Friday, September 18, 2009

The New New Left: the Return of Authority

In the American Democratic party liberalism is as dead as a doornail. The party has been taken over by the postmodern, radical Left. In Europe they're not yet aware of the fact: they're still laboring under the impression that Obama is the next best thing to JFK. Little do they know. Denial is rife. 

In Europe another sort of Change is in the air. Perhaps because they've stumbled upon the obverse side of relativist thought, or maybe because they've stretched the abuse of liberalism to its outer limits, who's to say.

Philosophical twists in Leftist doctrine usually end up as justifying the awful means to an Utopian end. In the best tradition of Hegel's dialectic they're veering from one extreme (relativism) to its antithesis (absolutism), all in the good cause, that goes without say!

Proponents of the relativist approach spent years deconstructing authority and absolutes which they deemed the cause of religious zealots foisting fundamentalism, and bourgeois bigots passing moral judgment. They've done so in a very thorough way over the years. To be fair, there's very little in authority left to deconstruct, and absolutely nothing is left that's absolute (except higher taxes and their relentless hatred).

The problem with relativist thought - as is true for all its derivatives (for example multiculturalism) is that it holds that every idea/culture/nation/class/people/religion/gender/species is equally valid (with the exception of the West's). This ideal of value neutrality makes it impossible for them to criticize their own, or to do some foisting themselves. Not that it ever kept them from savaging their opponents! If it suits their agenda contradiction becomes part of the theory, but it does cause significant levels of cognitive dissonance in the more rational followers. 

Just when the Western world had been brought mentally to its knees, the Left make a turn and start the reintroduction of authority. The irony is that it comes from the same crowd that acquainted us to anti authoritarianism 3-4 decades ago. You can bet your bottom nickle that they'll use it against the Right, but for the moment they're making the case that liberalism, well, has it's downside and that the beneficiaries of their concerns are the lumpenproletariat. You know, those who they've kept on the fringes of society for donkeys years to make up their voting base and act as cannon fodder should the occasion arise.

Perceptive observers may have noticed lately a habit in the Left of displaying elitist tendencies. They themselves have also suddenly woken up to their own nobility. The pulpit strategy has alerted some in academe to hitherto untapped possibilities: passing moral judgment on cut-throat capitalism, the noble aim of elevating the unwashed masses (really!), bashing individualism in favor of the safety and coziness of collectivist society, preaching about the necessity of the nanny state, paternalistically telling others what to do and how to live, what to think, and how to behave - all under the usual cover of deontological ethics, that their intent is of the highest moral standard and that it's all for our own good - upper crust knows best. 

The disasters of their previous ideas and policies will be offloaded on to liberalism (the pejorative of which is neoliberalism); it will be blamed for malignant Narcissism, out of control  individualism, the nefariously greedy bankers and corporate magnets, the autistic obsession with selfexpression, the atomization of egocentrist capitalist societies. Reds, greens and confessionals are endlessly pounding the cozy togetherness drum against personal achievement, the fruit of labor and the pursuit of happiness.

Here's what's happening on the philosophical level:

- The Platonic mind/body dichotomy is deemed no longer tenable. The new paradigm is entirely biochemical Materialism. The mind resides in the physical brain and man is urged on by hormonal triggers (and society).

The model of man is a computer, with the hard drive in the role of the brain. The elemental question, what in this analogy is feeding this computer, has not yet arisen. It looks like another fallacy of the type that blames the spoon for one getting fat.

In short, the Naturalist and Darwinian perspective that man is the sum total of cells, synapses and the endocrine system carries the day (you will be hardpressed not to get cynical).

Also out are ...
  • Empiricism (don't ask - I haven't been able to find out yet, but I have an inkling what's meant is objective knowledge; but that would mean retaining that element from relativist thought - it will be hard to maintain absolutism if you've got no way of knowing anything for certain [note to self: mark as future trouble spot if they embark on pushing the subjective as an absolute, which they will].

  • Individual autonomy (very important! it is essential to all Leftist thought that man has no free will to speak of (imperative for a functional moral compass), and absolutely no personal autonomy whatsoever (this never sat well with liberalism). This enables blamelessness and victimhood, so central to the progressive narrative!
It will be a sight to behold what Leftist thinkers will come up with to explain the U turn and how to gell authority and absolutes with standing doctrine! But it does facilitate in a great way the compartmentalization of society in minority groups and social classes, enabling the Left to set them against each other so that progress may reign - somewhat like what's happening in the States right now where any opposition to President Obama's anti American policies warrent shrieks of "Racism!"

Proponents of the authority strategy claim the primary aim is to promote universal self-esteem, but not on the basis of talent (which is no achievement) or of personal achievement (which is competative and capitalist). So this self-esteem presumably is on the sole basis of being a member of the collective (this comes perilously close to mob ethics). 

Altruism remains the highest trait in a drone: the willingness to sacrifice self to the hive. Dissenters are traitors to the cause and are out ... out! The Leftist elite, like the Soviet nomenklatura, form the uppercrust of an ostensibly classless and egalitarian society in which every cog knows his place in society and is valued on the basis that he's one of theirs.

They will put paid to the neoliberal horrors of hereditory meritocracy. This piece of lingering eugenics follows from the logic that intelligent parents breed even more clever children, while their grandkids in turn will outsmart their parents. These neoliberal meritocrats - in order to get one up on their neighbors have rat races amongst themselves, the root cause of all ills in Western society, to wit:
  • loss of sense of safety and shelter;
  • rewarding of talent (which is unfair because unevenly spread in populations);
  • Rousseau's clarion call: the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer (a cliche and a lie which refuses to wear thin over its 250 year old history);
  • the lack of self-esteem in those "left behind" (the disenfranchised lumpenproletariat).
- Caption: Engraving "The Emancipator of Labor and the Honest Working People (Communists)", Harper's Weekly, February 7, 1874 - 

At this point it's getting really fascistic, eh progressive. Try to follow the logic, as it is very instructive!

The neoliberal meritocracy is also detrimental to the autonomy of the family (as if the Left care!) because - in order to meet the progressive standard of equal opportunity, "poor" (equals dumb) families need to be broken up and their children placed in institutions so as to ensure equal starting positions ... 

There's no way of knowing at this point if this strand of thought will catch on with the Left. Postmodern relativism initially also made a slow start, but eventually spread like wildfire to the point of debilitating the entire West. We are keeping our fingers on the pulse of the progressive heartbeat and are keeping you abreast of what's brewing.


Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on personal achivement. It should be very much helpfull

Karim - Creating Power

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