Monday, December 07, 2009

Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor Day in Copenhagen

Hockey sticks are ideal for breaking over your opponents' heads, which seems to have been the main point.

The Global Warmongering scandal is yet another lesson in how contagious and (oddly) reassuring is the proposition that the greatest and gravest challenges we face today are indigenous to Western civilization, its moral patrimony, its cultural traditions, its economic prosperity, and its preference for equality of opportunity over equality of outcome.

Here's a theory: contemporary liberalism is moral relativism on steroids, but humans are endowed with a moral sensibility which, under the regime of moral relativism, is deprived of its legitimate and healthy function. It is forbidden by a code -- which is all the more dogmatic for being unwritten -- to make a moral judgment about all the things our ancestors found morally challenging: honesty, fidelity, venality, sexual morality, decadence and so on. It is perhaps in the area of sexuality that moral principle has been historically most essential, key as it is not only to nuptuality and family life, but to spiritual health as well. I think here of Philip Rieff's brilliant insight that "the discipline of inwardness" requires "fresh renunciations of instinct," while "the discipline of outwardness" -- Rieff's term for superficial soullessness -- requires ever fresh "satisfactions of instinct."

So, under today's liberal, multicultural, libertine regime, the basest of instincts and the most "objectively disordered" behavior is regarded as morally self-justifying. Under this regime our moral sensibility is not allowed to function in the ways that it functioned in our ancestors. One therefore has to either break out of the straitjacket of that regime -- the dictatorship of relativism -- or find some "cause" that is both urgent enough to excite our sense of purpose and capable of being espoused with the least inconvenience to ourselves. Of course the urgency required for us to feel the moral frisson requires, in turn, that drastic measures be urgently taken. And if these measures are not to involve any considerable personal inconvenience, they must be measures imposed for the most part elsewhere and on others.

It's a royal bother to those who don't buy any of it, but it's the only opportunity relativists have to feel something like a moral impulse.

Just a theory.

6 comments:

Kevin said...

Gil,
You show a graph which clearly shows how we are heating up and that this heating coincides with the release of billions of tons of greenhouse gases. In essence you are showing exhibit A for the case for anthropogenic causes of climate change and then claiming it is all hysteria.

This is a real and gathering crisis. Our grandchildren will curse us for not acting sooner. And the action required is something we must embrace. Us, here in the developed west, will have to change drastically how we live. This is hardly a case of putting burdens on someone else.

It would appear that your own ideological predilections are clouding your vision of this serious situation.

You do not do the cause of humanity or the cause of Christianity any good when you pursue denialism of anthropogenic climate change.

Ad Astra Per Aspera,
Kevin

Dean said...

A gentle translation to the post entitled, "Pearl Harbor Day in Copenhagen"

Sometimes Gil seems to labor expressing himself without the added burdens of ostentation or obscurantism. As an aid to the readers of his blog, I thought it only fitting to provide a direct translation of his post, in italics, so that the true meaning is available to all. No thanks are necessary. I feel that it is my duty. Let us begin:

Hockey sticks are ideal for breaking over your opponents' heads, which seems to have been the main point.

I'm very upset that people are challenging my lack of knowledge about Global Warming by presenting an abundance of careful facts and linked sources. So I will play the hapless victim when ignoring them doesn't pay me dividends.

The Global Warmongering scandal is yet another lesson in how contagious and (oddly) reassuring is the proposition that the greatest and gravest challenges we face today are indigenous to Western civilization, its moral patrimony, its cultural traditions, its economic prosperity, and its preference for equality of opportunity over equality of outcome.

In an effort to avoid confronting reality at all costs, I have to treat any theory that threatens my personal view of the world with real and destructive effects as though it's a diagnosis of someone else's conspiratorial thinking. That way I can direct responsibility away from myself and deny I had any knowledge that's too painful to deal with.

Here's a theory:

This is what I actually believe, but this keeps me from sounding like I own it.

contemporary liberalism is moral relativism on steroids

I love the term moral relativism. I use it over and over again. It makes me sound so morally superior in comparison to everyone else, which of course, I am. Liberals scare me. Oh shit, everything scares me.

humans are endowed with a moral sensibility which, under the regime of moral relativism, is deprived of its legitimate and healthy function.

I don't know what I'm talking about. But I've been repeating it so long, I'm actually starting to believe it.

It is forbidden by a code -- which is all the more dogmatic for being unwritten -- to make a moral judgment about all the things our ancestors found morally challenging: honesty, fidelity, venality, sexual morality, decadence and so on.

I would really have been happier wearing a powdered wig, jerkin, pantaloons and living in the 17th Century where I could draw snuff from a pill box.

It is perhaps in the area of sexuality that moral principle has been historically most essential, key as it is not only to nuptuality and family life, but to spiritual health as well.

I also love using the word "nuptuality". It means nothing, but it sounds great. My spiritual health is so important to me, I'm thinking of castrating myself on moral principle. Maybe then I'll be able to stop thinking about sex.

I think here of Philip Rieff's brilliant insight that "the discipline of inwardness" requires "fresh renunciations of instinct,"

I've already lost my mind, I might as well mutilate my body as well. If I get much more inward, I'll be on the other side looking over my own shoulder.
(Prithee continue...)

Dean said...

Harken onto part two....

while "the discipline of outwardness" -- Rieff's term for superficial soullessness -- requires ever fresh "satisfactions of instinct."

My instinct is to throw up in my mouth. It's one of the few I can resist.

So, under today's liberal, multicultural, libertine regime, the basest of instincts and the most "objectively disordered" behavior is regarded as morally self-justifying.

I hate faggots.
I'm going to use the words "objectively disordered" until I'm blue in the face, and you can't stop me. Na Na Na Na NA Na! Take that, you liberal philistine pussies!


Under this regime our moral sensibility is not allowed to function in the ways that it functioned in our ancestors.

Our ancestors had children who ended up being smarter than they were. That's disappointing to me. But I suppose I can still churn butter, put a bundling board in the bed and thatch my own roof if I want to.

One therefore has to either break out of the straitjacket of that regime -- the dictatorship of relativism -- or find some "cause" that is both urgent enough to excite our sense of purpose and capable of being espoused with the least inconvenience to ourselves.

Did I mention that I hate faggots?

Of course the urgency required for us to feel the moral frisson requires, in turn, that drastic measures be urgently taken.

I like the word "frisson". I think it's French. It means "skin orgasm". I've never had one myself. But I've decided to take inaction to the level of a drastic measure and deny reality. Especially when it comes to arguments I've already lost and am neither civil, generous or humble enough to admit. Did I mention that Global Warming is a hoax? And that they're all out to get me?

And if these measures are not to involve any considerable personal inconvenience, they must be measures imposed for the most part elsewhere and on others.

If I'd only been a Catholic priest...I could make a greater number of people feel false shame for things I feel no shame for at all.

It's a royal bother to those who don't buy any of it, but it's the only opportunity relativists have to feel something like a moral impulse.

Since I've cheapened my own status to the breaking point by being a pain in everyone else's ass, I must strive not to be a pain in my own by reminding myself that my moral impulses are better than your moral impulses.

Just a theory.

I believe this with all my heart. Or would, if I could find it.

Kevin said...

Dean,
You are being unfair to Gil. Please refrain from treating him, or indeed anyone, in such a fashion. Your comments have gone beyond the bounds of decency and you have made accusations of mental deficiency and cowardice that are unwarranted.

Gil is a man trying to say what he thinks is true. We disagree and to argue over the ideas before us is fine, but to treat him that way is shameful. It belittles you and is embarrassing to watch.

Please don't do this anymore.

Ad Astra Per Aspera,
Kevin

Dean said...

Kevin,
I'm sorry that you feel unease over my post. I admire your prudence and restraint, but I cannot promise to oblige you. Gil saw fit to publish my response, which he obviously didn't have to do, and for which I'm grateful. I'm less grateful in suspecting he published it assured that someone would rush quickly to his defense. It's the pattern of avoidance that bothers me. Several of us have asked Gil to refrain from his pejorative and hurtful language about homosexuality. He has not. If anything, he has ramped it up, answering our requests with total indifference. A number of us have diligently tried to change his mind about global warming. There is no evidence it's had any impact on his thinking.

I realize of course that he may never change his views, that his convictions about it being false or misleading may be genuine, but that's not the point. He continues to act as though no one has even expressed a contrary view, or that those views are irrelevant, a form of conspiratorial group think, or a mere invention aimed at destroying Christian culture. That kind of dismissiveness and nose thumbing has to be practiced purposefully. So I used a purposeful method of my own in an attempt to break through the barrier. I resorted to caricature. It's confrontational, satirical and sardonic. I freely admit it was uncharitable. If it bothers you that much, I suggest you refrain from reading all posts that begin with "Dean said..." I believe it is beneficial for Gil to understand how his rhetoric sounds to other ears. I don't know what the "bounds of decency" are in this case, but there has to be some reciprocity. His readers certainly don't ignore what he says. What value is there in saying whatever you want...if it's summarily ignored, dismissed or forgotten? That's not satisfactory. And I'm not ashamed or belittled at the prospect of wanting engagement.

You say that "Gil is a man trying to say what he thinks is true." I disagree. Most of what Gil says lately is framed in the language of negatives: what he doesn't believe, what he doesn't think is true, what he doesn't like, and what he doesn't acknowledge could possibly exist beyond the truth he claims to know and selfishly guard. He can of course say or believe whatever he wants. It's his blog. But it doesn't exist in a vacuum. He's chosen to have an internet presence which, like it or not, is a free invitation to anyone who wants to participate. Since it's a public forum run by the fuel of that comment line at the bottom of each post, its going to be responded to not just by a close knit circle of supporters, but by anyone else who wanders in, whether they accept his views or not. On the internet the "or not" is going to play a much more democratic role. It may be harsh and candid at times, and vicious at other times. I try to keep my passions in check and remain civil, but sometimes the aggravation I feel overrides that. That's how reality works. It's a place where we can all dissent, agree, argue, wrestle, and fight for what we do or don't believe in. It may not always be charitable, but that is not the only measure or litmus of its success. Engagement is important too. Otherwise, it's not a conversation, it's just a soliloquy.

Doughlas Remy said...

Kevin, I realize the conversation on this site gets messy and confrontational at times, but, personally, I enjoy hearing what is really on people’s minds as long as there is some interesting content there. (I sometimes stop reading when it starts to become very predictable...) We are all mature, responsible adults, and I really doubt anyone, including Gil, is going to be damaged by the ideas and opinions that are expressed here.

It’s an Internet blog, not a family dinner table or a business lunch. We don’t have to face each other later on at the office or in the bedroom. To me, that is the beauty of it, though I realize some people feel the nature of the medium has brought about a coarsening of public discourse. My opinion of what constitutes “coarseness” may be a little different from yours. In fact, I think we all shock and offend each other at times, if not by our language then by the ideas we express. So be it.

We all have our gifts, and one of Dean’s, in my view, is the ability to “let it all out” in such a hilarious and creative way. He’s practicing the ancient art of parody and caricature, without which the world would probably be overrun by Tartuffes, pompous windbags, and pontificating preachers.

When I find another blogger’s comments uninteresting, pointless, or predictable, I usually just stop reading them. And I am sure several bloggers on this site have tired of hearing me go on like a broken record about homosexuality, climate change, and secular humanism. Reading, unlike listening, requires a continuous choice, so I assume anyone who continues to read my stuff has chosen freely.

I don’t have any expectations about Gil, and I don’t even assume that he reads my comments, though I often address them to him as a way of showing I’m addressing the ideas he has expressed. I think the real action is in the Comments section, where we really get into lively debates. Gil seldom engages with us, and seems mostly impervious to our opinions. The appearance, just today, of an Asian porn advertisement in the comments section of his “A Journalistic Scandal...” post is proof that he does not always read comments.

The “disconnect” between Gil’s posts and the comments appended to them is, in my view, comic, and I think Dean’s sort of guerilla-action, street-theater caricature has captured that comic potential very successfully.

Doughlas Remy
http://thebentangle.wordpress.com/