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Comments by CK MacLeod

On “On re-reading Liberal Fascism: Defining Evil Down

Sully wrote:

So all contiguous countries (states) that are not united under a constitution have been at all places and all times in a constant state of nature (war) where the correlation of brute force has ruled?

Except where they choose to be bound by treaty or agreement, pretty much, and often even then.

As I said way back, I’m personally glad Lincoln acted dictatorially and I think he acted rightly; but let’s not try to clothe his action in legality.

Then you're fine, and Lincoln's legally naked, since there would be nothing but moral right or material advantage in which to clothe him, as there could be no illegality to refer to either.

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@ Sully:
Those powers are reserved to the states by the same contract, and the union it memorializes and enacts, that secession attempts to negate. Without the Constitution, we either revert to the state of nature and correlation of brute forces, or, as I would prefer, to overriding moral issues, such as those described.

On “CONTENTION OF THE DAY – America abscondita

As a commentator points out, didn’t Mexico “steal” it from Spain, Spain from the natives, and presumably those natives from other natives, etc

You left out the lizards and birds and plants and dirt - all mostly pristine until the humans with their slashing and burning and the rest moved in.

Clearly someone cut class on anthropocentrism.

On “On re-reading Liberal Fascism: Defining Evil Down

@ narciso:
At least we agree on V FOR VENDETTA (tho I thumbs-upped STRANGE DAYS).

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@ narciso:
No accounting for tastes. In my alternative universe WATCHMEN rules and goes in my Blowmind Marathon with ZARDOZ.

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@ MovieMan0283:
Consistency? None available I'm afraid, not when popular self-styled educator of hard righties Doctor Zero inveighs in purple hues against the "ruling class" and feels no compunction about asserting that the left is defined by "hatred of the people." He's just a more verbose and literary expression of the contradictions that would perplex the Tea Partiers and their pseudo-anti-progressive leadership if same were sensitive to contradictions. We are upside down in bizarro world, one or a few universes over from the one in which Doctor Manhattan fled the Earth after one last kind, mass murderous gesture. (BTW, is WATCHMEN on your list of great 21st C films, or going to be? (Checked out your site a bit, going to blogroll it, both here and at the blog I run for my movie memorabilia business.))

I take the position that we're all on "the left" - republicans to the left, royalists to the right - 200+ years after the categories were asserted. We all, contrary to Doctor Manhattan I mean Zero, are in love with the people, justice, and one or another species of equality. The modern American right is in that sense a relative right, while the Euro-right is more an absolute right: The fascists were royalist zombies, summoned from the bloody Earth by alchemical necromancy. As for their socialist roots, you can come to revolutionary socialism by will or by idea - by rebellious mood, aesthetics, and emotion; by dialectical materialist etc. etc.; or, sometimes, usually in college, both. Socialism - or more broadly speaking "the left" - was just the most popular revolutionary ideology on offer. That many fascists wore red before they adopted the more ornate costumes of later years mainly reflects the fact that red was in fashion in their youths.

I think Musso was more than 50% attracted by the will, and the style, and experienced little difficulty substituting Marinetti for Marx to divert and distract his verbal centers. Hitler, on the other hand, was rather more than a little psycho-pathological - discursive abstractions couldn't come close to supplying adequate narcissistic resources to him. The Enlightenment had never provided the Imperial Way Japanese with much more than outerwear. In some ways they came by their brand of fascism much more honestly and authentically.

As I never tire of repeating, American conservatism conserves the fruits of a progressive revolution, and those fruits go rotten if not eaten and picked again, and again, as the revolutionaries themselves, TJ most famously, sought to remind us.

On “CONTENTION OF THE DAY – America abscondita

PS "Qommies" is a qeeper. I feel I've seen it before, but that's the natural reaction to a natural, and, since I can't bring to mind a prior sighting, Sniper gets the citing in the Zombie OED.

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narciso wrote:

Oh, I enjoyed that pomo semiotics cocktail, about as much as my last

Pomo? Emanations from Supercluster Fr. "Sniper" McCloskey's ex-ist beyond aesthetic historical periodicities. Plus he seems to be the only personage actually to check the link (twice at least) (thanks).

Fr. Supercluster also manages to isolate the key graphs from Mr. Mysteriously-Young's article - which converge, if tremulously, with the contrarian views of Max Hastings and George Friedman. Hastings, as you may recall, viewed the Afghanistan strategy as aimed at a pretext for withdrawal, under an only slightly foxed and creased banner of Mission Accomplished (or close enough for government shirk). Friedman concurred, in effect, that the main mission should be to walk out on this interminable 3rd (4th?, 5th?) world production - every soldier presumably with his or her own CIA-approved cover story re: need to use the restroom, interest in popcorn or jujubees, etc. And, like Young tossing and turning the dream songs of the Commonterrorat, Friedman also saw an Iran-thumping as the necessarily correct, if sadly less than inevitable, strategic solution. You may have also heard one or two Obamapologetic leftoids, with frogs in their throats or throats in their frogs, portray the Iran policy as the construction of the Second Pretext, for the thumping.

To thump or not to thump, that is the strategic question.

Many days without thought of matters medicinal to all (physicians excluded, unless on vacation)!

On “CONTENTION OF THE DAY – America abscondita

narciso wrote:

Like the Brecht Forum, the CAP,the group that Jeff Jones
was a part of, the Apollo Alliance, all have their imput into the system

The American way.

"

Newsflash, Ken: That delightful comrade in the video is not "the Left," and deluded weirdo nonentity "revolutionary" that he is, he's still several black masses short of "more evil than Hitler." The main reason that he's not worth negotiating with isn't that he's "evil," it's that he doesn't matter very much.

"

Ken wrote:

Read some of their posts sometime. These people are more evil than Hitler, and as with Hitler, we shouldn’t be trying, Chamberlain-like, to negotiate with them.

To say the least, that's an extreme and odious charge to make, and it's absurd for you to expect anyone to accept it on the basis of your testimony. I won't ask you to provide evidence, however, because the claim, or rather calumny, is unsupportable: "The left" is not sundry people who've written sundry posts - though search around a little longer and you'll find some of the same people, or their commenters, explaining why right-wingers are "more evil than Hitler," and on remarkably similar grounds. We used to run into them at the old Contentions comments all of the time: They are legion, and sooner or later turn up anywhere that commenting is open. The only thing that excuses such talk from either side is that it's impossible to take seriously.

On “One Cancer Under God: On Defending Woodrow Wilson

@ strangelet:
no, science proceeds from a strict orthodoxy, or is not science. The General Theory of Relativity was not a novel heresy on the level of its challenge to non-relativistic ideologies/moral order. Such challenges have always existed. What made it science, and powerful and persuasive, was that it was susceptible to criticism and re-production according to orthodox logic, mathematics, and experimental demonstration. It wouldn't have been revolutionary if it wasn't also conservative.

The conservatism that you refer to having grown up with is a show - it's rightwing agitprop. Of course it's what you're most familiar with - it is designed to be the face of the "movement," so it's the face you recognize. It also happens to be the face that the intellectualist opponents of conservatism are most comfortable pointing to. To return and refer continually to it is to allow yourself to be intellectually manipulated twice over, and to pass on the manipulation.

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@ strangelet:
u shush now with that "lie" stuff. Our favorite Murray graph shows that 40 years ago it was 50/50 conserv v lib among intellektuell uppers. You should pick up that Anthology of 20th C Conservative Thought edited by WFB that I was mentioning last night - it even has the famous "immanentize the eschaton" essay. Cain't get much more intellecshul than that, not in English. Was Burke an intellectual? WFB? Alexander Hamilton? Isaac effin Newton? Anyway, you aren't processing the logic and you're letting other people define your reality. I don't let Sean Hannity define "conservative" for me. All great science and all great intellectual labor is conservative in the highest sense, even and especially when it happens to be revolutionary. If it doesn't know whence it came, for the sake of those who follow - then it's not science, it's a medicine show.

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@ strangelet:
The reality is (Giuliani!) that contemporary conservatism has been over-indulging in an anti-intellectual pose - there I agree with you, but only to that extent. There's nothing inherently anti-scientific or anti-elite in conservatism as a stance - to the contrary: Science and elite culture are inherently conservative toward their own defining heritage. The moment they leave dead center on conservative vs. liberal, to the precise extent they become ideological in either direction, they cease being scientific and lose their claim to elite status.

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@ strangelet:
Don't read those blogs - feel free to go to the blogroll and add them if you like (there's a form that allows you to do so on the page - see link menu at top). I agree that anti-eugenicism if played a certain way - "Evil liberals defied God's law!" - can reinforce the perception of conservatives as anti-scientific, but I'm not sure that it's politically more costly than trawling for scary scientisms would be. People don't mostly want to think of themselves as self-deluding machines, and the moralists are probably right that politicized scientism of this sort points in the direction of Auschwitz - the Reign of Terror - the Great Purges...

On “On re-reading Liberal Fascism: Defining Evil Down

@ MovieMan0283:
It was a primitive or regressive, lowest common denominator transvaluation of values. As you likely are well aware, in pre-modern societies, no categorical separation between aesthetic, religious, political, and practical ideas and objects is asserted. There might be specialization and division of labor - shaman vs chieftain vs warrior, etc. - but acts and objects typically would be all of those things at once - warfare as ritual, ritual as artistic expression - rain dance as dance, religious ritual, quasi-political re-assertion of unity, and attempt to get some rain. Part of the post-structural critical project was an attempt to recover this unity by negating categorical separations - the telephone directory as text and art object and political document, that kind of thing - without succumbing to the fascist temptation.

The confusion or incoherence of Goldberg's analysis that you point to may result from his lack of interest in this discussion - which can be, to say the least, very difficult to integrate with a conventional political project, and which contemporary conservatives are more likely to identify (categorically separate) as aestheticist-nihilist-probably leftist intellectualism than as a tool. It's a typical post-structuralist "lacuna," a looming absence in his critique that also corresponds to his suppression of "what makes fascism fascistic" in his working definition.

On “One Cancer Under God: On Defending Woodrow Wilson

@ strangelet:
Opposition to eugenics serves multiple purposes, strangelet: It asserts the primacy of "culture of life" moralisms; it conjures nightmarish images of the all-powerful, de-humanizing state; it warns against naive trust in faddish pseudo-science masquerading as science; it points to a skeleton in the progressive-liberal closet; it allows conservatives to stand up and declare themselves anti-racist in a way that doesn't require them to buy off client constitutencies like machine-political liberals; it shows that conservatives read books and know about stuff, too; it sometimes induces liberals to expose themselves as moral cretins, either in regard to past history or in regard to new bio-ethical issues; maybe best of all, it opens a discussion of the slow genocide represented by birth control/family destruction visited on the left's most loyal constituency by the leading figures of the left, makes the "ghettos" look like the Nazi ghettos, urban mayors and community organizers like concentration camp capos, a view now supported by generations of inexorable math on the black population, which has been induced to abort its own potential and disfigure where not destroy its own culture...

So eugenics seems great for conservatives to talk about! Its only downsides are that a) it's too hot, b) it's too obscure, and c) to the extent it induces hatred and suspicion of "liberal fascist" white people, it just re-ghettoizes blacks, who as a self-defending in-group (and practically and psychologically complicit in their own self-destruction - a complicated topic of its own) still are welcomed by liberals, and remain in relative terms physically, culturally, and politically inaccessible to conservatives. So in the end it's more effective in amping the moral self-righteousness of social conservatives - and reinforcing their cultural isolation - than in opening a bridge to African Americans and eroding the liberal coalition.

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@ narciso:
Nice find - and vividly supports Cooper's description of the atmosphere under which the Sedition Act (actually the name for a set of amendments to the Espionage Act) was sought and passed.

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@ fuster:
a whored of banksters

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@ Rex Caruthers:
As I suggested above, if Burke held to any particular political or theoretical view absolutely, regardless of circumstance, then it would be un-Burkean of him - self-contradictory. In Reflections, he shows himself to be a firm believer in the typical exception when he defends the seemingly radical act of removing a monarch to preserve the British constitution - killing the kingdom to save it, you might say. You might also see it as violating the king's "absolute property right" to the kingdom. He takes great pains to differentiate the act from the French Assembly's wide-ranging assault on the 1st and 2nd Estates.

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@ narciso:
I know that some libertarians put an emphasis on an absolute right of personal property, even though I find the concept dubious at the extremes, but I'm still trying to understand why Wilson and I are to be banished from the Burkean happy hunting grounds.

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@ narciso:
What evidence do you have of that level of commitment on the part of Van Jones and the SEIU? They look like institutional lefties on the make, through and through, to me, though in different branches of the complex.

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@ Ken:
can't agree with you there, Ken.

To me, the core of Burke's politics as a philosophy were summed up in his famous quote:

Circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.

It gives and admirable flexibility and universality to his approach. Wilson focused on Burke's related concept of "expediency," under the "wisdom of circumstances":

Questions of government are moral questions, and ... questions of morals cannot always be squared with rules of logic, but run through as many ranges of variety as the circumstances of life itself. ... The politics of the English-speaking peoples has never been speculative; it has always been profoundly practical and utilitarian. Speculative politics treats man and situations as they are supposed to be; practical politics treats them (upon no general plan, but in detail) as they are found to be at the moment of actual contact.

Burke offered a brilliant defense of property rights, as part of his indictment of the French revolutionaries' expropriations, but it's rather doubtful that his arguments could be applied directly in the U.S. at any time, least of all during a period when the government was still in the process of settling vast stretches of recently acquired territory. On what basis do you convert Burke into a theorist of "absolute property rights"? I'm not sure what absolute property rights means or could mean, actually. Virtually everyone on Earth occupies ground that once belonged to someone else by some version of natural right.

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@ narciso:
Some believe "Colonel" House's role was exaggerated, especially by House. Cooper struck me as more or less of that view. House spent most of his energy in Europe trying to find something to take credit for.

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