Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reading the Political Tea Leaves

The latest not so innovative narrative coming from the chattering pundits of the so-called "Mainstream Media" is that the country is growing more and more "Islamophobic". Having "connected the dots" in the fashion so prevalent in the liberal newsroom for the artful fabrication of logically consistent and plausible meta-narratives (fully compatible with previous ones concerning racism, sexism and homophobia), the underlying reason for this most recent and rather nasty outbreak of conservative "fearing of the other" must only have its' illegitimate origins in the same pool of latent ethnic and racial animosity white Tea Party activists feel in response to their declining demographic political influence. This pseudo-phrenology-based reasoning also goes far towards explaining why members of the Tea Party are so fearful of and hostile towards immigrants and all non-white ethnic minorities, virtually insisting that the borders be completely sealed off and all illegals deported back to their racially impure and culturally backward homelands, post-haste.

It must be gratifying to be so intellectually prescient as to be able to inerrantly psycho-historically analyze and thereby divine an entire opposition electorate's motives and intentions so clearly and perfectly. Such ability makes said opposition electorate's subsequent actions/ reactions so invariably predictable. If they object to your policies, it must be due to their racism. It also makes it ever so easy to dismiss whatever obviously un-substantive arguments they might offer as veritable "works of the ill-informed" unworthy of serious thought and/or discussion. So perhaps it's no wonder that our leading liberal elites have acted so dismissively towards the majority of American electorate's polled responses on issues like health care and environmental regulation over the past two years. After all, once you've come to understand their irrational motives and malevolent intentions, what else can someone with real intellectual integrity do other than follow one's heart and govern with one's own head, despite all the ignorant resistance and opposition encountered to such an educated elite's well thought out and reasoned policies, all virtually guaranteed to produce the ever-elusive common good. As Nancy Pelosi so illuminatingly put it in the heady days following Barrack Obama's 2008 election, "to govern is to choose," and making the right choices was all Democrats had to do from that point forward, achieving universally benificial actual results, notwithstanding.

So how has that worked out for us?Of course, once the Republicans regain control of the House, I'm sure, they will also apply their own uniquely uninsightful and completely self-serving all-explanatory meta-narrative to describe why liberals all behave in the otherwise inexplicably contrary ways THEY do. After all, like their Democratic elite counterparts, the Republican elites attended all the very best educational institutions as well. And if there's one thing that incredibly smart intellectual people all over the world are capable of doing, it's deluding themselves into believing that they are so incredibly intelligent and bright as to understand what motivates others who do not make the same so obviously well reasoned choices they do. It's never anything that a little proper use of "logic" and "an education concerning the facts" couldn't cure.

So if there's one thing we can all look forward to, it's more of the same old politics after November 2010... which will continue in this same vein ad infinitum until we all wise up and stop looking to Washington to provide us with answers and one-size-fits-all solutions to our ever evolving problems and increasingly complex existence. Because NO amount of intelligence and foresight could ever reasonably be expected to deal with them adequately and truly result in the impossible common good unless it universally achieved individual goods for all as well. At best, we can only pray for both the self-reliance and luck necessary to adequately "muddle through" until the next election cycle with the fortitude of will necessary to resist the temptation of throwing any new problems over the fence for the elite intellectuals in Washington to solve for us. For there are going to be new problems, problems which ill-fitting solutions will most assuredly compound.

A little more on the subject from one of my favorite philosophers:
4 - The error of imaginary causes. To begin with dreams: ex post facto, a cause is slipped under a particular sensation (for example, one following a far-off cannon shot)--often a whole little novel in which the dreamer turns up as the protagonist. The sensation endures meanwhile in a kind of resonance: it waits, as it were, until the causal instinct permits it to step into the foreground--now no longer as a chance occurrence, but as "meaning." The cannon shot appears in a causal mode, in an apparent reversal of time. What is really later, the motivation, is experienced first--often with a hundred details which pass like lightning and the shot follows. What has happened? The representations which were produced by a certain state have been misunderstood as its causes.

In fact, we do the same thing when awake. Most of our general feelings--every kind of inhibition, pressure, tension, and explosion in the play and counterplay of our organs, and particularly the state of the nervus sympaticus--excite our causal instinct: we want to have a reason for feeling this way or that--for feeling bad or for feeling good. We are never satisfied merely to state the fact that we feel this way or that: we admit this fact only--become conscious of it only--when we have furnished some kind of motivation. Memory, which swings into action in such cases, unknown to us, brings up earlier states of the same kind, together with the causal interpretations associated with them--not their real causes. The faith, to be sure, that such representations, such accompanying conscious processes are the causes is also brought forth by memory. Thus originates a habitual acceptance of a particular causal interpretation, which, as a matter of fact, inhibits any investigation into the real cause--even precludes it.

5 - The psychological explanation of this. To derive something unknown from something familiar relieves, comforts, and satisfies, besides giving a feeling of power. With the unknown, one is confronted with danger, discomfort, and care; the first instinct is to abolish these painful states. First principle: any explanation is better than none. Since at bottom it is merely a matter of wishing to be rid of oppressive representations, one is not too particular about the means of getting rid of them: the first representation that explains the unknown as familiar feels so good that one "considers it true." The proof of pleasure ("of strength") as a criterion of truth.

The causal instinct is thus conditional upon, and excited by, the feeling of fear. The "why?" shall, if at all possible, not give the cause for its own sake so much as for a particular kind of cause--a cause that is comforting, liberating, and relieving. That it is something already familiar, experienced, and inscribed in the memory, which is posited as a cause, that is the first consequence of this need. That which is new and strange and has not been experienced before, is excluded as a cause. Thus one searches not only for some kind of explanation to serve as a cause, but for a particularly selected and preferred kind of explanation--that which has most quickly and most frequently abolished the feeling of the strange, new, and hitherto unexperienced: the most habitual explanations. Consequence: one kind of positing of causes predominates more and more, is concentrated into a system and finally emerges as dominant, that is, as simply precluding other causes and explanations. The banker immediately thinks of "business," the Christian of "sin," and the girl of her love.

--Nietzsche, "Twilight of the Idols"


Z said...

Well, Nietzsche, talk about highbrow blog posts :-) The thing is, I ACTUALLY UNDERSTOOD what he's saying but it's probably because of your lead-in.
Very interesting, Joe...
I worry that our kids are so indoctrinated that they don't even understand "individual good" to say nothing of "self reliance"..the very things America was founded on are mysteries to the younger generation...kind of scary!

Joe Conservative said...

Our culture was hijacked back in the 60's, so I suppose it's a bit unreasonable to expect that our children would come into contact with these principles anywhere other than in their own homes. They certainly won't encounter them once they reach college age when they need to debt-leverage their college educations and realize that they are anything BUT self-reliant.

Joe Conservative said...

btw - I think that it's hillarious that the Left believes the Right to be "irrational"... as if making different choices amongst inconmensurable values and perhaps perceiving a 'different' vision of the common good in a diverse multicultural society might somehow be the result of a defect in their process of logical reasoning.

That's a symptom of pure, unadulterated hubris, if you were to ask me.