Commenter Archive

Comments by Wade McKenzie
*

On “Child of Mog; Extraordinary Comments

Those terms are only "widely understood, even by small children, to be unacceptable" because a distinct political faction is exercising a distinct species of coercive power (over their parents) to make it so. That "wide understanding" is recent and, like all things which come into being, must pass away therefrom.

Admittedly, I'm surprised that you won't pay me the courtesy of refraining from editing or emending my comments--as opposed simply to replying to them. If you can't perform that small justice, how will you ever be up to performing the "social" justice of which you dream? He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

"

Sorry, CK--my previous comment went immediately into moderation, so I assumed you had me on permanent moderation and thus I spoke rather more freely than I might have otherwise, on the assumption that my comment would certainly be "moderated into the void".

It seems a bit unfair for you to criticize my "bigot's reflexes"--or my use of the "fighting word" "nigger" (no, it isn't a "fighting word", it's just the standard English word for a black African--it isn't up to present-day liberal progressives, SWPLs and Social Justice Warriors to re-determine our language, Newspeak style)--when in the previous post you explicitly stated that one of your purposes in re-designing the avatar was to annoy me, "a confessed racist".

I don't particularly care about my comments being deleted, but I do care about words or sentences being excised--and I do wish you wouldn't insert your editorializations. That strikes me as unjust simpliciter. Please print my comments in toto and free of emendation or not at all--surely you can pay me that much of a courtesy, sir.

In any event, it would seem that my comment struck a nerve with you--no doubt for reasons that have nothing at all to do with my contempt for the liberal progressive anti-racism ideology--so I do hope you'll heed my words.

"

I see, MacLeod--because I pointed out that the newly skinned "Mystery Man", [ed. - NO YOU DO NOT GET TO USE THAT WORD, IN THAT WAY, MacKenzie: It's a "fighting word."] was nevertheless just another variant on the theme of "subhuman degenerate"--perhaps one of those Peruvian savages who wear similarly old-fashioned hats--you decided to stick an apple on his face in order to confuse any attempt at characterizing his race or ethnicity. [ed. - I'm leaving the rest of the comment, however, so we can admire the evidence of how silly you make yourself seem when you give into your bigot's reflexes.]

And you think *I'm* immature?

I'm tempted to mount a scathing criticism of your recent conduct on this blog--instead I'll offer up a more modest one, but first I'll criticize myself. I freely admit that most of my comments here--including this one--have been frivolous and I regret that. I intend to remedy that defect in future.

By way of attempting a modest criticism of you, I won't point out that--after a four or five month hiatus, where you wrote precisely fuck-all for this site--we've now been subjected to two posts in a row about the "avatar" and your efforts to re-design him by placing a hat atop his head, changing his skin tone, and now replacing his face with an apple.

Instead, permit me to point out that, since you instituted the "Docket" feature some six-odd months ago, not one--not one--of those projected pieces has made it to the blog's front page.

If we're subjected to a third goofy post about your latest re-design of the avatar, I think I'll just weep over what might have been--what might have been the destiny of one CK MacLeod, "a thoughtful and promising [old] writer".

On “Negative Action

Yes, of course it's your site. And I am, to a considerable degree, interested in what interests you (or at least I think I am)--which is why I said "I might justly reply..." and why I've loyally hung out here throughout your four or five month hiatus.

In all sincerity, CK: I sometimes feel that if I accept your terms concerning the relatively maximally impersonal, impartial, "neutral" conversation that you'd like to have, then I am somehow granting the perspective of liberal progressivism--which I'm neither interested in, nor capable of, doing (and surely I'm entitled to retain some vestige of my self even at your blog)--and putting myself at a distinct disadavantage thereby, since I'm interested in arguing from an illiberal "reactionary" perspective.

(Then again, there is the example of Martin Heidegger--who spoke in a supremely impartial voice and most certainly wasn't a liberal progressive. But as I am at pains repeatedly to point out--I don't have that temperament, I don't know that it's even possible for me to emulate such a voice as yours or his, regardless of my inclinations or intentions.)

Well, I've promised to let you be for a bit and I'm going to keep that promise. I'll have to resume this chat next week, if at all.

Mach's gut

"

Afraid I must add a brief appendix to my comment--because I realize I didn't express myself as clearly as I would have liked.

Firstly, I made it sound as if my reference to "censoring" a discussion about the appropriate tone--personal or impersonal, partial or impartial--of any discussion was a reference to my preceding "gag" comments. It wasn't.

Secondly, I also made it sound as if you wouldn't be interested in having a discussion about the appropriate tone of any discussion--when I know quite clearly that you would.

But you'd like to have an impersonal, impartial discussion about whether or not personality or impersonality, partiality or impartiality is the more appropriate tone for any discussion--and you're loathe to allow for any other sort of discussion: the personal, partial sort. It is in that sense that you would "censor" the discussion in my view, by presuming the very thing that is to be discussed.

"

CK: You'll forgive me one last remark, then I promise to leave you alone for at least a few days.

"In the meantime and forever-like, how you feel about Ta-Nehisi Coates is not the kind of thing I’m interested in. How one happens to feel personally about anyone at all is the kind of thing I’m interested in isolating, reducing, and setting aside in the interest of a fair and as minimally prejudicial discussion as possible."

Notice how you characterize your ambition to carry on an impersonal discussion as something that emanates from--your personal interests. I suppose I might justly reply that what interests you personally isn't the sort of thing "I'm interested in".

In all seriousness, I think that whether you should be aspiring--and compelling others so to aspire--to have an impersonal discussion about issues wherein you and everyone else can't help but be personally implicated is the very sort of thing we ought to be discussing and not censoring.

"

I thought you’d just gotten through promising to knock that kind of stuff off, Mr McKenzie.

Well--I fell off the wagon, CK. I'm resolved to get back on.

you cannot restrain yourself from ejaculating across their surface

Oh, for Christ's sake, MacLeod--please don't stoop to this sort of gutter talk.

Spinoza wouldn’t have hesitated to “moderate” the results – that is, to forbid them strictly – if he were in my position.

Well that would be quite a comedown for Mijnheer Benedictus, wouldn't it?

Mach's gut

 

 

On “Further on the 3rd position on SSM and Procreative Concept

Oh, I almost forgot:

4) It's my very best will for you that you would never be anyone's "employee". If I should damage your prospects of ever being "employed", I might consider that one of the greatest services I could render you. I wish I could get you to abandon your ostensible career as a computer programmer.

What I want is for you to step into your destiny as a thinker and writer.

 

 

 

"

Thanks for the link. I'll have a look at it and, if I have a thought I deem to be interesting, perhaps I'll share it--here and not there.

No, don't worry--I've no intention whatever of commenting at OT. Firstly, it's your stomping grounds, and I respect that. Though I really don't think there's any point in denying our political (and thus, presumably, philosophic) enmity, I'm not your stalker or your heckler--at least I don't intend to be. In fact, I'm your admirer--all enmity notwithstanding.

Secondly, I've really no interest in OT at all--the "Ordinary" seems spot-on to me. OT strikes me as an almost unfathomably quotidian undertaking. Having said that, I'll admit that I do enjoy reading your comments there--as I enjoy reading you generally, particularly when you aren't writing about your family or technical considerations of web design (though I would like to read your father's eulogy, not because I want to get personal with you--I don't--but rather because such a momentous occasion is bound to bring out the best in a writer of your excellence).

Speaking of your comments there...

When I wrote my comment above, I hadn't really followed the relevant discussion at OT in anything other than a cursory way. Afterwards, I began to follow it more closely. I thought you acquitted yourself admirably--and, as always, "impressively articulately". I really would have felt pity for your dwarfish interlocutors there, except they didn't seem at all to recognize that they were dealing with their intellectual superior. For all the flaws you impute to me, I won't make that mistake.

(As an aside: you really ought to be a blogger there, not a commenter or glorified janitor. If you were, you'd be the pre-eminent one--and the problem of your desire for a larger audience would be solved. Has anyone there offered you such? Isn't it at least somewhat remarkable that a "racist homophobe" like me can recognize your worth, but all the Social Justice Warriors at OT seemingly can't?)

And may I say--despite the effusive offers of drinks all round there at the end--it did seem at times that the OT commentariat almost came close, mutatis mutandis, to reviling your comments as much as you seem to revile mine, here at my stomping grounds. (Well, I guess there's something to be said for the notion that everything's relative, right?)

To close, a few odds and ends:

1) What I admire about you above all--if I may be permitted to employ the old Heideggerian distinction--is that you exemplify "meditative",  "reflective" thinking as opposed to the "calculative" sort (for a rarefied example of the latter, see Edward Feser).

2) More than once, I've adverted to the "temperamental" difference that holds between us. For all my love of philosophy, I have to admit that I really don't possess the proper temperament for it. My own gift as a disputant has more to do with rhetoric than philosophy. In some respects, in your criticisms of me, I can't help but feel that you are asking me to be more like you--and I can't do that. But I really do want to joust with you, for reasons that I'd like to think I've made abundantly plain. I feel a bit like David confronting Goliath.

(Or is it the other way round? Yes, indeed it is. I needs must rather fancy myself to be like Goliath coming into the camp of Israel and challenging it to send out a champion. Come, young David, with your pouch full of smooth stones...)

3) I doubt you'll ever take me up on it, but you're always welcome to e-mail me--whether you want to denounce me, analyze me, counsel me, recommend a book to me, etc. Few things would delight me so much...

 

 

On “Open Thread

I do not know the safe word to make you stop, but, if I did, I would say it.

Alright, CK--I will try harder from henceforth not deliberately to give offense.

We are enemies, CK--political and philosophical--but, in your case, I aspire to practice Nietzsche's dictum--something to do with having gratitude unto your enemy, because he's intellectually formidable and you learn from him.

Admittedly, nothing stings so much as just being flat-out ignored. Precisely because you are so redoubtable I really am at a disadvantage playing entirely by terms of your choosing, rather than the more freewheeling manner that suits me better--but I will try.

 

"

CK: Though it would appear that I am persona non grata around here, I came across something today that I couldn't in good conscience refrain from sharing with you, just in case you hadn't already seen it yourself. It strikes me as fitting in more than one sense:

Fulfilling Kojève’s wish, Strauss gave him his opinion about the Introduction à la lecture de Hegel, in his letter dated August 22, 1948 “Aside from Heidegger, probably hardly one of our contemporaries has written as comprehensive and at the same time as intelligent a book. In other words, no one has pleaded for modern thought in our time as brilliantly as you.” He raised two main objections: Kojève would not succeed in getting rid of the philosophy of nature (history would not be a self-sufficient standard for understanding the world and man), and the End-State as described by Kojève could not bring about a complete and true satisfaction to human beings, who are irrational:

"The account as a whole arouses the impression that you regard Hegel’s philosophy as absolute knowledge, and reject the philosophy of nature together with its implications as a dogmatic and dispensable residue. One is therefore all the more surprised to find you admit that the probative force of the Hegelian argument (the circularity of the system) is absolutely dependent on the philosophy of nature."

Kojève’s rejection of Hegel’s metaphysics of Nature, and his affirmation of ontological dualism, can be traced back to Heidegger’s influence:

"For Hegel, essence is not independent from existence. So man does not exist outside history. Hegel’s Phenomenology is therefore ‘existential’ as Heidegger’s. And it must serve as basis for an ontology. [This ontology, in the Logic, is in fact anthropological; it is therefore distorted when it interprets Nature. It is not universal, in spite of what Hegel thought: it is an ontology of Man (‘Spirit’) and not of Nature.]"

Kojève openly vindicated his hermeneutical violence: “[…] my work had not the character of a historical study; it mattered relatively little to me to know what Hegel himself meant in his book; I gave a course of philosophical anthropology using Hegelian texts, but saying only what I considered to be the truth and dropping what seemed to me to be, in Hegel, an error.”

According to Strauss, Kojève’s historicism would fail to grasp the fundamental aspirations of all the human beings:

"The deduction of the desire for recognition is convincing if one presupposes that every philosophy consists in grasping the spirit of its time in thought, that is to say if one presupposes everything that is in discussion. Otherwise, that deduction is arbitrary. Why should self-consciousness and the striving for recognition not be understood as derivative from the zoon logon echon? […]

"The recognition for which great men of action strive, is admiration. This recognition is not necessarily satisfied by the End-State. The fact that great deeds are impossible in the End-State, can lead precisely the best to a nihilistic denial of the End-State. In any case, if not all human beings become wise, then it follows that for almost all human beings the end state is identical with the loss of their humanity-humaneness and they can therefore not be rationally satisfied with it. If I had more time than I have, I could state more fully, and presumably more clearly why I am not convinced that the End State as you describe it, can be either the rational or the merely-factual satisfaction of human beings. For the sake of simplicity I refer today to Nietzsche’s 'last men.'"

As Strauss already implied in his 1932 review of Carl Schmitt, the problem raised by the possible world-state, and the kind of men who would rule it, has to be referred to the question of the nature of man, which modern thought claimed to decide definitively.

http://www.interpretationjournal.com/backissues/Vol_36-1.pdf

pp. 9-11

 

On “Further on the 3rd position on SSM and Procreative Concept

It would seem that CK MacLeod's has become a satellite blog of Ordinary Times--a regrettable turn of events, in my view. Like so much else in contemporary America, it's an instance of the more noble subordinating itself to the much less so. That you would relinquish your high calling as a thinker and writer in order to become a volunteer webmaster and commenter at OT...

Well, I won't continue to lament it except to say that your comments there seem to be going over like the proverbial lead balloons with the Social Justice Warriors who make up OT's commentariat. So much so, in fact, that you appear to feel the need to make an occasional tactical retreat from the lion's den (or is it sheepfold) comment threads of OT and present your projected comments here rather than there, in order to let the righteous indignation of the lion-hearted SJWs cool down a bit. As you've observed, the moral rectitude of that lot is so perfectly pure that it can admit of no taint of compromise: "Give me gay marriage or give me death!"

And so it is that I--a miscreated "white supremacist", virulent homophobe, anti-Semite, fundamentalist Christian, and all-around fascist sympathizer--am adjudged to be a more benign auditor (along with your one or two other loyal readers, of course--may my sins be no stain upon them!) than the right-thinking, morally hyper-rectitudinous liberal progressives at OT. (And to think I always pay less than $37 for a cup of coffee! Truth is stranger than fiction.)

In any event, CK, I have to hand it to you--I'm impressed with how you've framed this issue. You've somehow managed to make the utter lunacy of "gay marriage", "same-sex marriage" (SSM), sound eminently reasonable, while at the same time treating traditional marriage (aka marriage)--what you term the "procreative concept" of marriage--with all the observational detachment of a cultural anthropologist carrying out field research on the culinary practices of Polynesian cannibals. In fact, I'm about half-convinced that this rhetorical frame can do service in a manifold of other settings and thus do a world of good in maintaining the non-stop forward progress of our Western utopias.

For example--to speak of culinary practices...

Despite all the momentous progress and progressive momentum of our never-been-better modern age, there remains a regnant prejudice against High-Quantity Eating (HQE). Anti-HQE sentiment no doubt derives from the infiltration of certain religious fundamentalisms that arrived in Western culture with the coming of Christianity. These religious fundamentalisms gave rise to a "sustenance concept" of eating, a concept of eating which intensified with the increasing Christianization of Europe in the Dark Ages. Then, HQE began to be stigmatized as sinful "gluttony" and the HQE community--slurred as sinful "gluttons" and subjected to intensive persecution--was forced to go underground, into the shadows.

In pre-Christian classical antiquity, however, HQE was not only tolerated but even embraced. Some ancient thinkers and statesmen--among them, the Emperor Nero--held that HQE was more noble than the sustenance concept of eating, precisely because it was divorced from such coarse utilitarian aims as "sustenance" and "nutrition". HQE was believed to nobilize the eater due to its exclusive focus on the pleasurable aesthetic sensations of taste, without regard for base considerations of physical health or bodily limitations such as the finitude of the stomach. Such limiting concepts were thought to be the purview of lowly proletarians and slaves--and with that in mind, the Roman nobility went on to create the famous vomitoria which permitted the flourishing of vibrant HQE lifestyles and practices. The proletariat and slave caste alone occupied themselves with the imaginary consolations of priestly Christianity and its narrow and joyless "sustenance concept" of eating.

The sustenance concept of eating with its correlative phobia against HQE carried over into our own time as a prejudice against "over-eating", a modern reformulation of the medieval "gluttony" slur. While few today would have recourse to such retrograde anti-HQE slurs as "sinners" and "gluttons" to characterize members of the HQE community, HQErs are yet abused with terms like "overeaters", "fatsos" and "pigs". At the same time, with the decline of Christian-inspired prejudice and bigotry, there is a growing awareness that HQE possesses an inherent validity of its own (in many ways superior to a utilitarian, religiously-derived "sustenance concept" of eating) and constitutes an essential component of a vibrant and diverse society--taking its rightful place alongside Thai restaurants, Islam, and Somali refugees in the vibratingly ever-diversifying Western liberal progressive utopias.

What’s more, anti-HQE prejudice disproportionately impacts the much-beleaguered-on-every-front African-American Community (AAC)--particularly its females--and we all know that whatever disproportionately impacts the differently-abled AAC must never be countenanced, not even for one millisecond. It’s bad enough that the AAC is being subjected to ever-increasing racist calls to obey the law like everyone else (normonormativity), without further adding to their historic burden of woe by slurring the hindquarters of AAC females as “gigantic mutha f***in boo-tays”. Thankfully, many members of the AAC are beginning joyfully to appropriate the slur--much as they have done with the so-called “n-word"--thereby effecting an empowering self-emancipation from bigotry and prejudice.

Nevertheless, I do think we ought to tread with caution when it comes to full-fledged incorporation of HQE lifestyles into our civilization which has for so long been oriented toward a narrow “sustenance concept” of eating. While I personally think that HQErs comprise a valuable resource for our diverse multicultural society, one can never know the unintended consequences that might ensue from an over-hasty reformation of our historic concept of eating. I would recommend a gradual transition from the sustenance concept of eating to full HQE equality, in order to avert any prospect of unintentional systemic catastrophe that an overnight change might bring about.

[Howls from the OT commentariat: "Out with this pestilent fellow! How dare he express the least misgivings about HQE equality! There's no place for such bigotry and hate here at OT! If this miscreant wants to express such irrational, unscientific phobias as this--then let him do so at CK MacLeod's, the last refuge of every scoundrel!]

On “A week and a day after my father’s funeral…

My condolences, CK. My own father died two years ago. He also was a veteran of the Second World War and I remember how often he wore his WW2 Vet cap.

I've missed your blog. I'd like a second chance to have a temperate exchange with you. I hope you'll carry on and give me that chance.

On “There must be 50 ways to leave your blogger…

Though I may not have made it entirely clear that I reserved the right to revise and extend my thoughts, I hope you won't object to my following up a bit nonetheless. In fact, as I continued to reflect on your comment and began to write a lengthy critique thereof, my response started taking up so much space that I drafted it into an essay instead--"Note to an Anti-Racist Egghead Whiner" or some such. But when the page-count reached forty, I realized it was just too big to drop into one of your comment threads--given your penurious condition, I couldn't in good conscience saddle you with the bandwidth charges. So I'll just paste a few of its salient points here, reserving the right to revise and extend.

What I find inexcusable in your comment is its mendacity. It oozes insincerity and disingenuousness. You indicate that what you have found inexcusable and delete-able in several of my comments is their insulting and even injurious quality. Exhibit A is the notorious and regrettable bspycho affair. The bpsycho affair was something which you yourself deliberately engineered--that it happened at all was entirely due to your own decision, intention and calculation. Once you had brought the confrontation into being and bpsycho had directly expressed to me his fierce black resentment and dismay over my derogation of negritudinous subhumanity, you said:

I wouldn’t have blamed you, b-p, if you had responded more angrily

Here, you play to the stereotype of the angry and threatening black male and encourage him to vent his fierce anger. So much for the dispassionate, impartial, serious, rational, authentic, free inquiry into the nature of right and wrong! It's remarkable how quickly you jettison your highfalutin ideals whenever they don't serve the purpose of berating poor little me.

Then you said the following:

I admit I’m curious to see his [that would be me] reply to your questions

Now, Colin, you couldn't possibly have imagined for even one second that my reply to bpsycho's questions was going to take the form of a "serious or would-be serious inquiry into right and wrong", yet you encouraged me to "wade" in all the same.

You even said:

I’d invite him [again, this is me] to give it his best

Shame on you! You were positively goading the two of us. In the wake of your encouragement, incitement, prodding and goading I mounted the response I did. I can only assume that that response is what you are primarily referring to when you accuse me of maliciously insulting, humiliating, derogating, degrading, abusing, harming and injuring your "dear, dear friend" bpsycho.

Now given that your most recent comment is devoted to explaining "What [you] have found inexcusable, and delete-able, in several of [my] comments" and the specific example you supply was my insulting comment unto bpsycho--isn't it interesting that that was a comment that you didn't actually delete?

I reject any notion that a commitment to free inquiry obligates me to provide a forum for verbal attacks on my friends, or on strangers, on anyone at all, and by extension on myself or my reputation.

Well, let's just say you didn't exactly "reject the notion" over on the Will's Affront thread.

Now, for some mysterious reason, you have taken this occasion to go on and on about your "dear, dear friend" bpsycho. I'm just curious--do you know the real name of your "dear, dear friend" bpsycho or do you only know him by his puerile moniker? I can only assume the former is the case, as the latter would be an odd kind of "dear, dear friendship". Say or think what you will about me, Colin--consider me a friend, an enemy, an acquaintance or a non-entity--but you know my name.

"

I'm obliged to thank you for this reply--whenever you respond to my admittedly mediocre comments, I'm grateful--but I think it's a good idea you didn't publish this as a post up top, as it isn't one of your more inspired outings. From the very beginning, I've noticed that your objections to my racist/bigoted comments are somewhat dispirited. Carrying the cross of anti-racism is burdensome to you, an unhappy fate. My own comments on the opposite line, to the contrary, tend to be light-hearted, froehlich, "gay" in the old-fashioned sense. Interestingly enough, I'm a racist/bigot with a good clean conscience--you're an anti-bigot with a bit of a bad conscience.

An interesting question to pose to you would be: Have you ever been on the other side of the fence? Do you think I myself have ever been on the other side? Of course I have--the prohibition/taboo against racism/bigotry is one of the primary forms, if not the primary form, of specific social conditioning that we all (or at least we whites) receive in the United States. In the past, I've even scolded my compatriots a time or two for racism. As I got older, the anti-racism ideological imperative revealed itself for what it is: a pious fraud, a noble (or rather, ignoble) lie, a blatant political manipulation, the emperor's new clothes. Today, I aspire to be the boy in that famous parable who says, "The emperor's naked--he hasn't got any clothes on!" On some level, you yourself know the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, which is why your protestations are half-hearted and unenergetic.

But have you ever been on the other side? I suspect the answer is no. That leaves two possibilities concerning the genesis of your commitment to anti-racism. Either you are innately graced with the wisdom of anti-racism--or, more likely... your social conditioning took permanent hold of you. In that case, your scolding others--be it me or Sully or whomever else--couldn't possibly be interesting or substantial, just the same old you-know-what we all hear, all the time, over and over, ad infinitum, ad nauseum in contemporary America.

I strongly suspect, for instance, that the interlocutor whom you sought to insult, longtime friend of this blog b-psycho, who in the event proved himself superior to your slights, may very well reflexively dislike white people. According to your own theory, he ought to do so, since he is not one of them.

To say that I "sought to insult" him is a bit of an exaggeration, I think. I may have insulted him, but I didn't exactly "seek" to do so. It's true that I'd left a number of comments on this blog that were derogatory of blacks--and you had deleted every one of them. When I left a comment in that vein over on the Will's Affront thread, I did so in the absolute confidence--based on past performance--that you would immediately delete it too. That day--apparently out of some misguided solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo pornographers--you decided to let it stand as a tribute to freedom of speech. Now I didn't mind, because I'm perfectly willing to stand by everything I say, however unacceptable it may be in today's climate. (I've even been known to apologize a time or two when I've been convinced that I was guilty of an injustice.) In response, bpsycho asked me some rather pointed questions to which I replied in my customary impish manner. Beforehand, you encouraged me to do so--you said, "I'm eager to see how Mr. McKenzie responds". If "longtime friend of this blog b-psycho" was the victim of insulting behavior, you frankly set him up for it. That's on you, Colin, not me. In any event, I just want to make clear that I am far less contemptuous of bpsycho's negritude than I am of his libertarianism.

As for blacks like bspycho disliking, despising, or even hating whites--I'm convinced that most of them do and, as I've said, I think that's perfectly healthy, perfectly normal, nothing at all to puzzle over or to abhor.

Furthermore, as perhaps ought to go without saying, under any conventional reading of American history, there is plentiful reason for an individual of African American descent to dislike the members of every other designated racial or ethnic group, and, of course, to dislike “whites” especially, and most especially to dislike whites who have been known to suggest that “blacks” on balance ought to be grateful rather than angry.

This is really a wonderful thought for Black History Month. I just want to make clear that I haven't been known to suggest "that 'blacks' on balance ought to be grateful rather than angry". I couldn't care less what blacks as blacks think about their ostensible plight. I want to live apart and separated from such concern. That anyone would suggest that I ought--or even must--be concerned about blacks or Jews or Hispanics or homosexuals or Muslims, etc. etc. is just politically manipulative nonsense.

In the context of any serious or would-be serious inquiry into right and wrong, a refusal to consider the moral implications of one’s own statements defeats the entire purpose of the exercise

Believe me when I tell you that I'm perfectly willing "to consider the moral implications" of my own statements, if only it can be demonstrated that they are wrong or unjust. But said demonstration always goes wanting and mere pouting is a poor substitute.

"

CKM: Because you'd kindly responded to the Heidegger quote I'd left over on the "A rarely if ever" thread--which in turn seemed to spark off a further exchange between you and Cervantes that I also found interesting--I wanted to review the original post and its attendant comment thread in their entirety as a preparation for rejoining the conversation. I'd missed a few things on my first reading--as I often do, I'm afraid. Right off the bat, for example, you mentioned "Sully"--I'd assumed this was a reference to Andrew Sullivan. This time round I clicked on the name, only to learn that Sully was an erstwhile commenter here with whom you'd had an apparently testy exchange.

I couldn't help but be gripped by the subject of this post: guys petulantly walking away from a blog (and specifically, CK MacLeod's), because I've done it here myself. You'll recall that back in June or so of last year I bade you a fond farewell after you deleted one of my comments. I'd like to think my own departure wasn't entirely unjustified, since comment deletion sends a message that one's point of view is toxic and hence unwelcome. Well obviously I couldn't stay away and it was no doubt dumb for me to leave in a fit of pique in any case. I know I've made a lot of stupid forays into the comment threads around here, but I'd like to think I've also made a decent contribution or two along the way and I hope to improve in future--assuming, that is, that this blog has a future; which I hope it does, even if it is going through a bit of a dry spell right now.

Anyway, I still intend to say something more over on the other thread but I did want to respond to a few things here--perhaps at the risk of arousing your ire yet once more (I'm afraid I'm too inured now to take offence).

One corollary of this view is that all claims to be acting upon a literal reading – whether of the Koran, the Pentateuch, the New Testament, the US Constitution, or the manual that came with your TV – are suspect.

If you're reading the instruction manual that came with your TV figuratively or rhetorically, then you're reading it foolishly--but I couldn't agree more about the other texts you name. In fact, I would go so far as to say (as I have before, in our exchange over the correct interpretation of Leo Strauss--where I seem to recall that you argued for a more or less "literal" reading of his work, one that would validate the notion that Strauss was a full-fledged liberal democratist) that all texts save for instruction manuals possess an inherent rhetorical dimension; that is, an intent to persuade. The more that intent to persuade can be kept hidden, the better the chance it has to succeed--which is why I think stories are perhaps the most powerful rhetorical devices out there, since people tend to perceive them as mere entertainments. But I don't think instruction manuals are trying to "persuade" us or to alter our will.

That also means that it is entirely possible for a believer to affirm the holiness, perfection, beauty, instructiveness, etc., of the Koran and for that believer to mean nothing ill toward you or your family or your community or your belief system or your nation.

Well, it certainly isn't possible for the Muslim "believer" to "affirm" the Koran without denying that Jesus is the Son of God--something which the Koran repeatedly denies, as you know--or without denying that what we today call Judaism is grounded in the authentic text of the Torah--something again which the Koran repeatedly denies, as you know. It does seem to me that these things constitute "ill" will toward those faith traditions--but I happen to be someone who sees enmity, ill-will and hate between races, peoples, faiths and sects to be something perfectly healthy and normal, not at all anything to puzzle over or to abhor. As to why you feel the need to police others on this line, I'm not sure. I find it curious that someone like you who is committed to the equal freedom of each and all would want to deter someone like me from exercising the most basic of freedoms: the freedom to be "indifferent toward" or to dislike, despise, and even hate other races, religions, etc. Just dislike, despise and hate, mind you--not torture or kill; just live "apart from" in thought and deed. I guess it speaks to the idea that the "equal freedom of each and all" is not a text to be taken at face value, but serves rather an ulterior rhetorical purpose.

To close--and to the specific matter at hand--allow me to say that I've read the Koran in translation more than once and I find it to be a very beautiful book indeed. Though I'm not a Muslim myself, with every passing day I find both Islam and Islamism to be more and more attractive when compared to the contemporary liberal democratic capitalist West. Even so, I've no intention of selling out to Islam and I don't think Islamism or the Islamic world poses much of a threat to the decadent, enervated yet wealthy and technologically powerful West--for the obvious reason. Which is: that Muslims, like all non-European peoples, are--by and large and in general--basically dumb and thus easily defeatable.

On ““A” rarely if ever equals “A” only

Causa sui: This is the proper name for God in philosophy. To this God one cannot pray, nor can one sacrifice to him. Before the causa sui humans cannot fall in reverent awe on their knees, nor can they play music and dance before this God. Accordingly it is godless thinking, the thinking that abandons the God of philosophy, the God as causa sui, that is perhaps nearer the truly divine God. Here that means just this: this thinking is freer for this God than onto-theology would want to allow.

~Heidegger, Identitaet und Differenz

On “Feet First on Reagan, Neo-Conservatism, and Hegel

As I re-read that virtuosic explication by Hemming, I now see its difficulties melting away,

I'm keen to read the explication of the explication--which explication will, I'm sure, be every bit as virtuosic as the original.

I'm also keen to be apprised of my insufficiencies, indulgences, etc.

If you need a few days--even a few weeks--fine; but you will deliver the goods as soon as circumstances permit, won't you?

"

Well--with a teaser like that you simply must follow through and not leave me hanging.

"

In my reply (to your reply to the Hemming extract) I thought myself somehow to be taking issue with you. On further consideration, I realize that you said nothing with which I disagree.

On several previous occasions, you've emphasized the "oxymoronic" or contradictory nature of liberal democracy. Liberalism--self-consciously to refrain from the exercise of political power--and κρατία/cracy (of δημοκρατία)--rule or power--simply can't blend, but only stand alongside one another in uneasy, tenuous relation (if that). Communism and liberal democracy are similar, if not identical, in their being each a rule of the demos, the working class (the former sans the adjective "liberal", of course).

In my comment, I emphasized the "ugliness" of both communism and liberal democracy. Their mutual "demos" character likely has something to do with that. In the case of liberal democracy, that ugliness no doubt correlates as well to its oxymoronic, contradictory character. Liberal intellectuals, it would seem, are as desirous to resolve the contradiction of "liberal" democracy as their fascist counterparts--in the latter case, by negating liberalism; in the former, by negating rule or power.

Both these proclivities are liable to critique, but it strikes me that the liberal/libertarian will-to-non-power is ludicrous. Thus we increasingly find that liberal political causes are silly or perverse, centering on undeserving minorities, sexual fetishism and now pornographic cartoonism. The current "martyrs" of liberalism are a bunch of pornographic cartoonists--all Westerners are being asked to honor these martyrs to the liberal-democratic cause.

Such a political and ethical order--centered on fun, silliness, irreverence and "nothing matters" (nihilism)--may endure for a few more decades or another century--but it isn't a politeia for the ages. The empire of liberty turns out to be the empire of fun and silliness. It's well-nigh inconceivable that liberal democracy--something nonsensical--will be around five hundred to a thousand years from now, but Islam, liberalism's pesky irritant, almost certainly will.

On “Being Charlie – Updated

The “double negation” of -(-A) gives an appearance of precision, but doesn’t really tell us anything yet, and also hides imprecisions and unspecified assumptions under A and -A – which latter are compounds and syntheses of compounds and syntheses all the way down.

Point taken.

I’ll add ND to the book list, because a) why not?

By all means--I, for one, am keenly interested in your book recommendations.

and b) it includes another statement I frequently cite, on the betrayal by those who favor “communication” at the expense of “that which is to be communicated.”

As with the prior allusion to Adorno, I'd like to ask you please to elaborate.

 

 

 

On “Feet First on Reagan, Neo-Conservatism, and Hegel

I wouldn't say "It's not too much" or "precisely"--that would be, for me, to beg the question. Nazism or fascism was/is attractive as an alternative to the thoroughgoing ugliness of communism and democracy. The ugliness of communist society is well known. The ugliness of democracy, though less obvious due to capitalism's glittering wealth, manifests itself rather conveniently in the Charlie Hebdo affair--the rallying cry of Westerners is to defend the "freedom" (license, licentiousness) to purvey blasphemy and pornography. One might suppose such a state of affairs to be somehow necessary, but it is simply impossible to characterize it as noble. Fascism alone had/has an aspiration to the noble and beautiful, the great. Nazism was fatally flawed precisely by its indifference to the means to that end. The fatal flaw of Western democracy, by contrast, seems to me to be indifference to any end--the means alone are its end, a contradiction that forebodes its imminent dissolution.

"

I always meant to thank you for citing this review (by Steven B. Smith) of Emmanuel Faye's book on Heidegger--a book that I happen to have read several years ago. I'm tempted to say a few things about the review itself--which I found interesting for reasons that were no doubt unintended by Mr. Smith--but I realize that you cited this piece because it gives a reference for Carl Schmitt's remark from "his book *State, Movement, People* (1933)" concerning the "death" of Hegel. Suffice it to say that, despite all the ritual denunciations of Heidegger's Nazism, Mr. Smith simply has to acknowledge the compelling significance of Heidegger's thought. One might even say it's a case of Heidegger speaking with authority--and not as the scribes.

I don't know if you ever had occasion to look up the Schmitt quote in the original text. I was reading a book this weekend--*Heidegger and Marx* by Laurence Paul Hemming--when I came across the following passage, which occurs on pp. 160-2 of that work. The context is a discussion of Faye's book. Quotes there are given in the original German as well as in English translation--since you read German, I thought you might rather have the German.

Faye provides a very polemical account of the protocols of a seminar course of the winter semester 1934-35 held together with Erik Wolf entitled *Hegel: On the State*. Faye seizes upon the report of Heidegger's statement in these seminars that "Man hat gesagt, 1933 ist Hegel gestorben; im Gegenteil: er hat erst angefangen zu leben" as evidence of his formal commitment to Nazism. In saying this, Heidegger is citing Carl Schmitt (while not naming him), suggesting (absolutely contrary to Faye's suggestion) in the very citation a transformation in the way 1933 should be read. In 1933 Schmitt had noted: "Erst als der Reichspraesident am 30. Januar 1933, den Fuehrer der Nationalsozialistischen Bewegung, Adolf HItler, zum Reichskanzler ernannte, erhielt das Deutsche Reich wieder eine politische Fuehrung und fand der deutsche Staat die Kraft, den staatsfeindlichen Marxismus zu vernichten.... An diesem Tage ist demnach, so kann man sagen, 'Hegel gestorben.'" The regime and its epigones (of whom Schmitt was one) made a clear association between Hegel and Marx: the one was "responsible" for the other. In his statement to the effect that Hegel had not died, Heidegger rejects the narrowness of this view, and in doing so recognizes that Hegel is fundamentally *describing* the character of the state in its relation to subjectivity as a whole (and so not just as "Marxism" secures it), and that the metaphysical position which Hegel lays out remains at the basis of not just Marxism, or Americanism and "world democracy," but Nazism as well. Heidegger returns to his understanding of Hegel's thought not as a speculative source of "theory," a mere set of opinions, but a genuine phenomenology--even if a phenomenology of the "completion of metaphysics"--of "the" political. Heidegger's description of Hegel's thought as the completion of metaphysics significantly predates Heidegger's own commitment to Nazism, and so we can see how, in making this judgment, Heidegger is returning to a view that he had briefly abandoned when, in embracing Hitler, he embraced the notion of the "leader" and the state as the "being" of the nation--a view which *in itself* is entirely consistent with Hegel's theory of the state. Heidegger, in other words, in arguing that in Nazism Hegel had come fully alive, is acknowledging his own commitment to Hegel's metaphysics, during his Nazism, and for the period of the rectorate, at least. In understanding the extent to which Nazism and Hitlerism are a form of the fulfillment of Hegel's theory of the state, and in embracing once again his rejection of Hegel as an overcoming of metaphysics, Heidegger is, without doubt (and whatever else he is doing), repudiating Hitler's claim to be the embodiment of the particularity of the "destiny" for the German people enshrined in the Nazi "program."

Faye, as he ordinarily does, ignores the provenance and the context of the citations from which he often makes great capital, and so fails to see that Heidegger’s very reference in 1934 to Schmitt represents a challenge to Schmitt’s interpretation of the events of 1933, and therefore to his (Heidegger’s) own support for the events of 1933, when he had effectively thrown in his lot with Schmitt as much as with Hitler. Schmitt counterposed the Nazi state to the organization of the state in liberal democracy (the “Hegelian state” of which he speaks) because the Nazi state alone had the power to meet and overcome the challenge of Marxism, itself *also* a consequence of Hegel’s theory of the state: it is in this sense that Hegel was “dead.” In Heidegger’s preparatory notes for the seminar for which Faye has the protocols, Heidegger’s notes explicitly rejected Schmitt’s interpretation, arguing “Karl Schmitt denkt liberal.”

On p. 163, Hemming gives two additional quotes that I think are relevant:

Schmitt (fr. Staat, Bewegung, Volk): Die politische einheit des gegenwaertigen Staates ist eine dreigliedrige Zusammenhang von Staat, Bewegung, Volk. Sie unterschiedet sich von dem aus dem 19. Jahrhundert uebernommenen liberal-demokratischen Staatsschema von Grund auf.

Heidegger (fr. Hegel: Ueber den Staat): Selbst auf die Gefahr hin dasz von Hegels Staatsdenken kein Stein auf dem anderen bleiben sollte, muessen wir uns mit ihm auseinandersetzen, weil eben Hegels Philosophie die *einzige* bisherige Philosophie ueber den Staat ist.

I’m not sure I follow Hemming’s commentary at every point. According to him, Schmitt conceived “Hegel”—or, to use the expression you often employ, the Hegelian state project—to mean liberal democracy (as do you). Liberal democracy—the Hegelian state project—was in turn vulnerable to Hegelianism’s “daughter faith”, Marxism—the Marxist state project, so to speak. Because the NSDAP was fiercely anti-liberal and anti-communist, neither the Hegelian nor the Marxist state projects had any possibility of forming the German state as of 1933.

Heidegger, on the other hand—according to Hemming—originally believed and (after a temporary lapse coinciding with the accession of Hitler to the chancellorship) later came to believe once again, that the Hegelian state project encompassed all the modern regime-types: liberal democracy, fascism, communism. But this leaves one wondering why Heidegger would have said that in 1933 the Hegelian state project “first began to live”, if the Hegelian state project were consonant with both Nazism and its predecessor regime. Setting aside the notion that Heidegger is merely negating Schmitt’s claim in a provocative and exaggerated way, it suggests that in Nazism the Hegelian state project (in Heidegger’s view) was somehow more fully realized than in liberal democracy or communism.

On “The Ferguson Corollary

To say so is not “Godwinning,” but reflection of a proper understanding of the oxymoron “fascist intellectual.”

Well, I know I'm a moron--but now I can aspire to be an oxymoron.

As always--thanks for the inspiration!

On ““A” rarely if ever equals “A” only

Don't know if you'd be at all interested in having a look at the following, written--if I'm not mistaken--by a philosophy professor and committed Catholic. Far as I can tell, it entirely supports your side of the argument.

http://branemrys.blogspot.com/2013/06/one-god.html

Anyway, I just wanted to testify that I'm continuing to think about the points you made in this exchange.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.

Related

From the Featured Archives

Categories

Extraordinary Comments

CK's WP Plugins