Friday, May 25, 2012

"The Dystopia of Paradise": there's life after pomo

But it does take a country that is living with evil, on the edge of destruction, every day. So for now, don't hold your breath for the West to find out -

Caroline Glick: "Post-Zionism is so 1990s"

You can learn a lot about a nation's health by watching how it celebrates its national holidays. In Israel's case, compare how we celebrated our 50th Independence Day in 1998 to what celebrations involve today. During the 1990s, Israel's elite took a vacation from reality and history and they brought much of the public with them. Then-foreign minister Shimon Peres said that history was overrated. The so-called "New Historians," who rummaged through David Ben-Gurion's closet looking for skeletons, were the toast of the academic world. Radicals like Yossi Beilin, Shulamit Aloni and Avrum Burg were dictating government policy. The media, the entertainment establishment, and the Education Ministry embraced and massively promoted plays, movies, television shows, songs, dances, art and books that "slayed sacred cows." Everywhere you turned, post-Zionism was in. Post-Judaism was in. And Zionism and Judaism were both decidedly out. (...) >>>

May 25, 2012

Positivist epistemology worked out -

Spurred on by Pope Benedict's assault on relativism and positivism (read his full address to the Bundestag) it was time to sort through the various theories of epistemology available. One piece of postmodern fallacy might easily be mistaken for another, like Skepticism, Nominalism and Pragmatism, which all share the same fallacious root: thought creates reality -

Aristotle: "Experience is the source of knowledge, logic the structure".

Empiricism: Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge (...) empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions.

But now for the subjectivist theory:

Positivism: Positivism is defined as "the view that all true knowledge is scientific," and that all things are ultimately measurable. Positivism is closely related to reductionism, in that both involve the view that "entities of one kind... are reducible to entities of another," such as societies to configurations of individuals, or mental events to neural phenomena. It also involves the contention that "processes are reducible to physiological, physical or chemical events," and even that "social processes are reducible to relationships between and actions of individuals," or that "biological organisms are reducible to physical systems."

But positivism is rooted in irrationality and is a fallacy that denies objectivity, morality and follows the subjective 'thought creates reality' 'logic'. It is also nominalist (words are labels without reference in reality).

Ayn Rand cracks it: Logical Positivism declares that “reality,” “identity,” “existence,” “mind” are meaningless terms, that man can be certain of nothing but the sensory perceptions of the immediate moment . . . it declares that the meaning of the proposition: “Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo” is your walk to the library where you read it in a book.


"Ever since Kant divorced reason from reality, his intellectual descendants have been diligently widening the breach. In the name of reason, Pragmatism established a range-of-the-moment view as an enlightened perspective on life, context-dropping as a rule of epistemology, expediency as a principle of morality, and collective subjectivism as a substitute for metaphysics. Logical Positivism carried it farther and, in the name of reason, elevated the immemorial psycho-epistemology of shyster-lawyers to the status of a scientific epistemological system—by proclaiming that knowledge consists of linguistic manipulations."


"As a defense against the Witch-doctory of Hegel, who claimed universal omniscience, the scientist was offered the combined neo-mystic Witch-doctory and Attila-ism of the Logical Positivists. They assured him that such concepts as metaphysics or existence or reality or thing or matter or mind are meaningless—let the mystics care whether they exist or not, a scientist does not have to know it; the task of theoretical science is the manipulation of symbols, and scientists are the special elite whose symbols have the magic power of making reality conform to their will (“matter is that which fits mathematical equations”). Knowledge, they said, consists, not of facts, but of words, words unrelated to objects, words of an arbitrary social convention, as an irreducible primary; thus knowledge is merely a matter of manipulating language. The job of scientists, they said, is not the study of reality, but the creation of arbitrary constructs by means of arbitrary sounds, and any construct is as valid as another, since the criterion of validity is only “convenience” and the definition of science is “that which the scientists do.” But this omnipotent power, surpassing the dreams of ancient numerologists or of medieval alchemists, was granted to the scientist by philosophical Attila-ism on two conditions: a. that he never claim certainty for his knowledge, since certainty is unknown to man, and that he claim, instead, “percentages of probability,” not troubling himself with such questions as how one calculates percentages of the unknowable; b. that he claim as absolute knowledge the proposition that all values lie outside the sphere of science, that reason is impotent to deal with morality, that moral values are a matter of subjective choice, dictated by one’s feelings, not one’s mind."

Which brings us back to core Aristotle:

Objectivism: Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears (in other words: thought does not create reality. It exists outside, and independent of us. Never confuse the metaphysical and the man-made).

"Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival. Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic."

"Objectivism makes morality objective: Ethics is an objective, metaphysical necessity of man’s survival. . . .The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics—the standard by which one judges what is good or evil—is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man. Since reason is man’s basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil. Since everything man needs has to be discovered by his own mind and produced by his own effort, the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are: thinking and productive work."

September 25, 2011
From negative to positive rights -

Prompted by the slightly hysterical libertarian stance expressed by Rand Paul, Duane Lester, blogging at All American Blogger has done an important discovery how the corruption of rights has taken place. It's the shift from negative rights to positive rights: "we have allowed the definition of a right to be bastardized by the left. No longer does it mean something that cannot be taken from you, but instead, something you should have provided for you if you can’t provide it for yourself. Read it all -

All American Blogger: "Attn Rand Paul: I Have A Right To Free Health Care And That Doesn’t Make You A Slave", by Duane Lester

May 23, 2011

The forces of darkness - Politeia - series on the founders of the Counter Enlightenment movement, the roots of socialism, communism, ethnic nationalism, Nazism and fascism -

- "Ideological Archeology: Flunking Fichte (V)"
- "Ideological Archeology: Heckling Hegel (IV)"
- "Ideological Archeology: Countering Kant (III)"
- "Ideological Archeology: Rousseau's Ravages (II)"
- "Ideological Archeology: The Counter-Enlightenment (I)"

The vicious spiral of amoralism -

- Ouroboros -
Read also: Politeia: "The Spiral of Hatred"

Robin of Berkeley, a recovering liberal and a psychotherapist, has written a great piece about the ethical side of psychological projection - amoralism neatly falls into place.
"Collective guilt is not just a noxious premise, but it's an evil one. It presumes guilt without a shred of evidence. In this case, conservatives are incriminated for Loughner's bloodshed (even though Loughner is apparently a Karl Marx-admiring atheist.) The delusion of collective guilt shields people from taking a long hard look in the mirror, thereby witnessing their own bad behavior."
But as Ayn Rand has pointed out: "The clearest symptom by which one can recognize [the amoralist] is his total inability to judge himself, his actions, or his work by any sort of standard."

The descent into evil becomes a vicious spiral: amorality is leading to the inability to judge one's self, which is leading to psychological projection (scapegoating), which is leading to evil, and we're back once more into amorality, etc. etc. -

American Thinker: "See No Evil"

One of the first books that made me thirst for God was, ironically, about His polar opposite. The book is Andrew Delbanco's The Death of Satan: How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil. The author describes the disastrous results of Americans rejecting the concept of evil. When Satan was alive and well, citizens practiced the Ten Commandments, atoned for their sins, and worried about eternal damnation. But today, inhabitants eschew the devil as an anachronism of days gone by.

And what has been the result of the Death of Satan? More bloodshed than ever before in the history of humankind. In the 20th century alone, hundreds of millions of people were murdered by genocidal regimes. And yet, why would banishing Satan result in a less civilized society? Because without an understanding about how good and evil work, people are stripped of Divine intelligence. (...) The number one rule in warfare is this: Know thy enemy, whether it's Radical Islam or evil. Yet, most Americans, with heads firmly buried in the sand, have no idea how to cope when darkness rears its ugly head.

Their default is to find scapegoats, projecting all badness outwards. Liberals routinely scapegoat conservatives. Yet, by smearing an entire group of people, liberals become part of the evil themselves. Scapegoating is the quintessential feature of evil, says M. Scott Peck, in his seminal book, People of the Lie. (...) So the Left demonizes others, which is a fascinating term in and of itself. Instead of taking a good and hard look at themselves and how the Left has unleashed and enabled the brutality, progressives tar conservatives as the demons.

The progressives do this by devilish actions: first, turning conservatives into subhumans, as the other. (...) The Left denies that evil forces exist because they deny God. Evil cannot exist without its polar opposite, the Creator. And if there is a God, He is charge, not human beings; and God will punish as well as bless. The Left may, in fact, demand collective responsibility because they know, deep inside, that their character alone may not get them through the Pearly Gates.

And so Leftists do what they always do: blame conservatives. They disown any responsibility for the dark times that are upon us. They exploit the Tucson tragedy, thereby creating more damage. And through it all, Leftists cling to the notion that they a are the Good Guys. (...) >>>

Jan. 14, 2011


LifeSiteNews: "Pope’s Christmas warning: ‘the future of the world is at stake’", by John-Henry Westen

In his traditional Christmas greeting to Vatican officials this morning, the Pope drew a link between the times of the fall of the Roman Empire and our own times, arguing that “the future of the world is at stake.” (...) The Pope stated that in order to resist these evils it is necessary to resist relativism, and the warping of the idea of the conscience:
In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a “better than” and a “worse than”. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today.
He also called on political leaders to “put a stop to Christianophobia,” and noted that “healing can only come from deep faith in God’s reconciling love.”

In the final analysis, he suggested that “only if there is … a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function.” The Pope explained that the public agreement on essential truths which is “derived from the Christian heritage” is at risk from an approach where morality is ignored in the pursuit of certain goals.

He concluded: “To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake.” >>>

Dec. 21, 2010

The Left moving from liberalism to communitarianism -

Pajamas: "Tea Partiers Epitomize the Tension Between the Individual and the State", by Rick Moran

Democrats have gone beyond solutions based on liberal utilitarian principles and have adopted a "positive rights" philosophy - communitarianism - that is inimical to individual liberty. (...) >>>

Apr 16, 2010

Obama betrays Kantian/Hegelian roots in sketching a world order that is determined by "social justice" (wonderful how philosophy always pans out! free will is out on its ear). But it's even older than that! Surprise, we're back to Calvin - there's even a link there with God's omniscience (because only God can know everything, man had better give up knowing anything) -

StarTribune: "In direct appeal, Obama tells Iranians US wants educational, cultural exchanges" (video here)

In a fresh appeal directly to the Iranian people, President Barack Obama says in an online video that the United States wants more educational and cultural exchanges for their students and better access to the Internet to give them a more hopeful future  (...) "The United States believes in the dignity of every human being and an international order that bends the arc of history in the direction of justice — a future where Iranians can exercise their rights, to participate fully in the global economy and enrich the world through educational and cultural exchanges beyond Iran's borders (...) >>>

Mar 20, 2010

Ed Driscoll goes into the "man-made, dangerous climate change" meme, and traces it back to the father of Pragmatism, William James' concept of The Moral Equivalent of War - war as an exalted means to mobilization for an ethically superior cause: that is fascism.

He's quoting Julia Gorin, who brilliantly as ever observed that "during the mid-aughts, global warming served as a Freudian displacement for a left that turned their backs on the Global War on Terror:
It’s a peculiar thing that as the threat of global terrorism reaches a crescendo, so apparently does the threat of global warming – at least that’s what some would have us believe.
Tough language is borrowed from the war on terror and applied to the war on weather. “I really consider this a national security issue,” says celebrity activist and “An Inconvenient Truth” producer Laurie David. “Truth” star Al Gore calls global warming a “planetary emergency.” Bill Clinton’s first worry is climate change: “It’s the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it.”
Freud called it displacement. People fixate on the environment when they can’t deal with real threats. Combating the climate gives nonhawks a chance to look tough. They can flex their muscle for Mother Nature, take a preemptive strike at an SUV. Forget the Patriot Act, it’s Kyoto that’ll save you. (...) >>>
Read it all in:

PJM: "The Moral Equivalent Of The War On The Na’vi"

Mar 8, 2010

Friedman on old vs. new liberalism (usurpation)-

Veterans for Academic Freedom: "Who you calling a Liberal?"

My high school history teacher used to say: “You think I am conservative; I am really an old-fashioned liberal.” We thought he was just making a joke, but the fact is, he was right on target. This article was written in 1955…before most of you ever had a chance to be liberal.

"Liberalism", by Milton Friedman

Liberalism, as it developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and flowered in the nineteenth, puts major emphasis on the freedom of individuals to control their own destinies. Individualism is its creed; collectivism and tyranny its enemy. The state exists to protect individuals from coercion by other individuals or groups and to widen the range within which individuals can exercise their freedom; it is purely instrumental and has no significance in and of itself. Society is a collection of individuals and the whole is no greater than the sum of its parts. The ultimate values are the values of the individuals who form the society; there are no super-individual values or ends. Nations may be convenient administrative units; nationalism is an alien creed. (...) >>>

Feb. 27, 2010

Libertarianism vs. libertinism (relativism) -

NRO: "Libertarianism or Libertinism?", by Frank S. Meyer (The Moulding of Communists: The Training of the Communist Cadre, 1961)

This article first appeared in the Sept. 9, 1969, issue of NATIONAL REVIEW.

(...) A true libertarianism is derived from metaphysical roots in the very constitution of being, and places its defense of freedom as a political end in the context of moral responsibility for the pursuit of virtue and the underlying social necessity for the preservation of order. The libertine impulse that masquerades as libertarianism, on the other hand, disregards all moral responsibility, ranges itself against the minimum needs of social order, and raises the freedom of the individual person (regarded as the unbridled expression of every desire, intellectual or emotional) to the status of an absolute end. (...) >>>

Feb. 25, 2010

Today saw the emergence of two pieces in the liberal press illustrating their current state of mind is. David Brooks, an extremely arrogant Republican member of the 'intelligentsia' on the Tea Party movement in the NYT, and in the UK's The Guardian Michael Tomasky blogging on what separates the Concervative from the Liberal species. The latter brings up Jonah Goldberg's book about Liberal fascism. As usual they believe it's just an unpleasant label, and not really rooted in reality. AIM at the time had a review of the book worth relaying here, since it's some time ago. It's not Goldberg who coined the term, but H.G. Wells in a 1920's speech when the discussion was not about Capitalism versus Socialism, but rather which kind of Socialism would win the day, red socialism or fascism. Let's not forget what the official name of Italy was under Mussolini: the Italian Social Republic.

AIM: "Liberal Fascism Explained", by Amanda Busse

Jan. 5, 2010

Opinion Paper: "Intelligent Dishonesty (by design)", by Mike Murray

I am an admirer -- not an adversary -- of those who professionally engage in scientific endeavors. I envy them their efforts; I applaud their accomplishments. Nevertheless, I have to say it: many of them have lately been getting off the subject. If I raise my voice here in something less than total praise of scientists, however, neither do I seek to bury them. Nor do I intend to cross technical swords with those who've devoted their lives to memorizing intricate formulas and making complex calculations. I'm quite certain that anyone with a "fud" (that's a Ph.D. to those of you not familiar with academia) in physics can run rings around me at the chalk board. Still, I am deeply troubled by the bashing that theology has been taking in recent years at the hands of career scientists. Before you get the wrong idea, you should know that I am not a member of any organized religion (or of any disorganized one, either). I grew up Catholic, but I long ago shed my adherence to the tenets of that -- or any other -- religious faith. (...) >>>

Dec. 19, 2009

PJTV: "A Tale of Two Revolutions: The War of Ideas & the Tragedy of the Unconstrained Vision" (video)

Sept. 10, 2009

The magic of the "Dem." prefix (as in the "German Dem. Republic")!

From the comments it transpires that some Leftists (#3) have convinced themselves that it isn't Leftism which inspires violence, but religionism and authoritarianism (both always Right in their book, never mind the mass murdering tradition of Leftist dictators and quasi mystics). It is a faulty and deluded excuse to exculpate themselves. They do so by applying the prefix "Democratic" to themselves and hey presto, we're out of the coercion woods. "Democratic" is now practically code for Socialist. Here's my own take on the inherent violence in Leftist basic philosophy ...

PJM: "The Violent Left, Part 1", by Mike McNally

The recent killings of abortion doctor George Tiller and a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington have sent leftists in the U.S. into a frenzy of manufactured outrage and alarmism — with the left-dominated mainstream media seizing on the shootings as evidence of growing “right-wing” extremism and attributing this “escalation” in part to Obama’s victory. Not for the first time, the left is of course projecting.

Because while the terms “left-wing” and “right-wing” are notoriously vague, relative, and misused, a glance at last century and this one shows that virtually every act of political violence — from the murder and enslavement of millions to street thuggery and petty vandalism — has been committed in the name of what are broadly left-wing ideas. By contrast, violence in pursuit of right-wing aims has been virtually non-existent, to the extent that it has had to be invented by the left. (...)

The left has had to conjure right-wing extremism out of thin air — see, for example, the attempts to divine sinister motives in the tea party movement — precisely because there are so few real instances of “far-right” violence, in the sense of violence aimed at advancing right-wing economic and social agendas. (It could be argued that some Central and South American dictators were right-wing, although they tended to be authoritarian and corporatist rather than conservative). Conservatism by its very nature is antithetical to extremism. (...)

It’s a very different story on the left. Those prepared to use violence in the furtherance of core left-wing aims such as the destruction of capitalism, the abolition of property rights, and the usurpation of democratically elected governments by “enlightened” revolutionaries number in the millions, if not the tens of millions.

They range from Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot to present-day dictators like Chavez and the Castros, terrorist groups such as Bill Ayers’ Weather Underground and the Baader-Meinhof gang, and environmental extremists and anti-capitalist rioters (who, unlike those pro-hunt supporters, bring chaos to London’s streets every May Day and whenever else the opportunity arises).

The reasons why violence is so prevalent on the left go to the heart of the differences between left and right. If you take race, religion, and other “human” factors out of the equation, the distinction is really between authoritarianism and collectivism on the left and freedom and individualism on the right. There’s no doubt which is the more attractive option for most people, all things being equal, which is why the left has to blur the distinctions and muddle the language. (...)

Conservatives must make the case at every available opportunity that the distinction isn’t between left and right but between, to borrow the title of Mark Levin’s recent book, liberty and tyranny. (...) >>>

July 20, 2009

SF Examiner: "Beware of blood lust on the Left", by Mark Tapscott

Scratch a global warming fanatic these days and you may find a wannabe executioner. (...) we increasingly hear such folks muttering darkly about things that remind of Robespierre’s cure for counter-revolutionary thinking. Take the most recent example, a post on Talking Points Memo by “The Insolent Braggart” who poses an interesting question: “So when the right wing f--ktards have caused it to be too late to fix the problem (...) “In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown ‘into jail.’”What worries me is that this blood lust for vengeance among global warming extremists is mirrored elsewhere on the Left on other issues. (...) >>>

June 12, 2009

Rummaging for a quote on quite another matter I happened upon a article written last year by transnationalist specialist John Fonte. Often in these pages we comment on the disparate natures of the French and American Revolution. Not many understand the enormous difference: the American Revolution was over individual rights, the French over collectivism. The following excerpt is from Fonte's article, a critique of Strobe Talbott's book "The Great Experiment" (read also his critique on Robert Kagan's "The Return of History and the End of Dreams" where he explains the point further):

Hudson Institute: "Beyond the Nation State"

(...) The Great Experiment is partly a history of the "quest" for global governance and partly a memoir. The historical section is an interesting overview of an array of emperors, empires, and one-world idealists. Alexander the Great, Constantine, Mohammed, Ashoka, Genghis Khan, Dante, Kant, Marx, Einstein, Cord Meyer, and the World Federalists all pass in review. Talbott has clear favorites among them: empire over republic, transnationalists over defenders of national sovereignty. He declares that while Aristotle "believed in the city-state," his student "Alexander had a bigger and better idea," a "single global political community." The modern democratic nation-state of Israel appears to Talbott problematic, while he describes the European Union in glowing terms ("a model for what is possible"). Some things he just gets wrong. He describes America, for example, as a "multinational state." But however multi-ethnic America may be, we are not a land of different "nations" and "peoples," like the Austro-Hungarian empire or Canada or Belgium. As stated forthrightly in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we are one people.

Talbott goes very wrong in his understanding of the relationship between the Enlightenment and America's founding. Like many on the Left and some on the center-Right (e.g., Robert Kagan), he describes a philosophically monolithic Enlightenment with the American Republic and the French Republic as its progeny. He acknowledges that these republics developed differently, but he views their "philosophical parentage" as the same. He fails to recognize the division within the Enlightenment from which the two revolutions and regimes derived their fundamentally different characters.The French Revolution (like Marxism, as Lenin recognized) was a child of the utopian radical wing of the Enlightenment typified by Condorcet, who believed in a malleable human nature and the perfectibility of man, and promoted a historicist vision of the inevitable march of progress. John Adams directly challenged Condorcet's views in the late 1780s; the American Revolution and our entire constitutional order were heirs to the non-utopian Enlightenment (mostly Anglo-Scottish, but including continental moderates like Montesquieu). The very serious conflict within Western democracy today between the constitutional state and global governance is at one level a continuation of the argument within the Enlightenment between its moderate and utopian wings. Talbott cannot understand this. (...) >>>

May 17, 2009
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