Why the Left is Adrift (a Classic)


From: lightsearcher1
Date: Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:31 pm
Subject: Why the Left is Adrift (a Classic)

Just found the ESSAY OF THE YEAR...and it's only March 31 today.

(link found at end)

A touch of the Michaelic is wrapped within --

WHY THE LEFT IS ILL: the Death Spiral of the Intellectuals

There was a time when intellectual meant someone who uses reason and intellect.

Today, people who call themselves intellectuals are in a form of mental death spiral: they search for, and find, those index cards that support their world view, and clutch little red books like rosaries in the face of all external evidence. They are ruled by appeals to authority.

Their self-image and sense of emotional well-being trumps any and all objective evidence to the contrary.

How many students today believe what they believe because they met someone who knew a guy whose girlfriend turned him on to an article by Noam Chomsky?

Noam Chomsky predicted, in his even, intellectual, authoritarian, tenured manner, that if the US went to war in Afghanistan after 9/11 the result would be 3 million Afghan casualties.

How many of these students who worship St. Noam independently ask themselves why he has, to date, come up 2,999,500 bodies short? Noam is not wrong by a fact of one or two; Noam is not wrong by an order of magnitude. Noam is not wrong by a factor of a hundred to one. Noam is wrong by more than three orders of magnitude. Noam is wrong by a factor of 6,000 to one. Noam says the reef is ten feet off the port bow; when in fact it is more than three miles away.

That's six thousand to one. Noam says the ocean is six thousand feet deep when in fact the keel has been ripped out and is sitting on the sandbar back yonder: that's a 6,000-to-one error. Extrapolating this accuracy rate, if Noam writes 6,000 pages on the evil of the United States, how many pages of truth might there by in such a twenty-volume set?

Does this mean that everything Noam Chomsky writes is nonsense?

Not at all. He is a professor of Linguistics. I am not qualified to say how accurate the work in his field of expertise is. I can however make a stab at how accurate he is in the field of US foreign policy, and if you have a handheld calculator at home, you can make the same comparison and achieve the same results.

The same goes for Michael Moore. Are all of his maps incorrect? No, just almost all of them. While he is demonstrably wrong about the contours of the American Character, I'm sure he has the route to his bank well worked out, and his triangulation of the location of nearby donut shops has attained GPS-like accuracy. -- And I never claimed I would never take cheap shots; only that I have a strict quota that I abide by religiously.

Intellectualism, as it is practiced today, is a trap.

It is not a palatial hall of great minds looking for answers and then testing them in the real world; it is a basement in your parents house filled with lazy and filthy hippies eating your leftovers and drinking the last of your milk.

Intellectualism is certainly not the same as intelligence, and more and more, it is becoming antithetical to intelligence.

When well-off people who call themselves intellectuals drive their SUV's to march in support of Marxism, you can see the chasm between intellectualism and intelligence in full flower.

When elitists who fancy themselves brighter and more compassionate than the rest of us choose to support the Taliban, with its stoning of women and execution of homosexuals in football stadiums before mandatory audiences, over a representative democracy with unparalleled structural protections of minorities and freedoms of expression, then self-styled intellectuals have abandoned intelligence altogether, as well as morality, reason, compassion and indeed sanity.

Likewise, when coffee-house intellectuals dictate their worldview according to non-existent pipelines or supposed theft of oil revenues where no evidence of such theft can be produced but deposits into Iraqi national accounts can, then one has to ask one's self if this intellectual badge is worth the mud it's printed on.

There are two other salient qualities that seem to define the modern intellectual, and neither of them reflect glory upon the title.

The first is a preening arrogance.

This goes well beyond the larval, poseur stage; otherwise known as the Coffee-shop intellectual. These are the profound ponderers with the round glasses that have no prescription lenses - but they certainly do make one look serious and deep - and that is the important thing. They carry obscure books by French intellectuals which they pretend to read in the original French.

They are emotional eleven year olds trying to look adult by smoking cigarettes; as with eleven year old smokers, one does not know whether to laugh or cry. In any case they are harmless and can be safely ignored.

Far more dangerous are people who manage to worm their way into positions of influence, usually in bureaucracies or university faculties, and then can inflict tremendous damage - although not through bold action, for action is anathema to today's intellectual set.

No, it is a slow, corrosive process, and one has only to look at the language of deconstructionism and post-modernism to realize that the goal of the professional intellectual is to take any problem or issue that might exist in the real world, and try to reduce it to language.

Once this troublesome reality can be corralled into nothing more than a linguistic debate they are in their sole area of competence and actually have a chance to win something for once in their lives.

This is why some people see bad men doing bad things that must be stopped, and others see --

"...disadvantaged individuals victimized by cultural and economic paradigms of inequality that force them into involuntary self- destructive behavioral modalities that are predicated on and the result of external dynamics beyond their control or cognitive abilities, resulting in behavior modification protocols that are aimed at recovering basal self-esteem levels while providing the disadvantaged individual skill sets essential to their reintegration into the community and a return to standardized norms of societal interaction."

These are the bastards on Central Planning Committees who have never been to a machine shop but who think they know more about running a machine shop than the person who actually runs the machine shop because they have a masters degree in economics.

Arrogance, thy name is Starbucks.

The second disturbing and disgusting trait of modern intellectuals is their transparent use of argument and appeals to authority as a means to camouflage their moral and physical cowardice and complete inability to act.

These are the Uruk-hai of modern degenerate intellectualism; people who use the endless supplies of evidence cards and dueling authorities to argue and debate and extemporize and orate and rationalize and discuss and criticize so long as one never, ever actually has to do something.

That is why so many of these groups like Not in Our Name or Actors United to Win Without War are so appealing to intellectuals: it allows them to take a position as champions of Peace and Compassion without having to do something.

Not in Our Name is against the war in Iraq. Fine. Saddam was killing perhaps 20,000 people a year, and forcing millions to live in terror that exceeds that of having your screenplay put into turnaround; that in addition to all of the geopolitical turmoil.

What about those people? What about those - wait for it - children?

And how do we `win without war' against a regime like that? More Sanctions? No sanctions? Just let him buy as many people shredders as he can afford by stealing his nation's oil wealth, and send Strongly Worded Letters the next time he decides to launch some lunatic war somewhere? You don't want war - fine. Neither do I. But clearly, somebody has to do something. Just exactly how do we "win" without… Hello? Hello?

These `intellectuals' are cowards.

Action, and the consequences of action, completely paralyze them - it literally strikes them loquacious. They become so afraid of doing something that they are reduced to a non-stop, really quite pathetic jabbering.

The French, in particular, have made this into an art form that has religious overtones for them.

They seem to really believe that as long as you are talking nothing bad can happen to you. Their historical vision stretches back less than fifty years. And they say we are the unsophisticated ones, the adolescents.

"Ah, oui monsieur, I can see from your very fierce expression that you intend to rape my young daughter. Well, she is quite charming, one must admit, but I could not help but notice, monsieur, the very fine quality of that trench coat you are wearing…is that a Belgian tweed? No, of course, c'est bon, but you will admit monsieur that it does appear unseasonably wet for this time of year…please, Martinique, do not struggle; Papa is trying to have a conversation with this charming gentleman… mon dieu! What a remarkable physique you have, monsieur! You must frequent the gymnasium quite regularly, do you not, mon ami..? "

This is not nuance; it is not sophistication; it is not noble or refined or admirable. It is cowardice. It is fear of taking action when action needs to be taken, and the main goal of modern intellectualism is to convince people that taking action when action is called for is the mark of an idiot, a philistine or a child.

Listen, I'm all in favor of reading and studying all manner of philosophy and literature. And while social studies evidence cards cut both ways, there were not too many expert physicists out there claiming objects fall up off the table and into the air. Both intellectual study, and expert opinion, have their place. It is only when they are used beyond their limits that problems come thick and heavy.

So far, not one book or one author has seemed to write the definitive manual on how people behave and why. They in themselves have little or no predictive value whatsoever. They are useful lighthouses to mark distant positions, and they open our eyes to new viewpoints and new experiences. But one book, or one philosopher, or one revolutionary has not yet been able to pen a work that will tell us how people will behave.

And yet, among these so-called elites, there are many who take the word of, say, a German expatriate, living in Britain, at the dawn of the Industrial Age, as a guide for living in an Information-Age culture dominated by an explosion of freedom and prosperity brought about precisely by ignoring what that individual wrote and doing exactly the opposite.

Don't take my word for this. Let's not sit down in the bilge arguing about whether Karl Marx or Adam Smith had the best course to freedom and happiness. Let's just go up the stairs, open a hatch, go out on deck, get out the telescope and have a look at what actually happened.

We are not blind, and we are not crippled, and the world is not a novel or a treatise or a theory or a manifesto. It exists. We can go look for ourselves.

And on the way up, when those desperate elitist bastards start clutching at your ankles and implore you to stay below where it's safe and argue some more…be sure to kick those sons of bitches right in the teeth.

Their blind obedience to their Big Ideas have killed more people in history than anything except disease. Boot to the the teeth, I say.

But that's just me. You've been around. You're no sap. What do you think? Is learning to think this way really very difficult? Does it require nuance? A Ph.D? A French accent?

No, it is much simpler than that. It is so simple, in fact, that today's intellectuals are completely incapable of understanding it. It is, like the Universe, elegantly simple. E=mc2 simple.

Socialist intellectuals will tell you that Cuba is a model nation: universal free health care, near total literacy, and essentially no gap whatsoever between the rich and the poor.

They call it an island paradise where brotherhood and compassion reign in stark contrast to the brutal inequalities of the heartless and racist capitalist monster to the North, ruled by it's Imperial Nazi King, who is the devious mastermind of all manner of Conspiratorial Wheels and also a moron.

Capitalist intellectuals - and there are not many, since most of these people have jobs - argue that Cuba is a squalid, corrupt, poverty-ridden basket case, a land of oppression and secret police and torture chambers run by a megalomaniac who practices the most idiotic, inhuman and degrading economic system ever invented. So here we sit in the chartroom, with our competing maps. What to think?

Well, we can agree that the act of giving up your home, your friends and your family must be traumatic, especially since you will face prison, or worse, if you are caught trying to vote with your feet.

And I think all can agree that placing your infant daughter and your aged mother on a raft of inner tubes would be a trifle more traumatic and horrifying than not getting enough whole cane sugar in your grande frappucino at Starbucks.

So, is Socialism a better way to live, or is Capitalism?

Leave the armies of experts and intellectuals down in the bilge where they belong.

Go up on deck, get out the telescope, and answer one simple question for me and for yourself: Which way are the rafts headed?



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