"Without the ultrarational hopes and passions of religion no society will ever have the courage to conquer despair and attempt the impossible; for the vision of a just society is an impossible one, which can be approximated only by those who do not regard it as impossible."--Reinhold Niebuhr
Metaxis We are in-between beings whether we like it or not. We become substantive to the degree that we hold our opposite tendencies, especially the spirit vs. matter tension, in balance and to integrate them.
The Reasons for My Concern Comprehensive background statement that explains the historical cultural framework that informs the posts I put up on this blog.
How Liberalism Got Its Bad Name How the sixties put Liberals in an impossible situation, and were blamed for chickens come home to roost that were hatched from eggs laid in the 1870s.
Latent Authoritarians Talks about the role of the principle of susidiarity in combating the top-downism of the right and the left.
Believing What we believe shapes how we live, whether our beliefs are superficial or profound. Whatever narrative we ultimately choose opens up certain possibilities and closes off others; it shapes what we can see and what we are blind to.
The Hypertropied Eye Modernity and its eye centeredness created the conditions for the possibility of individualism and critical reflection, but it also led to the gradual disenchantment of the world which became reified.
Dying Traditions Living traditions survive in the U.S. only so long as they can resist acculturation into the larger modern American milieu. The economic pressures working to break down such subcultures are terrific.
Nobody with any common sense believes the Warren Commission explanations for the Kennedy assassination. Nobody with any common sense believes that the reason we went into Iraq was to liberate Iraqis from Saddam's despotism. There are the official cover stories, and then there's what really happened.
The problem lies in that while the cover stories rarely pass the laugh test, you can never be sure about what is really going on. You can speculate and come up with the most elaborate conspiracy theories, but you never really know. You can do a lot of research, and maybe you can get a bigger collection of dots to connect than the next guy. But about too many subjects, usually the ones that matter most to us, there's always someone with more dots or someone else who has the same dots as you but connects them differently. People who do it well, who are more often right than wrong in their judgments have what the Greeks called 'phronesis' or practical wisdom.
What galls the most, what infuriates and confounds, is the brazen clarity of the situation at hand. Mr. Obama has not been losing policy arguments to reasonable people. He has been losing policy arguments to people who are, in many instances, absolutely and unabashedly barking mad. He is losing policy arguments to people who sought elected office in government in order to denude and destroy that very government. Listen to them talk and the matter is plain: they got the job to destroy the job, and are so blinded by the fervor of their political catechism that they cannot be reasoned with under any circumstances. They are destroyers and usurpers, but Mr. Obama has time and again bared his neck to them, and we have all suffered with their sundry victories, and his sundry defeats.
They cannot be reasoned with, but can only be defeated, and after two and a half years, it is the President of the United States alone who appears to have not received the memo.
Yes and No. I think this kind of analysis, while I'm sympathetic to it, takes what happens in the public arena that we hear about on TV too seriously--as if all the congressional clowning and posturing and stupidity was the main act. It's not; it's a sideshow. It's kept in place because it's entertaining, the way sports and survivor shows are. And it diverts our attention from the main act, which is happening behind the scenes. Most of us know as little about how real power works in the U.S. government as citizens of the Soviet Union understood the goings on in the Kremlin.