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Thursday, February 1. 2007
Chavez is becoming an embarassment to the Left, as he follows the usual Leftist path to tyranny. Tupy at TCS.
Meanwhile, thousands are fleeing the country.
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I'm not sure that it is possible for leftists to feel embarassment. I mean, think about it, when have they?
When they're accused of being Americans abroad in Western Europe.
Right. Your recent post @ Belmont, ppab, positing the possibility of actual material differences in the leftist brain (vs the normal brain) was most interesting.
Most folks--with ingrained generosity--see the divide as economic, the very top and very bottom against the middle.
Sometimes I wonder, though, if it's not "IQ", as lefties seem to have higher brain function difficulties--at least the useful-idiot 95% of them do. They can't seem to follow cause & effect, and can't comprehend historical analogy.
What I wonder is if the "can't comprehend" problem just goes back to the idea as to what they perceive as important. For some reason, Al Gore exclaiming an inconvenient truth is more persuasive than the origins of the positive slopes on his graphs.
Its the same kind of thinking that leads to the unending Malaria plagues. There's some heuristic that ignores the difference between 4000 and 40000 human beings. Perhaps that "override" rule is evil itself.
Unfortunately, the road to leftist dictatorship is a one-way street. Sounds like democracy is effectively dead in Venezuela so voting against Chavez is just a dangerous waste of time.
Unless men are willing to stand and battle the tyrant, Venezuela is going to enter a very dark time.
I'd say there has to exist a prompt toward exaggeration vs trivialization (if it has to be one or the other), or vice-versa.
To wit, the left is quite adept at exaggerating the intimate ("see this poor victim--a symbol of all mankind!").
Only under a condition--such as perhaps Gaia profits from the loss of Malaria victims--will the heuristic flip and point the other direction.
When you are your own god, which you can be if you say so, you have a right to play with such things.
But folks they only agreed to let him have ALL the power for 18 months. Heck it took me that long to get enough credits in college to get out of the first semester.
He's just goining to speed up a few necessary changes and then he'll, like Cincinnatus of Rome, return to his farm and grow coffee beans with Juan Valdez.
He would be just a distant memory by now had Jimmy Carter not personally, as an American ex-president, verified the "legitimacy" of the first--highly irregular--election.
Now, when Chavez turns on the Jews, Carter can go hide and cackle in the peanut patch.
"What, me vengeful?"
A great addition to Hayek's Road to Surfdom is a book by Allan Bloom in 1988..."The closing of the American Mind" Some thoughts in review.
"Nearly all of us Americans say that we believe in liberty and equality. But how many of us would be able to defend these beliefs against an attack by a really intelligent anti-egalitarian such as Nietzsche? Our regime was founded on the idea that reason, not religion or brute force, should rule. It was not always obvious that such a regime was either good or possible, and arguments had to be made to convince people to support its creation. The Enlightenment philosophers provided those arguments. As Bloom notes, the Enlightenment brought the philosopher (i.e., reason) and the regime into harmony as they never had been before. (Socrates, the archetypical philosopher, had of course been executed for impiety.) Rousseau, while agreeing with the the fundamental Enlightenment idea of equality, argued forcefully that reason alone could not found and sustain a society, and in the process invented the modern idea of the bourgeois, the product of the reason-based society, hatred of which was an important element of both Marxism and fascism. But it was Nietzsche who provided the really devastating attack, arguing that listening to our heads rather than our hearts had killed what was really worthwhile in us, that we need to stop reasoning and start coming up with new "values."
The middle chapters of the book are the best overview of political philosophy that I have come across. Bloom understands Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Nietzsche as I believe they would have wanted to be understood. Especially Nietzsche, whose ideas are described with the utmost respect, even though it is implicit that if we are to keep our regime we ultimately must reject those ideas. The sections on "Values" and "Culture," which describe how some German ideas with a great deal of nobility in them mutated when they got to America, are riveting.
Bloom can see that our regime, even as it prospers economically, is in crisis. We Americans mouth the words of Jefferson, but really believe Nietzsche. We do not believe in the primacy of reason. Equality and liberty are nothing more than prejudices for most of us. They are merely "values," and if pressed, most of us would not be able to explain why we like those values better than other ones. Regimes decay for a variety of reasons, one of which is internal contradiction, as in the fall of the Soviet Union. The American regime, with its emphasis on human rights, liberty and equality, is based on the primacy of reason. If most Americans do not now believe in the primacy of reason, then our regime has an internal contradiction. I take Bloom to be saying that this contradiction has come about because those in a position to educate the rest of us have failed to do so. That is where the opening and closing sections on young people and university education come in. Those sections are interesting (and obviously near and dear to Bloom's heart) even if not as informative as the middle chapters, and, even if the section on music is flawed as some other readers have pointed out, they provide concrete examples and describe consequences of the intellectual crisis."
I do apologize for prattling on about the Road to Surfdom.
I should have (which I am very bad at) read the material closer.
Now about this road to Sefdom in Venezuela...is that near Maracaibo or closer to Puerto La Cruz?
But, great post on Bloom. Internal contradiction indeed. Expressed as one party trying to create stakeholders in an ownership society, and the other demagoguing injustice and class warfare.
Where is that book review from? I did read the book. Everything he has written.
BD...Amazon.com just look at the reviews, you'll recognise it..I should have given full attribution to the reviewer who did a bang up job.
It is wonderful that we are discussing books with true value.
Hayek's, The Road to Surfdom was first published by the Chicago Press, September 18, 1944...1944..coming to it's 63rd anniversary.
Allan Bloom's work, The Closing of the American Mind was published in 1988..19 years ago..
Then we take in Hobbes,Locke, et. al and we're gett'n some place.
But the point I want to make is how accurate I think Bloom was back in '88 and how little has changed in the education field to remedy the shortfalls in critical thinking skills.
Oh well, I know when I studied the Enlightenment, after covering ancient and medeival political theory I marvelled at how the minds of men over time came to a wonderous crescendo right when the New World needed that thinking.
I am still in awe and pray that many many others rediscover the Enlightenment and what it meant to mankind.
The Founders included many brilliant individuals, but to do what they did took something quite else, too.
I read that book when I was teaching, and I remember I had to stop reading it in bed because it kept me awake. It made me so damned restless. No....it really made me feel helpless.
Now I only read such books that have lavender, shiny covers with hunky men and swooning womens on the cover with the author's alliterative name scrawled in cursive at the bottom. The bodice-ripping helps me sleep and get good REMs.