Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Scott Martens has responded [] to my comments, but he misunderstands my point. I posted a response but his commenting system seems to be down, so I'll repost it here. Added to my other recent posts it clarifies my position a little:

I agree with what you're saying here, as I agreed with your conclusion in the posts themselves. What concerns me is a more general tendency towards overdetermined responses to cultural problems. My reference to museification was a comment specifically on this hot-house idea of culture.

The paradox of anthropology is that to understand a culture you have to be removed from it. But being removed from it you can't experience it, and experience as such is a form of understanding that liberalism -out of necessity perhaps- tends to view as suspect. Read my comments -specifically the previously nonsensical one- in the post linking to the Posner article. (see below).

Liberalism can tie you up in knots of your own devising. But Posner is arguing that some actions are defensible only if not used as precedent. He is describing a 'logic' that can only be applied on a case by case basis, arguing for the value of 'experience' as such. In its acceptance of the unpredictable there is a 'naturalness' to Posner's ideas, while your tightly argued logic, while in the end defending something similar, an idea of coercion, is 'artificial' in that it is grounded in a need for absolute clarity and control.

My comments came from my sense of your use of language, and the thought that you were/are trying to come to terms with the experience of culture from the outside and facing the contradictions in that choice.

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