We often think people are motivated to do something solely by facts alone. Instead, they are spurred to action by the feeling these facts produce. People make choices and decisions based to some extent on figures and concrete details, but it is the emotional impact these soberly presented bits of information create that really matters. It has been noted many times before that polls and other human-made means of discernment have limits because no one can truly understand what lies inside a voter’s heart. This, in part, is what I mean. Unlike the typical columnist, I do not intend to use this introduction as a segue-way to rip into President Obama and the ineffectiveness of the (for now) Democratic-controlled Congress. Rather, I’d like to go well beyond.
Oct 20 2010
Aug 11 2010
Chumming the anti-enlightenment waters, beautifully (pdf)
Like it or not, we are all children of the Enlightenment, utterly incapable of escaping the clutches of ideals and arguments put forth over two centuries ago. Or so, at least, many critics of the Enlightenment seem to believe. Michel Foucault claims, for instance, that the Enlightenment has largely determined “what we are, what we think, and what we do today,”1 and John Gray insists that “all schools of contemporary political thought are variations on the Enlightenment project.”2 There is, of course, something to such claims: given the number of values, practices, and institutions that we have inherited from the eighteenth century, it is difficult to imagine what our world would look like without its Enlightenment heritage. Yet it is remarkable how few political theorists still defend this heritage; in fact, I can think of few topics on which recent work in political theory has displayed greater consensus than on the conviction that the Enlightenment outlook is radically problematic.
Obama is an anti-liberal, a post-modernist without conviction, against a two-century-fucking-tradition. Fuck ’em.
Let’s rock’ems. Gibbs can suck an anus.
Sep 12 2009
I never really “chose” to be on the left side of the political spectrum. I just ended up there because the traditional left was more logical than right and center if you come at life from the point-of-view implied in the founding documents of the American Republic (alas, now past). In America the left is really fulfilling the role of conserving the ideas and ideals of the American Revolution. Generally we believe in the rule of law rather than the law of privilege. But most importantly we believe in using principles established during the enlightenment that reason and science should be appealed to in setting public policy. Religion does not work as a foundation for public policy because people differ in religious principles. We, in the West, did not invent reason but we were the first to realize that appeal to reason was the only way to wars like the Thirty-Years War which devasted much of parts of Europe (mainly Germany) much as Afghanistan is devasted now.
Jun 20 2008
I spoke to a right-leaning homeowner yesterday, owner of the mansion on the huge hill we had to ball-cart four 8 foot Pines Trees at and plant on his acreage. I changed his thinking.
He was a talker.
Ultimately, I made a statement to him, which brought him into full agreement with me:
“No, Sir, I think the bigger problem is that Americans never want to worry about a fire hydrant in their yard until their house is on fire. Then and only then do they want to cough up the money and time and allow one to be put in their yard. Then its too late.“
May 27 2008
Your resident historiorantologist has lately been puzzling over the matter of how it is that Alberto Gonzalez and the current rubber-gavel-wielding “Chief US Law Enforcement Official” have not been brought before the World Court to stand for their crimes. Clearly, it doesn’t take the piercing legal intellect of a Harriet Miers to recognize that torture goes against everything Americans believe in – our nation is, after all, a product of the Enlightenment, that 200-or-so-year period starting around 1650 in which thinking humans chose to recognize science, redefine the roles of government and the governed, and repudiate things like tyranny. Given this definition, of course, the aforementioned “legal” experts clearly are not Enlightened individuals, but closer examination of what actually went on before the bar back then shows that the Gitmo Gang would find themselves right at home dispensing “justice” in a court of that era.
So join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll look at criminal justice in the Age of Powdered Wigs – and may find that the current cadre of ethics-averse thugs running our penal/information extraction system would have been right at home in an Enlightenment court.