Everything old is new again
Some years ago, more than I care to recount, I served at the US Mission to the UN. Years later, again, more than I care to count, I served at the US Mission to the OAS. Much of the work involved fighting over obscure resolutions and parsing words, trying to wring every possible definition and interpretation out of words. To some observers, this exercise struck them as silly, as obscure as some Talmudic scholars arguing over the meaning of some forgotten phrase in the bible. It was certainly easy to ridicule it; I, however, soon discovered that this was far from silly or “just academic” posturing. Words have meaning, and the left is very good at ever so subtly altering the meaning of words so that over time those words no longer mean what they meant. Words, of course, are the bullets of intellectual debate. If you allow your opponent to select your ammo for you, well, let’s just say you are at a disadvantage.
Gee. I hope this dude isn’t serious. Because it’d be a shame for him to learn just how fundamentally unserious such linguistic and hermeneutic concerns are, particularly when the calculations needed to fully understand it won’t fit on a whiteboard, or fail the test of “conservative” pragmatism and realism, which seems to be twofold: 1) can we express it with a bumpersticker, and 2) how many moderates will it bring us in the next election cycle?
Ideas, kernel assumptions, animating principle, the fundamentals of thought that promote, organically, a conservative epistemology — these are for suckers with too much time on their hands. Philosophy doesn’t win elections. Hair and teeth and and pandering — coupled with never, ever tying your dog to a car roof — these are things that do.
So go back to your books, eggheads. The consultants have some phrases they need to focus group, and they can’t be bothered by your futile abstractions that the masses are far too dumb to ever fully understand anyway.
Clown nose off.
(thanks to geoff b, who recognized in the excerpted bit a certain…similarity to things he’s read before. Though neither of us can quite place exactly where)