The other day in my Introduction to Literary Criticism course, I contested a student’s objection to my thesis that, whereas there might be many plausible interpretations of John Keats’ poem “Ode on a Grecian urn,” it would nevertheless not be the case that every interpretation of “Ode on a Grecian urn” was equally plausible or even plausible at all. Furthermore, I reasoned, the range of interpretations might be graded according to their plausibility, from least to most, in a hierarchy. The student’s agitated insistence was that, “everybody has his own opinion.”* (As if no one had ever heard that before.) I immediately responded that “opinion” was an irrelevant category; and that, in any case, where it concerns any particular topic, the number of opinions is strictly limited. In respect of Topic X, there are probably only two opinions, or at most three. The claim that “everybody has his own opinion” is therefore absurd. To put it in plausible English, one would have to say that, “In respect of X, everyone has one opinion or another, of a limited set.” One of the definitions of “opinion” is that an opinion is a freely circulating, conformist view about a topic, entirely unoriginal and non-proprietary. People never have opinions; they borrow or endorse them, at which point the opinions have them.
President Trump’s betrayal of his promise to repeal Obamacare has been disconcerting, as has the GOP’s recidivism in not sending to the CEO the blanket-repeal that they sent sixty times to his precursor in office. No one objects to Obamacare relevantly. That it is piss-poor healthcare is incidental. The essential objection to the “law” is that a two-thousand-page “law” is a contradiction in terms. A two-thousand-page “law” can be nothing other than a bludgeon of tyranny, to be used against the freedom – and the discretion, and the wisdom – of the people. The Trumpmeister needs to live up to his campaign promise, the position to which he owes his election. To quote the title of the Russ Meyer’s 1965 sexploitation movie: “Faster, Pussycat – Kill! Kill!” Kill the “law” and start over. Kill it. Stomp it into the ground. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, and kill. Trump should throw away his Pussy Hat and act like a man.
The Alexandrov Song and Dance Ensemble originated under the Stalin regime in Russia , but it transcended that regime. The Ensemble sang soldier-songs, folk-songs, and popular Russian songs. About two-thirds of the Alexandrov Ensemble died last year in an airplane-accident over the Black Sea. I might say that it was a suspicious accident, with suspicion lying in the direction of the Turks or Chechen terrorists. The Sacred War (actually, Voyna Narodnaya or People’s War) is a WWII song. But are we not in a Sacred War? To FunkyProfessor: The rod in narodnaya is the same as the rod in Rodino. Long live the Rodino!
I was present at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in the late 1980s when the Ensemble sang this song by one of the foremost Russian composers —
Here is the last concert of the Alexandrov ensemble —
The more you can attribute blame for some bad thing to others, the less blame you need to shoulder yourself, and the less guilt you then need to suffer. And as guilt lessens, so does the costliness of the personal sacrifice adequate to its expiation.
The perennial philosophy postulates a spiritual Source from which all being emanates; all is one. It is the contention that there is a structure to reality and this structure matches man’s interiority; his soul. There is a hierarchy of being; body, mind, soul and spirit.
One might add that if love is connection and all is one, then love corresponds to the structure of ultimate reality. In the realm of the Absolute, there are no distinctions; no individuals, no time and no space – just love.
However, I argue in Globalism, Don Juan and the Perennial Philosophy published at the Sydney Traditionalist Forum that in order for love to be made manifest in the realm of the Relative, it is necessary to love individuals; individual people, individual families and individual countries. Liberals make a philosophical and theological mistake in backing globalism which attempts to bypass the particular. This can be compared to Don Juan. A man who loves women must express his romantic love by loving a particular woman. Don Juan, however, attempts to simply bed as many women as possible, treating them as disposable nothings, which is far from love. The deracinated, rootless cosmopolitan likewise has no attachments to any particular country, community, culture or landscape and therefore loves none of them adequately, if at all.
My latest article Is Western Civilization Misogynistic? at the Sydney Traditionalist Forum answers this question in the negative. In it the case is made that feminism is misogynistic and that feminist self-hatred drives their resentment and hatred of men. Feminism embraces the mistaken notion that there is something wrong with femininity in women – a view few men adopt. When Hélène Cixous lists binary opposites, she imagines that there is something wrong with the item associated with the feminine. In this, she is deeply wrong. What the list reveals is the way in which each needs the other, in the way men and women do for the species to continue.
Feminists find themselves in rivalry with men and suffering from a sense of inferiority. The current strategy is thus to highlight every cultural, artistic, moral and scientific achievement they can find by women. If men point out the positive contribution of many men in all those areas, as breath-taking as they are numerous, it would just make feminists hate men even more. Thus any attempt to provide counter-examples to the notion that men are a worthless bunch will just increase their ire.
This is an example of the self-sealing fallacy where what sounds like an empirical claim is made, namely that men and patriarchal culture are evil and worthless. If counter-examples are provided of positive male achievement, Plato, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Cervantes, Gandhi, Einstein, Tesla, Louis Pasteur, Jesus, these accomplishments are imagined to represent opportunities denied to women, so these are evil too. Anytime a factual assertion becomes immune to counter-example, even in principle, it means that the factual assertion has been replaced by tautology. For feminists, men and patriarchy are evil by definition.
Philosophy and the Crisis of the Modern World is my contribution to a symposium on the topic of identity published at the Sydney Traditionalist Forum. René Guenon criticizes philosophy for generating this crisis. He argues that removing or ignoring the esoteric content of Platonic philosophy resulted in exoteric rationalism which has dominated Western philosophy, certainly since the scientific revolution. Since rationality is not itself generative, but merely analytic, philosophers find themselves with a vacuum where God should be and inevitably head in the direction of nihilism – the unavoidable consequence of postulating a Godless universe.
It is hard to see how a nihilistic culture could sustain itself in the long term. My argument is consistent with these comments by Scott Weidner concerning T. S. Eliot:
Eliot formulated the most basic tenet of his cultural theory, that religion and culture are essentially “related.” <4> In fact, Eliot argued that “no culture has appeared or developed except together with a religion: according to the point of view of the observer, the culture [appears] to be the product of the religion, or the religion the product of the culture.” <5> They might be thought of as different aspects of the same thing; culture was “the incarnation of the religion of a people.” <6> Civilizations which appeared to be secular or humanistic, such as ancient Greece and Rome, were actually religious cultures in decline. <7> Culture could not be preserved, extended, or developed in the absence of religion, nor could religion be preserved and maintained if culture was not. <8>
It’s amazing how quickly liberals – and especially Social Justice Warriors – descend into rage, into foaming at the mouth, screaming, insults, violence – whenever they suffer the least jot of cognitive dissonance at the hands of a based Reactionary interlocutor. How come?
I conclude that it has two ultimate causes. One is well known: The leftist doctrine that men victimize women, whites victimize nonwhites, normal people victimize sexual deviants, and so on.
But this doctrine has been around for decades, if not centuries. It wasn’t enough to create the “safe space” phenomenon until a few years ago. (Although we can identify a precursor in the various “ethnic studies” programs created starting in the 1960s whose main purpose was to give academically-weak nonwhites a semi-academic field in which they could excel.) Continue reading →