Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
The Gods That Will Fail [?]
This question is an empirical one: Does tribalism feed a deep human hunger that liberalism does not? Liberals, I think, give up too easily on this point. Defenders of the old liberal order are tired and jaded, it's true--who can observe the iniquities and false promises of modernity without a loss of faith? But the contention that Enlightenment liberalism's mojo has natural limits, and that illiberalism's mojo is inexhaustible, seems to me at best debatable [...]

[...] "American [intellectuals] think they are atheists," this grim man said, "but they are not atheists. In Romania -- there you found men who believed in nothing."

Compared with these nihilists, American liberals look vapidly chipper. When they peer into the existential abyss, they assure themselves that it has a bottom, just out of sight, and when they toss a penny into it they think their wishes will be granted. The real nihilism is daily in evidence by the Trump administration, which will tell not only noble lies -- the alleged sin of the George W. Bush administration -- but indefensibly ignoble ones, and which swaggers past all moral lines, both in policy and in electoral politics.

by das monde on Sun Dec 16th, 2018 at 11:03:08 AM EST
I always wonder who these "liberals" are who infest the imaginations of centre right concer-trolls. As painted, they don't look like liberals to me, they look more like centre-right "thinkers" of no particular persuation who worry that their preferred prescription for life, located somewhere between the corporate left and the corporate right (ie much the same place,), seems to have been  abandoned by everybody for the desolate wasteland it is.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 16th, 2018 at 08:37:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the old Democratic Leadership Council people wandering off into irrelevance except in the pages of magazines nobody reads.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Dec 17th, 2018 at 06:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, when I was slumming with the California Cohort of Petty Landlords (online), I got in the habit of classifying their rants and favored celebrities either "liberal liberal" or "conservative liberal"; free trade being the only principle of ahh representative democracy that they shared.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 6th, 2019 at 05:25:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
although if he's worried that x-tianity seems to have gone missing in rational politics, then perhaps x-tianity should not have become so obviously and publicly corrupted by both plain old sexual depravity and partizan right wing political preference.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 16th, 2018 at 08:48:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Christianity has always been a paragon of opposition to Rationality, also in its leftish varieties (along with Romanticism, Post-modernism). The Trump cult promises to win more bigly. But liberals themselves are more Romantic than Rational now, in their rejection of "deplorables", yearning for zero masculinity, expectation of Justice, belief in institutions.
by das monde on Mon Dec 17th, 2018 at 06:29:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People such as myself has said as much of the schema
economics
and
"politics".
(politics get the scare quotes, because its pretty clear that in western "civilization" that the demos are resigned to the belief, "politics" is out of their hands. A vanishing number will take no responsibility for representative democracy, the system of government in which are said to participate, and the agency of its effects: It's not me. They can't win. It's the Powers That Be. The Deep State. Too Big To Fail. 'Our' elites.)

Fingers to the wind.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 01:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole article is a joke, predicated on the childish notion that morality is predicated on religious belief (explicit in the Romanian anecdote : atheism = nihilism).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 08:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article subtitle starts with

"If voters are freighting politics with religious significance...."

and mostly analyzes Sulivan's article

America's New Religions

So author's own involvement (above Dunning-Krugers' level, apparently) is beside the main point. Your kind of dismissal only illustrates something about liberals' empirical detachment.

by das monde on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 09:27:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some familiarity with historical systems of human social organization is needed to assay comparative discursion on "rationality": The 'Age of Reason' ushered by western 'Enlightenment' to the forefront of moral imperatives, or mores--with imperial teleology--is a canard. Rhetorical distinctions between secular and religious customs express one canon of hierarchical domination and liberation.

To date, the elaborate sophistry of western 'Enlightenment' --a project entirely dedicated to dissembling political and religious customs-- has subjugated untold millions of people to a value system administrated by a cadre, armed by covert and overt violence.

Violence (annihilation of another) is one system of human organization, preceded in point of fact by the biological emergence, if you will, of rationality in human being.

If one can trust that symbolic language signifies 'higher-order' cognition ('reasoning') and mutually intelligible speech, it follows that this faculty indeed defines humanity, bar none. These attributes are not severable. Obversely, irrationality expresses unintelligible speech.

This is another system of human organization: The purposes of exchanging known and expressing unknown knowledge between people should be self-evident, species preservation. The density of these exchanges in any space-time can be understood as an occurence "society," regardless of the symbolic term adopted by two or more people.

We generations of modernity have been tutored to name categorically religion that which is unknown experience. Known experience, oral and written artifacts (repetition) of organized human industry, predicates 'history'. More ridiculous in this age of abstract reasoning is, western imperial violence has systematically denied philosophical status in its ranks to the customs of its subjugated peoples.

Division of labor within a society is another system of human organization. It may be mutually agreed (contingent) or habitual as with hereditary assignment to each generation in a society or violence. We generations of modernity have been tutored to name categorically economics that experience with and esoteric knowledge of a division of labor.

The dominance of any one of these systems in the "rationalization" and organization of humans by human 'authorities' is cyclical. Neologism is rife.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 03:26:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reason is a power structure that immediately gets suspected very much in the West, Islam and other cultures. Enlightenment is just the most successful rational project yet -- indeed an imperial hurricane, but falling into energetic restrictions as well.

Religion may still have little real competition in the area of unknown experiences (where rationality quickly undercuts itself). Species preservation is exactly an area with many unknowns. Particularly, climate change is an unprecedented unknown in its scale. Most likely, our acute innovation won't go much further than re-establishment of unjust authorities and divisions of labor. Who else than progressives would be the last to see those signs?

by das monde on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 07:32:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, have you mistaken me for a liberal?

Memo to self : try harder.

It's obvious that the writer is buying into Sullivan's (Sullivan's!) framing. And by your choice to meta-analyse Sullivan via a review of his rambling, trivial article, you are buying into it too, by considering the whole shambles to be worthy of comment. Frankly, it isn't.

To indulge you, I have read the first few paragraphs of Sullivan's drivel :

Everyone has a religion. It is, in fact, impossible not to have a religion if you are a human being.
[SNIP]

And we have the cult of social justice on the left, a religion whose followers show the same zeal as any born-again Evangelical. They are filling the void that Christianity once owned, without any of the wisdom and culture and restraint that Christianity once provided.

It doesn't seem to ever occur to anyone in this chain of commentary -- you at the top, down to Sullivan at the bottom -- that people can believe in things, and fight for them, because they are good in themselves, according to a self-defined system of values, without any need of tribal or religious validation.

That there are vast numbers of humans who have not achieved emancipation from their anthropoid need of tribal value systems, is self-evident, and the hardest political problem there is.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 06:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sulivan is not elaborate, but his straightforward assessment is not necessarily boring or wrong.
By religion, I mean something quite specific: a practice not a theory; a way of life that gives meaning, a meaning that cannot really be defended without recourse to some transcendent value, undying "Truth" or God (or gods).

Which is to say, even today's atheists are expressing an attenuated form of religion.

If you want to see liberal values win, tribal validation is not mandatory indeed. But if too many people are actually repulsed by how far intersectionality, queer "tolerance" and similar unbounded values are going, that is perhaps exactly why Trump gets all validation and more.
by das monde on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 06:58:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if the issue is tribalism vs rationality, Sullivan has no added value from my point of view. He seems to posit that "liberals" are a tribe, and that their tribalism is inferior to others.

Your objection to rationality (what you call liberalism) is apparently the age-old one of religious moralists : "Gay rights brought down the Roman Empire", etc...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Dec 19th, 2018 at 04:12:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Liberalism and Rationality are not the same things. As I suggested above, liberals could be rather Romantics. Liberal moral purity may appear more than unattractive to most of population -- what is compassionate then?

The subject of liberal religion is taking off on the dark internet:

Postmodern Religion and the Faith of Social Justice

by das monde on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 10:11:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, [pandering to your définitions for the sake of argument], so liberals are just another tribe/faith, and my first instinct was right : I am not a member, and indeed nobody here is, as far as I can see. As for the Maoists, if they are included in your definition of "liberals", then that's... interesting (from a psychiatric point of view)

The non-tribal people, those who actually buy into the idea of individual emancipation, don't seem to exist in your taxonomy (nor in that of Sullivan). That's fine with me :)

Just keep on trying to put me in a category.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 02:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does not matter what I categorize or not.

Faith is characterized by absence of limits. As the drive for intersectional justice shows no sensitivity outside its focus, that will provoke categorizations and comparisons with Mao, alas. That is my message.

by das monde on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 03:09:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does not matter what I categorize or not.

You're right about that.

There are always extremists on all sides on hot-button social issues. Your determination to categorize me with the people who are hostile to the study of "ROGD" tells us plenty about you, and nothing about me. (Oh I suppose you can guess my opinion on that subject. Will you kindly fill me in?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 03:43:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not expect you to be that kind of a zealot, even if you are reluctant to bad-mouth them.
by das monde on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 03:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But surely I must follow the laws of my tribe? I'm confused. Please explain.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 04:23:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are not patronizing each other
by das monde on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 05:45:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I deliberately choice the word 'society', because 'tribe' is an artifact --a pejorative one at that--of western European ethnographic 'disciplines' dedicated to study of so-called primitive people and their customs viz. hagiography of colonial rule in perpetual progress toward perfection of itself.

Vinay Lal, among many other critics of western European historicism beside Foucault, has commented on such language, invented to displace humanity and 'civilization' and political sophistication of any sort in 'the other'.

One humorous, memorable quote in his survey of British India encapsulates the problem for anyone struggling to discard the yoke of the, one, 'progressive' value system:

What's the difference between anthropology and sociology? Sociology is when you study your own people.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Dec 18th, 2018 at 07:44:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This course is good to follow:

by das monde on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 03:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
entertaining 100-level to "chaos and complexity", rung several of my favorite pivots here on Anglo-merican psychopathy --the search for mitigating circumstances in capital punishment, for instance, the dread B.F. Skinner, western mind-body dichotomies, stereotype ("category thinking'), Nash equilibrium, human "speciation," etc. and, most surprising, reference to labial-velar consonant "evolution", e.g. b<->p.

That I learned about by reading Bernal, vol. II-III, lengthy application of historical linguistics to documentary artifacts of afro-asiatic languages. d<->t is common; a<->o vowels, too, (I forget the terminology  off-hand) introduced a few dramatic lexical errors and transliterations in cognates, e.g. psyche.

< sigh >

return of "interdisciplinary study" in the '80s, "unlearning" a crazy-ass canon of besserwissen: "animals behave to maximize the number of gene copies for the future generation" is not "group selection."

Like I said, neologism is rife.
 

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Dec 21st, 2018 at 01:00:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series