Friday, October 31, 2003

Masked and Anonymous.

I just saw Masked and Anonymous at the theater. I have to say that it's a very good film, but it's utterly shocking and disturbing.

Maybe that's what we need right now.

The film itself is obviously shot as a type of surreal or magical realistic drama which doesn't expect to be taken as a straight, narrative, dramatic film. This is a good thing, but I can forsee a nation of film critics simply not getting it. So don't let a bad review scare you off.

With that said, it's uncofortability is probably justified; Masked and Anonymous is trying for something new in cinema, it's trying to go beyond the fashionable trends of philosophy and social thought and come up with something truly unique which stands apart from all of those buttresses. But in order to do that there's a whole lot of baggage that you need to cut through, a whole lot of bullshit that has to be justifiably sacrificed on the pyre of truth before that new presentation can come to light.

I thought that it might happen like this; no, ugliness is neccesary because the forces that have been keeping American culture in stasis for so many years are very ugly in themselves when you actually look at how they function in obliterating any chances for change, as opposed to exaining how they present themselves to the world.

The actors involved in Masked and Anonymous obviously chose to be part of it because they understood the script and what it was getting at, and I applaud them for it, because the film itself is risky, very, very, risky. These guys are literally risking their careers because the things that Dylan skewers in the movie could very well be interpreted, by those who don't 'get' the film or who only see snippets, or who only hear about it from their friends, as racist and xenophobic.

It's not. I can't emphasize how much this is not the case; the film makers do walk that line, but they do so purposely, and they handle it pretty well. In the end it's revealed that that's not so, but they create enough ambiguity that you the viewer have to come to some sort of reckoning yourself about the issues that the film raises before the real point of it is revealed.

After all is said and done, the audience itself is the party who is really 'Masked and Anonymous'.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Would you prefer that two would be dictators compete for the national preference, and place your hope of change on them, or that fifty states
with their own political cultures decide their own policy through their legislatures, and that the federal government only comes into play for trans-state affairs, and that the executive is demoted in power significantly, to the benefit of Congress, which will only be empowered to decide trans-state issues and not issues of basic affairs, although the bill of rights provides a floor for agreement within which space thus created all states would have to locate themselves.?

Jacksonian democracy, ha ha ha

Oh, the joys of history.....I've come across the argument that because the states were governed by their own establishments that Jackson's usurptation of the power of statehood, based on his election to the presidency by the popular vote, was a good idea which made the country more democratic. In your dreams!

I guess you could put it this way: which would you prefer, to deal with 50 state political machines which operate on the local level, or one giant, gargantuan, political machine, where you don't even have the influence you'd get from the previous system, but where you have a vote every four years which will supposedly translate your will into national policy?

We've seen how that worked out.

It's the Bonaparte notion of democracy: Democracy by Plebiscite, wherein the strong man get's his patina of legitamacy by the yea or nea vote of the people he rules over on key issues.

I'd rather deal with my own corrupt legislature regarding things happening in my own state then to have to fight in the national behemoth for my view and my problems to get addressed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Why politics sucks sometimes.

I just got an e-mail from People for the American Way which urged me to call my Senators and ask them to oppose a vote which would have ended discussion of Judge Pickering's nomination and prompted a yea of neigh vote.

As a politically conscious person I gave it some thought. After all, despite the apparent stasis in politics, it's going to be the endless, small, chipping away at the problem which eventually will break through and make politics more hospitable to people on the left.

However, and here is where the part about politics sucking comes in, I thought about it for a second, or a minute, and then decided that to call my senators and ask them to do this would be a bad thing.

I don't live in either Mississippi, Louisiana, or Texas, so Judge Pickering would not be in my jurisdiction; moreover, while Pickering may have conservative viewpoints, aren't Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas for the most part conservative as well? Isn't he, then, representing what people actually believe in the parts of the country in which he'll have jurisdicition?

It's a question of representation and democracy. It would be undemocratic of me, a northerner and a person who doesn't live in the effected area, to call and demand my senators to block a vote concerning a person who's record really isn't any concern of mine.

If he was nominated in another region of the country I might have some sort of a problem with it, but, honestly, the lengths to which some of the liberal watchdog groups have gone to to demonize him is astounding.

For instance, PFAW includes in it's list of things damning Pickering that he's a lifetime resident of Mississippi. Well, to lay it out, isn't it a good thing for a judge who'll be handling cases from Mississippi and the South to actually have been born and to have lived in the area? Or would they prefer a person from Massachusets to take a seat on the bench in Mississippi.

It also lists, damningly, that he's been a past president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, I believe. Again, considering that Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas are very religious states and that the Southern Baptists are one of the largest denominations down there I fail to see how having a person who's religious background is similar to those who he'll be representing is a bad thing.

Would they rather the post be filled by a Unitarian from Boston?

If politics and democracy in this country is ever going to get back on track we're going to have to pull away from this fake notion that anyone anywhere has a right to comment on and to interfere with political controversies going on in states and regions other than our own. Maybe comment on, sure, but not get involved in. Having a conception of liberal politics as being a little bird that flies around the country getting in everyone's ears that it doesn't agree with is a cop out and it's a trend which is harming the reputation of liberalism and liberal issue groups.

And, I suppose, if you did call up your senator from Minnesota or wherever, and he was a Republican, and he asked, after you give your spiel, why he should care, you'd get a blank silence..... It's not a good thing when the conservatives can appeal to democratic principles against the liberals and win the debate pro forma without the principles which the issue revolves around even being mentioned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Let me get this straight.

Every once and a while I run into some republican ideas on the web, and the encounter is always illuminating.

From what I've seen, it seems as though they believe that I: Freedom of speech isn't being hurt by all this post 9/11 hysteria and II: that 9/11 has proven the bankruptcy of liberalism, therefore liberalism is fair game for anyone with a loud mouth and political pull who wants to silence scientists, musicians, writers, politicians, etc.. who have liberal views.

Funny, I was thinking about where I'd heard a statement paralell to that, that we should all just get down and genuflect at the alter of conservatism because a national tradgedy has 'proved' it's invalidity.

And then it dawned on me. Hitler said something very close to that after taking power from the Weimar government.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Solutions and progress.

I feel very strongly that progress, true progress, can only be accomplished if the trajectory of social strife which the U.S. is on is averted. There's a difference, in my opinion, between sheer change and progress. Change, and social chaos, are the products of basic social needs being unmet; that's not the same as someone doing something because they feel it will advance society, be something new and creative, etc...

We're having a lot of social chaos now and we're not having all that much progress.

The only way to get out of this mess is to reestablish democracy in this country, get Bush and his fascist administration out of office and out of our lives, and establish social democracy as well as political democracy.

The norm for society, I believe, is not constant revolution but more conservative change. This norm will be restored once social and political democracy are reestablished, and from there true social progress will become possible.

But wearing down people and then putting your boot on them is just asking for an eruption which, if it's motivated not by a will to restore things to a natural order but instead comes from the same social chaos which makes true progress impossible, will destroy society in the process of it's venting of grievances.

Progress is used very loosely here; I personally believe that "Progress", in it's conventional usage, only came around once "Modernity" started. Once the traditional basis of society was torn up by capitalism, the ensuing vacuum led to a revolutionary moment alternating with moments of alienation not seen before, alternating with revolution, alternating with alientation, ad infinitum. But I do believe that society can change, develop, and get better within what I'd loosely refer to as the framework of a 'traditional' society.

Anything that's worth doing, in my opinion, whether it's women's rights, gay rights, civil rights, etc... is worth doing in a traditional, non-capitalist, framework.

It'd be more meaningful that way.

But, to get back to the main point, the U.S. is probably an extreme case of a society without any moorings destroying itself, only in our situation the forces are there to establish equilibrium and get our moorings, to naturally adjust to our situation and move to something stable and better, but capitalism won't let it happen.

We're not doomed because we started out as a colonial state, but unless we establish the right for real self-determination apart from any economic system we're going to fight until we kill each other and/or make ourselves into a proto-fascist third world country while the upper classes just sit back and laugh.

Friday, October 24, 2003

The managers, or, how progressive change in America is possible.

The phenomenon of the managers, no matter how vile their function, is one of the only things which makes progressive change possible in the United States. Or, rather, it's because they make up a rotten cog in the system of social control that change is possible.

Who are the managers?

The managers are the people who get on talk radio, who get on TV in places like Fox News, who write columns in working class oriented magazines, who try to set themselves up as opinion makers---always supporting the conservative line no matter what administration.

They're the people who actually cause the working class to fall in line around reactionary measures; they're the people who tell working class people what to think, and who imply that to disagree with their ideas means to be a traitor to your class or community.

And they don't really represent the working class as a whole.

Instead, this management of opinion gives the impression that the working class is really for these positions to a much higher degree than they actually are. But the managers are vulnerable.

Progressive change will happen in this country when the managers are circumvented and working class people can get the news and information about what's happening out there without feeling that taking a stand on the issues is being disloyal or selling out. And I think that that's on the verge of happening.

Which makes stations like Fox News nervous, because they know in their hard little hearts that most of the people on there are hypocrites and opportunists, and that without the patina of authenticity which they desperately try to maintain that their goose is cooked.

But the large, very large, untapped potential of people who have been unneccesarily polarized by class issues against liberal doctrine since the Reagan years makes the very progressive change which Fox news was created to stop possible and even likely if things keep on as they have.

There can be no other way; if this were not so, progressive politics in the United States would be dead, because you can't have a mass movement without the working classes being a part of it. If you tried that you'd be depending on the sliver of radicalized middle class people who can never be representative of society at large.

Indeed, no democratic movement at all would be possible if the appearance of the working classes being totally against progressive change was a true reflection of the state of things.

But it ain't neccesarily so, as the song goes, it ain't neccesarily so, the things that they're preachin' and what others are teachin' it ain't neccesarily so.

Once the system of the managers breaks down there's going to be a huge influx of people interested in progressive change. It might look like they came out of nowhere, but look a little deeper and it'll come out that they were always there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Land Reform, precedents, the United States.

I say that we need Land Reform because it's a political option that hasn't been on the table here that needs to be.

We might say that our conceptions of liberty have something to do with the ideologies floating around England in the wake of the Civil War and Glorious Revolution in the 17th century, but our conceptions of property weren't established by those acts.

In reality, and in England itself I'm sure this is recognized, the events of the 17th century created liberty for the aristocracy against the monarchy, but had little actual impact on the daily lives of the farmers and tradesmen who fought in it. The reason why people in the United States could see it as a precursor to the American revolution was that over here, it was thought, there was enough land and opportunity so that the conceptions of liberty coined by aristocrats in the conflict could have some applicability in the real world.

This is different than saying that the event had, in miniature, prefigured everything in the modern world. It was somewhat assumed that the land question would take care of itself, but the classic example of a modern system of land reform happened a few years after the American Revolution, in the French one.

Indeed, this is why conservatives hate the French Revolution so much, because during it they gave the land to the peasants who actually farmed it, breaking up large feudal estates in the process.

When you admit the French Revolution as an example of the Bourgeois system of land ownership, not even talking about socialism here, being established, you knock down many obstacles to thinking about the viability of redistribution in general.

After all, the leaders of the French Revolution weren't socialists but pseudo-capitalist ideologues. The French Revolution set the stage for capitalism in France, which had previously been a strong hold of medievalism and non-capitalist planning. So if it's admissable that land reform can happen with the effect of making Capitalism itself more viable.....then why should we admit the inviolability of the current conceptions of property rights themselves? Shouldn't they be recognized as being movable, alterable, and that such alteration would not neccesarily lead to tyranny but instead could very well lead to a more just system by the prevailing standards used to judge such a system of the day?

If Land Reform can help capitalism become more capitalistic, then why is the concept dismissed in the capitalist society of the United States? And if Land Reform is admitted to be potentially good in general, then why can't the concept be applied more generally to other situations?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Interesting things about Land Reform.

We need Land Reform in the U.S.

That's the short of it.

The long of it is to come.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

I should also add that this new conception of America has to be balanced with, and can easily accomodate, the contribution of Ethnic Americans to the mix in order for it to be a full and complete, representative order of our society.
So the primeval pure state which the country folk imagined existed prior to the creation of the British monarchy was realized, basicly, so the question became "What do we do now?", which wasn't considered much beforehand.
Another way to look at it is that the Jacksonian period was the result of a peasant society suddenly getting control over itself and no longer being able to use the political vocabulary and think in the same terms about power and class conflict which it's members had probably used and thought of for generations.

The reality of American intellectual life, at least prior to the second World War, was that a great deal of it was really the evolution of pre-modern concepts of self and society, which had a semblance to what philosophers in Europe were doing, without really being the real thing, so to speak.

The Transcendentalists, for example, were not, or could easily be considered not be, true parallels to the Romantic movements in Germany, France, and Britain because unlike many of the people producing the work over there, the Americans got to the Transcendentalist point of view because they were the literal descendents of radical Puritans.

The Puritans may have set the stage for British liberalism, but they weren't British liberals themselves--they were a pre-modern religious community which expressed themselves in a sort of theocratic---rennaisance influenced vocabulary.

The Transcendentalists, for the most part, were children of Congregationalists (The Puritan Church itself in New England) or of the Unitarians (the main schismatic denomination within American Puritanism), and so grew up with a way of looking at the world which was either theocratic or the remnants of a theocratic system which had been partially reformed. I don't think they were Deists, as the Founding Fathers of the country famously were, since Deists would most likely not appreciate Ralph Waldo Emerson's license in interpreting the meaning of human life, for example.

After the Transcendentalists came the Pragmatists and Instrumentalists. Again, it could be argued that they took their character from the largely premodern cast of American society, rather than from pure deduction. Indeed, John Dewey argued about the supposed destiny of America and it's unique character as both a frontier state and a state unblotted by European conservatism in terms which would make people today blush.

We should take what we can from that era, while recognizing that there are parts of it which should be either transformed or buried permanently.

Prospects for America in light of American history.

It has some. No, that's no the whole post.

OK, American prospects. We're faced neither with Apocalypse or nihilistic nothingness, although it might seem like it. American politics and American culture have been hard to gauge since they departed from European politics and culture very early on, but it's still possible to reconstruct some of the themes and transformations that took place and locate how their enduring influence shapes present day society.

The first feature might be called the American departure from dialectic, or, rather, the American departure from the commonly acknowledged European dialectic of 19th century history.

Things follow through pretty well from the ratification of the constitution down to the Jeffersonian Republicans' days, but get off the tracks with the presidency of Andrew Jackson, which inaugurated a long period which was defined less by right and left than by other internal issues, punctuated by the Civil War of course.

I think that with the beginning of the Jacksonian period after the war of 1812 that the absence of a tradition from which to rebel against caused American concepts of progress and conservatism to become mixed together in a way which caused the process of the settling of the United States to become more important to American thought than the classical ideologies of Europe. Partly this was a quest for self definition as a new people, without tradition. On this count some progress was made. Partly it was a reckoning with the elements which citizens, formerly colonists, now faced permanently.

A fundemental feature of the new thought was a strange mixture of what would be called mystical or irrational or romantic thought with hyper-rational, inventive, mechanical, and technologically oriented thought.

So, for example, the Library of Congress building in Washington D.C. immortalizes the U.S. as being given a 'destiny' to fulfill the promise of the liberal arts and practical sciences, a promise not fully given a chance in Europe.

To risk really oversimplifying, as this jumps over a hundred years into the future, this blend of rationalism and irrationalism in American life persisted until after the end of the Second World War, when it was noticed that this type of thinking had some common features with Fascism, and was now looked down upon.

Instead came the highly conservative and rationalistic regime in American thought which followed the Second World War. It was rebelled against by students, but made a comeback in the eighties, and now contributes to the feeling that the U.S. is between a rock and a hard place: either accept the facile reasoning of U.S. officials, believe in Apocalyptic rhetoric from the Christian Right, or be trapped in neither category and have no idea what to do or what's really going on.

What's going on, in my opinion, stems in part from the denial of legitamate, abstract, conceptions of the world which the regime which took over following World War II imposed, and which the activists of the sixties and seventies weren't even fully able to attack head on.

We live in a false dilemma. The rationalistic clamp down may hay helped U.S. culture in that it did put an end to some of the more dangerous attitudes about the character of the U.S., but it did so at the expense of chopping off an arm in order to cure a broken finger.
The mixture of reasoning and metaphysical thought which has characterized American society can't be held back forever, and indeed does not need to be. By reappropriating views and ways of thinking about ourselves which existed prior to World War II we can present a full and balanced figure of America which is rooted in it's traditions as well as relevant to todays' age and problems.

There's nothing particularly fascistic in that, if it's done right. It should be noted that there's a difference between decadent political ideas and ideas about self and society taken up because of a cultural vacuum. One is decay, while the other is undifferentiated searching.
I don't advocate resurrecting rhetoric talking about mystical destinies and the like, but, within the context of a limited conception of ourselves which doesn't partake of such fantasies, a return to and a reckoning with the rational/metaphysical heritage of U.S. self-regarding culture can be the source for a balanced view of ourselves and our relations to the world.

Also a fun one.

Both technology and metaphysics depart into the dark world of the unknown, beyond human comprehension, and the good man will take that as an existential sign of his place in the scheme of things.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Where we should be, where we are.

We're at an impasse, we should be a country which has an idea of itself and of all it's permutations. Instead, we have obscurantism and delusion.

I don't know, I feel woefully out of touch with things. I try to get nearer to truth, but I'm not the thing that's running American policy.

Anyways, can even a basic academic standard of inquiry be kept up in these times? We shall see.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Which version of America do we want?

I think that the coming confrontation, which I can just feel brewing, between pro-Bush and pro-Administration people and anti-Bush and anti-administration people is a sort of replay, or maybe another example, of the perenial American question, the question that's been with us since our founding: What should America be? Should America be the country composed of a commonwealth of communities, confederated and acting for the general good by means of state, local, and some federal government when needed, or should America be the country where big business dominates over local concerns, and where only firms that have regional and national power, and international, and their representatives, deserve a place at the table of government.

This contest has been going on since the federalists expounded on the need for such a corporatist government in the Federalist Papers, the propaganda justification for the new Constitution, which had yet to be sufficiently ratified to come into force. The Anti-Federalists, excuse me, I mean the people who really fought the American revolution and wanted American freedom from the domination by state and corporate power, quickly moved to oppose it in an organized fashion, and their action became the source for the division of U.S. citizens between a Democratic and a Federalist party.

We're confronted with the basic question yet again: What is America? Is America the world which George W. Bush and his cronies come from, the world of prep-schools, power politics, and corporate appointments? Or is America made up of the real people who live in this land and make it their home? Is it made up of what the national media say it is, or is made up of the people you live next to and the towns you inhabit?

If you say the latter, then the foreign policy issues that Bush and company have brought up to justify war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan and war everywhere else, just don't matter, because the source, the people who have the economic and political power in this country and who want to keep it, is already corrupted. It's like, or, hell it IS, Enron executives saying that they need to keep on running California's energy supply because only THEY can protect it from terrorist attacks, which THEY say are really, really, likely to happen. If that was actually put out there you'd say that the Enron execs were lying liars, lying through their teeth, lying to keep themselves in the money and to keep attention away from what they're really doing.

The Bush administration has no more credibility than Enron, and in fact probably has a lot worse. So the scare tactics that they put out there have no validity. You can make that assumption until, in the extraordinarily unlikely event, they actually produce some evidence. No, the issue that's important for America right now is not foreign policy, it's the Administrations actions here and how the administrations actions in the world are causing suffering there.

The issue is between people who believe that a corporatist model of government is correct, who believe that this corporation run government has the authority to run over and occupy any country that it thinks it can make a buck out of in the name of a democracy which they don't believe in themselves, and people who want the rest of the world to take care of it's own business and want accountability here and now in our own country.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Vietnam and Iraq.

Reading Noam Chomsky's depiction of the situation of Vietnam, towards the end of the war, in the seventies, in the second essay of his newly reissued book "Problems of Knowledge and Freedom" was a blast from the past.

It reminded me of a set of attitudes that I haven't known since childhood; which my parents shared and which many people in the community in which I grew up shared.

That feeling, those attitudes, could be described as the liberal response to Vietnam in the late seventies and early eighties, or more accurately the liberal re-reckoning of life in light of the lessons of the Vietnam war in the late seventies and early eighties, before Reaganite conservatism crushed it as a force in public life.

That attitude consisted of a profound understanding of the natural limits to power and to human striving for domination. It didn't condemn the soldiers who fought, but it condemned the cause that they were drafted for as being fundamentally immoral and wrong. It suggested a large relaxing of human ambition for a while, including nuclear disarmament and not building any nuclear power plants, and instead focussing on the simpler parts of life, the more natural, in tune with the earth and with humanity parts of life.

I think that that attitude is right. I think that it's the correct response to the tradgedy of the Vietnam war, which followed from the imperial ambitions of the United States coming out of a World War which massacred millions and introduced the most lethal form of weaponry known to man. This conception of things sees Vietnam as a lesson learned; not to be fought over with your neighbors but appreciated collectively as a scar on the body politic and on our history, which hurt many of our neighbors personally.

We can all get along, or we could all get along, until the Reagan Revolution came to town. Reagan made it popular to pretend that white was black and true was false, and that there were no lessons to be learned from Vietnam because we shouldn't have lost it. This entrance into total fabrication as policy detracted from the real issues. Reality couldn't compete with a talk show presidency.

So after Reagan came Bush, who moderated things but didn't change Reagan's basic theme of obfuscation and lies about the immediate past. The Berlin wall fell while he was president, but that didn't translate out into what it should have.


Instead the Soviet Union fell with narry a voice of Vietnam protest mentality there to give their view on the significance of the end of the Soviet Union. At least in the mainstream media. And the Gulf War happened.

But more importantly, Bill Clinton happened, and, amazingly, he kept the spector of Vietnam off the political scene for eight years, acting on a tacit agreement with liberals that he would tolerate a revival of liberalism if they didn't push him too hard on things like this.

And then Clinton ended, but our reliance on imaginary history allowed George W. Bush to steal the election. And....well, a lot of things happened, but now we find ourselves in another war in Iraq and we don't know what to do about it.


People are wondering if this will be "Another Vietnam".
My advice to those people is that Vietnam never ended. The current situation in Iraq is a direct outgrowth of the unwillingness of the administration, along with the previous twenty some years of administrations, to face the truth about Vietnam, and of the media's spinelessness in not coming clean as well but instead cow-towing to the White House for two decades of conservative mis-rule.

The thing that we need to get America back on track has been there for years and years; yet in our hubris to deny history and instead indulge in feel-good fantasies about the way things should have been we've turned a blind eye to it and in some cases let it rot on the vine.

I say harvest it. And let it be a harvest of peace and tolerance.
It's long overdue.

Ah, notes. The last paragraph should have said modal median instead of modal mean. The mean, of course, is the average.

What I was trying to get at, however imperfectly, down in the previous post, is that, in my opinion, it's not an issue of high standard vs. low standards in writing and the writing that flows from them but instead a question of different modes of writing and how the environment makes certain modes of writing acceptable and wanted while discouraging other modes.

When I say modes, what I mean is different types of writing. The idea that there are high standards, and then there are low standards, and that all you have to do to change your writing style from one based on low standards to high standards is to tighten it up a little bit is totally wrong in my opinion. What high standards really mean is a different method of writing. I think that there are a few different types of writing out there which run the gamut from those produced where there are low standards to those produced when there are high standards, and that the bad writing which, as a consequence, produces plagiarism, is the product of a bad mode of writing being tolerated, not low standards per se.

In my experience, the modal arrangement of writing starts with that writing which is done totally from ones immediate consciousness and recedes backwards towards writing which depends less and less on the immediate consciousness of the writer and more and more on the thoughts and research done by the writer outside of the writing experience proper.

The best writing is a consequence of research and analysis, not the beginning of it, while the worst writing is that which thinks that the contents of one's mind at the moment of writing are sufficient to supply a meaningful argument with no other preparation required.

It's the types of writing which are more off the cuff which lead to plagiarism, because it's that mode of writing which is least conscious of what it's doing and most likely to include writings and thoughts from other people taken at the spur of the moment and justify their inclusion because they 'fit', let us say, rather than that they're good sources.

The problem isn't so much maliciousness, although other types of plagiarism surely are the result of that, as it is utter unconsciousness that what you're doing is really wrong, stemming from a belief that what you're doing really isn't serious and so shouldn't be measured by the standards that other types of writing are measured by.

But if you present your work as having any sort of pretension towards being something which another person could benefit from having read you automatically take your work out of the realm of pure personal indulgence and into that realm where considerations of seriousness do indeed matter and people should indeed be judged by some objective set of standards about how it is they're doing their writing, including motivation and construction.

So maybe there's a modal mean out there that should be used to evaluate all writing which wants to be published?

I don't know, but it certainly could be justified in a time when flaming Freudian orality is taken as being serious journalism and research.

Alexander Cockburn: Kay's Misleading Report

This time I am actually responding to a Counterpunch article. I love the CP website, by the way. This article contains within it a discussion of Allan Dershowitz's plagiarism in an article discussing Israel and anti-semitism.

Mr. Dershowitz is no friend of mine. To potentially take away from the main topic of this article, I have to repeat something that I heard Mr. Dershowitz say with my own ears.

It was a few days after September 11th. The electricity at my house had gone out. Luckily, I had a Bay-Gen wind up shortwave radio/light source. So, with flashlights handy I surfed the shortwave stations to see what was up.

I found Dershowitz on a right wing Christian radio station. Initially pleased, my mood swiftly turned to disbelief and anger. Dershowitz was expounding on what changes might have to be made in the U.S. following 9/11. He said, and trust me I would get the damn quote if I needed to, that we might have to bring Israeli style assasination squads and pre-emptively kill people who we suspected of plotting terrorist acts. He then said that he didn't see a constitutional problem with that.

Thank you Mr. Dershowitz for your great vote of confidence in human rights and due process in the United States.

But the thing I want to write about today is the origin of bad writing, which is also the origin of plagiarism since a breezy plagiarism is more likely a result of a greater problem than it is just an isolated incident. This, of course, omits non-breezy, i.e. deliberate and calculated, plagiarism designed to trick whoever it is reading it into thinking that it's better than it actually is.

No, the plagiarism I'm talking about is done during writing which flows along like a rambling drunk two sheets to the wind.

You can find this sort of writing many places, including lately in the right wing section of the politics isle in your local bookstore.

Where I think this bad writing comes from has to do with motivation and character.

I think that it's not so much the writer as it is the expectations which are connected to the particular mode of writing which lead to bad writing and also to plagiarism as a side effect of bad writing.

When expectations are low, writing is allowed to just breeze along. The biggest thing, though, that creates low expectations is having your subject be one that the doyens of media agree with. In other words, those going with the flow of public opinion are those who have the lowest standards applied to them, while, conversely, those flying against it have the highest standards applied.

Writing for the choir of informed opinion creates a lax environment where there isn't any incentive to be accurate, because you know that they won't check up on you anyways.

So, for example, back when the Cold War was raging Irving Howe and a few other sort of mid range critics of Communism edited a book of analyses of Yugoslavia, and they started off their discussion by saying that Communists are totally theory bound......and they spent the entire book looking at the statements put out by the Yugoslav Communist party and didn't present actual stats or objective data about life in Yugoslavia once.

They were allowed to get away with this because they swam with the current.

Part of the reason for the academic environment, I believe, is to raise discourse to a level where many of the temptations towards swimming with the flow and getting a free ride from it are reduced.

See the pyramids, along the nile,
see the sunrise on a tropic isle,
Just remember honey, all the while,
You belong to me.

See the marketplace in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souveniers
Just remember, when a dream appears
You belong to me.

I'll be so alone, without you
And I that honey you might be just a little bit lonesome too, and blue.

Fly that ocean in your silver plane,
See the jungles when they're wet with rain,
Just remember till you're home again, you belong to me.


That's an old song....Oh, the previous post didn't have anything to do with the Counterpunch article it was linked to, by the way, I just happened to have been reading it when I posted.

But the lyrics above are interesting. The recording I have of the song is done by Jerry Lee Lewis, and it comes off not as being sexist or heavy handed but instead as being somewhat pathetic and alchoholic.

Maybe Bush needs to learn some of that ethic. I mean, Lewis is singing it like an alchoholic that's hit rock bottom and now is willing to grasp at any straw to retain some dignity, and is now going home, or is preparing to go home. That's what Bush needs to learn. That sometimes it's just enough to pack it in, say brother I've seen the light, and go home.


Thursday, October 09, 2003

CounterPunch: edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
Interesting front page article.

But, in analyzing what the problem is with America, I have come to a tentative insight: Most people still believe that you can just lay back, that there aren't any substantive issues left to fight over, that anything that's worth being done is in the past, and that there are no interested parties in the media or in government who would place their own agendas over those which they're supposedly bound to act by.

It's a strange notion, because I've been active for a long time, and so this stuff doesn't really hit me as being new, but really, there are a lot of people out there who are going down a hermeneutical dead end because they accept that a passive attitude towards things will guarantee a decent country, society, world, etc...

Common sense has shifted to cynicism and degeneration. Once the outsiders were cynical and the insiders were boundlessly happy, now the insiders are cynical and only the outsiders have some sense of hope.

This is a trend that had been going on for a while, but it was accelerated by the end of the Cold War. Before then the ideological currents provided good cover for the real business going on. After it, well, business kept going on but had to manifest itself in more public ways. Couldn't hide behind anti-communism.

And sooner or later the reality of what business wants and the way this country is run was bound to run into the idea that people had and have about what the nature of their country is and what we want to be, or would like it to be like.

The idea that there's nothing left to argue about is, was, and will always be dead wrong. But if American history is to go forward we can't let ourselves be led down the primrose path any longer.

Change is difficult, in part because change is an acknowledgement that the options out there aren't endlessly varied, that no matter what contemplative ideas you have about life a few ideas and new structures will likely triumph while the rest have lesser impacts. It's not easy to admit that.

The American dream and American dreaming has been wonderful, but the fantasies experienced in the night state have to be sacrificed to reality in order for them to mean anything.

I'm fundamentally conservative when it comes to government action, corporate action, and our role in the world. I don't think we should have any, basicly. I think that life would be served much better if the United States stopped trying to mess with everyone's lives and instead let people get on with the living of them, in peace, in their own way. People inside the U.S. included. What goes for the U.S.'s role goes doubly for corporations.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Tony Benn - Official Website

Just included the Tony Benn site because someone on Smirking Chimp used a quote from the guy as a preface to the article they wrote.

My actual focus in this entry is something different, namely a re-evaluation of the sixties (not like that's not something that changes every other post or something ;) ).

Although I haven't written about it on this website in quite this way before, I feel that the issues that came to prominence in the sixties and seventies were always present in American and European life but had previously been considered second tier issues, issues which weren't considered to be as important as class struggle, for example.

Counter culture had always existed, youth rebellion had always existed in one form or another---whether it be Romantic youth enraptured by Lord Byron in England, German youth moved to depression by the suicide of Goethe's Young Werther, or Russian Nihilists dropping out and having all night tea drinking sessions with inspiration coming from Chernyshevski.

Interest in the Occult had always existed. Interest in drugs had always existed. Utopian communalism had always been there in the background.

Gay rights had always been there.

And, in the U.S., Civil Rights for minorities, particularly blacks but also Native Americans to a lesser extent, had always been there.

But, like the rest of the issues, the status of blacks in the U.S. had been relegated to the sidelines, in this case because it was percieved as being a regional problem that didn't effect American life as a whole.
Blacks were the descendents of slaves, and the whole institution of slavery and it's aftermath was considered to be more of a historical error than a wrong which was still living which needed to be addressed on the same level as, say, the class struggle.

McCarthyism, actually started by Truman, annihilated the forties Communist Culture, and other left culture, which had merged it's ideas of popular struggle, working class struggle, and socialism, with indigenous American traditions to a degree not seen before.

The success of New Deal leftists in arguing that they were exemplifying what was good in the American political tradition instead of importing an alien ideology scared the pants off the people in power, hence McCarthyism, in making all Communists out to be people who lied to others about their good will while actually planning to overthrow the government and institute a repressive dictatorship, was designed to and had the effect of destroying that whole line of argument within American political life for a generation.

No more could the slogan "Communism is 20th century Americanism", which was actually used, be spoken without a gang of anti-communists accusing the speaker of being a spy acting to undermine democracy and using the rhetoric of American political thought to do so.

What this meant was that, with the exception of the wonderful consciousness of folk culture, i.e. rural and 'popular' (semi-working class) culture, which gave birth to such figures as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, the equation of the leftist program with mainstream America could not be argued.

Later, with the efforts of SDS, this was loosened up somewhat through the idea of participatory democracy. But, for the sake of this article, let's say that that avenue had been effectively closed.

What was the consequence of this? One person I'm aware of, who's my age, argued that the sixties activism set back 'the revolution' by a few decades, in other words that the denial of leftist attempts to paint socialism as natural to America had no good effects.

I think differently.
The cul-de-sac that it forced activism into forced the American left to really take a look at who they were appealing to, and why, and what the real issues were, beyond the classical idea of class struggle.
And this had good effects, namely the dropping of the idea that the struggle of blacks was only a regional issue, or was an issue that was inexorably subordinated to class struggle, that couldn't be addressed on it's own terms. The 'American Dillema' of Gunnar Myrdal was superceded by the realities presented by the Civil Rights movement.

It's been pointed out by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in her book "Outlaw Woman" that although the activists from the United Front days in the forties were very sincere that there was nevertheless a sort of American chauvanism, or an Americanist chauvanism which, while benefitting the spin about Communism being 20th century Americanism, excluded from it's tent a great deal of Americans with real problems who would probably be looked down upon by the working class americans who the slogan and rhetoric would appeal to, as well as the ruling class.

I agree.
It has been a long detour, as the title of a deeply flawed book the same name states, but it's one which I feel has benefitted the American left by making it more honest with itself.

I hope that the fiery class war rhetoric of the forties and the civil rights, democracy, and disarmament rhetoric of the sixties and seventies can come together now that the Cold War is over and really do this country justice.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

My socialism.

I haven't written about pure political things on this website in a while. Every now and again it's good to come back to center and look at and reaffirm what you believe, and that's what I'm doing today.

I'm still a socialist, indeed an anarchist-socialist, but I think that for socialism to work there need to be two elements. First, the affirmative program of socialism, which is what is normally thought of when radical socialism is talked about, and secondly, some acknowledgement of a greater force out there, whether you take that greater force to be the enormity of nature, the depth and weight of history, or to be religious in character like, for example, the passion of christ taken as a metaphysical occurance, which keeps the affirmative aspect of socialism in check.

I think that, yes, like the critics say, socialism, especially radical socialism, has the possibility for eliminating a lot of what's good and worthwhile in a society if the radicals are the only ones determining how this new social structure should be composed. No one can actually plan a society, or come up with a program for society, which is so inclusive that no one's feet get stepped on. The alternative to that, though, is to go the harder route by acknowledging a greater force out there that should keep your planning in check, and your programs in check.

I say the harder route because bowing before the magnificence of nature and humankind's relative insignificance in the scheme of things, for example, makes it harder to justify programs which you might want to put forward. It forces people to give much more thought to what they want and to come up with creative ways for accomplishing it which don't dishonor these sorts of basic considerations.

The sum effect of it all is to create a socialism which is more libertarian and much less oppressive than some have been in the past. It's a good check against tendencies which, although they may not have had a chance to be tested in the real world, may have the potential within them to lead to authoritarian situations.

So I see this bowing to human limitations as the best way to ensuring freedom in a society in which socialism is an active force.

On a somewhat related note, the awareness of something transcendental in the world outside of the human would add a lot of meaning to people's lives and combat the general morbid decay that's going on in U.S. society at this moment.

Of course this would be an informal campaign. The thing that I percieve being a real problem in today's world is that people only know themselves, and they know that alone human beings and the human experience don't add up to much, and so they thirst for more, but they find it in the wrong places----for example in extremist Christian religious sects, fundamentalism, patriotism. In some ways the acknowledgement that there is something greater than the self out there is a great liberation from the emptiness of feeling alone with yourself for your entire life. And it's a feeling of liberation which, paradoxically, can lead to an actual improvement in the amount of meaningful things you as an individual do, because, and I'm taking my cues from Maritain here, if you acknowledge something transcending you then there's a goal beyond the human which you can strive to be like.

And I believe that, religious questions aside, history, society, and nature, are actually things which transcend the individual and things which can serve as a starting point for going beyond the merely human towards the achievement of something better.

These are just a few thoughts.

Monday, October 06, 2003

That was the official Syrian news agency, by the way.
Sana-Syrian news agency

Oh my god.
Israel has attacked Syria.

Stop and think about that for a second.
It did to Syria what, if done to us, would have been considered a terrorist act and a justification for a declaration of war.

I'm not optimistic about where this is taking us, or leading us.

I hate to say it but we may be at a fulcrum point here, and I have absolutely no way of knowing what to do in order to stop us from tipping over.

America is made of the nightmares of England.

That's an easy way to put it. A better way would be to say that American life is the realization of dark tendencies and perversions that were lurking in the English subconscious but didn't have an opportunity to be realized. The peasant culture of England transplanted to America realized them.

I wonder when exactly William Faulkner's writing took on the pessimistic, gothic, character that it did. I'm speculating that this conception of American life, Southern or not, took hold when he was a bohemian in Paris after World War I. His style is striking because a) it's accurate and b) even though it's accurate no one actually in the United States experiences reality, or talks about reality, or thinks of life, precisely in the way that Faulkner presents it.

Even in the South you have the typical American fog of 'can do' attitude and an utter non interest in thinking about life in other terms than the procession of the American people towards a greater realization of liberty, freedom, etc.... in otherwords a totally non-critical and non-inward looking attitude. The South's philosophers and thinkers who have tried to put the difference between the South and the North, in terms of attitude, into words have invariably appealed to differences which become visible at the edge of reason, differences which are subtle and cognizable only by the trained eye, not forward and in your face like Faulkner's view of Southern life.

So I'm thinking that Faulkner, who probably came from the same sort of background, modified by whatever experiences of exclusion he had, first came to his awareness of this aspect of Southern life, or that Southern life could be portrayed in this way, while he was actually on the other side of the ocean and could see the culture and cultures from which the United States originated, and which it imperfectly mirrors.

I suppose this gave cohesion to his ideas, and let him put forward such a brazen distortion of life which, although it goes against the current of American self-regarding consciousness, is nevertheless distorted in order to provide more accuracy, and is succesful at that, rather than a distortion aimed at slandering life here.

True expressionism achieved, but achieved only by the seperation of the artist from his environment. Ouroboros rides again.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Ouroboros and Metacommunication.

This post might only be relevant to Setians, but I include it in general because it has insights that others might be able to use.

Nothing comes for free in this world. Through working through songs on my guitar, from researching, from doing other work, from hitting the ideas, or flinging myself on them, and through the process of writing this blog among other writings, I've found out that what people percieve as being valuable content, seemingly coming to them from a mysterious source which they can't concieve of, is nothing other than the product of a logical series of steps towards mastering whatever field which the person has done, but which most people haven't.

Songs sound like songs and not like some lyrics and chords that someone has just strung together because the person doing the song has gotten to the point where his/her talent has developed past the level that a person just casually aquainted with music and guitar, say, is at in terms of performance and/or appreciation of music.

But to get to that level doesn't require any sort of special magic, all it requires is a person to dilligently work at the craft of performing music, albeit taking it farther than most people. However, the level of development doesn't change the character of the process itself. It's still essentially learning music just like the guy picking up a guitar for the first time learns music, but it's been taken farther than most people picking up a guitar take it.....and so you get the illusion that all of this has come out of nowhere, when in reality it's just the culmination of small constant steps.

So creativity is in part an illusion, that's the Ouroboros portion of this text. Ouroboros is a symbol of a snake biting it's own tail. In creative action the head, which is to say the artist, bites it's own tail by presenting the products of the head to people mostly aquianted with the tail only.

It appears that there's a surplus of talent, but that's only because there's a difference between the writer, performer, and the audience, not because there's actually anything intrinsicly different between the two.

This could be said for almost any craft, however the crafts which I'm talking about usually get more airplay and are more influential because of their character---which is the presentation of ideas in media.

One thing I've noticed is that when you've developed something like this far enough you can dip back into the world around you and start to influence things---metacommunication in other words....

You can influence things because a) you know more about whatever it is you're doing than most everyone else and b) most people percieve information in a way which tends to create a structure of meaning around it which they passively absorb, and this is a totally different way of percieving meaning than they'd engage in say, on the job.

So even though the person putting the information out there themselves IS on the job, and so isn't meaning for their meaning to be construed in quite that way, nevertheless it is. And in so far as it is the artist can chose to inject different types of messages in their work, which, if sophisticated enough, will be percieved not as messages reflecting personal concern but as ideas that are intrigueing. Cumulatively, this can influence culture.

On a local level it can definitely influence culture.

When I use the example of an Ouroboros for the role of the artist or writer, I'm meaning that literally. The audience percieves content in the most personal level of their being and works out from that, structuring it in esoteric ways in which you have little control over, while the artist puts out the message in the most exoteric way possible, actually performing, or writing a piece and distributing it, or giving a speech, running a campaign, etc...

It's worth thinking about.

It's not, by the way, because people are dumb, because they're not, rather it's an unacknowledged fact of human cognition.

So much for genius. This stuff does not come out of a vacuum.

Of modernism, neo-romanticism, and romanticism.

You may see the links to the neo-romantic posts on the other side of the screen. The irony is that in seeking to go beyond the current cultural stalemate, my neo-romanticism has in actuality been a neo-modernism. It's strange because, despite this whole end of history thing, the truth is that Romanticism, at least some parts of it, have been enshrined as doctrine in large parts of American culture stemming from the sixties and seventies. They've sort of run their course, leading to the end of history business. But they're still there. So in trying to go beyond what's out there now I'm finding that one needs to also go beyond romanticism, at least some aspects of romanticism, in order to accomplish that.

So my reading list has included more forgotten moderns than it has true blue romantics strangely enough.
Orestes Brownson, some background.

Brownson is an interesting transitional figure; he started out as a unitarian and transcendentalist and ended up as a Catholic and somewhat conservative.

He went too far, in my opinion, in becoming ultra-montane, which is to say supporting the Church in opposition to local governments, but the road he traveled would be good for other people to consider.

The main reason is that he was one of the few people who made the transition from transcendentalism to something more substantial after the impetus for transcendentalism died out.

In as much as the roots of Transcendentalism, which would have to be the congregational church in New England, are the same as that of prevailing current of liberalism in America, Brownson's conversion may offer some clues to those dissatisfied with American liberalism and yet unsure of where to go to next.

Of course, the congregational church wasn't the only source of liberalism. There were the Jeffersonian agriculturalists who were more allied to old whig theory, but unfortunately they've become a minority lately.

The two different origins of the two different types of liberalism are telling: the Congregational Church, the Unitarians, and the Transendentalists, are all descended from the Puritan churches of New England, particularly that of Massachusets, while those of the Jeffersonians were descended from a combination of frontier experience, agriculture, and a Church of England doctrine which could admit more in the way of Natural Law than the Puritans ever would.

From natural law came decentralization, or the rationale for it, I suppose.

In Britain, of course, the type of liberalism which succeeded was descended from their Puritan revolution, but then Britain was much more unified than the United States is or ever was. When the same sort of program is attempted here in the States it leads to the suppression of liberties and general unrest, because although the New England colonies may have been founded on Puritanism the settling and temperment of the United States is in line with Jeffersonian liberalism.

Brownson may have signed onto the Jeffersonian camp after leaving the transcendentalists, to some extent, but I don't know. Certainly, the Jeffersonian idea was more in line with modernism, and as much as Brownson can be considered a modernist as opposed to a Romantic I suppose there's an affinity.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Talking about Patriotism....

I saw the most absurd thing in my local chain bookstore the other day.
It was an edition of 'Patriotism' by Mishima Yukio (or Yukio Mishima for those of you not up on general Asian naming rules).

What the fuck?

Don't people know how Mishima ended up?

Ok, for those of you who don't know, Mishima formed his own paramilitary unit, took over a government office, appeared on the balconey of said office and addressed the crowd gathered there saying that they should reject the post-WWII constitution, restore the monarchy, and restore the traditions of Japanese martial honor (read:Samurai morality).

When the crowd was unimpressed by Mishima's plea, he committed seppuku, taking a traditional knife and disembowling himself.

Then, one of his followers beheaded him in a similarly traditional way.

Is this the kind of fucked up shit that people are buying into now that September 11th has happened?!!!

Personally, I wouldn't go near Mishima's destiny with a ten foot pole. But hey, it's your money, go and spend it on any nut job that you choose.

Just remeber your knife when the allotted time comes.
I'm gonna say it now....

I sense a huge nothingness in American culture, politics, and society. Fortunately, there are people doing positive things who can step in to fill this vacuum. I think that's what's going to happen; I don't think that we're going to drift into domestic Fascism. Our emptiness will not turn into demonic searching for answers anywhere they present themselves.

I'm reflecting on the reasons why the Counter-Culture and the Civil rights movements of the sixties and seventies have been so pumped up; after all, a minority of people were involved in both. I think the reason is because, when all is said and done, it's hard to point to a political and a cultural movement outside of that millieu in that period of time which had anything to say of comparable creativity or worth.

Instead, there's a sea of Eisenhower/McCarthy nothingness. Frat boys singing barbershop quartet songs. Women not doing a whole lot. The Ballad of the Green Berets. You get the picture.

So, if those movements have been exagerrated in relation to how large they actually were, the society of the time brought it on themselves by being totally unable to put forward viable alternatives.

The same thing is happening now.

Fortunately, I happen to be part of those people who will step into the vacuum, like it or not. And we'll win. Ha Ha.

Check out Orestes Brownson. He's a good , somewhat obscure, writer from the 19th century who deserves more attention.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Historical routes of analytic philosophy.

OK, here's the big bad topic that I didn't want to write about but, hey, I reflected on the fact that I mostly had political philosophy on this blog but didn't have anything about metaphysics, which is considered more of philosophy proper, so of course I said, gee, why don't I do a post about just that.

So here we go.

By analytic philosophy I mean the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russel, A.J. Ayer, as well as proto-Analytics such as the process philosophy Alfred North Whitehead and the Instrumentalist philosopher John Dewey from America.

Analytic philosophy, in my opinion, is one of the only modern schools of philosophy out there which can really lay calim to being able to say something about metaphysics in an age which is post-scientific revolution. It does this by extending the Kantian critique of mental action to the realm which Kant himself designated as "Practical reason", expanding it, and actually looking at what it is we're doing when we intereact with the world and what exactly the world appears to be like in light of all this philosophical insight, which is metaphysics proper.

What it is is very abstract and, in the recounting of it by Noam Chomsky, deals with how facts or appearances in the outside world seem to rallate to each other in a schematic way. This translates out into seeing, or apprehending, reality, but giving to reality a basic assumed texture of how it relates to itself, making modern metaphysics not neccesarily the pure examination of reality itself but rather an examination fo what qualities inherent in how reality works lend reality it's most distinctive and meaningful characteristics.

This is way beyond empiricism, at least pure empiricism, because it assumes a basic, non empirical, background from which to abstract in empirical examination. Indeed, the non-empirical residue makes it analytic philosophy instead of pure empiricism, and therefore something which is both meaningful and in need of explanation.

The need for explanation arises out of how to contextualize and explain something which at first appears to be totally abstract within the history of European philosophical thought and history. How exactly do you exlain how philosophy got to be about the explanation of things by things, of explanation of reality by means of the interaction of atomic structures which abstractly are thought to sympbolically represent he relationship and potential relationships of reality to itself?

To find the historical roots of this, to find out how this development in intellectual history came to be, we first have to examine what made Western Europe different from the rest of the ancient world. That difference came in the transformation of a Christian and Classical culture into one which we would recognize as medieval, as opposed to Byzantine for example, by way of the infusion of Christian philosophical metaphysics into everyday life as exemplified by the synthesis of Thomas Aquinas.

Before Aquinas Christian thought was a trip into abstraction which didn't have much roots in reality; speculation about the nature of existence was accomplished to a very detailed level, but there wasn't any sense that what was being represented and thought of might be something other than a literal manifestation of God, or of the Gods, or of the Prime Mover, or of some other metaphysical construction just imputed to be out there.

What Thomism did was to link the Classical idea of philosophy and religion with the Transcendental features of Christianity, thereby adding meaning to an rudderless structure of philosophizing. Philosophy and religion were now integrated into a system which, in fact rather than in theory, pursued the reflections of Christian and Aristotelian thought through all levels and aspects of human life, from it's most lowly manifestation to it's most divine. This was in essence a realization of what Christianity had always said was the structure of the universe or what one could think that Christianity meant when it declared, in among other places the Gospel of John, the transcendental nature of Christ's mission on earth and the transcendental nature of Christ himself.

The Thomist synthesis, which is the medieval synthesis, set the stage for the enlightenment through it's enshrining of reality as ordered in a comprehensible and comprehensive way. When the medieval world was breaking down the Rennaisance thinkers, influenced heavily by the medieval world, managed to come up with an integration of thought between the medieval world and the classical world, so onto the formless classical worldview was grafted now the idea of a formed and meaningfully structured universe coming from Thomism. This recapturing of Classical culture within a medieval context in a great expression of creativity lead to the Enlightenment, which was in essence of regularization of Rennaisance thought.

So with the Enlightenment we essentially have, through the agency of the classical world, turned the thought of the medieval world on it's head. Instead of the transcendental structure being used for religious purposes now it comes out totally secularized as an unstated, somewhat objective, framework, through which to do investigations on the world. This isn't precisely a paralell to the development of science, because as I understand it science developed into it's current form really out of the Rennaisance. But anyways.

The Enlightenment represents an end an a beginning to the western tradition. It's an end because it represents the total secularization of the medieval worldview, but a beginning because, in the unstated continuance of that legacy it provides a framework from which to expand the western conception of the world beyond classicism and into something totally new.

The jump from non-critical enlightenment philosophy to critical philosophy, of the Kantian sort, along with romantic philosophy, which we will deal with in a minute, is not the extreme jump that some people would have it.

If one looks at what enlightenment philosophers actually believed, they even some of the most liberal of them, still had a conception of society which included a structured view of society, even if they presented this view as being the product of the 'natural' evolution of human behavior when taken to have started in a pure, primal state.

So in going from Enlightenment philosophy to Kantian, post-Kantian, and Romantic philosophy, what you have is not so much a destruction or denial of the enlightenment mindset but instead an investigation, though the scientific method, of aspects of life, self, and society, which previously would have been considered solely in a religious or religious-philosophical way. The transcendental thinking of the romantics has a parallel in the thought of the renaisance, with it's blend of medieval and classical culture. Only the Romantics and Kant had no pretensions, as did the Rennaisance thinkers, that their philosophy represented a new sort of religious and total truth. The Kantians and Romantics deserve credit because they reintroduced these dimensions of life to European philosophy in a way which European philosophy could usefully digest instead of rejecting as being non-scientific or heretical.

After the Romantics came Hegel. But we won't talk about him except to say that he provided a primitive synthesis of Romantic ideas which was later expounded upon by the proto-Analytics and the analytics in a more objective way.

Analytic philosophy, then, is really the product of the process of subjecting the philosophical insights gained by the Romantics and Hegel to verification in the real world. What, in this new corpus of material, could be verified as having a paralell in the types of natural, and later physical science that were coming about stayed, what wasn't applicable and was instead speculation went.

The Analytic view, then, came from a sort of Enlightenment process of regularizing Romantic philosophy, but with the difference that while the enlightenment was a systematization of largely classical philosophy within an inherited Thomistic milleu, Analytic philosophy was a systematization of the positive insights that the romantic thinkers had put forward in the Enlightenment, scientific, context as being new ways to think about reality.

In a way, if the Enlightenment represented a reversel of the medieval worldview, the analytic philosophers represent an abolition of the medieval worldview, as with the regularization of the romantics' positive insights we get returned to the fountain of new insight divorced from the strictured of inherited Thomism but with instead the capability of the scientific method and modern logic to guide us through realms which in the classical world were just formlessly investigated with no real way of discriminating the real from the apparant in a rigorous sense.

We've come fulll circle. As a philosophy, analytic metaphysics have the capability to enter into the ralm which classical philosophy occupied and reinterpret it in a largely legitmate new way, according to new methods. As a genuine reinterpretation it is also a genuine extension of metaphysics in the full sense.

A better way of expressing how romantic philosophy was regularized might be to say that it was regularized with it's self first, to make it self consistent in a critical environment where it would be subjected to a lot of interrogation, and then applied to the outside world in an objective sense mirroring the new conceptions of biology and physics which were replacing the Newtonian worldview at the time.

So analytic interrogation of the Western Hermeneutical context is a valid and meaningful enterprise which should hopefully yield some very good results.

There. Wow.