YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

August 3, 2017

Getting my goat

Two “liberals” appearing to “balance” Tucker Carlson on Fox News have prompted this irate blog. One is Canadian born and trained Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, now a University Professor at (liberal) Northeastern University, the other is Minnesotan Ethan Bearman, a Bay Area up and coming talk show host.

Dr. Barrett avers that potential speakers must promote “debate,” but not indulge in “hate speech,” while Bearman stated that “historically disadvantaged groups should get preferential treatment.” (That means that if your ancestors were “oppressed,” quota systems are okay, even if they discriminate against “white people,” Jews, and Asians.)

Neither guests emphasized the search for truth, for they echo the allegations of postmodernists/liberals. Discarding the search for (empirical) truth, signifies the ever-more pervasive lack of standards, and opens the door to the less obvious forms of racism, and the acquiescence to pseudo-moderation and the collectivist discourses/groupiness imposed by Big Government.

Which brings me to the “populism” admired by Fox News Channel. It is no accident that the American populists (identified by FNC with the President), were antisemitic (in their rage against all banks), but the current avatars of populism pretend to speak for “the People” against “elites.” I understand that many populists today resent Big Government, but it pretends to be a meritocracy that establishes “standards” of truth/rationality, creditworthiness, and of correct grammar and style, but it is not.

Whereas progressives like Barrett and Bearman embrace the collectivist discourses of the Left, disallowing individualistic (?) merit. Thus Dr. Barrett ignores the (hyper-individualistic) search for truth that may silence her version of debate, while Bearman in his present-minded zeal to repair the policies of the past, promotes one type of reparations.

I thought that  David Horowitz tried to discredit the “reparations” tactic years ago, for which he has gotten much grief from the Left (and more indirectly by epigeneticists and “Ancestry”-type websites).

Advertisements

July 16, 2017

What does 21st Century “Americanism” mean to you?

reddit.com

We are currently polarized around the question of nationalism vs. globalization. With the football season only a few months away, the fate of the now unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick has now generated some discussion of “patriotism” that many associate with “nationalism.”

Indeed, in high school we were taught that “nationalism, militarism, and imperialism” caused the rise of fascism after World War One. No mention of the Progressive or “Middle Way” response to industrialization that Hitler lauded in the Table Talk. The point was not to take patriotism to “extremes” as did the dictators.

Doesn’t Hitler sound like a “moderate” progressive here, lauding elites, collectivizing “the people,” and lauding “balance”?

[Hitler, 1942]:] “The English have to settle certain social problems which are ripe to be settled. At present these problems can still be solved from above, in a reasonable manner. I tremble for them if they don’t do it now. For if it’s left to the people to take the initiative, the road is open to madness and destruction. Men like Mosley would have had no difficulty in solving the problem, by finding a compromise between Conservatism and Socialism, by opening the road to the masses but without depriving the élite of their rights. Class prejudices can’t be maintained in a socially advanced State like ours, in which the proletariat produces men of such superiority. Every reasonably conducted organization is bound to favour the development of beings of worth. It has been my wish that the educative organisations of the Party should enable the poorest child to lay claim to the highest functions, if he has enough talent. The Party must see to it, on the other hand, that society is not compartmentalized so that everyone can quickly assert his gifts. Otherwise discontent raises its head, and the Jew finds himself in just the right situation to exploit it. It’s essential that a balance should be struck, in such a way that dyed-in-the-wool Conservatives may be abolished as well as Jewish and Bolshevik anarchists….”(Jan. 27, 1942, p. 253).

I have been reading Felix Gilbert’s The End of the European Era, 1890 To The Present (Norton, 1970) and like other social democrats, he describes the Russian Revolution of 1905 as a “socialist revolution.” Of course it was not, as the tsar remained in power and only modest reforms were achieved. But the lead up to 1905 was worth reviewing, for autocratic Russia was beginning to be industrialized, which opened the way to liberal reformism, and ultimately to Revisionism (the Menshevik road to socialism).

But what did 1930s Stalinists mean by the claim that “Communism is “20th Century Americanism”? I had always assumed that Reds were pulling the wool over American eyes, but I now wonder if they meant that for traditional Americans (loyal to the Constitution) they expected that “Americanism” would be adapted to a modicum of free speech and “good” labor unions, i.e., progressivism and the Third Way.

What do you think?

Hatsune flag posted by a libertarian nationalist

 

July 4, 2017

Ambivalence on Independence Day

Monday evening July3, 2017, Charles Krauthammer held forth on American history and its transformation since the 1960s when New Leftists began their long march through the institutions, now dominating US history, emphasizing America’s “sins.” His remedy: conservatives should copy the New Left project by entering academe, but with a different emphasis (I doubt that he was serious in suggesting a higher conservative birth rate.)

Krauthammer didn’t specify how US history should be taught, and here is my recommendation for a more mature approach.

When I was in history graduate school at UCLA, we were taught that there was a mighty debate on “present-mindedness.” [“Present-mindedness” signifies reading our current values into the past, which the better historians resist. It is even scandalous that New Leftists were sent up the ladders by (guilty liberal?) senior faculty at the Ivy League schools.]

Ironically, it was the demonstrably racist Woodrow Wilson who might have most inspired the progressivism of Charles and Mary Ritter Beard to write a massive popular history in 2 volumes, The Rise of American Civilization, publ. 1927, coming off the First World War. The Beards were not ambivalent, condemning even the Constitution as an elite plot against the people.

Not so Herman Melville, who lauded the sublime, vanguard project of the new American nation. (See https://clarespark.com/2009/09/06/the-hebraic-american-landscape-sublime-or-despotic/.) He even wrote in a letter that “The Declaration of Independence makes a difference.” And yet, Melville struggled with ambivalence most of his adult life, an internal fight that has escaped most of his revivers including Charles and Mary Beard.

I view ambivalence as a normal human emotion, and most appropriate to modernity on America’s birthday. The Founders celebrated liberty at the same time as many feared the too-excitable, too eager to govern, electorate. (See https://clarespark.com/2009/08/24/the-people-is-an-ass-or-a-herd/, most obvious in Madison’s Federalist #10.)

What Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist, might have stated on Tucker Carlson’s show is that ambivalence is a widespread and normal human emotion—That we need not succumb to excessive super-patriotism, nor should we bow down to America-hating and flight.

Here’s to mixed-emotions on July 4, 2017. Happy Birthday, America, always becoming and never entirely fixed.

June 24, 2017

Elitism in the Democratic Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:04 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Abstract: Disappearance of class as organizing category in favor of “race” and gender, hence focus on “white supremacy” and demonizing Republicans; forgetting that Progressives were class conscious Republicans/Mugwumps co-opting radical movements, leaving themselves in charge. The outcome: Big Government programs designed to take the edge off of “capitalism.”

The most stunning development in the recent Democratic Party soul-searching in the wake of the unforeseen victory of political newcomer Trump over the progressive stalwart Hillary Clinton has been the disappearance of class as a salient consideration in the formulation of conflict. Thus we see, more and more, the emergence of “white supremacy” in the argot of (pseudo-liberals). One would never guess that the political party of “the working man” was all at sea over how to proceed. A predilection for aristocratic control will do that to you. https://clarespark.com/2009/09/19/populism-progressivism-and-corporatist-liberalism-in-the-nation-1919/. (“Class, like gender, is an objective category that should not be discarded, no matter how pro-free market, we might be. See https://clarespark.com/2011/03/26/race-class-and-gender/.)

Readers of this blog will remember that the Popular Front politics of the New Deal are to blame for the literal erasure of class struggle even though New Leftists focused on the Gilded Age as the heyday of labor and farmer unrest. https://clarespark.com/2015/04/17/the-ongoing-appeal-of-the-leftist-dominated-popular-front-against-fascism/.

But the civil rights movement changed all that, for the martyrs du jour were not “racist” white male workers, but rather Southern blacks (and later women) who had been in motion for decades (as it turns out). It was only the Old Left who made the connection between race and class, emphasizing imperialism in the West. And feminists (before they were co-opted by “liberals”) had also focused on “internal colonialism.”

It became unfashionable to recall that progressivism came out of the “Mugwump” strain in the Republican Party, let alone such prior famous figures as pro-black Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mugwumps.

If we believe in “progress” we had better sign up for the party that implicitly co-opted“ the common man,” with collectivist Big Government programs even as FDR criticized “economic royalists” to his Right.

The “Left,” like the moderate Republicans,  is populated by elitist Big Government social democrats these days.

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 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

June 3, 2017

The Paris Accords hysteria

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 3:50 pm

Oil refinery as The End

Several things come to mind with the hysterical flak over Paris Accords.

1. Climate always changes, Few would dispute that. The question is, whether or not industrialism and urbanization are causing massive destruction of the environment. Are we back in Country versus the City territory?

 
2. President Trump states that he is willing to negotiate a better deal than the toothless UN-Paris agreement offered. Is he sincere or not?

 
3. The motivation from the so-called Left is murky: I maintain that the Greens come out of the counter-cultural and anti-imperialist New Left, and that Leftists hold that imperialists caused underdevelopment in the Third World, hence reparations are in order, i.e., China and India (both taken to be victims of Western imperialism by many hard Leftists) are, unlike the USA, not expected to immediately reduce carbon emissions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement. For a detailed pushback on the Paris Accords by a conservative economist see https://www.aei.org/publication/the-absurdity-that-is-the-paris-climate-agreement/.

 
But the counter-culture/New Left idealization of “Nature” (primitivism) may be the most convincing reason for the threatened counter-culture/social democracy to trash Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Accords. (https://clarespark.com/2013/04/16/blogs-on-anarchismpunkprimitivism/ and https://clarespark.com/2016/06/30/disconnectedness/.) See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underdevelopment for postwar social democratic globalist remedies. For one guide to (hard) Leftist theory see https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/depend.htm.

May 27, 2017

The Bret Weinstein affair: whither the Democratic Party?

The fruits of MC at Evergreen

Occasionally, some pundit will chastise the Democratic Party for not focusing on its future after some elements of its base (especially the white working class in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan) decamped to Trump in 2016. Sadly, this apparently “rational” project (see HRC at Wellesley) is devoid of recent history.

Like the failed candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New Left youngsters from the 1960s and 1970s are now aging, and they are predictably taking their place as professors or as leading editors and politicos/personalities in the mass media. Don’t we remember how the Viet Nam war shaped their lives, making them primarily “anti-imperialists,” and to a lesser extent, warriors on behalf of the working class as were their parents in the 1930s?

And since the New Deal/progressive movement co-opted and defanged what is now termed “the extreme Left” (or “the hard Left”), their liberal professors (e.g., at the prestigious colleges where student strikes/protests took place: UC Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard), coddled their antiwar, civil rights oriented students, reproducing themselves as good social democrats, sympathetic to Eurocommunism, thus technically still “liberal,” even as their calls for “diversity” re-segregated groups that the New Left kids had struggled to integrate.

To the amazement of some in the real Left, the demands of the (tamed) radicals for “inclusion” signified a renewed commitment to segregation by race and gender. The manner by which “liberals” included repressed groups through the cultural term “multiculturalism” did not prompt reflection on key events since the Russian revolution of October 1917. Only a few of the sophisticated radicals were more interested in social movements since that earthquake (the Soviet coup) shook the globe, and they were not easily duped. But they too had their sponsors in academe and in the press, so a few of them are now on the commanding heights of “culture.”

Ever since the Popular Front took over https://clarespark.com/2012/07/19/communist-ideas-go-mainstream/, it has been hard to tell the difference between factions of the so-called “Left.” And so it seems that one of the “very progressive” pack is Bret Weinstein, the biology professor at Evergreen State College, who has been charged with “white supremacy” by some black and brown students (probably cultural nationalists, surely not internationalist communists). https://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/05/26/students-demand-firing-of-college-professor-who-objected-to-event-that-kicks-white-people-off-campus/.

Bret Weinstein in playful mood

Professor Weinstein, were he a true Leftist (hence had been instructed in the history of dissent, not just nomenclature in evolutionary biology), would have seen this coming. http://inference-review.com/article/on-being-a-fish.

May 4, 2017

Did Hillary fail or was it the labor policies of the Democratic Party?

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:36 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

occupy-dc-cornel-west-wideIf Donald J. Trump’s base is the white working class, then it raises the question, how did it come to pass that the candidate of the Democratic Party, once known as the Party of the working man, fumbled?

The well-funded Mrs. Clinton claims that misogyny in tandem with James Comey’s interventions determined her fate in 2016, and perhaps those were to an unknowable extent operative, but we must ask if labor unions solved the problems of industrial society as old time pols insist? (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_unions_in_the_United_States and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_trade_unions. )

Recall that the period following the Civil War was also a period of extensive immigration to fill the burgeoning labor demand, and that Democrats were a Party that had persisted in a period characterized by westward expansion and urbanization (while Republicans had been the voice of Big Business and agrarian nativism.) Workers were raising hell, as students of the late 19th century (e.g., Robert Wiebe’s The Search for Order) will acknowledge, and (leftist) historians will mark the Progressive movement as responding to strikes and immigration (even as some condemn these WASPs for racism. e.g., https://clarespark.com/2010/03/10/jonah-goldbergs-liberal-fascism-part-one/).

Democrats did not solve the problem of nativism (exacerbated by necessary immigration to develop the continent—also the predictable opposition of displaced Indians and Mexicans); instead they catered to the ethnic preferences of the new Americans, leaving us with the New Deal “innovation” of multiculturalism as a mode by which elites could micromanage group conflict (https://clarespark.com/2011/06/16/the-antiquated-melting-pot/), pretty much as labor unions would fare, strengthened in the New Deal, ostensibly to ameliorate worker suffering in future depressions and to advance “cooperation” over (Darwinist) “competition.” And so FDR and his supporters maintained their class position, though the consequences for “labor” were not what “cooperation” had promised.

But don’t expect the very “Green” Democratic Party to raise the question of the effectiveness of labor unions in solving the deeper problems of industrial society—namely the mind-numbing nature of de-skilled “labor” and worker health and safety. Without a qualm bleeding hearts condemn their (inferior) fellow human beings to a life blessed at best by gross material satisfactions, for the redder Democratic Party hearts crave equality of condition, not equality of opportunity to scale the heights of human possibility.

April 10, 2017

A reassessment of a Critique of Pure Tolerance 42 years later

repressive tolerance.I posted the following thought on Facebook, and got a few adverse comments.

“This A.M. [April 7. 2017] I found Herbert Marcuse’s notorious essay on repressive tolerance, which I read years ago. I can see why it is so controversial because it advocates [partly 2-10] restricting speech on the Right in favor of the Left. But OTOH, it praises the liberal innovation of tolerance in its context of the overthrow of the feudal restrictions on free speech and human rights in general. I can see where I got my critique of Fox’s alleged fair and balanced approach, my defense of individualism, and my disgust with phony pluralism/identity politics. But would Marcuse, if still alive today, not separate out political Islam from his roster of victims on similar grounds to my own?”

One or two friends suggested that Marcuse had always been a Stalinist. This is a grave misunderstanding of the critical theorists (mostly Jews), so I am writing a commentary on the politics of Marcuse et al, and especially noting the time of publication at the height of oppositional social movements that some conservatives associated with communism in its most Stalinist and repressive manifestations. Youth seemed out of control.

First, the three essays in A Critique of Pure Tolerance were published in 1965 as the New Left was taking off, inspired by the civil rights movement.

Second, it is widely misunderstood that Marcuse, the most notorious of the three academics, was advocating the repression of all speech. He took care to emphasize the media indoctrination that had undermined the early liberalism he took care to defend. It was beyond question that mass media had squelched Marxist-Leninist fantasies that the working class would deliver utopia in the form of socialist revolution. But New Dealers (the ultimate resting place of 1960s radicalism) had prevailed after a few decades of stimulating upheaval.

The moderate men had prevailed as token radicals assumed academic positions, hired by the same social democrats who victoriously carried forth the programs of the Roosevelt administration. So the revolutionary feminists settled into separatist programs, and took their places with other members of the New Deal coalition: minorities and labor; ex-slaves were buttressed later by Latinos and other “people of color.”

Though they talk a good game, the campus radicals were likely to follow postmodernism, with the latter’s rejection of objectivity, science, facts, and the search for truth. This too fit in with the New Deal—that had favored cultural history and multiculturalism over science.

Enter the three essayists, Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore Jr. and the rowdier and more infamous Herbert Marcuse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Marcuse. All three men, however they may have differed in emphases, pushed the same modern line: a disgust with indoctrination of every type. Wolff deplored electoral politics as promoting “style, image, and faith,” Moore wanted a “rational and secular” society, and Marcuse, the most militant of the bunch, wanted to restrict some (he never says all) right wing speech. This latter point has been widely misunderstood by many conservatives who associate the critical theorists with the most censorious leftists in history.

In my own view, Wolff, Moore, and Marcuse were more radical liberals than any type of Stalinist or other bogey resuscitated by some conservatives. https://clarespark.com/2011/10/21/did-frankfurters-kill-the-white-christian-west/. Not unlike Milton Friedman, the radical liberal critics of a phony liberalism wanted a full marketplace of ideas; that would have to reserve a place for fully rational assessments of the past record of all socialist and capitalist societies. Such imprecations were the very opposite of the irrationalism that passes today for “liberalism.”

April 6, 2017

Are we in a revolution?

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 8:04 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Fascist Revolution posterIt has bugged me for a long time that “liberals” knock their conservative or Republican opponents as fascists, while reserving for themselves the white hats of sensible (i.e., moderate/centrist) reform. Similarly, some religious conservatives may equate Bolshevism, fascism, and the Enlightenment (including the science that was spawned in the modern period).

I prefer to make a distinction between the Radical and Conservative Enlightenments. In my view, the Radical Enlightenment was a product of the Scientific Revolution that could lead to either communism or to “laissez-faire capitalism,” both of which celebrated the scientific method/empiricism. Marx himself recognized this when he celebrated the American Civil War as clearing away the feudal relic of slavery. (It is worth noting that New Left scholars, influenced by black power (?), have asserted that slavery was thoroughly capitalist. Thus there was no revolution during the Lincoln administration, and all self-made men are tainted by slavery: “You didn’t build that.”)

Turn now to the “Fascist Revolution”. I view the various fascisms as counter-revolutionary, and like social democracy, meant to frustrate not only the scientific revolution, but also the bourgeois revolution that celebrated individualism understood as the search for truth, for instance, to quote Milton’s Satan, in tracing the “wayes of highest agents.” No secrets! https://clarespark.com/2012/05/24/curiosity-and-the-femme-fatalejew/.

Almost all of the postings on this website have focused on the mystical, hence backward, character of multiculturalism. The state of Mussolini sought to make “responsible” both capital and labor where the working class threatened to join the Bolshevik revolution. Similarly, “moderate” American capitalists wedded to “social responsibility” during the Great Depression have been opposed to the notion that individuality cannot exist without the marketplace of ideas—a marketplace that celebrates individual achievement. https://clarespark.com/2015/12/29/milton-friedmans-capitalism-and-freedom-1962/.

The “moderates” have been aligned with fascism since Mussolini took power, though they contrast their progressive nostrums on behalf of human rights with the authoritarian controls ferociously asserted by the fascist regimes. Of course, for “liberals” these human rights are collectivist in nature, leading to the infamous carving up of the “body politic” that individualists protest; moreover, these rights are conferred by the Leader as opposed to the biological capacities of humans.

Turn now to the Trump election. Is it or is it not a “revolution”? I queried my Facebook friends, and few agreed with me that we were in some kind of great transformation. To be sure, private property has not been attacked as was done in the earliest stages of the Bolshevik seizure of power. But was the New Deal a revolution or not? https://clarespark.com/2009/08/25/preventive-politics-and-socially-responsible-capitalists-1930s-40s/.

To the extent that big business is asserted (laissez-faire capitalism), we are once again in the realm of the bourgeois revolution. The petit-bourgeoisie (the political foundation for both Nazism and the bureaucratic collectivist New Deal) has been frustrated in its zeal for “equal opportunity”. Big business is once again on the move as they were after the American Civil War; Trotskyists will claim that we are in a neo-fascist period catering to Big Business, and they may be correct. I honestly don’t know, but I have come to believe that we are in some kind of upheaval, comparable in some respects to the big revolutions of the past.

Scientific_Revolution_-_Thinkers

Leading thinkers of the Scientific Revolution

But it is interesting that the Democratic Party (riding on the coat tails of the Roosevelt administration and its Conservative Enlightenment) is hell bent on discrediting the achievements of the President by describing him as in bed with the Russians, hence held to be anti-American.

The “progressive” claim of Trumpian neo-Fascism in this administration will have resonance with some “moderate” Republicans, though not with all conservatives.

 

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.