Repost-Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal-The Persistence Of Ideology

Interesting read.

Francis Fukuyama and his influential essay are mentioned, as well as Immanuel Kant, Marx, and Isaiah Berlin.

Ideas matter, obviously, and the piece attempts to re-contextualize many ideological struggles which keep shaping our day-to-day lives (I have it on good intel that the guys down at the docks say ‘quotidian struggles’).

Dalrymple:

‘Who, then, are ideologists? They are people needy of purpose in life, not in a mundane sense (earning enough to eat or to pay the mortgage, for example) but in the sense of transcendence of the personal, of reassurance that there is something more to existence than existence itself. The desire for transcendence does not occur to many people struggling for a livelihood. Avoiding material failure gives quite sufficient meaning to their lives. By contrast, ideologists have few fears about finding their daily bread. Their difficulty with life is less concrete. Their security gives them the leisure, their education the need, and no doubt their temperament the inclination, to find something above and beyond the flux of daily life.’

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site:

-Fukuyama’s Marxist/Hegelian influence and the re-purposed Christian metaphysics and Statism found within much German Idealism:  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…Fred Siegel On The German Influence And Kelley Ross On Some Of Roger Scruton’s Thinking

-Are we really progressing…can we be more clear about means and ends? Via Youtube-Samuel Huntington On ‘The Clash Of Civilizations’Repost-Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-‘Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’

Sunday Quotation: From Jonathan Bennett On Kant…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper By George Walsh: The Objectivist Attack On Kant…From Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On Youtube: Geoffrey Warnock On Kant

-The Englightenment/Romantic tension…the horror of rationalist systems which claimed knowledge of man’s ends, but also a defense of both positive and negative liberties-Appeasement Won’t Do-Via A Reader, ‘Michael Ignatieff Interview With Isaiah Berlin’…A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

***Why so many Britons on this site? (J.S. Mill, Isaiah Berlin by way of Riga, Michael Oakeshott, Roger Scruton, Bryan Magee, Theodore Dalrymple, John Gray etc.?)

I don’t know all the reasons, but there’s definitely an Anglophilia at work, our division by a common language, and perhaps an overall ideological predilection towards an Anglo-sphere alliance.  I think there is mutual benefit, security and leverage to be had in working for a more closely united English-speaking ‘liberal’ world order.   There are many sacrifices and risks, dangers and blind-spots, too.

Many of these writers/thinkers have had to face a more institutional and entrenched Left.  They can know intimately whereof they speak.

It’s easy to feel vaguely good about our relationship, but let’s not forget moments like these:

washingtonburns.jpg

This is a depiction (thanks to impiousdigest.com) of British troops burning the White House.

Amy Payne At The Foundry: ‘Morning Bell: Obama Administration Buries Good News on Keystone Pipeline’

Full post here.

‘Late last Friday, the State Department released a positive environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama has been delaying this pipeline—which would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas—for more than three years.’

There could be more stalling to come, even with growing bi-partisan support for the pipeline and the State Department’s report, as the President and needs to work to keep his political coalition together (the unions want jobs, the greens want ecotopia).

The NY Times puts it another way:

“…a choice between alienating environmental advocates who overwhelmingly supported his candidacy or causing a deep and perhaps lasting rift with Canada.” 

Is this really where we are as a nation?  Alienating Canada? 

The line of reasoning I heard on the radio from the Sierra Club spokesman today was:  Even though Canada is shipping ever more tar sands oil down by rail to the Gulf anyways, we can wait out current Prime Minister Stephen Harper until the next election (he’s from Alberta and swimming, no doubt, in the pockets of big, dirty oil).   Using executive orders is how we got here in the first place, and the Sierra Club wants still more. 

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If you’re still on the fence on the matter, and see some good in this movement (who cleans up after a spill?…shouldn’t we conserve the natural environment?…don’t big business and big gov’t already get together on such matters anyways?), I’d argue that you should also weigh the true costs of environmental activism:  Much bigger and expanding bureaucracy, political coalitions like Obama’s (unions, greens, activists etc) tied more closely with the money supply.  There tends to be slower economic growth and costs shifted to consumers, businesses, and private property owners. 

Everybody tends to pay more for everything (especially gas) and there are fewer jobs, which doesn’t always lead to better conservation of the environment, but does tend to nudge society toward more collectivist principles of organization, rewarding some and punishing others along the way.   This is one of the big drivers of California’s current economic troubles.

Related On This Site: The best arguments for industrial regulation I’ve heard come from Mill’s harm principle:  From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘The Failure of Al Gore Part Three: Singing the Climate Blues’

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

From The American Spectator: ‘Environmentalism and the Leisure Class’From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset….The Weather Channel’s Green Blog: A Little Too GreenFrom The Washington Post: The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth Team Fired