Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin

The reason she has made such a big splash is that in a political culture filled with bile, resentment, anger and depravity, it is uncanny and confusing to see a politician come onto the scene who is simply good and strong and has no demons. You know she is this sort of person when you see her give a speech.

If you are the kind of person whose interface with the political sphere is burdened by inner demons and resentments, then when you see a heart like Palin's on the national political scene she causes confusion and anger in you. People of Palin's moral fiber have this effect on bullies and people hypnotized by bullying. Such people are maddened by the John Wayne type who doesn't blink and who, lacking inner demons, cannot be manipulated by those whose modus operandi is to let their own inner demons summon into action the demons of others.

If you do not labor under the burden of demons, then you are simply glad to see Palin enter the scene.

Getting down to brass tacks, let's notice that Palin is the only candidate on either ticket who has either:

1. Been tested for executive prowess.
2. Passed the test.

Moreover, Palin has done both. In addition, she is a clean-up-the-mess reformer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Leftism as Fraud

It's abundantly clear that leftist public policy is pernicious. Leftism has destroyed 100 million lives, more than any other force in history. Leftism has destroyed the black American family. Etc.

Yet, leftists still press for leftist public policy. They portray it to an ignorant public as the best policy and appeal to the public's resentment and anger.

Now, the leftists making this appeal benefit by way of obtaining wealth and power in leftist public policy. The amounts of money and power here are very large.

Therefore, leftism is merely a form of fraud.

If you have feelings of resentment and anger when you ponder your acceptance of leftist public policies and the reasons for them, then you are a victim of this fraud. You have been used as a tool. You are supporting an ideology that ruins lives by feeding resentment, diminishing self-reliance and liberty, and inhibiting the creation of wealth.

Of course, reading this causes you to feel anger or contempt for me. That's the way your handlers have programmed you: your parents, your professors, the people with forceful personalities in your social surroundings over the course of your life. If they allowed you to be open to efforts to deprogram you, their program would be shattered very rapidly inside of you. It is angry and contemptuous. You are watching it do this within you.

If you can just sit, quietly and in a cool hour, close your eyes, and just watch the feelings of resentment bubble up without reacting to them in any way at all, then they will subside. When they do, it becomes very difficult for your programming to persist. When you open your eyes, consider the values of self-reliance and liberty. If you like, contemplate the effects of ponderous and bloated government over the last 100 years. Consider the spirit of the Founding Fathers of America, their intent, their love of liberty. Think about independently-minded blacks and whites who have come from poverty and worked their ways up to prosperity and good lives. Think about American soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to defeat totalitarian governments. Contemplate a society in which a government for the most part stays out of our way, perhaps catching, in partnership with private charitable organizations, the few who fall through the cracks due to some personal calamity of no fault of their own. You might persist in finding certain leftist claims more convincing than their alternatives, but you find that you are no longer given to resentment when you engage in this deliberation.

If you do this frequently, the programming will expire in a matter of days. You will no longer be one of the victims, or one of the tools, of fraud.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Day We Overcome Racism in Presidential Nomination

It will be a great day when it becomes plain and obvious that skin color is no longer a factor in the nomination of presidential candidates in America.

This day will arrive when we nominate a candidate for president who is black and his skin color has no role in our decision.

Of course, you can nominate an unqualified black person now, but that isn't the same thing.

Consider this analogy. It will be a great day when girls are able to win trophies for excellence in boys' baseball leagues. You can give a mediocre girl a trophy now, but that wouldn't be worth celebrating. It would be a fraud.

Only when blacks can make it on their merits and with no help from their skin color will we know that racism has been overcome. Until then, we deceive ourselves.

Monday, August 18, 2008

At what moment is a baby entitled to human rights?

So asked Rick Warren. (Never heard of him until now. I don't watch TV.)

The answer is: when the brain is created. That's a vague time, a gray area. One brain cell isn't enough, but after there is a small group of them, things get vague. By "the brain" I mean it very conservatively to include anything that a significant number of reasonable an informed observers would call a brain. There is no fact of the matter here as to where a group of cells becomes a brain, so there is no use arguing about it. The point is that sometime early on in pregnancy a brain is created. After that time, killing the baby is murder.

Before there is a brain, there is nobody home. Afterwards, there is someone there. The alternatives to this position are two:
  1. Tooleyanism, the position of Michael Tooley, that human rights begin when the baby recognizes that he is a being with a future: a person. This position admittedly entails that infanticide is also permissible, as infants do not recognize themselves has having a future.
  2. Standard right-to-life: that rights kick in at conception.
Notice that I haven't put the ordinary pro-choice position that even if the baby is a person it doesn't have a right to use the mother's body in this list. It is a non-starter. A child has a right to its mother's care. She may not put it out into the cold to die.

Now, Tooleyanism (1) is untenable because it fails to acknowledge that infants and fetuses with a brain can recognize themselves as having a future; they are people. They simply need practice at doing this cognitive feat. Notice that people in comas or struggling to come fully out of comas also are in the same predicament as these babies, and they have rights.

The standard right-to-life position (2) is untenable because it attributes rights to groups of cells with no brain, mind, consciousness, desires, feelings, etc: the very early fetus. But there is no person or self of any kind inside of these beings. So, they can't have rights.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tom Perriello's Fascist Rhetoric

Let me paraphrase someone I heard today. Does this sound familiar?
  • Our generation tosses aside the false distinction between left and right.
  • Enough talk, it is time now for action. Enough talk, more action!
  • If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem and you're in the way.
Is that Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives Tom Perriello speaking today in Charlottesville Virginia? Or is it any number of fascists and other big-government leftists from Mussolini and Hitler forward?

It's both. Third Way. Enough talk, time for action. Get out of our way. Same old totalitarian song and dance.

Sadly, this is how stupid and dysfunctional our political life is today, that shopworn fascism still passes as decent and plausible political speech in our mainstream political forums.

In fact politics is a matter of deliberation over different ideas of what should be done, followed by action upon the most prudent and morally permissible of these. The position that we should dismiss all this debate, simply act, and portray anyone who disagrees with what we decide to do as part of the problem is fascist ideology.

Tom, let the hyperventilation and enthusiasm subside. Sit quietly for a moment and reflect upon the truisms that there are serious philosophical divisions between conservatives and liberals about what should be done. Understand if you can that there is no Third Way, although fascists for the last 100 years have attempted to conjure one up. Most importantly, try to see that dismissing the contemplation of these philosophical alternatives and calling for action is rudderless and, as a matter of historical fact, fascistic. You're a good man. You've lost the footing in common sense that you had as a child. It's time to recuperate from whatever has driven you to this all-to-familiar form of enthusiasm.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Manchurian Candidate

The significance of this movie is complex. I'll try to state it here, but let's note in passing that one take on it is, although (in my experience) very common, obviously too shallow. This is the interpretation that the movie is an indictment of vehement anti-communism which portrays it as deranged. This is too facile because the communists are certainly the villains of the movie and the climax of the movie is the heroic slaying (by Raymond Shaw) of the most powerful communist in the movie, his mother. If you think the take-away message of the film is that one shouldn't be vehemently anti-communist, then consider who the villains of this movie are and consider the profundity of their villainy. But let's leave that aside.

Notice two key elements of the movie: (1.) Raymond Shaw was a man whose spirit was crushed by a wicked mother by age six. Stunningly, he reported that he didn't always hate his mother; at six he only disliked her. As a result, Raymond's psyche could be controlled by his mother and his other enemies. (2.) The communists' "Manchurian" candidate, Johnny Iselin, was supposed to whip the crowd into a frenzy with a speech at the convention, delivered with Iselen covered in the blood of his running mate.

The movie is an allegory about the role of psychological dysfunction in American political life. Dysfunctional relationships amongst intimates, amongst acquaintances, and between politicians and their constituents create and are created by resentment, spite, hatred and rage. These sentiments cause despair, guilt and a resolve to please the bully who created them. One becomes crushed in spirit, nihilistic, lonely, and also one feels guilty over one's debased state and eager to please the bully in order to appease him. Wrongly deciding to appease the one who caused one's resentment, one thinks that being compliant can make everything better, so that there are no hard feelings. This is the dizzy cowardice of the victim who in the face of his oppressor is reduced to officious smiling and fearful paralysis.

The dysfunctional relationships cause narcissistic lives of unhappiness, such as Raymond's. They also cause those involved in them to support political agendas that play upon the their particular derangements. Excitement, resentment, hatred and enthusiasm play too large a role in political life, and this is the reason. These are crippling emotions, and that includes the euphoric sensations of excitement and enthusiasm felt when one contemplates the supposed political answers to one's sicknesses.

The movie, therefore, means this: that American political life is poisoned with shrill, cruel and spiteful pundits and politicians. The voting public is subject to these same emotions, as well as envy, resentment, and anger. The political forum in this country is in substantial measure a feedback loop between the politicians and the voters, in which the former stir the latter into action by directing these animating forces at specific political targets. Raymond's mother did this just as surely as Hitler did. Many contemporary politicians and pundits do it today, although not to such an exaggerated degree.

This is the point of the movie: that members of our democracy can be made to choose governments by appealing to their hypnotic states of resentment and hatred. At one point, a character in the movie asks, Can a hypnotic subject be made to do what he would, upon calm reflection and in a cool hour, recognize as immoral? Yes. When the deranged emotions bring one to one's political stances, things go awry.

The crucial cultural component of our political system is virtue and virtue is incompatible with these crippling hypnotic states. A virtuous member of our political system will be courageous, calm, never spiteful or hateful. He will have the fortitude to stand up to evil. He will not hold grudges but instead will forgive those lured by others into a state of crippling hatred. He will act so as to protect liberty and keep power from being concentrated in one place - the government - where it is more easily taken by the wicked. He will lead others to this sort of character, as well (because he loves people and love is guidance toward character.) In the movie, the Jordans - father and daughter - were such people. They transformed Raymond by their love, but the enemy retaliated, to devastating effect. Even the noble and good such as they need to know about the effects of hypnotic debilitation in order to effect a complete rescue of its victims.

UPDATE: I am speaking here of the 1962 movie directed by John Frankenheimer. I have not seen the 2004 remake. As for Richard Condon's book, I have never read it, although I will soon do so.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tom Maguire Asks About Unconditional Values

Maguire puts his finger on the question: What are the core principles for which you would fight without surrender?

The bimodal distribution of political views in the current American forum - the polarization and vitriol of contemporary American political dialogue - pertains to which values people value unconditionally.

The left values two things unconditionally: (1.) equality of individual economic outcomes and (2.) their own governmental power as a means to pushing certain traditional values and ways of life out of the core of American culture. (Notice that both the means and the end in (2.) are valued unconditionally. Leftism is totalitarian, valuing governmental power as an end as well as a means.)

The rest of us value liberty and certain traditional values and ways of life. These are inconsistent with the leftist's (1.) and (2.).

The values we would die for are distributed bimodally and incoherently. This country's political fabric has been rendered incoherent by the rise and inclusion within it of leftism.

There is very little in the way of common ground between the two modes. Therefore the political dialogue has broken down. Dialogue in this country should take place about a single coherent network of values: liberty and certain traditional values. The dialogue would be spirited at times, as it has been, but it would be about the trade-offs and application of that network. But there is no way to add the leftist network of values into the forum. The leftist network of values is inconsistent with the other network. The two won't mesh. This is what I meant by "bimodal": bimodal in the logical space of mutually exclusive values a society can uphold. Yet perhaps 30% of the country are, roughly and however confusedly, leftists. They are vocal and well-financed. Hence the dysfunctional polarity and stridency of what passes for political dialogue in the country today.

In addition, leftism is a social dysfunction in itself; it has been proven so by the more than 100 years of its history. It is not that it is as reasonable and viable a way of life as traditional American political culture. So, the bimodality of value in the forum isn't the only dysfunction. One of the two modes is dysfunctional in itself.