June 23, 2016
June 22, 2016
Posted seven years ago, but more relevant than ever. The quote from Harvard is priceless; supports fish stories!
Today’s blog responds to recent questions raised about the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, but also to the President’s speech to the United Nations, that sought to remove any impression of American hubris. It will be seen that progressive educators have long worried about a sublime America that could go too far in challenging authority, looking for a middle-ground that may be entirely a product of overheated imaginations. (For a related blog, see https://clarespark.com/2010/10/09/david-riesman-v-friedrich-hayek/. For a detailed account of Matthiessen’s view of Herman Melville see https://clarespark.com/2010/12/29/f-o-matthiessen-martyr-to-mccarthyism/.)
[The Harvard Report General Education in a Free Society, Harvard U.P., 1945, p.129-130:] …[I]nstruction in the arts has a bearing on other traits of the person beyond those of his intelligence. In this world we have to live with others and with ourselves; we need the virtues both of society and of…
View original post 2,849 more words
June 11, 2016
June 9, 2016
It is a mystery to many in the media why Democrats and Independents don’t “care” about Hillary’s past improprieties or crimes. In my view, they are ignoring the obvious: younger women are either happily promiscuous or on the marriage market often requiring a prolonged period of testing in bed. Hence, the conservatives’ taboo against abortion and contraception falls on deaf ears.
Many older married women, especially evangelicals and Catholics may object to such conduct. Indeed, the Democrat Party is not shy about emphasizing sexuality in their pitches to “the women’s vote” or to gays, including those bound permanently to domineering mothers. (https://clarespark.com/2012/10/03/the-sexual-revolution-1- and https://clarespark.com/2012/10/03/the-sexual-revolution-2/)
So much should be obvious; less clear is the role of media in elevating what critical 70s feminists called “role reversal”: if men subjugated women, the correct remedy was to beat men at their own game, and the “strong woman” came into her own: witness the superwomen so popular in mass media today. (For a stunning example in prominent feminist artist Judy Chicago, see https://clarespark.com/2012/11/15/female-genitals-as-red-flag/, whose uber-popular “The Dinner Party” failed to historicize female heroines, instead turning each one into vaginal images to be consumed by the viewer. In Judy Chicago’s oeuvre, sex becomes aggression, exemplified in her photo as “boxer.” legs spread wide apart.)
Do the numerous courses in the history of women fail to notice that although women have been subjugated throughout history, there can there be no doubt that Western women have benefited from the status revolutions conferred by such factors as Judaism, Christianity, and the Industrial Revolution.Patriarchy as it had been known for eons, was drastically modified.
We have yet to mark how much misogyny might be attributed to the growing power and influence of women in the West.
June 4, 2016
Time will tell if Donald J. Trump has damaged his campaign by referring to the American judge presiding over his Trump University fraud case as “Mexican.” Such prestigious Fox commentators as Charles Krauthammer have clucked over this [horrendous gaffe] without mentioning that the hyphenated Americans are primarily identified through their “ethnicity” or “race.”
Such are the wages of the phony version of assimilation known as “multiculturalism,” now hegemonic in the world thanks to the triumph of Wilsonian internationalism—the enemy of nationalism, but thanks to the Left and even “moderate conservatives”, now de rigueur in all the hip universities as a weapon against “white supremacy.” See https://clarespark.com/2011/03/28/index-to-multiculturalism-blogs/.
(Only a few internet folk nail “multiculturalism”: such as Robert Spencer and various writers for Gatestone Institute, but alas, even these learnèd writers fail to mark the contrast between the “rootless cosmopolitan” [see Stalin on Jews] and the [preferred] “rooted cosmopolitan” celebrated by German Romantics reacting to the dreaded [materialist] Enlightenment.)
Krauthammer and others on Fox might have looked into the associations of Judge Gonzalo Curiel with Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the Democratic Party, but then CK originally worked for the Carter administration (but experienced disillusion with the LBJ’s war on poverty during the 1980s). He has made his reputation as a “board certified psychiatrist”… “open to empirical evidence” but not as a footnoting, archive-sleuthing historian or political scientist.
See this apparently researched article for contrast with CK’s rejection of Trump’s alleged bigotry. http://spectator.org/rigged-the-trial-of-trump-university/. I don’t agree entirely with this article, for the so-called Left will say that it is understandable that Latino and Latina lawyers should band together on the grounds that they are “oppressed” and “marginalized.” Forget that many aspire to be hired guns on behalf of Big Government.
Such are wages of multiculturalism, which emphasizes race/ethnicity and gender, but not “class.”
Many a conservative, along with much of the Left, don’t want any workers in their clubs. So much for national unity and/or Milton Friedman.
May 28, 2016
These past few weeks, I have been immersing myself in English history as written by two political historians for a popular audience (the brief books were given me by my dissertation advisor, the super-organized and detail-oriented Alexander Saxton): R. W. Harris (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-rw-harris-1103491.html) and John W. Derry. (The latter was the more obviously social democratic).
What fascinated me most was the following: both historians had apparently mastered every intricate detail of English politics from the Glorious Revolution (1688) onward, but it was Derry who was the most obviously social democratic, seemingly welcoming the gradual movement toward greater social participation, but it is Harris’s take on the American Revolution that is relevant this Memorial Day weekend.
I was flummoxed by the Harris account of the separation from the “mother country.” It seems that my prior intuitions about [Tory] versions of U.S. history are correct. Forget the heroism of George Washington and the American patriots who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and suffered through that portentous war. Americans should have moderated their views and stayed with mercantilist [Mom]. The only reasons England lost that war was its weakness regarding France and related conflicts, plus the difficulties in shipping soldiers over the Atlantic.
And Americans (especially frontiersmen and other hoi polloi) were crazy radicals (https://clarespark.com/2014/02/07/herman-melville-on-the-materialist-solitary-backwoodsman/ and https://clarespark.com/2014/01/08/the-frontiersmansettler-as-all-purpose-scapegoat/), none more so than the wandering, irreligious, impudent supporter of the American and French Revolutions, Tom Paine. whereas Edmund Burke, Paine’s Irish-born Whig/Tory antagonist, comes out as the true humanitarian (https://clarespark.com/2014/09/13/melville-edmund-burke-and-literary-cubism/) . Moreover, Harris advances the view that the bankrupting of France caused the French Revolution.
I hadn’t heard that one before, though UCLA’ history, art history, and English departments had a lot to say about the [mob-driven?] French Revolution during its Bicentennial year of 1989, though one leftist English professor waxed eloquent on “the crisis of the sacrificial,” which brings me back to Memorial Day weekend when such as our President bandies the word “sacrifice” about, perhaps indirectly alluding to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while forgetting that the descendants of [wild-eyed radicals plus immigrants] in all classes took an awful beating from Japanese imperialists in the Pacific theater during the second world war.
It took me many years of reading histories to realize that fears of “the Bomb” (i.e., science and technology) were at the heart of the Green movement and other social democratic innovations. (https://clarespark.com/2009/09/20/jungians-on-the-loose-part-one/, especially statements of Jung, Broughton, and Henry A. Murray).
May 17, 2016
My friends on Facebook were asked by me recently to give their impressions regarding the comparative power of “professional politicians” versus “the media.” Though most agreed with me that the mass media were more responsible for defining reality, one person said that they were all in the same class, moving back and forth between worlds: persons such as Ben Rhodes and George Stephanopoulos.
My own view is a bit more complicated. We talk about “the media” without considering that “mass media” are inseparable from religion. For instance, if we are taught that this world is an illusion (to be corrected after we have “passed” from this vale of tears to our just reward in heaven, or passed from evil capitalism to perfect communism); that our apparent sharp political divisions are a ruse; that “materialism” caused the uproarious mob-driven French Revolution (sharply contrasted with the divinely inspired and decorous American War for Independence), then we may agree that unity is both desirable and a realistic goal, if only we listened to our betters—mostly those pundits/authority figures who divide the “real” from the “fake.”
In my last blog, I figured out that, beneath all the “political history” written by the moderate men (the Centrists of both Left and Right), was a common antipathy toward the too rapid development of “technology,” culminating in nailing our catastrophic domination of Nature/women. (https://clarespark.com/2016/05/14/the-difference-between-communists-and-social-democrats/)
Were we in touch with our “real” (demonic) natures instead of imposing “puritanical” (female) values bequeathed by the Victorian culture machine, we would accept “natural” hierarchies, so that the hubris/mob-engendered apocalypse could be forestalled and we could be liberated from the evidence of the senses. (See https://clarespark.com/2009/08/24/the-people-is-an-ass-or-a-herd/). John Locke is old hat, but not his polar opposite, Robert Filmer.
We are all Tories now, “spiritualized” and unable to tell the real from the fake.
May 14, 2016
I have just finished reading Isaac Deutscher’s much criticized biography of Josef Stalin. Although it has been criticized as an attempt to rehabilitate the Soviet dictator, I learned (or reviewed) a lot about Stalinism, especially as viewed by a Marxist-Leninist. (For a long but comprehensive essay in opposition to Deutscher see (https://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/1950/09/deutscher-stalin.htm. I don’t agree with Schactman here; Deutscher’s notion of Stalin’s revolution from above was in response to the failure of communist revolution in the West. )
I am writing this blog because it is often difficult for conservatives unfamiliar with the USSR and generally down on progressivism, to tell the difference between different factions of “the Left” and the mass media won’t touch this subject, lest they reveal their own covert (?) “moderation” that places themselves in the sane middle, while their opponents are nuts.
Thus Bernie Sanders can pass himself off as a “democratic socialist” and run with the progressives, while implicitly denying that he is any kind of “extremist.”
No person educated in the basics of Marxism or Leninism would fall for this charade. I should not have to say this again, but Big Government is an elitist ploy by former laissez-faire capitalists to adapt to Red “proletarian internationalism” by a sharp move to the [populist] Left. See the explicit program of such as The Nation editor Oswald Garrison Villard in 1919, while Europe was in revolutionary turmoil. (https://clarespark.com/2012/07/19/communist-ideas-go-mainstream/, and https://clarespark.com/2009/09/19/populism-progressivism-and-corporatist-liberalism-in-the-nation-1919/.)
The communists of the 1930s were largely Stalinists, believing that capitalism was oppressive and would inevitably be overthrown by the (conscious) industrial working class, led by the USSR. They were underground, professed to be pro-technology, anti-racist and anti-capitalist (but not always anti-American), and were deeply shocked by Krushchev’s “revelations” of Red hanky-panky during the Stalin era (which Deutscher pooh-poohs as an attempt to elevate Stalin’s successors).
All that changed with the turn toward agrarian nostalgia in the Maoist New Left, which elevated peasant revolts and was anti-imperialist. It is thus no accident that today’s Red/Pink Greens have seized upon the ostensibly bourgeois assault upon “Nature” as the centerpiece of their ‘revolutionary’ program, a program that Sanders (like Obama) endorses, for their anti-urban sentiments allege that the big, bad bourgeoisie were out to dominate Nature, and that “Nature” hath decreed that our species should be “rooted”.
Nothing worse than a “rootless” cosmopolitan; and here their “multicultural” argot agrees with post-WW2 Stalin about to embark upon a second Holocaust. The only point where today’s social democracies agree with communism (Russian style) is in their ever more obvious anti-Semitism.
May 12, 2016
SPOILER ALERT. Preparing the audience for the finishing of a seven-season show, widely touted as “the best written show on television,” series creators Robert and Michelle King, explained to the viewers that the series was “about” the search for “power” by its star “Alicia Florrick” (played by Julianna Margulies), and, that power corrupts! (Lord Acton!) Hence the slap by the “betrayed” “Diane” (played by Christine Baranski).
You could have fooled me.
I had written about the series before, emphasizing what I don’t like about the law: https://clarespark.com/2014/03/24/the-good-wife-and-bad-timing/ at a point when the interlocking triangles were the main focus, as Alicia struggles with loyalty to the stability that makes her two children feel safe, versus sexual desire. To the dismay of the fans, the writers killed off her lover Will Gardner (played by Josh Charles), but another boyfriend emerged recently, another of the bad boys to whom Alicia seems addicted.
Her father never appears in the series, though a bohemian mother does, along with a gay brother. Freud is so passé.
So far, the Democratic playbook seems intact, as one would never know that Chicago is notoriously corrupt, and controlled by Democrats. Instead, we are immersed in the often amusing shenanigans of millionaire lawyers and wacky judges with nary but one Republican in the cast; for “Diane” proposes marriage to a firearms expert and a staunch conservative, ostensibly because of attraction to “guns” (ironically, gun laws are strictly enforced in Chicago, notwithstanding the notorious high death rate from illegal guns among the black population). Indeed, Alicia’s “betrayal” consists of an action that appears to break up this unlikely marriage between a staunch liberal feminist and her right-wing partner, hence “the slap” that supposedly echoes with a slap I can’t remember from season one. And now Alicia walks off into an unknowable future, as the strong, but ostensibly sold out feminist that we have admired (?) for seven seasons. Strong, but, we are told, corrupted by upward mobility.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/09/the-great-marriage-behind-the-good-wife.html. Odd that the writers, so happily married and creative, ended their acclaimed series on a sour note. Perhaps the Jewish wife “called the shots” yet again.