Friday, February 18, 2011

Glenn Greenwald (and Ayn Rand) vs. Evasion

Evasion - i.e., the refusal to think, to see, to know - is, as Ayn Rand pointed out - and which many people (ironically? non-ironically?) evade because of the messenger - the root of all human evils.

Glenn Greenwald documents on a daily basis the devolution of the American justice system going on right before our eyes in the wake of the so-called War on Terror. It's nothing short of fucking disgusting what's going on - as are the evasions that enable it.

Is it any coincidence - any coincidence at all - that the American justice system, and the American political system, were perverted in the face of the so-called War on Drugs? In fact, we might as well assume that the perversions enacted by the so-called War on Drugs were a test by our Political Class to see just how far the American People could be hoodwinked into giving up the principles of freedom in order to Keep Us Safe. Hence, the so-called War on Terror.

I say principles of freedom here, because even if you or your neighbor's rightful freedom wasn't infringed by these ridiculous policies, the principle involved was torn asunder. Hell, let's just make it plain: the principles of freedom have gradually been torn asunder since the days of FDR (to "keep us free from fear," or whatnot). Perhaps before that, going back to who-knows-when. As the ever-prescient Rand pointed out, quite incontrovertibly, there was a contradiction from the very start between the nation's founding political principles and the wider moral-intellectual ethos of its people. As she pointed out, America didn't have a well-recognized moral-philosophical base (i.e., reason and egoism, but primarily reason) for its political ideals.

We're seeing the results of this split. It's quite inevitable, really. And we continue to ignore - i.e., to evade - the inevitable consequences of this split, at our own peril.

Back to the matter of principles: one thing that an anti-intellectual ethos does, is to destroy people's ability to think in terms of principles. So if some far-off stranger has his freedoms trampled upon in the most egregious of anti-American ways, an intellectually-stunted populace will sigh in relief that at least their own freedoms aren't being trampled upon - ignoring the principle of fredom involved. (This is even assuming they value freedom any longer, as distinct from, say, Safety.) Well, the departure from principle has led to the de facto state of lawlessness in which our Political Class now operates. That's what happens when a principle is abandoned.

Anyone who is paying attention - i.e., doesn't evade in one fashion or other - realizes that the current state of things, politically and intellectually, would make Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration, and long-serving president of the American Philosophical Society, fucking vomit. Further, if you pay attention and exercise any capacity for independent thinking in principles, you realize that this problem won't - and can't - go away, not without some significant change in the mindset of the American People. Only the ire and rage of the American People against its lawless Political Class could serve as a check against the perversions of its founding principles (i.e., individual rights). Only the evasions of the American People can keep the problem festering, and keep diminishing America's standing in the world.

So, during the times I'm not posting here, a good blog to read is Greenwald's. He is one of the few still remaining who have the courage to call out the corruption of our political system in the most clear and uncompromising terms.

The problem is, at root, an intellectual one. A philosophy like Rand's is the ultimate solution. The ultimate diagnostic approach is philosophical. But at the least Greenwald is highlighting what our political problem is in the starkest terms, even if he hasn't identified the why. (I've added "pragmatism" as a tag to this post, seeing as how pragmatism - a most unfortunate intellectual phenomenon in America - has proved insidious against its founding principles. Also, I've added "integration," since this all ties together. Oh, I've also added "torture," since that integrates with the rest. Long story short: Pragmatism leads to disintegration, which leads to lawless torture.) Greenwald constantly kicks ass; as far as I can remember, he's always putting the apologists for the Status Quo in their place in any debate that arises. The defenders of the Status Quo have a vested interest in people evading what Greenwald says. So far, these slimeballs have been getting away with it well enough to keep conducting a progressive erosion of all law and decency. If you get the People dumbed-down enough through a long-enough train of evasions, they will accept tyranny, plutocracy, endless war, you name it.

Far as I can tell, Greenwald identifies as "left-liberal" politically, which really has little to do with the effectiveness of his blog, which focuses on constitutional rights and their abuse by politicians of both parties. Further, he's not a philosopher, so that limits his intellectual context and range of awareness. He does share with Ayn Rand at least one feature: marginalization by the Establishment. But, more essentially and crucially, he shares with Ayn Rand a basic intellectual attitude: the refusal to evade facts. It's just mind-boggling how rare such an attitude is today.

Now, back to composing....

P.S. Please take a look at my previous posting and let it sink in, if it hasn't yet.

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