Monday, 2 March 2015

Boltproof; or Damnatio Memoriae through Apotheosis. — Adam Rutherford, lecturer for the public understanding of anthropolysenkoism, presents the standard model of the relationship between Charles Darwin and Francis Galton:
Darwin was not a racist. . . . However, Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton, most certainly was . . .1
Poor old Galton is made to serve in posterity as lightning-rod to Darwin’s spire. But it’s not just Galton who must suffer the bolt whilst Darwin remains unscorched. Your poor old granny counts as a racist because she likes neither darkies nor Jews and thinks England should remain England, whilst our dear old Darwin, who looked forward to higher races eliminating lower races2, in particular to how Anglo-Saxons would raise the rank of mankind by exterminating whole nations3, doesn’t count as a racist at all. Your granny’s opinions are no longer welcome in polite society, and she is damned to rot in the underworld for the elderly, perfunctorily attended, if not ill-treated, by foreign hands. Darwin’s remarks wouldn’t be welcome either4, but they are ignored, thought not to exist, or said to be somebody else’s, and he is apotheosised, manhandled into becoming a god too big to fail the test of latter-day sensibility, a god therefore of blind idiocy who neither sees nor understands the forms and deeds of the human races.
. . .
1. Adam Rutherford, “Why Racism is Not Backed by Science”, theguardian.com, 1st March 2015.
2. See C.R. Darwin, Letter to William Graham, 3rd July 1881, transcribed and published online for the Darwin Correspondence Project.
3. See C.R. Darwin, Letter to Charles Kingsley, 6th February 1862, ibid.
4. See my fantasy, “An Unwelcome Guest”, The Joy of Curmudgeonry, 12th February 2009.

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Birth of Postmodernism in Trauma. — As the real began to crush the ideal, the left put the real on trial, and found it innocent of existence.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Word in the Ear of the Future-Seekers. — Modernity is not the bridge; it is the abyss.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Novocularity. — Old books are new eyes.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Drink to Nothing

(I.) The cup in front of me contains a deadly infusion of hemlock that will kill anyone who drinks it.
And:
(II.) I do not want to die by drinking it.
And:
(III.) There is no oughtness — moral or otherwise — or any other reason whatsoever that I ought to drink it.
Therefore,
(IV.) I ought not to drink it.
But, hold on:
(Va.) Oughtness is not a kind of isness (i.e., is not a fact); and (Vb.) Oughtness cannot be rationally derived from isness. (Add: the same goes for what purports to be oughtness.)
And:
(VI.) Conclusion IV is an oughtness or rather, purports to be.
Therefore,
(VII.) Conclusion IV is neither an isness (i.e., neither a fact) nor rationally derived, after all, from the isnesses (i.e., the facts) of I, II and III.
And:
(VIII.) That which is neither a fact nor rationally derived from at least one fact is of dubious validity, to say the least, gaining credence only through error or fallacy.
Therefore,
(IX.) Conclusion IV is of dubious validity, to say the least, gaining credence only through error or fallacy.
And:
(X.) I do not give credence to what is neither a fact nor rationally derived from at least one fact; to what is gained through error or fallacy; hence to what is of dubious validity.
Therefore,
(XI.) I do not give credence to IV, namely, that I ought not to drink the deadly infusion.
[The irrational crux of the matter lies in the twin-beliefs that (Va.) oughtness is not a kind of isness and that (Vb.) oughtness cannot be rationally derived from isness: namely, it lies in eighteenth-century follies that still blight the intellectual landscape.
   Now, those who wish to maintain their defence of Va and Vb and yet who also wish somehow (but understandably) to find that the argument from I-IV is reasonable (despite holding Va: oughtness is not a kind of isness) will likely suggest that the oughtness in conclusion IV, namely, that I ought not to drink the hemlock, is not derived from the isness of the premises at all but rather from an oughtness implicit in premise III, namely, that there is no oughtness — moral or otherwise — or any other reason whatsoever that I ought to drink the hemlock. Here there are a few things to note.  
  • (1) Premise III is not an ought-statement but an is-statement that embeds an ought-statement in its denial of oughtness. In the case that it is true, it is true by the isness (i.e., the fact) either that there is in fact no oughtness in the world, or that just in this case there is none.
  • (2) Conclusion IV is derived from the whole of premise III, not just from an embedded part of it, as well as from premises I and II, and since each premise as a whole is an is-statement, and if conclusion IV is rationally derived from the premises, then it follows that oughtness can be rationally derived at least in part from isness. Or: the paradigm of premise III, namely, It is not the case that I ought to do, is not logically equivalent to the paradigm of conclusion IV, namely, I ought not to do, hence the latter does not by itself logically follow from the former, hence furthermore, if the conclusion is rationally drawn from the premises, then part of it must be rationally derived from the isness of the premises, contrary to the claim of Vb. (In short, the oughtness of conclusion IV cannot be derived solely and in particular from the denial of oughtness in premise III.)
  • (3) If it were then held by saving modification that Vb is after all just the claim that oughtness cannot be rationally derived solely from isness, where isness is assumed as utterly devoid of implicit oughtness, then the claim would be but a special case of nihil fit ex nihilo, a principle held to be true by reasonable men for millennia; but then it would lose its supposedly new and radical sting. In every rational argument, what is explicit in the conclusion is implicit in the premises, otherwise there would be nothing therein for logical inference to draw out into the conclusion. (And why should arguments with ought-conclusions be held to a higher — nay, impossible — standard?) So, indeed, the oughtness found in the conclusion of the argument I-IV is implicit in the premises. But that does not show Vb to be true as stated and meant (as a new and radical finding). For the claim of Vb as stated and meant is not that oughtness cannot be derived from oughtness, but that oughtness cannot be derived from isness, which presupposes for its truth that oughtness is not a kind of isness.
  • (4) What makes Vb new and radical (and false) is its presupposition of Va, namely, that oughtness is not a kind of isness. That is the real crux of the matter. And what shows the falsehood of Vb is the falsehood of Va, being that its contrary is true, namely, that oughtness is a kind of isness. (Naturally, just as there are false is-claims, so there are also false ought-claims.) That Va and Vb are false is clear in the light of intentionality.
But here it is pertinent to be reminded that some philosophers have also denied the existence of intentionality: of any kind of aboutness, end-directedness, or goal-tendency. (Their goal in doing so is not immediately clear.) Thus, for them, that oughtness cannot be rationally derived from isness follows from the “facts” (as they see them) that not only is oughtness not isness but also that nothing can be rationally derived, at least where that means logical inference towards an end. If they were so inclined, they ought to argue as follows:] 
(I.) Nothing is about anything, or acts or is conducted towards, for, or to an end.
Untherefore,
(IIa.) No “logical inference” is about anything, or acts or is conducted towards, for, or to an end; and (IIb.) Nothing else in this “argument”, including its “premise” (I), nor the “argument” itself, is about anything, or acts or is conducted towards, for, or to an end: e.g., towards the end of understanding the world or an aspect of it. (As the quotation-marks, which in fact signify nothing, might suggest, if suggestion were possible, these are not things as ordinarily understood, to wit, as being about something, etc — but then of course neither is understanding, ordinary or otherwise.)
Untherefore,
(III.) Nothing follows, except perhaps and per accidens my lunch and the saying of new things, which will not be about anything, etc.
Still, whatever:
(IV.) Science is great, in spite of its not being about anything, etc — great not least in that it somehow helped to reveal its own insignificance in showing premise I, namely, that nothing is about anything, or acts or is conducted towards, for, or to an end.
[Here the eliminativist might argue that whilst science is not about anything, nor conducted by its practitioners towards, for, or to an end, it nevertheless reflects the world. He might do so, but he ought to bear in mind — though he might give the oughtness no credence — that his argument would, by his own lights, not be about science and its relation to the world, nor be conducted towards the end of defending its significance, although yet again he could say it reflects its significance, where “significance” does not bear any meaning of being about or towards something. But then, by those lights, he could say a lot of things about nothing to no end.]

Something and Nothing


“Who says there’s not nothing?”1
Even a stupid question is something.
. . .
1. Philosopher Arthur Danto, quoted by Oliver Burkeman, “Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence?”, theguardian.com, 19th October 2013.
The reactionary is no utopian. His ideals have mud on their boots.
The instinctive and habitual task of authoritarianism is to repress and restrain creativity, thus to dishearten trash and spur genius to thrive.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Against Oakeshott. — Nomocracy is a kind of telocracy that the liberal promotes as a neutral yet opposing tendency to every kind of telocracy. (The idea of something neutral yet opposing is incoherent.) As with every other telocracy, nomocracy forbids anyone from choosing an end at odds with it. For to allow anyone to act outside the rule of law would be contrary to it, contrary to that end which nomocracy has set for everyone. The promotion of nomocracy as though it were neutral yet opposed to telocracy is typical of liberalism’s incoherence and its blindness to the imposition of its own ends, or rather, it is yet another unprincipled exception that liberalism makes for itself.

From The Sensitive Guide to English Usage (2,796th ed.)


person of colour, n.phr., is to be distinguished in sensitive discourse from coloured person. Whilst usage of the first is presently (as of 2:53pm gmt on 29th January 2015) recommended by coloured people, usage of the latter may land you in trouble because it is not presently (id.) recommended by coloured people, though it once was. Person of colour is often abbreviated to poc, presently (id.) without disapprobation. The plural is pox.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Worstalling


Tim Worstall: “[E]radicate those who did this. No mercy.”1
Dearieme: “Where’s your usual pieties about a fair trial, Tim? And your opposition to capital punishment?”2
Tim Worstall: “I deliberately used that word instead of ‘execute’ or ‘kill without trial’. Because charging, trying and then jailing for life is still eradication.”3
Dearieme: “I don’t believe you.”4

. . .
1. “#JeSuisUnHebdonist”, Tim Worstall (Weblog), 7th January 2015.
2. Comment at 3.37pm, ibid.
3. Comment at 3.40pm, ibid.
4. Comment at 8.48pm, ibid.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Slavoj Žižek: Philosophaster and Plagiarist. — Under the man’s name, clarity has appeared at last, owed albeit not to some unfogging of mind, but to plain old stealing. It was just this clarity that struck Steve Sailer as odd: “a reader inclined toward deconstructionism might note that Žižek summarizes [Kevin] MacDonald’s controversial argument [in The Culture of Critique] quite lucidly. In fact, the superstar professor achieves a higher degree of clarity while expounding MacDonald’s message than in any other passage I’ve read by Žižek”.1 The reason for the cat’s barking, the dog’s meowing, or rather, this obscurant’s lucidity, is simple: it is someone else’s summary, namely, Stanley Hornbeck’s, from a review that appeared in American Renaissance over seven years beforehand.
  Much of the plagiarism is word-for-word. Some passages are lightly rephrased. Below I give a side-by-side comparison. The passages from Žižek come from one continuous paragraph, which I have broken up into sections so that Hornbeck’s original might run parallel to it, making the comparison easier. To the same end, I have re-paragraphed some parts of Hornbeck’s original and removed Žižek’s page-citations.

Slavoj ŽižekStanley Hornbeck
The main academic proponent of this new barbarism is Kevin MacDonald, who, in The Culture of Critique, argues that certain twentieth-century intellectual movements led by Jews have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man; these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian.
In The Culture of Critique, Kevin MacDonald advances a carefully researched but extremely controversial thesis: that certain 20th century intellectual movements – largely established and led by Jews – have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man. He claims that these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian.
One of the most consistent ways in which Jews have advanced their interests has been to promote pluralism and diversity—but only for others. Ever since the nineteenth century, they have led movements that tried to discredit the traditional foundations of gentile society: patriotism, racial loyalty, the Christian basis for morality, social homogeneity, and sexual restraint.
Prof. MacDonald claims that one of the most consistent ways in which Jews have advanced their interests has been to promote pluralism and diversity – but only for others. Ever since the 19th century, they have led movements that tried to discredit the traditional foundations of gentile society: patriotism, racial loyalty, the Christian basis for morality, social homogeneity, and sexual restraint.
MacDonald devotes many pages to The Authoritarian Personality (1950), a collective project coordinated by Adorno, the purpose of which was, for MacDonald, to make every group affiliation sound as if it were a sign of mental disorder; everything, from patriotism to religion to family—and race—loyalty, is disqualified as a sign of a dangerous and defective ‘authoritarian personality’. Because drawing distinctions between different groups is illegitimate, all group loyalties—even close family ties—are ‘prejudice’.
Prof. MacDonald devotes many pages to an analysis of The Authoritarian Personality, which was written by Adorno and appeared in 1950. [. . .] The book’s purpose is to make every group affiliation sound as if it were a sign of mental disorder. Everything from patriotism to religion to family – and race – loyalty are signs of a dangerous and defective ‘authoritarian personality’. Because drawing distinctions between different groups is illegitimate, all group loyalties – even close family ties! – are ‘prejudice’.
MacDonald quotes here approvingly Christopher Lasch’s remark that The Authoritarian Personality leads to the conclusion that prejudice ‘could be eradicated only by subjecting the American people to what amounted to collective psychotherapy—by treating them as inmates of an insane asylum.’
As Christopher Lasch has written, the book leads to the conclusion that prejudice ‘could be eradicated only by subjecting the American people to what amounted to collective psychotherapy – by treating them as inmates of an insane asylum.’
However, it is precisely the kind of group loyalty, respect for tradition, and consciousness of differences central to Jewish identity that, according to MacDonald, Horkheimer and Adorno described as mental illness in gentiles. These writers adopted what eventually became a favorite Soviet tactic against dissidents: anyone whose political views were different from theirs was insane.
But according to Prof. MacDonald it is precisely the kind of group loyalty, respect for tradition, and consciousness of differences central to Jewish identity that Horkheimer and Adorno described as mental illness in gentiles. These writers adopted what eventually became a favorite Soviet tactic against dissidents: Anyone whose political views were different from theirs was insane.
For these Jewish intellectuals, anti-Semitism was also a sign of mental illness: Christian self-denial and especially sexual repression caused hatred of Jews. The Frankfurt school was enthusiastic about psychoanalysis, according to which ‘oedipal ambivalence toward the father and anal-sadistic relations in early childhood are the anti-Semite’s irrevocable inheritance.’
For these Jewish intellectuals, anti-Semitism was also a sign of mental illness: They concluded that Christian self-denial and especially sexual repression caused hatred of Jews. The Frankfurt school was enthusiastic about psycho-analysis, according to which ‘Oedipal ambivalence toward the father and anal-sadistic relations in early childhood are the anti-Semite's irrevocable inheritance.’
In addition to ridiculing patriotism and racial identity, the Frankfurt school glorified promiscuity and bohemian poverty [quotes MacDonald]: ‘Certainly many of the central attitudes of the largely successful 1960s countercultural revolution find expression in The Authoritarian Personality, including idealizing rebellion against parents, low-investment sexual relationships, and scorn for upward social mobility, social status, family pride, the Christian religion, and patriotism.’
In addition to ridiculing patriotism and racial identity, the Frankfurt school glorified promiscuity and Bohemian poverty. Prof. MacDonald sees the school as a seminal influence: ‘Certainly many of the central attitudes of the largely successful 1960s countercultural revolution find expression in The Authoritarian Personality, including idealizing rebellion against parents, low-investment sexual relationships, and scorn for upward social mobility, social status, family pride, the Christian religion, and patriotism.’
Although he came later, the French-Jewish ‘deconstructionist’ Jacques Derrida was in the same tradition when he wrote: ‘The idea behind deconstruction is to deconstruct the workings of strong nation-states with powerful immigration policies, to deconstruct the rhetoric of nationalism, the politics of place, the metaphysics of native land and native tongue . . . The idea is to disarm the bombs . . . of identity that nation-states build to defend themselves against the stranger, against Jews and Arabs and immigrants . . . .’ As Prof. MacDonald puts it, ‘Viewed at its most abstract level, a fundamental agenda is thus to influence the European-derived peoples of the United States to view concern about their own demographic and cultural eclipse as irrational and as an indication of psychopathology’. Needless to say, this project has been successful; anyone opposed to the displacement of whites is routinely treated as a mentally unhinged ‘hate-monger’, and whenever whites defend their group interests they are described as psychologically inadequate. The irony has not escaped Prof. MacDonald: ‘The ideology that ethnocentrism was a form of psychopathology was promulgated by a group that over its long history had arguably been the most ethnocentric group among all the cultures of the world.’
Although he came later, Derrida followed the same tradition when he wrote: ‘The idea behind deconstruction is to deconstruct the workings of strong nation-states with powerful immigration policies, to deconstruct the rhetoric of nationalism, the politics of place, the metaphysics of native land and native tongue. . . . The idea is to disarm the bombs . . . of identity that nation-states build to defend themselves against the stranger, against Jews and Arabs and immigrants’. As MacDonald puts it, ‘Viewed at its most abstract level, a fundamental agenda is thus to influence the European-derived peoples of the United States to view concern about their own demographic and cultural eclipse as irrational and as an indication of psychopathology’. This project has been successful; anyone opposed to the displacement of whites is routinely treated as a mentally unhinged hatemonger, and whenever whites defend their group interests they are described as psychologically inadequate—with, of course, the silent exception of the Jews themselves [quotes MacDonald]: ‘the ideology that ethno-centrism was a form of psychopathology was promulgated by a group that over its long history had arguably been the most ethnocentric group among all the cultures of the world.’
Source: Slavoj Žižek, “A Plea for a Return to Différance (with a Minor Pro Domo Sua)”, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Winter 2006). 2

Source: Stanley Hornbeck, “Cherchez le Juif”: Review of Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique, in American Renaissance, Vol.10, No.3, March 1999. 3
 

. . .
1. Steve Sailer, “Slavoj Žižek on Kevin MacDonald’s ‘Culture of Critique’”, iSteve Blog: Unz Review, 8th July 2014. (The first commenter, “IHTG”, at Sailer’s blog also noticed something untoward.)
2. For those who have access, Žižek’s original paper can be found at JSTOR. A somewhat altered version can be found at Lacan.com.
3. The words that Hornbeck, and hence Žižek, attributes to Derrida are in fact those of John D. Caputo.

(Likely Žižek’s defence would be: plagiarism is a bourgeois-romantic concept. More from the Žižek-files: here, here, and here.)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Being thought stupid and being thought clever have both served me in life, the latter more to my stupid gratification, the former, more to my clever advantage.
What people take to be implications can become implications by their taking them as such. Consider Darwinism (or mere evolutionism): people have taken its implications to be irreligion and atheism, hence its implications have been irreligion and atheism. But it must be borne in mind that we are dealing here with two kinds of implication: logical and factual-effective. Darwinism does not logically imply irreligion or atheism, but people have taken it to do so, hence it has factually-effectively implied it. So to rephrase the opening sentence: what people take to be logical implications can become factual-effective implications by their taking them as such. The converse of course does not hold good.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Hyper-Stupidity through Ideology. — It is almost incredible that we have got to the stage at which a man can believe that he is more closely related to a stranger than to his own daughter: 
“There are no races. All men are more closely related to each other than they are to their mothers, sisters and daughters. I am more closely related to Obama than to my daughter and Obama is more closely related to me than he is to his daughters.” 1 
What is interesting about this is not the ignorance and low intelligence of the author. (He is, after all, just another buffoon on the internet.) What is interesting is that ignorance and low intelligence, albeit at a level at which one can still function as a human being, cannot on their own lead a man this far. It takes ideology to drive a man into such depths of garbled, reality-defying stupidity. If the author had relied on his native wit, little though it is, and not given himself over to some ideologically-inspired falsehood which he does not even half-understand2 yet by which he reckons himself rational and intelligent, he would have thought more rationally and intelligently. That is what is interesting — and unsettling because of its commonness. 
. . .
1. DocMartyn, in the comments to Sarah AB, “The Far-Right in Europe: a Roundup”, Harry’s Place (weblog), 15th December 2012; re-paragraphed.
2. He unwittingly manages to compose a crude parody of already so crude a thing as Lewontin’s Fallacy.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Part-Triumph of a Figment. — The mass-man is the closest approximation in reality to the individualist’s mental abstraction of the individual.