YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

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.)

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May 29, 2018

“Come together”…. divisions and continuities in progressivism/Democratic Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:09 pm
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cowboy with lassoo.american history https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSM5MpKSnqE. (The Beatles: Come Together) This blog is about the confusion bequeathed by “progressives” to partisan politics; namely the labeling of “Left” beliefs to both social democrats AND to revolutionary socialists. This is impossible because social democrats co-opted many of the demands of socialism/communism while defanging the threat of transformed property relations. Both conservatives and liberals perpetuate this confusion, prefigured by those (sort of) Jeffersonian/Wilsonian democrats Charles and Mary Beard in their popular two volumes on The Rise of American Civilization (1927):

1. In their ambivalent discussion of the antebellum South, the Beards found it good because of the aristocratic flavor to Southern civilization, but the South was bad because of slavery. (The Democratic Party is still elitist, favoring the administrative state and the “money power” while simultaneously deploring, as moderates, its excesses.)[Update, 6/4/18: I was wrong about the Beards favoring the South. As Jeffersonian agrarians they admired farmers and labor (the latter in their fights for free land), but viewed expansionists as imperialists (especially in Volume 2, see below, item #3. OTOH, the Beards loathed the Northern capitalist class, as much as any socialists.]

2. The American Revolution against Britain was good because of the participation of farmers and workers (who later escaped to the West), and with the support of Edmund Burke (in his Whig phase but bad because it trashed British capitalists and (moderate)statesmen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGLGzRXY5Bw. (Revolution: Beatles)

3. Frontiersmen/farmers and hunters were good insofar as they were lower-class escapees from class domination (thus the image of the cowboy symbolizing US history), but bad as expansionists and imperialists (in both Volumes 1 and 2).

The Constitution was all bad, because this coup d’état was put over the (more local?) Articles of Confederation and elevated the class conscious Federalists. Charles Beard had already trashed Alexander Hamilton in his 1913 publication An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. Current liberals prefer “the living Constitution,” spurning “originalist interpretations.”

Further similarities between Beards and current liberals: Beards are decidedly secular, thus despising Puritans as domineering and, as Protestants, fostering (forbidden) individualism; collectivist discourses, identity politics as Mary Beard (a feminist) plugged women back into US history; family values (of Jefferson and his expansionist followers); white male supremacy, Woodrow Wilson-style globalism (in Volume 2). The Beards deemed abolitionists “haters.” Whereas, all you need is love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oHeeEot35M (The Beatles)

These links are available to interested readers: :https://clarespark.com/2013/08/05/evil-puritans/; https://clarespark.com/2018/01/20/white-supremacy/; https://clarespark.com/2011/08/01/alexander-hamiltons-rational-voice-of-the-people/

Moral chaos of womanhood: the Harvey Weinstein scandal and LOLITA

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 4:14 pm

Consistently clicked. Its mixed-message to women is resonating.

YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

[Update 7/16/18: Conservative Shelby Steele has extended the “innocence” meme to apply to “White Guilt” over slavery and similar crimes against black people: he argues that “innocence” is recaptured for white people through such stratagems as reparations (i.e., “multiculturalism ” and “diversity.”)]

The Harvey Weinstein scandal and LOLITA are connected in my mind for both cast reflections on the confusing rearing of the middle class female who supposed to be innocent and knowing at the very same time.

We are supposed to please men by not growing up. Hence Humbert Humbert’s obsession with “nymphets.”

Nabokov ostensibly wrote a parody and a novel about the act of writing (that makes him a postmodernist linking Kafka-esque nihilism and trendy modernism). But I noticed that Humbert Humbert viewed young actresses with disdain (as whorish), which made me think that Harvey Weinstein’s proclivity for undeveloped actresses had literary precedents.

Perfectly nice girls are supposed…

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May 19, 2018

Noam Chomsky’s misrepresentation of Walter Lippmann’s chief ideas on manufacturing consent

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 1:43 pm

YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

Walter Lippmann

[For a related blog see https://clarespark.com/2012/01/12/the-counter-culture-vs-the-establishment/]

I first defended Walter Lippmann’s chief ideas from the 1920s and 1930s on a KPFK radio program, then worked up this longer analysis for a discussion group on Humanities Net (the History of Diplomacy). It is archived there, but the material remains timely, as science is always on the defensive, and the entire subject of “public opinion” is paramount in importance to any would-be democracy.

For instance, as I showed in my book, Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival,  Melville’s character Captain Ahab was appropriated by “moderately” conservative psychoanalysts and sociologists calling for government psychological warfare during and after World War II, and blaming fascism on Byronic/Ahab-ish puritanism and romanticism, at times recommending the adoption of (Byronic, Ahab-ish, Jewish) Hitler’s astute and effective techniques of mind-management in order to evacuate the Radical Enlightenment (i.e., civil liberties, rational-secular education, the…

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May 15, 2018

Eros and the Middle Manager: S-M with implications for Multiculturalism

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:23 pm

YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

Advertisement, Los Angeles Weekly, Nov. 10-16, 1989 Advertisement, Los Angeles Weekly, Nov. 10-16, 1989

I’m reposting in response to my enigmatic statement on Facebook that “Masochism Builds Character.” Also because of the wide distribution on a related blog https://clarespark.com/2014/09/21/spanking-sex-and-the-nfl-fracas/.

This  essay was originally delivered on Pacifica Radio as the first installment of my series, “How Do We Know When We Are Not Fascists?” [Added 3-24-10:  This essay contains my inferences from the study of one particular collection of materials, and is not intended as a formula or a scientific law. But compare it to Peter Gay, The Cultivation of Hatred: The Bourgeois Experience Victoria to Freud (1993), chapter one on the German dueling societies and bourgeois adolescent aspirations to join an aristocracy. Gay sees adolescent homosexuality as a defense against terrifying relations with women (see Gorer on Sade, mocking romantic love as slavery). Also, materials from the Steadman Thompson collection are scattered throughout this website, particulary in the essays…

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May 14, 2018

Cultural pluralism vs. multiculturalism

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 4:34 pm

YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

Pandora's_box

[Update: see https://clarespark.com/2017/04/10/a-reassessment-of-a-critique-of-pure-tolerance-42-years-later/, for this is a better antidote to the prevailing New Deal phony liberalism that goes by the name of cultural pluralism/multiculturalism.]

Abstract. Multiculturalism imitates cultural/religious pluralism, while undermining it by denying that we can understand persons of different “races” or genders, for each category is self-contained and indecipherable to other groups. Cultural pluralism should be about lots and lots of competing political parties and religions. The very fact that there is no state religion can call into question dogmatic upholders of any one belief system, religious or otherwise.Intellectual diversity can freak out the true believer, no matter how affiliated or indoctrinated.

Several Facebook friends have asked me to define my terms more carefully, because I assume too much when using academic jargon that is unfamiliar to them.  Today’s topic is “cultural pluralism.”

Cultural pluralism is a confusing term because of the word “culture.” Much of this…

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May 12, 2018

Ludwig von Mises’s Socialism

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 3:03 pm
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von Mises SocialismI have some agreements, disagreements, and there are open questions regarding the renowned economist’s book denouncing the socialist movements of the nineteenth century and then, the Soviet revolution of 1917.

Agreements: 1.von Mises is a fan of science and Enlightenment. And yet, he does not denounce religion, but rather complains that “socialism” is a form of religion. But, like the 18th Century Enlighteners, he has standards, and affirms the meritocracy. (This separates him from populists.)

2. von Mises is appalled by the repressiveness of Big Government (socialism and communism).

Disagreements 1. Affirming supply and demand (the free market), von Mises favored open borders. This is an outmoded standard, taken up by liberals and globalists. von Mises’s standard made sense at the time he was writing this (in the early 20th century), but would he have agreed with the multiculturalists? Perhaps he would have, as he affirmed (somewhat?) the validity of racial and gender differences.

2. von Mises includes in one bag, social democrats (following FDR’s New Deal) and communists. I agree that Big Government/bureaucracy) is a bad thing, but have taken pains to distinguish liberals from communists (especially following the Popular Front Against Fascism (1935). Liberal anticommunism still prevails. Liberals of course co-opted some socialist demands, but distorted them, especially in their avid support of labor unions (also criticized by 1930s radicals).

3. The Enlighteners were empiricists, yet von Mises provides no facts to support his thesis that capitalist institutions do not exploit the workers.

Open question: Is Nazism to be grouped with Socialism? von Mises, using the standard of state control of prices and interest, said yes. Since he did not treat the cult of the Leader (or other cultural factors), I remain unconvinced.

May 1, 2018

The “balance” trap

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:27 pm
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balnce. JPEG

bigtimecity.com

“Balance” is a key word for liberals and moderates. It reassures us that we will not fall to the ground, that our parents will not drop us as infants, or, as we pass into adulthood, that we will avoid accidents or worse, that we will not eat of Eve’s Apple and learn too much of the Tree of Knowledge (of good and evil) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_the_knowledge_of_good_and_evil. Many Christians believe too that our earthly journey take place in a “fallen world.” Whereas conservative Jews believe that “balance” is attached to justice and integrity. (This contrast to liberalism relayed to me by my son-in-law Maimon Chocron.)

I have written about the balance trap before as a strategy to attain “common ground” and to resolve what may be irreconcilable conflicts. https://clarespark.com/2015/05/30/constructing-the-moderate-men-with-the-classics/, https://clarespark.com/2010/11/06/moderate-men-falling-down/, https://clarespark.com/2015/04/07/who-are-the-moderate-men/.

“New Balance” sneakers promise returning youth (given the appropriate exercise regimen), while (moderate) Fox News Channel tries to please warring factions in the “body politic” through its pairing of liberal and conservative commentators, presumably to appeal to a diverse audience. And “equilibrium” is a term favored by balanced economists.

I prefer “ambiguity” over the notion of “balance,” while it may be a lifelong project to determine the “good” that prevails over the “evil” supposedly bequeathed by our “first parents.”

Does “ambiguity” undermine the search for unity?

April 27, 2018

Trump as moderate, creeping fascism, hate speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:31 pm
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TrumpHitlersalute

Boulder Weekly: Trump with supposed Hitler salute

This is a bad time for labels. Since the Democratic Party has deemed the President as a fascist (like the “alt-right”), we may wonder if our country is going down the path of twentieth century interwar dictatorships. (And New Deal liberals did fix the fascist label on laissez-faire Republicans: their opposition in the growth of the Big State).

But it is likely that the President (a lifelong Democrat) ran on the Republican ticket because he thought that the Democratic Party was moving farther to the Left, toward socialist revolution with its confiscation of the Big Money. It is worth considering whether President Trump is in crucial ways, a New Deal liberal, nipping fascism around the edges, but more of a FDR man than traditional Republicans had been in the 1920s. That would explain his focus on jobs, his concern for racial minorities (especially blacks), his toleration of “multiculturalism,” his advocacy of “bipartisanship,” and his peace offensive (verging on globalism).

As for creeping fascism, some critics deemed the social movements of the 1960s fascist, and there are signs of proto-fascism in the Democratic Party, but as long as we have a nominal commitment to free speech, we are clearly not there yet. Trump is no Hitler, nor was FDR, nor prior Democratic Presidents, despite the fulminations of many prominent liberals.

It is now being debated whether or not “tenure” allows Lefty professors to indulge in “hate speech.” The remedy may be to examine how the vagueness of “amor vincit omnia” (with what constitutes “love” undefined) has commanded both major political parties.

Perhaps we should abandon labels in favor of more precision and greater regard for individual histories.

April 9, 2018

Ralph Ellison’s ambivalence re white racism

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:16 pm
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Ralph_Ellison_photo_portrait_seated

racism_1

Shutterstock.com/allyy

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man was copyrighted in 1947, but the book was not published until 1952. It has become a classic of “Negro” literature. This blog is about his mixed message concerning black nationalism, for Ellison took care to separate himself from the separatist movement headed by Marcus Garvey in the 1920s. And yet he gave much testimony regarding the appalling degree of what would be called today “white racism.” Moreover the last one-third of the book is a round condemnation of betrayal by the Communist Party (of which, like Richard Wright and other blacks in the American branch of the CP, the invisible man was an ex-member).

And yet Ellison was heaped with honors by the literary establishment; similarly he always seemed to me to be the most level-headed analyst of the (unfulfilled) promise of American life as it pertained to black citizens. This blog is also about the Herman Melville declaration that “the Declaration of Independence makes a difference.” For Melville shared Ellison’s ambivalence about the future of American democracy and the rationalism advanced by the Enlightenment. The “Epilogue” to Invisible Man suggests that Ellison had backtracked on his initial mocking words about “social responsibility,” just as Melville separated himself from Captain Ahab in the Epilogue to Moby-Dick.

One review of Ellison’s masterpiece (and his single published novel) mentions that the author became more conservative in temperament as he got older. Such is the case with many ex-communists. Perhaps Ellison, like Melville, was always upwardly mobile, and yet his emphasis on (white racism), so persuasively presented in the novel Invisible Man, must ingratiate him with today’s liberals and other moderates who support such separatist movements as “Black Lives Matter.”

 

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