Monday, March 1, 2010

wunderkammer piece

Well, following that latest unpleasantness, here's a piece I wrote for Wunderkammer magazine which I like quite a bit. Hell, if I'm going to rile you all up with religion, I might as well do it with politics. Please do give it a read if you're politically inclined.

And now I believe this blog will be as controversial as light jazz and tomato soup for a little while. Don't have much stomach for the fight anymore.

7 comments:

Primeau said...

Hmm. Try that again.

Much of the revolution's foundational rhetoric evinced vivid egalitarianism, but was the struggle’s animating philosophy “left-wing” in any meaningful sense? Perhaps, when he says “left-wing,” Freddie simply means republican, anti-royalist, and (sort of) secular. In that case, America was at the forefront of international leftism in its struggle against the Central Powers. (And anyway, the Romans who overthrew the Etruscans were anti-royalist republicans. Were they "at the absolute vanguard of left-wing philosophy for their times"?)

The revolution had its share of radical democratic cosmopolitans, sure. But for every Tom Paine there was a slave-owning aristocratic quasi-feudalist. Or a bourgeois monarchist in the mold of Hamilton.

More . . . http://worththefighting.blogspot.com/2010/03/writes-freddie-in-otherwise-decent.html

Primeau said...

Anyway, this just goes back to the old bone, picked always: This right/left business makes little sense today; applied retroactively, it's misleading at best, straight stupid at worst.

paul said...

That's truly one of the best articles I've read on politics in a long time. I slightly disagree with:

"Western civilization is a vector, and it does not point towards the past. The direction may very well not be towards American liberalism's policies, but it will in keeping with the liberal character. You cannot move away from liberalism by appealing to the center, because liberalism is the center."

... insofar as this is sort of the ultimate liberal fantasy. I.e., all of those primitives and reactionaries who don't see that we're going to eventually progress to, like, Star Trek's Federation Council in 2343. Liberalism/progressivism is a project that very well might fail; I think it's far more fragile than many seem to recognize.

Anonymous said...

""Western civilization is a vector, and it does not point towards the past. The direction may very well not be towards American liberalism's policies, but it will in keeping with the liberal character. You cannot move away from liberalism by appealing to the center, because liberalism is the center."

Western civilization, whatever that means, had (apparently) a deeply non-liberal vector for centuries. This Enlightenment liberal project you guard so jealousy is a newly appearing, and probably fast fading, blip on the radar. That is, if you consider "Western civilization" as some vague cultural and political continuum starting with Greco-Roman culture, continuing through the Franco-Germanic barbarians of the dark ages, high Christendom of the 1200 - 1400s, Renaissance, etc., etc., etc.

As the other guy said, p'rhaps more fragile than you'd like to imagine, Freddo.

Phil

elizabethnolanbrown said...

tomato soup? how dare you like tomato soup!!! ;-)

Tom Enever said...

Excellent essay.

I agree with your assertion that the American revolution was on the "at the absolute vanguard of left-wing philosophy for their times", Jefferson especially encapsulates this.

atheist said...

I like your essay Mr. deBoer. You make some great points especially the senses of radicalism, self-pity, and groupthink that today's right wing is absolutely stewing in. I have read plenty of similar essays, lamenting the decline of conservatism due to Reaganite anti-intellectualism or some other factor.

At the same time I feel a bit agnostic toward your other point, that this state of affairs is "not conservative". I can never tell if such essays are describing something which has really vanished or rather an ideal "conservatism" that never actually existed. What if conservatism was actually always this moronic, bloodthirsty and authoritarian, and successful precisely because of it?