Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Obama = President Rawls

To follow up my postings yesterday on pragmatism, what we have today is an extremely pragmatistic president in the epistemic mold of Harvard philosopher John Rawls. What does Obama stand for? He doesn't appear to stand for anything other than an undefined, please-everybody reconciliationism. He's like the perfect pragmatistic president.

It's most fitting that both of these Elites define the culture that is the Harvard culture. They're the consensus pick of the fellow elites for the best that America has to offer. According to these elites, Rawls's Harvard colleague Robert Nozick is the best representative of libertarian philosophy anyone has to offer, and it is a left-liberal mythology of these elites that Thomas Jefferson today would side with Rawls over Nozick. Ayn Rand, in this elitist mythology, is a reactionary-capitalist antisocial individualism (she did say that selfishness is a virtue, after all, and it's obvious to anyone what she must have meant by that: antisocial individualism) that defines the "libertarian" side in politics which Nozick, via Kantian intuitions, does a more respectable job of defending and is one of the two big "sides" Rawls incorporates into his Great American Synthesis along with the effective de facto abolition of private property (via trump-claims on individual talents by the community) so as to please the kindly, well-intentioned Marxists.

Here's a blatant falsehood in the elitist mythology: Jefferson today would not side with Rawls. He would side with Rand and Nozick. He would be a radical for capitalism, a libertarian, and he would affirm these things as a matter of common sense. He would not be a "progressive" who defines away capitalistic freedom, by piecemeal concession, into some bizarre and insidiously anti-American caricature of it (as with, e.g., John Rawls). So while Obama the pragmatist represents intellectual stagnation in America, Jefferson represented intellectual radicalism and progress, a President Rand if you will. Jefferson, in his radically libertarian, capitalistic, natural-law political ethos, was more progressive than self-styled "progressives" are!

Oh, my brothers, the Established Elites will scoff at first upon reading this, but what comeuppance they will receive, oh what comeuppance!

One great thing about Jefferson was his contempt for class-minded elites. So just keep that in mind. A President Rand (Jefferson) today would be against a corporatist economic elite in bed with the government, so let's just chalk Rand's "economic elitism" up to ignorant misunderstanding on the part of her opponents. (That's usually how you can chalk up liberal-left characterizations of Ayn Rand. They're really just very ignorant and point-missing. Once the liberals get the same education in Randianism that Leonard Peikoff's students have gotten, they'll be way on board with pretty much the entirety of her philosophical edifice, mark my words. All it takes is mental focus and some conscientious integration, for crying out loud.) So this mythology about Rand as a voice of an angry American "right-wing" bent on being callously selfish assholes to their fellow human beings, is just plain old intellectual incompetence fostered by a pragmatistic spirit of intellectual conformity amongst America's pragmatism-eaten elites.

You know what the problem is with these fucking pragmatist elites? Just take all the evil ideas in the world and the pragmatists' lack of any deep ethical, epistemological and metaphysical commitments, and just hand all the deep commitments to the America-destroying, man-destroying Bad Guys, why don't we. Really, now? Really? Say what you will about the tenets of Totalitarian Islam, at least it's an ethos. At least they've got the deep commitments that the cowardly Established American Elite lack. Dinesh D'Souza is onto something here in his own demented right-wing theocratic-authoritarian way ("let's be more like the Islamofascists; at least they maintain law and order and virtue and tradition")! All we get with pragmatism is intellectual chaos. (Didn't Rand say this throughout her Vietnam-era essays, like, a hundred times? Also, Peikoff's recent DIM Hypothesis work deals with the implications of an intellectually disintegrated worldview in contrast to an integrated worldview with deeper commitments. American liberals have pretty much disarmed themselves intellectually due to their ever-insidious pragmatism - especially when their opponents offer a whole moral and intellectual package-deal along with Americanism. This is true whether the package-dealing is a fundamentalist-Christian one or a rational neo-Aristotelian/Jeffersonian one.) The cashing in: Let's reconcile the opposing views. Let's be more like them, but not too much. Let's be less like them, but not too much. Let's keep mixing politics and religion together in vaguely defined ways because that's how things have been done before and it works well enough. Let's keep trying to mix socialism and liberty and keep genuflecting to John Rawls who has no deep commitments on the really big philosophical issues that matter - and on those issues let's have an unsteady, unseemly, and unsanitary admixture of all three of Plato, Aristotle, and Kant.

That works. Right? Maybe.

Say that Obama wins in a landslide in 2012, which is the likely outcome absent a major short-term game-changer. Contra the reactionary Tea Party types, the progressive pragmatistic Rawlsian Elites will feel short-term vindication. ("He improved the economy! Right? Maybe.") Not having the wherewithal or deep enough commitments to view the world in terms of the Big Picture Issues, they do not foresee the long-term triumph of the Randian model over theirs. Ideas do rule human history, as Ayn Rand - given all her deep commitments - recognized and affirmed, and Pragmatism as an idea has had its time and failed.

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