Monday, August 08, 2011

note taking. posted elsewhere. responding to Corey Robin [minor fixes, for grammar and clarity.]
“Whatever the right may say about the culture of individualism…”

Libertarianism is not conservatism it’s an extremist economic liberalism. You have a peculiarly American sense of right and left- and of seeing self-definition as arbiter. The blurb for your book reads the same way.

Modern conservatism began as aristocratic, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist. The contradictions of bourgeois conservatism (and of the Catholic Buckley) are of the modern financial elite, the nouveau riche, styling themselves the inheritors of the landed elite. European left intellectuals, Foucault et al., see the irony in this. American liberals ignore the contradictions in their own worldviews. Modern liberals, especially those in academia, are concerned individualists. That’s not enough.

Blurb - “Robin argues that the right is fundamentally inspired by a hostility to emancipating the lower orders. ”

Conservatism originated in the opposition to the “emancipation’ of anyone and everyone. It began in an opposition to the modern notion of individual freedom. The root of its hypocrisy lies in the role of the elite as the guardians of all under god, but there’s a long history of an anti-modern left. Liberals still defend “progress” without being able to define it. And they're wary of unions because unions are seen as putting a break on that progress. Unions are anti-individualist. Individualists make for lousy defenders of their opposition.

Modern liberal intellectuals don’t defend formal relations. Adversarialism makes them nervous, because it’s based on contradiction and on a sort of semi-consciousness on the part of those on both sides of a debate. Defense attorneys are advocates not truth-seekers. It amazes me how many philosophers (professional truth-seekers) have no understanding of lawyers' importance as a model. I’ve sparred endlessly with pseudo-scientists in the humanities who are contemptuous of the irrationalism of culture: “Art-forms and clear exposition are orthogonal.” The adversarial systems of justice and of divided government are defined by the orthogonal. Unions are orthogonal to “progress.” Democracy is a formal system of decision-making: truth production is secondary. Laws define/prescribe process, not result. The focus on result weakens democracy. The road to hell…

We need a Burkean left, one that defends community not equality. Equality is the language of individualism.
The arts are Burkean. The rule of law is conservative, not liberal. "The ACLU is a conservative organization." Spencer Coxe

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