Sunday, November 29, 2009


""Now I may say without contradiction: that all the actions of
rational beings, so far as they are appearances (occurring in any
experience), are subject to the necessity of nature; but the same actions, as regards merely the rational subject and its faculty of acting according to mere reason, are free. For what is required for the necessity of nature? Nothing more than the determinability of every event in the world of sense according to constant laws, that is, a reference to cause in the appearance; in this process the thing in itself at its foundation and its causality remain unknown. But I say, that the law of nature remains, whether the rational being is the cause of the effects in the sensuous world from reason, that is, through freedom, or whether it does not determine them on grounds of reason. For, if the former is the case, the action is performed according to maxims, the effect of which as appearance is always conformable to constant laws; if the latter is the case, and the action not performed on principles of reason, it is subjected to the empirical laws of the sensibility, and in both cases the effects are connected according to constant laws; more than this we do not require or know concerning natural necessity. But in the former case reason is the cause of these laws of nature, and therefore free; in the latter the effects follow according to mere natural laws of sensibility, because reason does not influence it; but reason itself is not determined on that account by the sensibility, and is therefore free in this case too. Freedom is therefore no hindrance to natural law in appearance, neither does this law abrogate the freedom of the practical use of reason, which is connected with things in themselves, as determining grounds. Thus practical freedom, viz., the freedom in which reason
possesses causality according to objectively determining grounds,
is rescued and yet natural necessity is not in the least curtailed with regard to the very same effects, as appearances. The same remarks will serve to explain what we had to say concerning transcendental freedom and its compatibility with
natural necessity (in the same subject, but not taken in the same reference). For, as to this, every beginning of the action of a being from objective causes regarded as determining grounds, is always a first start, though the same action is in the series of appearances only a subordinate start, which must be preceded by a
state of the cause, which determines it, and is itself determined in the same manner by another immediately preceding. Thus we are able, in rational beings, or in beings generally, so far as their causality is determined in them as things in themselves, to imagine a faculty of beginning from itself a series of states, without falling into contradiction with the laws of nature. For the relation of the action to objective grounds of reason is not a time-relation; in this case that which determines the causality does not precede in time the action, because such determining grounds represent not a reference to objects of sense, e.g., to
causes in the appearances, but to determining causes, as things in themselves, which do not rank under conditions of time. And in this way the action, with regard to the causality of reason, can be considered as a first start in respect to the series of
appearances, and yet also as a merely subordinate beginning. We may therefore without contradiction consider it in the former aspect as free, but in the latter (in so far as it is merely appearance) as subject to natural necessity.""

(from the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics)

Reason, which is free, possesses causality, said Kant, and is outside the scope of natural determinism. Do you agree, or disagree? Provide arguments for your point of view. could Kant be called a dualist, or Cartesian, given his strict demarcation between Reason and nature? Or is he instead a compatibilist.

In contemporary terms, we suggest Kant is responding to strict determinists, whether of anglo-empiricist sorts, or spinoza-ists. Like Descartes, Kant starts from the perspective of the subject; Reason (and the understanding itself) does not present itself as phenomena, as appearance. Were we to limit ourselves merely to phenomena (for this is philosophy, not physics--though perhaps we could ask the physics department to define Time...not to say Reason, Freedom, justice) we would have no real evidence of reason, or Freedom: or that's how Contingencies reads it.

Wittgenstein also says something of the sort in Philosophical Investigations: how does one know humans are not automata? Why not BF Skinner?? Kant, updating Descartes (and responding to anglo empiricists and reductionism), if not the greeks shows the solution to that--his view not entirely different than say Chomsky. Reason itself is not data or phenomena--at least at basic level. So the speculation on freedom/nature (and the 3rd antinomy, actually) leads to an ontological issue regarding Mind. Cognitive scientists may disagree with the epiphenomenal (and pro metaphysicians offer clarifications--property or substance dualism, etc.), but have not as of yet charted out the human action or decision, certainly not of any complex sort (say, playing chess, or working through a reductio proof).

(another interesting factoid on Kant. While a professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Kant also taught Physics, and Astronomy and offered very informed critiques of Leibniz and Newton, and some of his work in astronomy indeed anticipated the big bang.: From the SEP: """Kant did “out-Newton” Newton to the cutting edge of current knowledge. Nature, in the Universal Natural History, streams outward in a wavefront of organization (1:314.1-2), generating worlds (1:314.8), biospheres and sentience (1:317.5-13, 352-3), and finally reason, human and otherwise (1:351-66). Organization is fragile, and spontaneity, pushed far enough, invites chaos. Mature cosmic regions decay, chaos sets in, and entropy follows in the wake of complexity. But entropy provides the very conditions that allow the cosmic pulse to bounce material points back to order. Thus the expanding chaos curdles at its center into order, followed by chaos, by order, by chaos. Like a rising and burning phoenix, nature cycles between life and death""" (1:312.13).)

Of course most humans, whether academics, or mafiosi or ordinary joes, reject Kantian rationalism. Rationalism of whatever sort does not bode well for bidness. Kantianism is considered overthrown, whether by Marx, Darwin, modern science or Freud (or Al Caponay). Nietzsche himself detested Kant--Kant vs Nietzsche is another battle unknown to most in Consumerland yet still retains some significance. Most humans are sort of Nietzsches--or Nietzsche-lites, and dislike anything which resembles metaphysical reflection--that holds even with academics. Mention Kant to a UC economist, and De-Economist will say what useless theorizing, ghost-discussion, etc. Ayn Rand hated Kant as well, both in terms of metaphysics, and politics (Kant's politics were closer to say Rousseau, than to Hegel--not too PC, but the late Kant sided with abolitionists): what need have we for that subjective ghostly metaphysics, the categorical imperative, or the doubts of phenomena, or the ding an sich darlink?? Strike while the iron's hot, what you see is what you get. Ayn Rand, like Nietzsche rejects the a priori, the hints of transcendence, the categories--at least Nietzche cops to the anti-rationalism, and naturalism.

Ayn Rand now resides in Hades, most likely, with a large load of shekels stuffed in her moneymaker. That loud male nurse Nietzsche's not too far above er (with many an anglo-Darwinist nearby, or rightist-techie-fraud like Heinlein). Rah-thur

Friday, November 27, 2009

Evans, Bill

Love, n - A temporary insanity curable by marriage. Ambrose Bierce

Thursday, November 26, 2009

El Dia de Los Guajolotes

""""[The Bald Eagle] is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country.......For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America..."""

Ben Franklin referred to turkeys as the Bird of Courage and recommended that the wild turkey, instead of the eagle--perhaps a bit germanic and gyrfalcon-like for Father Ben-- be enshrined as the official American bird-symbol. Franklin also rightfully identified the turkey as a native of America, and not, as many settlers (even somewhat scientific ones) thought a type of old world peafowl--one may still note the etymological confusion in the spanish word for turkey, pavo, from latin for peafowl (also noted in french, d'inde, for poulet (chicken) of india)). The Aztecs and Mayans domesticated the wild turkey (various subspecies range across the new world), but the indigenous mexican "guajolote" from Aztec [Nauhuatl] huehxolotl (ethno-linguists translate that as big boy, more or less) obviously derives from neither the latinate "pavo" or "turkey" (turkey is mistaken etymology as well: anglos mistook the native American bird for a species of asian guinea fowl (which were from Turkey).

The conquistadores brought the birds back to España, domesticated them, and the domesticated guajolotes then were exported across Europe starting 1500 or so; the pilgrims brought the European turkeys to America, and cultivated them. The old taxonomists more or less screwed things up: the turkey, whether native to north America, or the domesticated central American variety was no peacock (though like peacocks, pheasants, grouse, and chicken, turkeys are part of the order Galliformes). The wild turkey of Western US, cousin of the central American guajolote--with glossy black feathers, some light markings, leaner and meaner than ordinary sort--bears little resemblance to the cultivated fat brown turkey executed by the millions for the thanksgiving feast. Salud!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trial by Jury (Lysander Spooner)

"""But for their right to judge of the law, and the justice of the law, juries would be no protection to an accused person, even as to matters of fact; for, if the government can dictate to a jury any law whatever, in a criminal case, it can certainly dictate to them the laws of evidence. That is, it can dictate what evidence is admissible, and what inadmissible, and also what force or weight is to be given to the evidence admitted. And if the government can thus dictate to a jury the laws of evidence, it can not only make it necessary for them to convict on a partial exhibition of the evidence rightfully pertaining to the case, but it can even require them to convict on any evidence whatever that it pleases to offer them.


That the rights and duties of jurors must necessarily be such as are here claimed for them, will be evident when it is considered what the trial by jury is, and what is its object. "The trial by jury," then, is a "trial by the country" - that is, by the people - as distinguished from a trial by the government.""""

Spooner correctly perceived the possible dangers of corrupt judges or prosecutors issuing mistaken or misleading instructions to a jury. Spooner's usually dismissed as a quack, or libertarian, if not "anarchist"--that is, if anyone considers him at all; yet Spooner should be praised for his leftist-Lockean distrust of the magistrates, and indeed of Federalism: Spooner's sort of the good libertarian, or authentic Jeffersonian, perhaps even slightly Jacobin-ish--without Jeff's own hypocrisies and shortsightedness. Spooner was not some proto-vegass libertarian, however, but opposed the robber barons, and financiers of his time (Spooner was also an abolitionist in principle--a sober rather than hysterical sort. And he detested Lincoln).

De Goostibus

Spooner's leftist populism has problems similar to those posed by Lockean rights as a whole--e.g., "the violence of majority faction", as Madison puts it in the Federalist papers (tho' it's unanimous rather majority rule in the case of a Jury--another proverbial bone of contention). He puts his trust in the people, rather than in the govt. or judiciary. There are obvious flaws with any ideology which relies upon Vox Populi, even at the level of a jury (or for that matter, believing that majority rule equals the summum bonum; what can be said about democracy, when a majority of Kalifornians voted in Ahhnuld the Dyslexic Millionaire?? Nada). For one, the peoples may not really be qualified to assess evidence, especially in this age of high-powered forensics technology and ballistics--not sheet kidding, you say, but then why do most still consider the Jury sacrosanct?/. That's not to say the DA's office, or Cop Shoppe are to be trusted either (as Spooner well knew). Most humans simply don't take the time to consider the inductive issues involved with assessing any sort of evidence, whether circumstantial (ie involving an inference) or direct, or in regards to testimony. That's lawyer business (really quite a simple type of business).

Unfortunately jury-men (and jury Gals) are not typically Aristotles, or AJ Ayers--I am quite sure Spooner was aware of that; his point seems to be that the possible wrongdoings committed by jury do lesser harm than wrongdoings by the State, or by judicial fiat, taken as a whole, or ceteris paribus as the Blacksteins put it . Jury-people are prone to being swayed by emotions, by grandstanding DA's, by a show of power--whether that of bailiff boys in their jackboots, and Judge Coolaputia in its black dress. And as any smarmy Teevee cop drama shows, courtrooms are often the most swingin' place in town. Most prosecutors are pals with the Judge, probably play golf out at Podunkville CC on weekends, their wifeys head out on shopping sprees to-getha. The defense attorneys on the other hand tend to be shabby hustlers (not all, but ...most). The accused are more or less extras...

Spooner, notwithstanding his slightly naive belief in the peoples, demonstrated the actual socio-historical situation of citizens facing the Law, the situation of no-man's land: an innocent defendant is subject to tyrannical prosecutors who have no problem with lying to win a case (the Govt. commits perjury when necessary as Spooner says), and also subject to the whims of jury-peoples who often merely react to the appearance of a "perp", and decide he is guilty (or conversely, might approve of the look of another defendant, and vote for his innocence, when he isn't.).Or they may just be good xtians, recall Romans 13, and follow the orders of the heroic Prosecutor-Hero in his expensive Suit, spewing his eloquent mendacity. So it goes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

your annual KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON update.

Hottay of the Texass GOP.

Cherchez La Femme:

Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little. ~Samuel Johnson

Woman--God's second mistake. (Nietzsche).

Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her. Ambrose Bierce.

Dramatic art in her opinion is knowing how to fill a sweater. ~Bette Davis, about Jayne Mansfield

If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning. ~Aristotle Onassis

The essence of life is the smile of round female bottoms, under the shadow of cosmic boredom. ~Guy de Maupassant Oo lala lalalalala lah

Don't wait for the good woman. She doesn't exist.

Heh heh. Doc Bukowski appears to have won

Monday, November 23, 2009

Charles Eliot: Contra-athletics

1906 or so (Charles Eliot, president of Harvard, was a cousin of TS Eliot, and other arrogant, bourgeois puritans yankee edu-crats of the Eliot family)

---CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 27. -- """"The athletic outlook at Harvard grows more ambiguous every day, and, with the exception of tennis and rowing, no one can definitely say what games will be allowed by the Overseers and corporation during the coming year. President Charles W. Eliot, since his recent declaration that the discontinuance of football would do the university no harm, made several objections to-day to basket ball, hockey, and even baseball. """"
----"During his tenure, Eliot opposed football and tried unsuccessfully to abolish the game at Harvard. In 1905, The New York Times reported that he called it "a fight whose strategy and ethics are those of war", that violation of rules cannot be prevented, that "the weaker man is considered the legitimate prey of the stronger" and that "no sport is wholesome in which ungenerous or mean acts which easily escape detection contribute to victory."

He also made public objections to baseball, basketball, and hockey. He was quoted as saying that Rowing and Tennis were the only clean sports.[1]

Eliot once said, "Well, this year I'm told the team did well because one pitcher had a fine curve ball. I understand that a curve ball is thrown with a deliberate attempt to deceive. Surely this is not an ability we should want to foster at Harvard."""

We might agree to include Charles Eliot in the Oppressor class (not to say boring, pedantic, protestant, etc), but Eliot was not completely mistaken in regards to athletics. Athletics might be conducive to health, to fostering team spirit, and to generating revenues for a college foundation; but the football team has little or nothing to do with promoting science, scholarship and intellectual endeavors--the raison d'etre of a college or university (or high school for that matter). Heisenbergs are needed; even Hegels might be needed. Hercules are not needed.

The issue of Sports also pertains to representation, and taxation issues. Citizens have no inherent obligation to fund sports at a public university (or high school for that matter). Many American taxpayers (or taxation-minded politicians) complain about funding the Arts, and consider the arts non-essential, yet Sports requires even fewer cognitive abilities than playing classical music does. Playing Beethoven competently demands a scholarship of a sort; pumping iron for football practice does not. And while the health aspects of Sport may have a certain value (tho' injuries quite common as well), students (and all citizens) can certainly exercise and be healthy and strong, without the need of college athletic departments. Ending tax funding for athletics, especially team sports, in public schools--and public universities-- would save California hundreds of millions of dollars.

Athletic departments across the USA are not overly concerned with health per se, however; they are concerned with promoting the business of Athletics, especially that of Ball (whether foot-, basket-, or base-). At both collegiate and professional level, Ball is Big Money, and Universities are all about Big Money, regardless of the few token gestures towards academia, or Beethoven.

Eliot's point on the militaristic aspects of football merits some reflection as well. We might enjoy an athletic battle to some extent, but it's a usually just a matter of brute force (though baseball at least requires quite a bit of skill and coordination). A decent chess match involves a great deal of strategy; an overweight, steroids-fueled thug running over a receiver on the football field doesn't. (to be continued....)

Saturday, November 21, 2009



Es war, als hätt' der Himmel
Die Erde still geküsst,
Dass sie im Blütenschimmer
Von ihm nun träumen müsst....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ray Jennings, Innocent (Michael Blake, DA, guilty)

[From the Eastside trenches]

The murder of Ms. O’Keefe (in a Palmdale CA park and ride, 2/2000) obviously counts as a tragedy, yet no conclusive evidence exists which would convict Sergeant Ray Jennings of the murder. Jennings now is involved in his THIRD re-trial in Palmdale for 187; two LA juries failed to reach a guilty verdict. The vigilante attitude shown towards Jennings in the Valley Press and Daily News (and LA Times, at least initially) has hardly been equitable or indeed Constitutional; he was found Guilty by Journalists as soon as he appeared in the papers (probably because Ms O'Keefe's daddy, an aerospace engineer has plenty of pull with the locals, including Mayor Rex "Puerco" Parris). Jennings may have made some inconsistent statements or even failed a polygraph--most likely under duress--yet that does not prove anything, whatsoever.

No murder weapon was ever located, and NO gunshot residue was detected on Jennings' hands or clothing, and no DNA or fingerprints found which would link Jennings to the crime, as they say in Cop-show land. Any real detective or ballistic guy will tell you they ALWAYS get GSR on a perp's hands, or clothes after heavy shooting. Jennings was questioned probably within an hour of the shooting (9mm, 5 shots---that be gangsta-work, says Contingencies). He had no time to clean up with alcohol, or shower (which also would have been detected). Furthermore, it was Jennings' SECOND DAY AT WORK as a security guard, and he was shuttling cars to get to the park and ride. He's a family man, his second day at work, bonded, forbidden by law to carry a firearm,and his supervisor told him he was subject to inspection at all times (that included his vehicle).

“A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.” (Frost)

No one saw him with a gun and he insists he did not have one. It's nearly IMPOSSIBLE that he had a gun to start with, yet the DA Blake continues to make the ludicrous claim Jennings had a gun. It is a near certainty, that JENNINGS DID NOT HAVE A FIREARM. That also explains why a gun was not found, since he called in the shooting within 20 minutes or so (he did supposedly pass by Ms O'Keefe minutes after she was shot, as he should have. He may have dawdled. That does not show 187 at all.) Jennings did not have time to dispose of a gun; it's nearly certain the gun disappeared in the car with the person who killed Ms O'Keefe (and Ms O'Keefe also was dropped off by a friend. Did they search her car, or polygraph her??)

The lack of evidence which would establish that Jennings had a firearm provides sufficient reasons for acquittal, though Blake has managed to bring in Jennings' military record. Sgt. Jennings served in Iraq with distinction, and his CO and fellow soldiers say he was innocent, and very concerned with possible charges. Yet Blake the Crimefighter now wants to use Jennings' own marksmanship skills as evidence--nothin' but BS, like all of Blake's pseudo-arguments. Michael Blake's the one who should be on trial, facing obstruction of justice charges for insisting that Jennings did have a gun, when there is no evidence to establish that claim.

Though LA County residents have reason to be concerned about violent crime, crimefighters should never overlook the importance of the presumption of innocence clause. Obviously, that a person has been arrested does not imply that he has been found guilty of any charges, though reporters, including those of the Daily News, LA Times, and AV Press, often seem a bit unclear on this concept. Raymond Jennings’ arrest demonstrates this type of justice, media-style, which often verges on a violation of Due Process rights that all citizens—even those charged with serious felonies—are entitled to according to the 14th Amendment.

Readers of newspapers are not provided with the same evidence that the police and courts are provided with, and any information that makes it into the paper is second hand. Reporters also often omit details that may be quite relevant—such as whether the person or persons who dropped Ms. O’Keefe off at the park and ride were ever considered suspects in the case. The papers also neglected to mention (at least until like the second trial) the results of the ballistics tests, or that it was Jennings' second day at work, or the car shuttling. We should not mistake an article in the paper for the cop report, or authentic evidence (and the cop's report itself is not necessarily the "truth").

(And the rich defense attorneys in Northern LA County (and KERN as well) who read about this case and did nothing while Jennings' rights to a fair trial were mocked by the press and pigs are themselves guilty, not to say spineless pieces of mierda. )


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Archbishop Williams on the fantasies of unlimited growth

"""Dr Rowan Williams said that taxation should not be seen as a way of stifling business or redistributing wealth but helping to make the world a better place in which to live.

He called for new levies to be introduced on financial transactions and carbon emissions, and an end to the idea that unlimited economic growth is desirable.

The archbishop also claimed reality television gives us “alarming glimpses” of what the world would look like were everyone to be governed by self-interest.

Dr Williams, the most senior cleric in the Church of England and a self-confessed “hairy lefty”, has made a series of critical statements since last year’s banking crisis on the excesses of the financial sector and Labour’s attempt to spend its way out of recession.

In his latest comments, delivered to the TUC Economics Conference on Monday, he pointed out that the term “economics” derives from a Greek word meaning “housekeeping” and should be about “creating a habitat that we can actually live in”.

However he said that over the past few decades, the market has been treated as an “independent authority”, creating social disruption around the world and the “extraordinary phenomena” of debt trading. """"

That's the party line of the New Testament, however offensive to Aynnie Rand-Co (or the neo-Darwinist conservatives of DawkinsCo).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


"""The less you eat, drink and buy books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorise, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor rust will devour – your capital. The less you are, the less you express your own life, the more you have, i.e., the greater is your alienated life, the greater is the store of your estranged being. Everything ||XVI| which the political economist takes from you in life and in humanity, he replaces for you in money and in wealth; and all the things which you cannot do, your money can do. It can eat and, drink, go to the dance hall and the theatre; it can travel, it can appropriate art, learning, the treasures of the past, political power – all this it can appropriate for you – it can buy all this: it is true endowment. Yet being all this, it wants to do nothing but create itself, buy itself; for everything else is after all its servant, and when I have the master I have the servant and do not need his servant. All passions and all activity must therefore be submerged in avarice. The worker may only have enough for him to want to live, and may only want to live in order to have that.""""

Marx/Divisionof LaborGuar-ann-teed to scare the phuck out of baptist-zionist basura.

With one drawing, the authentic artist may produce a type of visual Truth, unknown to philosophasters, potboiler-shapers, poetasters, and assorted noize merchants.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc.”

""[Jefferson's] purpose, he explained to [Henry] Lee, had been “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.” The Declaration’s authority, Jefferson rightly added, “rests . . . on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc.”""

Where is the contemporary 'Merican who has read a page of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, or that eloquent rebel Algernon Sidney?? No-where, since ........da Wind done gone. Jefferson's not too PC these days given the Hemmings affair (Miss Sally was at least 1/2 caucasian anyway), but it should be noted that Abe Lincoln and Frederick Douglass referred to the Declaration of Independence at times, and the DoI certainly played a part in the formation of the 15th Amendment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Summa Theologica for Kicks--Aquinas, De Mendacio

(Erudition: Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull. Bierce).

""""On the contrary, A gloss on Ps. 5:7, "Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie," says "that there are three kinds of lies; for some are told for the wellbeing and convenience of someone; and there is another kind of lie that is told in fun; but the third kind of lie is told out of malice." The first of these is called an officious lie, the second a jocose lie, the third a mischievous lie. Therefore lies are divided into these three kinds.

I answer that, Lies may be divided in three ways. First, with respect to their nature as lies: and this is the proper and essential division of lying. In this way, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 7), lies are of two kinds, namely, the lie which goes beyond the truth, and this belongs to boasting," and the lie which stops short of the truth, and this belongs to "irony." This division is an essential division of lying itself, because lying as such is opposed to truth, as stated in the preceding Article: and truth is a kind of equality, to which more and less are in essential opposition."""
Aquinas, like his great forebearer Augustine, wrote at length on Mendacity. Aquinas generally agrees with The Philosopher (Aristotle) that irony, while not a cardinal sin, should be considered a lie (and thus a sin of some sort--Augustine rarely gives unqualified praise to the greek philosophers). Aquinas also perceived the truth functionality issue (ie, the Law of the Excluded middle: A v ~A); if you do not assert the Truth, you offer non-truths (ie mendacity). Aquinas was thus not a Roody Guiliani/ machiavellian sort of catholic--at least in principle.

This also applies to cultural products, such as theatre. Aristotle, in the Poetics, does not accept comedy [which includes a few varieties of irony] as a legitimate art, or form of discourse; he does allow for tragedy and historical works concerning serious matters (ie great battles, or having to do with statesmen, etc). Aristotle does not (as Plato does in the Republic) call for a ban outright, but does view comedy as a lesser form, if not salacious (he had words for the satyr plays.... Plato took a somewhat more maoist--or muslim-- approach , and forbade all theatrical arts--except music for state occasions (ie JP Sousa-sort)). We here at Contingencies suggest that Aristotle (really, the school of Aristotle/the Academy) usually affirmed positivism of a sort. Like Bertrand Russell, he would not mistake Hamlet for Napoleon.

Most WASPs have been spoonfed anti-catholic (and ergo, anti-hellenic) propaganda by sunday school teachers, or perhaps zionist professors, and were told that the ancient greeks were merely decadents and pagan soothsayers. First, the Septuagint (the version of the OT which Aug.and Aquinas both use) did not appear until after the time of Alexander; there was NO official version of the Old Testament, but merely a collection of ancient semitic texts (not all "hebrew", which was not established until AFTER the rise of the early Christian church. Ancient jews, say of the time of the Seleucids, knew Aramaic, or other semitic tongues. Koine Greek was the language of the Levant at the time of JC (and Latin...Pilate appears to address JC in.....Greek).

Anti-hellenic views were not the view of the Old South; Robert E Lee, for one, read the Classics, so did--Jefferson Davis (however unsavory and un-PC, Davis's oratory approaches a Ciceronian eloquence at times). Had the usual Yokeli Americanus read a few pages of Aristotle he might have discovered that The Stagirite generally favors moderation, and rationality in regards to politics and Kultur, while objecting to the Mel Brooks of his day. Aristotle's stoical moderation was not quite as severe as say Martin Luther. Luther wanted the works of the greeks, and Angelic Doctor Aquinas, not to say poets and pipers, tossed on a bonfire.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Or was it Nightmare on Elm street? Helloween VIII? FrankenKhrust? One o' dose.
.... The enormous fly-wheel of society

Your semi-annual Wm. James update:

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most
precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all
within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of
fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor. It alone
prevents the hardest and most repulsive walks of life from
being deserted by those brought up to tread therein. It
keeps the fisherman and the deck-hand at sea through the
winter ; it holds the miner in his darkness, and nails the
countryman to his log-cabin and his lonely farm through
all the months of snow ; it protects us from invasion by the
natives of the desert and the frozen zone. It dooms us all
to fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nurture
or our early choice, and to make the best of a pursuit that
disagrees, because there is no other for which we are fitted,
and it is too late to begin again. It keeps different social
strata from mixing. Already at the age of twenty-five you
see the professional mannerism settling down on the young
commercial traveller, on the young doctor, on the young
minister, on the young counsellor-at-law. You see the little
lines of cleavage running through the character, the tricks
of thought, the prejudices, the ways of the shop, in a
word, from which the man can by-and-by no more escape
than his coat-sleeve can suddenly fall into a new set of
folds. On the whole, it is best he should not escape. It
is well for the world that in most of us, by the age of thirty,
the character has set like plaster, and will never soften


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Copyright Kops

Have you, or have you not ever scanned material from a copyright-protected document?? Those who still consider the J-EdgarCrats the party of liber-tay and justice should peruse the recent copyright "treaties" (ie publishing house protectionism):

The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:

* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

* That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.

* Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)

Nothin' but ...Snitchism
'We're all insects crawling on the shiny hood of a Cadillac'

""[Tom Waits] was born not to circus performers but to a pair of teachers in Pomona, California. He was, by his own account, a strange little boy: bookish, overwound and with a tendency to be spooked by untoward noises. He did not thrive at school, he says, because he did not like the little holes they drilled in the cork-board ceiling, or the hooked stick they used to open the windows. He did not like being young, and took to shuffling around with his granddad's hat and cane.

Later, he fell under the spell of Charles Bukowski and the beat generation, and took to hanging out amid the flotsam of downtown LA. He was fascinated, he said, by "the great American loneliness", a loneliness that stretched from coast to coast and was as elusive and mysterious as ground fog. "Yeah, that all came from Bukowski and Kerouac," he recalls. "I always liked the idea that America is a big facade. We are all insects crawling across on the shiny hood of a Cadillac. We're all looking at the wrapping. But we won't tear the wrapping to see what lies beneath."""

Beats the usual blog belch, or PC-kvetch from a Krugman, or Klinton. Go Bukowski State,like

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Anancasticism for Dumb-Dums

Hegel at Half-time (via CSPierce):

"The Hegelian philosophy is such an anancasticism [evolution by necessity]. With its revelatory religion, with its synechism (however imperfectly set forth), with its “reflection,” the whole idea of the theory is superb, almost sublime. Yet, after all, living freedom is practically omitted from its method. The whole movement is that of a vast engine, impelled by a vis a tergo, with a blind and mysterious fate of arriving at a lofty goal. I mean that such an engine it would be, if it really worked; but in point of fact, it is a Keely motor. Grant that it really acts as it professes to act, and there is nothing to do but accept the philosophy. But never was there seen such an example of a long chain of reasoning, – shall I say with a flaw in every link? – no, with every link a handful of sand, squeezed into shape in a dream. Or say, it is a pasteboard model of a philosophy that in reality does not exist. If we use the one precious thing it contains, the idea of it, introducing the tychism [evolution by chance, Darwin] which the arbitrariness of its every step suggests, and make that the support of a vital freedom which is the breadth of the spirit of love, we may be able to produce that genuine agapasticism [evolution by creativity, Lamarck], at which Hegel was aiming." [from CP 6.293-5, 1893]

Master Keely in the Lab-or-a-tory


Friday, November 06, 2009

Zizek/Rawls (continued)

""""When I spoke to Žižek on the telephone from New York, where he'd been giving a series of talks on the financial crisis and Barack Obama's healthcare plan, I asked him what relation he thought his work has to the mainstream of normative, liberal political theory done in British and American universities.

He took the example of arguably the most influential work of political philosophy written in English in the past 40 years, John Rawls's A Theory of Justice. Central to Rawls's argument in that book is something he calls the "difference principle", according to which inequalities in the distribution of goods can be justified so long as they benefit the worst off. In Žižek's view, "Rawls's model works on one fateful condition: that there is no resentment . . . Rawls doesn't take into account the irrationality of envy. In capitalist relations today, envy is crucial. Never underestimate the power of envy. Although Rawls and other egalitarian liberals want to be 'no-bullshit' analysts, the ultimate image of the human being on which their accounts are based is way too naive and utopian."

Žižek is equally unforgiving of those further to the left of Rawls. "I've noticed how many of the people who consider themselves to be more radical than the liberal standard do not work in political theory proper but, as it were, hide themselves as literary critics or philosophers. It's as if their radicalism is an excess which requires them to change genre."""""

"Throughout I have assumed that the persons in the original position are not moved by certain psychological propensities. A rational individual is not subject to envy, at least when the differences between himself and others are not thought to be the result of injustice and do not exceed certain limits." (John Rawls, A Theory of Justice).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mark Twain, Sansculotte

Mark Twain at first calumnified the French Revolution, but over the course of his life he changed his views:

"When I finished Carlyle’s French Revolution in 1871, I was a Girondin; every time I have read it since, I have read it differently – being influenced and changed, little by little, by life and environment ... and now I lay the book down once more, and recognize that I am a Sansculotte! – And not a pale, characterless Sansculotte, but a Marat."


With special guest,FartherO'blivion in honor of......Mr. Flat-top, & the P-dale stupidphucks (withonethemostf-ingbodacioussoloseverfromJLPonty...actuallyIthinkit'sRDNZL)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Literature as Reification (Cont. re-run)

Many scholars insist that literature (fiction, poems, plays) be viewed as the collected wisdom of great minds, the noblest thoughts expressed in prose or verse, emotions recollected in tranquility etc. This view is mistaken. Literature generally functions as reification--a type of reinforcement of the ideology of the ruling class. Shakespeare's plays, used for centuries to teach the children of the bourgeoisie the Queen's English, are an apt example of this. In numerous plays the "courtly" attitudes are upheld, working class characters are mocked (and, as with Malvolio, presented as uneducated morose churls to the nobles), and in general Anglo-Catholic and monarchist views are reinforced and promoted.

That is not to say courtly and aristocratic virtues may not be in part valuable. Reason, ethics, eloquence, a certain aristo-world view may be in themselves valuable. Classical scholarship, mastery of latin, knowledge of the greek philosophers are not trivial affairs, however irrelevant to modern technocracy and market capitalism. Yet what is overlooked by literature which proclaims the superiority of aristocratic virtue, is the brutal reality of the monarchy, the prisons, the disparity between nobles and commoners, the "golden and sanguine laws" as Shelley said. Yet even a Shelley, himself from aristo-blood, functions mostly as a spokesman for the imperial throne. For literature itself always relates to monarchist if not a clerical theme. It is no accident that most literary history involves "courtly " themes, the Paolo and Francesca , Tristan and Isolde types of things--Camelot, if not Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

For most students of literature, courtly love and aristo virtue--whether hypocritical or actual-- are the contexts for literary interpretation. 20th century realist writers, say a Dreiser or Hemingway, are re-contextualized in relation to the "perennial truths" of the aristocratic writers. The French realists--say Stendhal--are seen in relation to the ancien regime (which is, let's admit, secretly loved). It should not surprise us that a catholic-monarchist such as TS Eliot would be viewed as "official" literature by the academic ideologues, and "realists" such as Hemingway or Dreiser disparaged--either implcitly or explicitly-- as yokels or rustics. Even the responsible realist and leftist--or historicist-- attempts to counter the monarchist and/or clerical Weltanschauung are, I believe, defeated. For the entire context of literature and literary interpretation is in essence aristocratic, and thus anti-empiricist, anti-democratic, anti-humanist.

It also should not be surprising that Marx himself disparaged liberal writers and fabian socialist types who thought "exposing social injustice" was a proper political stance. For Marx, regardless of his flaws, perceived that the institution of "belle-lettres" is contaminated with a sort of otherworldly (ultimately theological or superficially platonic) and non-historical ideology (novels, even grand baggy affairs like War and Peace are not history), where Truths simply exist immutably and unquestioned. The move away from idealistic metaphysics--towards history and economics-- is thus also a move away from belle-lettrist dreams.

An effective leftist action? Burn a Riverside Shakespeare, and your Norton Anthologies of English Verse; turn to Darwin instead of Dickens, Keynes instead of Kerouac, Einstein instead of Jane Eyre-head.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A True Story About Hoss Bellamy. Part Two.

""Slang: the Grunt of the Human Hog"" (Bierce).

(to be continued...)
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