May 20, 2014

“Life on the Academic Animal Farm”

From the files of “it’s who they are. It’s what they do,” here’s another academic’s run-in with what I’ve come to call the most anti-intellectual of all public spaces, the contemporary academy.  And this indictment includes, among other more intellectual spaces, public restrooms, which have not as yet to my knowledge set up “free speech zones” or allowed for the organized harassment of Jews and conservatives.   From Public Discourse, Robert Oscar Lopez:

In the closing paragraphs of Orwell’s classic, the reader finds out that “After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters.” The unforgettable closing lines of the book read:

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Because they are essentially boring and uncreative, they end up, so often, dehumanizing and demonizing people they can’t converse with.

The greatest, most insidious form of dehumanization is the refusal to let people speak. To impose silence, to take away language and expression from human beings, is to violate one of their most fundamental human rights. More importantly, it discounts their very personhood. This is precisely what mobs on college campuses do when they rally, petition, picket, and scream, preventing a scapegoated individual from speaking. Disturbingly, these tactics have become more and more common.

Aayan Hirsi Ali, for example, was too harsh for Muslim students at Brandeis. Those who protested her planned graduation speech seemed convinced that African women are great for diversity unless they didn’t have a good experience with Islam. In that case, they ought not to let people know their stories exist.

Similarly, Condoleezza Rice worked for George W. Bush and didn’t have the foresight to turn down a job as the National Security Advisor or Secretary of State. That she didn’t have the magical ability to stop war, enhanced interrogation, or Bush’s mispronunciation of the word “nuclear” is infuriating. Didn’t she know that one day such crimes against humanity might cost her a trip to New Brunswick, New Jersey? Isn’t it every statesman’s dream to speak to the hung-over graduates of the country’s “14th biggest party school”?

Just to keep up with Massachusetts and New Jersey, protestors at Pasadena City College forced Dr. Eric Walsh, the city’s public health director, to back out of delivering the commencement speech. He is, after all, a Seventh-Day Adventist and said something negative about homosexuality at some point. Or something.

Are you lost yet? Overwhelmed? There’s more.

Occupation and Rationalization

Robert J. Birgenau was the chancellor at UC Berkeley when Occupy Wall Street came to his campus. Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia, made the grave faux pas of inviting him to be their commencement speaker. The Inquirer reports:

Haverford President Daniel H. Weiss announced on Tuesday morning that Birgeneau has declined the college’s invitation to speak and receive an honorary degree. Birgeneau is known for his support of undocumented and minority students, but became controversial when students, as part of the Occupy movement, held non-violent protests and were subject to force by university police.

I’m not clear, exactly, why “occupying” other people’s spaces by setting up tents and busing in thugs to block sidewalks and scream at people is considered “non-violent.” One might pose this query to the petitioners at Smith College, who intimidated International Monetary Fund manager Christine Lagarde based on her non-military use of global finances to oppress people in poor countries. As the New York Times reports:

For years, critics of the I.M.F. have charged that in providing economic aid to poor nations, it has imposed conditions that favor Western nations and businesses, and propped up oppressive governments. “The I.M.F. has been a primary culprit in the failed developmental policies implanted in some of the world’s poorest countries,” said an online petition against Ms. Lagarde’s appearance at Smith, a women’s college. “This has led directly to the strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.”

So let’s get this straight: It’s fine to set up a tent city on campus and demand that the government write off hundreds of thousands of student loans. Even if this is literally called “occupation,” it’s good. What’s bad is asking those people to leave and pay their bills instead of expecting tax-paying laborers across the country to pay back their loans for them. Setting up a world bank offering loans to poor countries? That’s bad too.

One can find a splendid range of rationalizations from academics who justify such censorship. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, sanctimony abounds. They’re sanguine, even delighted, to see speakers barred from campus events. Here is a gem from the comment section of Jackson Lears’s column, “Rutgers U. Should Not Honor Condoleezza Rice”:

Prof. Lears objects to honoring Rice by giving her a prestigious forum and granting her an honorary degree; my guess is that he’d be perfectly happy to have her speak at a university sponsored colloquium where the traditional academic practice of give-and-take discussion and debate could allow for a more thorough and nuanced consideration of the issues.

This defense, though common, is nonsense. First of all, just as much controversy and censorship happen at lower-stakes speaking engagements. As an easy reference point, take yours truly. I won’t go down the long, long list of thwarted attempts I made to engage “across the aisle” on my state university campus, but this essay should give the reader a taste of what happens when someone challenges campus orthodoxy.

You get the wacko protestors harassing presenters, online petitions, grandstanding at department meetings, and no nuanced consideration of anything you say. If you’ve become such a public scandal that pro bono lawyers admire your heroism and pitch in to help, you may survive the tenure-review process. If nobody off campus knows about it, the censors will exploit your obscurity and self-imposed silence. You’ll be getting a “no” at tenure-review time and will be dumped on the job market as just another desperate academic looking for work.

[...]

On April 5, 2014, there was a conference scheduled by Stanford University’s Anscombe Society. Ryan Anderson, Kellie Fiedorek, and I were invited to speak at the event. This is precisely what the apologists for commencement censorship claim exists as an alternative: bring in opposing voices at events designed for debate instead of ruining kids’ graduation day with politics. Right?

Wrong. The Orwellian academy would not let us sing. According to “queer” students (who apparently have little understanding of the originally defiant and transgressive implications of “queerness”), Ryan, Kellie, and I would cause delicate and unstable homosexual students to kill themselves. This, in spite of the fact that Ryan has spoken to Stanford’s law school in the past without incident, and I am a flaming queer who writes dirty novels about gay sex.

But these students were eager to demonize me, the Afro-Caribbean Sino-Malayan queer Army veteran raised by a divorced lesbian in blue-collar Buffalo, who survived homelessness and cancer, then climbed out of a world of crime and abjection to become a world-traveled polyglot delivering speeches about children’s rights to hundreds of thousands of people in Paris. When do I get to be that inspiring story of overcoming adversity?

Thanks to the courage of Stanford’s Anscombe Society President Judy Romea and the assistance of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the Stanford event was not derailed. One thing that differentiates the Stanford event is the fact that Kellie, Ryan, and I chose not to leave the pigpen undisturbed. All three of us “faced the music” and went to Palo Alto to present, even in the face of student protests and hostility. The experience leads me to conclude that the wrong choice is simply to avoid the groups that attempt to censor opposition. The speakers who have been targeted bear as much duty to defy resistance and speak, as the academic community bears to engage in the activity that Arendt believes makes human beings unique: listening and “thinking.”

I would explain the ins and outs of Stanford’s controversy, including why certain passages of the university code were cited first by the censors, then by the anti-censors, but Public Discourse does have word limits, and life is short. As we see in all these censorship campaigns, the details are long and convoluted, and they grow more so, as the grunting pigs cite bureaucratic rules, safety regulations, student committee bylaws, funding provisos, and mission statements, to claim that they’re legally justified in dehumanizing other people and preventing them from speaking. Bureaucratic sadism thrives among those afflicted with intellectual cowardice.

While conservatives can certainly be priggish and uptight, it is largely liberals who populate the plush pigsties of Orwell’s Animal Farm these days. The left has become so comfortable that they think this—this distasteful caballing and snickering and demonizing—is the way things ought to be. And unfortunately, they have the power to shape campus culture.

I hope they like the pigpens of their own making.

That last turns out not to be merely an eliptical, however.  Because word is, they don’t really like it at all.   In fact, it has them “fuming.”  Which is ironic, because they trained the very cadre of (TRIGGER ALERT) self-righteous, ubiquitously potential victims now tormenting them to do just that — and it urns out those intellectual chickennnnnnnnnnnnsssss...are coming home to roost!

The problem with selling your soul to be eaten last is that, well, eventually all the hors d’oeuvres run out and you’re what’s for dinner.  To borrow from Kris Kristofferson, I hope the going up was worth the coming down.

 

Posted by Jeff G. @ 2:28pm
76 comments | Trackback

Comments (76)

  1. Somebody somewhere online suggested all this censorship and panicky moralizing is the left’s last desperate gasp to maintain it’s stranglehold on the terms of debate, or words to that effect. So, do we agree? Or do we think that the new new (new?) left, like Lt. Col. Frank Slade (ret), is just getting warmed up?

  2. I think they think they are just getting warmed up. From the Obama administration’s bald lies down to local cops’ unions protecting their own, they see the “success” they have had in the past, and feel emboldened to push further. The fact the the percentage of people that are seeing through their bullshit is slowing growing is not registering with these folks. They can’t be wrong in anything because they believe in all the right things.

  3. Here’s the buggered (– I don’t think he’d mind the pun –) repaired link to Mr. Lopez fine piece.

    About Hannah Arendt’s various schemata . . . . take ‘em in (or on) but use plenty of grains of salt.

  4. OT: Howard Dean says “Republicans aren’t Americans”. (Because they want people to prove that they are citizens before they vote, apparently. I wonder if the people cheering had to show ID to get into that speech forum?)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvsCDgekoCM

  5. I think not only are they just warming up, OUR side, becoming desperate and demoralized, are adopting the tactics of the left. Dehumanization and Alinsky’s rules are not just for lefties anymore.

    This is one reason I think the Republic is beyond salvation.

  6. Dehumanization and Alinsky’s rules are not just for lefties anymore.

    Some specificity would help our understanding there.

  7. As the Left is warming up, they’re singing in unison…

    Just once in a lifetime
    There’s one special moment
    One wonderful moment
    When fate takes your hand
    And this is the moment
    My once in a lifetime
    When I can explore
    A new and exciting land

    For once in my lifetime
    I feel like a giant
    I soar like an eagle
    As tho’ I had wings

    For this is my moment
    My destiny calls me
    And tho’ it may be just once in my lifetime
    I’m gonna do great things

    Just once in my lifetime
    I feel like a giant
    I soar like an eagle
    As though I had wings

    For this is my moment
    My destiny calls me
    And tho’ it may be just once in my lifetime
    I’m gonna do great things

    [from Stop The World I Want To Get Off...and I do.]

  8. The speakers who have been targeted bear as much duty to defy resistance and speak, as the academic community bears to engage in the activity that Arendt believes makes human beings unique: listening and “thinking.”

    OK, so let’s say Condi Rice shows up anyway and decides that it’s probably a good time to put in a good word for not dehumanizing one’s enemies. What does she say so that they’ll listen? Or at least so that the persuadable will be moved? The sociopaths will only become enraged no matter what.

    Bureaucratic sadism thrives among those afflicted with intellectual cowardice.

    That would require first that they have intellects to be cowardly about. They do not, nor are they remotely aware of what’s missing. They instead, finding themselves with brute force to wield, do so against their enemies because it feels so damned good to get your way all the time.

    While conservatives can certainly be priggish and uptight

    Why yes. Yes they can. I will never understand those Christians who can’t just rejoice that people are headed in the right direction without bitching about what car someone else is driving.

    Or do we think that the new new (new?) left … is just getting warmed up?

    It’s just wishful thinking to attribute their bad behavior to a last gasp. Where’s the encroachment on their turf? Where are they forced to cede territory, to “allow the other guy to speak”? Who among the shouters is getting religion and chastising their former peers? Which comedian on the left has turned against them to any effect?

    Bevin lost to McConnell. The leftward ratchet just clicked over another notch.

  9. That’s a shame about Bevin.

  10. >That’s a shame about Bevin.<

    i support the demonrat now. kick this pos to the side of the road.

  11. As good a reason as any and better than most.

  12. I think not only are they just warming up, OUR side, becoming desperate and demoralized, are adopting the tactics of the left. Dehumanization and Alinsky’s rules are not just for lefties anymore.

    That’s one way to look at it.

    The other way would be to notice what the enemy is doing to you that appears to be effing WORKING and apply it to them.

  13. “Some specificity would help our understanding there.”

    Silence Hobbit!

  14. tom corbett claims 100% vote
    http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/Default.aspx?EID=41&ESTID=1&CID=0&OID=0&CDID=0&PID=0&DISTID=0&IsSpecial=0

    sorry i voted for the other guy who you didn’t want on the ballot because he was on the ballot. shop banana republic for the positional feel good stuff.

  15. Alinskyite tactics are of limited benefit to the right overall. Sure, we can do a better job of fixing & freezing (or whatever the phrase is) –e.g. “you sir/madam, are a lying sack of shit.” But there’s no way to hold them accountable to their own standards.

    At least not short of civil war.

    And that fixing & freezing thing gets tough, Not because you become a target for the leftist media apparatchiks, you already were, but because far too many of those ostensibly on your side will happily knife you in the back in a vain attempt to curry favor with those very same apparatchiks.

    I think we’re better off neutralizing Alinskyite tactics by delegitimizing them.

  16. Whether it is a warmup or a last gasp will depend on future events. The attack that we call “the battle of the bulge” is now looked on as a last gasp but neither side thought it was so while it was ongoing. Only when the result of what the left is doing is known will we know what to call it.

    On “trigger warnings” they only really want them for far left authors and even there I doubt they want them or will demand them too loudly. What they want is the ability to eliminate certain texts and authors from being read at all. Said texts/authors to be decided ad hoc and changed as needed.

    Anything could be a trigger — a smell, song, scene, phrase, place, person, and so on. Some triggers cannot be anticipated, but many can.

    Remove triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.

  17. I think we’re better off neutralizing Alinskyite tactics by delegitimizing them.

    That’s good. I’d just like to “trigger” the little bitches to death.

  18. But there’s no way to hold them accountable to their own standards. – See more at: http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=53749#comment-1081719

    I have to agree with this. Someone has to actually HAVE standards before they can be held to them, and those on the Left have no standards, therefore experience no cognitive dissonance when applying differing standards in different situations, even when those standards are diametrically opposed.

    An example was pointed out on an earlier thread, where the banks of gun sellers are being threatened:

    banks — “you are not allowed to have these people as customers”
    bakers/photographers — “you are required to have these people as customers”

    It’s all about the Favored Victim Class, and if you are not in that class, it doesn’t even matter what you might have to say, your opinion doesn’t count. It simply does not exist, so there is no attack they recognize.

    Newt Gingrich? He cheated on his wife, so anything he might have to say about the economy is invalid.
    Bill Clinton? He cheated on his wife, but he voted the right way on abortion, so anything he wants to say about anything at all is taken as gospel, and HE gets the credit for the GOP’s balancing of the federal budget.

    Al Gore? He is saying the right words about global warming, so he’s allowed to live in that 30,000 square foot mansion that uses more energy than any ten families elsewhere. Don’t forget he won an Oscar, so he’s entitled to fly his personal jet to those public speeches where he tells everyone else to quit flying planes.
    Climate science skeptics? Throw ‘em in jail!

    There are literally thousands of examples where Democrats are given a pass for things that would get the average citizen jailed (DUI and crashing into a police car at 3am? No problem, because he’s a Kennedy on the way to a vote!), while Republicans are crucified and their families publicly shamed and their garbage dug through for daring to point out that Harry Reid is responsible for denying a vote to keep the government shutdown from happening.

    In fact, simply pointing out that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 1,847 days is racist.

  19. Someone has to actually HAVE standards before they can be held to them, and those on the Left have no standards,

    Just double ones.

    Alinsky’s tactics are those of a manipulative sociopath vs decent society. They can’t be turned around effectively because you can’t shame the shameless.

    I hope you’ve all taken the time to watch this video over at David’s. As I said in the comments

    It was like listening to a pair of Nazis in 1930 discuss why Jews shouldn’t have the floor because they only engage in Big Lies. Nazis, they can speak at length for as long as they want, but if a Jew tries to deliver a speech, they have to accept the consequences.

    The arrogance of those two women (you’ll know which two) is astounding. They genuinely believe that the orthodoxy they enforce is unassailable and that any challenges thereto are by definition wrong.

    I was especially amused at the conceit that those controversial speakers shouldn’t be allowed to hold the floor, uninterrupted, in front of impressionable students.

    ::headdesk::

  20. i support the demonrat now. kick this pos to the side of the road

    The Establicans need to be yanked back hard, and at this point, I don’t care who does the yanking. Our own Nick Searcy is calling for us to get behind Mitch to fight the Dems, but there’s one problem with that — Mitch doesn’t fight the Dems; he fights us.

    No, I didn’t take him on, because I know how well that would go. Maybe later.

  21. It’s not that they don’t have any standards. Nor, for that matter is it the case that they have two standards (one for them, one for everybody else). Rather, it’s that their standard is that of Machiavelli and Nietzsche, best summarized by Malcolm X: “By any means necessary.”

    So, civil war, or at least the creditable threat thereof, might literally be the only way to hold them accountable to their own standard.

    So we’re back Obama’s favorite Chicago political philosopher, the fictional Jim Malone.

    If he’s going to accuse us of pulling a knife to justify pulling a gun, what are we prepared to do?

  22. When Establican incumbents are denied their aristocratic right to leave office when they see fit, because the smelly mass of ignorant boobs known as “the electorate” decided to undeferentially toss them to the curb, do they support the nominee in order to “fight the Dems?”

    Recent history suggests not.

  23. If he’s going to accuse us of pulling a knife to justify pulling a gun, what are we prepared to do?

    For some reason coincidentally I’ve been puzzling over the knife-gun metaphor all day, though without a satisfactory result thus far. Still, the sense I’m working toward is something along the lines of the two dullard doctrinaire women dicentra cites above as the “knife” and Homer taught at Hillsdale, for instance, as the gun. But I’m sure someone else can make a better go at this.

  24. you go with grimes because mitchy suks. tea party victory! let harry reid be an idiot for “2 moar years”

  25. he two dullard doctrinaire women dicentra cites above as the “knife” and Homer taught at Hillsdale, for instance, as the gun.

    If moving at a glacial pace is good enough, then yeah. Unfortunately, the culmination of the Long March is not the pendulum swinging the other way but the pendulum being seized and used to brain their opposition senseless.

  26. harry reid and the koch bros need 2 more years

  27. A truthful pace will do, regardless of the speed, I reckon. Of course, no one would expect every single auditor to take an interest, but on the contrary, to self-select themselves into a happy ignorance where that is their firm conviction.

  28. There’s this.

  29. They genuinely believe that the orthodoxy they enforce is unassailable and that any challenges thereto are by definition wrong.

    A human condition, only dangerous when those who’ve decreed their path is shining and their science is settled have acquired the means to harm those daring to disagree.

  30. go cherokee

  31. OT:

    A new hashtag opportunity arises. One question is will China feel robbed of their property? Or is this a case where they have a surfeit.

  32. Some Nigerians have been kicking Boko Haram anatomy in retaliation for the the kidnappings. Maybe some Camerooners, uh, Cameroonians, er, Cameroonies can follow suit.

  33. . . . will China feel robbed of their property?

    This induces a recollection of tales of the Soviet’s handling of abductions of their own embassy (read, KGB) types in Lebanon back in the bad old 70s, as contrasted with the US reactions to similar mistreatments of our public servants there. The Soviets figured out who they were dealing with in particular, it was said, abducted family members of that group and sent their testicles to the bosses in a bag.

    China may take a similar stance against evincing signs of weakness with Boko Haram. Wouldn’t want to look like mere copies of the ClownDisaster, now would they?

  34. >There’s this.<

    oh my

  35. Our own “Uncle Joe”, the farce version.

    “I’m here to say on behalf of the president what I hope you already know: You can count on us. Period,” Biden said while touring a Romanian air base. “We do what we say, and we mean what we say.”

    When a Dem says “trust me” run fast.

  36. When a Dem says “trust me” run fast.

    Checking your wallet is also a good idea.

  37. Joe doesn’t even try to keep a straight face anymore, does he?

  38. When a Dem says “trust me” run fast.

    Then too, when any progressive uses “Period” in a statement it’s a giveaway, ’cause ya know damned well they’re blowing a “dog whistle” to a crowd who believe — contrary to progressivism — that certain principles have to be held over and above the progressive’s individual interests, “living” interests, which alone are progressive principle.

  39. To briefly return to the idea of utilizing Alinskyite tactics, given the growing awareness of just how puritanically intolerant the left in this country has become towards those who don’t submit to the tenents of their pseudo-faith, there might be something to be gained from calling them out on that publicly and repeatedly. But I don’t consider that to be so much applying Rules for Radicals to the Left as simply telling the truth about them.

    You may now resume mocking that embarrassment to used car salesmen who presently occupies the office of the vice presidency.

  40. “Our own Nick Searcy”

    Fuck Nick Searcy, and most especially his enablers.

  41. Alinsky tactics are political terrorism. My belief is the right utilizing Alinskyite tactics is like our military using terrorist tactics because the enemy does and they appear to be effective.

    To paraphrase Matthew, what benefit if you win the nation, but we lose our soul?

  42. Searcy is wrong about Mush McConnell, but he’s no surrender monkey.

  43. If it’s war, the question about Alinsky tactics is, what would Sun Tzu do?

    I don’t think he’d rule out distasteful tactics if ruling them out means the bad guys win. Worried about going to hell? YOU’RE AT WAR. WAR IS HELL.

  44. Our own Nick Searcy is calling for us to get behind Mitch to fight the Dems, but there’s one problem with that — Mitch doesn’t fight the Dems; he fights us.

    Nick seems to fail to realize that the partisan divide in DC is just a set and they’re all part of the same production. You’d think a Hollywood actor would spot that.

  45. Right or wrong, whomever.

    I’m afraid of Dicentra and she’s afraid of Nick.

    I finally went and read what she’s afraid of.

    I’ve seen better from the trolls here.

  46. Searcy still may imagine actually working in Kentucky, no? So he’s got a personal dog in that hunt.

  47. I’m with jsjbst, nuke the Democrat.

  48. No, I didn’t take [Searcy] on, because I know how well that would go. Maybe later.

    He’s now blocked me, so no. Also found out that Killer Bunny Foo Foo blocked me, but that’s no surprise, nor any kind of loss. She was on that endless thread that had Jeff ripping out his hair a few weeks back.

  49. Searcy still may imagine actually working in Kentucky, no?

    They shoot Justified in Kentukifornia, so maybe not.

  50. I’m not afraid of Nick, I just know you can’t argue with him on Twitter, because he’s there to kick ass and kick ass — no bubble gum ever figures in.

  51. I’ve seen you kick ass, dice.

    From my limited review of his stuff, don’t sell yourself short.

  52. I’m with guinspen.

    I just don’t have the stomach to kidnap schoolgirls, much less sell them into slavery.

    I maintain the very virtues that draw one to constitutional conservatism repel one from dehumanizing the opposition. Better to demoralize them with superior firepower ideas.

  53. Dicentra, re , it may come to pass that the South shall rise again. If there is going be any reversal of the pendulum swing of doom, it ain’t happening in the North.
    Mike Church had a guest on this morning from some institute dedicated to reexamining the history and early power of the South and how decentralization of power from Washington is the way to reclaim federalism.
    Trigger warning, I’m about to invoke states’ rights. And no, it’s not a secession is slavery dog whistle. It’s about withdrawing the consent of the governed at the individual and state level. Some southern and western states might have the gumption to do so. And, yes, I’m as Yankee as you can get, considering I still root for the Red Sox.

  54. Sorry, that was in response to: “I’m with jsjbst, nuke the Democrat.”

  55. add “there’s this” to beginning. Who knew carats would make something invisible?

  56. “I just don’t have the stomach to kidnap schoolgirls, much less sell them into slavery.”

    Nevermind, then. Consider us no longer together.

  57. From my limited review of his stuff, don’t sell yourself short.

    Just now, over the McConnell win, he pronounced me boring and blocked me.

    Can’t rip him a new one if I’m blocked.

    He’s not on Twitter to be argued against; he’s there to thwap sanctimonious left-wing trolls, which, more power to him.

  58. Trigger warning, I’m about to invoke states’ rights.

    In the West, states’ rights has always been tied up in land-use issues, never with slavery or race, because we were never slave states or even free states until well after the war — we were just a lot of tumbleweed and jackalopes while the rest of y’all fought it out.

    Most people, including some blacks, escaped to the West to get away from all that anyway. We don’t have allegiance to the South’s language about “war of Northern aggression” or to the Confederate flag or any of that jive, regardless of how badly coastal elites want to pin that malarkey on us.

  59. . . . repel one from dehumanizing the opposition.

    There is or remains however a problem here, albeit not a problem necessarily concerning the “opposition” as such in particular, but a problem concerning human beings generally speaking (among whom your aversion bespeaks to include, necessarily I think, ourselves).

    And that is what we see when we look closely at the so-called bestial potentials lurking in human beings. It isn’t the “dehumanized” that makes the difficulty, but precisely the whole humans in their wholeness, a wholeness which includes what are commonly named inhuman acts and behaviors, acts hardly inhuman in any meaningful sense at all. That is, we can hardly pretend to a shock as we discover the barbaric behavior of the German peoples or allied peoples of the Nazi era, no less than the behaviors of the al-Qaeda or Boko Harams or other nasty associations today.

    Yet we can’t shy from identifying not merely the worse aspects of human nature as such, but the inclinations of particular political or religious movements to encourage or engender those foul aspects of our potentials and to see those potentials actualized. For these too exist at times, despite any wish to the contrary that they would never.

    So between Scylla and Charybdis we must sail. What a knife edge on which to balance, eh?

  60. I think I get what you are saying sdferr. My point is we can’t appeal to our worst aspects, even if the opposition is finding success doing so, without becoming that which opposes us.

    I’m reminded of the Adams quote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people”. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

  61. Yet follow through the implication of that Adams quote in a time in which we are by force of circumstance required to admit that this Constitution no longer governs in the United States. If the Constitution cannot govern a barbaric people as Adams seems to assert, and we are no longer governed by the Constitution, then . . . are we to conclude that we have become a barbaric people, if not one yet fully blossomed in a bloody flower, still one opening in the bud?

  62. That is a depressing conclusion indeed, one I have trouble refuting as I look around at our culture.

    Regaining virtue requires rising above barbarism however. Joining in is counterproductive to the goal.

    Hey, I think constitutional conservatives are well and truly screwed, as is our Republic. We have reached that tipping point Franklin foretold. “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

  63. Why does a six-headed Hillary come to mind when you speak of Scylla?

  64. To tie the two quotes together, I’ll presume to revise Franklin’s quote: When the people become so immoral they have no qualms voting themselves other peoples money, the republic is done, stick a fork in it.

  65. No one suggests decent folk become indecent. The question they must confront is how to live decently in a time of indecency and corruption. Aristotle will have a thing or two to say about that in his Politics, I suppose. We can guess that in part it may involve heads kept down. On the other hand, such a tactic can hardly be useful if change for the better is what’s in need. So, willy-nilly, I think we only arrive back where I generally begin: liberal education. But hey, it’s slow!

  66. So, keep our heads down, then, after we clean up the ashes, start schools that actually educate. May have to close them down during harvest season, though.

  67. The question they must confront is how to live decently in a time of indecency and corruption.

    It’s facile to say “we can’t stoop to their level” when considering using forceful tactics. Remember the difference between pushing an old lady in front of a speeding bus and pushing her out of its path — the same method can often be used to different ends.

    Some of Alinsky’s tactics involved causing major inconveniences to the current order via annoying but non-violent (and only subjectively obnoxious) means. I think of the guarimbas (barricades) in Venezuela, where they block streets and traffic as much as possible, then wear out the cops as they tear down one barricade, only to have it rebuilt as soon as they’re gone.

    Sometimes the full-metal jacket works merely by making the other guy spend all his resources blocking your actions. On the other hand, that’s how the ran Palin out of the governor’s mansion: a steady stream of baseless lawsuits that drained her of resources and forced her to leave.

    Again, the tactic isn’t always what makes us “like them”: it’s the end to which it’s employed.

  68. Uh-oh, IWonPenPhone said “I will not tolerate it. Period.”

    Period.

    And tolerate it is all he has done to date.

    Period.

  69. we only arrive back where I generally begin: liberal education. But hey, it’s slow!”

    Education is for sure the way. The trick is a proverb; train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

    You need to catch them early and teach them what a <I<child should know. The best way to achieve that is within the family, with a wise mother and strong, virtuous father.

    Then you march them off to the schoolhouse to learn the three R’s.

    Unfortunately, in our culture more and more mothers are not wise resulting in fathers being less and less present, much less strong.

    No worries, common core to the rescue!

  70. Crap, open tag. Sorry.

  71. Oy, “our culture” don’t cut no ice with the likes of me. As I said just a couple of days ago, a better example of petitio principi one could hardly hope to find.

  72. OK then.

    Unfortunately, in our culture society more and more mothers are not wise resulting in fathers being less and less present, much less strong.

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