YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

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.


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.


March 27, 2017

Dr. Pagano on failure of health care bill

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

James Pagano, M.D.

The failure of the Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare was a disappointment but not a surprise. Sensing there would be no consensus on this I sent a letter to Paul Ryan’s office a couple of weeks ago outlining what I thought a reasonable, comprehensive, patient-oriented, market based health plan would look like.  I based it on 35 years of Emergency Medicine practice and practice management in both for-profit and County facilities.  I’m fairly certain it never got read.

Before describing my plan I think it important to review for a moment why some sort of replacement is necessary. Obamacare is failing due to its design.  It is based on an expansion of Medicaid and was, I believe, constructed to fail.  The Holy Grail for Democrats is a single payer, government run health care system.  Their thinking seems to have been to enroll large numbers of people in Medicaid, cost free, and foster an entitlement mentality.  Then, when the federal subsidies to the states ended there would be pressure on the federal government to do something.  That something, they hoped, would be either a bailout of Obamacare with increased federal subsidies, a single payer system, or at least a competing ‘public option’, the bridge to single payer.

Given the election results it is unlikely that Obamacare will be getting any additional federal funds. And it shouldn’t.  It is going to collapse and good riddance when it does.  People insured under Obamacare do not have insurance.  Not really.  If you have been enrolled in a managed Medicaid plan and can’t find a doctor to see you, you are essentially uninsured.  If you have one of the ‘metal’ plans but can barely afford the premium, let alone the deductible, and are afraid to use it, you are essentially uninsured.

What Obamcare does provide is free access to hospital emergency rooms—at least for the Medicaid members. Since its inception ER patient volumes have risen and the amount of primary care being delivered by Emergency Physicians has become substantial.  This, we were told, was precisely what would not happen if the law was enacted.  This inappropriate use of the ER further drives the cost up and is hastening the law’s demise.

But even those for whom ER care is free under this plan are still out of luck, in many cases, if they require specialty care beyond the Emergency Room. There are few surgical subspecialists outside large teaching hospitals and trauma centers willing to take call for ER patients, especially those covered by any iteration of Medicaid.  They simply cannot afford it.

March 23, 2017

Multiculturalism and the London terror attack

Khalid Masood london attackerThe London terror attack was perpetrated by Khalid Masood, an Islamic jihadist. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new essay http://www.hoover.org/research/how-counter-political-islam) raises  the question of multiculturalism: a project advanced by German Romantics (especially Herder) and their followers in the progressive movement. Multiculturalism is explicitly reactionary with respect to the (French) Enlightenment with its enlightened advocacy of science, “materialism,” and the individual’s search for truth. Whereas Herder and his followers promoted “unity” and a collectivist discourse in order to quell any such “leveling” as science (or the recovery of a hidden history) implied.


So the misnamed “progressives,” fearing an abundance of free thought among “ordinary” people, came up with a plausible set of substitutes for the questing individual—“toleration,” (group) “identity,” and “diversity” in the interest of the particular types of stability and cohesion that would further their pseudo-democratic rule. We may note the “progressive” predilection for Big Government as opposed to the unpredictable “marketplace of ideas.” Upwardly mobile intellectuals (with few exceptions) went along with the masque, reaching back in history for a respectable family tree, one that was distinctly counter-revolutionary. Locke (like Hobbes) was denigrated as a “possessive individualist.” (Hip historians now link John Locke to the racism they ostensibly reject, so “bourgeois”/atomizing historians should take note.)

Multiculturalism (displacing dangerously enlightened intellectual diversity) is touted as the corrective to such “bourgeois” missteps. In our zeal to correct the errors of the past, are we rehabilitating the notion of “race” but under the rubric of cultural nationalism, which we are expected to “tolerate” in the name of diversity? https://clarespark.com/2013/09/26/cultural-pluralism-vs-multiculturalism/.


Given the hegemony of progressivism today, it is worth emphasizing the origin and establishment of multiculturalism, over and over. Although its advocates will deny it, MC has nothing to do with tolerance, mental health, immigration, or human rights. Like the (almost) invisible Herder’s reach into current day terrorism, Multiculturalism is a reactionary protocol. (See https://clarespark.com/2013/01/02/culture-warriors-and-the-enlightenment/, or from an entirely different angle, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_multiculturalism).

March 18, 2017

Dr. James Pagano on the reasons for a doctor shortage

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 2:49 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The doctor shortage is real and most acute in certain specialties, like family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.  There are various reasons for this.  Economics of course-these specialties pay less that others.  But over the course of the past 7 years under the ACA the bureaucratic and regulatory burden that has been placed on office-based primary care doctors has become so onerous that many are retiring early and fewer students are willing to enter those areas of medicine.

To counter this graduate schools are cranking out ever-increasing numbers of ‘mid-level providers’—physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners.  As I’ve mentioned previously, these providers can do an excellent job in certain situations, but they don’t have the breadth and scope of knowledge a physician has.  Another trend of Obama era medicine was the development of ‘best practices’, ‘core measures’, and various diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms.  The alleged purpose was to identify the most appropriate approach to various illnesses and presenting complaints and to create a checkbox system of treatment.  Financial penalties were instituted against providers and hospitals for non-compliance.

My own suspicion was that CMS wanted to create a centralized system for delivering health care that did not rely upon physicians to administer it.  A mid-level could use the guidelines and get it right for something like 85% of the people 85% of the time.  Population medicine was the focus of the physicians and politicians working for the Obama CMS—and much of the paperwork being required of office-based doctors is providing data on treatments and outcomes to generate more algorithms.  Not all of this is bad.  Some useful information will be gleaned and some more effective or efficient or affordable treatments will be developed.  It is not, though, the type of practice doctors of my generation were taught.  We were taught to study the evidence and then use our clinical skills to tailor our therapies and diagnostic evaluations for the benefit of individual patients.

An example of check box medicine run amok is the core measure for the treatment of sepsis.  Briefly, sepsis is a condition of systemic infection with abnormal vital signs and evidence of failure in one or more organ systems.  It has a high mortality rate, especially if not diagnosed early and treated aggressively.  As part of the core measure for sepsis, patients have to have lactic acid levels drawn and repeated.  This value is used to determine whether or not sepsis is present, and if so, to what degree.  Unfortunately many other conditions besides sepsis can cause an elevated lactic acid level.

For ‘severe sepsis’, defined by the CMS as a lactic acid level greater than 4, the patient is supposed to be given a 30 cc per kg bolus of saline IV.  Regardless of whether or not the patient has another underlying condition, like renal failure or congestive heart failure, that would make this fluid bolus dangerous and possibly fatal.  If the fluid isn’t given the case falls out of compliance, the doctor and hospital don’t get paid, and this ‘poor performance’ is published on line by the CMS for all to see and few to understand.  Even if the physician documents clearly why the fluid is being withheld or the amount modified the case is still considered a fall-out.  This absurdity was recently reviewed by the CMS and kept in the protocol.

This sort of governmental interference leads to cynicism among physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators.  It would be more honest for the CMS to simply say they don’t want to pay for certain care than to create a bogus protocol that needs to be gamed in order to be compensated.  A study was done and published in the New England Journal of Medicine a year or so ago in which the authors compared the outcomes of patients with sepsis treated either according to protocol or according to clinic judgment.  The study found no significant improvement in outcomes among those patients subjected to the protocol.  The Obama ‘science administration’ did much to pervert science across its broad spectrum, from the environment to healthcare.  Maybe some of this gets fixed over the next few years.



February 15, 2017

Is the USA a terror state?

cartoon from History4Kim

cartoon from History4Kim

I was startled to see political scientists associated with the New Left go so far as to condemn the Constitution and the Founders as terrorists, inflicting Federalist authoritarianism upon antiFederalists.

This blog is about the coordinated attack on the US Constitution by “moderates,” social democrats and New Leftists in academe. My views have been informed by reading leading political scientists: Sheldon Wolin (The Presence of the Past: Essays on the State and the Constitution, 1989), Thomas R. Dye and L. Harmon Ziegler (The Irony of Democracy, 1970 now in its fifteenth edition!).

Dye and Ziegler, unlike the late superstar Sheldon Wolin, make the argument that New Deal liberals (social democrats) are the only advocates of “democracy.” Of course, all three political scientists. take a dim view of the power elite, and are critical of the Enlightenment, white males and, in Wolin, the Reagan administration).

Illustration by Michael Hogue for American Conservative

Illustration by Michael Hogue for American Conservative

But in both books such contemporary conflicts as the culture wars are viewed as outgrowths of the elitism inherent in a society that defends private property and the meritocracy at the expense of benighted women and blacks. Wolin is more measured in opposing current-day Federalists, but he still ends one essay by lamenting the force that Hamiltonian-style statism exerts on you and me. The late Princeton professor ends up agreeing with Dye and Ziegler that the American state is militaristic and outrageous in its power and reach.

By implication, capitalism, not social democracy (the latter an understandable elite response to capitalist crisis in Dye and Ziegler), is thus blamed for all social ills, but especially for the oppression of blacks and women. Gone is the 1930s’ charting of class conflict with predictions of working class victory. It is all New Left “anti-imperialism” and cultural relativism now. (On the case for and against cultural relativism, see https://clarespark.com/2014/03/13/what-is-cultural-relativism/.)

With the deceptive Constitution and the Federalist Founders thus tainted as designing aristocrats, is it any wonder that the electoral victory of Trump and his supporters appalls half of our country, conditioned as they are by the ascendancy of the New Left and its revolt against what they deem to be a terror state, American style?

Antiwar album cover Anti-Flag

Antiwar album cover

January 14, 2017

“Fake News” (and “pigs in a blanket….”)

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 8:29 pm
Tags: , , , , ,
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 5: A controversial painting by Missouri student David Pulphus depicting police as animals hangs in the tunnel connecting the U.S. Capitol to the Cannon House Office building as part of the annual student art exhibit on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. The painting was selected as the 2016 Congressional Art Competition winner from Rep. William Lacy Clay's district in the St. Louis area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 5: A controversial painting by Missouri student David Pulphus depicting police as animals hangs in the tunnel connecting the U.S. Capitol to the Cannon House Office building as part of the annual student art exhibit on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. The painting was selected as the 2016 Congressional Art Competition winner from Rep. William Lacy Clay’s district in the St. Louis area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

[Update: When I said that the news was both real and fake I did not mean to absolve the purveyors of “fake news” in the sense that it was contrived and mendacious. The point was that reality is a personal matter and that one person’s reality may be another’s fake. Meanwhile, demagogues argue that their positions are real, while their opponents’ ideas are indisputably fake.]

Ever since the President-elect gave his news conference on January 11, 2017, the question of “fake news” has flooded the airways. At the same time, a handful of media conservatives have identified a Congressional art contest winner as an intolerable provocation, adding to the outrageous claims of black power types that “cops” are “pigs.” (Caption on painting image from Huffington Post)

I want to link these two events, for they are aspects of the same problem: viewers and readers have few tools to understand these controversies, whose connections could be illuminated were we even partly educated in deciphering competing ideologies.

The question of real versus fake has haunted our species forever. Plato gave that job to the “Guardians” of his Republic who would be expert in defining what sense perceptions are to be taken seriously, versus the shadows in the Cave. We are besieged by “journalists” and all intellectuals all eager to shape our inquisitiveness. Even Walter Lippmann advocated the training of a special class to separate truth from lies in his interwar books, thus earning the enmity of libertarians such as Noam Chomsky: https://clarespark.com/2009/08/19/noam-chomskys-misrepresentation-of-walter-lippmanns-chief-ideas-on-manufacturing-consent/.

Anyone who has ever dipped into the study of rhetoric understands that competitors for eyeballs detect sharp differences between propaganda and the “real deal”: my opponents do not only think differently, they are mistaken in their evaluations of what is and what is not a “fact.” So we may wallow in self-righteousness, convinced that our opinions are indeed facts in the “real world.”

The Cops as Pigs painting. Which brings me to the contentious arguments over what is and what is not “art.” Here I will depart from many conservative judgments that high art is eternal and not susceptible to historicizing.

I have been critical of all “collectivist discourses” throughout my postings. By “collectivist” I mean the substitution of groups for individuals. Thus in prior blogs I have criticized the notion of national character (like all “cultural criticism” as covering over unique responses to authority). Thus it is, in my view, typical adolescent rebelliousness to all authority (not solely an expression of black power) that is the relevant context for understanding the high-school originator of the disputed painting.

We should be asking who (or what social forces) put government in charge of determining the winners in “art contests”? And why can’t we draw a line between legitimate dissent and special pleading?

Rep. William Lacy Clay

Rep. William Lacy Clay

To the extent that Lacy Clay’s judgment should be upheld by ratifying his opinion about what is and what is not “art,” Clay’s judgment is, like all “fake news,” real and fake at the same time. To this particular Missouri Representative to Congress, the painting is indeed art and accurately reflects his own world-view, and probably those of a majority of his constituents, more’s the pity.

As long as collectivist monikers remain, we will be stuck like other bureaucrats, at best, confused and bleeding.

New Observer Online

New Observer Online

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.