- Periodically I will get caught up in debates on conservative websites with their resident leftist trolls. It's always funny to me, because the little creatures come in with the assumption I'm one of the well-meaning ignorant folks who make up the bulk of the conservative movement—to its credit, generally, but not in arguments on technical points of economics.
Let's just say it's ill-advised to debate what is or is not socialism with someone who comes from three generations of European leftist intellectuals. Incidentally, it's not whether or not a program is governmental, nor what sort of a tax-rate it's funded by. The determining factor in socialism is putting the means of production in state hands.
- John C. Wright is infuriating. Roughly two-thirds of the time he is quite insightful, correct, and frequently very funny—and the other third he is so stupid you want to punch him until teeth stop flying up. I'm also quite at a loss as to how he and Mark Shea can be friends, since they are shallow partisan hack vapid ideologues—both of them far too likely to identify the Catholic faith with their quaint political fetishes—of diametrically opposite ideologies. The words "bigot" and "chauvinist" were originally coined for hacks like them, yet neither of them seems to notice that the other is the precise sort of person they otherwise utterly dehumanize.
Wright, specifically, however, suffers from two problems. First is that he refuses seriously to acknowledge the intellectual vacuity of atheism; he will not admit that he was stupid when he was an atheist (hey, if it takes a miraculous vision before you know something me and Mortimer Adler reasoned our way to, you're probably not at the top of your game). He also won't admit that nihilism is the only logical position in atheist ethics; Stoicism is pure sentimentality. Then again he also lied about Nietzsche, claiming Nietzsche said Christians were cowards. This is Wright admitting he never read the man—Nietzsche doesn't say Christians are cowards, only dupes. It's non-nihilist atheists Nietzsche says are cowards, mostly because they quite obviously are, unwilling to face the ethical implications of a materialist (or otherwise "naturalist") worldview.
Wright's second problem is that he is far too likely to evaluate an idea based on whether or no it pleases him, or his ego. Thus he pretends Ayn Rand was a coherent philosopher, and Nietzsche wasn't, purely because Rand is right-wing and he thinks (I use the term loosely) that Nietzsche was left-wing (he wasn't, nihilism knows no party). He also frequently talks as if classical liberalism were not the original leftism, especially the English variety (both Marx and Rousseau erred in large part because they went to England and believed the Stalinist lies of the Whigs), and as if there actually were an "English tradition of fair play"—which is a phrase that, fascinatingly, becomes a contradiction in terms simply by being translated into Irish, French, or Hindi.
I admit I have personal issues with Wright. I got into it with his jackass Objectivist palsie-walsie over the fact that nobody who acknowledges "existence" as a separate concept is actually an atheist, since "existence" is God. Now, I didn't realize that Objectivists think "existence" is the same as "that which exists"—because they're idiots—but anyway it got a bit heated. Eventually I apologized to Wright. And he threw it in my face. First, he said that saying "when Christians say God, they mean the fact anything exists, so nobody who acknowledges Being is truly an atheist" is no less arbitrary than saying "when I say 'Santa Claus' I mean the atmosphere, therefore if you don't deny the air you believe in Santa" (it's actually like saying "when you say gravity you mean 'space-time curvature', even if you don't acknowledge relativity", which is admittedly very annoying to people like Nikola Tesla). Then he compared me to Richard Dawkins. Which, I mean, aren't handguns allowed at that point? What a dick.
- And seriously, classical liberalism is the original leftism. Not just French, either—the Scottish "Enlightenment" and the English Whigs had more purges and ideological persecutions than the French Revolution at its worst. There is a logical progression from either British or Continental liberalism straight to Marx, and both the French Revolution and the various Marxist Revolutions are really just demonstrations of the question, "What happens when the ideas of English Whigs are adopted by people who are capable of intellectual consistency?"
The American Founders were not, by the bye, classical liberals; they only dabbled in liberalism, and were fundamentally non-ideological. It's a little confusing because they used Enlightenment terminology to talk about their ideas, but they were, in actual fact, mainly concerned to re-assert the principles of medieval common law. Which principles, incidentally, were mostly shredded by the Reformation or the Hanoverian Succession. You know, the Whigs.
All the worst things in this country's history, other than slavery (which was just a Renaissance thing) are firmly in the Classical Liberal tradition. E.g., brainwashing Indians in boarding schools—how's that any different from the English policies on the Irish language, or the French banning Basque?
- So people are apparently displeased that "For Greater Glory"—a movie about the Cristero War—is specifically about Catholicism. Uh, yeah? That'd be because the whole thing was specifically anti-Catholic religious persecution, idiots. Tell me, would you object to a movie about China in Tibet being specifically about Vajrayana Buddhism?
Incidentally, the US government gave large amounts of material, logistical support to the Mexican government in that war. This is why I can't endorse the American right's view of the world—up until the Cold War, America was not even usually the good guy in the world. And actually even in the Cold War, we were only the good guy relative to the monsters we were fighting.
Remember when I said it was silly, for example, to call Henry Kissinger a monster? Yeah, I take that back. Kissinger rather infamously authored a memo suggesting we should put serious efforts into advocating population control measures in Brazil...solely so they wouldn't have the population-base to compete with us for oil. So, yeah, "monster" is actually putting it mildly.
- Finally, I am of the opinion that anyone who does not acknowledge Hispanics as being from a Western culture should have "can't find Spain on a damn map" tattooed on his forehead.
Am Politik II
Thoughts on politics.