From: David Buchanan (DBuchanan@ClassicalRadio.org)
Date: Mon Jul 19 2004 - 00:47:03 BST
Amilcar and all MOQers:
I don't think that Reagan-era Republicanism (Thatcherism included) was in
anyway close to Victorian ideals. The PBS series Command Economy documented
how Reagan and Thatcher put into international politics the policies and
practices of capitalism, an inherently dynamic system as compared to
Keynsian gov't regulated economics.
But, but, but the Victorians were capitalist in the exteme. You know,
Rockefeller, JP Morgan and Henry Ford were all Victorian capitalists.
Further, Pirsig puts capitalism, traditional values, traditional religion
and many other features shated by Victorians and Republicans are all on the
social level. Both are dominated by social values and capitalism is chief
Pirsig says, "Social quality measurements....are such things as conformity
to social custom, popularity, ego satisfaction, and 'reputation'." [MOQ
Textbook] and "Fame and fortune are huge Dynamic parameters that give
society its shape
and meaning." [Lila, Ch.20] and in [Chapter 17] "The conservatives [i.e.
read capitalists] who keep trumpeting about the virtues of free enterprise
are normally just supporting their own self-interest. They are just doing
the usual cover-up for the rich in their age-old exploitation of the poor."
and "From a static point of view socialism is more moral than capitalism.
higher form of evolution. It is an intellectually guided society, not just a
society based on mindless traditions." And (Pirsig's emphasis) "It is not
that Victorian social economic patterns are more moral than socialist
intellectual economic patterns. Quite the opposite. They are LESS moral as
static patterns go."
Of course my 27 year old mind doesn't know much about Victorian era
anything, but the rigid social values that seem to be implied anytime
anybody uses that phrase or word seems to be linked, at least in my mind,
more with New-Deal era changes than the dismantling that went on during the
early and mid-eighties under Thatcher and Reagan (and now with Dubya's
privatization push). I'd even go so far as to say that the transformations
that REagan and Bush made undergirded the unprecedented prosperity that
America expereinced during Clinton's run as president, and even the dynamism
in the economy that padded and obviated the recession we should be in had
the economy not been dynamic.
Rigid social values are linked to the New Deal!? Quite the opposite. Here's
Pirsig from chapter 22...
"...Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, nevertheless, became the center of
a lesser storm between social and intellectual forces. The New Deal was many
things, but at the center of it all was the belief that intellectual
planning by the government was necessary for society to regain its health.
The New Deal was described as a program for farmers, laborers and poor
people everywhere, but it was also a new deal for the intellectuals of
American. Suddenly, for the first time, they were at the center of the
planning process - ...Now intellectuals were in a position to give orders to
America's finest and oldest and wealthiest social groups. 'That Man,' as the
old aristocrats sometime called Roosevelt, was turning the whole USA over to
foriegn radicals, 'eggheads', 'Commies', and the like. He was a traitor to
his class. Suddenly, before the old Victorian eyes, a whole new socal caste,
a caste of intellectual Brahmins, was being created ABOVE their own military
and economic castes. These new Brahmins felt they could look down on them
and, through political control of the Democratic party, push them around.
Social snobbery was being replaced with intellectual snobbery."
The rigid morals running rampant in Republicanism alstwhile dismantling
social-support such as welfare (individual) and perhaps social-security is
counter-balanced with advances in individual wealth building and saving,
i.e. 401ks, IRA's, stock-options and so forth. These allow individuals to be
more responsible and have more say in the quality of the products they buy
when they're retired. To me that seems to be on a higher MOQ level
(individual) than social-security(duh-social).
The Victorians were horrified by the New Deal and so it only makes sense
that the neo-Victorian Republicans would wish to dismantle it. They have
that in common as well as their emphasis on "morals". I understand that this
deconstruction idea was framed and sold to people as a moral issue, but I
don't buy it. Its just another throwback to Victorianism. And in terms of
levels, Pirsig makes it pretty clear in the quotes I've provided, programs
like social security are part of the New Deal's intellectual planning and
that those who oppose it are usually doing so because of social values.
So i'd like to ask on a sideline what SPECIFICALLY has people equating
Reagan-era politics and policies with Victorianism?
dmb quotes Pirsig [chapter 24] again:
"Until WW1 the Victorian social codes dominated. From WW1 untiil WW2 the
intellectuals dominated unchallenged. (The New Deal) From WW2 until the 70s
the intellectuals continued to dominate, but with increasing challenge -
call it the Hippie revolution - which failed. And from the early 70s on
there has been a slow confused mindless drift back to a kind of
pseudo-Victorian moral posture accomanied by an unprecedented and
unexplained growth in crime."
In this quote we see the term "pseudo-Victorian" and the same chapter he
complains that advocacy of social conformity would only get us more
"Victorians, in the form of the reactionary right". And in the "rustbelt"
quote that started our discussion Pirsig describes a whole society that "is
slowly trying to slip back to Victorianism. If Pirsig is talking about
somthing other than the rise of conservatism, the moral majority, the
religious right, and the constant attack on all things liberal and
intellectual, then I can't imgaine what he is talking about. I mean, his
descriptions match recent history exactly, as I understand it.
To be SPECIFIC, Pirsig's descriptions and timeframe have me equating
Reaganism with Victorianism. And I hope this gets at the question of the
month. I mean, it seems that we're having trouble getting a handle on what
it means to get rusty and reactionary. I'm feeling kinda lonely on this one.
Doesn't anyone read metaphysics AND follow politics? Help!
MOQ.ORG - http://www.moq.org
Mail Archive - http://alt.venus.co.uk/hypermail/moq_focus/
MF Queries - email@example.com
To unsubscribe from moq_focus follow the instructions at:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Jul 19 2004 - 08:13:26 BST