Sorry I didn’t get back to you on this earlier, JR – although what I mainly have to say is that I think we handled the question about as well as we’re going to handle it on that other thread. My main point is that a remark about philosophers isn’t the same thing as a philosophical remark, and that considering it philosophically is different from considering it in terms of, say, intellectual history. Strauss took a certain position on philosophy v revelation or Athens v Jerusalem, and it’s a position both on the practice of philosophy and on the essence of philosophy or of the truth. The two positions within the one position are intimately connected and even mutually defining, but they are not the same: What philosophers are “paid” to do, or what the accepted uses of the role of “philosopher” are, and what philosophy is or should be, or what we could confidently state about what philosophy is or what is philosophy, might be very different things. As for what a philosopher can believe, Strauss’s position on the essence of philosophy amounts to a belief that it is a practice in denial of belief. A true philosopher cannot believe in God, and cannot believe in the absence of God, because a true philosopher questions all belief and so in effect questions belief itself. So, except for the sake of making a kind of sociological point or a point about common speech – in which the vagueness of the god concept is overlooked, as though everyone somehow knows what everyone else means by the word “God” – he might as well have said, “No philosopher believes,” and left it there: “Belief in God” would be a redundancy, properly speaking: The problem is a willingness to accept revelation at all as authoritative or possibly authoritative, as prior to and determinative for its own interpretations, which, to the extent they are philosophically serious interpretations, interpretations which philosophy would be capable of taking seriously, would be interrogations at least admitting the possibility of doubt, offered in the mode and from the standpoint of possible falsification, which for the true believer is unacceptable: blasphemy, poisoning the minds of the young, and so on.
Source: American Creation: Sully is Back
[T]hese days American self-government is indistinguishable from self-incrimination. Our domestic policy is a nest of rent-seeking corruption, our social insurance system is an act of theft against posterity. And our foreign policy, described fairly, resembles the last weeks of a bloodthirsty crime family, led to its bitter end by demented octogenarians.
Source: Michael Brendan Dougherty: Trump vs. Clinton is a verdict on America
A self-serving moral judgment is always implicit in any political judgment, for the simple reason that a politics without morality would be the physics of randomly colliding human atoms, of no meaning to anyone, or not authentically political at all.
Ramesh Ponnuru (in “Hate Trump Voters? You’ve Got a Problem. “) attempts to draw a simultaneously moral and political distinction:
Living in a democracy often means thinking that millions of our fellow citizens are making a big mistake, and saying so. That doesn’t have to mean considering them our moral inferiors. To the extent my fellow anti-Trump conservatives are adopting that mindset, they are making a depressing political season even more so.
I think I understand what Ponnuru wants to encourage – forgiveness, empathy, balance, wise strategy, among other things – but on the central question I believe that he is wrong: Thinking that our fellow citizens are “making a big mistake” does and must mean considering them our moral inferiors, in relation to the particular matter if not others, and, when I say so, I cannot help but also imply or confirm that I believe that in this way, on this question, Ponnuru is my “moral inferior.”
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Posted in Politics
Tagged with: NeverTrump
(Note: See “Output-Buffering and Extensible WordPress Plug-Ins” for an update to the below that substantially revises my conclusions.)
I asked the following question at Stackoverflow today: “PHP output buffering: When/whether to use for different kinds of real existing sites and applications?”
So far, I’ve gotten one answer tending to confirm my general inclination not to use it for the kinds of scripts in which I’m interested.
The following is the full text of my “question”:
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“Demopathy” is a term used previously, as far as I can tell from a Google search, by a few anti-democratic (and highly illiberal) polemicists of seemingly no great note. I find it expressive for a larger tendency that interferes with the Republican Party’s ability to handle the Trump challenge, and to govern its own affairs and argue its own case consistently and coherently, yet at the same time may justify the existence of the Party as a vehicle for a conservative understanding of the American system.
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Dan seems to be arguing that the process – in all of its heterogeneous glory – may be thoroughly legitimate, but still remain vulnerable to abuse and misuse, including by a known demagogue who plays upon a common type of incapacitating civic ignorance that he himself seems to share to a large degree – not only with his supporters, but with a large number, perhaps the majority, perhaps the overwhelming majority, of observers.
To the majority, if the majority insists upon equating its ignorantly simplistic and parochial concept of democracy with the democratic concept as understood throughout Western and specifically American history, with all of the virtues but few to none of the defects of the latter concept attached to the former one, then all of us will be obligated to join in, in other words compelled by majority decision of that same type in favor of compulsory majority decision of that same type, and so on, as illimitedly regressively as required until minority opposition is exhausted.
So, we seem to have – or our polity or pseudo-polity in this period appears to be constituted as – an ignorocracy: rule by an ignorant majority ignorantly insisting on its own peculiarly ignorant concept, resulting in a system among whose defining characteristics is the imperviousness to criticism of the ignorocrats’ own self-serving but mostly sincere self-concept.
Comment replying to “Art Deco” at: The Republican Nomination and the Language of Popular Democracy | Ordinary Times
Writing after an extended exchange of views on Twitter, Justin Tiehan (@jttiehan) – professor of philosophy and notorious curator of the Tweet-list of (ca. 80?) explanations for the rise of Donald Trump – summarized his position as follows (Twitter handles removed):
To clarify my version of the argument, 1. Most agree it’s morally permissible to kill baby Hitler.
2. Heckling raises fewer moral concerns than baby killing.
3. Most should agree heckling is morally justified in some cases.
4. Most should agree that liberalism, in issuing blanket prohibition against heckling, is in error.
The discussion between Professor Tiehan and myself had begun in relation to a blog post entitled “There’s no good argument for the liberal prohibition of heckling,” by Carl Bejier. My initial question to Tiehan, who had referred to “more than a grain of truth” in one of Bejier’s explanations for that “liberal prohibition,” was to ask for a definition of “heckling.” I then also requested a definition of “liberalism” or “modern liberalism” as we were to understand Bejier was using the terms.
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Should Trump, facing unfavorable and deteriorating political prospects, seek to humiliate himself leading a fractured Republican Party to an “epic” defeat in November? Should he prefer to “do all he could to destroy Cruz and the GOP” – turning himself into a hated loser and maker of losers? How would either alternative profit him – or preserve and burnish his all-important brand – at all?
Rich Lowry is convinced that Trump, whether he loses at the RNC or in the Fall, is going to destroy the Republican Party in the process:
Events can always intervene, and Hillary Clinton certainly has her own weaknesses, but every objective indicator is that nominating Trump would mean a divided Republican party loses in the fall, perhaps badly, maybe even epically.
Probably the most favorable non-Trump scenario is that Ted Cruz beats him on a second ballot at a convention and has enough anti-establishment credibility to take the edge off the inevitable revolt of the Trump forces. But surely Trump would do all he could to destroy Cruz and the GOP in retribution for denying him the nomination.
As for that last part, however, what makes Lowry so “sure”? Though Trump has campaigned in a political suicide vest, threatening to take as many people with him as possible when he finally trips the trigger, why exactly should we believe the threat?
Maybe Lowry, after the events of the last year or so, is just primed to expect the worst… Read more ›
Posted in notes
Tagged with: NeverTrump
Polls with Cruz surging, Trump flat at best, are reinforcing a general sense – once a hope, now an expectation – that Wisconsin next week will be Trump’s electoral Stalingrad. As I put it on Twitter a few days ago:
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Posted in Politics
Tagged with: Cruz