Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"You've turned conservative" Answer To A Representative Tantrum

No.  I'm more radically radical than I've ever been, more desirous of changing reality, moving towards the real agenda of radicalism.  There is nothing more really radical than reality. The entire program of political radicalism of, as I usually put it, traditional American liberalism, consists of actually making the lives of people better.  Nothing any radical-in-their-own-and-millions-of-others-minds has ever done is as radical as the passing of  a law that feeds and houses poor people, provides people with health care, or even a local statute that protects a spot of the environment.   No matter how much they declare or what they advocate to achieve that greatest desideratum of those on the play left, to be the most leftist of all in the room,  without really improving lives they're no different from the mushy middle and the conservative status quo.  Worse, they discredit the real left, hindering their work.

There is nothing more radical than the agenda I have:

 - Total equality,

-  Holding that rights are as real as the screen you're reading this on held in tension with the as real  rights of everyone else and so,

-  The stand that there is a real, consequential obligation to respect those rights in other people and another obligation to demand the equal ability to practice them for yourself and others.

Nothing, nothing that exists in the entire leftist books sections of the set of all of the libraries in the world, is more radical than that.  And I doubt anyone can come up with something more radical.

Many of those held to be the great figures of radicalism have never done anything radical in their lives.  Many of those have erased what little good they could have done with further irresponsible talk and actions. Emma Goldman's stirring speech about work, bread and taking it when they won't give bread,  is entirely negated by the deliciously savored and massively stupid fetish for the "propaganda of the deed" You can say the same thing about related acts of exciting violence, which are dramatic and get enormous attention-  more bad than good - and which, in their utter futility turned out to be melodrama,  They setting progress back and are entirely outstripped in their radicalism by getting the aristocratic FDR elected to his first term.  Yet the play left, with the fact of the radicalism of things like social security staring them in the face, go for the cults of those who never so much as improved the life of a single person.  Except, in some rare cases, their own and that of their family.   Late in her life Emma goldman and Alexander Berkman asked people if they'd wasted their lives.  The answer to that is yes, if radical change was the goal.  Anarchism has never and will not possibly ever exist because it will create a vacuum which will be filed by thugs and despots if no one else. In the same way, the vacuum in politics on the left end, hollowed out by play leftists, has been filled by thugs and despots, attention grabbing do-nothing idiots and the largest body of futile and arid theorists as has ever blighted the intellectual landscape.

It is more radical to do the possible than to insist on the impossible.  It is more radical to face that some things are not going to happen now and, likely ever, no matter how desirable they might seem.  Their desirability in real life is only known by them becoming actual, in real life, through real changes made in lives, in politics, as the result of taking office and changing laws.  That is something the play left has proven themselves to be incapable of doing through decades and going on into centuries of unrealistic, theoretical exposition and posturing.  Throug melodramtic - badly considered and planned demonstrations and on to the stupid violence and babyish babbling that is really motivated to get attention for those who engage in it.  The history of the futility of that would discredit it to any real liberal, to any real radical who is really interested in making real life better instead of posing and pretending.   You can look at the remarkably futile history of third parties in the United States as representative.  In the entire history of the country the only third party that has ever gained power and made any kind of change was the Republican Party in 1860 and by the time it was the age of the most prominent of recent third party movements, the Greens, they'd been governing the country for a quarter of a century.  And it wasn't their radical faction that held power.

Our time to do any of that is the present, we can't change the past, we can only learn from it to understand the past and the present and to try to discern the future.   Any future we eventually get to must pass through the one and only door of the present time.   Any and all radical change depends on what can happen now, what can be made to happen now.  In her obituary of Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins praised her for never wasting a minute on what wasn't possible.  That is a truly radical stand, that is a truly hard reality, that is one of the indispensable tools of real radicalism, that is what the play left will never take up to work for real change.

Instead of looking at the time wasting and famous and lauded and futile radicals of the past, the ones to learn from are those who changed laws, who made lives better, who effectively resisted entrenched power to force change.  Those people made the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and early 1960s before the play left took the mic and destroyed progress, they made the women's suffrage movement, the part of that which succeeded in changing laws as entrenched as Jim Crow,  and they made the other successful movements that made change, few of those involving the popular cult heroes of the children of the play left.   An effective left, a left that can take power and change laws for the better is the greatest fear of the corporate, oligarchic establishment.  Which is why they do everything in their power to undermine and disappear it in American life.  In that they are allies of the play left which, as mentioned before,  is actually not far removed from them.


  1. In seminary I was told "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." "They" being the congregation a pastor leads. And it was true. Idealism, what should be, how it should be, quickly proved useless; praxis, what could be, why it could be, was much more useful; and powerful.

    But praxis is hard. Praxis requires, as Dorothy Day said, admitting you are a stranger in a strange land, a visitor among the poor, a transient among the transients. You don't descend from on high to save the poor from poverty (that's what broke Chris Hedges, and he never put his Humpty-Dumpty together again); you stand alongside and serve.

    Dorothy Day did more for the world than any number of "concerned" leftists. And yet, we still have poverty. Which means, of course, we need more Dorothy Days.

    Not more theorists.

  2. I think you're right and, as a lapsed Irish Catholic, I should be ashamed for not thinking of it too, Dorothy Day went from play leftism to real leftism. And it was hard and she did it the rest of her life. Comparing what she did with folks like Scott Nearing, John Reed and others in her pre-conversion melieu did, she was the real radical even as she was an entirely conventional Christian. Because she was a Christian, by her own writing.

  3. Your bio says you're "a religious man." Can you elaborate a little more than being a "lapsed Irish Catholic?"

    Now back to what brought me to your blog, what is your view of the basic nature of man?


  4. The basic nature of man? I wouldn't presume to say what that could be or even if there is one basic nature of man. I don't know though I'm pretty sure no one else could know that either.

    I am a universalist who believes what I said in this post. That is all.

    1. OK. Is man flawed? I'm trying to understand your views and what motivates them. I Don't want to argue about them.

      I don't think your agenda is possible - do you? Or do you merely want to move as far as possible towards it?

    2. People tend to be shelfish, which is a flaw. People can choose to not act selfishly, which is a virtue.

      In politics, in society, in life perfection isn't going to happen, in my experience and in anything I've read. That's a bad excuse to not try to make things even a bit closer to that goal. Democracy depends on that possibility, not on the perfect attainment of it, which may have occurred to the guys who said "In order to form a more perfect union...." Democracy is based in the faith that it is possible for people, alone and in groups to achieve an effectively beneficial result from reasonable and informed action informed by good will. For it to be effectively beneficial is sufficient to make it superior to all other forms of government.

    3. Thanks! Any thoughts on Federalist 10? No big deal, if not.

      You mentioned in another post (to me) that you have updated your info on Darwin - where is the best place to start in our blog? I suppose I'd like a brief overview on your general views of Darwin and life origins...

      BTW: do you have a posts on your thoughts of the cold war and its end. I think you might have some interesting comments - again, no big if not.

    4. No thoughts on Federalist 10. I'm not sure if I've read it, I'd have to look. At the link I gave, I arranged the Darwin posts them in an order I thought made sense at the time.