direction enabled a greater degree of fitness; that is, a increased ability to adapt to that particular environment.
And that increased ability to adapt to the environment, was itself dependent on our ability to develop an accurate understanding of the nature of that environment.
>>> So when you get down to it, they’re the same thing, you can’t have one without the other:
*evolving to improve our fitness* and
*evolving to give us a greater understanding of reality*
are just two ways of describing the exact same process:
In which our sensory capabilities evolved towards ever-greater fitness, by adapting to the particular environment we found ourselves in;
an adaptation which mainly consisted of developing a more accurate understanding of that particular environment.
I’m comfortable with the notion that the evolutionary ‘sweet spot’ for our senses, was that level of congruence with reality that resulted in a slight bias to over-reaction.
Accurate sensors are evolutionarily expensive, and ostly to run. We spend a lot of calories running our brains as it is, so adding hyper-realistic sensors isn’t a good idea. (That’s why our eyesight has such a small area that works in very-high-res; the rest is basically infill).
It’s the old “is that rustling in the bushes a tiger?” thing. The strategy that maximises survival is not the strategy that maximises finding out the ground truth.
Yeah; apparently our brains are biased towards interpreting ambiguous sensory data as possible threats.
Which makes sense: you’ve lost very little if that snake you thought you saw turns out to be a stick; whereas you stand up to lose a lot more, if what you perceive as a stick turns out to be a snake.
So having our perceptual apparatus biased towards perceiving threats, enhances our chances of survival.
I was listening to a podcaster the other day— I forget who— who pointed out that our amygdala is constantly reacting to possible threats; while the job of our cerebral cortex is to take a second look, and calm the amygdala down in the majority of instances where there turns out to be no threat.
Just be sure that noise behind the bush isn’t Covid. Quickly now: wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from the bush and be safe.
I agree with the arguments, but believe that there are gender differences. It is mainly men who have had to deal effectively with reality.
Women, on the other hand, have been in a state of vulnerability for most of their lives throughout human history, whether through pregnancy or a large flock of children to care for.
Their strategy has had to be to get the male gender to cooperate.
In one way, this was achieved by the unique characteristic in the animal world that men are constantly horny.
In another way, however, women possess, in my opinion, the ability of societal cartel formation. Through a propensity for in-group preference, an increased suggestibility and hypnotizability (usually called hysteria), women are capable of forming spontaneous group identities with which they can counterbalance men’s greater capacity for effectiveness and competitiveness.
At this point, at the latest, a sense of reality plays a subordinate role for women….
“Mulier taceat in ecclesia”
Which is why in past times once a village or community included females, they agitated for a church and a school and a doctor. Think “Paint Your Wagon”..
I’m a simple guy, so I won’t try to trade intellectual blows with the likes of Z-Man, Anton or Gottfried.
To me, there is such a thing as natural rights, but, by natural, I mean natural to a certain people – and, by people, I mean a group connected by biology, culture and history – at a certain time in that people. In this, I am in disagreement with Anton. His assertion is that a particular set of natural rights are natural to everyone at every time, ironically, denies, well, nature.
Kipling said it best:
The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk–
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.
The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wanted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.
The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control–
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.
The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.
This was my father’s belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf–
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.
Amen and Amen. If you were to say “you’ll shoot your eye out” to a Somali immigrant, he will have no idea to what you refer. If you try to pay full retail price in a produce market in Tijuana, you will be thought a fool, because “They” all know what you do not.
I think this is related, from elsewhere:
” Another thing had changed along the way: the Democratic Party became dominated by activist women, who exhibited two outstanding behavioral tendencies: they tended to make decisions on the basis of emotion… their feelings about this-and-that; and they were much more ruthless in political battle than men — their emotions eclipsed age-old principles, such as the ideas of fair play. In short, they resorted almost automatically to dirty fighting.
That is probably at the heart of what is most confounding and vexing about the great political division in America these days. We are under a vile spell of pervasive dirty fighting. Dirty fighters have no respect for reality or for principle; they do whatever they can do to win the fight. Bad faith is the order of the day.”
Jim Kunstler. Sui generis.
Excellent essay Z-Man. This is your best ever articulation of this point that I have seen.
It isn’t just women who have engaged in bad faith politics. It is the, “communities of color”, that have done the same thing. In fact they have manipulated those dominated by feminine traits to play power politics. After 65 years one must conclude, in fact every day the statements from those, “communities”, directly say, that they don’t identify as Americans and aren’t interested in equality under the law …
This article is spot on. What matters now, is that those who emerge in the body politic, must wield the sword and shoot the arrows of truth.
“Like Havel’s green grocer, we must now live in the truth which means shedding the sophistry that has led us to the present catastrophe. The truth may not set us free, but it will keep us from being erased from the book of life.” Brilliant!
To understand what natural rights might be we need only to observe each particular peoples in their singular environment over centuries. The rights that nature provides, though whatever means, are quite different, and exactly in proportion to their nature. That is why America is no longer sustainable as a proposition county.
Do any people other than those stemming from Europe or England talk about rights at all?
They do in the sense that they confuse rights with entitlements. Were the issue that some of our people were confused over the benefits of negative rights vs. the detriments of positive rights it would be difficult enough to preserve the nation. That is the entire body of discussion of the Constitutional framers and the ratification debate.
Ultimately, they decided that a singular, culturally and ethnically homogenous people with a morality suitable for self governance was the pillar they would erect the civilization upon.
It is bad enough that was doomed to fail. Now you have a multitude of many ethnos and cultures screaming for entitlements in the name of rights, and using race and victimization to legitimize dispossession of the one ethnos and culture playing by the rules of the founding order. It is accelerating quickly past Dispossession Parkland and rapidly approaching Genocidal Slip and Slide.
Man, the bit about forfeiting the Civil Rights battle in the name of Lincoln and MLK as the second founders committed to America’s founding principles was incredibly insightful. They got thoroughly routed.
The only non-Europeans I feel enough alike to talk seriously with are Japanese. And I happen to know a bunch of them. They’re very but not truly like us. Old men believe in Enlightenment/analogous stuff, like our normie-cons, and younger people don’t understand it at all. They think America is grotesque but somehow metaphysically “ahead” of them—that we are their future, no matter what they’d prefer. To me this is very weird, because I’m a GenX guy so I’ll always imagine the future as ’80s Japan. Young Japan imagines the future as Pride Month without end.
“Young Japan imagines the future as Pride Month without end.”
I agree with young Japan. Except the “without end” part, which in America is when the dollar falls, the grid collapses and the hard men rise.
“Anton is a Straussian so he is therefore unencumbered by logic and factual accuracy.”
I think that’s a non-sequitur and an ad hominem attack. Anton’s attack on Z may very well not be a proper application of Strauss’s teaching (his mention of Locke and Hobbes in the same breath betrays this) but it should not reflect poorly on Strauss himself.
To infer that Strauss himself was “unencumbered by logic and factual accuracy” is simply wrong. Strauss’s teaching was highly nuanced. He understood, from the trial of Socrates, that being logically correct was in and of itself insufficient in the political world. The hoi polloi could and would kill you for it, thereby negating any possibly that your philosophy could result in actual human improvement and achievement. This is the penultimate fact that the philosopher must confront.
Strauss argued that philosophic teaching must be couched in both esoteric ways that other philosophers can comprehend, while retaining a non-threatening exoteric facade that will not spook the herd into trampling him. People today attribute some kind if sinister motive to Strauss on this point, but he was merely making an objective appraisal of the real-world problem that has confronted philosophers from Socrates to the present day.
The rift between the aspirational and the mundane, between the “is” and the “ought” has been with us since ancient Athens. Aristotle criticized Plato’s depiction of the guardian class in The Republic as unachievable and contrary to human nature. That may well be true. But the aspirational character of the Republic may enable us to escape the shadows of the cave even partially, if not fully. We do expect our “guardians” to act objectively and dispassionately rather than in their own self-interest. We expect that our banker will not pocket our money when we deposit in the bank, we expect that our wife’s gynecologist will not rape her on the examining table.
Sure, those things do happen sometimes, but we regard them as aberrations from the Platonic Ideal.
Strauss (and Plato) understood that politics is an art, not a science, and engaging in the art of philosophy in order to determine what truth and justice are is a recurring, never-ending task. Killing the philosopher for making an argument that is potentially objectionable to the masses entranced by the shadows on the cave wall aborts this process in its infancy, and makes progress or improvement impossible.
Educational and well argued, but for Strauss to erect a beneficial despotism, I say he believed he had to get the *right kind of people* in place.
What was that, a cadre of 50 to 100 students he taught to say anything, be anything, only focus intently on locii of power? Justified or not, he intended to overthrow, and did so much more quickly than Marcuse.
The result? Millions of broken eggs, but that’s gonna be one tasty omelette!
Very impressive argument. Very academic. I mean that in all sincerity.
I think the heart of today’s post was based on the fact that the Straussians denied realities of both Lincoln and MLK’s world views and motivations. They erected a fantasy that the Civil Rights regime represented the full realization of America’s founding promise. To do that, they accepted and venerated that regime which was antithetical and utterly destroyed America – both the propositional nation that it violated and the people who are the nation.
That battle was a rout. Now the slow motion meat grinder creates not an existential threat to the nation, for that is long gone. Rather it represents an existential threat to the very people who the nation’s founder saw as their posterity.
Without necessarily endorsing Jaffa’s “Second Founding” thesis, I would simply like to add once again that most of this debate goes back to the tension between the teaching of Plato and that of Aristotle. From Plato’s perspective, anyone capable of understanding The Forms (objective ideals) could be a member of the guardian class, hence there was equality of the sexes and a sort of communism within the guardian class in his description of it in The Republic.
Aristotle countered this by arguing that people were different by nature, and that Nature established a hierarchy as follows: Male, Female, Child, Slave, and Animal, based on a descending ability to use reason.
In reality both are exaggerations. In an inductive/probabalistic sense, Aristotle’s schema is certainly more likely — but it is not 100% accurate. To the contrary, there are a relative handful of women who might be capable of being members of the Guardian Class and partaking in battle and in objective philosophy with the males. They are few — but they are not none.
Taking this argument and applying it to the Negro Question and the Civil War, one might say that by nature, there are relatively few Negroes capable of partaking fully in the civic life and ideals of White America, but there are not none. Clarence Thomas is perhaps the best example of this; he is fully able to dispassionately and objectively comprehend and apply the ideals of the Constitution and the Founders without letting race interfere in his thinking.
From this example we might argue that America’s promise is fulfilled when a Negro like Thomas is not automatically excluded, but allowed a place (which he richly deserves) within the American Guardian Class.
On the other hand… Thomas is literally one in forty million Negroes, and in a mass democracy you are going to get a regression to the mean in which the vast majority of them are simply going to vote for the gibs when they are not in the process of shooting each other to death and copulating like animals.
Jaffa and the Straussian Lincoln-worshippers have erred too much on the side of the Platonic argument without giving Aristotle (and Nature) his due. Even Lincoln himself did not do this; Lincoln opined that he never intended to give the Negro was the social and political inferior to the white, but he nonetheless had the natural right to his own freedom.
(In fact it was the aptly-named “Radical” Republicans, not Lincoln himself, who sought to punish the white rebels by making them subordinate to Negro officials and soldiers.)
Conservatives didn’t lose because their ideas were wrong.
Conservatives lost because they were crushed by Jewish money, Jewish power, Jewish organization, Jewish control of the media and Jewish immorality or, if you prefer, Jewish sophistry.
Conservatives could have had all the right ideas (in which case, yeah, they would no longer be conservatives) and the same thing would have happened. In the end they had a price, it turned out to be low, and now they are ideological streetwalkers for another tribe’s pimps.
You will notice that the same thing happened to liberals and libertarians and environmentalists to varying degrees over roughly the same period of time. There is no grand clash of ideas going on with any of this. There is a grand clash of nations. It is divide, conquer and rule, nation against nation, via money power, lying, corruption, subversion, and blackmail — same as it ever was. That this is happening inside a sort of half-assed ponzi empire is confusing for people who are afraid to think in terms of nations.
I say simply accept the friend/enemy distinction that the people trying to exterminate you and your way of life are already out, and act accordingly.
This is not easy, but it is simple. What eludes me is how many of these supposedly wise, reality-based paleocons simply refuse (or worse, pretend to refuse) to see the reality they claim they are grounded in. What is wrong with these guys? They act like battered wives. It may seem smooth, but it is unattractive and ultimately unconvincing for anyone who got here by any other way.
The group that you identify exerts controlling influence over the media in many cases and has since at least WW2. Further, one of their greatest gifts is storytelling and the creation of narratives.
Whites are credulous and most want to be thought well of and thus are easily programmed by the narratives from the hegemonic media.
How can this problem be solved?
One quick example: A leftist friend of mine has started to become conservative on law and order issues due to the conquering of the cities by the bums. He even jokes that he is becoming a conservative. But if I bring up limiting immigration he immediately puffs his chest in outrage and disavows my immoral suggestions. I submit you that the media manipulated his desire to be thought of as a moral person to make any questioning of open borders immoral. And all of this was intentional.
I’d suggest that all of us evolved with a need to be thought of as moral beings by those in our group. It has nothing to do with our being White.
Seeing as how for most of our human pre-history, getting along with our group was absolutely essential to our well-being— and getting ejected from our group meant certain death— it makes sense that everyone has an innate need to get along with the people around them, and to have those people think highly of them.
In our modern world, by contrast, there are any number of groups we can identify with.
The media supplies a narrative, in which certain groups are good and certain groups are bad; and no doubt for many people, affects which group they choose to identify with.
But it seems to me that the need to identify with a certain group, and to have members of that group think highly of you, is a basic human trait which we all share to one degree or another.
In classical democracy the main problem might well have been sophistry replacing well reasoned argument. This reflected the fact that classical democracy was quite “elitist” by our degraded standards and also was quite masculine in that there still *was* at least an argument. There were subjects open to debate. There were arguments for and against, however idiotic and sophist-icated. The wider the franchise became, the more the narrative became central to the political process. This is because stupid men and most women can’t even follow basic arguments (even bad ones full of sophistry) but love stories.
Along came mass media and a certain ethnic group known for their storytelling genius. What happened was probably inevitable given that no one saw the problem early enough and set up some sort of “Committee for the Defense of Reasoned Policy”. That is, Rule by Narrative did not dominate in spite of opposition, it dominated in the complete absence of opposition and even awareness of its existence.
The problem is that the Jewish style of rule succeeded far beyond the ambitions of most of its early practitioners. Jews generally seem to operate best as symbiotic/parasitic clades within a larger society that has its own organizing principles. What seems to have happened to us is that our society just abandoned any sense of its own organizing principles and decided to submit entirely to the “logic” of The Story.
The problem is that there is no logic of The Story. In fact, there isn’t even a single story, just a bunch of hackneyed themes and stock characters that get repurposed for a series of improvised goals. The only enduring theme in fact is that there always seems to be a big pot of gold for the little men with funny noses at the end of the story. The whole story arc is just thrown up from whatever happens to be lying around and the goal is just to get to that gold.
Perhaps this is the unifying thread is the numerous disasters we see unfold around us. The FTX narrative comes to mind. It seems like FTX succeeded early on by reusing story elements we’ve seen before like the “whiz kid”, the “computer genius”, and then for the libertarian minded, the notion of financial success through non-state based investment. The whole thing sounds like a low-budget rip off of The Matrix because that’s what it is.
I suspect the Ukraine narrative is similarly just a bunch of bad 1980s war movie themes united by the fact that they make a gigantic heist of taxpayer funds possible for the well connected.
The good news if there is any here, is that there’s not really an overarching ideology present. It seems a bit different from the Communist system Havel is describing in his green grocer essay though the Woke certainly seem to be trying to build, to use Havel’s words – “almost a secularized religion”. The bad news is that you can’t organize a society this way. A series of capers or bad movies, yes, but whole societies need a bit more stability and connection with reality. The world isn’t really a CGI city. Once it gets blown up it will stay that way – forever.
Thanks to the Zman for linking the Havel essay though. I’ll be reading it this afternoon as I’m home sick and it’s pouring rain here.
Every family library should have copies of Havel’s “Living in Truth” and Plato’s “Gorgias”.
All family members should also take a class on political philosophy, with this essay as the first reading.
The devil has no power over you other than what you give him. Many have given to the detriment of many more.
I favor the truth crowd, but they often lack the will, which is understandable because the truth is often uncomfortable and unpopular.
I think on a deeper level it’s difficult to be willful in truth, because the truth will sometimes lead you into Nietzschean territory, and that doesn’t compute. For the same reason, it’s difficult for the rationally- and scientifically-minded to have faith. The mixing of reason and intuition, emotion, etc., seems a contradiction, and in narrow terms it is, yet in the whole of Creation, there is no contradiction. If we’re to believe all of this has purpose, meaning, and existence, it has to be that way.
Which is a rambling way of saying that, having sought and puzzled over truth, all you can do is the best you can, don’t worry about getting it just right, and so on. That takes faith, and faith is act of will. Neither simply winning nor getting it right will get you closer to where you need to be imo.
Faith has a purpose, a function; it serves our social groups.
Not the only purpose
Speaking of collapse; are there any talented hackers here among us?
Because I’m thinking that if someone were to hack into the Department of Agriculture servers, and wipe out all the data which allows the food stamp program to function— if all the EBT cards of the 40 million people getting food stamps suddenly stopped working— we’d soon be seeing Rodney-King-level rioting in every inner city in America.
Just a thought….
Sounds reasonable in lieu of a centralized authority with the power to confiscate goods and services to “redistribute”. Which I suppose is one of the assumed(s) in a collapse scenario. I just harken back to some of the FEMA proposals and given authorities viewed during Katrina disaster.
Thr government would simply order stores to honor the claims of anyone who wanted their gibs. Our nation would be filled with undocumented consumers.
I hear you, that might be their first impulse.
But I question whether the government would be capable and competent enough to immediately start reimbursing millions of stores.
Look at their failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina: then imagine a situation in which the whole country clamoring is for assistance at once.
Would the promise of eventual government reimbursement be enough to convince the stores to keep re-stocking their shelves and giving those goods away?
And once word got out that the stores were giving stuff away free, wouldn’t millions of people who didn’t have food stamps claim that they did? A claim which the store would be unable to verify.
And in the case of little ‘mom-and-pop’ stores, how would they finance this giveaway? My guess would be that a lot of them wouldn’t have the cash on hand to do it.
So, unless the government was incredibly efficient at reimbursing them, I can see the whole thing breaking down; as the stores start making excuses as to why they’re unable to restock.
And what’s the government going to do with that point?
Arrest the store owners?
Problem would be the distributors. If they don’t believe the store owners will continue in business and pay, who will want to supply them? Doubt most of the store owners could (or would want to) pay on delivery.
The Greek philosophers believed in totally as perfection and completion Today that idea has been extended to a society of perfect well-being which will some day be achieved. Presently this country is a long way from this utopia. in fact many believe that chaos is soon to destroy the peace and prosperity most cherish. And if indeed, this chaos and destruction were to occur what would be the consequences?
Let me add two truthful statements. Nothing lasts forever and we live in a world of relativity. Whoever has the power will rule and decide what direction society would develop. Unfortunately the people no longer have any or very little power, and those of the present ruling class are determined to prevent anyone from taking it from them.
Yet another thought-provoking rumination!
Here are a few of the thoughts
it provoking me:
In addition to ‘prescriptive’ versus ‘descriptive’, we can overlay another metric onto our analysis: ‘idealistic’ versus ‘pragmatic’.
Inevitably, the folks prescribing solutions are also ideologues: speaking from a dogmatic and idealistic ideological stance they have adopted, such as radical egalitarianism: ‘All men are created equal’.
Their argument is consequentialist, in the sense that they justify their belief in it by pointing to an imagined future state: ‘Society would be so much better if everyone acted as if all men are created equal’.
In doing so, they conveniently avoid the question of whether or not the dogma they are assuming— that all men are created equal— is in fact true; whether it is “logically sound and factually accurate, rather than just convincing”, as Z-man puts it.
They often attempt to convince us— or more accurately, to deceive us— by appealing to our emotion rather than our reason:
So when they conjure-up the history they need to support their prescriptive claims, they usually choose incidents with a strong emotional appeal:
“Undocumented asylum-seeker saves disabled neighbor of color from burning building!”
The implication being that if you disagree with them, you’re not just mistaken; you are a bad person, who thinks it’s OK if the disabled neighbor of color burns up.
Z points out that that “We are a society that believes deliberate deception is wrong, so factual accuracy is important. Winning the crowd through deceptive means is viewed as immoral.”
But a dogmatic idealist will attempt to circumvent this objection by insisting that the end justifies the means: by appealing to the unquestionable moral superiority of the world which his deception will bring about:
‘Yes, we’re stretching the truth; but the utopian state we’re bringing about by doing so is so wonderful, that the deception required pales by comparison.’
But that also exposes the fatal flaw in their argument: since the utopian future they are imagining can never exist, it doesn’t matter how warm and fuzzy it makes you feel to imagine it:
“Anton is a Straussian so he is therefore unencumbered by logic and factual accuracy. He simply wants to convince people that a society rooted in natural rights is the only choice, if America is going to hold together for much longer. Gottfried and others point out that natural rights do no exist and therefore they cannot be a foundation for anything.”
The real Bill: “In addition to ‘prescriptive’ versus ‘descriptive’, we can overlay another metric onto our analysis: ‘idealistic’ versus ‘pragmatic’… They often attempt to convince us— or more accurately, to deceive us— by appealing to our emotion rather than our reason…”
TrB, they can now see all of this on neurological imaging.
Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans
February 13, 2013
You can put someone into neurologial imaging, flash some pictures in front of their eyes, and know with a very high degree of certainty whether their ancestors were e.g.
Unitarian versus Congregationalist
Quaker versus Presbyterian
Jesuit versus Calvinist
etc etc etc
And since we’ve learned now, with absolute certainty, that SSRIs never played any role whatsoever in quelling depression, I’ve been very worried that the reason our nation became awash in SSRIs [and similar neurotropic substances] was because of an intentional effort on the part of the Elites & the Oligarchs to subdue the Amygdala’s natural reaction to danger, and instead to replace those natural survival instincts with some sort of an unnatural warm-n-fuzzy fake emotion emanating from the Insula [likely aided by the Benzodiazapine/Meth/Fentanyl/Weed/Chardonnay epidemics].
PS: Weed is especially dangerous; the sanhedrin Peter Lewis & George Soros both knew d@mned well that Weed causes schizophrenia, which is why they threw so much money into legalizing it, to literally drive the goyim insane. Soros is such a cynical nihilist that he ackshually funds the website “schizophrenia.com”, which is awash in anti-marijuana propaganda.
Yep! I love neuroscience.
Speaking of which: here’s one of Stanford neuroscientist Andrew Huberman’s latest podcasts, in which he lays out all the ways in which cannabis has been found to be harmful:
Which is a bitch, because I really enjoy smoking the occasional joint.
Oh ffs. Not the dogooder propagandists again.
Just selling their effing services, aren’t they. Heaven forfend we return to the godless heathenism before 1919.
Oh please. The ‘literature’ on the weed-schizophrenia link is of a piece with the VAST bulk of the research output of the charlatans from the psych fields… that is, it has aoll the hallmarks of bias; is mostly small-N; and is designed for innumerates because the quantitative content is so shoddy.
Those klutzes barely have a coherent analytical framework to tell anyone what schizophrenia is (apart from the results of a checklist that someone somewhere claimed was the result of ‘research’).
There is a very significant reason why the ‘discipline’ is awash with (a) women; and (b) high-V men with big noses.
And ‘neuroscientist’ is mostly a marketing term – it means ‘people who know [adjective] psychologist is a busted brand’.
FWIW I quite enjoy some of Huberman’s pop-sci mutterings, but I would never call him a scientist of any description – otherwise I would also have to apply the same to Malcolm Gladwell and Ibrahim X Kendi.
WEED INDUCES SCHIZOPHRENIA IN AT-RISK NEURO-PHYSIOLOGIES.
Deal with it.
[Or don’t, and get locked up in the psych ward with all the other Cluster A’s who thought it was safe to toke.]
I can’t believe you know anything about Huberman, if you can claim with a straight face, that he’s not “a scientist of any description”; or describe his presentation as “pop-sci mutterings”.
He’s a professor of neurology and ophthalmology at the Stanford School of Medicine; who oversees a research lab and regularly publishes in peer-reviewed journals. And someone who devotes a tremendous amount of time to publicizing scientific findings which are helpful to people trying to live healthy and productive lives. And unlike many podcasters, he does it for free.
Moreover, his entire approach is one of the scientist: carefully backing up every statement he makes with demonstrable facts.
To compare him with Ibrahim X Kendi is the most ridiculous comparison I’ve ever heard in my life.
And are you really that conversant with the literature on schizophrenia, and the “vast bulk of the research” in psychology, that you can make these broad-based accusations? Using scare quotes around the word “research”, and claiming that all those doing it are “klutzes”, “charlatans”, and “innumerates”?
Who the fuck are you, to make these kinds of claims?
LOL. fanboi is outraged at someone who doesn’t genuflect at the credentialled object of their current infatuation.
Let’s preface this: I’ve been aware of the obscene corruption of science since the 90s. Deeply aware. Aware in ways that make my skin crawl.
As to Psychocharlatanry more specifically: their BEST shit doesn’t replicate. I’m talking about the MOST-CITED shit in their HIGHEST-IMPACT journals.
That’s their fucking CANON. And it’s horse-shit. It’s got the same predictive power as haruspicy.
And that’s what was known BEFORE the recent shitshow about SSRIs (that’s more the intersection of Psychocharlatanry and Pharma, but it’s of a piece) – the utter fabrication of the putative link between brain chemistry and mental illness (‘mental illness’ being defined as ‘ticked boxes on a terrible checklist’).
Who I am would mean literally nothing to you, because you clearly think that credentials are important – whereas I left academia a quarter-century ago because it was clear that academia was totally, utterly, irremediably, irredeemably fucked (and not in a good way).
And let’s stipulate that ‘peer review’ is such a fucked, closed-shop, corrupt process, that the fact that you bring it up disqualifies you as someone to be taken seriously.
So yeah… credentials don’t hold much water for me. Nor do positions at ‘prestige’ institutions in pseudoscientific nonsense. Brian Stelter is a Fellow at Harvard.
When I was a child I used to tell people that my ‘grand supervisor’ (supervisor-of-my-supervisor) was a Nobel laureate (Leontief)… then I put away childish things.
NCT04368728 – “what is wrong with science, in one study”.
▪️ Everyone is IMPECCABLY credentialled.
▪️ Everyone’s got a gig at a prestigious institution.
The study is absolute garbage, and if the system had the remotest shred of residual credibility, the perpetrators would be hauled to the ICJ for Crimes Against Humanity.
isn’t a hallmark of sophistry, the practitioner doesn’t believe what he is saying?
Or is the first trick of the Sophist that of deceiving himself; of convincing himself that his sophistry is true?
It seems to be the case that someone can lie more convincingly, if they can first convince themself that the lie they’re telling is true.
We humans are really good at self deception. It’s so easy to believe what we want to believe, or what makes us feel good to believe, rather than facing an unpleasant truth.
I suspect that the primary talent of the successful sophist, is to be able to stuff the truth down below the level of conscious awareness, and embrace the lie he’s trying to propagate.
TrB: “Or is the first trick of the Sophist that of deceiving himself; of convincing himself that his sophistry is true?”
You’ve also gotta factor psychopathy in there somehow.
If you try to analyze sophistry from the point of view of a fundamentally honest man, then you’ll never be able to understand sophistry from the point of view of a pathologically dishonest man.
And then there’s sadistic psychopathy, which likely results in a licentious/lascivious thrill being experienced by the sophist, every time the sophist successfully commits yet another act of sophistry [compare e.g. kleptomania; c.f. the actress Winona Ryder].
I’m convinced that the lip-licking smile which Bill Clinton used to flash at the camera was always a tell that he felt he was in the process of pulling the wool over the eyes of the idiots.
[Around the same 1990s timeframe, the actor, Jeffrey Goldblum, had a signature lip-licking move on screen, but his was much more serpentine, quickly licking his upper lips, whereas Clinton’s was more subtle, slowly running his tongue across his lower lip and his lower teeth.]
PS: I was saying in another recent thread here chez Z that I feared assortative mating [say, three or four consecutive generations of Ivy League grads marrying Seven Sisters grads] was likely intensifying the genetic propensity for psychopathy in our elites & oligarchs; in particular, those elites & oligarchs could very well be breeding within their bloodlines an utter disdain for Truth Itself.
Yeah, scientists tell us that around 2% of the population satisfies the clinical definition of psychopathy.
And while many of those psychopaths end up in prison, there are a not-insignificant number of high-performing psychopaths who are CEOs of major corporations, military leaders, and successful politicians. A pathological lack of empathy and concern for the effects your actions have on others, will help you advance in some circles.
So I agree: it’s helpful to distinguish between ordinary ‘honest’ sophists— who may be genuinely believing what they say, and deceiving themselves first of all —and sophists whose deception is driven by psychopathy.
Telling Anton he’s a sophist? That’s gotta sting.
What does it prove, or how does it further the debate?
Sophistry is a technique. Belief or lack thereof is irrelevant.
The essential problem of ConInc.
They promote, with rabid fervor, the canard that voting harder-harder will save the day someday in the future. So chase the carrot even if it leads you off the cliff. And they do this despite knowing full well that vote-rigging has fundamentally changed the game and it now guarantees that the most corrupt politician gets an automatic “victory” no matter what voters actually do at the polls. They then sweep this reality under the rug by asserting that those who point this out are “cynical” and therefore to be burned at the stake as heretics.
But it gets worse. The guy that stabs you in the back is a thousand times worse than the guy that punches you in the face. The former is the RINO that is allowed to get elected in order to preserve the illusion of a two-party system. The latter is the Democrat that tells you he wants you dead right to your face. Both are lethal, but the RINO is by far the more hateful of the two choices (hello Cocaine Mitch).
So what is the real damage of institutional lying by the glad-hand, Brooks Brothers suit wearing, fake smile toady who smooth talks his way into your trust while hiding a knife behind his back? Epidemic cynicism is we what you get. The weak turn this revelation into defeatism. The smart go underground and learn the lesson of treachery.
And after 2024, ConInc will surely be pitching the new slogan of voting harder-harder-harder, but the carrot will have become fetid by then. Please God, bring us the curing collapse before everyone starts hating everyone else.
The thing is, both Rep and Dem are corporations, chasing the bottom line of bundled donors. They pitch their worth to those donors by showing metrics. Those metrics are all “inside baseball” numbers about seats filled, not related to if rules work or not.
TomA: “The guy that stabs you in the back is a thousand times worse than the guy that punches you in the face.”
Passive Aggression >>>>>>> Active Aggression
Or at least it has been over the entire course of my lifetime.
Sadly, though, the only way to put the Passive Aggressives back into their proper place in society is via Active Aggression [which is why I am a Stalinist].
Lately I often think of the entire course of human history as being nothing more than 50- to 100-year oscillations of a giant meta-sociological pendulum, as it sways back and forth between societal domination by Passive Aggressives versus societal domination by Active Aggressors.
But to elaborate any further on that thought would delve far too deep into Fed-Poasting territory.
I don’t know if the half-cycle could persist as long as a 200 year swing; that would be a 400 year round trip, which feels to me more like an oriental society, rather than an occidental society.
I’d have to sit down with a bunch of dates and chart it all out.
Certainly we’ve been swinging Passive Aggressive for 50 uninterrupted years now, going back to at least 1970ish.
PS: If there’s anything more Passive Aggressive than poisoning innocent children with MRNA vaccines at the pediatrician’s office, then I don’t know that want to contemplate how Evil that degree of Passive Aggression must be.
Conversely, I think I’d have to classify Dilation & Extraction [or Dilation & Curettage] as being more of the nature of Active Aggression.
What do you mean collapse? America has long since already collapsed. I would be willing to bet that the majority of the country wants things this way. I see nothing that is ever going to reverse this course of insanity. We are moving ever closer to the point where being a normal white person and breathing is a crime. I see no way this can ever be reversed or fixed.
The Straussians are heirs to the Flowerman project, the wide attempt to change white people’s thinking through moral suasion.
That is, through emotional rhetoric, as does a religion.
It worked. They applied their verbal pseudoscience, a subject intently studied since the neurosurgeon Freud theorized that the mind, like the brain itself, must have a structure, if only we could work it.
The results are proof positive that alien software conflicts with white hardware; for instance, “atheists” or agnostics ignore the reasoning proffered, because it doesn’t answer the factual questions they are asking.
As always, the Flowermans insistent arrogance that their thinking is better brought the ever-same result. A revision of history became a substitute history, one which fuels them and taught us.
As the legendary Citizen Silly said, their myth ruined them more than it ruined us.
They cannot back down from such a reach.
We have a new religion. It’s moral foundation is that white people commit cold mass atrocity, rather than embracing changes that would make them a better people.
“Stubborn white men are the greatest danger.” Why oh why must white people act so White? The modern name of this religion is Woke.
“the Flowerman project”
Do you have another spelling for this?
I couldn’t find anything at the usual search engines.
“culture that sees winning the argument as an end in itself”
True, but there is a worse aspect. The culture sees winning an argument as a theological triumph even when it is blatantly untrue. Orgasmic pleasure is derived from the sophistry, and the feelings of the “winner” are all that matter.
In this regard, although many other such similarities abound, there is no substantive difference between neoconservatism/Straussian thought and leftism. The destruction this infantilism has wrought is irreversible, and that may prove a feature and not a bug. As you frequently write, reality is the thing that does not go away once you no longer believe in it. Many believe otherwise and will continue to do so after mushroom clouds billow over American cities and the dollars loses reserve currency status. The destruction never will be greater than their self-righteousness even though the former is based in reality.
The lesson to learn as we sort through the ashes will be these types never can be allowed a role in whatever society comes after the destruction they bring. Puritanism, the ultimate sophistry, is a death cult.
“this infantilism…is irreversible, and that may prove a feature and not a bug.”
Yes. They want us to see the world as they do–and they are batshit crazy.
Right and better than you, no matter what. Willing to force it, as the puritannical Puritans showed. Unwilling to accept any difference, despite the results, lest their overweening sense of moral superiority be dented.
Worse is when history or fact is changed in pursuit of that win.
When the truth is erased, it is forgotten, and the lie becomes the truth. New effort is then based on accumulating error.
The driving force must be the instinct of tribalism; it is too strong and immediate for rationale to apply. Tribalism gone awry, too big for its britches, the barking monkeys are seeking to take space in someone else’s tree.
How to counter it when the belief skips past its boundaries, other than by pain and fear from other tribes?
Theological victors have raw tribal instinct as their selling point, so they amass tribes. Scattered dissidents, whether conservative political orgs, local church drives, based professors, honest police, or online discussion groups are getting steamrolled here by the short-sighted.
I suspect that most leftists really do believe that their dogmas are true.
It makes them feel so good to believe them; and everyone else they know believes them; and it would put them at odds with everyone they know if they stop believing them; and they’re never exposed to persuasive counter-arguments; so they unquestioningly accept them as being true, and never seriously consider opposing viewpoints.
Yup, they’re better than you, on the right side of history.
We have ersatz status grabs, rather than pride in our little community and its Main Street parades.
Perfectly accurate description of leftists. An acquaintance of mine thought I was lying when I told him that people lost their jobs by refusing the vaccine. He really didn’t believe it. He also couldn’t believe it that blax can score far lower on tests such as Fire Dept. A fireman present had to let him know the truth. They can’t accept that everything they believe is a lie. They’d rather die than see truth, which quite honestly would be fine with me. I view them not as human beings, but as parasitic viruses to be “removed”
“Michael Anton and Paul Gottfried over natural rights and traditionalism”
Both sides are wrong, because both are arbitrary assertions; and because both are rooted in (arbitrary) utilitarian arguments that societal (national, global – whatever…) “well-being” is the bottom-line index of morality.
This serves as the bottom line for truth, as well. The definition of Truth that you often use is implicitly rooted in the idea that societal well-being is a ‘truth’ that cannot be concealed, will always come bobbing-up.
Yet the concept of social well-being is exactly what is at issue. And there will never be convergence on truth by this definition.
In the first place there is no agreement about what constitutes a bad (intolerably immoral) society, nor about what things are good.
In the second place, even when civilization collapses (deliberately-induced famines of food and fuel, economic collapse, collapse of trade and transport, collapse into violence, escalation of international war – which is surely inevitable, later if not very soon) – there will be no agreement about what has caused it. So the Truth of the cause of collapse – and the blame for it – will remain as obscure, denied and contested as it is now.
The fact is that truth is contingent upon metaphysical assumptions – i.e. assumptions about the fundamental nature of reality. Michael Anton, Paul Gottfried and (at present) yourself all share a set of materialist, atheist, utilitarian assumptions that render truth a circular concept, bound up with prior ideas about what constitutes The Good Life; and in which life is bounded by birth and death.
This argument can never end (except arbitrarily, by unrooted asserted definitions) until there are shared ‘religious’ assumptions; a shared theistic vision of life that extends beyond death – and then, towards a shared post-mortal goal.
A truth that is contingent upon anything other than physical reality is categorically different from a truth that is contingent upon something other than physical reality. Therein lies the problem with moral philosophy and theology. They are untethered from physical reality. They are contingent, as you say, on metaphysical assumptions. I would argue that they are contingent on convenient fantasies about reality and our ability to quantify reality. Those fantasies are culture specific, which means they are people specific.
We will be quite lucky if the end result is just national dissolution. These people are so detached from reality many would welcome a fiery and bloody end. At best, we will be often hungry in the dark as part of the collateral damage.
Not as different as you imply. All observations about the universe are just that — anecdotal observations. Humans seem to think it all makes sense somehow, and seek generalize to some Truth. Sometimes this is relatively easy, like F=ma. Most real-life situations are far more fiendishly complex, as in global warming, or trying to decide how to order a society.
Even if you had appropriate data, analysing it is tough. It is easy to grab a ruler and draw a line through the data, but what makes one think it *should* be a line?
And when we try to generalize into human actions and motivations, we are way off into beliefs, not physical reality.
@Z Man – Actually, it is the other way around. Metaphysical assumptions provide the framework within-which physical reality can be understood – otherwise there would be only a meaningless, ‘booming and buzzing confusion’ (William James) – a chaos of perceptions.
You, like everybody, necessarily base your apprehension of ‘physical reality’ on metaphysical assumptions, that are Not empirically derived.
But these metaphysical assumptions of yours are (apparently) implicit and unconscious – at present you are not aware what these assumptions are, and therefore do not know whether these are assumptions that you would regard as intuitively valid and coherent.
Once you acknowledge that you Do have metaphysical assumptions (probably these have been passively – and indirectly – absorbed from our culture), then you can discover what they are – and whether you are happy with them!
My first “assumption” is that 2 = 2. Please explain how that is not “empirically derived.”
I’ll bite. How do you go from “2=2” to race realist, particularly when there are any number of exceptions to the general rules of race realism?
“How do you go from “2=2” to race realist”
Easy: Two Wongs don’t make a White.
@Z Man – I’m not engaging in argument. At some point (and it should come much sooner than usual) people should stop arguing and start thinking.
And that means thinking each for himself – because there is nobody – o authority – that we can trust (no institutions, no reputations); and the sheer quantity of error, fraud and incompetence in our culture is overwhelming.
It is not empirically derived. It is the metaphysical assumption of the law of identity that a thing will always equal itself. It is this assumption which then allows us to empirically observe that the quantity of these two things equals the quantity of those two things. It is also a true assumption.
“that are Not empirically derived”. i would disagree with you here. the only way to derive metaphysical principles, is by observing physical reality. this to me fits the definition of “empirically derived”. now where people *do* get into trouble, is when they start using the term “metaphysics” for what is more properly defined as “mysticism”.
I like the mention of William James here, and wonder whether his philosophy of pragmatism might be useful in sorting some of this out in the service moving forward in the way that those of us on this side of divide want to see it move:
“…an ideology or proposition is true if it works satisfactorily, that the meaning of a proposition is to be found in the practical consequences of accepting it, and that unpractical ideas are to be rejected.”
I also like some of what Z has emphasized recently with strong encouragement to start thinking about 2040 and beyond, rather than toiling with the conservative movement which will inevitably fail to conserve the principles and ideology of Democrats from 10 to 20 years ago.
Reality cannot be subjective, simply because the universe existed before our species came into existence. The concept of “truth” came into existence when our species invented the concept and gave it a name. And if truth is to be defined as an absolute (doesn’t change over time), then the only immutable standard can be correspondence with reality.
In practice, all assertions of truth are approximations subject to testing and verification. And all findings are consequently approximations. Therefore, seeking truth is a process where the destination is unachievable because of the limitations of our senses and conceptualization capabilities. So we always stop at good enough, which is always subjective.
Truth is the accurate perception or conception of reality.
Most higher-order life forms perceive reality through the various biological sensing organs, and some have limited brain-based conceptualization ability. Humans max out on the latter, but all are subject to error in either mode of functioning.
Nature intends that error leads to extinction.
I want TomA at my parties to ensure that we don’t get a bit too euphoric.
“did someone mention ‘disease cells’?”
The way our brains are wired, before any sense perception reaches our conscious awareness, it has already been processed by the areas of our brain which impose meaning and context.
Thus there’s no such thing as a ‘pure’— unconceptualized— perception. And to the extent that our conception of life is inaccurate, our perceptions will be inaccurate as well.
Some people strive to accurately discern what is true; and to make their conception of life as accurate to reality as possible.
Other people begin with preconceived dogmas, and strive to make their conception of life conform as closely as possible to those dogmas.
I suspect that most folks here are the former type.
“The fact is that truth is contingent upon metaphysical assumptions …”
I agree, and even in physics there are certain tacit metaphysical assumptions that undergird the conceptual systems of classical mechanics, relativity, and quantum mechanics. In fact, in relativity and quantum theory it was the metaphysical assumptions of classical mechanics that had to be questioned, modified, and even discarded (e.g., absolute time, absolute space). But these are deep waters and I don’t want to go deeper into them here.
You are also correct that for any kind of debate to exist (as between Anton and Gottfried) some sort of tacit agreement on metaphysical principles has to be there. But again, deep waters.
This is where you begin to question the nature of reality and our ability to conceive of it. I will admit I am skeptical of the claim that our sense evolved to give us an accurate conception of reality. instead, I think our sense evolved to provide us with the most fit conception of reality.
Even if our conception of the world is a simple or complex approximation of reality, reality still exists. Otherwise, we exist in a simulation that evolved solely to make copies of our genes more likely.
Z Man boldly proclaims, “reality still exists,” which itself is a metaphysical assumption that can’t be confirmed. Boy, this thinking stuff makes me kinda nauseous…
“During times of universal unreality, saying ‘reality exists’ becomes a revolutionary act.”
Once you start veering into “Maybe we’re all the dream of a turtle in space” territory, you can’t figure anything out. Reality isn’t real means no empiricism.
As I said, deep waters. Kant’s turgid “Critique of Pure Reason” is a good place to start, or some modern writer who can present Kant’s ideas more cogently. There is a reality out there — “the thing in itself” — and we have a sensory apparatus that is pre-programmed (like a pre-programmed read-only ROM) that interprets sense perceptions a certain way. But I believe Kant argued we can never grapple directly with the “thing in itself.” You are probably right that the read-only ROMs that survive were and are best attuned to the “world out there.”
I am not so sure philosophy has much to offer here. The place to start is that our senses evolved to give us either a greater understanding of reality or they evolved to improve our fitness. The latter is the correct answer, but then the question is, does a more accurate conception of reality improve our fitness?
There are three answers. One is a clear yes, which means that our senses evolved and continue to evolve to provide us with more concise approximation of reality. The second choice is yes and no. Perhaps our sense evolved to provide us with a more accurate conception of some parts of reality, but evolved to obscure others. The final answer is that an accurate perception of reality is meaningless from an evolutionary perspective.
This is testable. Here is a paper you may find interesting: http://cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/FitnessBeatsTruth_apa_PBR.pdf
I came at it from a more readable perspective: https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=9070
The short version is our conception of reality may simply be a useful interface to reality.
I will note that 99% of people in the physical and natural sciences think natural selection favors veridical precepts. If I agree to that assertion, then my views are rooted in testable reality, not metaphysical assumptions.
fMRI neural imaging has shown that before our sensory input has come to our conscious awareness— before we become aware of what our eyes are seeing, our ears are hearing, our noses are smelling— the stream of neural impulses embodying that ‘raw’ sensory data has already passed through those portions of our brain which assign meaning and context. By the time our sensory input has reached our conscious awareness, it is already been assigned a tentative meaning.
So there truly is no such thing as unmediated sensory awareness.
However, I’m not aware of any sense in which our brains are “pre-programmed to interpret sense perceptions in a certain way.”
If you know of any such, please share.
Being uneducated, I did a skim of Kant and Hume highlights.
To my surprise, they were both making a theological argument about the same errant foundation- that is, based on the idea of a One God, a primary single Source.
Such an idea is inherently contradictory.
I say it leads to an actual short circuit in the brain, thus we remain confused between the emotionally moral of the backbrain and the material real.of the forebrain.
Literal cognitive dissonance between the two speech processors.
Understand-able at the time, but no wonder people come out of college confused. They’re trying to solve a zen koan.
Also, and on a side note, “reality exists” has to be defended otherwise we soon end up like the po-mo crowd and insist everything is a “social construct.”
Right: our senses evolved to enable us to best fit in to the reality of the physical world we find ourselves in.
The more accurately we succeed at making our conceptions conform closely to that realm of reality, the more successful we will be in navigating, and surviving in, the world around us.
And our conceptions of reality don’t have to be perfect in order to confer a survival advantage; they merely have to be ‘close enough’. The caveman’s underlying notions about lightning could be completely flawed; but if he knows enough to stay off high mountaintops during electrical storms, that alone will be enough to confer a survival advantage compared to those of his fellows who haven’t had that realization; his nmisunderstandings about lightning notwithstanding.
One of the shocking things about quantum mechanics was the discovery that so many of the ‘laws’ which we had assumed were universal — true throughout the Universe— no longer hold true at the extremes. So in that sense, our conceptualization of the Universe was shown to be fundamentally flawed.
However, it’s not accurate to say that quantum mechanics ‘disproved’ the verities of classical Newtonian physics; which still apply at the level of reality we all live in.
And likewise, the principles observed in quantum mechanics, such as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, are only valid in the subatomic realm of the tiniest of particles; they don’t scale up.
People who claim that ‘Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle shows that life is uncertain, and there’s nothing we can do about it’ are misunderstanding the science.
We observe events on the quantum level which we had previously believed were impossible— which the laws of Newtonian physics which have served us so well, show to be impossible— yet we are observing them.
As Richard Feynman famously said (close paraphrase): ‘Anyone who claims to understand quantum mechanics, is simply demonstrating that they don’t understand quantum mechanics. We can describe these things we are observing, but we can’t yet explain them.’
So if quantum mechanics has demonstrated anything, it’s that we humans are not able— not yet able, anyway— to fully conceptualize reality.
But that doesn’t prevent us from taking advantage of those realms of reality about which we do have accurate knowledge.
Agreed. Mr. Charlton is pointing to an End that guides him. To his credit, he allows that others in pursuit of a different End- rather, a similar end by different means- speak a different dialect.
I say a quantifiable model is more universal in both its understanding and application, able to recognize the emosocial needs and limits of human nature.
This forced mishmash is a violation.
Oh yeah. We have enough, now. The science and the mechanics, thank you white people. That’s why they were made.
We’ve been lied to and propagandized over just about everything these past few decades and further bashed over the head with a “moral” cudgel if we didn’t believe. It makes one wonder what truths or at least elements of those truths will wake enough people out of their torpor to finally do something about it. It’s all getting more brazen and ludicrous by the day – at some point, the dam has got to give.
“… at some point, the dam has got to give.”
We’ve been saying that and waiting for quite a while. But the plates keep spinning. My thought—roughly considered—is when the dam gives way, what will it look like? For example, will it look like an epiphany where folks come to their senses and see the light? Where folk say. “What was I thinking?” Or “”Time to reorganize.” Or rather a descent into mass chaos where folk are no wiser than before, but even more desperate. A Hobbesian world of all against all.
I have never been in the collapse camp, but I do think we are reaching an end point. I have argued that we are at the confluence of several cycles at their end stage. What we are approaching is something like what happened to the Soviet Union. It will be a disorderly retreat from empire to something else.
The irony is that the crackpots planning the break up of Russia could very well cause the break up America.
As Z man has repeatedly pointed out, we have no social cohesion now. A significant portion of the population have sub 90 IQs.
We probably won’t fare as well as the Soviet Union in any collapse.
Yeah, I suspect the concept of “orderly retreat” is in the eye of the beholder. USSR -> Russia could have been worse, but if my memory serves, it was pretty tough going—and I suspect greatly mediated by the USSR shedding off its ethnic minority republics. Even then there was war.
Two very good ponts.
Tough going: 14 million dead of the collapse.
Only that many, because the shedding. Ukraine might be counted as an ethnic minority shed along with the ‘Stans.
Here, they’re pouring them in as fast as they can.
Somebody noted in Europe, far too many Muslims have military haircuts, new clothes and cell phones.
How many disguised mercenaries are we getting, amongst those “people from all over the world?”
@george 1, “A significant portion of the population have sub 90 IQs.”
That is not nearly as much of a concern as one might think. Given a set of mores and the will to expel any who will not respect those mores, pretty much any society worthy of continued existence can accommodate a substantial number of below-average intellects. Indeed, it must be able to.
True, but the problem is too many of those below average intellects are getting into positions of power and responsibility where they wreak havoc.
“The irony is that the crackpots planning the break up of Russia could very well cause the break up America.”
Agree but it could also be that the morons planning the break up of Russia hope thereby to stave off the break up of the USA. The predator USA needs to be fed just as Ungoliant did in Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion.”
Agree with staving off breakup. If we can just grab some more resource flows, we can skim some new loans.
Not of the collapse camp either.
Nevertheless, reports of widespread looting in Buffalo after the weather was cold for a couple of days and they had some extra snow.
The sophistry of “Diversity is our Strength” (*) is as obviously without any rational or evidentiary basis as it is simultaneously legally actionable to politely question.
Any real hardship in the US will see the inner cities that have maximum DIOS become hellscapes in days.
(* – Given to us by the great mind of “P-o-t-a-t-o-e” VP Dan Quayle, ironically given in a speech to the Japanese who thought the whole 1992 LA riots and Korean v. Blacks kind of proved the opposite)
The LA “roof Koreans” were the villains of almost all the media coverage of them. That’s why news photographs of them are inspiring to young men now. They were chosen to scare women and white-collar sissies and remind middle aged guys of Vietnam.
The first Stop Asian Hate-type media campaign happened then. It was waged entirely against Ice Cube, who before the riots had released a song complaining that all the stores in the ‘hood were owned by Korean weirdos. QED, the music made them do it. Coincidentally, that same album contained a popular song “noticing” local Jews.
The Adam Curtis documentary on the Soviet endgame “TraumaZone” gives a pretty good look at a collapsing society. A very low trust, diversified society with an inflated currency, here in the US, is not going to be pleasant.
Still and all, waiting for the Saxon to begin to hate is getting tiresome.
Waiting for the Saxon?
Some people started early.
We think it all started with a pencil factory in Georgia in 1913.
It might go back to the 10th Century, when
Rus Prince Svyatoslav destroyed the Khazarian Empire, in today’s Ukraine.
(To be clear, the second “homeland” where certain folks in the 1st century A.D. met and merged with another invasive ethnicity that came in the 1st century B.C.
The two unrelated groups found each other quite agreeable, being minorities and all.)
The Russian core of the USSR was far more intact and unified than Heritage America is now. The divisions within Heritage America always have been there but the hatred is worse than ever. Yankee Puritans will want to maim and murder and settle scores during any dissolution. The Russian communists were not that way at the end. The Gorbachevs were not murdered after they were kidnapped. That would not happen here.
Most will think the same lunatic things. Nothing should be allowed out of the chaos that has any of them in a position of influence.
The current example, in miniature, of what you are in talking about is the people who flee the woke cities while learning nothing about the causes that compelled them to flee. In my own family, some people fled Portland and moved to a small town and I promise you that some of them will begin work in earnest to turn that small town into Portland. It’s infuriating. That small town is helpless and can’t reject them.
Yep. I bet many Californians who fled to the TVA region due in part to power outages advocated for policies that led to blackouts in their new home.
Egads. My liberal bestie did just that.
The legacy families in our new home keep this clean, quiet little town locked down! We’re being oppressed! That I fled the scabby, diversifying city for this!
Thank gosh he’s too stoned all the time to run for city council. Ffs, he even got to lead the parade his first year there! That’s gratitude for ya.
They will be hunted down like rats if they lose their grip on power. They know this.
Yep. They live in a house of cards. What they own can be easily confiscated, albeit I suspect every smart one has a percentage of wealth stashed in areas they consider untouchable. Perhaps they’ll survive and live there lives out in leisure—if not power.
Compsci, I think that certain people will be highly motivated to find those who get away. There won’t be a place on earth where they will be safe.