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Considerably less evil than Satan

By Al Schumann on Saturday January 3, 2009 07:17 AM

Hendrik Hertzberg contemplates Rick Warren and finds him less awful than Pat Robertson and James Dobson.

It would be hard to set the bar much lower. I suppose one could use Reverend Moon... In any event, on the risky assumption that the effort to elect Obama contained some smidgen of a hope that his election would advance liberalism, liberals are bound to be feel some disappointment at being presented with yet another leader whose strategy for advancing liberalism is the same tired, feckless, pointless and insulting tactic of cozying up to right wing cranks. In response to the disappointment, the liberal commentariat immediately scrapes the bottom of the rhetorical barrel. They've got nothing, already, but the comfort of crude relativism. The eight years they just spent inveighing against the futility of accommodationism, the stern admonitions against it, their dismay at eight years of Democratic "spinelessness", all forgotten. And Obama has yet to take office. Mark my words: they'll be biting the heads off chickens by the midterms.

There may be a golden opportunity in this for the Lakoffians. Hundreds of thousands of bewildered liberals are going to need soothing and perception adjustment. It's a Big Job, calling for cognitive policy. It needs someone who can say "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again" in a way that doesn't cause too much upset.

Comments (11)


Perhaps a call center could be set up where poor bewildered pwoggies could get comforting words of Lakoffian wisdom for only $4.99 a minute.

Actually, reaching out to fascists was the progressive plan as far back as 2006. Whining aside, accommodationism is the progressives' plan. When we warned about the incipient progressive-fascist alliance at the time, we weren't talking about the DNC, but rather referring to what passes for progressive intellectuals.

Peter Ward:

It's hardly surprising that intellectuals, i.e., those conscious of being an 'intellectual', should align themselves with power--and the fact that they do so has be documented since prior to the Russian Revolution. That's how they aim to 'succeed'. Like everyone else, they're scrambling to kiss the arses of those who call the shots. Incidentally, this is probably what made Marxism fashionable in its day.* It presumed, in its implicit vision of society, platonic elite of wise philosophers ensuring the good-functioning of society. Unfortunately those who call the shots only reward and flatter the would-be philosopher-kings as long as they see a need for them and dispose of them as soon as possible. This was the case of Hitler, who duly sent antisemitic intellectuals to the camps as soon as he felt confident doing so (people who take pride in thinking for themselves, even if a vain pride, are obviously potential threat in the eyes of power).

*I'm suggesting that Marxism wasn't without value, although that to this day its fatal defect, apart from its questionable quality as a science, is contently being evaded is instructive, I think.

Where, Peter Ward, would you locate Marxism's elitist "implicit vision of society"? In Lenin? If in Marx, name the place.

And even if one wants to say Marx somehow implied Leninism, why are we compelled to jettison, rather than correct, the whole ball of wax, which hardly reduces to a theory of political structure?

And, if Marxism's day has passed (rather than never yet arrived), where lies the decent human future? (And why are you reading websites like this one?)

Inquiring minds want to know.


Michael D: Michael S used to visit lbo-talk, and so I suppose someone from lbo-talk could slip over here.

Personally, I would enjoy Michael's sharp satirical take anywhere, the more for being non-sectarian.

This site has some notable fire-breathing Jeremiahs of no particular political stripe. I always feel in good company here.

Seneca, I'm not trying to get all worked up about Marx or bring any kind of slant to this forum. I myself certainly have no kind of party slant, other than hating the Democrats. And there's not much that's worse than Louis Proyect-style Lenin impersonating/windmill tilting.

Nonetheless, the best parts of Marxism are hardly deserving of being jettisoned in the name of avoiding such tomfoolery. I'd say the quite opposite, in fact, and I'd wager pretty heavily that MJS and OP would, too.


"Louis Proyect-style Lenin impersonating"

lou lou is a sour sanctimonious trot


"Mark my words: they'll be biting the heads off chickens by the midterms."

pleasant image


I'd pay to see 'em do it, if it weren't already free.


Peter wrote:

[Marxism] presumed, in its implicit vision of society, [a?] platonic elite of wise philosophers ensuring the good-functioning of society.
I'm not sure where in his reading of Marx Peter has gotten this; it certainly wasn't my impression. For the record, I do indeed have a soft spot for the old boy myself.

As for "bad science" -- that's a criticism that really makes my hackles rise, not because Marx really is "scientific" in the sense self-advertised by academic scientists, but rather because no science has in fact the firm epistemological foundations claimed (and probably believed in) by bell-jar empiricists. In other words, all the best science is bad science.


"[Marxism] presumed, in its implicit vision of society, [a?] platonic elite of wise philosophers "

yes he did indeed he did indeed ...that would be
a sifted few guys just like ...me

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