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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Neglect and Invisibility/Totalising and Orthodoxy
I read a lot.
But I haven't read everything.
Growing up in Texas and the South during the Reagan Counter-Revolution and Insurgency, Liberal and Leftist Thought was hard to come by...one had to search it out.
Before the arrival of the Internet, this was a rather daunting task.
I've been involved, passionately, with Philosophy for my whole damned life...but I never even heard of folks like Dewey and Mercuse, Rawls and Richard Rorty, until well after I had discovered the Web, circa 1998.
Much like the way we know about various Christian Heresies solely via their enemies(Iraneus, et al.), I learned of these folks due to my comprehensive review of the American Right, beginning around 2002.
Now, I come to Rorty...and find that I am quite hot to trot to acquire his “Achieving Our Country”.
Where I've been my whole life, all of this sort of thing has been successfully excised from Public School, from College, and from Libraries.
If it's there, one has to know to look for it...there is not a “Liberal Thought Section”, in the basement, or elsewhere.
The fact that these individuals and their Thinking have been so unknown to me, of all people, is both maddening and instructive.
How did I miss them?
If they had been Banned, outright, I would have found them...I have always kept an eye out for Banned Books.
It seems that they were all just quietly removed, somehow, from view.
Of course, since I now have a sort of window into the workings of the local Libraries, both Public and Public School, perhaps I understand how this was accomplished.
Some parent complains that Plato, or whatever, is in the High School...and, rather than make a spectacle, the Librarian, or the school Board, simply has it removed...or placed in a closet.
This does not happen with such high minded gems as Sarah Palin's and Bill Oraly's various collections of discourse...those are, indeed, kept in a sort of shrine...one cannot help but notice them.
I have considered donating various books to both Libraries...but the common practice is to sell or throw away whatever doesn't get checked out sufficiently.
I think Marcus Aurelius should be available in any Publicly funded Library, just in case someone wants it.
Same with Walt Whitman(whose Leaves of Grass has been challenged due to his perceived homo-erotica, and (no shit) “unamericanism”.)
The Right's perpetual Fear of Information is always on display, if one looks.
How many of the strident screamers in the Islamaphobia Industry have ever actually read the Koran?
How many of a century's worth of Anti-Commie Ideologues have read Marx?
The Right has a bad habit of taking their various “Leader's” word for what to hate, and never looking into matters for themselves...apparently, for fear of pollution(an admission of weak-mindedness, perhaps?)
I, on the other hand, would never even contemplate attempting to have Sarah Palin's testament to aphasia(yes, I've read it) removed from the Public School Library...although I would prefer that it be removed from the Shrine, and put back on the shelf.
We can have Jonah Goldberg, but not Robert Paxton.
William Bennett, but not Howard Zinn.
Plato gets tossed out(I was there with a big net to catch it all), because it hadn't been checked out in the past year or two...likely because such things are not mentioned in History class, or anywhere else these days.
Anti-Intellectualism is part of the Background, now...it is no more noticed than is the air.
Again, this is how Dark Ages begin...by the delimiting of Thought...the de facto and tacit erasure of competing or contradictory viewpoints.
Silently, and without fanfare, removing whole realms of ways of looking at the world.
Somehow, I ended up a Liberal, any way...or, at least a “Left Libertarian”.
This is probably mostly due to Jefferson, and tp not having Religion...and perhaps possessing some innate bullshit detector.
Of course, things of the Left also sometimes fall into this Totalitarian Universalising Habit.
One sees this with various Environmental Movements and trends...like Earth First and PETA.( ...and, for clarity, I dig Deep Green Ecology..but not to the extremity of the exclusion of Humanity).
One sees it in(especially Second Wave ) Feminism; right now, I know of some otherwise thoroughly Liberal Women who are upset about the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray. They are talking about boycotting it, because they perceive the BDSM subculture as “demeaning” to Womyn.
Shall we remove Hemingway from the shelves, as well?
What about the Bible?
Augustine and Calvin?
Nope...we're gonna focus on a weird sexual subculture that happens to be ALL about Consent, willfully taking our eyes from the imposing edifice of obvious and blatant patriarchy all around us.
Another instance that comes to mind where otherwise sane and Liberal folks are concerned...a year or more ago, there was a pseudoscholarly article(I don't remember where) about Gandhi...containing the not all that new revelation that he slept in the same bed with naked early teenage girls...to “test his resolve”.
A big argument ensued, because my Lib interlocutors wanted to throw out Gandhi because of this.
My whole counter-argument was, essentially, “Jefferson OWNED People! Should we throw him away?”
It ain't just the Right, or the Rabid variety of Christians....
My prescription...that I sometimes fail to follow, my own self(Ha!)...is that we should tolerate folks for who and what they are...up and until the point that they become a threat to me, and or them and or us.
I've said repeatedly that I will defend, unto death, the Right of the KKK, or James Dobson, or even those neanderthals at Stormfront...I'll defend vigorously their Right to Exist and to Think and to Believe and to Speak.
However, as soon as they...or anyone else...crosses the line and attempts to Impose their worldview on anyone else..well,that's when 'a good man goes to war'.
Evangelicals pepper their discourse with the injunction to “hate the sin and love the sinner”.
I think that's a fine sentiment...and it's very similar to my own Goose Doctrine, and to the Wiccan Rede and the whole ideal of Reciprocity found in not only the three big Abrahamic religions, but in every religion I have yet studied.
Totalising everything, to the utmost extreme on any side, is Illiberal, and counterproductive.
So is Limiting access to information.