Since thought is out people use short-cuts

Has public discussion come to an end? Bush and his supporters want to transform the world by force to eliminate tyranny and establish freedom and democracy everywhere. The transformation of the world is to parallel the accelerated tranformation of the United States through effectively open borders. It’s not clear why any of that makes sense, but Bush isn’t interested in discussing the matter and calls you a racist if you raise questions. Meanwhile, his conservative-turned-Jacobin fans seem to back up whatever he does, with perhaps the partial exception of open borders. (Larry Auster has been following these issues, and since we used to share a weblog I’ll adopt his coverage.)

Our official instructors have been telling us for years that Bush is a moron. He’s not, of course, but there does seem to be a problem in the way he goes about making up his mind and justifying (or failing to justify) his positions. So what do our intellectual betters offer us instead? Well, there’s the Larry Summers situation to show us what things are like among America’s foremost academics. And among prestige commentators and sober reputable media figures, in the wake of the Dan Rather self-demolition, we have the head of CNN news proclaiming to the world that the American military intentionally targets journalists for torture and death, and “national treasure” Bill Moyers publicly fantasizing about crazed fundies running the federal government. If true those would be extraordinarily important stories, but for some reason the eminent journalists who present them feel no obligation to develop them and back them up.

How has it come to this? In what passes for public life among us it seems that everything’s disconnected and free-floating except a few taboos that appear both arbitrary and absolute. You can say anything whatever, no connection to reality or respect for your fellow citizens is required, as long as you don’t make the mistake Larry Summers made and say one of the Things You’re Not Supposed To Say.

It’s said that success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan. In this case it seems likely that catastrophe has a thousand fathers, none of them willing to step forward or even recognize what’s happened. I can’t help but think though that a basic part of the problem is a growing sense, supported by leading thinkers and inculcated by educational functionaries and the whole of our machinery of persuasion, that since conclusions are almost never demonstrative they’re really just a matter of opinion or rather assertion. One claim is as good as another.

If that seems like a bad result, because after all some settled conclusions are necessary as a practical matter and it seems wrong to base forcible action on pure prejudice, then the answer agreed on is to purge the process of prejudice by giving your conclusions a radical bias against the prejudiced. So the result is that you can say whatever you want against “bigotry” and “bigots,” who are presumed to include everyone who does not sign on to the whole of the inclusivist liberal agenda. No evidence, rationality or even common decency is required. When you do so what you say becomes as solidly justified as any human assertion can be: it may be based on pure prejudice, like every other assertion, but at least it takes a stand against prejudice in principle and so is better than the others.

People who are worried about something make gestures to ward it off. Something of the sort seems to be at work in the situations described above. The rule is that you can say whatever you want about fundies, sexists, or the U.S. military. It doesn’t affect your status as an eminent academic or commentator no matter how groundless or ill-willed your comments are, because after all by saying what you did you took a stand against irrationality and bigotry. Since that’s the rule, Bush has stumbled on the genius response of calling everybody who disagrees with world revolution as an American foreign policy “racist.” He may be wrong, but who says he’s stupid?

3 thoughts on “Since thought is out people use short-cuts”

  1. Bush is a transitional presid
    Bush is a transitional president. The Democratic coalition has been falling apart for some time but now is in total disarray. Claiming those who oppose Rice, Gonzalez and others are “racists” isn’t technically true but is it a fact that any Black or Lat ino who leaves the Democratic party is in for a whipping an Anglo would never get—mainly as an example to others not to leave (compare the confirmation of Scalia to that of Thomas).

    As California Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown is up for confirmation s oon, putting Democrats on the defensive is fair politics. The left has used it for decades.tSé

    • Any viciousness is warranted
      Any viciousness is warranted in the defense of tolerance.

      I think your observations are precisely correct. All distinctions are “invidious,” and therefore illegitimate, and those who perservere in making distinctions (that is, those who still think) are: (choose your pejorative: racist, sexist, elitist, reactionary, ignorant, intolerant, oppressive, patriarchal, etc.).

      It’s now illegitimate to think, if thinking is regarded as making distinctions (the “dialectic”).

  2. Thought Out, Action In
    Thought is out for anyone but Bush and other elites. Bush seems to think he is a Mexican patriot or a ruthless politician. He is trying to impose democracy and freedom by force on weak countries that intend to attack, to aid, or to abet the killing of Americans unless that country is Mexico. He attacked Afghanistan for aiding and abetting the Al-Quaida effort to kill Americans. He attacked Iraq for trying to kill Americans by shooting at American pilots enforcing a peaceful no fly zone and by exhibiting a compulsion to kill and to torture anyone that opposed his goals, which America was the leader in opposing.

    He does not even pretend to prevent the mass influx of Mexican criminals or invaders intent on victimizing or using America but instead does everything to curry their favor. Why else does Bush’s heart bleed for fed Mexicans in preference to murdered and starving Sudanese? The Sudanese, if one notices, are excluded from Bush’s plan to match every willing worker with every willing employer. (Note the implied but unspoken Bush rebuff of unions.)

    If one thinks that one is an American patriot by trying to protect American culture through limiting Mexican immigration, one is an irrational bigot according to Bushites.

    He takes some legally ineffective effort (well-known as such beforehand) against affirmative action (in favor of groups including Mexicans) but declares he will do nothing to correct the Grutter decision in which most of our supposedly learned Supreme Court justices dictated that diversity (i.e., racial discrimination against whites) was a “compelling state interest” so as to trump the Court’s other arbitrary bludgeon—blatant race discrimination deserves “strict scrutiny” (i.e., deserves being declared unconstitutional).

    If one thinks one needs to try to correct the Supreme Court, one is unrealistic according to Bushites. Yea, nothing more unrealistic than debate?

    Proposed action: obtain an intellectual foundation from this site and similar sites (e.g., View From the Right), join political parties most vulnerable to a takeover (e.g., the Republican Party), and confront the membership with your intellectual foundation. What can they do to you under current law—give you a dirty look? You get such looks from cashiers, so why worry about looks from the more educated? There are plenty of people willing to listen to you if you are polite.

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