Monday, September 21, 2020

We Are So Entrenched In The Royalist Consciousness That We Don't Even Realize It On The "Left"

Sorry to have left off with The Prophetic Imagination for so long. I'm tempted to go to the next chapter except this one in which the royal consciousness is what we are so steeped in with a few republican fig leaves to disguise what its real nature is. That is, you might think why this book is so important to a political blogger so eager to revive and extend the traditional American form of liberalism, informed by the past half century of its failed modernist distortion. That can be seen in the rest of this chapter.


This model of royal consciousness does not require too much interpretation to be seen as a characterization of our own cultural situation. I have no need to be too immediately "relevant" about these matters, for the careful discernment of these texts will in any case illuminate our own situation. So I offer this paradigm with the prospect that it may indeed help us understand our own situation more effectively. it takes little imagination to see ourselves in this same royal tradition ---


- Ourselves in an economics of affluence in which we are so well off that pain is not noticed and we can eat our way around it.


- Ourselves in a politics of oppression in which the cries of the marginal are not heard or are dismissed as the noises of kooks and traitors.


- Ourselves in a religion of immanence and accessibility, in which God is so present to us that his abrasiveness, his absence, his banishment are not noticed, and the problem is reduced to psychology.


Perhaps you are like me, so enmeshed in this reality that another way is nearly unthinkable. The dominant history of that period, like the dominant history of our own time, consists in briefcases and limousines and press conferences and quotas and new weaponry systems. And that is not a place where such dancing happens and no groaning is permitted.


That is, certainly, what you see in the "white evangelicals" the "traditionalist Catholics" - who yearn for every single thing which was bad in that long and varied and not infrequently compromised tradition. But it is no less true of secular liberals and even many religious liberals who are suckers for that secular distortion of liberalism.


That is much of what I can think of that makes that so called liberal secularism so counterproductive. The reduction of that into "lifestyle" choices and middle-brow culture and propriety and what boils down to club membership rights and privileges drowns out the real, effective address of "the cries of the marginal" - what Brueggemann called the instigating incident that set off the Mosaic epic, including God's part in it,  and motivated the Mosaic prophetic tradition that all of this flows out of - including modern egalitarian democracy.*  Without that, without the extra-human moral requirement to follow the great commandment of equality, the actual Golden Rule, no even well-meaning liberalism will stay on that road for long. And a lot of it isn't well-meaning, it's just club rules.


Over and over again, in the period since I first went online and read and interacted with the unfiltered thinking of what I used to believe were my fellow lefties, I've seen that their "liberalism" their "leftism" reeked of the upper-middle-class habits of those who learned the real-right way to dress and talk and eat and speak which would get them admittance into the club of college-credentialed professionals - and that even those who spouted Marxism and socialism and even anarchism were pretty well dedicated to that kind of climbing middle-brow, middle-class aspiration even as those they despise as "conservatives" are on a parallel track. Not even the matter of bigotry divided them except in who it was OK to disdain and despise.


And in that experience of seeing it on the screen in front of me, being forced to consider how much I had also adopted those postures and habits of thought and habits of feeling and just plain bad habits and to understand that that is a big part of where American liberalism went very wrong. And it was largely due to the unrealistic and overblown influence of Marxism and other forms of scientistic materialism, a form of gangsterism that in its history of grubbiness is not really different from Nazism or fascism or, as we find out in that enormous irony of American history, the Republican-fascism that is making common cause with the neo-Stalinism of Putin. And why so many voices that are mistaken for or overlap with the "left" Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Stephen F. Cohen, and those who support even those obviously under the control of Putin or run by him, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, make common cause with as he attacks our elections out of the lefty habits of Hollywood-scribbling-class- academia promoted "anti-anti-communism". 


Brueggemann's confession in this passage, "Perhaps you are like me, so enmeshed in this reality that another way is nearly unthinkable," is an indication of how hard those habits of thought, with all of their attractions to our base, materialist, insecure self-centeredness to break and get out of. I don't think anyone ever even engages in the self-criticism necessary to do that unless they do so out of an extra-human moral commandment to urge them into it. I certainly find it hard and, believe me, in 1978 when he wrote that, I was totally and completely and lefty-magazine and book saturated unawareness of even the possibility that there was something more that would work when that so obviously wasn't working.


I'm still a beginner at this. I won't live long enough to ever fully get away with it, at least I can try with what time I have left. If we sucker future generations out of reading these texts, of seeing what this great scholar of that literature sees in it, the future is doomed.

Hate Mail - It's getting to the point where anytime people claim something based in "the founders" I expect it to benefit Republican-fascists by intent

I don't give the slightest damn what slave owners and sleazy financiers who died two hundred and more years ago believed, they had absolutely no way of knowing the dangers of allowing the electronic mass media lie with impunity were for the hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands and tens of millions who can be enslaved, oppressed, murdered through lies broadcast through the mass media. Nor do I think we can rely on them to have cared if those so enslaved, oppressed and murdered were not white nor male, nor of the right economic class. Not a few of them were entirely callous to the lives and rights of People of Color, some of them among our most deified of "founders."


Nor do I give any more of a damn about the lawyers, law theorists, Supreme Court "Justices" who care more about the ideas of those long ago dead white men, ideas like all humanly originated ideas that are as decayed and rotted out with time and change in reality, than they do about the clear wrongs that come from those words and their intent and whatever they can be made to mean by either short-sighted (as we all are) "Justices" or those who are as sleazy as the sleaziest of the "founders".  Those words were, in most cases, inserted intentionally by the "founders," wrongs originally meant to deprive Black People, Native People, their most basic of rights given to them by God and those emanating from their intentionally inserted anti-democratic insertions into the Constitution and the structure of the government which would protect slavery and other associated privileges of the white-elite they belonged to from a feared majority who would come to see the evils of it and elect a government that would abolish it.


Those are the mechanisms that Republican-fascistm their billiionire patrons, foreign and (with the Robert's Courts rulings) foreign, have used and harnessed for their own gain, the Electoral College, the anti-democratically constituted Senate, and some that were probably just badly written, such as the loose language of the hastily written up and reluctantly passed Bill of Rights which is only there because Madison had to promise the Virginia legislature that he would get one in the first Congress before they would agree to ratify his Constitution.  He was hardly the champion of freedom and liberty that we were sappy enough to buy, he was a sleazy slave owner, all slave owning is sleazy, it's insane that in 2020 we mount those slave owners on a plinth like a fools golden calf for such worship, including one of the sleaziest of them all, Alexander Hamilton.


I don't give a damn about what they thought especially when today's world doesn't match their 18th century reality but I'm sure one thing they would know if they were here today, Radio, TV, movies, the internet are a different world from the hand-press world they wrote those words for and that those words were entirely inadequate to address that different world. They were immoral businessmen, they weren't in the business of being stupid. That's the job of the ACLU and the "civil liberties" industry and the secular-liberal media of today.

 

If Trump got his wish and a politician could sue people who lie about them, he and the entire Republican-fascist supporting media would be sued into the flames of hell because by an enormous proportion, those lies have been told by and for the benefit of the likes of Trump and the Republican-fascists.  All the media that wants to tell the truth has to fear is that their fact checking will fail from time to time if they aren't as careful as they should have been, all along.  It's as if they don't want the responsibility of being sure they present the truth.  Which wouldn't surprise me if they don't really believe it's a sin to bear false witness.  Sin being a religious and not a secular category.  


Update:  The sense of security that can come from imagining that in the "literal interpretation" of centuries old words is exactly that, existing only in your own mind.  There is no more security in attempting that or, rather, pretending to attempt that because those words, here, now, today, are only what human minds, here, now, today use them for, the "founders" having no say, whatsoever in what people today make of those words, they have no impact on this world nor knowledge of it than what they knew when they lived.  At least none that we can know of, no, not even the stage-mediums on the Supreme Court whose claims of being able to divine the minds of the "founders" are more dishonest than even a phony stage medium.  There is no phony medium who gets to set themselves up as an arbiter of what will have a universal effect as law in the way that Supreme Court "originalists" "literalists" etc. do.  And they're all lying about really believing what they claim.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

We Need A Real, Unapologetic, Strong Religious Left If We Are Going To Save Egalitarian Democracy

The United States needs a Democracy Doomsday Clock like the one the Union of Atomic Scientists maintains as to when their creations of nuclear weapons will bring about the catastrophic danger that scientists knowingly wrought - if nothing else scientists have done warrants the kind of critique of science which I engage in, that is merely one of the reasons which makes it justified and essential.


But this is about the clear and present danger that egalitarian democracy under the United States Constitution is in, an egalitarian democracy that is not the product of that Constitution but of the two hundred plus years of struggle to cash the promissory note that was contained in the Declaration of Independence, which the original Constitution did its best to renege on, quite successfully till the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts were made law, as the "originalists" on the Supreme Court and in the Republican Party have very successfully done everything in their power to overturn those massive improvements to the Constitution.


I think one of the greatest things that are needed in fighting against fascism is for there to be a large, forceful, and effective RELIGIOUS LEFT organized and which is more than a counterpart of the "religious right" that the Republican Party has gulled into supporting depravity up to and including Trump. The secular left which became ascendant in the late 19th century, which included many nominally religious lefties who increasingly rejected a Christian articulation of equality, the right of the destitute and poor the means of having a decent life and the rest of a legitimate traditional American liberal agenda to what they rather naively assumed was a more "scientific" or "Constitutional" secular left which did a lot more than just avoid sectarian differences, it undermined and repudiated the very basis for the positions that the American tradition of liberalism relies on.


Science cannot support the contention of human equality, for a start.  It can be twisted to assert equality but only in terms of alleged measurement of things like intelligence or, perhaps with slightly less fraudulence, health. And a lot of that "measurement" is far from scientifically rigorous or valid, or, most seriously, without bias.  Often the "things" measured are nothing more than artifacts of unconsidered prejudices and unconsidered habitually assumed assumptions and social prejudices. 

 

And science cannot give a reason for even-handed treatment of anyone, those deemed "inferior" or even those deemed "equal," or "superior", that even-handed and fair treatment of others is based in morality which, by common agreement, science does not deal it nor is it capable of discerning. 

 

Fairness, equal treatment, morality are all things which fall outside of the capacity of science to treat, which leads the practitioners and devotees of scientism to claim that those are either mere social conventions* or illusions.


But that's not the basis of political and social equality which must be asserted in the face of differences in intellectual capacity - much of incapacity being a matter of choice and chance, having nothing or little or less to do with some biological differences in potential the basis of political and social equality must come from elsewhere than can be found with science or, I would argue, secular philosophy. 

 

 I am thoroughly convinced - and against long standing personal habits of thought, perhaps even personal preference - that all of those bases of egalitarian democracy, social and, especially, economic equality, fairness, decency are found no where else but in the belief in a Creator, God, and in the intent and desire of God, as summed up in the repeated assertion in Genesis that the creation was found good and that, after the creation of human beings, that it was "very good." Going on from there, it would seem to be left to human beings to find as much of that good among us as we could manage to discern and make real, trying to make that "will be done on Earth as it is in heaven." Perhaps our potential to find that being what was "very good"


The problems I can see in coming together in a Religious Left are a. the Barry Lynn kind of "separation of church and state" language will make a lot of religious people chicken out of it for fear of being tut-tutted over that, b. the real differences among religious leftists on a few issues such as the right to legal abortion and a few of the other hard issues.  But those issues, in the first one, ridiculously applying requirements of the secular government to religious individuals in their political activities and in the second, coming to grips with how to effectively reduce the avoidably high numbers of abortions in the United States (other countries have far, far fewer because there are far, far fewer unintended, unwanted or medically dangerous pregnancies)** and a few other areas of things like sexual moral assertion*** must be overcome or all will be lost.


I think one of the hardest things to overcome is the idea emanating from materialist-scientistic-secularist hegemony that we are to allow even the most depraved immoral ideas and ideologies the chances of swamping equality, fairness, decency out of some daffy concept of "even-handedness" and even some distorted, deformed thing called "fairness." As I mentioned a number of times, the insanity of that postion became obvious to me when the ACLU represented the Nazis who wanted to terrorize the community having the highest number of Holocaust survivors anywhere outside of Israel in 1977 in the infamous Skokie case.


The ACLU position on that is the classic secular-liberal-leftist position that we are to never learn anything from the hardest of history, that in each and every case we are to allow entities like the Nazis another chance to do what they did before up to and including taking control THROUGH ELECTIONS and installing themselves in power to discriminate against, to attack, to murder millions. A position which the ACLU boasts about its role in making the law of the land even as it boasts about the rulings it advocated that opened us up to Trump and his gang of thugs talking AND ACTING openly to rig elections and even annul them. That is the lunacy of this kind of amoralism as "fairness" to fascists, niceness to Nazis, etc. Which, the largely white, largely affluent, largely professionally established lawyers of the ACLU, no doubt, mostly fear nothing from. And what you can say about them you can say about the majority of those in "journalism" and academia.


No, if we are going to save American democracy, egalitarian democracy, the legitimate traditional American liberal agenda of equality and a decent life for everyone, secularism is one of the things we will have to leave behind along with the wretched record of what it has brought into being. We need a religious left that is united on at least the issues of doing to others what you would have done to you, the moral basis of egalitarian democracy, the only safe way to have that is to acknowledge that it is a morally binding requirement, a responsibility which we all share, equally, violations of that to be discouraged, serious ones punished into compliance. I see no other way to avoid the catastrophe that the debauching of Christianity in the "evangelicals" and "traditionalist-Catholics" and its debasement among the secular left has brought us to.


* The idea that fairness, equality and morality are a product of "social conventions" has to fight against the fact that even when those are asserted, they are anything like reliably practiced within even the most egalitarian and moral societies, and try to find those in human history. You'll need a very good lens to see it.


** The idea that making abortion illegal will end abortions is immoral nonsense. When abortion was illegal in all but the most dire of medical emergencies there were many, many abortions and many, many women died from them, were injured from them, were terribly exploited through them, etc. Making abortion illegal is the farthest thing from abolishing abortion, it merely makes the ones that happen more dangerous. That is something that those wishing to make abortion illegal have to answer, along with the problem of allowing the state to regulate the bodies of women. I think it should be a principle of law that the state's interest in regulating our lives ends at the skin, though it can certainly regulate matters of commerce. The only rational way to "end abortion" is by the widespread, correct, consistent use of effective contraceptives. The ridiculous "rhythm method" as pushed by Catholic conservatives is certainly none of that and in more cases than not it is an ineffective fraud that should be regulated out of the marketplace. 

 

*** As an LGBT man, I both insist on absolute equality and non-discrimination for us even as I have to say as a gay man I am the opposite of accepting of the irresponsiblity of many gay men in and around issues of sex. As an increasingly reluctant student of pornography - you have to see what's there to write about it - every depravity that is found among straight men is also present among gay men, promoted by pornography. I would, if I had the power to do so, abolish all pornography and the inevitable pathological inequality and exploitation and cruelty AND INTERNALIZED SELF-HATRED that is inevitably a part of it. It is sheer lunacy to pretend that the promotion of exploitative inequality has any right to the support of any real traditional American liberal or any religious leftist.  The widespread self-hatred taught through sex to gay me is evil, the promotion of racism, white supremacy, anti-egalitarianism, sexual inequality, misogyny, everything up to and including American Nazism (white supremacy symbolized in the American swastika, the Confederate flag) to German Nazism is rampant in gay porn.  So is child porn, something it shares in common with straight porn.  No matter how much campaigning has been done on the issue of child porn-prostitution, it abounds online where it should be abolished and prosecuted.



Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Stephen Jones - Adapting

Adapting

 

Starring Seána Kerslake and Stephen Jones 

When a writer receives a commission during lock-down, he struggles to come up with the right idea. Pandemic stories seem too big and important for him to be the one to tell. 

In between her Joe Wicks class and Zoom Quizzes his partner reminds him that they have their online film club that night and that the movie is,  'Adaptation'. Two Nicholas Cages’ for the price of one. Maybe this will prove the inspiration he needs.... 

Sound Supervision Ciarán Cullen 

Directed by Gorretti Slavin 

I know I've been leaning heavily on RTÉ this last month but it's so nice to have current plays that are so topical to post. I'll post this good old play from the sadly gone radio drama department of the CBC.

Alf Silver - Clean Sweep: Birds Eye View 

Birds Eye View   

 

I'll give the credits later, if I have time. I hate not posting the credits. 

How Can Eugenics Be "Pseudo-Science" When Its Main Supporters Were Never Kicked Out Of Science And Those Living Are Still There

I did not want to get back into the habit of responding to hate comments that I won't post but you brought up one of the most dishonest aspects of natural selection, Darwinism, that I don't recall addressing.


The claim that eugenics is "pseudo-science" lets science and the scientists upon whose common agreement science exists off the hook, far too easily.


The scientists who accepted eugenics starts, by its official inventor, Francis Galton's testimony with Charles Darwin, the iconic scientist and idol of it who endorsed Galton's and Haeckels and Gregg's, etc eugenic claims, Thomas Huxley, his main lieutenant in the Darwin Wars, and a long, long, long list of eminent scientists who were never driven out of the profession and were and are still esteemed in science. Francis Galton, Ernst Haeckel, Karl Pearson, Alfred Ploetz, . . . . Linus Pauling, William Shockley, right up to the last generation, figures such as Francis Crick, James Watson, the entire field of evolutionary psychology who regularly perform a little verbal dance around the issue even as their writing is the most widespread manifestation of Darwinist eugenics and those such as that formerly idolized figure of popular scientism, Richard Dawkins, who was more explicit in bemoaning that Nazism had discredited eugenics.


Science exists nowhere except in the minds of scientists, scientists whose scientific credibility and credentials rely on their acceptance by those same scientists, what gets called "science" in any generation is what science is, that is as true for science which is retained as well as science which is either dropped or discredited. Only in the case of eugenics, so discredited in the post-WWII period as the crimes of the Nazis forced facing just what those scientists and their teachers had said had to logically lead to, as can be seen in both the quasi-eugenics claims and those such as those of Francis Crick who lobbied his scientific colleagues privately to rehabilitate the scientific racism of the scientists Arthur Jensen, the kind of behind the privacy screen of private lobbying that is apparently far more extensive when the issue is eugenics. The same kind of science which the Harvard scientist Richard Herrnstein joined up with the political hack Charles Murray to reintroduce directly into American politics and the legal profession through their book The Bell Curve. And, as I pointed out, through both the forced, coerced eugenic sterilization of Women of Color under detention by ICE and through the scientific hackery of Dr. Scott Atlas and Richard Epstein which is so influential in killing us off through the "passive eugenics" of "herd immunity."


No, until science definitively and by a clear and effective and enduring majority reject eugenics and the guarantee of its perpetuation, the theory of natural selection, they wear it, it's clearly not "pseudo-science" if it can be part of the understanding of science of Oxford University's emeritus chair for "The Public Understanding of Science" and the science faculties of equally prestigious university science departments. 

 

If it were up to me, I'd make it a lot easier for them by science getting shut of psychology, sociology, anthropology and a host of other obviously deficient areas of academic activity called "science".  I'd definitely make sure that such associated pretenders as economics get kicked out of the club.   But, then, I'd get rid of the theory of natural selection altogether.  If you want to see why, read what I wrote on that topic years ago.  But I'm not a scientist, I don't get a vote on that.  If scientists want to get shut of eugenics, its up to them.  But no one should let them off the hook for all of the reasons above and some I haven't mentioned.  

 

If eugenics is "pseudo-science" then Darwin and his disciples were guilty of practicing pseudo-science.  Address that and maybe, maybe, if you keep it polite I'll post your comment. 

RBG And Why This Makes Changing Everything Even More Important

The chances were, when the Electoral College imposed Donald Trump on the country that Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be replaced by him or the combination of billionaires who control him or the fascists such as William Barr and if she had looked at the calendar or listened to her body, she would have known that better than anyone. No doubt she was a very good Supreme Court justice right up till the end, no doubt Barack Obama would have replaced her with someone who at least started out to her right - Obama always went with safe choices, though in the case of Justice Sotomayor, I'm not sure they were always to RBG's right. But, now, we see the consequence of someone getting on the court and mistaking their role in the larger history of the country and the world. She, I am sorry to conclude, saw herself as indespensible when she was merely a human being who time and the human condition will dispose of and there was never any guarantee that she would outlive the next Republican-fascist regime. Which should be a lesson to any liberal appointed to any court as they reach the limits of human life expectancy. I am afraid that I will always blame her for not leaving during Obama's term.


But the disaster that we now have with her death will haunt us for decades due to the position the Supreme Court took for itself, extra-Constitutionally, and the stupidity of the fabled founders in making a judicial appointment a life-long one subject only to the impossible conditions required to remove even a Trump or, as I'm certain we will find out a Kavanaugh, from the court once their asses have been put on the bench. A Senate voters of sixty-seven votes is required to remove even a perjuring, lying and sexually assaulting "justice" from the Court and there is no chance that Republicans will vote even a proven felon of their party from the Court - they didn't remove Trump and he committed what by any rational - though not Constitutional - definition is treason against American democracy.


The only recourse to having seven to three decisions pitching us ever backward into an even more violent Jim Crow, gilded-age or, I wouldn't be surprised, pre-Civil War America is for a Democrat, if he is lucky enough to get a Democratic President to appoint enough "justices" to drive the fascist majority into the minority. Which is ridiculous but the dangers of allowing fascism to stand is even more ridiculous for any real, traditional American style of liberal or genuine leftist to tolerate.


The defects in our Constitution are coming to harvest all at once, those which are actually there and those put there by the Court, the explicitly anti-democratically constituted body in the government, and such things as Department of "Justice" lawyers writing memos empowering presidents with impunity to prosecution for even the most serious of crimes. It is a glaring fact that the habits and traditions and practices and the Constitution itself has proven itself to not be capable of protecting egalitarian democracy from the concerted efforts of determined gangsters, which is what those who hold all anti-egalitarian, all anti-democratic positions and ideologies are, no different in kind from a mob that shakes down a neigborhood in a protection racket or who run drugs and prostitution and who steal and, yes, kill for the profit of the gangsters. That is what we are up against, that is what the Republicans on the Supreme Court are, they are mob lawyers, the most powerful and accomplished advocats for criminals there are.


We can't tolerate this anymore, they are attacking the elections openly and effectively. We can't depend on John Roberts' odd, unexpected and against character 5-4s against his fascist colleagues - rulings and votes to cover for his ultimate goal of installing his gangster bosses in power for good. Now even if he wants to cover his own ass, he's got enough, right now, without another one of them on the bench to force their will. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't openly try to rig the election for Trump and, more so, the Republican-fascists down the ballot.


The only safe course for us is to reject those powers the Court has given itself, starting with Marbury v. Madison, a claim of Supreme Court power which has increasingly been used by the Supreme Court to expand its powers, occasionally for the good but it's been a hell of a long time since Earl Warren was making landmarks in overturning Jim Crow, those have generally and increasingly gone the other way as the critics of that self-given power were predicting more than a hundred twenty years ago. The first thing is to stop with the stupid genuflection and drop the phony aura of sanctity surrounding the Court and the Constitution and, most of all the "founders". This is going to take a long term cultural change, lying about it on strange and video isn't going to help one bit. 

 

And getting back to the chances of RBG outlasting a Trump regime, if a president Biden or Harris takes the emergency route of increasing the size of the court, the reason of appointing judges with a knowledge of mathematics and science that would allow at least some of them to make reasoned choices on topics which require those, those are skills and knowledge which is dangerously lacking on today's courts.  And it isn't just the most arrogant of fascists on the court who pretend that isn't a dangerous problem.   I don't think she really appreciated the probabilities of that or she would have acted differently.  I do respect her but her legacy will always contain this as well as her rulings.

Friday, September 18, 2020

I'm Not Falling For One Of Roy's Coy Ploys

Looking back at some of those old posts linked to in those archives, looking at the obvious faults introduced by spell-check, I'm glad I went to using a primitive, simple text editor for writing these things.  I doubt I'll use my word-processing program for much other than to convert text files to PDF.   Word processing went a step too far in making it easier.

--------------------

I went back and read Alan "Roy"* Dershowitz's basis for suing CNN and would have to go back and listen to the entire program he bases his claim in, matching it to the actual video documenting the "Senate trial" (yeah, right) of the Trump impeachment, especially the timing of what he claimed was defamatory and when what was asked and answered.  I'll be curious to see if it stands up or if a judge throws it out.  If they do, I hope CNN asks for costs, and I'm the opposite of a fan of CNN.   

His claim that Adam Schiff's understanding of what he said that CNN is alleged to have distorted is accurate is something I'd have to see proved in detail, including Adam Schiff's elucidation of it.   Schiff I trust completely,  "Roy" Dershowitz, not at all.

------------------------------

I hope to get back to the Brueggemann tomorrow.  It's tomato drying time, one of the few crops that did well in the hellishly dry summer we're having.  I've never been more discouraged about a garden, though it's not my worst year.

It's Been A While Since I Answered My Hate Mail - I've Done The Research, I Know The Topic

Longtime readers of this blog will be the opposite of surprised at what I said about natural selection being the basis of every form of eugenic depravity, be it the involuntary sterilization of Women of Color in the Republican-for-profit ICE-DHS prisons in Georgia and, I have every confidence we will find, elsewhere to Scott Atlas's Hoover Institute- Richard Epstein's "Darwinian Economics" promotion of "herd immunity" which is a. a totally unproven theory based in the very badly documented and double-speaking assumptions of natural selection b. casually, even breezily assumes that for it to be the means selected to deal with a pandemic, that millions will have to die for the promised benefit to the survivors.   

That is an idea that Darwin inserted directly into the heart of, first, evolutionary biology and from there and with the active ideological intent and self-intrest of Darwinists,* the entirety of biology.  And from there into the very faulty public understanding of science and even into the ever daffier regions of modern materialist philosophy,  Daniel Dennett would impose it on the entirety of the universe, even when such an imposition is made totally illogical through the lack of a biological physical basis for it.   It is not an idea that you have to believe in to accept the truth of evolution, though why that rather interesting though hardly vital issue has come to hold such a stranglehold on the emotions of those in favor of and against it when we are facing climate change, environmental devestation, the rise of dictatorship over egalitarian democracy is a far more important question.  

*  R. A. Fischer was financially and morally supported by Leonard Darwin as he invented the "modern synthesis" pasting together the hardly very advanced 1930s conceptions of genetics with a radically modified, though still extremely dangerous conception of natural selection.  That his own scientific racism was supported by Darwinism certainly wouldn't have predisposed him to look hard at the validity of the theory.  Every single time I looked deeply into, especially, the pre-WWII literature of Darwinism I found there was absoulutely no denial that eugenics is a logical conclusion of a belief in natural selection, including the eugenics that the Nazis made the law of Germany.  Leonard Darwin had complained bitterly that until the Nazis "turned things in a better direction" (his words in a revelatory 1939 article) they would not institute eugenic laws, including forced sterilization and other measures that led directly to the industrial machine of death that so many genteel Darwinists, especially in American and Britain, advocated starting in the late 19th century, well before Nazism came into being.  

Darwinism, natural selection, as long as it is orthodoxy within science and in the public imagination - put there by ideological science and its vulgar popular versions - is going to lead to people being discriminated against, being coerced or forced to be sterilized, and killed, either by passive irresponsibility as in Sweden, the United States and elsewhere where this latest "herd immunity" fantasy became public policy or by the most extreme form, mass murder.   That has been its logical conclusion from the early 1860s as Darwin's closest colleagues, friends and relations, from Thomas Huxley gleefully anticipating the violent genocide of American Black People as they no longer had, in his ignorant assessment, economic utility to the (in his racist mind) "superior" whites, to Darwin's cousin Francis Galton formally founding the science of eugenics to his own son George Darwin, with his support, writing an article in an influential magazine calling for legislation to legally, involuntarily and permanently dissolve marriages of those who, according to Victorian concepts of psychology, were mentally ill.   All of that was done with Darwin's knowledge and support based on his theory of natural selection which, after all, in the fifth and sixth editions of On The Origin of Species, at the encouragement and with the support of his co-inventor of natural selection,  he said it was exactly identical to Herbert Spencer's Survival of the Fittest. 

 

For anyone who is interested in reading some of my research into that,  I have posted two, hardly up-to-date indexes of posts on the topic,  this one covering a lot of what I've found out about the relationship between natural selection and eugenics and scientific racism and mass murder up to WWII, this one covering recent and current domestic American fascist and neo-Nazi citation of natural selection and Charles Darwin.  I have since then written extensively on the topic of the Nazi use of natural selection and the cooperative collaboration of American and British scientists, Charles Davenport, Karl Pearson, in not only providing their own Darwinist establishments with what was identical to Nazi racism and eugenics, WHICH WAS WIDELY ACCEPTED WITHIN CONVENTIONAL SCIENCE AS VALID SCIENCE, but which the Nazis, themselves cited as their reasons for the policies they instituted, including their infamous mass murders.  Karl Pearson the British Socialist and a deeply respected geneticist was one of the most overt in providing British bigots and, also, Nazi eugenics with a view of Jews from Poland and Russia as being a danger to the "Aryan" or British population.   He used the race science of exactly the same German Darwinists in constructing an anti-semetic paper cited by the Nazis.  

If anyone thinks that kind of thing has gone away with the end of WWII, they should search my archieves for the American evolutionary psychologists Kevin MacDonald and John Hartung whose as antsemetic science was as acceptable within academic science and science publication up to MacDonald testifying for the Holocaust denier David Irving, exposing his scientific racism to a wider public, as Karl Pearson's was in the 1920s.  It was positively cited as valid science by the ultra-Darwinist Richard Dawkins even after that.  Darwinian science didn't seem to have any problem with it up till then. 

Worth Reading And Very On Topic For The Brueggemann Posts

I was going to post a link to RMJ's post It's Money That Matters? yesterday but  got involved in a time-sensitive project.  Going back to look at it this morning, in addition to the fine post there is a comment by the estimable rustypickup with an answer from RMJ and a further comment that add to the already worthwhile content.  So I'm posting that link this morning, encouraging you to read it.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

On Barr Being A Member Of Opus Dei

Seeing Lawrence Tribe is accusing William Barr of being a member of Opus Dei, the Catholic extreme right organization,  I had to see if it were true.  I found that even Opus Dei doesn't want to be associated with William Barr, it released a press release last year that said:

Our normal policy is not to identify members (or non-members) of the Prelature, but rather to leave it to each individual to make known this information. Nevertheless, because there have been recent news accounts referring to the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, as a member of Opus Dei, we would like to clarify that Mr. Barr is not a member of Opus Dei nor has he ever been one.

Now, considering who has been a member of the organization,  especially its founder, it's pretty stunning that they don't want to claim Barr.  And, don't get me wrong, I detest that John Paul II advanced cult.   It's just that even they don't want Barr, apparently.

Of course, I don't believe Barr believes anything much except in an absolute monarch-president, as long as that president is a Republican-fascist.  His every word is a lie, his every act is anti-Christian. 

How About We Consider Trump And His Cult The Warning Of Allowing The Mass Media To Lie About Politics

 

I had to wonder if these were real Trump cultists or actors when I saw this but apparently they are real Trump voters who can listen to even these obviously insane fake Trump videos and they're still behind him.  That anyone had to wonder if they might be real is disturbing enough, finding out they are not being as shocking as it should be is even worse.  We're getting accustomed to this level of insanity being the winning margin for Republican-fascism.

That even some of them admit what they're hearing is crazy, they still support him.

One thing you know is that these are people who get thier minds fed by what they see on TV, what they hear on hate-talk radio, what they get from fascist news feeds on computers, through Facebook, Twitter, etc.  This is a media created phenomenon.  It was created by the intention of the Murdoch media, by Sinclair, by the Trump supporting media, with the full participation of billionaire gangsters and thugs, domestic as well as Putin and whatever other gangsters in power
I had to wonder if these were real Trump cultists or actors when I saw this but apparently they are real Trump voters who can listen to even these obviously insane fake Trump videos and they're still behind him.  That anyone had to wonder if they might be real is disturbing enough, finding out they are not being as shocking as it should be is even worse.  We're getting accustomed to this level of insanity being the winning margin for Republican-fascism.

I don't know if this is God giving us a little warning of what that regime of lies will lead to but that's what it is.  Imagine if Trump weren't an insane baby-man, imagine if he were one of his craftier gang of goons who was even more skilled at leading a cult like this.  

We change that Supreme Court-ACLU dogma or we will suffer the consequences that, ironically, are exactly the same ones that the ACLU self-promotional propaganda warned would result from things like a Jimmy Carter, a Ted Kennedy, a Hillary Clinton, an Elizabeth Warren being able to punish the media for spreading lies about them.  Or a Barack Obama, the danger of an FCC to pull the license of any broadcaster for doing what has become commonplace in our media since Reagan finished that part of the Warren Court "free speech" agenda by pretty much getting rid of the requirement that the broadcast mass media serve the common good and not lie for the benefit of its owners and its advertisers.   

I am afraid that the Trump regime is only the last notice given if we don't make that change.  I am afraid that it will happen faster than slower, they're getting better at it than they were in 1968, no one ever believed they could sell the country a Trump back then.  I don't think they even really believed they could sell a Reagan or a George W. Bush.

Natural Selection Is The Basis of Trump's "Herd Immunity" Even His "White Evangelical" Supporters Are Darwinists In That

For anyone who doubts what I said about how dangerous the likely pseudo-scientific mixture of Malthusian economics with the biological study of evolution which is natural selection, though she didn't use the word in any of her program last night, every single thing that Rachel Maddow brought up as policy from the Trump regime is either directly attributable to the thought of Charles Darwin, as stated in his own words, or is an indirect reflection of his supposedly scientific use of the depraved class-based theory of Thomas Malthus and giving it a far more dangerous form taken as credible and enforced orthodoxy within science.   That is as true of the "herd immunity" mentality put into the coo-coo clock mind of Donald Trump by FOX as it was the involuntary, eugenic sterilization of women reported at for-profit ICE prisons in Georgia.  

Nothing in what has been revealed about the depravity of the Trump regime's "herd mentality" policy is a surprise to me, almost twelve years ago I wrote this, setting off a firestorm of denunciation on the secular left who responded:

Darwin used a metaphor to describe the unchecked breeding of the “weaker members” of the human species and the bad results it would have for future generations. He said:

"Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed."

He introduced the idea that it was stupid to allow certain people to have children after lamenting that they would survive to child bearing age. By comparing people to farm animals in this context he was clearly lamenting that people wouldn’t be treated like animals in a commercial breeding operation.

Let me stop here to ask, isn’t that outrageous enough in itself? Not even animals in the wild, but comparing human beings to animals in a commercial breeding operation? Where else have we seen that idea not only posed by carried out?

Darwin’s Defender didn’t seem to realize that animals selected as not to be bred are not kept as pets on a farm but are marked for early slaughter. I’ll point out that this is entirely in keeping with the earlier part of the paragraph where Darwin laments that human beings will survive long enough to breed.


The mechanism to prevent this happening in the human population, the one he approves of, the one he heartily approves of among the ‘savages’ is through the deaths of the “weaker members”. That the gentleman's son, Charles Darwin, would leave the culling to the 'savages' signifies absolutely nothing.

By the time Darwin wrote The Descent of Man, where the passage comes from, he was a very experienced writer who was used to having his language dissected by both those hostile to science and by scientists. To think he didn’t mean what he wrote is the kind of double-talk you get from idol worshipers, ironically, it is tantamount to saying he was ga-ga when he wrote it. I think he knew what he was writing and that it is clear he knew what happens to animals on the farm, he cited exactly the practices of commercial animal breeding in his work and would have known about its enormous usefulness to his great idea, which isn’t evolution but natural selection. The subsequent and dishonest assertion of his humanity does nothing to dissuade me that he knew the horrible conclusions that had to come from believing what he had just written.

For anyone who further doubts that Charles Darwin introduced the idea that letting millions of people die from infectious disease was salubrious, increasing the health of the survivors, they could only maintain that by not reading him, especially in The Descent of Man in which he said just that.

It is often claimed that the ass-cover that Darwin provided himself, even as he maintained that depraved position as hard science is enough to excuse his central role in producing exactly the proto-Nazi style depravity that is FOX-Hoover Institute style public policy in the Federal Government as I type this but the surest evidence that those who knew Charles Darwin best understood they were to take his dire warnings seriously as they ignored his fig leaf cover for his shame is seen in the abortive political carreer of his own son,  Leonard Darwin who ran in opposition to universal vaccination against small pox on explicitly eugenic terms as he would go on to head the British Eugenics Socieity, only one of at least four of C. Darwin's children and many later Darwin descendants active in promoting eugenics,  maintaining that in doing so he was carrying on his father's work, saying to his fellow Eugenicist, Karl Pearson, that he was certain his father would have wanted him to do his best in promoting eugenics.

The entire scientific superstition of eugenics is directly attributed to Charles Darwin by its official inventor, Leonard Darwin's predecessor as the head of the British Eugenics Society,  Francis Galton who published Charles Darwin's letter supporting his earliest eugenics writings, as, indeed, Charles Darwin cited those and even more extreme eugenics "science" from the fabric merchant turned scientist, W.R. Greg and the direct link to Nazi biological theory,  Ernest Haeckel.  Nazi biological theory, the basis of not only their own forced sterilization policy, eugenic mass murders - not a little of which was not in gas chambers or through firing squad but through allowing conditions where disease killed huge numbers - was done with the scientific guarantee that the physical health and intellectual status of the survivors would be superior.  And their own literature proves that the theory of natural selection was the basis of that.

When you hear people wonder where Scott Atlas, where Richard Epstein, two of the mainstays of Trumpian "herd mentality" come from, I'm afraid the answer to that is they come from a conventional understanding of Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection, which, in turn, comes from his own twist (and it is quite a twist) on the depraved, British class-system codification equations of Thomas Malthus.   

As long as natural selection is believed to be credible, as long as it is the enforced framing through which not only evolution but things such as public health policy are talked about and imagined, people are going to die from it.   

The irony that so many "white evangelicals" for whom the name "Darwin" is anathema are thoroughly true believing Darwinists through Trump and FOX and the Murdoch style of "free press" is striking.  Though no more ironic than their claims of "christianity" which they thoroughly reject except for the words and the trappings.  They are thoroughly materialistic in that.  They swallowed the lies of the Prince of Liars through Murdoch's porn-financed media company. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Gee, Dersh, Sue Me While You're At It

Being unwilling to stand second to anyone in my disdain for Alan Dershowitz, it seems he wasn't getting enough attention for himself because I notice he's filed a $300,000,000 defamation suit against CNN because he figures they'd edited a video of him disgracing himself during the Trump impeachment trial earlier this year.


I hope CNN wins, or at least mops the floor with the Dersh-rag who can stand second in no one in disgracing himself. If I were the judge I'd require him to say exactly what the "disgrace" he figures is worth three hundred million consists of. I suspect some rich people who used to include him on their guest lists on the Vinyard dropped him like you would if you picked up a dog turd thinking it was something else. And it's not because I like CNN, I don't but they did't go looking for the opportunity to be part of Dershowitz's self-promotion publicity lawsuit. 

 

I'm almost tempted to go looking for old Dershowitz quotes about free speech-press to see what he's said in the past on that topic. I suspect that he might have to do a bit of fancy mouth-work to square things he said then and things he's claiming now. 

 

Harvard should have dumped him like the cheap suit he is.

How To Keep From Being Trapped In The Block Universe And The Cost Of That Freedom and Hope

I am leaving out a paragraph here, for anyone who might be following in the print book, which I hope anyone reading this informal study of the book has gotten and is reading for themselves.


It may be that I have schematized matters too much, but I believe that schematizaion is evident in the text itself. The emergence of royal reality could have gone either way, and the tradition holds out a hope for faithful royal reality, even as late as Josiah. In fact it did not turn out that way, and that indeed presents a major problem for biblical faith. Royal reality rode roughshod over Moses' vision. The gift of freedom was taken over by the yearning for order. The human agenda of justice was utilized for security. The God of freedom and justice was coopted for an eternal now. And in place of passion comes satiation.


I believe that the possibility of passion is a primary prophetic agenda and that it is precisely what the royal consciousness means to eradicate. We do not need to review the literature of passion but only to make reference to Soelle, Moltmann, Weisel, and especially Heschel.* Passion as the capacity and readiness to care, to suffer, to die, and to feel is the enemy of imperial reality. Imperial economics is designed to keep people satiated so that they do not notice. Its politics is intended to block out the cries of the denied ones. Its religion is to be an opiate so that no one discerns misery alive in the heart of God. Pharaoh, the passive king in the block universe, in the land without revolution or change or history or promise or hope, is the model king for a world that never changes from generation to generation. The same fixed, closed universe is what every king yearns for - even Solomon in all his splendor.


In some of his more recent talks, Brueggemann talks about the twin temptations of nostalgia and forgetfulness, which are combined without regard to the irony of it in the undermining and debasement of not only the religious tradition of Christian (mostly in this context) but also in other religion but, generally, in our politics, "our" being that of the collective human population.


In the United States this nostalgia and forgetting is mostly created, instructed, lied into the minds of Americans through the media, the movies, TV shows, hate-talk and other radio narrative, which denies the hard reality of our own history and our own experience as it recreates a false, phony past for us to yearn for but which like all golden ages, was never what it was. The myths of the rugged-individual - OF WHICH THERE IS NO REGION, NO STATE, NO AREA WHICH IS NOT, IN ITS OWN MIND, FILLED WITH THE GRAVES OF SUCH MYTHOLOGICAL MEN (AND IT'S EITHER MEN OR WOMEN WHO ACT ACCORDING TO THE TRADITIONAL MASCULINE ROLE) is ubiquitious in that collectively believed in lie. That is the thing yearned for, especially, by white racists and those who Trump hopes to gull into voting for him out of fear for them losing what he has done more than anyone else to take from most of them.


Retrospectively, the "eternal now," the "world that never changes from generation to generation," the "fixed, closed universe," must have felt quite like the modern-industrial-scientific world we live in. In fact, I think the yearning for the eternal order that science is mistaken to provide for us, an imaginary universe of order according to human imagination in which there are unchanging laws, unchanging orders, an unchanging, fixed set of physical interactions, physical causation that was set into motion by the big bang, is the form of that which is ubiquitious, not only among the official champions of science but also in the fundamentalists who, like it or not, and so many of them don't, share in that same view of reality even as they don't like the present scientific consensus on what science shows is happening around us.


That is to say, you might not be either the great big opponent or supporter of what you believe you are. Donald Trump's fixed order is the vulgar form of that even as the materialist ideologues of contemporary scientism is the somewhat less vulgar form of it. So is a lot of what is mistaken as Christian religion.


I mentioned the theology of ends and its relation to the theology of creation and have to admit that that has become a big influence on me, now. The universe that was created is not static, it does not stay in a steady state, life doesn't stay the same it changes - whether it develops into something better or more complex or whatever is a trap of replacing human definitions for just seeing what it is - the human weakness to yearn for changelessness to insist on the security of what we know and are comfortable with and love is futile in view of the changing of the universe. That change is presented in the popular imagination, not a little of that based in a sensationalistic, comic book reading of the last book of the New Testament canon, as catastrophic but an older tradition of reading scripture sees it as not a catastrophe after which most of humanity is sent either to hell or obliterated into the completion of the creation of the universe in which there is universal reconciliation of us and our world of known experience with the Creator. One of the consequences of accepting that belief is to see any desire for a fixed, closed universe as wrong, even sacrilegious. We, ourselves, are not to stay the same as we are, either in this life or as we take up a new form after death. To want to is as wrong as insisting on a child not growing up and to stop being the same person they were when they were three or four. The same is true for human socieities, nations, the world. And it doesn't matter whether or not we like that or accept it, it's going to happen anyway. That would be unbearabe or even acceptable without faith that God intends an outcome that is better than what we could imagine. Or, at least, that's how I feel about it. It doesn't mean accepting "fate" this isn't a matter of fatalism, how people choose to act is as much a part of it as geological events and other movements of matter.


Justice in human terms is never a fixed matter of things, there is always, always some kind of change involved. The giving and receiving of needed charity, the payment of workers the wages they are worthy of (here's a clue, that is based on what is needed for life, not based on hours worked) the generous giving to strangers. And there will never be a schedule of regular rates at which those happen, there will never be total and full accord as to what is right, what should be done. There will always be give and take and push and shove and misunderstandings. But there is always the potential for understanding, agreement and acceptance and forgiving. And what comes after is not going to be just what came before. The only safe thing to do is to do it with that passion the "readiness to care, to suffer, to die, and to feel," without which you will be as much a puppet of the gangsters who have power as the suckers who go to Trump's rallies and contract and spread Covid-19, the disease spreaders who went to that Sanford, Maine "Baptist" "church," the suckers who will vote for the "Peoples' Party" or not vote as seen on Facebook and the Twitter feed of has-been celebrities and today's disposable play-lefty hero.


*I will, this time give you Walter Brueggemann's footnote because perhaps you, as I, have not read the works he is signaling in that list:


See: Dorothee Soell, Suffering (Philadelpia: Fortress Press, 1975), Moltmann, The Experiment Hope; E Weisel in various works; and Abraham Heschel, The Prophets (New York: Harper and Row, 1962.