Sunday, August 13, 2017

Charlottesville and the End of Reason: A Critical Virtue Signal

The belief that one race or ethnicity is "better" than another was once couched in scientific terminology and spread around as the cancer known as eugenics.  Despite what most people tend to think "positive eugenics" is still alive and well even in biological thought, though whether or not it is tied to races is another story.  Indeed what frankly constitutes "better" in these scenarios is sketchy at best and tends towards the view either that one race is smarter or better behaved and another is either not intelligent or behaves as animals.

The modern world has many myths that we still desperately cling to yet know that all or most of these myths bear as much truth as what Belial peddles on a regular basis.  For instance, as stated above, eugenics ties ethnicity to genetics and in turn ties these ethnic distinctions to other traits such as intelligence.  The problem of course is that culture is left out and frankly different cultures can and do select for different traits which get passed on to the next generation.  Does this involve intelligence?  Does this involve violent tendencies?  I sincerely doubt it, or at least doubt that it bears any real weight on the surviving phenotypes.  But left out of this whole discussion is this, namely, culture and genetics.

Culture and genetics:  Two things you cannot change (well almost) and so this rides the mechanistic predestination gravy train.  You are genetically lower in melanin or higher, you are genetically predisposed to a higher intelligence, you may even be genetically predisposed to heart disease as well.  But notice that I said "predisposition."  Determinism is wrong and antithetical to what we would deem western liberal society.  Why is that?  Because the myth the United States for instance was founded on is not collectivism but individualism.  Voluntarism of the individual to choose association freely - "liberty."  Liberty of course is a buzz word which is actually uncomfortably used by either the right wing in politics or the Libertarians.  Indeed "freedom" is such a slippery word while liberty is not that many politicians and pundits I believe are afraid to use it to describe freedom...because they peddle something else.

Charlottesville, VA is a case in diametrically opposed ideologies coming into intense, violent, and deadly conflict.  But both radical sides have some things in common...they simply don't know it.  So let's lay some myths out on the table, or what Michael Polanyi might call "premises" and move into the realm of analysis and talk about the danger of both sides and why it is deadly important to be careful of our rhetoric and our action while taking, frankly, a good look in the mirror.

The lesson from this national tragedy are going to be many, but among them let us believe truth to be real, to be able to be attained by rational argumentation, and to call things out whether we like them or not in a spirit of humility and self-examination.

MYTH 1:  All men are created equal.  This is flat out nonsense and the far right wing denies it, if by far right you mean white supremacists.  They do not believe that the human being of other ethnicities is created equal but rather some are created better than others.  This much is obvious.  The only problem is the far left agrees with the far right.  While the far right touts purity on the basis of ethnicity in scientific terms, enter the cultural Marxists who argue the same thing on the basis of culture, money, and power.  All men are not created fact that phrase is offensive because it is misogynistic.  White men are often lumped into one collectivist category, blamed for a sin they have no control over by who they are or where they are born, and by their cultural dispositions.  This sounds markedly similar to what the far right wing might say about, I don't know, young black men.  This is not "equivocation" this is an outright reality - and this is why there is polarization:  Two sides of a coin calling the other not just wrong but blaming the other camp for things outside of their control in most cases.

TRUTH 1:  All men are created equal in dignity, fallen in sin, subject to death and corruption, and called to something greater in the love of God brought about by Jesus Christ.  The hermeneutical circle of the left and right are closed forever to this option - the right still clinging to elements of science and certainty from the Modernist period that gave tremendous suffering in Europe, and the left clinging desperately to a narrative in the midst of no truth.  Both are atheistic and Nietzschian in character even if both have a theological underpinning (more on this later).  In the absence of truth and rationality there is nothing but power plays and strength for what one believes or thinks is right...and since Christianity to Nietzsche was a slave mentality God forbid you examine yourself and find you are in error.  Being critical of one's self is only for losers who need psychotherapy or something apparently.

MYTH 2:  There are bad guys and good guys and we know who they are.  Both sides believe this myth with such fervor that both either seek to violently silence the opposition or use political means to strip them of their rights protected under free speech.  The use of words to silence conversation or to call out someone who disagrees with you as "bigot," "sexist," "homophobe," etc. might as well be "commie" or "pinko" from the McCarthy era.  The shoe is apparently on the other foot now and rather than learn from the battle to be a Marxist even in politics or private life as protected speech, we go after racists and any other who oppose us in the same way - blacklisting, firing, publicly ridiculing, etc.  McCarthy would be proud of the left.

TRUTH 2:  There are good and bad guys and very often we have no clue about who is who because this thing called "gray areas" exist.  There is a common mistake in reading the Bible and it is when someone reads it and immediately says who they identify with and who they think they are in the story.  Helpful hint, it is rarely Judas Iscariot or Simon Peter in the midst of their failings, or perhaps even St. Paul being an unforgiving fellow with regard to John Mark.  We could all at times use the prophet Nathan to set us on the path of reading Psalm 51...we are the man.  Of course the right believes God is on their side just because (a form of Christendom based on who we are) and the left ultimately believes God is on their side because they channel their inner 60's hippie theologians and "speak truth to power" prophetically...because being self-righteous and heavily political isn't dangerous at all.  The fact is both believe they are the good guys and are always the good guys, and if they are not, say, if they are white they are exonerated because they noticed or cared and that was enough.  We all have within us good and evil and frankly we can see our neighbor's speck so much easier than our own plank.  Again - quoting Jesus only partially or for our political benefit and narrative is the cool thing to do in the west.

MYTH 3:  All are taught the same thing and what we were taught was correct.  Conversely - everything we were taught is wrong, a lie, and we see the truth.  Both sides hold to this in some fact both premises.  Matthew Hale, a white supremacist from my high school (several years prior to me), could bring up Nazis and WW2 Germany positively even if you were talking about toast.  It was an insane fascination that led to him forming the World Church of the Creator.  He later learned that threatening to kill a federal judge wasn't the best life decision and went to prison (Chelsea Handler I'm kind of looking in your direction).  Some of what we were taught is correct, some isn't.  When I teach elements of literary and historical criticism I use the Civil War as a perfect example (this is apropos because Charlottesville began as a White Supremacist rally to fight against removing Civil War Confederate monuments).  I say, "can you spot which document was written by a Confederate soldier vs. a Union one?"  I then make up a bit of text but pepper it with words like "yank," "Johnny Reb," "the Union," "Northern Aggression," etc.  The fact is you learn, particularly about history, what your government wants you to learn.

TRUTH 3:  We are taught different things and some are true, some are false.  The Civil War is by far more complicated than simply slavery was cool vs. slavery was wrong.  That thinking is flipping insane yet almost every public school kid in the north thinks it's true to the point where removing Confederate monuments and even defacing them was given official sanction (in say, New Orleans).  I know people who firmly hold (and there is some reality to it) that the Civil War was about states' rights over the federal government.  There is truth to this - the Civil War ended up being the natural outgrowth of the Federalism vs. Antifederalism debate after the Articles of Confederation failed (note the last term of that document when you see "Confederacy").  At the same time slavery was quite a big and important issue because the law that was being forced as policy for new states directly involved slavery.  While the south lost, they were given the same pay by the Union following the war as northern veterans.  They were granted the right to have monuments because they are called "rebels" not "traitors."  They lost in a violent political battle but believed they were upholding the proper element of the United States ("these" United States prior to the Civil War...after "THE").  They have been continuously humiliated by the North, misunderstood to the point where people think the Confederate Battle Flag was the actual country's flag, make jokes about their intelligence, inbred families, etc.  Frankly the North is and has been obnoxious and narrow minded towards the Civil War because "we won."  There's your narrative.  Try fitting Robert E. Lee's views of slavery into that narrow view because you can't do it...he believed in state's rights yet opposed slavery.  Welcome to the gray area.

These are just three myths that both sides either hold to or deny in spectacularly similar fashion - from the all or nothing view regarding the Civil War and slavery, to the incorrectness of all men being created equal, to the absolutist view that they are right and they have God on their side (or the arc of history) giving them full reign to bring down righteous judgment on their enemies.

The United States especially has to live within a dialogue between two realities - we are free to associate in politics/we are automatically signed up for the social contract, we are bound by our genes/we are free to choose, we are blessed by God/we have done immense evil.  Everyone has a theology for their politics but most people seem to think only the right does - this is wrong.  The liberal theology has had way more effect on American culture than the just couches its theology better.  Bear in mind as well...for 1930's Germany made use of liberal theology and Barth was only once again, a flipside of the fascist coin.  He could just as easily fall into the trap.  George Orwell is an important figure because he saw the danger of his own side's extremism.  Would all public intellectuals be that honest.

For our society to exist, both far left and far right must be wrong on several myths - if we have no freedom, we are lost.  If we have no way of talking to each other based in reason, we are lost.  If we cannot recognize the essential equal dignity of a human being, we are lost.  If we cannot spot bad thinking, we are lost.  If we cannot be free to disagree politically without losing our jobs/loved ones/lives, we are lost.

Here is my estimation of what is the case today.  You are free to disagree and I don't care if you want to march against me as the antichrist I will fight for your right to do that.

CHARLOTTESVILLE - Started because some wanted to protest the removal of Confederate memorials and the rally was done by a White Supremacist.  If you aren't racist but agree that the memorials should be kept you are just screwed because there is nothing you can do.  Like Trump, you could fart wrong and offend everyone.  You have no place because you have bought neither narrative and for you, God help you.  The news media blew it out of proportion causing a larger riot and a large counter-riot.  Those who went against the main protesting group had every right to do so and I have sympathy for them.  Again, if you disagree with the racists but agree that the memorials be kept, do you avoid the march or march in the counter-demonstration?  This of course blew up to bad levels as the white supremacists came armed and the anti-protesters blocked the streets.  I have never defended hitting pedestrians on roads but I will also say they should be arrested - there have been cases where people needed to get to the hospital and could not, leading to further injury or death.  I understand you want to inconvenience other people but if it was your relative or you in a similar situation you would have no room to complain.  You do not win friends over to your side like that and you are a public health hazard - because you also will not move for emergency vehicles.  You are an absolute danger.

That being said, the man who ran over the woman should also be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law - it appears he was a supporter of the demonstration and this absolutely could be interpreted as him lashing out.  However - if you decry the car hitting the person you MUST also decry the violent rhetoric and actions of the anti-Trump riots and the BLM riots (again, BLM being the Marxist opposite of groups like the KKK and other fascist groups - they tend to act similarly).  Any calls or action for violence politically cannot be tolerated...from right or left.  When either side is stuck they red herring their way out of the issue, like BLM violence makes it ok for fascist violence or something, and vice versa.  That's absolute bullshit.  Both are wrong.

As of today I have read calls to assassinate Trump, all supporters of Trump called racists, calls for the prevention of such speech at the rally, and other thugish tendencies from the left.  This is not ok.  This is how you become the next Hitler.  I know you think he was only about killing Jews but he also was about seizing power by any means because he was...wait for it...a Nietzschean!  You and he have that both in common politically.  Besides, in addition to being a felony how stupid are you people!?  Yes, we will be free after we rid ourselves of such and such a what you think this is a Disney movie with a clear good/bad guy and happy ending?!  That's how you get a police state morons!  Gee, assassination of a populist candidate (Bernie was equally a populist btw...but people can't think consistently)...sounds a lot like what happened at the end of the Roman Republic with Julius Caesar - worked out real well for them...really cemented that democratic spirit.  In addition populists are often assassinated by the establishment - so Soros and other globalists who don't like Trump or who wouldn't like Bernie would eventually do it or try and get public support for it.  Learn history and stop being a sheeple.

Censorship of speech because you don't like it is EXACTLY what the Bill of Rights was designed to prevent - tyranny of the majority.  The protection of your..."liberty."  It is possible to disagree with someone and yet respect them and fight for their right to do and say what they long as you don't encourage and promote violence for political ends.  Far right racists - you are wrong and sinful in your opinions.  Those who have joined you because they feel their culture threatened should not be seduced to an extreme side where you simply "hurt back."  There are other ways of being proud of your white culture be it southern US, German, Irish, etc. and not be a racist - don't listen to the far left's bullshit on that and become fanatics.  Far left whackos - you are wrong and sinful in your lies and constant self-righteous fear mongering.  You are outright dangerous to a level even the far right is not and you scare me far more because while they are reacting you are acting - you are pushing them with your nonsensical myth and narrative.  Stop seeing everyone as morally tied to their opinions unless it is the foundation of their opinion (as with the racists).  No one likes to be considered far right of anyone I know...I know plenty who espouse radical leftist thought and frankly if they get their way I'll be next just because I disagree with them.  These are my rights to you psychos.  I have right and left friends who aren't guilty of this - and to them I thank them that they would be willing to fight and die for the ideal to protect my and each others' rights to disagree peacefully.

Finally - news media - you should be abolished.  I know of nothing going on in the world except for what Trump may or may not have done with Russia, that he picked a fight with Kim Jong Un (actually if people paid attention KJU has been being quite forceful recently - but of course starting something with him is war mongering...and he's Communist so he's ok comrade - eyes roll), or that Charlottesville is blowing up.  That's all I know and have known.  You make me sick because you feed off of human misery promising news and information yet painting it for our consumption as a good because you are equally large corporations who see dollar as the bottom line.  CNN, your feeds to my phone have literally included the headlines, "click here to find out how" like you studied at the school of Buzzfeed journalism and clickbaiting.  If you all want the respect of people start earning it and be honest about your reporting...stop trying to mind control people to your political ends.  ANTIFA - you are guilty of violent crimes against the state just as the far right...the police should deal with you.  Trump - stop being an idiot - stop being an internet troll.  It was funny during the campaign and early on but now we have to get some things done...stop being overtly political with a martyr complex and get shit done.

So there is my "critical virtue signal" - one borne with much thought over the past few days and as little moral outrage as I can muster.  We have lost our way and unless we start to see how both sides are playing us...a house divided amongst itself cannot stand.

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