RE: MD Definition of 'liberal'

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sat Mar 20 2004 - 23:36:22 GMT

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    JoVo and all liberal MOQers:

    JoVo said;
    this question is directed more to the American fellows on this platform.
    What I don't really understand concerning American culture in general
    and this election specifically is the use of the concept of 'liberal'. ...
    The reason to dwell on that is, that I consider it to be as one of
    Pirsigs messages in his two books - as pronounced by most philosophers
    by the way - that an individual should aim at making independant
    choices in all his doings; taking responsibility for what he does. To do
    so he should get rid of - or better - should carefully review his
    opinions to sort out those, that basically stick to the social and not
    the intellectual level.

    dmb replies:
    The word has slightly different meanings depending on where and when you
    are. Here in the States lots of people will tell you that they are socially
    liberal and fiscally conservative. (Which means they are sleazy tightwades.
    Just kidding.) But basically the word is opposed to "conservative".
    Conventional wisdom hold that the Democratic party is for liberals and the
    Republican party is the home of conservatives. (Its really a lot more
    complicated, but I'll spare you the boring details.) And in Pirsigian terms,
    these two rivals basically represent the conflict between intellectual and
    social values.

    "The hurricane of social forces released by the overthrow of society by
    intellect was most strongly felt in Europe, ..where Communism and socialism,
    programs for intellectual control over society, were confronted by the
    reactionary forces of fascism, a program for the social control of
    intellect." P274

    "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. was also a new deal for the intelllectuals of
    America." P274

    dmb says:
    The New Deal was the most liberal, most left leaning government in American
    history, but it still was far from the kind of socialism we saw in Europe.
    It would probably be considered moderate by European standards. In any case,
    I think we can see that liberalism, socialism and communism are not
    everywhere the same, but what they have in common, according to Pirsig, is
    that they are all aimed at intellectual, rather than social, control of
    society. By contrast, fascism, fundamentalism and conservatism are not
    everywhere the same, but what they all share in common is the wish for
    social control of society.

    JoVo said:
    Furthermore, Pirsig pleads for a free market in contrast to a guided
    marked. Note that this also fits the definition of what I quoted above
    from my dictonary.

    dmb replies:
    Right. Pirsig's MOQ calls for intellect over society, but it also calls for
    DQ over intellect. This is why he's in favor of a free market. Its Dynamic.
    This is not a paradox or contradiction. To reconcile the two is easier said
    than done, but that's becasue its so very easy to say. What the MOQ calls
    for is an intellectually guided society, some kind of liberalism or
    socialism, that does NOT make the mistake of blocking out DQ. Not only is
    capitalism less moral, it never figured out DQ either. They were correct,
    but without knowing why.

    "That's what neither the socialists nor the capitalists ever got figured
    out. From a static point of view socialism is more moral than capitalism.
    Its a higher form of evolution. It is an intellecually guided society, not
    just a society that is guided by mindless traditions. That's what gives
    socialism its drive. But what the socialists left out and what has all but
    killed the whole undertaking is an absence of a concept of indefinite DQ."

    JoVo said:
    What I do not understand - and I follow the American press quite
    intensively during the last weeks - why some MOQ-discussers on this
    platform oppose so fervently all people that call themselves 'liberal'!
    This stand does not seem to fit to basical 'Pirsig-standards' IMO.
    Maybe, Platt, you could explain that to me as you seem to oppose very
    much American 'liberals'.

    dmb says:
    As one of the American liberals that Platt very often opposes, I too think
    Platt's views don't fit the MOQ. Or more precisely, Platt usually takes what
    the MOQ describes as the less moral position in the social/intellectual
    conflict. This baffles me. I honestly don't know how anyone could read and
    study Pirsig for years and still fail to see where Pirsig is politically. He
    even refers to himself explicitly as a "liberal intellectual". These basic
    MOQisms are so clear and simple that they can only be resisted by sheer
    force of will. In fact, I've confronted Platt with these quotes many times
    and nothing has ever made a dent, which is only to be expected. There is an
    extremely stubborn, even militant, quality to the reactionary mind. As in
    the case of George Bush, there seems to be an infinite capacity to ignore
    uncomfortable facts in the conservative mind, "hopelessly static" as Pirsig
    puts it.

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