From Handel’s ‘Water Music’ Suite 3.
Just hit play and let me know if the image and the contemplative melancholy might have some overlap for you too:
From Handel’s ‘Water Music’ Suite 3.
Just hit play and let me know if the image and the contemplative melancholy might have some overlap for you too:
As found in a yard, on Capital Hill, in Seattle:
I’m not sure the intellectual provenance of such ideas, nor even if they form any kind of coherent doctrine, but they strike me as a melange of Christian principles, liberal idealism and radical activist causes.
I still don’t see the greatest threats to political liberty coming from the political right at the moment:
“7. What is meant by enthusiasm. This I take to be properly enthusiasm, which, though founded neither on reason nor divine revelation, but rising from the conceits of a warmed or overweening brain, works yet, where it once gets footing, more powerfully on the persuasions and actions of men than either of those two, or both together: men being most forwardly obedient to the impulses they receive from themselves; and the whole man is sure to act more vigorously where the whole man is carried by a natural motion. For strong conceit, like a new principle, carries all easily with it, when got above common sense, and freed from all restraint of reason and check of reflection, it is heightened into a divine authority, in concurrence with our own temper and inclination.”
Jordan Peterson’s epistemological foundations can be challenged, his assumptions probed, his ideas teased-out to some foreseen/unforeseen logical consequences, but let’s not forget that he’s been taking a huge personal hit (with some personal gain) in standing-up for the ability to debate foundations, assumptions and ideas freely in public.
A defense of tradition by way of the social sciences (psychology, in this case) can make one a heretic.
A defense of the social sciences (IQ research) with policy implications can make one heretical against those whose assumptions guide them to try and save the world through potentially dangerous utopianism and political activism:
On the Sam Harris/Ezra Klein debate regarding race, IQ and Charles Murray.
On what happened when Charles Murray tried to speak at Middlebury College and encountered a frenzied mob of cult-like intensity, which eventually became violent:
On what happened when Bret Weinstein (whose progressive ideals I generally don’t share, but whose intellectual freedom, evo-bio research and freedom of speech I obviously do) stood up to a day of exclusion at Evergreen State:
It wasn’t exactly peaceful:
As previously posted:
From Darwinian Conservatism, as Larry Arnhart is dealing with many of these ideas. Here’s the banner from the site:
‘The Left has traditionally assumed that human nature is so malleable, so perfectible, that it can be shaped in almost any direction. By contrast, a Darwinian science of human nature supports traditionalist conservatives and classical liberals in their realist view of human imperfectibility, and in their commitment to ordered liberty as rooted in natural desires, cultural traditions, and prudential judgments.’
Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
‘Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.’
As to these more radical groups splintering and applying pressure upwards upon institutions of learning (or at least remaining very vocal and demanding voices within them), I remain skeptical of merely relying upon an adaptable and healthy post-Enlightenment humanism to push back against them in the long-run.
It seems groups of post-Enlightenment individuals gathering to solve commonly defined problems is a risky business, indeed, or at least subject to the same old schisms and problems religious institutions underwent and continue to undergo regarding human nature. I think it’s fair to say people and institutions are often requiring of constraints, especially when it comes to political power and lawmaking; especially when it comes to the challenges our civilization faces from within and without in maintaining institutional authority.
I’d like to think that secularly liberal leadership, more broadly, including the people who want to be in charge of all of us (at their best operating from within moral communities of not too great a solipsism and self-regard) can resist such pressures. For there certainly are those who would fracture our institutions into rafts of post-Enlightenment ‘-isms’ and politicized movements often driven by illiberal ideologies; movements relying on the presumed self-sufficiency of reason while behaving quite irrationally.
I’m looking around and not seeing too much decency in American politics, lately.
A.C. Grayling makes one of the better cases for morality without religious doctrine, I’ve heard of late, but I’m not entirely sold these particular problems can be addressed sufficiently:
His recent public statements don’t help
‘I share many of the New Urbanist ideas for cities, but I can’t cast my lot in with the group because they are screwball-daft when the subject of cars comes up, and will entertain any inconvenience as long as it’s anti-car. I don’t want to ride a got-damned bicycle to work. Most people don’t. Period.’
“Living in that tiny space made my life so much bigger,” Cohen told The Post. “My book is about living the life you want in whatever size you choose — it’s not just about learning to live smaller, but smarter.”
The simple life has its appeal.
Of course, individual choice eventually comes into conflict with planned communities and group obligations, to say nothing of taxes and regulations borne by other individuals…
I’m guessing Seattle’s Yesler Terrace project is still mostly pipe-dream, but if elected, I promise a social-worker, a community garden, full kindergarten empowerment and adult employment in every cell block:
‘The new neighborhood will bring together people from many walks of life, ethnic backgrounds and income levels. Partnerships will help strengthen the social fabric of the community by providing open spaces and community centers for gathering, and programs to increase health, academic achievement and economic opportunity.’
At the New Urbanist website:
“Only when humans are again permitted to build authentic urbanism — those cities, towns, and villages that nurture us by their comforts and delights — will we cease the despoiling of Nature by escaping to sprawl.”
As previously posted:
Whatever your thoughts on sprawl, here are some of the groups, who, in my opinion, are involved:
–Greens and activists who want to control and regulate the energy sector according to their understanding of nature. Or they at least will control much lawmaking and the political process through activism, while directing massive amounts of federal taxpayer money to developing this vision (chosen and controlled by politicians whom they favor). Whatever’s going on with the climate, they’re usually willing to overlook the political waste, corruption, higher costs of gas and basic services and fewer jobs that could make us like Europe, without many of the benefits.
–The products of modernism and modernist architecture. Some modernists believe in utopian and semi-utopian visions of the future, or simply, a better world where people should be rounded up and live happily according the visions of a few artists, architects, and city-planners. They don’t like the suburbs too much.
–Collectivists, humanists and multicultural types who like a broad, ‘equality of outcome,’ definition of democracy and believe there will be room for everyone, all races and classes, in the new urban environment (more like European social democrats) if just the right people are in charge.
–Anyone with a monied, career or professional, personal or identity-based stake in this vision.
Bob Zubrin pointed out the problems of environmentalism, and the authoritarian impulses behind many environmentalist goals and methods, which I’ve applied to the urbanists in parentheses below:
After the utopian dreams fade, and when the money runs-out, you often just end-up with a movement which further Left types will use to gain leverage, as in Europe:
1. There isn’t enough to go around (suburbs waste resources like gas, electricity, and materials in addition to lost productivity and time)
2. Human nature needs to be constrained as a result (Trains, buses and bikes are the preferred method of transportation instead of cars…while apartments, co-ops and living units instead of houses in the suburbs are the places to live)
3. Someone needs to be in charge (Someone like Bloomberg, or similarly paternalistic leaders are ok as long as they line up with the message and enforce the right laws from the top down)
4. We volunteer ourselves for the job (Someone’s got to build a vision of the future, and the vision of the artist or architect, or city planners for example, may be enough for the rest of us to live in much like occurs in modernist architecture).
If you’ve been following current cultural trends, there’s been some native New Yorker pushback against the hipsters in Williamsburg. These urban dwellers often arrive from the suburbs, moving to urban centers in search of identity, group meaning, and membership with a kind of collectivist, artistic, modernist to postmodernist impulse that lines up with urbanism. They are changing our culture in many ways.
See Also: Briton Roger Scruton perhaps also wants America to be more like Europe, less rootless, wasteful, and tramping the flowers. In modernism’s place (souless airports, blank modern facades speaking only to themselves) Scruton suggests Leon Krier’s New Urbanism and a return to more Classical architecture. Repost: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?
Repost-Via Reason: ‘Salvador Allende’s Cybersocialist Command Center’…Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’…From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’…
You don’t get the progressive base without the restrictive laws…they are baby steps to paradise: Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’…Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution Journal: ‘Three Cheers for Income Inequality’…Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’
If you haven’t heard, open socialist Kshama Sawant (yes, really) of the Seattle Council Of Nine, desires Amazon and others pay at least $150 million dollars as part of a ‘head-tax’ to address the ‘homeless crisis’ in the city. Four of her fellows agree.
‘They estimate the so-called “head tax” of about $500 per employee would apply to 500 to 600 companies and they are calling for it to be spent on low-income housing and emergency services for homeless people. The council has been planning to vote later this month.’
It’s just a start, mind you, phasing into a more permanent
revolutionary revenue stream tax within a few years.
Amazon however, disagrees, and has halted construction on a downtown site in response (occupying something like 1/5 of premium office space in the city).
Long-story short: Seattle is growing rapidly. The housing prices are through the roof. Many arrivals are ambitious, skilled and entering the job market at the higher-end (Amazon works people pretty hard). There are many other less-skilled people looking to gain skills and jobs.
Seattle is also attracting many mentally-ill, drug-addicted people into the city. Many increasingly wander the streets and are encouraged to use public services and set-up tent cities alongside highways, taking-up settlement on public property (I’ll just link here as to final judgments about such matters…).
As for me: I’m currently [overhearing] a strategic political meet-up for the pro-head tax side in a coffee shop. Here’s what I’m picking up:
Having seen this a few times (my biases should be pretty clear :)):
Claim you have knowledge of how the world really is (usually some direct or warmed-over Marxism)–>
Claim that a better world is possible (utopia) through immediate political action–>
Claim that the ‘oppressor’ is responsible and blame the ‘oppressor’ for pretty much all injustices in life (filthy capitalist golden-geese like Amazon)–>
Claim anyone outside of your ideological lights is insufficiently ‘woke,’ falsely conscious, morally hollow and eventually either for or against you in supporting your conception of social justice–>
Organize protests/meetings/ to demonize and extract money, gaining political power while constantly projecting all of your intellectual/moral/ideological motives onto the ‘oppressor.’
We all need better advocates of liberty, and better ideas, than this.
Tyler Cowen at Bloomburg: ‘Holding Up a Mirror to the Intellectuals of the Left:’
‘Religion has been a major force in world history, and today is no exception. The popular intellectual who probably has made the biggest splash this year, Jordan Peterson, describes himself as a Christian. Right-wing intellectuals, overall, aren’t nearly as religious as is the broader right-wing electorate. Still, I find they are much better suited to understand the role of religion in life than are left-wing intellectuals.’
This usually reveals more about me: What I often see here in Seattle is the sad spectacle of the professed rejection of religion for either the negotiation or acceptance of the ‘-Isms; the often belief-deep level ‘Ismology.’ The overall culture is still a bit uncivilized, immature (young) and counter to anything ‘they’ might believe.
Some people are religious, sure, but the culture is very Left and activist liberal-Left. The environment, anti-‘capitalism,’ feminism, gender, race are all safe zones for righteous belief, activist action and the pursuit of moral and political purity (causes worthy of living, fighting and often pretending to die for). A more equal, fair, and socially just society is ever-emerging from within that winter fog hanging over the Sound.
I see such thinking as often as a squandering of a tremendous amount of freedom and opportunity in favor of frequent collectivist utopianism and the ‘mind-forged manacles’ of many failed and revolutionary doctrines. A lot of money sure is wasted.
Of course, people are people and worthy of being treated as such, and there is plenty of truth, knowledge and beauty here. All the truths and all the knowledge, I surely don’t have. If you’re looking just for doctrinal and/or ideological purity on this blog, hopefully you won’t find too much.
-Steven Pinker, Harvard experimental psychologist and cognitive scientist wrote a piece in the New Republic, entitled: ‘Science Is Not Your Enemy‘
-Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic since the 60′s, responded at The New Republic: ‘No, Science Doesn’t Have All The Answers.‘
-Ross Douthat, conservative Catholic columnist at the Times jumped in the fray: ‘The Scientism Of Steve Pinker’
-Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist, responded to Douthat.
-Wieseltier jumped back in with: ‘Crimes Against Humanities: Now science wants to invade the humanities. Don’t let it happen.‘
-Now Daniel Dennett, philosopher, cognitive scientist, one of the New Atheists and Boston-based secularistresponds to Wieseltier:
Related On This Site: From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘Nietzsche–Aristocratic Radical or Aristocratic Liberal?’
Here’s Nietzsche scholar J.P. Stern on Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-secular morality (Kant, utilitarians), anti-democratic, and anti-Greek (except the “heroic” Greek) biases…See the comments Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful…Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’
Out of the Valley of modernism, post-modernism, and relativism…one path from Nietzsche’s nihilism is through Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom: Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’…Some Tuesday Quotations From Leo Strauss…From Peter Berkowitz At Harvard: ‘The Reason Of Revelation: The Jewish Thought Of Leo Strauss’
Can Kant do all that heavy lifting…what are some of the dangers of Kantian reason?: From Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On Youtube: Geoffrey Warnock On Kant…A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty” …
A conversation I keep hearing in Seattle, elevated somewhat:
‘This new society, this modern society, this secular society: This will be more open, more tolerant, more equal, and more fair. Look at all the progress around you! The moral, the scientific, social and personal are being united into a single whole. Evil and the stuff of human nature can be tamed, treated, and labeled. Much knowledge has been gained; it’s mostly a matter of design and implentation now. Get to work; be someone and do something, politics included. Go global. Think Enlightenment.‘
That old society, that pre-modern society, that religious and traditional society: How quaint! How oppressive! Have the courage to venture from its metaphysical ruins and local rituals. Don’t sleepwalk through its indefensible truth claims, mistaken honor, violence and war. What it cannot forget it will not remember. ‘
Related On This Site:Appeasement Won’t Do-Via A Reader, ‘Michael Ignatieff Interview With Isaiah Berlin’
More On Nietzsche’s influence-Part of Bryan Magee’s series:
Nietzsche directed his thought against Christian morality, secular morality (Kantian and utilitarian), was quite anti-democratic, and anti-Socratic Greek (the beginning of the end).
Quote found here at friesian.com (recovering Kantian idealism and moving in a libertarian direction):
‘Oddly enough, it is the intellctual snobbery and elitism of many of the literati that politically correct egalitarianism appeals to; their partiality to literary Marxism is based not on its economic theory but on its hostility to business and the middle class. The character of this anti-bourgeois sentiment therefore has more in common with its origin in aristocratic disdain for the lower orders than with egalitarianism.’
Related: From Darwinian Conservatism: Nietzsche-Aristocratic Radical or Aristocratic Liberal?
The radical and rationalist project, anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism: Repost-From Michael Totten At World Affairs: “Noam Chomsky: The Last Totalitarian”…Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge
How might this relate to the Heglian/post-Marxist project via ‘The End Of History’: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’
Also On This Site: Karl Popper, Milton Friedman, Austrian Economics and maybe Thomas Sowell: From Fora Via YouTube: ‘Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions’…
Via Mick Hartley: You never go full Stalinist (photos at the link):
So much emptiness and marble kitsch:
‘Dutch photographer Eddo Hartmann travelled four times to North Korea, between 2014 and 2017. He makes no claim that the resulting project and book – Setting the Stage – are a behind-the-scenes look at the real Pyongyang. On the contrary, he was chaperoned at all times, the images approved by his minders. This is the official North Korea, as they want it to be seen – which makes it all the more chilling. Pristine marble totalitarian kitsch, with the few isolated individuals only serving to emphasise the soulless alienation of the socialist utopia.’
Behold the Dear Leader promoting gleaming new make-glorious subway cars! All is well!
Remember, Madrid has had to deal with ETA, and real terrorism, so the issue is complicated.
A while back, I was a young mole in Barcelona for a month at a law faculty, and there was an older woman who came in for a few hours a day, sharing our tiny, rented office. She explained her job was to make sure all posters and communications in Spanish at the law faculty also appeared in Catalan. This was a very important job.
She was small in a way many Spanish (Catalonian!) people are small, diminuitive, and in her case determined and a bit mousy. I can still hear her voice echoing ‘Si, digi‘ as she picked up the odd phone call. Down the corridors she’d be off again on another stroll to ensure protocol.
Per Josep Goded:
‘Pro-independence parties have restarted talks on the formation of an effective government in Catalonia. The negotiations broke down two weeks ago, following a wave of mutual reproaches and criticism.’
Personal update: This blog is a way to communicate and share ideas, and if you were to meet me, you’d probably have a pretty good sense of what kind of guy I am after a few minutes of conversation (like all of us, right?). May we meet one day, talk, and share a few moments on this strange journey.
Today, I decided to hike alone at the rather pedestrian Cougar Mountain on a sunny and cold morning (out of the noise of the house and away from work).
The ground was frozen and crunched underfoot. There was a welcome stillness and only a few light breezes (5-10 mph from the west/northwest) occassionally clacking some smaller trunks together.
After an hour or so of walking, I arrived at the small falls where a healthy amount of winter water tumbled and cascaded down. I decided to clamber up the left side and go off-trail. I took a few photos back towards the falls, and for some reason, just kept going off-trail.
Exhilarated, I soon found myself powering through pretty dense undergrowth, getting lashed in the face, having my shoes pulled off occasionally, falling down a few times, and you know, wondering what I was doing, exactly.
I checked my phone and there was no signal. I figured I had another mile to go through the growth at that heading, and such a mile was becoming long, unsure and miserable. I did what any self-respecting suburbanite would do and decided to double-back towards the stream and the falls and the ravine. Executive decision.
I sat and took the photo below in a little clearing under the 10:30 am sun along the way back.
I saw a female mule deer bounding ahead, in and out of shafts of sunlight, keeping a safe distance between us. I must have disturbed her. Her ears swiveled wildly and I could see her eyes watching me.
In another shaft of sunlight, back near the stream, I saw a piliated woodpecker swooping ahead of me from limb to limb (explains the woody, jackhammer sound I’d been hearing). Flashes of black, white and red.
All in all, a great morning: