Friday, November 24, 2006


Via Digby, this essay in The American Conservative, from a former muckety-muck at the National Review, is a dead-on indictment of what intellectually and morally hollow fools the conservatives have really become.

In one sense I am vaguely disturbed by the way in which everybody, including us Libruls, tends to give greater credence to criticism of the Right from the Right than to our own. We, after all, were right all along; they are the ones who have been deluded (or even delusional) and are only now recognizing what we saw from the outset. Our views should be accorded more weight, not less.

But I have to admit that it is significant when powerful figures from within the movement publicly declare their apostasy. And this essay in particular is a damning indictment of much more than the tragic folly in Iraq: it exposes the bankruptcy of the entire infrastructure behind that crumbling facade. And The American Conservative deserves praise for printing it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In praise of mirrors

You seem to be advocating "follow the logic no matter where it goes", although you don't outright say so. However, I am afraid that that is the logic I have been referring to right along, and which seems not to carry you along with it if it involves certain types of fundamental questions. When you see a logical fork ahead, and you anticipate not liking either of the branches, it is apparently ok to think about something more agreeable until you have passed through the gate of that fork while otherwise occupied. That, however, leads to moments of confusion as in "Hmmm, how did I get here?"

The "Democratic" or "democratic" movement/party/ideology has no more substance or real consensus on what it is (and isn't) than the "conservative" one, nor any more honest people in it, nor any history of consistency. Your being vaguely disturbed about criticism based on its source, while equally clearly wanting credit for being "right" all along seems to mirror your anticipation of a fork coming up that you expect you won't like. But, after all, an honest critique is what should count, not its author's politics, yes? So this common dread of approaching decision points (surely you know I'm only using you as a whipping boy) is one of those "logic anywhere" problems people have.

When one wants to understand any sort of human behavior, one must first observe human behavior. The first thing we see about all humans is that they lie/fudge/dissemble/etc., in an obvious attempt to gain personal advantage (and nearly every one will deny it). But, Every.Single.One does it. Not pursuit of advantage for their family/kin/fellows/party/etc., but for their own personal advancement. Advantage is THE great motivator, even ahead of sex (and anyway, in many cases, obtaining (having) sex is only a demonstration of the personal advantage one has accrued). The lie about the goal creates a never-to-be-understood pair that are forever joined in the unconscious but can only be understood separately.

Similarly, it is impossible to understand the specific motives of others (correctly) without first observing one's own (accurately). This eliminates most commentators on the human condition as having any credibility whatsoever.

To recap: "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink" is the current condition of human intellect applied to human awareness – lots of thoughts, no intelligence. If you can't see what motivates you, you have no substance and no platform for conclusions with meaning.

It is easy to see lots of morally hollow men, no matter which direction one looks. For a just expelled/repelled National Review mouthpiece (indeed a very bright one) to call the conservative movement on this point, and not even suggest why that hollowness is so pervasive, is not terribly noteworthy or praiseworthy, but it is self-serving, whether you know what advantage he will gain or not. It would be much more interesting/refreshing/honest if, having had his awakening, he started writing about the why of the hollowness from the inside out, from his own look at himself in the mirror. But then that would be psychology, and not politics – and the aim of politics is to make most things seem like something else.

The most interesting question will continue to be "Why don't more people use mirrors?" at least for the foreseeable future. Maybe a "librul" will pick up the torch?


2:20 PM  

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