Saturday, May 29, 2004

Quickly before I go out into the sunshine.
Two from The Nation. How the Other Half Votes: George Scialabba on the strange [sic] phenomenon of working class Republicanism. And Philosophical Convictions: Richard Rorty on foundationalism, anti-foundationalism and politics.
Quickly, because I have errands to run and I don't want to be indoors. Read the articles if you don't understand my response.

Idiots. On Scialabba: Rich conservatives don't move into working class neighborhoods; rich liberals do. What the working class sees in powerful liberals is condescension and hypocrisy. What it sees in rich republicans is what they respect in themselves (if there's anything left to respect). Who would you rather invite into your home, a friendly con man who tells you what you want to hear or a someone who lectures you on how you've got it all wrong? The problem with Kerry is that he can't escape his snobbery. He doesn't know how to deal with the peasantry and he doesn't know how to lie. Liberals are hypocrites, but they lie to themselves first. Beyond that the problem is that with our addiction to individualism, the working class cannot develop its own independent political structures and has to negotiate from the start with liberals who don't share their interests. Working class individualism is counterproductive. So liberals still speak for the working class as men used to speak for women and whites used to speak of their concern for "negroes".

On Rorty. The problem isn't anti-foundationalism it's anti-foundationalist philosophy. Philosophy is foundationalist by nature. Anti-foundationalist philosophy as an independent study as opposed to a philosophy of other subjects, of law, history, literature etc. is predicated on a return to control of an illusory enlightened awareness, as if the recognition somehow resolves the loss. The commingling of rationalism and anti-foundationalism is at the root -is the foundation, relatively speaking- of all the violent metaphysics of the European avant garde, both left and right. And Habermas is a nice guy, but so what?

Charlie Chaplin stands on a stage made of ice. He slips and falls. He gets up. He slips and falls again. He loses control. He negotiates with the inevitable. We laugh at him and at ourselves. Theater is anti-foundationalist, a winking lie. Common law like democracy itself is anti-foundationalist. It's not based on 'Truth' but on getting along.
So why the ridgidity of the British class system? That's for history and literature not philosophy.

How about a study of British Punk as a bourgeois revolution.

This is a modern world - This is the modern world
What kind of a fool do you think I am?
You think I know nothing of the modern world
All my life has been the same
I've learned to live by hate and pain
It's my inspiration drive -
I've learned more than you'll ever know
Even at school I felt quite sure
That one day I would be on top
And I'd look down upon the map
The teachers who said I'd be nothing -
This is the modern world that I've learnt about
This is the modern world, we don't need no one
To tell us what's right or wrong -
Say what you like 'cause I don't care
I know where I am and going too
It's somewhere I won't preview
Don't have to explain myself to you
I don't give two fucks about your review

He changed his mind later but Paul Weller voted for Thatcher, the daughter of a shopkeeper.
Punk wasn't a rebellion against capitalism. It was capitalism, rebelling against both liberalism and the hereditary aristocracy.

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