Re: MD secular humanism and dynamic quality

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Sun Mar 28 2004 - 16:19:31 BST

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    Matt K,

    > But whatever. If you don't want to pull down the cultural immune system
    > that keeps you from seeing that defining facts as high quality intellectual
    > patterns of _value_ is the same as saying that the notion of an "unbiased
    > fact" is empty, that when Pirsig describes insanity in Lila as being
    > predisposed to a certain kind of reality, as valuing one reality over
    > another, that he's saying the same thing as I am when I say that it is
    > because we are post-Stalin, Enlightenment liberals that we can say without
    > reservation that Communism is a bad system of gov't, then I can't help you.

    Huh? Want to run that through again, this time take a breath now and then?
    Never mind. I'll await your response to Poot to try to figure out what you
    mean by 'bias.'

    > Platt said:
    > That 'good liberals" are Marxists I have no doubt. Your pal Rorty implores
    > us to cooperate to build Oscar Wilde's Marxist utopia which calls for
    > eliminating private property, ending the institution of marriage and doing
    > away with democracy.
    > Matt:
    > I don't really know what you're talking about.

    Goodness gracious. For one who purports to know Rorty's thinking it's
    inconceivable that you haven't read and absorbed one of his seminal
    papers, namely, 'The Decline of Redemptive Truth and the Rise of Literary
    Culture." In it he states in a no uncertain 'vocubulary'" that:

    "In short, just as we have, in the past few centuries, learned that the
    difference of opinion between the believer and the atheist does not have
    to be settled before the two can cooperate on communal projects, so we may
    learn to set aside all the differences between all the various searches
    for redemption when we cooperate to build Wilde's utopia. In that utopia,
    the literary culture will not be the only, or even the dominant, form of
    high culture."

    What is this 'Wilde's utopia' Rorty wants us to cooperate to build?
    You can find it in all its hallucinatory completeness at:

    . . . in which Wilde proposes eliminating private property, marriage, and
    democracy. As a sample, here's what he says about democracy:

    "And as for the People, what of them and their authority? . . . Their
    authority is a thing blind, deaf, hideous, grotesque, tragic, amusing,
    serious and obscene . . . All despots bribe. The people bribe and
    brutalize. Who told them to exercise authority?"
    So what I am to take from all this---that Rorty doesn't support Wilde's
    ideas? He can't very well ask us to "cooperate to build Wilde's utopia' on
    one hand and deny Wilde's description of that utopia on the other. Or, can
    he? With a postmodernist's Alice in Wonderland view of the world which
    advances a concept of truth while denying there is such a thing, I
    wouldn't be surprised if the man, as the Indians use to say, 'speaks with
    forked tongue."

    > Oh, and for the record, Rorty has never suggested that we get rid of
    > private property, marriage, or democracy.

    See evidence of above to the contrary.

    > I think Kevin long ago said it
    > best: "I suspect that Platt suffers from apoplectic rage whenever he
    > notices certain words within a conversation (socialism, communism, Marx,
    > etc) and simply refuses to see how these terms are being used to illustrate
    > a larger point. Even when they are in the same sentence that praises
    > 'setting up democratic governments.'" (If you want _that_ context, see the
    > exchange between Platt and Kevin in the "NAZIs and pragmatism" thread from
    > February 10th to 11th of 2003. You'll especially want it after I quote
    > Kevin as saying to Platt that his "irrational spasms of partisan
    > reflexology blind [him] to the point being made." 'Cuz without the
    > context, it might seem as though I'm _just_ throwing mud.)

    I think this is referred to as the 'politics of personal destruction.' I
    always took you to be above such ad hominem childishness.

    In the next section you, a self-described 'liberal,' gets down to

    > But, again, for the record, the points on which I disagree with these
    > Humanists, whoever they are, are 1) though I may think the "existing
    > acquisitive and profit-motivated society" is endanger of losing it's soul,
    > I don't think any "radical change in methods, controls and motives" being
    > instituted would help in recovering our soul.

    Thank goodness. We agree. No radical changes, please.

    > 2) If "a socialized and
    > cooperative economic order" means the type of central planning effectively
    > lambasted by Friedrich Hayek, then count me out.

    Agree. Goodbye socialism.
    >If it means the usual
    > welfare system that _all_ capitalist nations have found is impossible to
    > function without (don't forget corporate welfare, righties), then count me
    > in.

    Agree. Maintain the status quo, a mixed economy. If government must
    interfere in our lives, interfere equally to benefit the producers as well
    as the moochers.

    > 3) If a "free and universal society" and a "shared life in a shared
    > world" mean something like what Marx meant it, count me out,

    Good. Glad to see you rejecting Rorty's call to build Wilde's utopia.

    > but if it
    > means something like the utopia Jesus sketched out, count me in.

    Didn't Jesus say something about rendering unto Caesar . . .?

    > Blah, blah. Blah, blah.

    Why this interjection when at last you reveal your political beliefs with
    some specificity?
    > Here's to hope,

    There's hope indeed when you appear to reject Rorty's political agenda.


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