For the record, I cop to being a “nativist.” I prefer policies that explicitly favor the existing American citizenry, the people born here, i.e., the natives. I’m somewhat impressed that Pethokoukis and his ilk have managed to redefine this age-old, bedrock political principle as radical and “racist.” It’s like forcing people to say the sky is green—a real propaganda feat, at which hats must be tipped in awe. But acknowledging leftist success as blunt force propagandists doesn’t require accepting the underlying lie.
By etymology, a native to a place is a person born in that place. Should immigration and other policies of a nation favor those born there? Of course. That is just common sense. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people must of course be FOR the people, and these people are not people in general but the people of the nation in question. The United States government, for example, exists to benefit the people of the United States. That is its main task regardless of any subsidiary tasks it may take on such as foreign disaster relief.
So there is an innocuous and defensible sense of 'nativism.' It has nothing to do with xenophobia. 'Liberals' know this, of course, but for their ideological purposes they ride roughshod over the distinction.
And of course it has nothing to do with 'racism.'
Some 'liberals' accuse opponents of illegal immigration of being racists; but this betrays a failure to grasp a simple point, namely, that illegal immigrants do not form a race. Is this difficult to understand?
And while we are on the delightful topic of race, let me point out to our liberal pals that Muslims are not a race either. Muslims are adherents of the religion, Islam, and these adherents are of different races and ethnicities. Got that?
So if a conservative objects to the immigration of Sharia-supporting Muslims, his objection has nothing to do with race.
I apologize to the intelligent for making points so obvious; but given willfull 'liberal' self-enstupidation, these things cannot be repeated too often.
Hence my political burden of proof:
As contemporary 'liberals' become ever more extreme, they increasingly assume what I will call the political burden of proof. The onus is now on them to defeat the presumption that they are so morally and intellectually obtuse as not to be worth talking to.
What exactly is the alternative right (alt-right), and how does it differ from other views on the right?
Yesterday I argued that John Derbyshire's definition is useless because too broad. Jacques by e-mail contributes the following:
If the alt-right is simply the (or a) right-wing alternative to the mainstream or dominant kind of conservatism, you count as alt-right if and only if you reject at least some of the central ideas of the mainstream dominant kind of conservatism and your general orientation is right-wing. The definition does imply that the alt-right differs from some other forms of conservatism or rightism, and we can specify these kinds of differences by specifying the central tenets of mainstream conservatism. You might well be alt-right under this definition.
For example, it's a tenet of mainstream conservatism that there are no important natural racial differences; if you disagree, you're in the alt-right. You might not think so, because you don't agree with tribalists and anti-semites who also oppose mainstream conservatism for different reasons, and with different right-wing agendas. But my definition is appropriately broad and vague: the alt-right is a big tent, since there are so many things wrong with mainstream conservatism that otherwise right-wing people can object to for many different and incompatible reasons. This is how the term is being used, anyway. Lots of people who call themselves 'alt-right' and get called 'alt-right' by others are not anti-semites, for example; some of them are even (non-anti-semitic) Jews. You can be 'alt-right' under my definition even though you disagree with lots of others in the 'alt-right' about lots of important things. Just like a Calvinist and an Anglican can both be Protestants. What do you think?
I take Jacques to be saying that if I disagree with even one tenet of mainstream conservatism, then that makes me a 'big tent' alt-rightist. He brings up the question whether there are important natural racial differences, and maintains that it is a "tenet of mainstream conservatism" that there are none. I think this is correct if we take the mainstream conservative to be maintaining, not that there are no natural (as opposed to socially constructed) racial differences, but that such differences are not important. The idea is that 'blood' does not, or rather ought not matter, when it comes to questions of public policy. Consider immigration policy. Should U. S. immigration policy favor Englishmen over Zulus? If race doesn't matter, why should Englishmen be preferred? If race doesn't matter, both groups should assimilate just as well and be beneficial to the host population in the same measure.
So one question concerns what a mainstream conservative is:
Q1. Do mainstream conservatives hold that there are natural racial differences but that they don't matter, or that that there are no such natural differences to matter?
The answer depends on who best represents mainstream conservatism. What do you say, Jacques?
Suppose the mainstream conservative holds that there are natural racial differences, but that they don't matter. If I hold that they do matter, then I am not a mainstream conservative, and my position is some sort of alternative to mainstream conservatism. But I don't think that this difference alone would justify calling me an alt-rightist since 'alt-right' picks out a rather more specific constellation of theses.
If you want the short answer for why the Arab world is sliding into the abyss, look no further than this little incident. It did itself in chiefly through its long-abiding and all-consuming hatred of Israel, and of Jews.
[. . .]
Yet the fact remains that over the past 70 years the Arab world got rid of its Jews, some 900,000 people, while holding on to its hatred of them. Over time the result proved fatal: a combination of lost human capital, ruinously expensive wars, misdirected ideological obsessions, and an intellectual life perverted by conspiracy theory and the perpetual search for scapegoats. The Arab world’s problems are a problem of the Arab mind, and the name for that problem is anti-Semitism.
[. . .]
Anti-Semitism makes the world seem easy. In doing so, it condemns the anti-Semite to a permanent darkness.
Today there is no great university in the Arab world, no serious indigenous scientific base, a stunted literary culture. In 2015 the U.S. Patent Office reported 3,804 patents from Israel, as compared with 364 from Saudi Arabia, 56 from the United Arab Emirates, and 30 from Egypt. The mistreatment and expulsion of Jews has served as a template for the persecution and displacement of other religious minorities: Christians, Yazidis, the Baha’i.
If you fancy yourself clear-thinking, then you ought to be very careful with the word 'over-represent' and its opposite. They are ambiguous as between normative and non-normative readings. It is just a fact that there are proportionately more Asians than blacks in the elite high schools of New York City. But it doesn't follow that this state of affairs is one that ought not be, or that it would be better if there were proportional representation. So don't say that the Asians are 'over-represented.' For then you are trading in confusion. You are blurring the distinction between the statement of a fact and the expression of a value judgment.
Consider the sports analogy. Asians are 'under-represented' on basketball teams. That is a fact. But it doesn't follow that this state of affairs is one that ought not be, or that it would be better if there were proportional representation. Enforced proportional representation would adversely affect the quality of basketball games. Women are over-represented among massage therapists. Is that bad? Of course not.
Since we are now back to the delightful and heart-warming topic of race/ ethnicity/ gender, let's talk about Jews! They are 'over-represented' in the chess world so much so that there is much truth to the old joke that chess is Jewish athletics. Should the government do something about this 'problem'? (This is what is called a rhetorical question.)
I once told my Jewish and Israeli friend Peter that I had never met a stupid Jew. He shot back, "Then you've never lived in Israel." The very alacrity of his comeback, however, proved (or at least provided further evidence for) my point.
I have noticed, however, that Jews get nervous when you point out that, as a group, they are more intelligent than some other groups I won't mention. I finally figured out what makes them nervous. Jews are a small minority who have been hounded and persecuted and slaughtered through the centuries. They don't like to 'stick out.' They prefer to 'lay low.' Can you blame them? That is at least part of the explanation as to why they don't want attention drawn to them.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that I am not now, and never have been, either an Asian or a Jew or an Israeli. And the chances of becoming one of these is either zero, or near zero.
I am a chess player, however, a patzer/potzer to employ a choice word of Yiddish, presumably from the German patzen, to make a mess, or do something incompetently. But be careful! Should our paths cross in some coffee house, chances are good that I will clean your clock!
Everybody profiles. Liberals are no exception. Liberals reveal their prejudices by where they live, shop, send their kids to school, and with whom they associate.
The word 'prejudice' needs analysis.
It could refer to blind prejudice: unreasoning, reflexive (as opposed to reflective) aversion to what is other just because it is other, or to an unreasoning pro-attitude toward the familiar just because it is familiar. We should all condemn blind prejudice. It is execrable to hate a person just because he is of a different color, for example. No doubt, but how many people do that? How many people who are averse to blacks are averse because of their skin color as opposed to their behavior patterns? Racial prejudice is not, in the main, prejudice based on skin color, but on behavior.
'Prejudice' could also mean 'prejudgment.' Although blind prejudice is bad, prejudgment is generally good. We cannot begin our cognitive lives anew at every instant. We rely upon the 'sedimentation' of past experience. Changing the metaphor, we can think of prejudgments as distillations from experience. The first time I 'serve' my cats whisky they are curious. After that, they cannot be tempted to come near a shot glass of Jim Beam. They distill from their unpleasant olfactory experiences a well-grounded prejudice against the products of the distillery.
My prejudgments about rattlesnakes are in place and have been for a long time. I don't need to learn about them afresh at each new encounter with one. I do not treat each new one encountered as a 'unique individual,' whatever that might mean. Prejudgments are not blind, but experience-based, and they are mostly true. The adult mind is not a tabula rasa. What experience has written, she retains, and that's all to the good.
So there is good prejudice and there is bad prejudice. The teenager thinks his father prejudiced in the bad sense when he warns the son not to go into certain parts of town after dark. Later the son learns that the old man was not such a bigot after all: the father's prejudice was not blind but had a fundamentum in re. The old man was justified in his prejudgment.
But if you stay away from certain parts of town are you not 'discriminating' against them? Well of course, but not all discrimination is bad. Everybody discriminates. Liberals are especially discriminating. The typical Scottsdale liberal would not be caught dead supping in some of the Apache Junction dives I have been found in. Liberals discriminate in all sorts of ways. That's why Scottsdale is Scottsdale and not Apache Junction.
Is the refusal to recognize same-sex 'marriage' as marriage discriminatory? Of course! But not all discrimination is bad. Indeed, some is morally obligatory. We discriminate against felons when we disallow their possession of firearms. Will you argue against that on the ground that it is discriminatory? If not, then you cannot cogently argue against the refusal to recognize same-sex 'marriage' on the ground that it is discriminatory. You need a better argument. And what would that be?
'Profiling,' like 'prejudice' and 'discrimination,' has come to acquire a wholly negative connotation. Unjustly. What's wrong with profiling? We all do it, and we are justified in doing it. Consider criminal profiling.
It is obvious that only certain kinds of people commit certain kinds of crimes. Suppose a rape has occurred at the corner of Fifth and Vermouth. Two males are moving away from the crime scene. One, the slower moving of the two, is a Jewish gentleman, 80 years of age, with a chess set under one arm and a copy of Maimonides'Guide for the Perplexed under the other. The other fellow, a vigorous twenty-year-old, is running from the scene.
Who is more likely to have committed the rape? If you can't answer this question, then you lack common sense. But just to spell it out for you liberals: octogenarians are not known for their sexual prowess: the geezer is lucky if he can get it up for a two-minute romp with a very cooperative partner. Add chess playing and an interest in Maimonides and you have one harmless dude.
Or let's say you are walking down a street in Mesa, Arizona. On one side of the street you spy some fresh-faced Mormon youths, dressed in their 1950s attire, looking like little Romneys, exiting a Bible studies class. On the other side of the street, Hells (no apostrophe!) Angels are coming out of their club house. Which side of the street would you feel safer on? On which side will your concealed semi-auto .45 be more likely to see some use?
The problem is not so much that liberals are stupid, as that they have allowed themselves to be stupefied by that cognitive aberration known as political correctness.
Their brains are addled by the equality fetish: everybody is equal, they think, in every way. So the vigorous 20-year-old is not more likely than the old man to have committed the rape. The Mormon and the Hells Angel are equally law-abiding. And the twenty-something Egyptian Muslim is no more likely to be a terrorist than the Mormon matron from Salt Lake City.
Clearly, what we need are more profiling, more prejudgment, and more discrimination (in the good sense). And fewer liberals.
A note on the above image. Suppose all you know about the two individuals is what you see. The point is that the likelihood of the old white lady's being a terrorist is much, much less than the likelihood of the man's being a terrorist. This is what justifies profiling and why it is insane to subject both individuals to the same level of scrutiny. For that would be to assume something obviously false, namely, that both individuals are equally likely to be terrorists.
Again we face the question why liberals are so preternaturally stupid. And again, the answer is that they have enstupidated themselves with their political correctness and their fetishization of equality.
A strange idea has gained currency recently, namely, that racial differences are invented, that race is a social construct, a theory, indeed a false theory. And so we hear David Livingstone Smith, a professor of philosophy from the University of New England, asserting that "Phenotypic diversity is a fact, but race is a theory."
I am tempted to run a pun past his name. It is a temptation I will resist. I've seen him on C-SPAN and I've read too many of his columns from the piss-poor pages of the Grey Lady's Op-Ed section. Nice guy, apparently, lovely wife. But a fool. Judge for yourself.
Some liberal-left idiot is arguing that 'again' in Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' is a racist 'dog whistle.' The suggestion is that Trump wants to bring back slavery and Jim Crow. Yet another proof that there is nothing so vile and contemptible and fundamentally stupid that some liberal won't embrace it. If you think I go too far when I refer to contemporary liberals as moral scum, it is incidents like this that are part of my justification.
Mark Steyn supplies some other 'dog whistles' for your delectation:
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews declared this week that Republicans use "Chicago" as a racist code word. Not to be outdone, his colleague Lawrence O'Donnell pronounced "golf" a racist code word. When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell observed that Obama was "working to earn a spot on the PGA tour," O'Donnell brilliantly perceived that subliminally associating Obama with golf is racist, because the word "golf" is subliminally associated with "Tiger Woods," and the word "Tiger" is not-so-subliminally associated with cocktail waitress Jamie Grubbs, nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, lingerie model Jamie Jungers, former porn star Holly Sampson, etc, etc. So by using the word "golf" you're sending a racist dog whistle that Obama is a sex addict who reverses over fire hydrants.
I must reiterate my principle of the Political Burden of Proof:
As contemporary 'liberals' become ever more extreme, they increasingly assume what I will call the political burden of proof. The onus is now on them to defeat the presumption that they are so morally and intellectually obtuse as not to be worth talking to.
Apparently, nine out of ten American Indians are not offended by the Redskins name, thereby demonstrating that they have more sense than the typical liberal. This calls for a reposting of an entry from August 2013. Enjoy!
'Redskin' Offensive? What About 'Guinea Pig'?
Apparently, the online magazine Slate will no longer be referring to the Washington Redskins under that name lest some Indians take offense. By the way, I take offense at 'native American.' I am a native Californian, which fact makes me a native American, and I'm not now and never have been an Indian.
But what about 'guinea pig'? Surely this phrase too is a racial/ethnic slur inasmuch as it suggests that all people of Italian extraction are pigs, either literally or in their eating habits. Bill Loney takes this (meat) ball and runs with it.
And then there is 'coonskin cap.' 'Coon' is in the semantic vicinity of such words as: spade, blood, spear chucker, spook, and nigger. These are derogatory words used to refer to Eric Holder's people. In the '60s, southern racists expressed their contempt for Martin Luther King, Jr. by referring to him as Martin Luther Coon. Since a coonskin cap is a cap made of the skin of a coon, 'coonskin cap' is a code phrase used by creepy-assed crackers to signal that black folk ought to be, all of them, on the wrong end of a coon hunt.
'Coonskin cap' must therefore be struck from our vocabulary lest some black person take offense.
But then consistency demands that we get rid of 'southern racist.' The phrase suggests that all southerners are racists. And we must not cause offense to the half-dozen southerners who are not racists.
But why stop here? 'Doo wop' is so-called because many of its major exponents were wops such as Dion DiMucci who was apparently quite proud to be a wop inasmuch as he uses the term five times in succession starting at :58 of this version of 'I Wonder Why' (1958). The old greaseball still looks very good in this 2004 performance. Must be all that pasta he consumes.
'Wop' is from the sound pasta makes when thrown against a wall, something excitable greaseballs often do when tanked up on dago red. Either that, or it means With Out Papers.
I could go on -- this is fun -- but you get the drift, and the serious politically incorrect point of this exercise -- unless you are a stupid liberal.
There is, however, a minor problem with this notion, namely, that Mexican invaders will then have to travel so much farther north to get to a place worth living in.
The graphic below is from a recent Trump protest rally in California. Now Trump's negatives have been on display for a long time and there is no need to recount them. But is he a racist?
You can always count on a liberal to play the race card. And so it is part of their reflexive and unreflective nature to label anyone who is not a liberal a racist. It is a tactic that has proven effective. So of course Trump is called a racist. I see no evidence that he is.
In any case, the issue of illegal immigration is not about race.
Most liberals think that opposition to illegal immigration is anti-Hispanic. Not so. It is true that most of those who violate the nation's borders are Hispanic. But the opposition is not to Hispanics but to illegal entrants whether Hispanic or not. It is a contingent fact that Mexico is to the south of the U.S. If Turkey or Iran or Italy were to the south, the issue would be the same. And if Iran were to the south, and there were an influx of illegals, then then leftists would speak of anti-Persian bias.
To repeat, a salient feature of liberals and leftists -- there isn't much difference nowadays -- is their willingness to 'play the race card,' to inject race into every issue. The issue of illegal immigration has nothing to do with race since illegal immigrants do not constitute a race. There is no such race as the race of 'llegal aliens.' Opposition to them, therefore, cannot be racist. Suppose England were to the south of the U. S. and Englishmen were streaming north. Would they be opposed because they are white? No, because they are illegal aliens.
I apologize to the intelligent for saying things so obvious, but the stupidity of liberals is wide and deep and we must repeat, repeat, repeat. And repeat some more.
"But aren't some of those who oppose illegal immigration racists?" That may be so, but it is irrelevant. That one takes the right stance for the wrong reason does not negate the fact that one has taken the right stance. One only wishes they would take the right stance for the right reasons. Even if everyone who opposed illegal immigration were a foaming-at-the-mouth redneck of a racist, that would not detract one iota of cogency from the cogent arguments against allowing illegal immigration. To think otherwise is to embrace the Genetic Fallacy. Not good.
The destructiveness of the Left extends even unto our alma mater, the English language. London Karl, who sent me the YouTube link, comments:
Guardian writer declares that those who like to use correct grammar are likely to be 'whiter' 'older' and 'wealthier' than those they correct. The irony of her being an editor on a major newspaper escapes her!
Tom owns fewer guns than Tim, not less guns. This is not just a matter of acceptable usage; it reflects a logico-semantic distinction between count nouns and mass terms. The typical leftist, however, is a leveller who cannot tolerate clarity of speech and thought. This is why we define the leftist or contemporary liberal as a person who never met a standard he didn't want to erode.
THE greatest academic gig is that of the black philosopher. Spout hackneyed and malicious political slogans and you will be treated as a paragon of wisdom.
George Yancy is a professor of philosophy at Emory University. In addition to being a rising star in the field of “body politics, ” he specializes in Critical Whiteness Studies. That means: “white subject formation, white racist ambush, white opacity and embeddedness, white complicity, white anti-racist praxis.” In other words, he specializes in anti-philosophical racial grievance and intellectual junk.
Read it all. While I disagree with the Housewife on some things, I don't disagree on her assessment of Yancy.
There are two characteristics common to popular uses of the term “white”: It is almost always used pejoratively, and it is mostly voiced by elites of all backgrounds — and usually as a slur against the white working and “clinger” classes. So “the Latino vote” reflects shared aspirations; “the white vote” merely crude resentment. Those who benefit from affirmative action are not privileged, but those who do not certainly are. Whites cling in Neanderthal fashion to their legal rifles; inner-city youth hardly at all to their illegal handguns. Buying a jet-ski on credit is typical redneck stupidity; borrowing $200,000 to send a kid to a tony private university from which he will graduate more ignorant and arrogant than when he enrolled is wise. White “evangelicals” are puzzling for their crude hypocrisies; not so the refined paradoxes of Congregationalists and Episcopalians. Smoking is self-destruction, while injecting a strain of botulism toxin into your face is not self-mutilation.
Contemporary liberals use 'racist' as an all-purpose semantic bludgeon. It can mean almost anything depending on what the lefty agenda is at the moment. For example, if you point out the dangers of radical Islam you may get yourself labeled a 'racist' even though Islam is not a race but a religion. Examples are legion. Here is one that just came to my attention thanks to Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe:
You’re a private landlord, renting apartments in a building you bought with your savings from years of hard work and modest living. You take pride in maintaining your property, keeping it clean, comfortable, and attractive. You charge a fair rent and treat your tenants with courtesy and respect. Your tenants, in turn, appreciate the care you put into the building. And they trust you to screen prospective tenants wisely, accepting only residents who won’t jeopardize the building’s safe and neighborly character. That’s why you only consider applications from individuals who are employed or in school, whose credit scores are strong, and who have no criminal record.
Most Americans would look at you and likely see a prudent, levelheaded property owner. Not the Obama administration. The Department of Housing and Urban Development warned last week that landlords who refuse to rent to anyone with a criminal record are in violation of the Fair Housing Act and can be prosecuted and fined for racial discrimination. (Emphasis added.)
Next stop: The Twilight Zone. I'll leave it to you to sort though the 'disparate impact' 'reasoning' of the ruling should you care to waste your time.
Obama has proven to be a disaster on all fronts and not just for the United States. And so you are going to vote for Hillary and a third Obama term? You ought to ask yourself what is in the long-term best interest of yourself, your country, and the world. Assuming, of course, that you are not a criminal, a member of Black Lives Matter, a pampered collegiate cry bully . . . .
If white moderates deserve blame for their inaction against Jim Crow, then perhaps moderate Muslims today can be faulted for failing to combat a culture of jihad.
I would add, however, that while Jim Crow has been eliminated, the same cannot be said for the culture of jihad. I should think that this is an important difference. And I would delete the weak-kneed 'perhaps' from the apodosis of the above conditional.
What Case does in his article is expose the double standard involved when one seeks to explain the now-ended racial terror against blacks in the U. S. in terms of a racist culture but fails to explain the ongoing and increasing religious terror wreaked upon the West by Muslim terrorists in terms of a jihadi culture.
As I have said many a time, little would be left of the Left were its members made bereft of their double standards. There are so many of them I was forced to begin a separate category named, appropriately enough, Double Standards.
A reader doesn't get the point of my earlier entry:
Dennis Miller: "Melissa Harris-Perry is a waste of a good hyphen."
So let me explain it. Miller is a brilliant conservative comedian who appears regularly on The O'Reilly Factor. If you catch every one of Miller's allusions and can follow his rap you are very sharp indeed. He has contempt for flaming leftists like Harris-Perry. Realizing that the Left's Alinskyite tactics need to be turned against them, and that mockery and derision can be very effective political weapons, he took a nasty but brilliant jab at her in the above-quoted line.
What makes the jab comical is Miller's willful confusion of the use and mention of expressions, one class of which is the proper name. One USES the name 'Melissa Harris-Perry' to refer to the person in question. This person, the bearer of the name, is not a name or any type of expression. The person in question eats and drinks and fulminates; no name eats and drinks and fulminates. But if I point out that 'Melissa Harris-Perry' is a hyphenated expression, I MENTION the expression; I am talking about it, not about its referent or bearer. When I say that the name is hyphenated I say something obviously true; if I say or imply that the woman in question is hyphenated, then I say or imply something that is either necessarily false or else incoherent (because involving a Rylean category mistake) and thus lacking a truth value. Either way I am not saying anything true let alone obviously true.
But what makes Miller's jab funny? What in general makes a joke funny? This question belongs to the philosophy of humor, and I can tell you that it is no joke. (That itself is a joke, a meta-joke.) There are three or four going theories of humor. One of them, the Incongruity Theory, fits many instances of humor. Suppose you ask me what time it is and I reply: You mean now? If I say this in the right way you will laugh. (If you don't, then, like Achmed the Terrorist, I kill you!) Now what make the joke funny? It is an instance of incongruity, but I will leave the details for you to work out. And the same goes for the joke in parentheses.
It is the same with the Miller joke. Everybody understands implicitly that a name is not the same as its bearer, that some names are hyphenated, and that no human being is hyphenated. Normal people understand facts like these even if they have never explicitly formulated them. What Miller does to achieve his comic effect is to violate this implicit understanding. It is the incongruity of Miller's jab with our normal implicit understanding that generates the humorousness of the situation.
But WHY should it have this effect? Why should incongruity be perceived by us as funny? Perhaps I can get away with saying that this is just the way things are. Explanations must end somewhere.
Am I a pedant or what?
But I am not done.
There is also a moral question. Isn't there something morally shabby about mocking a person's name and making jokes at his expense? Some years back I was taken aback when Michael Reagan referred to George Stephanopolous on the air as George Step-on-all-of-us. A gratuitous cheap-shot, I thought.
But given how willfully stupid and destructive Harris-Perry is, and given that politics is war by another name, is there not a case for using the Left's Alinksyite tactics against them? (Is this a rhetorical question or am I really asking? I'm not sure myself.)
Here is a bit of evidence that Harris-Perry really is a a willfully stupid, destructive race-baiter. There is another in the first entry referenced below.
In light of the Brussels attack and Obama's unbelievably lame 51 second response thereto, in which he once again refused properly to name the source of the carnage, the following re-posting of an entry from over a year ago is justified.
Imagine a history teacher who tells his students that in the American South, as late as the 1960s, certain citizens lynched certain other citizens. Would you say that the teacher had omitted something of great importance for understanding why these lynchings occurred? Yes you would. You would point out that the lynchings were of blacks by whites, and that a good part of the motivation for their unspeakable crimes was sheer racial animus. In the case of these crimes, the races of the perpetrators and of their victims are facts relevant to understanding the crimes. Just to describe the lynchings accurately one has to mention race, let alone to explain them.
I hope no one will disagree with me on this.
Or consider the case of a history teacher who reports that in Germany, 1933-1945, certain German citizens harassed, tortured, enslaved, and executed other German citizens. That is true, of course, but it leaves out the fact that the perpetrators were Nazis and (most of) the victims Jews. Those additional facts must be reported for the situation to be properly described, let alone explained. Not only that, the Nazis were acting from Nazi ideology and the Jew were killed for being Jews.
According to recent reports, some Muslim jihadis beheaded some Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach. Now beheading is not lynching. And religion is not the same as race. But just as race is relevant in the lynching case, religion is relevant in the beheading case. That the perpetrators of the beheadings were Muslims and the victims Christians enters into both an adequate description and an adequate explanation of the evil deeds of the former.
This is especially so since the Muslims were acting from Islamic beliefs and the Christians were killed for their Christian beliefs. It was not as if some merely nominal Muslims killed some merely nominal Christians in a dispute over the ownership of some donkeys.
Bear in mind my distinction between a 'sociological' X and a 'doctrinal' X. Suppose you were brought up Mormon in Idaho or Utah, but now reject the religion. Your being no longer doctrinally a Mormon is consistent with your remaining sociologically a Mormon.
What did Barack Obama say about the beheading? He said: “No religion is responsible for terrorism — people are responsible for violence and terrorism."
Now that is a mendacious thing to say. Obama knows that the behavior of people is influenced by their beliefs. For example, he knows that part of the explanation of the lynchings of blacks by whites is that the white perpetrators held racists beliefs that justified (in their own minds) their horrendous behavior. And of course he knows, mutatis mutandis, the same about the beheading case.
He knows that he is engaging in a vicious abstraction when he sunders people and their beliefs in such a way as to imply that those beliefs have no influence on their actions.
Why then is Obama so dishonest? Part of the explanation is that he just does not care about truth. (This is a mark of the bullshitter as Harry Frankfurt has pointed out in his celebrated On Bullshit.) Truth, after all, is not a leftist value, except insofar as it can be invoked by leftists to forward their agenda. It is the 'progressive' agenda that counts, first, and the narrative that justifies the agenda, second. (Karl Marx, 11th Thesis on Feuerbach: "The philosophers have variously interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it.") Truth doesn't come into it since a narrative is just a story and a story needn't be true to mobilize people to implement an agenda.
There's more to it than that, but that's enough for now. This is a blog and brevity is the soul of blog as some wit once observed.
What is to be done? Well, every decent person must do what he or she can to combat the destructive liars of the Left. It is a noble fight, and may also be, shall we say, conducive unto your further existence in the style to which you have become accustomed.
Let’s dip into the rhetoric of a garden-variety Black Lives Matter march that I observed last November on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It featured “F**k the Police,” “Murderer Cops,” and “Racism Is the Disease, Revolution Is the Cure” T-shirts, “Stop Police Terror” signs, and “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Racist Cops Have Got to Go” chants.
Read it all, and you will see what kind of scum are attacking Free Speech. It is not just the BLM thugs but their enablers such as Obama and Hillary.
One good thing about leftists is that they eat their own. So here is a leftist professor who is attempting to confess her 'white privilege.' She mentions the word 'nigger.' She is not using it any more than I just used it: she is not applying it to anyone. She is talking about the word. She is trying her damndest to toe the party line, but still she gets purged.
If you know the history of communism, you know the historical antecedents of this sort of insanity. The origins of PC are in the CP.
We students in the class began discussing possible ways to bring these issues up in our classes when COMS 930 instructor Dr. Andrea Quenette abruptly interjected with deeply disturbing remarks. Those remarks began with her admitted lack of knowledge of how to talk about racism with her students because she is white. “As a white woman I just never have seen the racism… It’s not like I see ‘Nigger’ spray-painted on walls…” she said.
You should read study my articles infra. Inform yourself and fight back against the forces of liberal-left scumbaggery. By the way, for those of you who went to public schools, infra means 'below.'
I need to bone up on my 'dog whistles.' I wasn't aware until now of most of the following:
For Obama backers, identifying racist “dog whistles” became a favored pastime in 2012. Words like “angry,” “golf,” “skinny,” “Chicago,” “food stamps,” “apartment,” and even “Constitution,” were ascribed some darker meaning that supposedly only white nationalists could hear (although liberal talk show hosts seemed rather attuned to them). Romney was allegedly racist toward African-Americans, toward Palestinians, toward Hispanics, and none of this let up even after he lost.
When, in the effort to address long-term urban poverty in 2014, then-Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan was accused of racism for using another one of those code words, “inner cities,” to describe one of the areas in America plagued by generational poverty. “Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black,’” insisted Representative Barbara Lee, along with a host of finely tuned dog whistle decoders on the left. It is perhaps unsurprising that Barack Obama did not meet with the same criticism for making the same observation while using virtually the same language.
It's worse than I thought.
There are liberals who claim that 'thug' is code for 'nigger.' In truth 'thug' means thug. Look it up. Thugs come in all colors. I say we call a thug a thug and a spade a spade.
As contemporary 'liberals' become ever more extreme and illiberal, they increasingly assume what I will call the political burden of proof. The onus is now on them to defeat the presumption that they are so morally and intellectually obtuse as not to be worth talking to.
Hillary took a shellacking yesterday in the New Hampshire primary, losing to Bernie Sanders by 20 or so points. Time to pull out the race card:
Clinton is set to campaign with the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, unarmed African-Americans who died in incidents involving law enforcement officers and a neighborhood watch representative, respectively. And the campaign, sources said, is expected to push a new focus on systematic racism, criminal justice reform, voting rights and gun violence that will mitigate concerns about her lack of an inspirational message.
Remember Trayvon Martin? He was the black child on the way to the candy store who was brutally murdered by the racist white Hispanic, George Zimmerman.
Like many conservatives, I didn't start out as one. My background is working class, my parents were Democrats, and so was I until the age of 41. I came of age in the '60s. One of my heroes was John F. Kennedy, "the intrepid skipper of the PT 109" as I described him in a school essay written in the fifth grade. I was all for the Civil Rights movement. Musically my heroes were Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. I thrilled to his Blowin' in the Wind and other civil rights anthems.
As I see it, those civil rights battles were fought and they were won. But then the rot set in as the the party of JFK liberals became the extremists and the destructive leftists that they are today. For example, Affirmative Action in its original sense gave way to reverse discrimination, race-norming, minority set-asides, identity politics and the betrayal of Martin Luther King's dream that people be judged "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
As liberals have become extremists, people with moderate views such as myself have become conservatives. These days I am a registered Independent.
The following entry is from November, 2013. One reason to repost it is because a couple of neo-reactionary conservatives have, to my surprise, asked me what is wrong with being a tribalist. I had naively assumed that among philosophers at least tribalism would be deemed a Bad Thing. So I want to give them the opportunity to make a case for tribalism. If they choose to respond, however, I hope they keep it pithy. As one of my aphorisms has it:
Brevity is the soul of blog.
We live in a hyperkinetic age. Short incisive comments are better than long rambling ones, leastways in a venue such as this.
Recent examples of what I am calling tribalism are Juan Williams' and Colin Powell's refusal to condemn the virulently anti-cop thugs that parade under the banner of Black Lives Matter while chanting "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon." It is as if these otherwise outstanding gentlemen identify as blacks first and as Americans second. Tribalism was on prominent display among the jurors in the O. J. Simpson trial. It is evinced by women who will vote for Hillary because she is a woman. The whiff of tribalism is about Geraldo Rivera, whom I greatly respect by the way, when he says things that suggest that he identifies as Hispanic first and as American second.
By the way, let me say that my opposition to tribalism is entirely consistent (as it seems to me) with wanting to keep out of our country those who would destroy it and its culture, at the present time these being radical (or, if you will, orthodox) Muslims, Muslims who support sharia and have no intention of assimilating to American culture and accepting our values. There is nothing tribal about standing up for Western values, values I have already argued are universal even if not universally recognized. The fact that dead white men discovered and promoted these values does not make them racially white values: they are universal values contributory to everyone's flourishing white or black, brown or yellow or red. And let's not leave out pinkos. We're inclusive!
Suppose you present careful arguments against Obama's policies and ideas, foreign or domestic or both. Some black is sure to jump up and shout, "Racist! You hate him because he's black!" Oprah Winfrey is the latest example. There is no point in arguing with such an idiot, argument being fruitful only with those who inhabit the plane of reason; but you must respond. I suggest "If I'm a racist, then you are a tribalist."
If I oppose Obama's policies because he is black, then you support them because he is black. If I'm a racist, then you are a tribalist! If his being black is no reason to oppose his policies, then his being black is no reason to support them either. If racism is bad, then so is your knee-jerk tribalism.
One of the sad facts about American blacks is that many if not most of them cannot seem to transcend their tribal identification. They identify, not as human beings or as rational animals or as Americans, but as blacks. That tribal identification so dominates their consciousness that even the calmest and most polite arguments against Obama's ideas cannot be comprehended except as personal attacks on their man who is, first and foremost, a black man, even though he is half-white. That tribal identification was also at play in the O. J. Simpson trial. The prosecution presented a mountain of evidence of his guilt and yet the black-dominated jury acquitted him of double homicide.
My advice to blacks: if you want to be judged by "the content of your character and not the color of your skin," to adapt the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., then drop the tribal identification. if you want to be treated as individuals, then stop identifying as members of a racial group. Why is your race so important to you? Are you perhaps raaacists?
Two important pillars of the Black Lives Matter perspective are: Claims of racist treatment made by blacks must not be questioned; and at no time should the behaviors of blacks themselves be brought up, since any possibility of blaming the victim must be avoided. These are on display in the most recent writings of CNN correspondent Marc Lamont Hill.
Does anything more need to be said about BLM or Marc Lamont Hill?
My brand of conservatism takes on board what I consider to be good in the old liberal tradition. I like to think that it blends the best of conservatism with the best of liberalism. A couple of sharp young philosophers have surfaced to challenge me, however. Their brand of conservatism looks askance at paleo-liberalism and sees it as leading inevitably to the hard leftism of the present day. So a fruitful intramural debate is in progress. I agree with much of what they say, but I think they go too far in reacting against the lunatic excesses of contemporary liberalism. If I label my interlocutors as neo-reactionary, I mean it descriptively, not pejoratively. I am grateful for their readership and commentary.
I pressed one of the sparring partners for a list of theses, and he came up with the following. My comments are in blue. His remarks and my responses are of course tentative and exploratory. So keep your shirt on.
1. Natural authority and social organization:
(A) Men are natural leaders of any human group. Their natural function is to build and protect society. Some men are natural leaders of other men. Women are nurturers. Their natural function is to raise the people who will compose and inhabit the society. There are exceptions to these broad norms, but any society that attempts to act against these norms will sicken and die in short order.
BV: I agree, but with some important qualifications. I'll start with our agreement. Differences in social role as between the sexes are grounded in hard biological facts. The biological differences between men and women are not 'social constructs.' The male sex hormone testosterone is not a 'social construct' although the words 'hormone' and 'testosterone' and the theory in which which they figure are. That women are better at nurturing than men is grounded in their biological constitution, which lies deeper than the social. This is not to say that all women are good at raising and nurturing children. 'Woman are nurturers' is a generic statement, not a universal statement. It is like the statement, 'Men are taller than women.' It does not mean that every man is taller than every woman.
Does it follow from the obvious biologically-grounded difference between men and women that women should be discouraged from pursuing careers outside the home and entering the professions? Here I begin to diverge from my interlocutors. They don't like talk of equal rights though I cannot see why a woman should not have the same right to pursue a career in medicine or engineering or mathematics or philosophy as a man if she has the aptitude for it. (But of course there must be no erosion of standards.) How do our NRs, who do not like talk of equality, protect women from men who would so dominate them as to prevent them from developing their talents? On the other hand, men as a group are very different from women as a group. So we should not expect equal outcomes. It should come as no surprise that women are 'underrepresented' in STEM fields, or in philosophy.
Why are they 'underrepresented' in philosophy? Because women as a group are not as good at it as men as a group, because women as a group are not as interested in it as men as a group, and because the feminine nature is conciliatory and averse to what they perceive as the aggressive, combative, and hostile aspects of philosophical dialectic. This is surely a large part, if not the whole, of the explanation, especially given the Affirmative Action advantage women have enjoyed over the past half a century. The hostility perceived by women reflects something about the nature of philosophy, namely, that its very lifeblood is dialectic and argument. Argument can be conducted civilly, often is, and of course ought to be. But it still looks to the female nature as a sort of 'fighting,' a sublimated form of the physical combat that men are wont to engage in, even when dialectic at its best is no such thing. So there is something in the nature of philosophy and something about females that explains their 'underrepresentation.' Those are sneer quotes, by the way. Anyone with an ounce of philosophical intelligence can see that the word I am sneering at conflates the factual and the normative. Therefore it shouldn't be used without sneer quotes.
You cannot refute my point about women by citing women who like the blood-sport aspect of philosophy. They are the exceptions that prove the rule. Harriet Baber, for example, who is Jewish and exemplifies the Jewish love of dialectic, writes:
I *LIKE* the blood-sport aspect of philosophy. To me, entering my first philosophy class, freshman year (1967) and discovering that you were not only allowed to fight but that the teacher actually encouraged it was liberating. As a girl, I was constantly squeezed and suppressed into being "nice" and non-confrontational. I was under chronic stress holding back, trying to fudge, not to be too clear or direct. But, mirabile dictu: I got into the Profession and through my undergrad, and, oh with a vengeance in grad school at Johns Hopkins, everything I had been pushed throughout my childhood to suppress, and which I failed to suppress adequately to be regarded as "normal," was positively encouraged.
Anecdote. I once roomed with an analytic philosopher at a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute. I recall a remark he made about philosophical discussion: "If you are not willing to become a bit of an asshole about it, you are not taking it seriously." The guy was obnoxious, but he was right. In a serious discussion, things can get a little tense. The feminine nature shies away from contention and dispute.
If you deny that, then you have no knowledge of human nature and no experience of life. Ever wonder why women are 'overrepresented' among realtors? They excel men when it comes to conciliation and mediation. I don't mean this as a snarky put-down of the distaff contingent. I mean it as praise. And if females do not take it as praise are they not assuming the superiority of male virtues?
It is a non sequitur to think that if the Xs are 'underrepresented' among the Ys, then the Xs must have been the victims of some unjust discrimination. Men are 'underrepresented' among massage therapists, but the explanation is obvious and harmless: men like to have their naked bodies rubbed by women in dark rooms, but women feel uncomfortable having their naked bodies rubbed by men in dark rooms. It is not as if there is some sort of sexism, 'institutional' or individual, that keeps men out of massage therapy.
Blacks are 'overrepresented' in the NFL and the NBA. Is that because of some racism 'institutional' or individual, that keeps whitey out? Of course not. Blacks are better than whites at football and basketball. Jews are just terrible. Chess is their athletics. Jews dominate in the chess world. Is that because the goyim have been suppressed?
Does my talk of blacks and Jews make me a racist and an anti-Semite ? To a liberal-left dumbass, yes. For they are incapable of distinguishing between a statement whose content is race and a racist statement.
As it seems to me, I am treading a via media between the excesses of the neo-reactionaries and the even worse excesses of the leftists. My challenge to the NRs: How can you fail to see the importance of equal treatment of men and women? One of the NRs claimed that the notion of equality of opportunity is vacuous. Why? To require that applicants for a job not be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, or creed, is not vacuous. It has a definite content. That it could use some spelling out is not to the point. What I mean is this. Some creeds are such that people who hold them must be discriminated against. Suppose you are an orthodox Muslim: you subscribe to Sharia and hold that it takes precedence over the U. S. Constitution. You ought to be discriminated against. The U. S. Constitution is not a suicide pact. This is a point that Dr. Ben Carson made recently in connection with eligibility to become POTUS. But the scumbags of the Left willfully misrepresented him.
(B) Real authority is based on personal relationships within which this kind of natural social organization develops and comes to be understood. The institutions of society should reflect this kind of real authority. It is wrong and very dangerous to try to force other structures on to human nature, e.g., the ludicrous spectacle of pregnant women in Europe pretending to be 'defense ministers', reviewing the troops.
BV: My objection is that this is an extreme statement. Taken without qualification, it could be used to justify slavery. A society consisting of slaves and free men is in one obvious sense a "natural social organization." The naturally powerful dominate the weak and enslave them thereby exercising "real authority" over them.
(2) Aristocracy, for lack of a better name: Rule of the Excellent. Democracy in anything like its current form is clearly not an example. Monarchy of some kinds might well be. But in any case, the ideal for me -- which I'm not presently able to articulate in much concrete detail -- is a situation where those who are motivated by a love for their community rule. But I doubt that there is any technique or system that ensures this situation. It's just something that may happen from time to time in the organic development of a culture, perhaps. Or maybe God helps to set up the right preconditions.
BV: Rule of the excellent sounds good! But who are the excellent? Those with titles and/or inherited wealth and the power it brings? The stronger? Does might make right and fitness to rule? Granted, pure democracy would be disastrous. There must be principles that are not up for democratic grabs. But concentrating power in a monarch is just as bad. A system of checks and balances is best. Power corrupts, etc.
(3) Racial, ethnic and national differences and inequality:
(A) Not all human biological groups have the same abilities or interests or psychologies. We should never expect that all races will act the same, achieve the same things, etc.
BV: This is an important truth. The fact that leftists denounce those who express it shows how evil the Left is. Not only do leftists suppress free expression, they suppress free expression of what is obviously true. For the Left it is the narrative, not the truth, that counts. If the truth fits the narrative, then leftists embrace it; if the truth contradicts the narrative, they reject it. Part of their narrative is that everyone is equal or to be made equal. At the same time, their narrative is in the service of their will to power. Power is what they want, the power to level and equalize. In order to achieve this, however, they must be unequal in power to those they would equalize. Herein lies one of the contradictions of the leftist project.
But the truth of (A) is consistent with a framework of equal rights that protect all regardless of sex, race, or (non-destructive) creed.
(B) It is perfectly legitimate, then, for members of a given race to wish to live and work among their own kind.
BV: I tend to agree. As I like to put it, no comity without commonality. One cannot get along with people who do not share one's values. This is why unrestricted legal immigration from Muslim lands, of people who make no effort to assimilate, is insane. I would add that people have a right to their likes and dislikes. More importantly, we have a right to our culture and its preservation, and a right to defend it against those who would destroy it. On top of that, our culture 'works' while theirs doesn't -- which is why they won't stay home. They won't stay home and they bring their inferior religion and culture with them. Or do you deny that Islam is the saddest and poorest form of theism?
But skin color and national origin cannot be the sole criteria here.
I would have no problem with living next door to a Muslim like Juhdi Jasser or blacks like Ben Carson, Juan Williams, Walter Williams, Condoleeza Rice, Shelby Steele, Herman Cain, Jason Riley, et al. and including mulattoes like Colin Powell even though the latter amazingly, and presumably in the grip of tribalism, refused to condemn Black Lives Matters, that thuggish outfit that undermines the rule of law and demonizes police officers. That refusal is as absurd as if I were to refuse to condemn the mafia. "Look, I'm Italian; I can't condemn my own kind!" (The 'tribalism' of blacks, Hispanics, and women is another topic we need to discuss one of these days. And now it occurs that the NRs may be guilty of some tribalism of their own.)
I would welcome that sort of diversity. Diversity, within limits, is good! It is just that leftists, being the willfully stupid stupidos that they are, make a fetish out of it and fail to realize that there is a competing value: unity. But going to the opposite extreme is also bad. See how fair and balanced I am? [grin]
(C) For whites, there are no important benefits to 'racial integration' or 'diversity' and there are some very profound and irreparable harms. Therefore, whites should be race-conscious and reject the false racial guilt that has been programmed into them over the decades by anti-whites, Leftists and hostile non-whites.
BV: This needs some qualification. Popular music has certainly benefited from something like 'racial integration' and cross-fertilization. Think of jazz, blues, rock, etc. This is a huge separate topic. It would be interesting to study the degeneration of black music from the Negro spirituals on down to soul-destroying hip-hop and rap crap. Arguably, one of the reasons blacks will always be on the economic and social bottom of society is because of the base, crude, degrading, and outright evil 'music' they produce and consume. What you pump into your mind is even more important than what you pump into your gut. A diet of dreck is destructive. Of course, the whites that produce, partake of, and profit from this evil shit can't be let off the hook either. (Didn't Bill Bennett go after Sony a while back? By the way, conservatism is not equivalent to support for big corporations!)
Should whites be race-conscious? I have always held the view that blood ought not matter, that race ought not matter, that we ought to try to treat each other as individuals and not as tokens of a type or members of a group. I have always held that before we are men or women, white or black, Gentile or Jew, we are rational animals and indeed spiritual animals made in the imago Dei. We are persons and equal as persons to be treated as ends only and never as means (Kant). We are brothers and sisters with one and the same Father and it is this metaphysical fact, if it is a fact, that underpins our normative equality. Remove this underpinning and the normative equality collapses. (Or can you think of something that could be put in its place?) Empirically, of course, there is no equality among individual or groups. Life is hierarchical as Crazy Fritz liked to say. Nietzsche, who gave aid and comfort to National Socialism, drew the consequences of the death of God quite fearlessly: no God, no truth, no moral world order, no respect for persons as persons. It's all power at bottom: "The world is the will to power and nothing besides!" (Is this why some leftists love him so much?) Nietzsche undermined key supports of our Western heritage with its dual rootage in Athens and Jerusalem. But for my neo-reactionary sparring partners I think I hear the strains of Blut und Boden perhaps supplemented with Blut und Hoden (blood and balls/testicles) with the Horst Wessell Lied playing in the background. I don't mean to be disrespectful to them, but there is a danger here. The danger is that in reacting against the commie Left you end up a fascist.
Does blood matter? Well, it does matter for many, but should it matter? Perhaps the question is this: Is it morally justifiable to tie one's very identity to one's race or ethnicity as opposed to tying it to being zoon logikon or imago Dei? Unfortunately, there are women who identify as women above all else; among them are those who will vote for Hillary because she is a woman! That is despicable. It is as if I were to vote for a man because he is a man. And if we do identify racially, ethnically, sexually, how do we live in peace with one another in a world in which distances have been technologically shrunk and buffers removed?
Dennis Prager harps on the differences between the sexes, differences deeper than any 'social constructing/construing' can reach; but he also maintains that blood does not matter. Is that a logically consistent position? Can one be a sex realist but not a race realist? Is Prager's conservatism at odds with his liberalism? I put the question to myself. Further: Is there a Right race realism and a Left race realism? The above are not rhetorical questions.
(4) Transcendence: There is ultimately no reason to do anything or care about anything unless we can tell some (believable) story about ultimate things. Hence any viable society must have such a story. (I think Christianity is the best.) Right now we in the west are quite literally dying for lack of one. This story should be the basis for political society. (I am not advocating an Iranian style theocracy; but think of how Christianity continues to color everything in our society even though it is explicitly rejected and denounced. Once the Left has really rejected Christianity it will just curl up and die.)
BV: I agree that Christianity is the best of the five great religions. It is supreme among religions. Islam is the worst, the adolescent punk of religions, still 'acting out' after all these centuries, still pissed off over ancient grievances, still angry about the Crusades which were a defensive response to Muslim land-grabs!
We are push-overs for the Islamo-fanatics and their leftist enablers because we no longer believe in ourselves or our great heritage. We have become soft and weak and unwilling to defend the conditions of our soft and prosperous way of life. The abdication of authority on the part of university administrators and professors is just one proof of this. Another is our unwillingness to assume the burdens of procreation. We do not believe in our values and principles sufficiently to transmit them into the future.
Here is the problem. We need a believable narrative about ultimate things. And we may need it as a support of our politics, though this is not obvious to me. (Politics rests on normative ethics which rests on philosophical anthropology which is the metaphysics of human nature and from there we enter the entire constellation of metaphysical questions.) We need an account of the ultimate why and wherefore to keep from lapsing into the somnolent nihilism of Nietzsche's Last Man. I use 'narrative' to hold open the question whether the account must be true to be life-enhancing. A narrative is a story, but a story needn't be true to be a story, whereas the truth needs to be true to be the truth, and it is at least a question whether a narrative must be true to be life-enhancing in the long run. (There is of course the temptation to go pragmatic here and say, with William James, that the true just is the good by way of belief.)
To get to this believable narrative about ultimates, however, we need open inquiry and free discussion, values my neo-reactionary interlocutors seem wary of trumpeting. (They seem to think that any truck with liberalism leads inevitably to the insanities of hard leftism.) We need to arrange the confrontation of different sectors of culture that are at least partially hostile to one another. For example, philosophy and religion are clearly at odds, but each needs the other and each profits from dialogue and some 'fighting' with the other. Philosophy and science are at odds to some extent as well. Left unchastened, science can transmogrify into an absurd scientism, just as religion, left unchastened, can turn into fanaticism and fideism and an embrace of the irrational. The religions need each other too. Judaic legalism and tribalism profits from Christian critique just as the excesses of Buddhist metaphysics (anatta, anicca, dukkha) are curbed by Christian personalism and its eminently more balanced view of impermanence and suffering. If there were some real philosophy in the Muslim world, Muslims would not be so bloody (literally!) fanatical and murderous. Philosophy induces a certain healthy skepticism. And so on. Science versus religion. The vita contemplativa versus the vita activa.
Note that if it is salutary to have a dialog with Buddhism and Hinduism and Taoism and perhaps even witj some of the more respectable strands of Islam such as Sufism (its mystical branch), then we cannot be blood-and-soil nativists: we need to be open-minded and 'liberal.' Being an aporetician, I am driving toward the articulation of a problem: We need a believable, action-guiding narrative. To be believable it must be coherent and rationally supportable. To arrive at such requires the examination and evaluation of competing worldviews. But bitter and protracted disagreement is inevitable. We won't able to agree on the best overall action-guiding narrative. We will splinter apart into a plurality of positions. This weakens us over against the Muslim fascists who would impose a worldview by force and a crappy one at that. Same with the Left: they have no compunction about using the awesome coercive power of the State to bring people into line with their destructive agenda.
(5) Non-neutrality: There is no system of abstract principles neutral with [respect] to the good, e.g., principles about Harm or Equal Freedom or Autonomy. Hence there is no way for the state or any other authority to act on neutral principles. We are always already in the fray, fighting on some side whether we know it or not. The only thing anyone can really do is to try to figure out what is Good and then go from there.
BV: Agreed, we need some substantive theory of the Good. (By the way, aren't all supposedly neutral principles also committed in some substantive way or other? Give me an example of a purely neutral, purely abstract principle.) Trouble is, we disagree about what the ultimate good for man is. The visio beata? The bios theoretikos? Submission to the will of Allah? The maximum of autonomy and self-determination? Pleasure? (Nietzsche: "Man does not seek pleasure; only the Englishman does.") The greatest material well-being of the greatest number?
And of course we will disagree about the metaphysical underpinnings of any theory of the human good or any theory of the purpose of human life.
I suggest that what we need to do is battle the totalitarian forces that would squelch free inquiry: radical Islam, the Left, and the scientisticists (to give an ugly name to an ugly bunch), many of them New Atheists. We need to be intolerant in defense of our space of toleration. We need to be intolerant toward the New Atheist suppression of religion by the Dawkins Gang and their ilk while at the same time tolerating decent atheists. In conjunction with this: defense of our Enlightenment culture by means of a stoppage of illegal immigration; a moratorium on legal immigration from Muslim lands; the destruction of ISIS and other terrorist entities; a vigorous defense of Israel; a more robust confrontation with leftists and other destructive types, especially those who are destroying the universities. That for a start. And of course, when dealing with evil-doers, the threat of physical violence must always be 'on the table.'
"Roughly 150 Black Lives Matter protesters reportedly stormed a library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, Thursday night to berate students studying there for their supposed racial privilege." Here.
The solution, of course, is to expel the BLM thugs. But that would be a 'racist' thing to do. So is it the leftist view that blacks are thuggish by nature and simply cannot be expected to behave in a civilized manner? So who are the real racists here?
TRIGGER WARNING! The above contains careful thought and big words and will upset and offend the 'safe space' crybullies, the BLM thugs, and the liberal- left scum who apologize for them.
Addendum (11/20): If the secular sphere has a 'sacred' space, that would be the university library, the repository of the best thoughts of humanity. The university is finished if such a space is allowed to be invaded and disrupted by thugs and savages.
It has been over fifty years now since the landmark civil rights and welfare legislation of the 1960s, an example of which is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But blacks are still not doing very well. Why? There is an explanation below the fold. But I must issue a 'trigger warning' to the PC-whipped. The opinions of the author may cause grave psychic distress. If you venture below you and you alone accept full responsibility for your distress. DO NOT go there if you identify as liberal, leftist, progressive, socialist, Maoist, as politically correct or (what may be the same thing) if you are opposed to free inquiry, open discussion, free speech, and intellectual honesty.
Robert Paul Wolff over at The Philosopher's Stoneopines:
Ben Carson may just be the most thoroughly despicable person to make a run for the presidency in modern times. So I take particular pleasure in the third quarter financial report that revealed that the good doctor spent 57% of the money he raised -- raising money. I think while he has devoted himself to uttering ugly, contemptible things in his soft, soothing voice someone has been taking him for a ride. I hope his deeply religious supporters appreciate the fact that their dollars are being spent searching for dollars [and running up impressive tabs at expensive eateries -- but that is another story.] Actually, since his biggest fans are faithful attendees at Christian services, they are probably used to this. (Emphasis added.)
Professor Wolff is not just some two-bit blogger, but an accomplished philosopher who has written some good books. But then he posts scurrilous, slanderous stuff like the above. (And this is just one example.)
What explains the Left's hatred of conservative blacks, a hatred so intense that it unhinges otherwise rational people like Wolff? Comments are enabled. I'm interested in your theories.
How is it that if a conservative argues against the ideas or policies of a black leftist such as Obama he is immediately labelled a racist, while if a leftist like Wolff viciously and personally attacks a black conservative while ignoring the content of his remarks, he escapes the charge of racism?
Here is what Dr. Ben Carson said about guns and the Holocaust: "The likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed."
For this and other observations Carson is coming under vicious attack from the Left. What follows is Dennis Prager's commentary:
Those comments were actually labeled anti-Semitic.
Now, while "greatly diminished" is debatable, the general view strikes me as simple common sense: Why wouldn't it have been a good thing if many Jews in 1930s Europe had had weapons? Of course it would not have prevented the Holocaust, but it might have saved some lives; and just as important, it would have enabled armed Jews to die fighting rather than to die unarmed and with no ability to fight. If Jews in Europe had been asked, "Would you like to be armed when the Nazis come to round you up?" what do Carson's critics think the great majority of European Jews would have answered? Indeed, what would the critics themselves answer?
No normal person thinks that armed Jews would have prevented the Holocaust (nor did Carson make such a claim). But no normal person should think that it would have not have been a good thing if many European Jews had weapons. The hallowed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began with the Jews in the Ghetto possessing a total of 10 handguns. Imagine if they had a thousand.
In The Washington Post, David Kopel of the Cato Institute, who teaches Advanced Constitutional Law at the University Denver Sturm College of Law, cited the diaries of Jews who died in the Warsaw Ghetto. They expressed unalloyed joy at being able to kill some of their Nazi tormentors, and deep regret about not having been armed and been able to fight back sooner than they did.
But even if one believes that Carson and Kopel are wrong, how could one characterize Carson's comments as "anti-Semitic" or "blaming the victims [the Jews]"? How could one label statements expressing the wish that the Jews of the Holocaust had been armed "anti-Semitic"? Yet, among others, a contributing editor to the Forward, a leading Jewish newspaper, wrote that these remarks were "profoundly anti-Semitic, immoral and disgusting." And Carson was attacked by prominent Jews in Time and by the Anti-Defamation League.
The left is in full-blown smear-Carson mode. He is, after all, the left's worst nightmare -- a black Republican who is brilliant, kind and widely admired, including by many blacks.
It is a rule of left-wing life that black Republicans must have their names and reputations destroyed. The left knows that if blacks do not vote overwhelmingly Democrat, Democrats cannot win a national election. (Emphasis added.)
So, the smearing of Dr. Ben Carson has just begun.
Monday’s violence [at the West Indian American Day Parade] also should provide advance warning that the New York City Council’s plan to decriminalize such quality-of-life laws as public drinking and public urination is a recipe for disaster. The decriminalization agenda in New York and nationally is driven by the specious claim that enforcing the law unfairly targets blacks and subjects them to draconian penalties. The parade toll shows the opposite: the best way to save black lives is to enforce the law.
This suggests a polemical definition of 'liberal': a person who never met a standard he didn't want to erode. You have to be pretty far gone to think that public intoxication and public urination are acceptable behaviors, and are you not a racist if you think that blacks cannot be held to minimal standards of public behavior?
If reasonable laws unfairly target blacks, do laws against armed robbery unfairly target males inasmuch as males as a group are much more likely to commit such a crime than females?
Suppose someone said that the latter laws are 'anti-male' because they 'target' males rather than females. You'd say the person is an idiot, right? You would explain to the fool that, of course, anti-armed-robbery laws have a 'disproportionate impact' on males because -- wait for it -- males, as a group, are much more aggressive than females, as a group, and much more likely to commit murder, armed robbery, rape, and other dastardly deeds.
Victor Davis Hanson argues that this is just another of a series of silly slogans fated to perish of its own inanity and be forgotten. He gives it a year.
Meanwhile lawlessness rises as Heather MacDonald documents.
Part of the problem, of course, is the refusal to hold the Black Lives Matter crowd and their leftist enablers to account.
All lives matter. It follows that black lives matter, including the lives of the peaceful, law-abiding, hard-working black residents of Ferguson, Missouri. And because these black lives matter, it matters that laws be enforced. All reasonable laws from traffic laws to laws against looting and arson.
As if to prove once again that that there is no coward like a university administrator, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney, after having said in an e-mail to students that all lives matter, has retracted her statement and apologized.
Horribile dictu. And yet another proof that the universities of the land, most of them, have turned into leftist seminaries and hothouses of political correctness. And yet another example of abdication of authority by those in positions of authority.
And so I pinch myself once again. Am I awake? Or is this all a bad dream? Could this stuff really be happening?
Memo to President McCartney: grow a pair, or the female equivalent thereof. You don't apologize for speaking the truth; you stand up for the truth and fight back against the the foolish know-nothings whom you are supposed to be 'educating.'
A more recent case is that of Martin O'Malley who after proclaiming the self-evident "All lives matter" apologized for his 'insensitivity' to people who parade around chanting "Pigs in a blanket! Fry 'em like bacon!"
Disgusting. Pathetic. Never apologize to scumbags and thugs. Never grovel before evil doers.
Here. No commentary necessary. To post this pernicious nonsense is to refute it.
“Many white people in Oregon have no idea that our schools and state are immersed in white culture and are uncomfortable and harmful to our students of color, while also reinforcing the dominant nature of white culture in our white students and families,” one of the conference documents explains.
The manual defines this “white culture” with a list of values, such as “promoting independence, self expression, personal choice, individual thinking and achievement,” because apparently those are strictly “white” concepts and not emphasized in black communities.
The training instructs participants to stop “blaming when students don’t meet standards” and instead start “examining our beliefs and practices when students don’t meet standards.” It advises faculty to avoid “controlling or teaching discipline to students” and to instead think about “changing school practices that alienate students and lead to disruptions.”
It also tells participants to stop calling dropouts “dropouts” and to call them “pushouts” instead — after all, these kids clearly had no choice. They were basically kicked out of school by all of the white privilege.
If you care to read something intelligent on 'white privilege,' see here.
The Stanford Encyclopedia notes in its article on Essential vs. Accidental Properties, "A modal characterization of the distinction between essential and accidental properties is taken for granted in nearly all work in analytic metaphysics since the 1950s.” Personally, I find modal definitions of this type very hand wavy. Ed Feser states my objection more eloquently than I can:
From an Aristotelian-Thomistic point of view, the possible worlds analysis of essence has things backwards: we need to know what the essence of a thing is, before we can know what it would be like in various possible worlds; talk of possible worlds, if legitimate at all, must get explained in terms of essence, not essence in terms of possible worlds ( Aquinas, iBooks edition, page 90).
I think the modal characterization will be a dead end for us.
Two points. First, I do not understand how one could characterize the essential versus accidental distinction except modally. Second, a modal characterization need not be in terms of so-called 'possible worlds.' One should not suppose that a characterization is modal if and only if it is in terms of possible worlds.
First point first. I am a blogger and a native Californian. I might not have been either. So being a blogger and being a native Californian are accidental properties of me. I could have existed without possessing these properties. But I could not have existed without being human. So being human is an essential property of me. Generalizing, if P is an essential property of x, then x must have P, it cannot not have P. If P is an accidental property of x, then x need not have P, it could lack P. And conversely in both cases.
Note that I had to use modal words to characterize the distinction: 'might,' 'could,' 'must,' 'need not,' 'cannot.' I conclude that the accidental-essential distinction is irreducibly modal: it cannot be made except modally. It is indeed essentially modal!
To appreciate this, consider the first two accidental properties I mentioned. I was not always a blogger: speaking tenselessly, there are times at which I am not a blogger. But I was always and will always be a native Californian. Speaking tenselessly again, there are no times at which I am not a native Californian.* It follows that we cannot define an essential (accidental) property of x as a property x has (does not have) at every time at which it exists. The distinction cannot be made in temporal terms; one needs to employ modal language.
If a thing has a property essentially, then it has the property at every time at which it exists. But not conversely: if a thing has a property at every time at which it exists, it does not follow that it has the property essentially. So again it should be clear that the distinction in question is ineliminably modal.
I should make it clear that the modality in question here is non-epistemic/non-doxastic. Suppose Tom died an hour ago, unbeknownst to me. I ask you, "Is Tom teaching now?" You say, "Could be!" But of course it can't be that he is teaching now if he is dead now. You are not saying that it is (really) possible that he be teaching now; you are saying that his teaching now is logically consistent with what you know or believe, that it is not ruled out by what you know/believe.
Second point second. From what I have written it should be clear that we don't need the jargon of possible worlds to talk modally. But it is a very useful and graphic way of talking. Accordingly,
D1. P is an accidental property of x =df there are possible worlds in which x exists but does not instantiate P.
D2. P is an essential property of x =df there are no possible worlds in which x exists but does not instantiate P.
We can add a third definition:
D3. P is a necessary property of x =df there are no possible worlds in which x exists but does not instantiate P, and x exists in every possible world. Example: Omniscience is a necessary property of God: he has it in every world in which he exists, and, since he is a necessary being, he exists in every world. Non-theological example: Being prime is a necessary property of the number 7: 7 has it in every metaphysically possible world in which it exists, and it exists in every such world.
The above definitions do not sanction the reduction of the modal to the non-modal. For modal terms appear on both sides of the biconditionals. Nor could we say that the right-hand sides explicates or analyzes the left-hand sides. So I agree with Feser as quoted above. What is first in the order of metaphysical explanation is a thing's being essentially thus and so or accidentally thus and so. We can then go on to represent these states of affairs in possible worlds terms, but we need not do so.
Jenner and Dolezal. Is Jenner essentially male? I should think so. Being male is a biological determination. It can be spelled out in terms of sex chromosomes. They are different in males and females. Jenner as he is today is a sort of super-transvestite: he is not just a male in women's clothing, but a male who has had his body surgically altered to have female anatomical features. But he is still male. How could he be a woman? You can't be a woman without first being a girl, and he was never a girl.
If you deny that Jenner is essentially biologically male, will you also deny that he is essentially biologically human? If not, why not? If literal sex change is possible, is species change possible?
Is Rachel Dolezal essentially Caucasian? Well, of course. Race, like sex, is biologically based. It is not something you choose. Nor is it a social construct. Barack Obama thinks that we Americans have racism in our DNA. That's bullshit, of course. There is nothing biological about being a racist. But there is something biological about race. You can be a traitor to your country, but not to your race.
Biology matters! And so does clear thinking and honest talk. Obama take note.
*Ignoring the fact, if it is a fact, that I existed pre-natally. If this wrinkle troubles you, I can change my example.
Imagine a German restaurant so named. Blood and Soil. My astute readers needn't be reminded of the provenience of this phrase. "Best blood sausage in the East Valley!" Or MOM's Diner of Mesa. "Fine Aryan cuisine served up right by members of the militia of Montana." Would you be offended? I just made up those examples.
But this is a real example: La Raza Steak and Ribs, a Mexican joint in Apache Junction, Arizona. When I mentioned this to a friend, he replied, "That would be like naming a German restaurant Die Rasse, The Race."
Once again, the double standard. So once again I ask: what would be left of the Left were leftists disembarrassed of every single one of their double standards?
The use of La Raza in the private sector as part of the name of a business is offensive, but tolerable. But it is a different story when state sponsorship is involved.
It is arguable that there ought not be any state sponsorship of divisive symbols such as the Confederate flag. But, as Victor Davis Hanson points out in an important column,
There are plenty of other overt racialist symbols that separate Americans. One is the prominent use of La Raza, “The Race” — seen most prominently in the National Council of La Raza, an ethnic lobbying organization that has been and is currently a recipient of federal funds. The National Council of La Raza should be free to use any title it wishes, but it should not expect the federal government to subsidize its separatist nomenclature.
I hadn't heard of the Dolezal case until reading your blog post. It occurred to me that this case might serve as a counterexample to the standard epistemological position that belief is necessary for knowledge.
I don't know Dolezal's psychological/epistemic state. But suppose she knows that she isn't African-American by race, but she has convinced herself to believe she is so. Would she have knowledge without belief?
Perhaps yes. Or perhaps she doesn't really believe she is African-American by race. Or, perhaps she is double minded: one mind knows and thus believes she isn't, and the other lacks knowledge on the matter but believes she is.
Anyway, I'd be interested in your take.
As I construe his example, the loyal reader is offering a case in which a subject knows that p without believing that p. Thus he is supposing that Dolezal knows that she is Caucasian, but does not believe that she is. If so, we have a counterexample to the standard view that, necessarily, if S knows that p, then S believes that p. On the standard analysis, believing that p is necessary for knowing that p. What the example suggests is that believing that p is not necessary for knowing that p.
We should distinguish between a weaker and a stronger thesis:
1. It is not the case that knowledge entails belief. (Some cases of knowledge are not cases of belief.)
2. Knowledge entails disbelief. (No cases of knowledge are cases of belief.)
Belief I understand to be some degree of readiness to act as if such and such (the content believed) were the case. Everyone concedes that one can believe where one does not know. But it is now widely assumed that you cannot know what you do not believe. Hence the well known analysis of knowledge as "justified, true belief." But this seems to me, as it has to numerous others, to be a mistake. Belief is, as Hume correctly held, a passion. It is something that happens to us. Thought, observation and testing, even knowledge itself, can be sources of belief, and indeed should be. But one may actually know (dispositionally, occurrently) without believing what one knows.
Whether or not one believes what one represents truly and has an appropriate basis for so representing, depends on factors that are irrelevant to truth, understanding and evidence. It depends, one might simply say, on how rational one is. Now I do not think that this point about belief in relation to knowledge is essential to the rest of this paper, but I mention it to indicate that the absence of any reference to belief in my general description of knowledge is not an oversight. Belief is not, I think, a necessary component of knowledge, though one would like to believe that knowledge would have some influence upon belief, and no doubt it often does.
Now we can't get into Dolezal's (crazy) head, but the following is plausibly ascribed to her. She knows who her biological parents are; she knows that they are both Caucasian; she knows that Caucasian parents have Caucasian children; hence she knows that she is biologically Caucasian. Could she nonetheless really believe that she is not Caucasian?
Perhaps. Belief is tied to action. It is tied to what one does and leaves undone and what one is disposed to do and leave undone. Dolezal's NAACP activities and her verbal avowals among other behaviors suggest that she really believes that she is racially black.
But if Dolezal really believes that she is racially black, when she knows that she is racially white, then she is irrational. Why not say the following by way of breaking the link between belief and knowledge:
D1. S knows that p =df S justifiably accepts that p, and p is true.
D2. S believes that p =df S accepts that p and S either acts as if p is true or is prepared to act as if p is true.
These definitions allow that there are cases of knowledge that are not cases of belief without excluding cases of knowledge that are cases of belief. What is common to knowledge and belief is not belief, but acceptance.
Centuries ago Voltaire said that “to learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” I now offer you Pollack’s Principle of Privilege:
To learn where privilege lies, simply see how people choose to identify themselves.
Once upon a time, people of mixed race did everything they could to “pass” as white. No longer. The mulatto Barack Obama ostentatiously identifies himself as black, while pallid Elizabeth Warren listed herself in the legal and academic community as a “Native American”.
Another sign of this inversion of privilege is that membership in groups considering themselves ‘oppressed’ is as tightly restricted as an exclusive country-club, and for the same reasons. No sooner had the news about Ms. Dolezal came out than she was denounced as a scurrilous pretender to victimhood. But people only defend what has value. In a right-side-up world, no sane person would ever bother fighting to keep others from seeking low status — but they will do whatever it takes to wall off their privileges against unqualified pretenders.
J. Christian Adams ends his piece on the Dolezal caper as follows:
Race is the fuel that runs the modern progressive agenda. It’s 24-7 race. Race is the weapon for the great transformation, for plunking Section 8 housing in wealthy residential areas, for undermining law enforcement and for transforming election laws.
It’s time that Americans start shaming those who would divide us.
Unfortunately, the race baiters who would divide us are shameless and thus impervious to shaming. Nixon could be shamed. But Hillary Milhous Clinton?
Is Dolezal perhaps a trans-racial mulatto? White in reality, black in her mind? Or white in the actual world, but black in some merely possible world? Another example might be George Zimmerman: Hispanic in reality, white in the febrile, race-obsessed, politically correct imagination of the NYT.
I caught a segment of Sean Hannity's show the other night during which a 'conversation' transpired over the recent spike in violence in Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. At 2:06, Adam Jackson, activist and CEO of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, begins a rap replete with the usual leftist jargon: systemic inequality, structural racism, etc.
What struck me was Hannity's failure to deal with ideas at the level of ideas, in this instance, his failure to question the very idea of structural racism. That is what he should have done. He should have cut off the leftist rap with some pointed questions: Just what is this structural or systemic or institutional racism you leftists are always talking about? Care to define these phrases? Can you provide a nice clear example for the audience? Is it evidence of 'structural racism' that the enforcement of the law has a 'disparate impact' on blacks? And while you are at it, tell us what exactly racism is supposed to be. Is it racist for a white cop to enforce the law in a black community? How can you speak of institutional racism when the institutions of our society have been reformed so as to help blacks and other minorities in all sorts of ways via Affirmative Action, federally-mandated desegregation, and the like?
But Hannity posed none of these questions. Typical conservative that he is, he is not at home on the plane of ideas and abstractions where one must do battle with leftist obfuscation. Conservatives are often non-intellectual when they are not anti-intellectual. I am talking about conservatives 'in the trenches' of ordinary life and the mass media, not about conservative intellectuals who are intellectual enough but whose influence is limited. The ordinary conservative, uncomfortable with ideas, gravitates toward particulars, the actual facts of the Freddie Gray case, the Michael Brown case, the Trayvon Martin case. That is all to the good of course. When one considers what actually happened the night Michael Brown lost his life one sees that there was nothing racist, let alone structurally racist, about Officer Darren Wilson's behavior.
But it is not enough to bring the leftist back to the hard ground of actual fact; one must also puncture his ideological balloons. When the leftist starts gassing off about 'disparate impact,' you must rudely point out that blacks are disproportionately incarcerated because they disproportionately commit crimes. The 'disparate impact' of law enforcement is not evidence of racism 'structural' or otherwise; it is evidence of disproportionate criminality among blacks. Why won't leftists admit what is obvious? Because they labor under the conceit that we are all equal. Now here is a another Big Idea that your typical conservative is not equipped to discuss.
Another example of conservative cluelessness is Bill O'Reilly. He often points out that we live in a capitalist country. It's true, more or less. But citing a fact does not amount to a justification of the fact. What O'Reilly appears to be incapable of doing is providing arguments, including moral arguments, in favor of capitalism. That is what is needed in the face of libs and lefties who, when told that we live in a capitalist country, will respond, "Well then, let's change it!"
But having a nasty streak of anti-intellectualism in him, O'Reilly would probably dismiss such arguments as mere 'theory' in his Joe Sixpack sense of the term.
Conservatives, by and large, are doers not thinkers, builders, not scribblers. They are at home on the terra firma of the concrete particular but at sea in the realm of abstraction. The know in their dumb inarticulate way that killing infants is a moral outrage but they cannot argue it out with sophistication and nuance in a manner to command the respect of their opponents. And that's a serious problem.
They know that there is something deeply wrong with same-sex 'marriage,' but they cannot explain what it is. George W. Bush, a well-meaning, earnest fellow whose countenance puts me in mind of that of Alfred E. Neuman, could only get the length of: "Marriage is between a man and a woman."
That's right, but it is a bare assertion. Sometimes bare assertions are justified, but one must know how to counter those who consider them gratuitous assertions. What is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied without breach of logical propriety, a maxim long enshrined in the Latin tag Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur. So one reasonably demands arguments from those who make assertions. Arguments are supposed to move us beyond mere assertions and counter-assertions.
Could G. W. Bush present a reasoned defense of traditional marriage, or rather, just plain marriage, against the leftist innovators? If he could he never to my knowledge supplied any evidence that he could.
And then there is Romney. He lost to Obama in part because he could not articulate a compelling vision while Obama could. Obama, a feckless fool with no understanding of reality, and no desire to understand it, is a great bullshitter & blather-mouth who was able to sell his destructive leftist vision. Romney had nothing to counter him with. It it not enough to be in close contact with the hard particulars of gnarly reality; you have to be able to operate in the aether of ideas.
For a conservative there is a defeasible presumption in favor of traditional beliefs, behaviors, and institutions. The conservative is of course right in holding to this presumption. But if he is to prevail, he must know how to defend it against its enemies.
To beat the Left we must out-argue them in the ivory towers and out-slug them in the trenches. Since by Converse Clausewitz politics is war conducted by other means, the trench-fighters need to employ the same tactics that lefties do: slanders, lies, smears, name-calling, shout-downs, pie-throwing, mockery, derision. The good old Alinsky tactics. And now I hand off to Robert Spencer commenting on Andrew Breitbart.
Politics is war and war is ugly. We could avoid a lot of this nastiness if we adopted federalism and voluntary Balkanization. But that is not likely to happen: the totalitarian Left won't allow it. So I predict things are going to get hot in the coming years. The summer of 2015 should prove to be positively 'toasty' in major urban centers as the destructive ideas of the Left lead to ever more violence.
But liberal fools such as the aptronymically appellated Charles Blow will be safe in their upper-class enclaves.