Like Haidt, Girard observes that ideology becomes a source of tribal identity, but at its most extreme it becomes increasingly dependent not on the principles that it espouses but on the psychological kinetics of its adversarial relationship to its rivals. Positive philosophy gives way to the need to feed on rivalry as a source of meaning. This is why extremist ideologies tend to be built upon fabulist views of a possible future: the more spectacular the vision, the more unreachable the goal, the more immersive the cause.
In the penultimate chapter of The Righteous Mind, Haidt shares with the reader the disorienting moment when he realized conservatism wasn’t so backward and parochial after all:
»As a lifelong liberal, I had assumed that conservatism = orthodoxy = religion = faith = rejection of science. It followed, therefore that as an atheist and a scientist, I was obligated to be a liberal. But Muller asserted that modern conservatism is really about creating the best possible society, the one that brings about the greatest happiness given local circumstances«
Politically correct leftism is more than a challenge to liberalism. It is a test of liberalism. (…)
America’s most effective liberals—from Harry Truman to Rahm Emanuel—have known how and when to defy the illiberal left, whether that illiberal left was communist or Third Worldist or, as it is today, infatuated with the jargon of “intersectionality.” The liberals who couldn’t or wouldn’t or didn’t have been dragged toward the same marginality that has always befallen the hard left in America—and always will.
Republicans have suffered greatly over the past six years from their visible terror of their more extreme associates. The evolution toward a more responsible Republicanism remains incomplete, but is visibly under way. Now it seems to be the turn of liberals and Democrats to veer off into their own ideological fever-swamps.
The Church does not rename pagan traditions as the secularist renames Christian holidays, seasons, symbols and so forth. The Church baptizes the world. The Church impudently gives pagan traditions new meanings, of which a new name is an icon and consequence. The Winter Solstice is not renamed ‘Christmas’ in the manner in which secularists timidly rename Christmas ‘Winter Solstice.’ No, the Winter Solstice becomes Christmas — the old gods are dead and Christianity has killed them.
This helps us to finally understand the difference between a baptism and a renaming. The post-Christian renaming reduces to an acceptable effect without daring to alter the cause. The baptism invokes and declares a new cause — not Spring, but Christ, not the gods, but God, not the garden’s growth, but the Gardener. A cause alone can remain and bear the fruit of effects. An effect divorced from its cause — a holiday apart from a Holy Day, a sign of the cross apart from the Cross — these crumble as a tree without roots. I am Catholic because I want to live in a universe of primary meaning, of a real relation of effect to cause
Moraliziranje ima tako na moralizirajočega posameznika nasprotne učinke od pričakovanih. Je kontraproduktivno. Bolj, kot si pripovedujem, kako moralen in integriteten da sem, bolj se bom v to zaciklano prepričal, manj bom tako ravnal. In, ko mi bo okolica nastavila, kot se spodobi, ogledalo, ga bom razbil, ker mi ne bo všeč podoba v njem. Pa čeprav, kot je najbrž vsem jasno, ni in ne more biti krivo ogledalo, ampak le tisti, ki se v njem ogleduje.
Še slabše pa se nam godi, ko moraliziranje z nivoja posameznika potegnemo na raven javnega diskurza in ga celo spremenimo v njegovo paradigmo kot merilo javnega ravnanja. To lahko sproži dve, po svoje znova paradoksalni, reakciji: popolno relativizacijo standardov ravnanja in zavestno, sistematično zavračanje kakršnekoli odgovornosti za svoja javna ravnanja.
In tako se je še enkrat izkazalo, da je poglavitni smisel Zavoda Republike Slovenije za zaposlovanje ta, da nudi delovna mesta uradnikom, ki so tam zaposleni. Včasih se vprašam, zakaj skoraj nobeno svetovanje, ukrep, mehanizem, spodbuda ali delavnica ne služi svojemu dejanskemu namenu, marveč samo kot krmilo za občutek, da nekje neka vladna služba nekaj počenja. Pogosto se vprašam, kaj bi veljalo storiti, da bi bilo drugače. Odgovore še čakam.
In our day, prejudice against gays is just a very faint shadow of what it once was. But the abolition of prejudice against gays does not necessarily mean that same-sex marriage is inevitable or optimal. There are other avenues available, none of which demands immediate, sweeping, transformational legislation or court judgements.
We are in the middle of a fierce battle that is no longer about rights. It is about a single word, “marriage.”
Two men or two women together is, in truth, nothing like a man and a woman creating a life and a family together. Same-sex relationships are certainly very legitimate, rewarding pursuits, leading to happiness for many, but they are wholly different in experience and nature.
Gay and lesbian activists, and more importantly, the progressives urging them on, seek to redefine marriage in order to achieve an ideological agenda that ultimately seeks to undefine families as nothing more than one of an array of equally desirable “social units,” and thus open the door to the increase of government’s role in our lives.
In recent years, progressive politics has been known for its pursuit of social change in the moral realm, with LGBTQ causes at the forefront of its crusade. But the poor have been left behind. In ironic fact, progressives have given up equality for the sake of also giving up virtue.
With old-fashioned virtue, there might be a chance at equality. But “progress” has been determined to consist in the final dismantling of all moral structures that once lent backbone to the demands of the virtuous poor. Without meaningful work, there can be no working class. Another way of saying this is that without the kind of work that imparts a working-class identity, the working class can have no class-consciousness.
People need work. The poor—and all of us—are made virtuous in part by the need to labor; to struggle, not with one another in the sense of “class struggle,” but with our bodies and within our souls; to practice the virtues of diligence and self-denial; to have something to show for ourselves. If the “virtuous poor” are virtuous, it is because work has made them so. Take away work, and you take away humanity. That goes for the elite, too.
The current trends in America, Wall Street getting richer, everyone else getting poorer, politicians of both parties feeding brazenly at Wall Street’s trough, the party of the Left in full blown attack gear not on inequality, which it has done nothing to address, but picking at and rubbing raw the scabs of identity politics—this can’t keep going on indefinitely without something really bad happening.
Increasingly the divides in American life are not between those who defend equality of opportunity versus those who demand equality of result, as Nisbet argued. Rather they are between whether freedom and voluntary association on a more local level can win out over coercion and bureaucracy at an ever more distant national level. Kunkel’s desire for sustainable production by worker-owned businesses and grassroots democratic decision-making seems to envision a new kind of politics, more local and left-libertarian in nature, that transcends easy categorization. And if there is a genuine mood rising among Americans, particularly the young, toward a return to smallness and democratic self-control throughout American society, then the argument now should revolve around means.
Conservatives should embrace him /Foucault/ and his work. From a conservative perspective, the great thing about Foucault’s writing is that it is more plastic than Marx, and far less economically subversive. Academics rooted in Foucauldian thought are far more compatible with neoliberalism than the old Marxist academics.
In some ways, Zamora’s book is an effort by some on the left to try to “discipline” Foucault’s flirtation with the right. It will be interesting to see the academic left’s response to the book. But Zamora also reveals why free-marketeers might want to give Foucault another read and not just dismiss him with the “post-modern” epithet.
Given Chesterton and Burke, there exists a liberalism consistent with right reason and revelation. Extension of economic and political liberalism into all-encompassing worldviews would be an American heresy. But one can take them to be prudent means—of negative liberty for the sake of trade and civic liberties under the rule of law—when rightly ordered toward proper ends known by natural reason and revelation. As Chesterton writes in What I Saw in America: “The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed.”
Havlu je Srednja Evropa je omogočala vizijo neke drugačne, demokratične Češke (oziroma Češkoslovaške). Njegova osebnost je bila zato tudi za druge srednjeevropske države monumentalnega pomena. Na prvi pogled se morda res zdi, da je ideja o Srednji Evropi nek romantičen in nostalgičen pojem, ki se navzven lepo sliši, znotraj pa je votel. Ali kot piše Jančar: »Kaj nas resnično druži v srednjeevropskem prostoru, je precej nedorečeno. Zdaj se naenkrat kaže, da nas je bolj združeval odpor do njegove razdeljenosti kot pa sorodna kulturna vprašanja.« Svobodna demokratična družba, pluralizem, spoštovanje temeljnih človekovih pravic, odprtost in prevzemanje odgovornosti pa vendarle ostajajo nekatere skupne vrednote srednjeevropskega prostora, ki povezujejo, če že ne vladajoče strukture, pa predvsem ljudi, ki živijo na tem prostoru. To pa so prav vrednote, ki jih pooseblja Havlovo življenje.
Ne glede na dejanske in objektivno ugotovljive razloge za kršitve in napake, ki so se zgodile v sodni kalvariji, znani kot afera Patria, se bo za dobršen del prebivalstva ta zgodba kazala kot zadnja etapa te izključevalne prakse.
Posledice bodo vsaj dvojne.
Prvič, Janševi podporniki bodo za kršitve človekovih pravic v zadevi Patria klicali na odgovornost ne le dejanskih in objektivnih krivcev, temveč celotni slovenski mainstream; to se pravi vse tiste, ki ne spadajo v njihov krog.
Drugič: če živiš v okolju, kjer ti še pri najbolj očitnih in eklatantnih kršitvah tvojih osnovnih pravic na pomoč priskočijo skoraj izključno le podporniki in kjer se politična kritika takoj pretvori v podporo politični izločitvi, potem je logično, da lahko računaš le na podpornike. In če lahko računaš le na podpornike in če od tistih, ki ne spadajo mednje, ne moreš pričakovati niti osnovne državljanske in človeške empatije, potem je logično, da postane lojalnost glavni, celo edini kriterij selekcije.
Družba, ki se začne organizirati po teh principih – ki so, povejmo jasno, principi klanovstva –, se začenja nevarno oddaljevati od razmer demokratičnega sobivanja.
As these examples of democratic regression into various forms of ‘illiberal democracy’ in Central and Eastern Europe show, democratic consolidation is still far from complete. The most disturbing detail is the vulnerability of ‘consolidated democracies’ such as Hungary or Slovenia to ‘democratic regression’, which reminds us that democracies are inherently unable of being ‘definitely established’. While significant progress in the development of ‘electoral democracy’ in the region has been achieved, ‘liberal democracy’ still remains fragile and weak. Moreover, the legal institutions of liberal democracy in Central and Eastern European countries significantly differ from those of their Western European counterparts. Behind a façade of harmonised legal rules transposed from various EU legal sources, several cracks have begun to appear, exposing the fragility of constitutional democracy in these countries.
As a consequence, Central and Eastern European countries are once again displaying certain features of “lands in between” which call attention to their constantly precarious and indeterminate location on the political map of Europe. Zwischen-Europa, as some interwar German writers called it, lies in the territory between the West and the Russian East and is said to have been the “unfinished part of Europe” for most of the 20th century. Its political and legal institutions were similarly “caught” in between the democratic West and the authoritarian East.
Skeptics have been planning the EU’s funeral for decades, but time and again, the union has refused to die. During the EU’s latest and most profound crisis, national governments once more chose to reaffirm and deepen their commitments. This rapid growth of EU power, however, has given rise to a number of misguided and counterproductive policies that have undercut public support and left the EU in a deep malaise. European citizens today largely ignore the EU’s many achievements or take them for granted, instead equating the organization with economic pain and feckless leadership. The union endures, but it has lost its mojo.
The EU has worn out its default strategy of muddling through crises. Lurching from one calamity to the next has damaged the credibility of Brussels and national governments alike. It is time for a bold and far-reaching agenda. To see a Europe truly reborn and fit for the twenty-first century, EU leaders must reassert with confidence—on the economy, on security, and on democracy—that Europe is stronger when it stands united.
Narodno identiteto bomo zgubili zaradi ležernosti, neaktivnosti, ne-ljubezni do domovine, ne pa zato, ker bi v stiski priskočili na pomoč ljudem, ki nas potrebujejo. Najlažje je ljubiti svoje. A Kristus nas poziva, da ljubimo tujce. »Tujec sem bil in ste me sprejeli.« (Mt 25, 35).
Če že ne moremo začeti ljubiti, ker smo to najčistejše čustvo umazali in pocukrali, se sklicujmo vsaj na pravičnost in mir.
During the Korean War, alarmed by the shocking rapidity of American POWs’ breakdowns and indoctrination by their communist captors, the CIA began investing in mind-control research. In 1953, the CIA established the MK-ULTRA program, whose earliest phase involved hypnosis, electroshock and hallucinogenic drugs. The program evolved into experiments in psychological torture that adapted elements of Soviet and Chinese models, including longtime standing, protracted isolation, sleep deprivation and humiliation. Those lessons soon became an applied “science” in the Cold War.
During the Vietnam War, the CIA developed the Phoenix program, which combined psychological torture with brutal interrogations, human experimentation and extrajudicial executions. In 1963, the CIA produced a manual titled “Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation” to guide agents in the art of extracting information from “resistant” sources by combining techniques to produce “debility, disorientation and dread.” Like the communists, the CIA largely eschewed tactics that violently target the body in favor of those that target the mind by systematically attacking all human senses in order to produce the desired state of compliance.
(B)ecause the concept of torture has been so muddled and disputed, I suggest that accountability would be more publicly palatable if we reframed the CIA’s program as one of human experimentation. If we did so, it would be more difficult to laud or excuse perpetrators as “patriots” who “acted in good faith.” Although torture has become a Rorschach test among political elites playing to public opinion on the Sunday morning talk shows, human experimentation has no such community of advocates and apologists.