« FEMA and the Morgue | Main | Karl Rove is Unavailable to the Telephone »

October 05, 2005


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Yes, Harry understands where I'm coming from, especially here. Keep in mind that Lenore's warlock-familiar, Frederick Turner, has written pieces about how the multinational corporation is a wondrous utopian entity whose transnational parameters will, as he puts it, "make us all into good citizens" on a global scale. (You all remember Turner, right? The man who declaims against "rent-seeking" teacher's unions as he squats on his tenure, a tenure bought by his rightwing polemics rather than his poetry? The man who declaims against the evils of liberal public funding as he gets lucrative series-host gigs on fucking PBS? Like his heroes Bush and Cheney, Turner plays his hypocrisies as a wink and a dare, and Ealy thinks that because Turner doesn't use swear words he's more moral than anyone here at WB by an order of magnitude.)

Ealy is arguing quite directly for turning any mass death disaster zone into a capitalist playground on the Soviet model, and the fact that she wraps her moral coldness in tearful sanctimony ought to enrage anyone who has a conscience left.

To muse about whether the anti-state-aid argument might be defensible if made from a political point of view that Ealy would never espouse and would do her best to eliminate from existence is simply to play along as a useful idiot. It's conceiving of the structure here as a "debate" and getting your nerdy index cards all in order while they secure the oligarchy and militarize the state. She's talking about mass death and genocide and using it as an argument for opening up new markets for the greedheads. To pretend that this is a matter for witty and gentle "correction" is to make yourself complicit in something that is really evil, T.

My arrows landed a little wide. I tried to shoot two at once. The satire of you ended after the opening sentences. The rest was directed at the company of the of the good ship Philanthropic Enterprise.

The stupid little in jokes, talking points and larmoyance of fascists are what make them insufferable.

"Tutor, you just want to -- wait for it! -- tax and spend! Oh yes you do, coochie coochie, coo. Omigod, WTF!1! and you want to do that because you're so emotional. We're emotional, too, here at the Enterprise, but we have hard heads in addition to our soft hearts. Maybe you and your followers will get over that sixties nostalgia someday. Then we can talk".

They could conceivably believe their loathsome and vapid canards. But I doubt it. Ever since the Gingrinch talking point/framing memo went out, none of the winger elite have any room to play coy about their tergiversations.

Question: Would this and earlier discussion threads be of greater or less significance if Lenore and Turner were to participate?

TV, in no way do I see this as a debate, or a matter of filling in missing peices of information. It is a cultural war zone.

I just don't see the wisdom in turning our backs. Advance face forward, smiling. Engage - in debate with Lenore and Schambra like Phil A, in satire as I attempt here, in vilification, but advance with an eye to actually engaging "the Other" in a common rhetorical space within which the frames, motives, and "content" are contested.

Of course there will real blood spilt before we are done with these battles. The right is not above incarcerating, under the headings of terrorism and ordered liberty, with people like Colson at the front, those they find anathema. Your answer is to rail against them and hope they don't notice in a comment thread? Or hope they do notice? What? Would you welcome a spot on the platform to discuss with them a topic you might find of mutual interest? I would. As long as I was in position to use my frame, WB.

By the way, I am not put off or put out a bit by your thoughts on my contributing to the evil. I am genuinely open to suggestions, thoughts, and counter thoughts.

I do not expect reason to prevail. I expect satire to prevail. I do not expect to inform, but to reform, or to heal, though the process may be painful and not all patients survive the operation. I do think from time to time I have touched Lenore's conscience or the seams where her inconsistent beliefs systems gring like tectonic plates against one another (her Christianity for example and her commitment to Hayek, her apparently coldness and her love for her young son, to whom she teaches compassion and sharing.)

More: Yes, Conservatives are good prospects for philanthropic planning. That is my trade, that what I mean by Whoredom. That is the effing topic to which I am drawn in parable over and over. The Whoredom we call professionalism is wealth bondage philathropic strategic planning. Would I do a gig for Hudson? Yes. Inb fact I ahve offered through Lenore to do so. If asked I would, as you would as doctor heal a Hudson Fellow. To work only with those who share my beliefs is what? Provincial? Unprofessional? Contrary to the cental tenets of liberalism, that protect the others right to be wrong?

Professionalism versus active ciitzenship is a key theme here. I am saying tha professionals, in donor centered philanthropy, are Whores and I use my own practice as proof text. (This whole thought process on which you are pressing me is so much deeper than any of my peers in my profession would even dream of going.)

So these issues on which you are touching are very close to my pulses. I think about them all the time, every day. And I truly welcome whatever "sweetness and light" or appropriate rancor you can bring to bear. I only ask that you not crap out on me. Where you end up with this if you take your line is Christians refusing to work with Secular Hunanists, and Seculars refusing to treat Evangelicals, and so forth. I see that as barbarous, while also seeing professionals who can work with all comers around vison and values as essentially sophists or whores, selling what is precious.

And where would that line of thought tend, taken to the extreme? Ity would take us to the patron saint of this site, Diogenes or to the profession or trade of the Fool.

If you can help me here I would appreciate, but here is as far as I have gotten.

Incarcerated?! How could you even think that? In any event, that's not the way it works. All that you blog trotters accomplish is putting an upper cap on your careers. Your dumpster blog itself is beneath contempt -- though you yourself are an okay, if eccentric, guy -- and PIs know how to find the rabble who gather here as your sychophants. Only two of them, to our knowledge at the tank, belong to the torturable class.

"that she wraps her moral coldness in tearful sanctimony ought to enrage anyone who has a conscience left"
"Christians refusing to work with Secular Humanists, and Seculars refusing to treat Evangelicals"

The night-thing that eats your young cares for its own.
So it's a matter of p.o.v.
You guys seem united in adamantly refusing that, or ignoring its centrality.
Speciation events gave the world bonobos and chimps, and the Christian Right and the Rolling Stones.
Vaguely subscribing to an amorphous "we" that is understood but never clearly defined makes it easier to be pissed off and complicitous without short-circuiting the double-bind.
But it's there.
There was a moment when primate ancestor BCH was one thing, and a moment when it was 3 things, or more. And nowhere in that fluid change wwould it have been discernable on the ground in real time.
We're there.
You're going to have to choose your people, clade, tribe, whatever. You can take the whole thing, even kick it out to the edges of the mammalian enterprise if you want, but each boundary has a different moral skew, and they aren't harmonious.
It would be easy, it is easy evidently, to assume from all this dilettante-bio verbiage that I have that buddhist-generalist whole-system amorality of Whateverism, but the truth is I've been more outraged about this for a lot longer than most anyone you know.
Part of the problem is that clearly defining who I put in the center of my moral cosmos actively endangers them. A big part of the problem, that.
What does one's conscience say about the human population moving from 6 billion in 1999 to 6.5 billion and rising today?
Really. It's absolutely counter to agrarian common-sense to just keep piling up the folks, but absolutely coherent with a sense of compassionate justice that we keep advancing our skills at "saving" one another. Who could choose who to leave behind and who to save?
A well-fed but threatened elect brimming with "moral coldness" and "tearful sanctimony", that's who.
The danger always was, and it's getting more and more obvious, that opportunists will apply the technology to their own more narrowly-defined sense of "us", and abandon the preterite to the will of God.
That really gets me going.
The temptation is to fuck it all.
But then I have a fallback plan - to eliminate the evil people from earth-locus once and for all; unfortunately it has the unpleasant side-effect of also removing all the good people at the same time.
So in the meanwhile, I will suggest, again, that instead of following behind these pin-hearted subhuman swine and carping on their m.o. - get in front of them.
These attitudes - of benign neglect and abandonment, of God's will opening up the territories - are predictable.
What's next?
Bush slipped military-enforced "quarantine" into the SOTU performance yesterday, in re. avian-bird-flu.
Not enough gas = too many folks.
Tearful sanctimony followed by wide open roads.
That's the idea.
Break it.

From a biological standpoint why not suck up to the winners? Groom the alphas?

The biological metaphors, the mechanistic society models and the urge to control through run all through elite culture. At the same time, they emphatically reject our nature as animals and they're hopeless as managers. When you're at the bottom of the hierarchy, it's not so nutty to read works like the infamous Bell Curve as a sneaky argument for breeding better white people and culling the rest.

Personally, I think the hierophants and would be demiurges have a coy flirtation with wiping out the unlovelies (would that the Roman people had but one neck!) and starting over.

It's a lousy way to put it, but. . . Animals that suck up get neutered and wear collars Tutor. Grooming the alphas is not an option unless you're recognizably part of the troop.

Dick Minim, I am afraid, winced, Harry, reading your comments about getting neutered and wearing a collar. Do try to be gentle.

You guys just can't lose that "we're all in this together" thing can you?
What's the alternative to "breeding better white people"?
Not breeding better ones?
Maintaining the status quo of a dynamic system is maintaining the dynamic.
There aren't any non-biological standpoints available.
Every moral system you know that's still working is biological at its core.
What this is now is a contest to determine whose genes carry over, through the Drop-off. The big bloom is done, now it's a race to see who gets to cull who.
That's what's pissing off the nice people. They don't want to do that, and they certainly don't want to have it done to them.
There is no other game, and there never was.
Smugness and a steady food supply earmark the winners; the losers are mostly recognizable by the noise they make on the way out.
NOLA was a toe in the water for what's coming. And inasmuch as starvation and death-by-disease are primarily biological events, biology's going to be the main topic, right quick. That and the weather. Once people adjust to the scarcity of fuel, that is.
Submissive posture can easily translate into other things - like aggression against the non-alpha un-submissives, for example.
So it isn't just grooming them - you can also throw feces at the rednecks and niggers as the National Guard load them onto the trucks. That'll give you status with the alphas too.
Best of all would be creating postures of denial that enable a sense of fairness and humane propriety in the stock - so that the culling can remain invisible out on the margins, while the moral and decent assume the mantle of their election. God's will etc.

You are quite pessimistic, Juke, but you are right about what it comes down to if we don't do anything to stop the train. There are scenarios that have the population slow to a peak and be technologically maintainable (and sustainable). The problem is that there is precious little evidence that we are taking the threat seriously and making any substantial changes. Even then, there are likely to be some very large dieoffs along the way. Ones that make the 20th century wars and famines look tame by comparison.

The main problem I have with your theory, Juke, is that there is likely to be a lot more randomness in all of this. It won't really change the species or create a split. Other things can and will. Evolution follows use. First we learn to do new things with what we have, things that make our lives more sustainable, then maybe evolution will follow and support those behaviors.

The meme you are selling (we aren't in this together, which I guess is everyone for themselves) is exactly what fuels conflict, and disparate living conditions has a large effect on population. People have to feel safe and secure for the long term to have one or two kids per couple and make the demographic transition. If everyone doesn't get there, we still have a problem of differential population growth. We are in it together. We only have one planet to live on.

The idea of breeding better white people is bugfuck nuts! The genome itself is barely understood. The far less complicated genetic structure of plants, that was supposed to yield a locked-in intellectual property right on food, has been a flop. The companies are suing people whose crops have been contaminated -- i.e. shown that the frankenseeds can indeed cross pollinate.

Every group of humans, no matter how isolated it has been, can reproduce with members of other groups.

Social engineering and qualities noted in humans since the beginning of recorded history are sufficient to explain the ugly reactions of people as their neighbors are test runs for a cull.

Eugenics is pseudoscience. There is nothing to it. Past experiments along those lines have steadily concentrated truly awful recessives. And that is because success in the power games among humans is a social construct.

Today's submissive human can become tomorrow's dictator.

Ev Psych reasons backwards from an outcome, based on less sound premises than eugenics.

Looking for puppet masters directing the evolution of a herd is an intellectual dead end. Criminal conspiracies over time, the culture that creates and operant conditioning from early childhood are sufficient to explain our sorry condition.

"Best of all would be creating postures of denial that enable a sense of fairness and humane propriety in the stock - so that the culling can remain invisible out on the margins, while the moral and decent assume the mantle of their election. God's will etc." - I wonder if you took the biosphere as a whole if this is not true enough, the die off has certainly begun, if you take it species by species.

Thanks, Tutor, for evidence of a modicum of understanding.
Gerry- "The meme you are selling (we aren't in this together, which I guess is everyone for themselves) is exactly what fuels conflict"
No Gerry, what I'm trying to posit for people like TV is that their outrage, and the conscience that generates it, is bounded by something they aren't defining. The default expression is as you say, "we" "us", and that gets left vague enough it's easily co-opted, especially if no one's working the idea that the species itself is morphing to its environment. This is why evolutionary theory is so hot-button controversial, not because of the Bible, but because of the fact of it happening in ways we're trained not to recognize.
I'm not saying every man for himself, I'm saying the thing that Ealey is a threat to, with her aristocratic noblesse non-oblige is not synonymous with the whole wide human race. It's a kind of human a way of being human, and it isn't central, except to us, or what I think of as us.
Those guys recognize that and are working with it in greater or lesser specificity. Most of us are lost in this bananaland of "humans are all essentially the same", so that it's just a question of numbers more or less - far from it.
Abandoning the prisoners in New Orleans, and the uncounted crackheads and hustlers in the flooded streets, is just cleaning house; and it's only the beginning.
My point is that the people at the bottom of the pile are there because the system is unhuman, geared to reward specific types and eliminate others.
Losers in this context aren't necesarily going to be losers in a more human, balanced, life-positive context. So dropping the losers is anti-eugenic - in this context.
But winning by the system's rules means you get to say what's human and what's not. And who's a loser.
That's morality, too, as it's now configured. Right and wrong fit the winners like a bespoke suit.
Harry you want to see me as a champion of eugenics, and you reply to what I say as though I am, and I'm tired of trying to demonstrate how fallacious that is. You're arguing with someone else entirely.
If anything what I'm saying is there's already a eugenics in operation, here and now - call it soft eugenics - but like any of those other half-baked schemes it has as its valence the essence of the instigators. Not so much racial now as behavioral, though its roots are racial.
Formal eugenics, whether Aryan or Semitic or Polynesian or Sino-Nipponese, will have at its core a reflection of the enforcers' ideal of themselves. The template is solipsistic.
The one we're too deep in to see is, too, but it's all blurry and indistinct from inside. Everybody has a sense of what "normal" "regular" "human" mean.
What I'm saying is that meaning has shifted over time as we've entered and submitted to the selection processes of the human-controlled environment, and we've been trained to not see it for what it is. Eugenic in effect.
Marriage laws are eugenic in intent and effect, the Ten Commandments are eugenic, the penal codes, the FCC's standards on obscenity, the drug laws, are intellectually eugenic - in that they exclude some people and behaviors, and strengthen others; and over time they shape what we are.
Specific kinds of people have been removed from the system for long enough now they're pretty much gone from the genome, or so marginalized only the dimmest glimmer of their genes shines through.
The Bushmen of the Kalahari are current victims of the kind of soft eugenics I'm talking about, right now.
Exactly the opposite motive you ascribe to me, Harry - what I'm railing against is human-controlled evolutionary selection. The farmed populace.
You live in the middle of that plantation, as we all do now, and you seem to be mostly agitating for a new overseer.
I want the whole damn thing changed.

Harry you want to see me as a champion of eugenics, and you reply to what I say as though I am, and I'm tired of trying to demonstrate how fallacious that is. You're arguing with someone else entirely.

I emphatically DO NOT see you that way. Jesus fucking Christ, how many times do I have to make it clear that I do not see you that way?!?! You persistenly use the eugenics methaphors, however, in a way that obscures your points past any hope of comprehension. Other commenters here have remarked on it too, and other times have mistaken you for a champion of social darwinism. But I do know that you are neither.

What's more, when you hint at directed breeding, with a conscious agency directing it, I don't whether you're using methaphors or whether you're serious. Your style of writing is very frustrating, Juke. You've explained your reasons for it, but I don't understand them either.

How about this? Imagine a society with "designer genes," branded and sold to parents. You can dial in your kids gender, IQ, height, weight, eye color, dick or breast size. Imagine this population of consumers heavily propagandized by those who own the genome and also own, or sit on the boards of the Fortune 100, and pass in and out of government posiitons, and in and out of the boards of the most prominent educational institutions, civic organizations, cultural organizations and charities.

Now imagine the choices made.

Is that not soft eugenics?

It's still the stuff of science fiction, Tutor. What isn't science fiction is the ambition of our crackpot overlords to create targeted diseases (and I know Juke is at least as appalled by that as I) -- they're quite forthcoming about that in the infamous PNAC letter -- attempt some wild breeding schemes, with disastrous consequences, and continue their intellectual property right enclosure program on a variety of genomes.

Well on the positive tip, and backing way way off from the nuts and bolts of it - what I want is to get the scary truth up. That the big complacent middle of things isn't there anymore, not really. That when somebody says something about someone's conscience, I want to get it clear that there's nothing permanently universal about having a conscience as it is now understood to be configured.
The idea being that what's there is much more tenuous than we think, and it needs defending, accurate stalwart defending.
There's always a common denominator.
The common denominator will always think of itself as central and purposive - "normal".
Humans are as moldable as any other animal, given enough time and environmental control. It isn't a question of whether or not - it's by who or what.
I'm not saying consciences are all relative and abstractable into meaninglessness, I'm not saying life is a struggle so losers have no complaint.
I'm not sure exactly what I'm saying but that's not it.
It's closer to "Hey! What's that sound?"
Tutor's posit, minus the patents and conscious intent is pretty much WASP reality in the 19th and 20th centuries.
I'm glad to be able to cop to paranoia vis. accusations of mad Darwinism - thanks for the clarification Harry. It's a sketchy subject and people knee-jerk on it too easily, as do I.
Kesey warned of the dangers of emphasizing the population explosion numbers, that it would fuel a response that would move toward the expendable, and that "we" - the gadflies, artists, fools, freaks, and weirdos - would be the first to be expended upon given the norm of the time.
Jesus too, if you think of it in Darwinian terms. When the culture/society/economy whatever is inhuman unjust etc. - then the bottom of it needs aid and rescue, because they are bearing the brunt of that inhumanity and injustice. It isn't just compassion - it's a healthy correction to the diseases of power.
The urgency and intensity comes from exponentiating population numbers smashing against limited reservoirs of resources.
But that's because of how we live, what our values have become, what we think of as "normal" and "right".
Our consciences come out of that too.

Kesey was right. That kind of warning either generates excuses for sorting out who is worthy, or it brings a dismissive accusation of neomalthusianism (is that a word?). Also, it took me a while to understand that you are exploring, not preaching, when you discuss things in terms of ecosystems. I misjudged you on that once.

When the culture/society/economy whatever is inhuman unjust etc. - then the bottom of it needs aid and rescue, because they are bearing the brunt of that inhumanity and injustice. It isn't just compassion - it's a healthy correction to the diseases of power.

With that, I am in full agreement; compassion, rebalancing, justice.

Nietzche, unfortunately, comes into this as well, with his attack on the herd mentality of Christianity. Clearly, received wisdom, morals, conscience, can be molded. That is what emergence means in the era of propaganda, PR, spin and marketing. That is why we have Think Tanks. Nietzsche was digusted by the soft compassionate "last man" in the endless age of peace. He preferred war and warrior, the nobler virtues of those who can grind the inferior with womanish feeligs of guilt or regret. The overman is hard. Strauss kindles to that too.

Given all that, don't we have to make our voices heard to preserve a more civilized view?

In the lines I quote endlessly Pindar compares virtue to a vine tree that must be cultivated, pruned, and staked up, lest it wither. Virtue can indeed be mutated, or killed. Our job is not to claim that it is universal, or given by God, or built into the genome, or fated, or given by evolution, simply to preserve simple human decency by word and deed. All such prophecies about social evolution have an element of the self-fulfilling in them. We will the future into being through our conjoint actions, and failures, and course corrections. We know how powerless we are, but we also know 5-10 others who feel as we do and we can organize to that degree, in a fractal structure, blogroll or group by blogroll or group.

We can do this and should independent of any calculation of odds of success. Isn't that what having principles means?

A report of looting:

"'You Klistians are all big thieves -- you steal this, you steal that, you steal all the time. Oh I know you don't creep into THomas Olo's hut and steal his new radio set, but you are thieves all the same. Worse thieves than that. You see a man who lives with one wife and doesn't beat her and looks after her when she gets a bad pain from the medicines at the hospital, and you say that's Klistian Love. You go to the courthouse and hear a good judge, who says to the piccin that stole sugar from the white man's cupboard. "You're a very sorry piccin, I not punish you," and you say that's Klistian mercy. But you are a mighty big thief when you say that -- for you steal this man's love and that man's mercy."

Yeah! And then the thieves complain about the forced beneficence of the welfare state.

The figure of the aid recipient occupies the same place in the ideology of Ordered Liberty as the Jew does in anti-Semitism; i.e., the aid recipient and the "corrupt" mechanism of delivery that serves him is not the cause or structure of social antagonism, but fills in the gap created by the ideological contradictions that cause the social antagnism - the contradictions that prevent the proponents of Ordered Liberty from realizing the harmonious totality of their social vision: the conception of liberty and order as "complementary" values in whose mutual absence liberty becomes license and order becomes oppression.

The problem is that the law which provides the organizing principle of Ordered Liberty relies on its own transgession for its strength - it sustains, not eliminates "license." That is why, for instance, the conservative can delight in knavery and coldness, because real purpose of the law is to define an environment in which order can be trangressed, providing enjoyment - for instance, the delight in the wicked cruelty of proposing that we "stop the aid, now!", which is, in practical effect, a call to murder.

The aid recipient is merely a stand-in who provides the target area for this primordial release. The complement of order is license, and license is given the name, in this case, "voluntary association." The poor only exist to serve as the mask of this antagonism, the scapegoat in the play in which order encounters the travesty of its foundational instabilities.

Forced famines are passive aggressive, and beneath the dignity of a true conservative. The hand wringing over possible misuses of the aid money demonstrates a lack of conviction. One of the things I hate about working in the tank is the politically correct coyness. What we need are straightforward calls for population reduction. In this much, at least, I am with the more sober environmentalists.

Klaus, is that Klistian passage Grahm Greene? Strong stuff. I may borrow and adapt some of your riffs, since I could not do work of that calibre on my own. Thanks.

yeah, that's part of a longer passage in A Burnt Out Case, which is probably a colloquial restatement of a less well-remembered dialectic from somewhere in the Catholic canon. The other bit is reworked Zizek.

Thanks, Klaus, now it is reworked Klaus. Thus the ownership society is confounded.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)