Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tying Up Some Loose Ends Before They Hang Us

I do get quite a lot of comments that I choose not to post or answer, mostly because they libel or insult someone else who posts a comment or myself.   There isn't any requirement that I post insults unless I decide those are useful, I don't have the permission of anyone else to post lies about them and I wouldn't want to do that even if they said it was OK with them.

I choose to answer some of the points raised in some of those that get sent to the Spam file, as I choose or as seems useful.   Again, I'm not required to answer everything, I'd have to continually go over even more of the ground already covered if I did that.   I moderate comments because most lies don't tell you much except about the liar who lies them and I won't carry lies told about other people to be posted on my blog.  In some cases I won't post the ones about me, either. Not unless there's a reason for that or they give me a chance to mock someone who deserves mocking.  I post a lot of the stupid stuff that Simels and his buddies say because they're such a good source of typical stupidity, Duncan Black's comment threads are like a petri dish where such conventional thought doesn't so much as develops but merely stays alive. Getting away from the keyboard and actually, you know, doing something isn't high on any of their agendas.  It would seem in the early days of the Trump period, cynical, lazy lassitude is the response of the owner.

Over the years of reading blogs and, even more so, blog comments I've sussed out some of the boundaries of allowable discourse among the pseudo-liberal, college educated people who seem to make up the majority of those who make such comments on liberalish blogs.  One of the most effective things learned in universities and colleges, these days, would seem to be what you can and what you can't say while being respectable.   Social class positioning would seem to be one of the strongest motives behind that,  if such people had more of an intellectual or moral commitment to the substance of their positions they'd have spent more of their time reading about, questioning and testing their validity and would have found in larger numbers that some of their most cherished tokens of social status are pure hooey.   People interested in the truth test their beliefs, people interested in things like social placement merely learn the articles of faith that will get them those.

I seem to recall it was Gore Vidal who called Hilton Kramer "the tireless little meter maid of the arts" or some such thing, something that would describe pretty much anyone who gets paid by an over-rated media venue to pontificate on what's good and what's not,  something Gore Vidal was paid to do quite often, himself.   The extent to which that job is in forming the boundaries of allowable taste and opinion as a means of creating and enforcing social class is pretty much the definition of the job.  I think that's the same thing that a lot of writing is motivated by and when someone transgresses the boundaries that are set up and enforced - with citations to back up those transgressions - any means necessary to reestablish them will be taken.   Reading lots and lots of people who've been to college, some who teach at elite prep schools or in universities, themselves, reciting the kinds of things that constitute the articles of faith of their particular alleged intellectual niche or realm of social distinction is pretty much what their life of the mind consists of, adding a factoid or two as those are published in The Times or some magazine or journal.  No testing of those will be done and the practice of questioning them is not welcomed, especially among those who comprise that niche who call themselves "free thinkers".   Gore Vidal was no more interested in testing his preferred assumptions than Hilton Kramer was in testing his, though being professionally garrulous with a pose of pugnacity, he'd sometimes go after those who most people would think were close to his own position.

Back before large amounts of basic, foundational material became readily available to read, in total, not cherry-picked, with a quick web search instead of a trip to the university library,  I had taken on faith that a lot of the stuff that comprised the common POV of the social left was founded in fact and an accurate account of the literature and history.   Reading a lot of the things I had taken it on faith backed up those assumptions, some of it is supported and a lot of it isn't. Huge amounts of it, in fact, are contradicted by looking at the primary sources.  Some of what isn't is based in minor fudging and replacement of fiction for fact, some of it seriously and ideologically misrepresents what the record shows.   I will say that the same is true for the basis of what is called "conservative".   I don't think the difference among many of the two allegedly opposite sides are all that different.

The difference I can see now is that while conservatives have their overarching motive of vulgar materialism at the heart of their motivation, I think lots of those identified as the left or liberal have vulgar social stratification as theirs - either they have sufficient vulgar material security and aren't interested in vulgar opulent Trumpian wealth or the pleasure of thinking well of themselves makes up for that relative deficit in ownership of stuff among lots of them.

The confusion among my former friends, my formerly fellow, formerly supposed liberals as to the drastic change in my thinking is, I think, due to the transgressing of their expected categories.  That's how someone like me who is an absolutist in egalitarian democracy, electoral democracy can be represented as someone who agrees with the white-supremacist, Holocaust denial of the neo-fascist, at times neo-Nazi Trump regime.   I've certainly made my position clear with lots and lots and lots and lots of documentary evidence to back up what I say, I don't think I could make myself clearer.  But the laziness of their thinking precludes any consideration of anything that violates the boundaries of what they learned in high school and college and from reading the liberalish-leftish media and the recognized - though never admitted - boundaries in which they are allowed to think or which they believe anyone must not be allowed to go beyond.

That "liberalism" of the snobby kind,  that left, has been a total and complete failure, if the part of it that gets called "neo-liberal" which has actually had political power is a failure, the stuff presented as the real, genuine deal has never had even the success in gaining power and influencing things that the "neo-liberals" have.  And I'm not all that convinced that the difference isn't between the practicality of the one doing what was necessary to gain power, at times, and the others being too stupid to understand and accept how politics work.   Neo-liberalism is no more the needed alternative than total-screw-up "liberalism" and the even screwier, attention seeking that is the "left" we need a real alternative that isn't based in snobbery, social ranking and class.   I don't think we're going to get it from that left that can't even be bothered to check their claims.   They aren't even ready to join the real world and admit that Marxism is an abomination that even "Marxists" don't really believe in anymore.  They don't want the shades of the long dead Hollywood 10  and the Weavers to get sad.

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