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patrice's Journal
patrice's Journal
September 26, 2012

One of the biggest mistakes made about postmodernism is that it isn't as nihilistic as some people

try to make it. It's also over, btw, anyway, but one of the things that postmodernism lead to, the absurdists, pointed an accusatory finger at what was going on, in effect, shining a light on the absurdity of absolute relativism, e.g. Derrida. Personally, I refer to the observation that there are no absolutes and that statement is so true that not even it is an absolute.

The POINT of Estragon sitting there waiting for Godot is that we realize that WE ARE SITTING THERE WAITING FOR ESTRAGON WHO IS SITTING THERE WAITING FOR GODOT, i.e. that whatever it/anything "means", that isn't the thing itself; it's a construct that is supposed to be ABOUT the thing itself, which is life. AS a construct, it can be taken apart, which is what Absurdism, and most notably Waiting for Godot was an example of, i.e. taking the construct apart, but because, once you have it all apart, you notice that there's something else, you notice there's this unidentified (unidentified, because you have just deconstructed meaning) event going on.

That event is life and because it no longer has constructed meanings, not even the meaning known as "The Enlightenment", because it no longer has constructed meanings, it is free and it can be met for what it is IN ITSELF and it is in that meeting that one discovers the authentic universalities, not the constructed ones that you refer to, that is, the universalities that come from an event that we have labeled "life" itself FOR itself and for NO other reason or justification.

Personally, it is that realization that gives me a passion for science, because science is about that non-constructed event. Science is open-ended; all it has is a process. This is also one of the reasons that it is said that authentic deconstruction leads to authentic re-construction and that's the result of personal identification that is possible because it accepts no meanings, it deconstructs all acquired meanings, in order to re-construct them out of organic authenticity.

You may have seen me refer to this around here, "Don't mistake the words, any words for that matter, for what the words, any words, ONLY refer to." Think of what it all was before the words, or what it would be without the words. That's where postmodernist relativism lead us and that is a WHOLE phenomenon, not the fractured self-serving nihilism of Derrida et al.

September 19, 2012

I personally know people who are absolutely convinced that he is going to disappear them.

And, in regards to this particular president, this law has been on the books ever since the 2002 AUMF.

Odd, that suddenly everyone is so interested the DRY bones of Habeas Corpus, which died in the Fall of 2002, with barely a nod from anyone. Quite interesting.

Honestly, I DO understand most people's concerns and credit them as much as I can, but there's one thing missing from everything I have seen about this. What does he do about current risks to the security of this land? current and future risks that are rooted in the current?

I (and many like me) am completely capable of handling all of the liberty I can find, others aren't and our history of "exceptionalism" in the world, especially our more recent activities in which we killed and enabled the killing of a few million INNOCENT Muslims, means something to the dysfunctional, who are at a disadvantage against superPAC powers, domestic and foreign, who can bank anywhere on Earth. Do you really think Romney is somekind of mistake?

Now you and I may be willing to take our chances against this situation (we'll just cure this patient with our ideological vibes), so we can rail against this process in which THIS President works out the legal parameters, through several rounds of this kind of stuff over the next several years, for a law that has been on the books ever since 2002, something that was absolutely going to happen one way or another anyway, because that's how it IS done in the legal universe.

We can rail and some of us can do the ignorant single-issue voter thing (after-all we're Americans we can do WHATEVER we want, fuck the difference between what wanting is and what actual freedom is). Yeah, the purists can get all high on purity and defend _______________________ (while __________________ likely gets blind-sided anyway from another direction, mind you). And we may even be right about all of that.

But the guy who is President has to represent ALL of the people who don't know, or if they do, they quite simply want the land protected. Why are their lives/their desires less valuable than yours or anyone else's lives? If they are in danger, shouldn't THEY be allowed to choose their own consequences? Or should some intellectual/political/economic plutocracy force those consequences on them?

And therein lies one of my basic issues about this stuff. People who don't necessarily know enough? everything? the things one would need most to know? are pushing on this POLITICALLY and, yet, they don't seem to care about the wishes of millions and millions of other people, here in America, and across the World, who, given a voice, would likely CHOOSE protection and, in the situation that we are in, that means by the most expedient means possible, detention, and, also at this point, detention IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER, for some unspecified period of time, i.e. indefinite detention. Apparently ideologies are more important than the desires of all of those people for their own safety from other people, similar to those fighting Obama on this, who don't care about their safety, or who have decided the risks are worth _____________________.

Why don't we ever hear a "Let's solve this dangerous problem this way!" from your camp? I know the answer to that question: YOU DON'T CONSIDER THAT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, but guess-what? Presidents ARE charged with that responsibility.

September 18, 2012

Why even Robert Nozick, the philosophical father of Libertarianism, gave up on the movement

he inspired.


Aside from being just a really fun and informative read, I want to evaluate this model relative to recent discussion here regarding freedom of speech.

The Times Literary Supplement ranks Anarchy, published in 1974, as one of the "100 Most Influential Books Since the War," and that, I think, is underselling it. To this day, left intellectuals remember where they were when they first heard Nozick's arguments against not just socialism but wealth redistribution of any kind. "It is no exaggeration to say," the Telegraph wrote, after Nozick died in 2002, "that Nozick, more than anyone else, embodied the new libertarian zeitgeist which, after generations of statist welfarism from Roosevelt's New Deal to Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, ushered in the era of Reagan and Bush, pere et fils." Prior to Anarchy, "liberty" was a virtual synonym for rolling back labor unions and progressive taxation, a fig leaf for the class interests of the Du Ponts and the B.F. Goodriches. After Anarchy, "liberty" was a concept as worthy of academic dignity as the categorical imperative.

And the screw takes one last turn: By allowing for the enormous rise in (relative) income and prestige of the upper white collar professions, Keynesianism created the very blind spot by which professionals turned against Keynesianism. Charging high fees as defended by their cartels, cartels defended in turn by universities, universities in turn made powerful by the military state, many upper-white-collar professionals convinced themselves their pre-eminence was not an accident of history or the product of negotiated protections from the marketplace but the result of their own unique mental talents fetching high prices in a free market for labor. Just this cocktail of vanity and delusion helped Nozick edge out Rawls in the marketplace of ideas, making Anarchy a surprise best-seller, it helped make Ronald Reagan president five years later. So it was the public good that killed off the public good.

Sustained it is, though. Just as Nozick would have us tax every dollar as if it were earned by a seven-foot demigod, apologists for laissez-faire would have us treat all outsize compensation as if it were earned by a tech revolutionary or the value-investing equivalent of Mozart (as opposed to, say, this guy, this guy, this guy, or this guy). It turns out the Wilt Chamberlain example is all but unkillable; only it might better be called the Steve Jobs example, or the Warren Buffett* example. The idea that supernormal compensation is fit reward for supernormal talent is the ideological superglue of neoliberalism, holding firm since the 1980s. It's no wonder that in the aftermath of the housing bust, with the glue showing signs of decay—with Madoff and "Government Sachs" displacing Jobs and Buffett in the headlines—"liberty" made its comeback. When the facts go against you, resort to "values." When values go against you, resort to the mother of all values. When the mother of all values swoons, reach deep into the public purse with one hand, and with the other beat the public senseless with your dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged.

Another way to put it—and here lies the legacy of Keynes—is that a free society is an interplay between a more-or-less permanent framework of social commitments, and the oasis of economic liberty that lies within it. The nontrivial question is: What risks (to health, loss of employment, etc.) must be removed from the oasis and placed in the framework (in the form of universal health care, employment insurance, etc.) in order to keep liberty a substantive reality, and not a vacuous formality? When Hayek insists welfare is the road is to serfdom, when Nozick insists that progressive taxation is coercion, they take liberty hostage in order to prevent a reasoned discussion about public goods from ever taking place. "According to them, any intervention of the state in economic life," a prominent conservative economist once observed of the early neoliberals, "would be likely to lead, and even lead inevitably to a completely collectivist Society, Gestapo and gas chamber included." Thus we are hectored into silence, and by the very people who purport to leave us most alone.

September 17, 2012

Waiting for Armageddon - Evangelical Documentary by

Kate Davis, Franco Sacchi, and David Heilbroner

Posting this because I want it in my journal so I can study it a little closer.
September 17, 2012

I'm sorry to say that most people probably think this is insignificant.

I can imagine their thoughts, TTE: Yes, well, that does happen and it might be kind of really unpleasant, but no real harm done - or - Total number of women out there, relative to total number of women who have this experience = this is a crazy minority of women trying to jerk the rest of us around - or - If she hates this experience enough, she'd tone it down a bit in order to avoid what's happening to her - or - (worst!!) She enjoys this assault and she enjoys bitching about it - or - __________________________ . . . .

The fundamental error in all of that is that no one thinks anything has anything to do with anything else. It's as though we are living in this fragmented universe in which there are no connections except those which we acknowledge and you (rhetorical you, that is) can acknowledge those "connections" if, when, and HOWever YOU WANT TO and saying that makes it so. The result of this is that most people think you can do whatever you WANT as long as you can "avoid" the consequences one way or another. Therefore, it's okay to profoundly disrespect women on the street and then go home to your teenage daughter and demand respect as the "male" figure of the household. "No 'harm'. No foul."


This is zero-sum thinking at its absolute worst. At this point in our social, economic, and environmental history, we can NO LONGER AFFORD to PRETEND that experiences have no relationship to meta-events and vice versa. We NEED, as in our survival may depend upon it, that is, WE NEED to consider what and how anything MAY have something to do with anything else. This means that we need rational processes at the grassroots' level to evaluate our experiences and make decisions about them, about ourselves, and about our future together.

We need to consider how a culture that admires, encourages, or tolerates casual disrespect of those who are at a power disadvantage AND BLAMES THEM FOR THE ACTIONS OF OTHERS WHO HAVE MORE POWER is a regressive culture that conserves dysfunction.

In the case of STREET HARASSMENT this means that disrespect and exploitation of women for male ego-aggrandizement can very definitely result in a culture that produces a great deal of teen pregnancies, STDs, adultery, divorces, drug abuse, hungry children, pathologies in our public schools and other public places, over-burdened social services at ALL levels . . . , you name it.

These connections ARE real, because the destruction to American families, caused by a lack of respect and an over-all culture of overt or covert violence toward the economically dis-empowered, the "weak", who across all class and ethnic "boundaries" tend to be females and/or children, is REAL.

Individuals need to understand these connections in more situationally specific ways, instead of letting others take advantage of them to enrich those who don't need it.

September 14, 2012

Can you help me with that? HOW? "... wouldn't (it) have happened"??? The only answer I can think of

is that a President Romney would have instituted such a regime of oppression throughout the whole region, and understand the means by which that would be accomplished would be Saddam Hussein-clones at ALL levels, correct??

He's saying there'd be no violence, because he'd have Uncle Sugar pay people to "prevent" other people in the region from acting democratically, because that could eventually result in an attack.

So, essentially he's saying he'd set us up to "have to" go into ________________ (again) to rein in another one of our monsters.

September 11, 2012

Some people are so obsessed with authority that everything is explained in terms of that, rather

than the actual problems their personas purport to be so concerned about.

Isn't it possible to be so obsessed with power/authority that one misses authentic potential solutions to the problems that inappropriate use of power causes, that is, misses or refuses to accept responsibility for them on the plain grounds that they are incremental? What are the likely probabilities that zero-sum thinking about certain extremely complicated and fluid situations is valid?

As much as many of us would like to believe that everyone just giving peace a chance is possible, the fact is that we really are nowhere even remotely near that and the violence that pretending otherwise CAN produce will make that peace possibility even more remote, ever and ever more remote, until it finally DOES become real in specie self-extinction. It's my sense that there are just too many people around for whom that increasing possibility IS an objective, or for whom it doesn't matter, or they think they/theirs will get well enough through it all to make it worthwhile, so many that I very simply MUST go against my own wishes in the matter and opt for the responsibilities of something more complicated than the over-simplifications of zero-sum thinking. Why do you assume that President Obama is incapable of or refuses to make similar calculations? Especially since, in his case, he has the significant benefits of MUCH better information? Why, please? I honestly would like to see your HONEST answer to this question.

September 11, 2012

That statement presumes an absolutely God-like knowledge & understanding of ALL of the factors.

I wouldn't mind that presumption if people would admit it up front.

If whatever caused 9/11 is real, then n/n is a real probability too. Does pretending that that is not true reduce or increase drone strikes?

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