YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

June 16, 2017

Populist “momentum”

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:57 pm
momentum1

Ministry127

Rereading Lawrence Goodwyn’s THE POPULIST MOMENT (1978), a must-read for graduate students in US history. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/us/lawrence-goodwyn-historian-of-populism-dies-at-85.html?_r=0.

I now may understand why the New Left veterans support what is obviously a petit bourgeois movement, devoid of working class identity, but nailing “finance capital.” There is a belief that “cultural” factors such as a loss of deference can lead to more searching critiques of society that could lead to transformational politics. This belief in momentum explains why Daniel Greenfield and other conservatives call social democrats “radicals.”

Goodwyn uses the phrase “cultural radicals” to characterize the Populists and Greenbackers. That aligns him with the cultural anthropology that has taken over economic determinism that characterized the writing of massive progressive histories of American history and that was foreshadowed by the Wilsonian progressives Charles and Mary Beard during the Jazz Age (The Rise of American Civilization,1927). https://clarespark.com/2009/12/12/switching-the-enlightenment-corporatist-liberalism-and-the-revision-of-american-history/.

Competition and individualism bad, cooperation and collectivism good.

Hence we can understand why New Left intellectuals would support “race” and “gender” black power or girl power collectivist movements, rejecting individual differences among the groups that the New Left academics support.

It is true that populism was the most radical movement in US history. But if my intuition is correct, the leftward momentum theory would explain the generational support for the Democratic Party that we can observe today.

We are all populists now, claiming the mantle of “the people.”

mobpopulism

Transl. from Japanese on WatchingAmerica.com

Advertisements

October 13, 2018

How I became a feminist but lately not so much

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 4:52 pm

happy mothers

Happy Mothers (assets4.vo.uk)


I have written many “feminist” blogs on this website, for instance
https://clarespark.com/2015/01/10/the-case-for-feminism/. But when I first learned about the New York feminist movement in the late 1960s, I was appalled. These women were unnatural, I fumed. Of course I had been raising three small children during the 1960s, and found motherhood a pleasure and exhausting, though my internist called a halt at three pregnancies. At that time feminist demands seemed to be for equal opportunity, graduate education (in law, education, psychiatry and medicine, the arts, and even politics), and equal treatment as women entered those professions.

It was not till later (starting in the early 1970s) that sexual liberation became the prime motivator, apparent to all of us as women became more emotionally independent i.e., self-directed and (surprise!) anxious and depressed. Enter the vogue for self-realization and therapy as middle-class women made the adjustment for work outside the home.

So it was natural transition for me as an interviewer and commentator on the art world to promote feminism in the arts. At the time, I viewed feminism as an extension of the civil rights movement. My radio programs helped to elevate Judy Chicago, Sheila de Bretteville, and Dolores Hayden (to name a few). Imagine my surprise when I viewed “feminist theory” as a separate discipline while in graduate school in the early 1980s. By then, the more opportunistic femmes were allied with the New Deal coalition/social democracy, NOT to the hard Trotskyist Left, nor to the “Neo-Marxist” tendency as the Canadian Dr. Peterson insists, or to the New Left as Dr. Paglia asserts in this wide-ranging and stimulating video that covers current gender relations, postmodernism, families, inevitable suffering, and the current liberal policies on education; all from a conservative perspective:

Indeed, strict Marxists scoffed at the pretensions of feminism, which detracted from the working-class movement. Even Herbert Marcuse railed against “repressive desublimation.” (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repressive_desublimation) though I don’t see Marcuse as a strict Marxist; rather as a radical liberal.

So, to sum up, my feminism was subsumed by classical liberalism: equal opportunity and education that aided individual development.

Am still a feminist? What about “abortion rights?” I agree with Ayn Rand’s feminism: first trimester abortions okay, but not after that.

It ain’t natural.

October 6, 2018

Historians vs. Journalists/Politicians

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 6:17 pm

I am writing this because it is important to specify the differences between trained historians and journalists, especially in this hyper-polarized time when half the country seems bent on reversing the 2016 election results and ostensibly defending abortion rights. (And partly to spell out the difference between my training in graduate school in the “red” history department at UCLA, and my prior experience as a program producer (1969-late 1990s) and director of programming at a left wing radio station (2-82 to 8-82, Pacifica Radio, KPFK-FM Los Angeles).

SOURCES/FOOTNOTES. Even at left-leaning UCLA, the emphasis on reliable sources was emphasized, as were footnotes specifying acceptable prior reconstructions of past controversies. Thus we were expected to be original, and likely confrontational, owing to our reliance on archival research. (This entailed travel to often distant college collections, thus ensuring that indigent students were excluded.) William L. Shirer, a journalist, wrote a best-seller that was a treasure trove for historians The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. (1960) because he had access to new sources (after the war, recovered Nazi documents) and his account was footnoted, although he gave too many opinions based on speculation for my taste.

IDEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS. Which brings us to the context in which history is written. In graduate school we were at once introduced to the term “present-mindedness.” It was bad form to impose current values on prior figures, that journalists today indulge (often indoctrinated by Old or New Leftists, such as Howard Zinn.) Historians are divided on this issue, but postmodernists deny “the pastness of the past,” as well as the entire concept of “objectivity” as a bourgeois imposition. Here, historians join with trendy(but disreputable)journalists.

MOTIVES OF PAST ACTORS. Here’s where I depart from left-leaning Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian) Wiki says that historians should deal with motives. Insofar as prior historians are writing within a recognizable ideology (usually social democratic today), this makes sense. But with journalists constantly psyching out their subjects (i.e., POTUS), I must demur. We can know what President Trump said (as partial evidence), but our assessments of what he meant are always unknowable.

September 20, 2018

The “Townies” versus the “Gownies”: a guest blog by Tom Gelsthorpe

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 2:11 pm

Studentprotest Yale
For many years, I’ve felt the class war in America is not really between rich and poor, white and non-white, native vs. foreign born, or various religious factions. It’s the townies vs. the gownies.

“Townies” are people whose jobs and hobbies can be described with simple words that everyone understands: plumbers who hunt, nurses who garden, shopkeepers who make furniture.

“Gownies” are educated in abstruse skills from financial management, to the law, to medical research, to political consulting. Media personalities, a key cohort of gownies, are sometimes described as “symbol manipulators.” Gownies might do stuff on their day off that an ordinary adult can pronounce — say, tennis or golf — but their lifestyles are complex and mysterious to outsiders. They go to restaurants with foreign names, and order overpriced concoctions that people like me cannot pronounce.

Just so you know, I’m a townie. For over 30 years as a career farmer, I never got all the dirt out from underneath my fingernails. Gownies who can’t find the dipstick in their foreign cars look down their noses on me.

Plenty of townies are well-read and versatile, but tend not to be overly impressed by credentials. “What can you do?” is a more important question than, “Where did you go to school?”

The current President (as of 2017)is a townie. One reason for the bottomless hatred by the preppies at CNN and by limousine liberals, is for Trump’s apostasy. He did receive a degree from an Ivy League school (Wharton) but he’s still a tough kid from Queens who grew up in the construction business. You want some concrete poured on schedule? Call The Donald.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden are all gownies. Hence the pathetic photo ops of them pretending to be reg’lar folks, in contrast to their heartfelt contempt for bitter clingers, deplorables, and most recently, the dregs of society. If any one of these three slides into a ditch on a snowy road, they have to call a townie to pull them out, but they can only hide their disdain long enough to get the car running again.

Postscript by Clare Spark: For a historical view of the antagonism between town and gown see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_and_gown. It has a photo of an Australian social democratic attempt to merge town and gown. The picture on this guest blog is of a Yale University student protest.

September 2, 2018

Why classical liberals should resist Jordan B. Peterson

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 2:03 pm

Owing to popular demand, am making this my home page again.

YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

Jordan B. PetersonPeterson’s big book, Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) has garnered furious debates between conservatives and liberals, ironically because Peterson makes no secret that he is a moderate man, confessing near the end of the book, that, although he is privy to many (unspecified) left-wing views, his antagonism to political correctness (particularly feminism) remains intact, and is noticed by his trendy enemies who view him as hyper-male. And, as a moderate, he does not see either ambiguity nor ambivalence.

I recommend that you read this review by a young, Roman Catholic postmodernist who concentrates on Peterson’s misuse of philosophers with whom he is familiar. https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/05/14/book-review-jordan-petersons-12-rules-for-life/. (Sam Rocha is a young Canadian professor of educational studies, a postmodernist who knows a lot about Heidegger and his misuse by Dr. Peterson).

My comments will focus rather on different aspects of Peterson’s ideology, namely his views on “truth

View original post 184 more words

September 1, 2018

Heroism As Sacrifice: thoughts on the death of John McCain and bipartisanship

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 8:38 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Although (moderate) Fox coverage has focused on McCain’s death as a military man who stood up to outrageous torture as an American prisoner in the Viet Nam war, and as a symbol for a positive image for America, I will probe a bit deeper, emphasizing the underlying message of the moderate men: that of compromise, for moderates emphasize sacrifice no matter how achieved, sacrificing principle or self- or national interest or one’s life, if necessary. to achieve “balance” (as defined by Progressives).

No one sensible person would be opposed to “compromise” as such: see https://clarespark.com/2010/11/06/moderate-men-falling-down/ and https://clarespark.com/2015/04/07/who-are-the-moderate-men/. More controversial perhaps is the focus on “unity,” espoused by Big Government moderates, even as I and others have denounced mindless “unity”–derived from medieval Christian unity imposed from above on warring tribes. Unity is what you get from compromise and, hence, bipartisanship (also an emphasis on the Fox coverage on the endless week of encomiums by Democrats; it is part of Fox’s “fair and balanced” DNA).

It is sad for me to view New Left aspirations for a fairer, more equitable world degenerating into unworthy alliances with pseudo-moderate Progressives. The apotheosis of John McCain’s notion of “balance” is a testament to that ever-swampy “middle ground.”

August 29, 2018

Why classical liberals should resist Jordan B. Peterson

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 10:20 pm

Jordan B. Peterson [Update 10/12/18: since writing this blog, I have renewed respect for JBP’s views on gender relations, not to speak of his attitudes toward child-rearing. Moreover, he is more Freudian than Jungian (?), in his appreciation for inevitable suffering. Peterson, unlike the racist Jung (according to Erich Noll; there is also a Youtube video claiming that Jungians hate Peterson owing to his views on dominance as natural.]

Dr.Peterson’s big book, Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) has garnered furious debates between conservatives and liberals, ironically because Peterson makes no secret that he is a moderate man, confessing near the end of the book, that, although he is privy to many (unspecified) left-wing views, his antagonism to political correctness (particularly feminism) remains intact, and is noticed by his trendy enemies who view him as hyper-male. And, as a moderate, he does not see either ambiguity nor ambivalence.

I recommend that you read this review by a young, Roman Catholic postmodernist who concentrates on Peterson’s misuse of philosophers with whom he is familiar. https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/05/14/book-review-jordan-petersons-12-rules-for-life/. (Sam Rocha is a young Canadian professor of educational studies, a postmodernist who knows a lot about Heidegger and his misuse by Dr. Peterson).

My comments will focus rather on different aspects of Peterson’s ideology, namely his views on “truth” and “responsibility.” As a classical liberal and secular Jew I resented the focus on a single “truth” (in Dr. Peterson’s book, the veracity of Christian truth, although Peterson both praises and laments the lifelong suffering taken for granted by Buddhists). Closely related to the notion of a single truth believed by religious people, is the conception of “context,” which tends to vitiate the belief in a single truth. For example: the view that slavery was inevitable was more and more discontinued after The Declaration of Independence.

Also related to context is Peterson’s emphatic belief in “taking responsibility” for one’s actions (i.e., failures to take his “rules” seriously). (Perhaps he is talking about himself).

Dr. Peterson’s focus on family relationships (including pets) as well as his rejection of political correctness partly explains his popularity among conservatives, but I wish that they would pay more attention to the real historic oppression suffered by certain groups (women, blacks, Latino farm workers, Jews, etc.) Wishing away these historic difficulties will not alleviate unnecessary suffering, no matter how skilled we are in communication.

August 17, 2018

H.G. Wells as moderate man

H.G. Wells Getty Images I had not read any of H. G. Wells’ fiction; but I did slog through his massive compendium of earth’s history (The Outline of History) but without the footnotes prominent in prior editions), though he was never a trained historian. He was not strictly a member of the counter-culture, for he was all in for science and technology (industrial progress), which would ostensibly culminate in the only slaves being machines, and liberating the (enslaved) masses from the rule of money (i.e., Jewish power). Here is Wikipedia’s sympathetic partial summary of his 1200 page much corrected work, initially completed in one year, in reaction to the horrifying mass death inflicted, Wells wrote, by (aristocratic) Great Powers. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Outline_of_History.

Wells started his synoptic book in 1919 (during a year of upheaval), but this edition was completed after WW2. However, Wells shockingly omitted the Nazi murder of European Jewry, a disaster not in Wells’s comprehensive chronology nor was it mentioned in Wikipedia, perhaps because such events did not jibe with the Wells assault on cultural and racial superiority, lauded by Wiki and affirming the moderate men. (His preference for male heroes and anti-heroes such as Alexander the Great, Napoleon (predecessors to “insane” Hitler?) was mentioned by Wiki.

Since I have focused many blogs on multiculturalism, antisemitism and the waywardness of 18th Century Protestant theologian J.G. von Herder’s influence, which culminated in “cultural anthropology,” race, “roots” environmentalism national character: result, antisemitism and Christian Socialism (one 19th Century precedent of Fabian Socialism, also omitted by Wikipedia).
Nor did Wiki see that American greatness contradicted by a Wellsian emphasis on globalism and its constantly reiterated wish for “peace.” Toward the end of peace was his obvious preference for the Muslim and Buddhist religions. His Christian Socialism was also hinted as he regarded Jesus as a revolutionary who opposed the rich.

Surprisingly, and unlike the popular books by the anti-imperialist, somewhat Wilsonian Charles and Mary Beard (1927), Wells expressed positive views of American promise (like Marx who lauded the American Civil War as a bourgeois revolution), but Wells did attack Stalinism, omitting however, antisemitism in Marx (who also railed against the rule of money as “the universal pimp.”)

So what are left with? Wells was a precursor of the counter-culture, notwithstanding his enthusiasm for machines who would presumably release the masses from toil. But first, the masses would take charge of the machines. And, being a Fabian Socialist, Wells was apparently the father of the Peace Studies movement, the father of other moderate men (the “socially responsible capitalists” of the Democratic Party) and of left-leaning Pacifica radio.

H.G. Wells as moderate man

I had not read any of H. G. Wells’ fiction; but I did slog through his massive compendium of earth’s history (The Outline of History) but without the footnotes prominent in prior editions), though he was never a trained historian. He was not strictly a member of the counter-culture, for he was all for science and technology (industrial progress), which would ostensibly culminate in the only slaves being machines, and liberating the (enslaved) masses from the rule of money (i.e., Jewish power).
Here is Wikipedia’s sympathetic summary of his 1200 page culminating work, initially completed in one year, in reaction to the horrifying mass death inflicted by aristocratic Great Powers. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Outline_of_History.

Wells started his synoptic book in 1919 (during a year of upheaval), but this edition was completed after WW2. However, Wells shockingly omitted the Nazi murder of European Jewry, a disaster not in Wells’s comprehensive chronology nor was it mentioned in Wikipedia, perhaps because such events did not jibe with the Wells assault on cultural and racial superiority, lauded by Wiki and affirming the moderate men. (His preference for male heroes and anti-heroes such as Alexander the Great, Napoleon (predecessors to “insane” Hitler?) was mentioned by Wiki.

Since I have focused many blogs on multiculturalism, antisemitism and the waywardness of 18th Century Protestant theologian J.G. von Herder’s influence, which culminated in “cultural anthropology,” race, “roots,” environmentalism, and national character: result, antisemitism and Christian Socialism (one 19th Century precedent of Fabian Socialism, also omitted by Wikipedia).
Nor did Wiki see that American greatness contradicted by a Wellsian emphasis on globalism and its constantly reiterated wish for “peace.” Toward the end of peace was his obvious preference for the Muslim and Buddhist religions. His Christian Socialism was also hinted as he regarded Jesus as a revolutionary who opposed the rich.

Surprisingly, and unlike the popular volumes by the anti-imperialist, somewhat Wilsonian, Charles and Mary Beard (1927), Wells expressed positive views of American promise (Wells,like Marx,lauded the American Civil War as a bourgeois revolution), but Wells did attack Stalinism, omitting however, antisemitism in Marx (who also railed against the rule of money as “the universal pimp.”)

So what are left with? Wells was a precursor of the counter-culture, notwithstanding his enthusiasm for machines which would presumably release the masses from toil. And, being a Fabian Socialist, Wells was apparently the father of the Peace Studies movement, the father of other moderate men (the “socially responsible capitalists” of the Democratic Party) and of left-leaning Pacifica radio.

July 13, 2018

Aldous Huxley’s affinity to conservative values

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 8:21 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

robot_mainReread Huxley’s famous dystopian novel Brave New World (1932) with a Forward (1946) describing himself as “an anarchist,” (i.e., a counter-cultural mystic) but I was surprised to see how many of this “humanist and pacifist” writer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley) shared attitudes linking him to segments of conservative ideology: for instance, his opposition to “COMMUNITY,IDENTITY, STABILITY”* as well as to abortion, promiscuity, Marx and (strangely) Freud. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World).

[Wikipedia is incorrect to represent Huxley as “anti-family” for he stresses throughout lifelong attachments benefitting children through the characters of the “Savage” and his monstrous mother Linda.]

*On this website, I have dissected the notions of “community” as hostile to individual differences, while challenging the notion of “multiculturalism” (and “identity politics” as promoting groupthink, but Huxley’s notion of “stability” needs teasing out: as an “anarchist” with more than a touch of romantic primitivism, Huxley would be opposed to conservative or to liberal notions of wildness or lack of balance (i.e., “instability.”) This is contradicted by his Indian tribe’s tight (stable) attachments, including their rejection of progressive industrial society. (On relativism/primitivism, see https://clarespark.com/2014/03/13/what-is-cultural-relativism/.)
<img BraveNewWorld_FirstEdition

June 15, 2018

Wilsonian “democracy” is alive and well, maybe

I don’t blame my FB friends (or others) for blurring the boundary between factions of “the Left.” Rereading the Beards’ popular volumes (no footnotes!) on THE RISE OF AMERICAN CIVILIZATION (1927), I can’t tell if the authors are “moderate”/“Wilsonian democrats” as they claim, or revolutionary socialists, for they did get their works published and may have been slipping their more heartfelt convictions through censorship in the book market. Nevertheless, in their enthusiasm for labor unions, anti-imperialism, and secularism, I see the Beards as close to today’s social justice democrats. (Although the Beards did not live to see the climate change debates, as sort of Jeffersonian agrarians, they were anti-machine (industrialism), like today’s counter-culture, opposed to the standardization of technology (mass media!) and the concomitant creation of a national market–not a local one) Indeed, I wonder if the Beards proclivity for collectivist discourses stems from the notion that standardization affects human beings to the point where we are all the same?

But what this blog is about is the resemblance of the Beards’ work and the current Democratic Party (and even the “progressive” faction in the Republican Party), especially since the emphases conferred by the New Left that picked up steam in the 1960s (emphasizing “race,” “gender,” and “ecology,” over class struggle as the outcome of the civil rights, feminist, and environmental movements).

For instance,1. identity politics (class, race, and gender determine political allegiance/leanings), 2. anti-capitalism/anti-imperialism, 3. animus toward “the idle rich”/the Gilded Age/ initially brought by crypto-Jew Alexander Hamilton (a.k.a. “the money power”), 4. class struggle between <em>soi-disant aristocrats (industrialists) vs. farmers and laborers, 5. white supremacy/racism (“Anglo-Saxons” are imperialists, 6. diversity/inclusion as a form of reparations for ongoing domination), 7. Poorly masked antisemitism and secularism, 8. Labor unions 9. Union achieved through a balance of power, compassion/love, and compromise. (For the latter see https://clarespark.com/2010/11/06/moderate-men-falling-down/ and much else on my website). The “moderate men” on both “Left” and “Right,” are appalled by the current polarization, as if we had never been divided since Columbus set foot on the soil of the Western Hemisphere.

Are we not ever looking for UNITY? (See https://clarespark.com/2013/10/26/krauthammer-fox-news-channel-and-the-search-for-unity/. I suspect that the most avid searchers are seeking inner peace, through the reconciliation of opposites.)

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.