Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Wellington/Hesperado Tennis Match

http://www.clker.com/cliparts/E/2/6/5/L/U/tennis-ball-md.png

An interesting exchange of volleys across the Net between myself and a Jihad Watch regular, Wellington, about the problem of Islam and the putative limitations imposed by the American Constitution.

Seems to me Wellington, from the first moment he rejoins my initial salvo, to the very end, keeps landing the ball outside of bounds, and missing the match point I'm closing in on against his position.

Note: The audience will note, as they turn their heads to the left and to the right to keep up with the game, that a couple of times I get off more than one hit.  Let us just say my serve was a bit precipitous on those tries.  Also, it will be seen that my tennis moniker on the Jihad Watch tournament grounds was "LemonLime", reflecting the fluorescent balls and shirt for which I have become famous.

Now all we need is a referee...

To kick the ball off (to mix sports metaphors), here was my serve:

Hesperado (aka "LemonLime")

Once the reader clicks on the link, reads my comment and subsequent P.S. a little further down, he can then just follow the conversation by scrolling down at a leisurely pace.

39 comments:

Kafir Ibn al-Shaitan said...

Seems like you won, Hesperado. Again ! Heh !

Hesperado said...

Thanks Kafir,

I've noticed that Wellington responded to my last missive; but it's so complicatedly unresponsive, I'm not sure I want to go through the tedium of teasing apart its flaws.

Anonymous said...

I just read the entire exchange.

Who said that Marxism is dead? It is Marxists who have foisted Islam upon us via Muslim immigration and concessions to Sharia Law in all - formerly - Western countries.

The best point in the thread is that the 'statistical shield' of Muslims prevents us from saying that Muslims are bat wing crazy - and Muslims should be criminally prosecuted and summarily executed or deported for sedition against all - formerly - Western countries.

The only advantage that - formerly - Western countries had was our technology which is WHY Muslims sought to invade and conquer and possess that technology. But, on their own, Muslims are helpless to do anything except destroy - so all that technology will soon be lost to the ages when some future Muslim decides to light the fuse of some big bad bomb to blow up the entire world to get the Madhi to come.

Egghead

Hesperado said...

Thanks Egghead; but to me it's the Wellingtons of the world who are the most acute problem. He's surely not a Marxist (similarly all those Voegelinian academics about whom I've written), and there are so many like him who are otherwise good, decent and intelligent men. No Marxist is pressuring him to think the way he does; and yet he does so, of his own full accord. He is, as I say, asymptotic; and as such, he doesn't realize he's afraid of being "unfair" and "painting with a broad brush" (you notice at one juncture in our exchange, he finds himself having to have recourse to the "most American Muslims are harmless" red herring).

Anonymous said...

Ah, Hesperado, I quite love the way that you point out the asymptotic among us - and I am being serious! I have learned a lot from you over the years. :)

My point is that, before Marxists injected FOREIGN non-Christian non-European non-white values into Western immigration in Western countries, NO Westerners even had to think - and I use the term 'think' loosely these days - about the pros and cons of non-Christian non-European non-white immigration - let alone of the grave moral dilemma presented by admitting Islam and Muslims into the West.

PC MC was invented by Marxists to degrade Western civilization - and it is working splendidly in that NO ONE even realizes WHO to blame for the demise of the West!

When violent Muslims gang rape and torture and murder, NO ONE blames the Marxists who lobbied to change the immigration laws to favor the third world uneducated non-white non-Christians.

Who are those dastardly Marxists again?! Mustn't say....

Marxists, what Marxists?

Egghead

Hesperado said...

I still must demur about some of the conclusions you draw (e.g., it's become clear to me that PC MC predates Marxism by several centuries); but that discussion will no doubt continue...

Anonymous said...

Hi Hesp,

Oh yeah. I had forgotten about all of that great research of yours that I have read too long ago now but still respect.

In any case, whether PC MC existed before Marxism, Marxists planned - and succeeded - to use PC MC to weaken all of the West.

Marxists introduced PC MC driven non-European non-Judeo-Christian immigration to the West, and we are all much the worse for it.

Just saying: No Westerners were "torn" about Muslim immigration before Marxists imposed Muslim immigration on all of the West.

Keep me honest! :)

Egghead

Zenster said...

(From the JW thread) Hesperado: … most Politically Correct Multi-Culturalists (and most Leftists) already believe we have become 'like them'…

Of course, they never manage to explain how we defeated the Nazis without having set up our own extermination camps, nor do they successfully detail how Imperial Japan was overthrown without indulging in anything remotely resembling the Rape of Nanking.

Rest assured that, in the case of Japan, they will instantly summon up the cry of nuclear genocide despite how our atomic weapons saved more Japanese lives than American ones. Hirohito had exhorted his people to fight to every last man, woman and child and then commit mass suicide if overwhelmed by a land invasion. For some strange reason, no one ever wants to speculate about that body count.

Many (if not probably most) in the Counter-Jihad anxiously wring their hands, depending on the circumstance or context, and worry about this very same principle, reflected in a concern not to wrong the putatively "innocent" Muslims who are artificially distinguished from the ones that mean us harm.

Here, were are treated to the peculiarly disgusting spectacle of this world's greatest practitioner of collective punishment (i.e., Islam), being sheltered from retaliation via collective punishment by those whom Islam would like nothing more than to bulldoze into mass graves. As always, Liberals heartily embrace Islam despite the fact that Muslims would like nothing better than to murder every last pro-feminist, gay-loving, anti-religious, sexually liberated, gun hating one of them.

Zenster said...

Wellington: Let's face it, the vast majority of Muslims in America, confused human beings though they are (on this I know we can agree), do not commit any ACTS which are prosecutable.

Your list—incredibly enough—provided in advance, was insufficient to deter Wellington from making a total ass of himself. To wit:

sedition

hatred

supremacism

expansionism

a dismantling of all Western liberties and freedoms

violence in order to pursue the above list;

and, as part and parcel of all of the above:

the goal of destroying the Constitution (and all non-Islamic laws on earth) to replace it with Islamic Sharia -- a goal not only believed ideologically, but also pursued seditiously, with violence planned, and violence already waged against us.


Here is my own maxim (or set of them):

No mercy for those who show none.

No humanity for the inhumane.

No quarter for those who give none.

No truce with those who ignore them.

No respite for those at constant war.

No respect for those who do not show it.

No trusting those who practice taqiyya.

No sovereignty for tyrants.

Islam must be, nay, demands to be paid in its own bloody coin. It respects no other tender than violence and sneers at any attempt to avoid it.

Islam must be made to clean its own house as only Muslims know who the real terrorists are. Barring that, the "moderate" Muslim will be thrown out with the jihadi bathwater. Here, abroad and everywhere else Islam has sought to colonize.

Remember, if there is no separation of church and state, it's not a church, it's a state.

Again, anyone who comes to America but abjectly refuses to assimilate into the nation's culture is not an "immigrant", they are a colonist.

End of story.

Zenster said...

Hesperado: I still must demur about some of the conclusions you draw (e.g., it's become clear to me that PC MC predates Marxism by several centuries); but that discussion will no doubt continue...

So, pray tell, what was the pre-PCMC term?

May I suggest "tolerance"?

If you have not written a post that directly addresses this, then please consider integrating your pre-PCMC paradigm with the more recent emergence of a "New World Order" that is not rooted in a single grand conspiracy but in a number of converging agendas that are conveniently "non-conflicting" to a sufficient measure whereby they manage an alarming degree of cooperation.

Hesperado said...

Hi Zenster,

Just on the Wellington thing for now. He's burdening the one fact -- that ostensibly most American Muslims aren't actually doing anything illegal -- with nearly all the weight of his argument against our taking pre-emptive action against them. In doing so, he is irrationally ignoring the mountains of dots (and their "connective tissue" as Frank Gaffney puts it) -- dots he must be familiar with by now, as there is ample evidence Wellington has been reading Jihad Watch for years, intelligently enough to analyze and provide usually astute commentary. His irrational reflex, however, just goes to show that intelligence isn't everything.

Hesperado said...

Zenster,

On pre- or proto-PC MC, I've realized for quite a while now that

a) it did exist

b) the only differences then, as contrasted with now, were

i) relative prevalence: it was a minority opinion then; it has become a majority fashion now

ii) degree: then it was leavened with rational restraint; now it tends toward irrational promiscuity and anxious enthusiasm.

c) its terms in pre-modern times were Judaeo-Christian virtues of

i) universalism tending toward a transcendence of tribalism

ii) respect for and curiosity about the Other

iii) self-criticism of our own civilization/culture.

Hence, once one has digested a-c above, is that PC MC is a good thing taken to irrational and deleterious excess.

Zenster said...

Per Wellington at JW: …most American Muslims aren't actually doing anything illegal…

This is, perhaps, one of the most commonly held and fundamentally wrong perceptions about Muslims in America. So-called "moderate" Muslims are the sea that terrorist fish swim in. No other social body could possibly sponsor, abet and shelter jihadists to the same degree and in the same manner that "moderate" Muslims do.

What's more, these "moderate" Muslims almost unanimously participate in promoting sedition by dint of giving a pass to Islam's corrosive effects on all other cultures. Such rare exceptions as Dr. Zuhdi Jasser are, in some ways, even more of a danger because they allow the fence-sitters to lull themselves into complacency with the assurance that they, KAGO (Know A Good One). Were there a significant percentage of Muslims with an anti-terrorist agenda like Jasser, then it might be different. However, there are no such numbers of them and, like a tame piranha, Jasser projects an entirely wrong message with respect to the majority of Muslims.

Muslim "immigration" is more a matter of invasion and colonization than it will ever be any form of assimilation. Demographic "stealth" jihad is the sole alternative to violent terrorism and, usually, the two proceed in concert.

Wellington is a modern day "useful idiot" for a principal driver of chaos and retrogression in our world.

Anonymous said...

Zenster: "tame piranha" - I like it! Egghead

Hesperado said...

Zenster, you left out my "ostensibly". Makes all the difference in the world.

Zenster said...

Hesperado: Zenster, you left out my "ostensibly". Makes all the difference in the world.

Please pardon the omission. Fortunately, you and most others around the web know my abhorrence of quoting out of context and can rest assured that it was an unintentional error.

Zenster said...

Hesperado: On pre- or proto-PC MC, I've realized for quite a while now that

a) it did exist


I am obliged to agree if only due to how deeply seated and easily vectored the PCMC mindset continues to be. Ergo, it must be able to "piggyback" on a variety of well-respected or prevalent traditions, be they religious or philosophical in nature.

b) the only differences then, as contrasted with now, were

i) relative prevalence: it was a minority opinion then; it has become a majority fashion now


A most likely reason for it remaining an historically "minority opinion" is due to survival norms and how they disallowed such a luxury of extending the “golden rule” outside of one’s genetic circle. It simply did not “pay off” until issues of trade began to shift tribal priorities.

ii) degree: then it was leavened with rational restraint; now it tends toward irrational promiscuity and anxious enthusiasm.

Those “survival norms” forcibly imposed a huge degree of “rational restraint” in that those who were foolish enough to ignore them usually paid with their lives. Your use of the term “promiscuity” is especially apt as all sorts of very meaningful actions—not just intimate relations—like trust, reciprocity or fair play are being shared out despite there being no sound justification for doing so.

c) its terms in pre-modern times were Judaeo-Christian virtues of:

i) universalism tending toward a transcendence of tribalism


Again, that exact period was one of burgeoning trade between previously isolated cultures. Overcoming tribalism made some degree of sense. Few, if any, at that time were advocating the abolition of tribal structures.

ii) respect for and curiosity about the Other

A quick reading of early Judaeo-Christian documents won’t find too many cites about respecting “the Other”. More often, totally foreign people were immediately suspected of being idolaters or worse. Violent exchanges frequently characterized encounters with “the Other” and only trade served to facilitate more peaceful exchanges. Probably the earliest form involved bartering of breeding stock to keep the bloodlines of domesticated animals healthy or to obtain new hybrids.

(to be continued)

Zenster said...

iii) self-criticism of our own civilization/culture.

This point may be one of the most telling as both Judaism and Christianity rely heavily upon a sense of personal guilt—especially in more modern times—rather than the abject coercion as seen in, for instance, Islam.

Guilt will certainly drive “self-criticism” which, in turn, can sow the seeds of doubt and inspire unnecessary or marginally required demonstrations of self-abasement. The most recent manifestation of this is a pervasive “universalism” that decrees how friend and foe alike must be welcomed with open arms while being given every last benefit of a congregation’s collective assets, social or financial.

Strangely, this self-criticism enjoyed a temporary era of functional worth—Europe’s Christian Reformation being an example—to emerging cultures. It appears that, for quite some time, Europeans were far more able to administer this psychological purgative without the stifling results seen in the MME (Muslim Middle East), Far East Asia or India, for instance.

However, as is often the case with post-industrial America and Europe, such things have been taken too far. There springs to mind the old joke about a baker musing to himself, “I baked this bread for an hour and it tastes very nice. If I bake it for two hours, it will taste twice as good.”

Needless to say, (then why say it?), the West has gone overboard and—like some slowly starving anorexic—continues to deny itself the sustaining nourishment of certainty and accepted exceptionalism. This, despite how there has yet to be any other culture on earth that has attained a fraction of the West’s collective achievements. To quote Bertrand Russell:

The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts.

Finally, Hesperado, I would like to post this specific exchange elsewhere in order to facilitate a continued spread of your relatively novel but quite explanatory theory regarding the roots of PCMC. Please provide your input plus any additional material you would like included in an original article. What would be delightful is if you could toss in a brief summary of why you consider PCMC to have more than just Culturally Marxist origins.

Anonymous said...

I read it all. :) Egghead

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I agree with Wellington. We can prosecute individual Muslims for committing a crime, whether or not they were motivated by Islam; we CANNOT prosecute Muslims QUA MUSLIMS for the actions of individuals. It doesn't matter if you call Islam a "nation." Everyone understands what a traditional conflict between nation-states looks like, and this is clearly different.

Hesperado said...

Anonymous,

I'm not arguing that we can prosecute Muslims qua Muslims merely because they constitute a "nation". Hence, straw man.

Anonymous said...

Whatever your rationale happens to be, we cannot deport all Muslims because that would mean violating the constitutional rights of American citizens who have done nothing wrong.

As for Article VI of the Constitution, the only thing it says is that state judges should respect federal laws. It has nothing to do with outlawing contrary opinions.

You say: but Muslims have already ACTED on their beliefs against the Constitution. E.g., 9/11. Very well: then find those INDIVIDUAL Muslims who have acted and put them on trial. Surely you are not saying that ALL individual Muslims have demonstrably acted against the Constitution?

Now, there are times of crisis when it is wise to ignore legal niceties on account of more pressing considerations. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact," and all that. But surely no reasonable person would conclude that we are now in such a crisis.

Hesperado said...

Zenster,

Thanks for your detailed replies. You raise a lot of important points. One for now I see as the crux.

You seem to regard the virtues I have identified as derived from Western Civilization's Graeco-Roman/Judeo-Christian heritage -- namely (to name the two most comprehensive), Universalism and Self-Criticism -- as inherently flawed and competing against the higher good of a tribal assertion of West against others.

I think this is a grievous misunderstanding of the genius of the West, and tends to throw the baby out with the bathwater. While of course they contain the *tendency* to be misused, that does not mean they do not point to a greatness unmatched by other cultures -- precisely by their nature as transcending tribalism.

Hesperado said...

Anonymous, before you comment on my "rationale" -- "regardless" or not -- read it thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hesp: Tribal or genetic, it is the Western peoples who MUST be preserved and protected for the Westerners have shown themselves to be the only people capable of building and sustaining the West with Western values - which is WHY Marxists seek to destroy Western peoples via rampant Western-genocidal non-Western immigration.

Egghead

Zenster said...

Anonymous (2:46 PM): Very well: then find those INDIVIDUAL Muslims who have acted and put them on trial. Surely you are not saying that ALL individual Muslims have demonstrably acted against the Constitution?

Have you read the Qu'ran? It demands, on pain of death, that all able-bodied Muslims assist or participate in jihad. The ultimate goal of jihad being the rule of our entire earth under shari'a law.

Shari'a law, by its very nature, represents the overthrow of America's Constitution and every other non-Islamic legal system. Ergo, Islam is intrinsically seditious and Muslims are unanimous in their advocacy of that sedition.

By dint of Islam's supremacist nature, no true Muslim can ever fulfill their Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States which, in part, states:

…that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…

Any Muslim who sincerely swore to the above would be takfir (impure) and subject to immediate and religiously sanctioned execution at the hands of any true believer.

What about this is unclear?

Zenster said...

Hesperado: You seem to regard the virtues I have identified as derived from Western Civilization's Graeco-Roman/Judeo-Christian heritage -- namely (to name the two most comprehensive), Universalism and Self-Criticism -- as inherently flawed and competing against the higher good of a tribal assertion of West against others.

Quite the opposite, in fact. My comparison with the baker demonstrates that both “Universalism and Self-Criticism” have their virtues when applied in proper measure. I would venture that Self-Criticism is the more productive of the two. Universalism is a lot like diversity. To quote my favorite Conservative blogger, Takuan Seiyo:

Diversity is like Tabasco sauce. A dash or two on your grits makes them a more interesting dish. Add a half-cup of the stuff and you’re ready for the ambulance.

We both agree that Universalism and Self-Criticism have both been taken to ridiculous extremes. As the old saying goes, “Too much of anything will kill you.” Western civilization is now at the saturation point with respect to both diversity and indiscriminate extension of its hard-earned benefits (i.e., Universalism) to those who have not played any sort of active role in its original foundation.

Anonymous said...

"...to those who have not played any sort of active role in its original foundation."

Even more, to those who actively subvert and openly destroy its original foundation.

Egghead

Hesperado said...

Zenster,

Re: my observation about what I perceived in your posture concerning Universalism and Self-Criticism -- as "inherently flawed and competing against the higher good of a tribal assertion of West against others" -- you wrote:

Quite the opposite, in fact. My comparison with the baker demonstrates that both “Universalism and Self-Criticism” have their virtues when applied in proper measure.

The problem is that Universalism isn't a quantity that can be measured, or dosed. It's divine revelation itself, which, as Voegelin reminded us, not only irrupted into (and then over centuries was expressed by) Israel, and then Christianity, but also was experienced in Graeco-Roman culture in various places and times by various individuals (Homer, Hesiod, the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, later post-Platonic philosophers -- not to mention the sundry mythologoumena spanning a good millennium or two, much of which Aristotle, in his elderly wisdom recognized himself a "philomyther"), and woven into the fabric of its complex tapestry of a mythos -- also uniquely illuminated and complicated by the Greek discovery of Noesis (otherwise known as "Reason").

The West seems to have been uniquely graced with this revelation, although there are glimmers of it in Chinese civilization, as Voegelin explored in one chapter of his fourth volume of Order and History.

While of course I am not saying that this epiphany has not been misused, misunderstood, misapplied, deformed, and caricatured in various ways by various Westerners through various sociopolitical movements, the problem of why this has happened, and continues to happen in myriad ways is not to be found outside of the process in some demonized scapegoat, but rather reflects an internal syndrome of a diseased patient we do not want to kill, but rather want to try to treat. As Plato and Aristotle knew – indeed it was the genius of Graeco-Roman culture in general (with, of course, various exceptions) as Eric Voegelin analyzed in his superb essay Reason: The Classic Experience --, the treatment, the healing process is perennial and mysteriously resistant to perfection (indeed, the bewitching seduction of Perfection is one major aspect of the pneumopathology under treatment).

[Continued next post]

Hesperado said...

[Continuation...]

This revelation of Universalism is part and parcel, indissolubly and reflecting extraordinary complexities, with other related symbolisms such as "Mankind" and "Human Nature" and "Human Being", etc. It has also unfolded as a process over large arcs of history with, again, extraordinary complexities, woven into massive civilizational movements, of which "Judaeo-Christian" and "Graeco-Roman" are mere rubrics easily misleading when encouraging over-simplification. In short, it's not just some nice idea we can "measure out" like a spice or tabasco sauce.

One concrete problem that arises from over-simplification is precisely the fixation on "liberals" and "Leftists" and "Marxists" as the all too handy Satanas Ex Machina explaining large and seemingly intractable sociopolitical problems that beset the West. Eric Voegelin not only had to labor through the production of four dense tomes with his Order and History grappling with these problems of Modernity -- it is safe to say that his entire career of profoundly erudite scholarship in the philosophy of history, spanning a remarkable career of books and essays from the 1920s clear through to his deathbed in 1985 (when he was still revising his final work, Quod deus dicitur, otherwise titled as "In Search of the Search" reflecting the mysterious paradox that is at the heart of Western philosophy and theology), was a grappling with this phenomenon.

The closest Voegelin came to "naming the disease" was with his term "modern Gnosticism"; and he certainly saw Marxism as one important feature of that (ironically, some of his detractors accused him of obsessing about Marxism, as well as Hegelianism, as a bête noire -- reflecting, however, a typical misunderstanding of his analyses). But it is going too far and smacks of Gnosticism itself to erect Marxism as, in effect, the cosmic Demiurge and aeonic Enemy of Mankind. While ostensibly you don't go as far as Egghead and some others of the "Gates of Vienna Circle" in explicitly in so many words saying this, I do get the impression you more or less agree with them.

Zenster said...

Hesperado: The problem is that Universalism isn't a quantity that can be measured, or dosed.

The term "Universalism" implicitly connotes blanket application. It can only be wondered if those Graeco-Roman fore-bearers inadvertently commingled the innately universal aspect of physics—the properties of which apply everywhere—with human consciousness, a far more subjective entity.

There is much in the Graeco-Roman tradition that indicates the human body and mind were but reflections of the celestial realm. The early pseudo-science of astrology is a pluperfect example of this. The ancient Biblical quote, "As above, so below", is another case of such mapping between a heavenly template and the human condition.

However unwarranted or, perhaps, it was just a massive case of wishful thinking, such an optimistic schematic as Universalism has been shown to be of dubious virtue when applied indiscriminately—or promiscuously, to put it in more exact terms.

This is one reason why I rated self-criticism as being of potentially more value than Universalism. Self-criticism has the beneficial side effect of potentially limiting any misapplication of Universalism. This is an equation that doesn’t invert very well.

Essentially, Universalism is the ultimate form of cultural and moral relativism. As in, “Everybody has the same values and goals.” Nothing could be less true. The single issue of racial intelligence puts the lie to such a notion without even going into any vagaries like cultural nuances and their influence upon the human frame of reference. Clearly, people are not all alike. Islam and the issue of racial intelligence are two rather conspicuous horseflies in the modern-day Universalist ointment.

But it is going too far and smacks of Gnosticism itself to erect Marxism as, in effect, the cosmic Demiurge and aeonic Enemy of Mankind.

I agree. This is why I expressed such interest in your examination of pre or proto-PCMC. Marxism simply has not been around long enough to explain away the much longer history of Universalism, no matter how well the shoe seems to fit that particular appendage.

While ostensibly you don't go as far as Egghead and some others of the "Gates of Vienna Circle" in explicitly in so many words saying this, I do get the impression you more or less agree with them.

Then I would ask you to change that impression. Again, Marxism simply cannot explain a much larger and enduring mindset that has, for quite some time, been evolving into the now unbridled and indiscriminate projection of advanced Western values onto, not just primitive Third World cretins but even animals—witness the recent efforts to endow chimpanzees with the equivalent of “human rights”.

A key word here is “indiscriminate”. It is a topic that I have written about at length in terms of how the imperative mental faculty of discrimination—as in, making complex distinctions with respect to the world in general—has been slandered and tarred with wholly unjustified connotations of prejudice, especially racial prejudice.

It is this criminalizing of discrimination that has led to a lot of the “promiscuity” —sexual and otherwise—which currently enables much of the corrupted Universalism we see today. Perhaps there is an unavoidable sensation—subconscious or unconscious—that this indiscriminate Universalism is not such a good idea. It might explain why there is this prevalent undercoat of rampant Self-Criticism that accompanies such ideological promiscuity.

If so, it would certainly explain a lot of the neurotic behavior coming from Liberals and the Left in general, not to mention many ailments of Conservatism Inc. and its obscene submission to PCMC dictates.

Zenster said...

Incidentally, Hesperado, I'm still hoping that you will please provide a one or two paragraph summary of your theory about how PCMC is derivative from traditions that precede Cultural Marxism and are, in fact, more likely part and parcel of a social substrate which was deeply ingrained long before Communism came to be.

I believe that this was the predecessor to your pre or proto-PCMC model and it still is of distinct merit. Few other constructs adequately limn out the where, what, why and how of PCMC. This is something that desperately needs to be nailed down so that a reverse course can be steered back across that devastating ideological minefield.

Anonymous said...

Zenster: Hesperado has written many excellent detailed essays about the topic of interest to you.

Hesp: You could just provide the relevant links to Zenster here. :)

Egghead

Hesperado said...

Zenster,

My Montaigne essay would surely qualify.

Several other essays I have pointed out would reasonably be non-"Marxist" -- though they are 19th or early 20th century, so they *could* be part of the nefarious Marxist plot (but then, that plot is so nefarious, it could have roots going back to previous centuries,right? so I can't definitively prove anything, right?).

Hesperado said...

Zenster,

As I intimated above, I would follow Voegelin in this regard, though Voegelin never used the term "PC MC" and didn't like to use the terms "Leftist" or "liberal" or "conservative" either. His terms were Noesis (classical Reason) and pneumatic Revelation on the healthy side, as it were, of Western Civilization. A typical phrase of his is, for example:

...the Platonic conception of education as the art of periagoge [turning around] toward the goal of spiritual order of man and of society.

On the unhealthy side, he used the term Gnosticism most broadly, with other terms describing the disease, such as "deformation", "revolt", "alienation", etc. The revolt and alienation in question here are postures taken against the order of the cosmos (the classical equivalent to the order of Judaeo-Christian Creation).

[Continued next]

Hesperado said...

[Continuation...]

Where ancient Gnostics sought a spiritual escape from this wicked cosmos/Creation -- and thought they had found the "key" of hidden knowledge showing the way to escape back to their true home -- modern Gnosticism sought to try transform this world, chiefly through violent revolution and/or conquest.

Voegelin certainly considered Marxism to be one historical expression of modern Gnosticism, but he found precursors related in broad terms -- by sharing approximately same mindset of "alienation" from and "revolt" against the cosmos -- in the century before Marxism was explicitly developed: i.e., in the 18th century Enlightenment.

However, Voegelin went further back, and traced roots to this "revolt" of Modernity in centuries before the 18th. He was all set to continue his multi-volume analysis of the history of the disease of Modernity (The History of Political Ideas) and had published eight volumes (along with a parallel study called "Modernity Without Restraint") before he realized the problem he was grappling with was too complex to be approached in a typical history of ideas format. At this point he embarked on his Order and History -- and even after the first three volumes he had another realization about the complexity of the problem that profoundly altered his methodology, reflected in the long foreword to volume four ("The Ecumenic Age").

In a nutshell, Voegelin traces the roots of the problem of Modernity all the way back to the "ecumenic age", his term for roughly the period of 300 BC to 300 AD. But he didn't merely restrict his search for the roots of disorder to a timeline; more deeply, he diagnosed the roots to be a perennial constant in human nature and human culture. This latter realization is most amazingly articulated in what I think is his best piece of writing, published rather late in his life, a long essay entitled "Wisdom and the Magic of the Extreme: A Meditation". Among other things, he comes to the conclusion in that essay that the Gnostic "temptation" -- the seduction of the "extreme" of perfection -- is part of human nature, and that what distinguishes the ordered soul from the Gnostic is not that they are two types of human being, but simply that the former resists that temptation -- though Voegelin is literate enough to know, and acknowledge, that the mystery of grace (which he noted had its pre-Christian equivalents in various Graeco-Roman philosophers, chiefly Plato) is a crucial factor in this regard.

Nevertheless, Voegelin didn't dissolve the problem in abstruse mush, as may possibly be inferred from my rather sketchy description above. His aforementioned The History of Political Ideas contains copious and detailed studies of key figures in the history of the West, including Marx and Engels, along with Comte, Diderot, Condorcet, Voltaire, and dozens of others -- whose primary works Voegelin read in their original languages.

Hesperado said...

P.S.:

"His aforementioned The History of Political Ideas contains copious and detailed studies of key figures in the history of the West, including Marx and Engels, along with Comte, Diderot, Condorcet, Voltaire, and dozens of others -- whose primary works Voegelin read in their original languages."

I forgot to mention Hegel among the many others Voegelin diagnoses. His essay "On Hegel: A Study in Sorcery" is particularly apt in this regard.

And Voegelin also studied Nietzsche, in one essay (I forgot the title) putting Nietzsche's "revolt against god" in fascinating context of Pascal's philosophy, as well as the insights of a little known German poet known as "Jean-Paul" (full name Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, (1763-1825)), whose spiritual health Voegelin unstintingly approved of as an antidote to Nietzsche's "deformation".

For both Zenster and Egghead:

A fairly good (if rather verbose) overview on Voegelin's thought may be found here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2129475/posts

Anonymous said...

Hi Hesp: Thanks! I'll check it out in a few days when I have more time.

Egghead

Hesperado said...

Zenster,

A belated reply to your reply.

"The term "Universalism" implicitly connotes blanket application."

Yes, but not necessarily indiscriminately. This I maintain remains a pragmatic issue, not an existential one -- except insofar as we recognize that the imperfections (including the differentation of Mankind) are part of the mystery of existence. The application thereafter, however, should remain pragmatic. There should be no problem with a balance that respects the revelation of Universalism, while balancing that with the recognition of the mystery of imperfection and differentiation of Mankind. Problems only arise when the level of pragmatism is left behind for some existential goal -- either in the direction of a utopian Universalism, or in the opposite direction of a Hobbesian tribalism.

"Essentially, Universalism is the ultimate form of cultural and moral relativism."

Only ideally; not when tempered with pragmatism. The Christian concept of a distinction or tension between "this life" and the "next life" afforded a useful framework for retaining the ideal (eschatologically) while recognizing its limitations (in history). This tensional balance has been perennially liable to imbalance insofar as there is always the temptation to "immanentize the eschaton" -- either by enthusiastic Christians, or by various modern Gnostic movements. That doesn't vitiate the virtue of the balance. A paideia based on that virtue is a pragmatic goal; though it will always be a struggle, beset by various forms of imperfection.

Re: my statement -- But it is going too far and smacks of Gnosticism itself to erect Marxism as, in effect, the cosmic Demiurge and aeonic Enemy of Mankind.

You wrote:

"I agree. This is why I expressed such interest in your examination of pre or proto-PCMC. Marxism simply has not been around long enough to explain away the much longer history of Universalism..."

Again, you seem to imply that Universalism is some kind of unfortunate tendency in Western history. Though it is a mysterious source of the ongoing problem, to construe it as some sort of a strangely necessary vice lugged around by Westerners as part of their heritage-baggage is curiously, and grievously, to throw out the baby with the bathwater. It is not only a source of the problem, it is also the source of the West's greatness by which it distinguished itself, spectacularly, from all other cultures in history. It is also the revelation of love itself, whose call to all Mankind is simultaneously a noble mystery contiguous with divinity itself; and a seduction unto a utopianism ranging from the mistaken to the disastrous. Neither pole of this tension should be sacrificed for the other.