Monday, August 25, 2014

Left Gramscianism vs. the reality principle

One of the essential things that happened after 9/11, and that in point of fact had been happening since Bush was 'elected' President in 2000, was that an independent sphere of reporting and commentary was established, outside of the mainstream. The mainstream media was not willing to report all sides of the issues at all, and so websites consisting of news aggregators, blogs, and sites with general commentary by independent journalists took their place, along with large discussion boards such as Democratic Underground and others. This very much echoed the strategy of "Trench Warfare" in the Gramscian sense, where people surrounded by hostile forces established a small area of freedom where they could say what they wanted without being harassed for it. By necessity, such a thing has to be partisan, letting one side have its say while keeping the full force of the other out--you can't have every single article being challenged in every single way by the opposition or conversations about the basic ideas themselves can't take place.

However, at some point, what's developed in these areas of freedom has to be taken out of isolation and put forward to the greater world as a whole for commentary, and in this the principle of developing ones ideas gets superseded by the reality principle. The reality principle, originally coined by Freud for psychology, basically means that your ideas have to pass the test of basic logic and reference to reality with good arguments backing them up, and do so in a world where they can be contested.

Now that Obama has won, and has been in office for approaching six years, it's right and proper for people to get out of their hidey holes, their trenches, and their siege mentality, and rejoin the greater community. However, it appears that a number of people have serious problems with this.

What they want is for the stacked deck of the closed area of freedom to carry over into normal political discourse, which is a place that by nature is opposed in its very essence to the idea. What they want is for everyone to look at the assumptions that they have, without examining them, and simply submit to them without questioning---instead of relying on solid arguments to carry the day.

And to help out with that, when the premises are questioned, it's becoming common to accuse the other side of some sort of horrible ideological offense, with the intent of shouting them down and supposedly rendering themselves 'right' by shaming them....without proving their points.

This is not real political discourse, or discourse at all. Arguing with a stacked deck is what Fox News does, and it's properly ridiculed by people in progressive circles. People in the same circles really need to not condone the same sort of behavior by their fellow politicos and instead work to win against their opponents in free discussions that don't depend on ideological slander to win points.

Otherwise, there's little difference, and the new boss will be the same as the old---only he or she will have Elvis Costello glasses.

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