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Works and Days

The New Regressives

June 2nd, 2014 - 9:19 pm

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Today’s liberalism is about as liberal as the Hellenistic world was Hellenic — a glossy veneer over a rotten core.

In the old days, liberalism was about the means to an end, not the end itself. Since the days of Socrates, liberalism enshrined free inquiry, guided by inductive thinking and empirical use of data. Its enemies were not necessary organized religion — some of the Church fathers sought to find their salvation through the means of neo-Platonic cosmology and Aristotelian logic — or government or traditional custom and practice, but rather deductive thinking anywhere it was found.

Yet today liberalism itself is deductive. It has descended into a constructed end that requires any means necessary to achieve it. Take any hot-button liberal issue: censorship, abortion, global warming, affirmative action, or illegal immigration. Note the liberal reaction.

I don’t like most of the assigned readings that now pass for the university’s seminal texts of the liberal arts. But on the other hand, I don’t believe in triggers to warn students of what is inside a book. Otherwise, I might insist that universities put a warning on Rigoberta Menchú’s or Barack Obama’s autobiographies:Trigger Warning: these are fictive accounts that rely on occasional invention and adaption and so do not, as the authors have claimed, reflect actual events.” Nor would I want a written trigger for the book flap of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, along the following lines: “Trigger Warning: Ms. Goodwin has admitted past plagiarism in her works, a fact that may be necessary to weigh when evaluating her present history.” Readers can determine for themselves to what degree past confessions of plagiarism should guide their own studies.

Nor do I favor yanking Bill Maher off television — in Paula Deen or Duck Dynasty fashion — for his serial profane and misogynist attacks on Sarah Palin and other conservative women. Nor do I want a running Trigger Warning on the bottom of the screen, as Maher talks: “Trigger Warning: We do not endorse Mr. Maher’s sometime misogynistic and reactionary use of slurs against prominent women with whom he disagrees.”

Nor do I think MSNBC must dump Al Sharpton for his past homophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist rants that have on occasion contributed to fatal violence. If they wish to put a buffoon who cannot read a teleprompted script on the air, then it is their market decision to do so, and we are adult enough to make the necessary channel selections. Nor do I think Chris Rock should apologize for calling the 4th of July “white people’s day,” or for that matter Jamie Foxx making a crude joke about the joy of killing white people as an actor in the latest Tarantino film. Free speech assumes that much of free speech is crude and vulgar.

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Top Rated Comments   
They are neo-feudalists.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
For the life of me, I do not understand why people keep using the word "liberal" to describe radical Leftists and revanchist racists.

Why are all these pinky-extended conservatives still insisting on permitting the modern Jacobins to set the ground rules and the terms by which they will be described?

If you let people describe themselves as "progressive" and "liberal," well---progress is good, isn't it? "Liberal" means "generous," doesn't it? What could be bad? Why the hell are conservatives falling into this trap even on their own websites? Call the bastards what they are: Radicals. Revanchists. Racists. Socialists. They are not liberal. They are not for progress, but regress. They are anti-science; they are pro-stasis.

Tell it like it is, man.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like trigger warnings.

I think any trigger with a pull under 3 lbs should carry a warning.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (113)
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Given all that Professor Hanson has written about Krazifornia I just don't understand why he doesn't bail out of there while he still can. There is going to be a point where so many tax payers have left Krazifornia that the state will impose a fine or tax or a regulation making it impossible for a TAXPAYING CITIZEN OF THE STATE to leave. Get out while you can Professor.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had issues with calling Leftists reactionaries, but since they are essentially neo-feudalists(*), I suppose it is accurate.

(*) We will live in our huge, well-heated mansions, and you will freeze in the dark - or accept charity.
We will have armed guards to protect ourselves, but you must take your chances.
We will run our corporations by the rules we have had government pass, and you will never be able to create any competition.
We will have our health care, and you will take what the government decrees. Oh, and you have to take charity.

Perhaps a better description would be a term from deductive reasoning? I am referring to "evil".
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Nor do I think MSNBC must dump Al Sharpton for his past homophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist rants that have on occasion contributed to fatal violence."

I appreciate your accurate summary of the facts, but the question is why the only Black host MSNBC could find was a man who is basically a Nazi? What does that say of their view of Black people?

And what of a President of the United States who speaks before the Nazi's organization - as does his attorney general, the man responsible for preventing such murders?

I believe all Democrats now have the burden of proof to demonstrate that they are not Nazis.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
By whatever name it goes, the left will always be our enemy.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Trigger warning? Now we are not using caveat lector anymore?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Has anybody noticed that liberals are not very liberal anymore, at least in the old sense, of supporting civil liberties, due process, free speech, and honest gov. Maybe all the time it was just a false leftie pose, to be used until they got enough power over others that they didnit need it anymore. The only real liberals left are libetarians and some tea partiers.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with the first part, but libertarians and Randians tend to be anything but liberal, because they believe they have determined through reason what government should or should not do - and thus are very intolerant of other points of view. Personally, I think they have mixed up reason with consistency. Conservatives these days tend to be more liberal than Leftists, which admittedly is not a high standard.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sir, You forgot evolutionism as the most "self-serving deductive doctrine" of all: There is no Creator; therefore, evolutionism must be true.
I highly recommend the book "Outing the Moronocracy: Ending the Rule of the Blind, the Stupid, and the disgraceful in American Society."
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or the persistence of the steady-state theory.

We have circular reasoning, generally. First we define science as not including God, then we use the results thereof to prove he isn't there (or involved, same difference).
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even "warmist" David McKay admits it won't work. See SUSTAINABLE ENERGY: WITHOUT THE HOT AIR. Freebie @ http://www.withouthotair.com/
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you as always Dr Hanson. Painful as always but these days the truth is mind boggling. Many of us think we're at a mental precipice...approaching insanity.
Liberal, gay, progressive etc etc....even the lexicon has been hijacked. But you never fail to find the right lexicon to hit back --hard-- with. Carry on Dr Hanson. Maybe some of the sheeple will have a light bulb moment.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
No light bulbs allowed!
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The concept of a flat Earth came from a fiction book, not by people's beliefs. The Bible and ancient Greek science both said it was a sphere.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't believe this is true in the case of the Bible; the model used there is basically a plane with a dome over it. This does not mean that the Bible is not true; it is just a model used by what is essentially a law book, and if the Bible had described the universe as it is, no-one would have believed it. For that matter, neither would we, since science is continually evolving.

On the other hand, the Bible flatly contradicted the what was perhaps the longest-held theory of enlightened people, the steady-state theory. It took perhaps the entire first half of the twentieth century for them to finally accept - kicking and screaming - that the Bible was correct. I believe the theory has come back, but it can no longer be stated that creation is anti-science.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
As the Rabbis said, "the Torah speaks in the language of man", that is, in the vernacular, even when it isn't 100% accurate.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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