Archive for May 29th, 2013

Right and Left

Endless conversational stimulation is to be found in the fact that the most basic distinction of modern politics is profoundly incomprehensible, and at the same time almost universally invested. Almost everybody thinks they understand the difference between the Right and the Left, until they think about it. Then they realize that this distinction commands no solid consensus, and exists primarily as a substitute for thought. Perhaps the same is true of all widely-invoked political labels. Perhaps that is what politics is.

Spandrell directs a winding, intermittently brilliant post to the topic, which is enriched by a comments thread of outstanding quality. Like the Right/Left distinction itself, the argument becomes increasingly confusing, the closer it is examined. The ‘rightist singularity’ of the title is introduced as a real political alternative to the Left Singularity modeled by James Donald, driven by analogous self-reinforcing feedback dynamics, but into nationalistic rather than egalitarian catastrophe. For societies menaced by the prospect of Left Singularity, it offers an alternative path. China is taking it, Spandrell suggests.

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May 29, 2013admin 48 Comments »
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Reality Check

Foseti, commenting at his own place, asks rhetorically:

Don’t you think that writing to save the world is – in itself – fundamentally progressive in nature (not to say wildly presumptuous)?

Even those tempted to answer in the negative need to think this through patiently, because the pretensions this question punctures are typically distinguished by their thoughtlessness. Modern politics became psychotic when agitated scribblers convinced themselves that they had the tools, the right, and even the duty to re-order the world in accordance with their pamphlets. This is a Left tradition that few have yet derided enough.

To carve out cognitive independence is one thing, to deform it into practical idealism is quite another. Indeed, dripping our dark poisons into the milk of idealism might easily be the most practical difference we can make. Soaring words and rallying cries have already done far too much. It makes sense to take a step back, into skepticism, humor, undistorted proportion, and the hypothetical mode, before advancing further down our tracks … wherever they lead.

May 29, 2013admin 25 Comments »
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Big Labor

If Leviathan needs a mascot, here‘s the guy.

May 29, 2013admin 9 Comments »
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