If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not necessarily because of the specific issue, but I'm really keen on polls with this breakdown:

But while 76% of Mainstream voters think the United States should continue to build the fence, 67% of the Political Class are opposed to it.
We need a constant stream of polls showing "N% of the general electorate has this view, X% of the political class believes the opposite."

Not because the majority is always right, but because it's absolutely critical to repeatedly demonstrate on a range of issues how detached the governing class is from the people they govern, how alienated they are from the society they rule.

Which is also why, alas, such breakdowns are unlikely to get widespread mention in the Official Press.

On this one I actually agree with the majority of the country, but "to fence, or not to fence" is not actually the point here. I'm sure there are issues where I'll disagree with the majority of the electorate, and agree with the governing class (though prolly not many issues). But still I think that, even here I think the majority is wrong, putting in everyone's face the fact that the disconnect between the governed and the governing class has become so vast is an absolute precondition to addressing a lot of the problems we have. I don't think the majority is always right, but I do think it will be...informative...for the majority to learn so decisively how often their leaders think they're wrong. Then we can all decide through democratic vote which group is really the most fsk'd up.

Lustration to follow! épuration légale!

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Blogchair Psychoanalysis

I'm not getting a soft-spot for the current Administration, far from it, most of my opinions of it I don't post here, but I still hold it in a minimum of high regard.

That said, some criticisms are just mindless. People on the Right such as myself and, I presume, the fine people at American Thinker, properly despise it when the Left subjects conservatives (either politicians or as a whole) to distant armchair psychoanalysis. So why are they engaging in it?

It doesn't seem to be along the lines of what I admit is one of my favorite strategeries, that of hoisting them on their own petard, subjecting them (the President in this case, the Left in general) to the same standards they subject everyone else to to demonstrate how fail and inconsistent the standards are. No, that piece seems perfectly earnest on its own terms. Right down to concluding "adult children of alcoholics... keep them out of the White House"

Well, a good Liberal, Left, Progressive, whatever writer could - and should - use my aforementioned favorite tactic in response to that: Does the author really mean Ronald Reagan should have been kept from the White House? Reagan was also an adult child of an alcoholic, and, unlike Obama, experienced it up close.

Criticisms of these sort, blogchair psychoanalytics, are insipid and self-defeating regardless of who engages in them. They do nothing to advance the debate, and a lot to poison it. I mean, c'mon, who is fooling who here? Nobody is fooling anyone but themselves. People who think Obama or Reagan should have never been President don't do so because they're the product of alcoholic households or any other psychoanalytic reason, and nobody who does think either were or are fine Presidents are going to be convinced otherwise by bogus arguments of this sort. The psychoanalitic deligitimization comes after already deciding they don't like their policies. It's never "you know, I really like what this guy's trying to accomplish and support his policies, but he's probably got this deep-seated mental disorder I attribute to him. He might be unfit for office by reason of crazy."

You know what would be a fun experiment? Find 1000 people who approve of the President, have them read that article, and see how many changed their minds and now think he's unfit for the office. Would there be one such person?


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Men at Work

A snapshot of something that's not usually so overt and generally doesn't work as conciously:

What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.
This is the underlaying mentality, almost never expressed at all, much less so starkly.

Compare with:
Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness.
Quite candid, really.

Oh, and: Eric Alterman was on JournoList, and I think its predecessor, and no doubt will be on whatever succeeds it. Remember that next time you're tempted to take his claims of how stories in the Official Press are or are not formulated seriously. Though there is always this.


Monday, July 05, 2010

Quotes I Stumbled Across

Written by "elf" in a comment at CNAS:

My contempt is so deep I've moved past rage into calm.
Which closed with:
Don't take it personally. It's not you. It's all of you.

Holding the Gun and Pulling the Trigger

A response to this worthy post at Classical Values:

1) It is quite often helpful knowing the origin of an action, motivated by the ideas behind it, in order to combat it. Especially when the action often comes in the form of spreading concepts it advocated.

2) Holding X Cultural Marxist (either originator or successor) accountable in debate is not the same as jailing them or even outlawing them or even their ideas. It's part of responding to speech with speech.

3) I'm pretty sure you know both of the above, but your recent post on the subject could be clearer, implying as it does clearing their names. If for example Marx's ideas when put into practice tend to lead to what they have always led to, one can and should point out that there seems to be something wrong with Marxism (to put it mildly), not *just* with their practitioners. Otherwise it tends towards lending credence to the oft-asserted claim that "it wasn't really Marxism" or "that's not what Marx intended" - sure it may not be, but if the story always ends the same way, maybe the author is subject to a critique?

4) If people say "I advocate that X, Y, and Z be done to tear down this capitalist society we dislike," and then they teach people to do X, Y, an Z, and who then teach others, &tc. &tc, that's not just creating an idea, that's putting it into action. Especially if the ideas themselves revolve around marching through cultural institutions in this way. The hands of people like Marcuse aren't clean. To continue the analogy you initiated, if they're holding the gun and pulling the trigger, then it's not the same as sitting in a institute somewhere and imagining how one might bring down a society, then others stumble across your texts through no fault of your own and put the ideas into practice while you're at saying "no, no, I was only describing how one could do it, I wasn't telling you to do it" or at least maintaining a discrete neutrality. The members of the Frankfurt School may all be dead today, but they were the first not only to come up with their ideas, but to put them into practice, since that practice consists precisely in spreading certain attitudes and belief-sets.

5) Thus the best analogy might be akin to "Patient Zero" of AIDS, who kept deliberately spreading it after he was told what it was. Even then it's perhaps an inapt analogy, because at first he spread it unaware of what he was doing. These people knew from the start.

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