Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

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Alizia
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Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:06 pm

The full title is Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right.

Michael Millerman, a political theorist, has written a critique of Beiner's book and also critiques his approach generally.
  • But philosophers have also been regarded as downright dangerous. Ronald Beiner calls two of the most prominent philosophers of recent centuries, Nietzsche and Heidegger, “dangerous minds.” Nietzsche’s writings helped bolster the Nazi’s view of themselves as men and women of valor and will, opposed to both the superficiality of American consumerism and the ignoble egalitarianism of Bolshevism. Heidegger, too, opposed Americanism and Bolshevism, preferring to speak instead in terms of authentic dwelling, heritage, and the destiny of the Volk. During his lifetime he was a member of the Nazi party, for which he never apologized. Many of his detractors believe that the basic elements of his thought are conducive to fascistic politics.
I am interested in the philosophical dimensions of what Beiner describes as "the return of the far right" and I am interested in the fact that some theorists on the so-called Far Right or Extreme Right, perhaps all of them, specifically resort to Nietzsche and Heidegger (there are others too of course) in order to create and bring into focus a counter-liberal political philosophy. It has been said that Nietzsche especially has influenced many Left-leaning theorists and thinkers, but what of Beiner's opinion that Nietzsche is really a "dangerous mind"?

Is such a thing conceivable? I ask, is there a rational philosophical position that could counter what some see as extreme liberalism? or liberalism that verges on becoming totalitarian?

Myself, I am located in an out of the way region of Canada and feel very very far away from European politics. But I am interested in what is going on in Poland and Hungary which, as I try to put together understanding, is a reaction against certain liberal forms.

You who are located in Europe: can you provide insight into what is going on in Europe, and perhaps talk about what this turn to the "Far Right" is about? Would you condemn it roundly and fully? Or does it have redeeming features?

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Impenitent » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:15 pm

Nietzsche had as much respect for socialists (national or otherwise) as he did for christians...

his sister on the other hand...

-Imp

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:26 pm

And Heidegger?

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:32 pm

Alizia wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:26 pm
And Heidegger?
What "right"? Nazism is on the Left. It's 'National Socialism," not "National Libertarianism."

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:16 pm

Can you give me a better sense of what you mean? I don't quite understand what you wish to say and would rather not speculate.

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:39 pm

Alizia wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:16 pm
Can you give me a better sense of what you mean? I don't quite understand what you wish to say and would rather not speculate.
"Leftist" means "collectivist and pro-big-government." The "Right" means "individualist" and "limited government."

Classical liberalism is centrist-right, whereas "Fascist" comes from "fasces" which was the bundle of sticks tied together in the Roman symbol for solidarity of the many into the one: see https://www.britannica.com/topic/fasces Mussolini was a huge admirer of Marx, and in fact saw himself as saving (failed) Marxism by social re-engineering. In other words, the National Socialists were...socialists. They weren't Right-wing at all. They were very extreme nationalist Leftists.

Surprise, surprise, eh?

And here's something from The Independent on Adolph Hitler:

His private conversations, however, though they do not overturn his reputation as an anti-Communist, qualify it heavily. Hermann Rauschning, for example, a Danzig Nazi who knew Hitler before and after his accession to power in 1933, tells how in private Hitler acknowledged his profound debt to the Marxian tradition. "I have learned a great deal from Marxism" he once remarked, "as I do not hesitate to admit". He was proud of a knowledge of Marxist texts acquired in his student days before the First World War and later in a Bavarian prison, in 1924, after the failure of the Munich putsch. The trouble with Weimar Republic politicians, he told Otto Wagener at much the same time, was that "they had never even read Marx", implying that no one who had failed to read so important an author could even begin to understand the modern world; in consequence, he went on, they imagined that the October revolution in 1917 had been "a private Russian affair", whereas in fact it had changed the whole course of human history! His differences with the communists, he explained, were less ideological than tactical. German communists he had known before he took power, he told Rauschning, thought politics meant talking and writing. They were mere pamphleteers, whereas "I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun", adding revealingly that "the whole of National Socialism" was based on Marx.

That is a devastating remark and it is blunter than anything in his speeches or in Mein Kampf.; though even in the autobiography he observes that his own doctrine was fundamentally distinguished from the Marxist by reason that it recognised the significance of race - implying, perhaps, that it might otherwise easily look like a derivative. Without race, he went on, National Socialism "would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground". Marxism was internationalist. The proletariat, as the famous slogan goes, has no fatherland. Hitler had a fatherland, and it was everything to him.
Last edited by Immanuel Can on Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:56 pm

OK, I think I understand what you mean to say. What you might consider is that the theorists that are attempting to develop (what they refer to as) alternatives and new strategies, are trying to conceive things through stances that are not precisely one or the other. Take Alexandre Dugan for example:
“The path that humanity entered upon in the modern era led precisely to liberalism and to the repudiation of God, tradition, community, ethnicity, empires and kingdoms. Such a path is tread entirely logically: having decided to liberate itself from everything that keeps man in check, the man of the modern era reached his logical apogee: before our eyes he is liberated from himself. The logic of world liberalism and globalisation pulls us into the abyss of postmodern dissolution and virtuality. Our youth already have one foot in it: the codes of liberal globalism are effectively introduced on an unconscious level — through habits, commercials, glamour, technology, the media, celebrities. The usual phenomenon now is the loss of identity, and already not simply only national or cultural identity, but even sexual, and soon enough even human identity.”
If you had to locate a 'genuine' Right government or state, what would it be?

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:07 am

Alizia wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:56 pm
OK, I think I understand what you mean to say. What you might consider is that the theorists that are attempting to develop (what they refer to as) alternatives and new strategies, are trying to conceive things through stances that are not precisely one or the other. Take Alexandre Dugan for example:
“The path that humanity entered upon in the modern era led precisely to liberalism and to the repudiation of God, tradition, community, ethnicity, empires and kingdoms. Such a path is tread entirely logically: having decided to liberate itself from everything that keeps man in check, the man of the modern era reached his logical apogee: before our eyes he is liberated from himself. The logic of world liberalism and globalisation pulls us into the abyss of postmodern dissolution and virtuality. Our youth already have one foot in it: the codes of liberal globalism are effectively introduced on an unconscious level — through habits, commercials, glamour, technology, the media, celebrities. The usual phenomenon now is the loss of identity, and already not simply only national or cultural identity, but even sexual, and soon enough even human identity.”
If you had to locate a 'genuine' Right government or state, what would it be?
Dugan's clearly being a bit "loose" in his analysis there. He gives the impression that "liberalism" is essentially a "modern" phenomenon. I think the writers of the American Constitution would be surprised to hear that, for sure. Classical Liberalism really begins with John Locke, though you could trace it's early roots back as far as The Reformation, actually.

But that's always a problem with the word "liberal" today: it gets abused a lot, or rather, is left inadequately specified. It's better to make it precisely clear what one means by it when one uses it. For me, it's Lockean (classical) liberalism.

As for the Right, they don't tend to favour governments at all -- like the founders of the US, they tend to be suspicious of government, and to opt for "checks and balances" to inhibit its powers. So they're more on a sliding scale: one cannot do without any government (sorry, Anarchists), but one can have a smaller one rather than a more all-controlling one.

On the other hand, Leftist governments are dead easy to find: you can locate them in the former USSR, Pol Pot's Cambodia, North Korea, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and almost everywhere where the bodies have piled up in the hundreds of thousands or millions.

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:44 am

Yes, I see what you are trying to say. Though I have asked myself if the American Revolution, despite being less radical than its 'sister' in France, was not still, in its essence, a liberal project. I do take your point though about 'checks & balances'. But still, and especially as things have evolved, I would have to say that America really does not now seem a conservative, conserving influence. I have some impressions about how that came about.

You say "For me, it's Lockean (classical) liberalism". I would counter-point that they are no longer in such a phase. They have moved into a hyper- phase. How would you describe the perversion of liberalism? Do you recognize such a term?

Dugan is certainly 'loose' as you say: speculative, theorizing, critical, reactionary. I do not know a great deal about him except from what I am getting from listening to talks by Michael Millerman (Uni of Toronto).
So they're more on a sliding scale: one cannot do without any government (sorry, Anarchists), but one can have a smaller one rather than a more all-controlling one.
If I agree with your definition of the Right, I would be put in a position of having to see all the modern manifestations we have referenced as being 'of the Left'. It undermines the notion of right-leaning ideology. While I respect that you choose to do that, I am not sure if I would go along with you. If I did I would have no other choice than to see America as the only (true) rightist government.

But I can see that in those early years of the Republic they really did have something. But everything depended on the quality and preparation of those individuals. (I venture to say that the US corruption began with the Spanish American and the Philippine Wars, and then the interventions and occupations in the Caribbean. Through embarking on such imperial adventures . . . they began to loose the thread.)

Also, weren't they suspicious of Monarchies and Aristocracies? Is that the same as being suspicious of all governing systems? They could not have planned against the modern corporation as a usurper of pure, Republican government, though some seemed aware of the ways that money interests could pervert good government.

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:31 am

Alizia wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:44 am
Yes, I see what you are trying to say. Though I have asked myself if the American Revolution, despite being less radical than its 'sister' in France, was not still, in its essence, a liberal project.
That depends. Was it Lockean liberal? Sure. They even drew on Locke directly for their legitimation in the founding documents. Was it modern Leftist? No, of course not. They didn't exist, of course.
I do take your point though about 'checks & balances'. But still, and especially as things have evolved, I would have to say that America really does not now seem a conservative, conserving influence. I have some impressions about how that came about.
Maybe. But "conservative" is not a synonym for "right."
You say "For me, it's Lockean (classical) liberalism". I would counter-point that they are no longer in such a phase. They have moved into a hyper- phase. How would you describe the perversion of liberalism? Do you recognize such a term?
I wouldn't say they've "perverted" it so much as they've abandoned it. Progressive politics have gradually replaced the objective of equality-of-opportunity with the goal of equality-of-outcome. And the latter is the really bad idea.
So they're more on a sliding scale: one cannot do without any government (sorry, Anarchists), but one can have a smaller one rather than a more all-controlling one.
If I agree with your definition of the Right, I would be put in a position of having to see all the modern manifestations we have referenced as being 'of the Left'. It undermines the notion of right-leaning ideology.
No, it doesn't actually undermine clear thinking about these issues. The obscurantism has issued from the Left, as they've tried to disown the worst effects of their policies. They've found it expedient to blame others.
While I respect that you choose to do that, I am not sure if I would go along with you. If I did I would have no other choice than to see America as the only (true) rightist government.
Well, it's good you can note I didn't say that. Rather, I said that the US is probably more "right" than many governments, but that contra the Anarchist hopes, it's not possible to realize their ideal...the extreme "right" of having no government at all. The US still has a government, and at present, it's a big one...too big. That means they're more "Leftist" than they ought to be, in my view.
Also, weren't they suspicious of Monarchies and Aristocracies? Is that the same as being suspicious of all governing systems?

Not necessarily. One could be, for example, strongly in favour of a democratic or republican government, and still be totally opposed to totalitarian alternatives like monarchy or aristocracy. In fact, one would have to be, if one wants to be in favour of the democratic options. So the dispute would become not whether there would be government, but what kind there ought to be.
They could not have planned against the modern corporation as a usurper of pure, Republican government, though some seemed aware of the ways that money interests could pervert good government.
Yes, they can do that, for sure.

The key ideological note is this: do you trust human nature or not? If you think people are basically good and can be trusted to do the right thing, you'll be a Leftist, and favour some sort of strong, centralized authority -- Communism, socialism, monarchy, autocracy, dictatorship...something like that. You'll want power to become strongly centralized, because you'll trust what will happen when it becomes that. You'll think it will issue in more efficient changes, and better outcomes. In fact, you'll resent anybody who doesn't join you in that enthusiasm: they'll seem retrograde to you, and you'll resent that they hold you back from the "utopia" you perceive can be had through big government. They'll look too "conservative."

But if you think, as the early shapers of the US constitution thought, that no person is beyond being corrupted, and neither is any government, then you'll hedge your bets by limiting powers of any government, and putting in those "checks and balances" to make sure power can't be highly centralized. (Remember that they were reacting to a demented king (Geo III), and had seen where centralized power can lead -- onerous "taxation without representation," as they said.) If that's your frame of reference, and if those are your expectations, then you'll perhaps accept the necessity of there being governments, but you'll want to watch them like a hawk -- and you'll want them to have the minimum power you can surrender to them; because you'll be suspicious of the outcome of centralized power. Anything you can do yourself, you'll think will come out better if the individual handles it, or the local community deals with it. You won't want strong, central government.

It's all about one's view of human nature, really. And while it might seem attitudinally charitable to opt to believe in the intrinsic goodness of human beings and thus in the trustworthiness of big government and collectivism, what history has already abundantly proved is that that is the road to piles of corpses. (148 million of them in the last century alone, actually.)

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:24 am

I wouldn't say they've "perverted" it so much as they've abandoned it. Progressive politics have gradually replaced the objective of equality-of-opportunity with the goal of equality-of-outcome. And the latter is the really bad idea.
I might be able to agree with this. If you had to describe, briefly, how this abandonment came about, what would you say?

My own impression is that 'progressive' means inclined to social engineering on the basis of some established ideal. 'Conservative' implies -- I see no way around this -- a grounding in the ideas of conservative social philosophy, and as far as I can tell such only exists in strongly religious communities with an agreed-on metaphysics.

A 'conservative' usually shows herself-himself when there is some intrusion into those grounded and conserving cultural traditions. The red flags go up. I think this was the case in Europe when the Marxist-Progressives were taking ground. Something had to rise to confront them, and it was a conservative, right-leaning and 'traditionalist' doctrine.

The more metaphysical grounding there is, the more possibility of being 'conservative'. My studies have pretty clearly indicated that when the metaphysical ground is lost it is with that loss that radical politics -- and other kinds of radical choices -- come on the scene. That is my impression of why Marxism in its various manifestations is never 'friendly' to conservative religion.
But "conservative" is not a synonym for "right."
OK, I guess we would have to do away with both the terms Left and Right since they are quite outmoded. They confuse conversation.
The obscurantism has issued from the Left, as they've tried to disown the worst effects of their policies. They've found it expedient to blame others.
The key ideological note is this: do you trust human nature or not? If you think people are basically good and can be trusted to do the right thing, you'll be a Leftist, and favour some sort of strong, centralized authority -- Communism, socialism, monarchy, autocracy, dictatorship...something like that.
Though I think I could say that I see where you are going with this statement, I think that what you propose as the matrix for a 'proper, conservative' society is one that is simple, likely rural, that does not depend on a great deal of infrastructure, and thus does not require much municipal government, and is one that is thoroughly grounded in the study of traditional ideas and is 'intellectual'. Any deviation from this simple model will result in a kind of contamination. Especially contaminating are 'standing armies' and the machinery of war-making, planning, and undertaking.

Therefore, today, the nations that seem to manage reasonably well are those who 'keep a low profile'. In Europe they are said to be the ones that have prospered under the wing of the American protectorate. Smart move I suppose.

However true all this may be, we do not live in a world where such things are any longer possible, except in some outlying areas. The nature of society is now intricately complex and thus becomes a socialized affair. An affair of endless layers of 'managers' (as was described in The Managerial Revolution). The massive planning and execution of transportation systems, not to mention complex cities, are no longer 'simple' in the rural sense of the former models: for example colonial America. It's another world altogether.

So I would say that therefore, now, one will have to accept larger government, and socialistic government. And then the question remain: will it be based on the present 'liberal' model that seems to become one of diversion, external stimulus, unending complexity of needs and wants that have to be 'met'. Or, could it be possible to establish or reestablish culture on more demanding and less indulgent lines?

If I understand things correctly this is what the (so-called) Radical Right seems to be saying that it desires. I do not know what term to apply for example to Hungary (which many on the Right -- their term -- seem to admire).

The issue is framed as a 'survival of Europe' thing, and this, to me, makes great sense I must admit. Therefore I would say -- I would be forced to say really -- that the 'preservation of Europe', and by extension the preservation of the Europe-extensions, is an issue of 'radical concern'. What if it required a radical right-leaning turn to 'get it back on track'? What must that be? The answer has to be both idealistic and pragmatic. The wrong choice leads to further destruction (if one recognizes destruction in our present).

Heidegger, in my view, becomes especially interesting because of his ideas of claiming national space. It seems to me entirely possible that it could combine with a religious-metaphysical renovation. And it is more. It is 'defining a project within the national space' that shuns universalist, and thus globalist, machination (that's a Heideggerian word!) And frankly I wonder how Christianity could become local and regional, and rid itself to some degree of the false-universalism. (And this is talked about in those Far Right reaches of cyberspace).

I think that when you put things on the table it helps to clarify things, but it does not make it any easier. And then, if man's nature is impossible, then no matter what is done it will fail and end in disaster.

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:56 am

Alizia wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:24 am
I wouldn't say they've "perverted" it so much as they've abandoned it. Progressive politics have gradually replaced the objective of equality-of-opportunity with the goal of equality-of-outcome. And the latter is the really bad idea.
I might be able to agree with this. If you had to describe, briefly, how this abandonment came about, what would you say?
Oh, I'd say a bunch of things. One is pure historical forgetfulness. Another is the continual tendency of mankind to overestimate its trustworthiness. But another would probably be deliberate Leftist propaganda, which has been aimed at reshaping the story to allow its own continuation.
My own impression is that 'progressive' means inclined to social engineering on the basis of some established ideal.
That's reasonable.
'Conservative' implies -- I see no way around this -- a grounding in the ideas of conservative social philosophy, and as far as I can tell such only exists in strongly religious communities with an agreed-on metaphysics.

Not necessarily. One can be a conservative atheist very easily. What's "conservative" is the desire to "conserve" some particular elements of the past, not the necessity of any metaphysical commitments.
The more metaphysical grounding there is, the more possibility of being 'conservative'.
Perhaps, but I would say it's incidental, in a way.

If one has no "metaphysical grounding" as you call it, one has no incentive to "conserve" anything. But if one feels one does know something about ontology, or ethics, or metaphysics already, one has a belief one can take to be necessary to "conserve" against the encroachments of Progressivist experimentation.

On the other hand, if a person believes in nothing already, what's their incentive for objecting to change? Any experiment might possibly "work better," so to speak, than the status quo, in that case -- at least, that's much easier to suppose.
My studies have pretty clearly indicated that when the metaphysical ground is lost it is with that loss that radical politics -- and other kinds of radical choices -- come on the scene. That is my impression of why Marxism in its various manifestations is never 'friendly' to conservative religion.
Oh, quite so. Marx famously said, "The critique of religion is the first of all critiques." What he meant was that until he could clear the field of any other hope, he could not expect to get his "triumph of the proletariat" eschatology off the ground. Nobody would be drawn to it. So the first thing he had to do was eliminate all rival possibilities.

In particular, he accused "religion" (I hate that word...it's so imprecise) of offering the proletariat an alternate hope in Heaven, which would keep them from seeking their bliss on earth, through his political revolution. In that sense, he called religion "the opium of the masses." It would prevent the proletarian revolution by counselling people to accept their lots in life, he thought.
But "conservative" is not a synonym for "right."
OK, I guess we would have to do away with both the terms Left and Right since they are quite outmoded. They confuse conversation.
Not necessarily. But we do have to be precise about what we mean when we use them.
Though I think I could say that I see where you are going with this statement, I think that what you propose as the matrix for a 'proper, conservative' society is one that is simple, likely rural, that does not depend on a great deal of infrastructure, and thus does not require much municipal government, and is one that is thoroughly grounded in the study of traditional ideas and is 'intellectual'. Any deviation from this simple model will result in a kind of contamination. Especially contaminating are 'standing armies' and the machinery of war-making, planning, and undertaking.
Not at all. This is what the Left would like people to believe "conservatism" entails. But it doesn't. One can be very pro-urban and pro-modern, and yet be conservative in one's political views. The question is whether or not we have anything worth "conserving" at the moment: if we do, then to the extent you want to conserve it, you're conservative. To the extent you don't, you're not.
So I would say that therefore, now, one will have to accept larger government, and socialistic government.

No, that doesn't follow at all...even by basic logic. The improvements in modern society that we have have never been produced by government. They're products of private enterprise. Government invents nothing; it just tries to regulate it after the fact.

As for Socialism, why that? Socialism is a failed proposal. It hasn't worked once, or anywhere. Everywhere it's been tried it's produced economic collapse and usually a pile of bodies. One would think it would be obvious we should not look to it again. But people seem eternally stupefied by the idea that if we just all get together we can sing John Lennon anthems and feel alright.

Venezuela's the recent -- and ongoing -- cautionary tale. Why aren't we paying attention?
Or, could it be possible to establish or reestablish culture on more demanding and less indulgent lines?
Maybe. But people would have to want that. And do they? I don't see any evidence they do. The promise Socialism seems to offer is that people can be more indulgent and more demanding -- as in not having to work, or not having to pay for what they use at all. And I think that's what people always hope it will deliver, though it never does...at least, not in the middle or long term. Maybe at first.
The issue is framed as a 'survival of Europe' thing, and this, to me, makes great sense I must admit. Therefore I would say -- I would be forced to say really -- that the 'preservation of Europe', and by extension the preservation of the Europe-extensions, is an issue of 'radical concern'. What if it required a radical right-leaning turn to 'get it back on track'?
What is a "Europe"? I understand what a UK or a Belgium is. i can find Italy or France on a map. But what is this "Europe" thing? The people in it do not share languages, traditions, geography, needs, resources, aspirations, interests, attitudes, beliefs or historical ties. So who is forging this thing? And what is our certainty that if it were forged, that would be a good thing?
Heidegger, in my view, becomes especially interesting because of his ideas of claiming national space. But it is more. It is 'defining a project within the national space' that shuns universalist, and thus globalist, machination (that's a Heideggerian word!)
Well, extreme nationalism of the kind Heidegger wanted led to Hitler, and Marxist aspirational supra-nationalism led to Stalin. Take you pick of the poisons, I guess.

The main point, I would suggest, it this: big government, whether national or supra-national, is a very dangerous thing. It turns loose the worst impulse in particular persons, and maximizes the opportunity for human nature in the masses to go wrong. I would argue that our best strategy is to accept the necessity of government, but to trust it not at all, and to put in place as many checks and balances as we can, to limit the evil it can potentially do. And, moreover, never to look to it to do something we can and ought to do for ourselves.

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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:50 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:56 am
Not necessarily. One can be a conservative atheist very easily. What's "conservative" is the desire to "conserve" some particular elements of the past, not the necessity of any metaphysical commitments.
My speculation is that, yes, a given person might be conservative, but since their conservatism depends on the metaphysical definitions, they will not long remain agents of conservatism. Their children will fall away from those values over time. As far as I have been able to tell (and it is all speculation and 'glimpses') once a culture loses its metaphysical grounding it presages the grasping after mutable things because the 'transcendental' things cannot be conceived. Therefore, conservatism (as I define it, perhaps there is some other manifestation I am unaware of?) depends on a certain idea-structure, and ultimately on a set of definitions about deity.

It is possible though that you might be using 'conservative' in a broader sense. Say 'fiscally conservative' or 'conservative in dress'.
If one has no "metaphysical grounding" as you call it, one has no incentive to "conserve" anything. But if one feels one does know something about ontology, or ethics, or metaphysics already, one has a belief one can take to be necessary to "conserve" against the encroachments of Progressivist experimentation.
I would suggest that those who 'know something about ontology' -- and certainly of ethics -- are connected if indirectly with 'metaphysical ground', since those categories stem from more or less theistic established definitions. I speculate that in the absence of transcendental connections, one's ontological definitions will necessarily become mono-dimensional. This seems to be the case in our present.

It does seem to me possible that nonetheless a person whose ontology is mono-dimensional could be still very interested in conservation, say of health, or in the realm of nature and ecology.

I am quite sure of what interests me when I refer to Heidegger (I admit that I do not have much experience but some of his notions are compelling) is what I understand to be his focus on our immediate manifestation, our being. My question is to what degree Heidegger has influenced the Christian conception?
Oh, quite so. Marx famously said, "The critique of religion is the first of all critiques." What he meant was that until he could clear the field of any other hope, he could not expect to get his "triumph of the proletariat" eschatology off the ground. Nobody would be drawn to it. So the first thing he had to do was eliminate all rival possibilities.
Right. But if one group of people, or in the case of Marxism an active, militant movement, comes on the scene and begins to carry out their activism, it does put pressure on those -- in this case of a religious orientation -- to look squarely at their own 'praxes'. Isn't that the effect of the Reformation on Catholicism? Inevitably, it seems to me, the focus is brought 'down' as it were into the specifics of the world, 'this world' (ici bas).
One can be very pro-urban and pro-modern, and yet be conservative in one's political views.
Yes, but you are speaking of a man in a given moment. A man as a 'survivor' might remain 'conservative', but the trends of all going on around him are absolutely not going in that direction. He will be subsumed. I cannot conceive of a hyper-modern that is hyper-conservative. Here, I would again mention Heidegger and his ideas of 'machinations' and the 'gargantuan'.

Conservatives, I have noticed, really believe they are conservative when in truth they are handmaidens of liberal processes. Conservatives and conservatism is being soundly critiqued for being in substantial ways 'sold-out' to an essentially liberal system. In my view -- but I have no idea how to ground it -- there is a trend developing in our own time that represents a reversal of the ultra-liberalism or decadent liberalism we notice around us. It proposes, I gather, re-grounding. That is what interests me philosophically, culturally, spiritually. And the people that are being researched have ideas similar to Heidegger.
As for Socialism, why that? Socialism is a failed proposal. It hasn't worked once, or anywhere.
You mean, I gather, in its pure or raw form? An absolute socialism. My understanding is that the countries that are considered the 'best' and the 'happiest' are those that have strong socialized infrastructure. I have read some articles about Denmark that support this understanding. But, it does occur to me -- as the right-wing nutcases say -- that such a system depends on a 'high-trust society'.
Maybe. But people would have to want that. And do they? I don't see any evidence they do.
No, but then one must examine the causes that have led to the not-wanting. It is a complex question I admit. But I can suggest to you -- not sure what you read and expose yourself to -- that there is a kind of New Conservatism among younger people who declare that they are opposed to processes of corrupt liberalism.

I suppose you might admit that people tend to value what they are taught to value? If everything surrounding them 'teaches' against awareness, it follows that they are bound to go along with the drift. I have looked over a range of your posts and think I grasp your orientation. So, as an example, what about material like this? I would suggest that these are people who are attempting to redefine conservatism, and they are an example I would use to illustrate 'a developing movement'.
  • From the beginning, the purpose of F&H was to provide a robust theological defense of what people considered common sense 100 years ago. Our society has moved so fast down the slope of progressivism that few explicit historical defenses were available to us to defeat Marxist church infiltrators. The writers at F&H took up that challenge and the reference articles we produced in its first five years remain some of the best in existence at helping young Christians reconcile the righteous forms of ethnonationalism with the historical Christian faith. No matter how left-wing the churches become, the testimony of the Bible and history will stand to impeach them, and we know with absolute faith that somehow, somewhere, someday Christ’s Church will be liberated from its current Marxist captivity.
Well, extreme nationalism of the kind Heidegger wanted led to Hitler, and Marxist aspirational supra-nationalism led to Stalin. Take you pick of the poisons, I guess.
Well then according to view the developing nationalistic trends will only lead to either Hitler or Stalin. I tend to see such a formula as reductive but I respect your view whatever it is. My own view is that we are in a different phase of history. The nationalism and 'anti-globalist' movement is reactive, this I see clearly, but I see the turning inward of nationalism -- the establishing of fences and barriers as it seems to be -- as necessary.

Alizia
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:12 pm

The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith.

-- Hilaire Belloc
From this article:
The claim that the Faith is Europe, and that Europe is the Faith, is the reduction of the universal (“catholic”) claims of Christianity to the level of ethnocentricity. It is to take the Divine and to redefine it as something essentially human. It is to take the King and Creator of the Cosmos and make him the King of Europe. One can say, of course, quite correctly, that the King of the Cosmos should also be the King of Europe, and that all the kings of the European nations should be subject to this One True King; this is simply a definition or description of Christendom, or at least what Christendom should be. But this is not what Belloc is saying; or rather, if he is saying this, he is also saying something much more than this. He is not simply saying that the Faith has forged Europe, which it has, but that Europe has forged the Faith, which is to say that the Church has been guarded and guided by a certain ethnic culture and not that She is being guided and guarded by the Holy Spirit. It is almost to claim that She is the Bride of Europe and not the Bride of Christ (who, in case we need to remind ourselves, was not ethnically a European). He is saying that becoming a Christian is to become a European, if not ethnically at least in an honorary sense, which is to make Christianity a subject of Europe.
You asked. I attempt to provide an answer. It is not my answer really, since I am an absolutely poor Christian. But I do notice people who seem to be asking the pertinent questions!

Europe is an ideal, and Europe requires being preserved. But I am aware that my relation is abstract.
Belloc wrote that the “edifice of civilization which we have inherited, and which is still our trust, trembles and threatens to crash down”. He is warning us about the impending destruction of European civilization. “It is clearly insecure. It may fall in any moment. We who still live may see the ruin. But ruin when it comes is not only a sudden, it is also a final, thing.”
I suggest that some people, oriented through 'faith', approach the idea of 'renovation' (of Europe and of our civilization) through these ideas. I suggest that no one knows what to do, and they sense they are being 'subsumed', and that they therefore react. Reaction is strange, dangerous, unpredictable. That is what I see going on 'out there'.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:07 pm

Alizia wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:50 pm
...conservatism depends on the metaphysical definitions,...
Only such "metaphysical definitions" as a religious person and an atheist can equally hold. If it were not so, then no atheist could be a conservative.
Their children will fall away from those values over time.

I think by "those values" you can't mean conservatism per se, but Judeo-Christian values conservatively held.
As far as I have been able to tell (and it is all speculation and 'glimpses') once a culture loses its metaphysical grounding it presages the grasping after mutable things because the 'transcendental' things cannot be conceived.

Yes, that's true. If one decides that all there is is the present world, one cannot grasp after anything else. It's all one believes there is.
Therefore, conservatism (as I define it, perhaps there is some other manifestation I am unaware of?) depends on a certain idea-structure, and ultimately on a set of definitions about deity.

Western conservatism does, yes. But, say African tribal conservatism holds to polytheistic suppositions. For that reason, I would argue that we're better to drop the vague word "religion," and speak bluntly about Judeo-Christian values, or else to drop even that, and speak of Christianity.

Oddly enough, the term "Judeo-Christian" was popularized by people like John Dewey, the early Progressives. If anything, they were "Left." The idea was to drop the terms Jewish, Christian, Catholic and Orthodox, in terms of rationalizing public policy. They wanted to just settle on what all these groups could agree to in common. For example, Sabbatarianism remained distinctively Jewish. Transubstantiation and the Mass remained primarily Catholic. New Testament literalism remained primarily Protestant. These things were backgrounded. What was brought to the fore, and promoted as "The Judea-Christian consensus" was things like "love your neighbour," "don't steal," "respect property rights," and so on; and these were retained as the overt basis of lawmaking, justice, public education and public policy.

But you're right: without a basis in Jewish or Christian belief, these things have no basis. So it's not surprising that subsequent generations gradually abandon them. For a secularist, they're just not necessary, because they're not based on any basic truth, in his view.
It is possible though that you might be using 'conservative' in a broader sense. Say 'fiscally conservative' or 'conservative in dress'.

No. Those are metaphorical sort of uses. I was speaking of ideology.
If one has no "metaphysical grounding" as you call it, one has no incentive to "conserve" anything. But if one feels one does know something about ontology, or ethics, or metaphysics already, one has a belief one can take to be necessary to "conserve" against the encroachments of Progressivist experimentation.
I would suggest that those who 'know something about ontology' -- and certainly of ethics -- are connected if indirectly with 'metaphysical ground', since those categories stem from more or less theistic established definitions.
I'm an ethicist. I am certain you're right about that. I have checked.
I speculate that in the absence of transcendental connections, one's ontological definitions will necessarily become mono-dimensional. This seems to be the case in our present.

You mean "mundane" or "strictly of the material world"? Is that the "dimension" you mean? Yes, that would follow.
It does seem to me possible that nonetheless a person whose ontology is mono-dimensional could be still very interested in conservation, say of health, or in the realm of nature and ecology.

Yes, but always without ontological reason. I might happen, as a hobby or personal preference, to want to practice yoga or vegetarianism. That doesn't entail that I have any ontological beliefs that make that sensible for me. I might, in fact, have entirely different ontological beliefs -- I might believe that humans are natural omnivores, but I don't happen to like the thought of killing cows, say -- in which case, my conservative ideas are ad hoc, not rationally grounded.

Only somebody whose ontology actually rationally accords with his or her practical commitments can be said to be acting in an ethically-grounded way.
I am quite sure of what interests me when I refer to Heidegger (I admit that I do not have much experience but some of his notions are compelling) is what I understand to be his focus on our immediate manifestation, our being. My question is to what degree Heidegger has influenced the Christian conception?
Heidegger is far, far too late for that to be possible. Christian conservatism predates him by a long chalk. Not only that, but you find very conservative Christian groups, like, say, the Confessing Church, who were extremely opposed to Heidegger's conclusions. You'd be better to look back to Kierkegaard, who most certainly has had a significant influence on modern Christianity...and much less directly, on Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus and Heidegger as well.
Oh, quite so. Marx famously said, "The critique of religion is the first of all critiques." What he meant was that until he could clear the field of any other hope, he could not expect to get his "triumph of the proletariat" eschatology off the ground. Nobody would be drawn to it. So the first thing he had to do was eliminate all rival possibilities.
Right. But if one group of people, or in the case of Marxism an active, militant movement, comes on the scene and begins to carry out their activism, it does put pressure on those -- in this case of a religious orientation -- to look squarely at their own 'praxes'.
Yes, sure. That's true of all critical perspectives. Each one is specially attentive to some aspect of reality, and this special attention can be helpful to other ideologies, if one listens to it. Unfortunately, some critical perspectives are also flawed or evil, if taken whole; so one has to be very discerning and selective in listening to them. One must pay attention to those critiques they raise that are just, and be wise enough to dismiss those that are ideologically bent or self-serving. That's not easy to do, but it's worthwhile if you can safely do it.

I've read a bunch of theory toward which I have serious ideological objections, and pretty much knew I would before I even started reading. For example, I'm a Theist who has read lots of atheist stuff. But by paying careful attention to whatever critiques they had that were reasonable, I've come to refine my own beliefs. And this has been a good process for me.
Isn't that the effect of the Reformation on Catholicism? Inevitably, it seems to me, the focus is brought 'down' as it were into the specifics of the world, 'this world' (ici bas).

You might say the opposite: that the Catholic Church had become very this-worldly (selling "indulgences," for example, or dismissing Scriptural precepts in favour of Catholic tradition), and the Reformers were trying to make it raise its gaze once more. It was, after all, a "reformation," which is not a "rebellion" or a "rejection," but an aspiration to improve or revise a declining institution from which one has no intention of departing.

Luther was a Catholic priest. When he had to leave Catholicism entirely, the most surprised person in the world was probably Luther himself. He thought he was "reforming" his church, not abandoning it.
One can be very pro-urban and pro-modern, and yet be conservative in one's political views.
Yes, but you are speaking of a man in a given moment.
No. I'm speaking more generally.
A man as a 'survivor' might remain 'conservative', but the trends of all going on around him are absolutely not going in that direction. He will be subsumed. I cannot conceive of a hyper-modern that is hyper-conservative. Here, I would again mention Heidegger and his ideas of 'machinations' and the 'gargantuan'.
You'll have to specify here: "conservative" of what? A person can be "conservative" of, say, human rights, and be perfectly at home in a pro-urban and pro-modern context.
Conservatives, I have noticed, really believe they are conservative when in truth they are handmaidens of liberal processes. Conservatives and conservatism is being soundly critiqued for being in substantial ways 'sold-out' to an essentially liberal system.
Again, I'd have to know what you mean by "conserving" when assessing a statement like that. It might be right, but I just can't quite tell from the way you state it.
In my view -- but I have no idea how to ground it -- there is a trend developing in our own time that represents a reversal of the ultra-liberalism or decadent liberalism we notice around us. It proposes, I gather, re-grounding. That is what interests me philosophically, culturally, spiritually. And the people that are being researched have ideas similar to Heidegger.

Interesting. I'd be interested to know how that line of thought goes.
As for Socialism, why that? Socialism is a failed proposal. It hasn't worked once, or anywhere.
You mean, I gather, in its pure or raw form? An absolute socialism.
No. I mean ANY socialism in any locale in which it has become the main ideology determining actual policy. It's always been an unqualified disaster.

You can have minor "socialist elements" in a generally liberal-democratic polity like Canada, without too much harm. But once you make socialism the dominant or regnant ideology, say goodbye to economics, then goodbye to freedom, then goodbye to human rights. That's the pattern. And then the corpses pile up.
My understanding is that the countries that are considered the 'best' and the 'happiest' are those that have strong socialized infrastructure. I have read some articles about Denmark that support this understanding. But, it does occur to me -- as the right-wing nutcases say -- that such a system depends on a 'high-trust society'.
I'm one of those "nutcases." I'd say that.

Denmark's an interesting case: it's starting to have serious problems with its socialist elements. How long it remains "happy" is yet to be seen. But no Nordic country is actually full-on socialist. Even Norway, which is pretty far on that scale, only sustains its elaborate social support system by dint of the dirty, capitalist business of selling oil. Without that economic engine, that whole system would collapse instantly.
...there is a kind of New Conservatism among younger people who declare that they are opposed to processes of corrupt liberalism.
I'm aware of it. I hope it goes well.
I suppose you might admit that people tend to value what they are taught to value? If everything surrounding them 'teaches' against awareness, it follows that they are bound to go along with the drift.

No, I wouldn't say that. But I'd say that swimming upstream against the ideological flow takes courage. Not everybody's willing to pay the price.
Well, extreme nationalism of the kind Heidegger wanted led to Hitler, and Marxist aspirational supra-nationalism led to Stalin. Take you pick of the poisons, I guess.
Well then according to view the developing nationalistic trends will only lead to either Hitler or Stalin.
That's more than I can say. But I can say this: in the past, as a matter of fact, it HAS led to either a Hitler or a Stalin, always. Or a Pol Pot. Or a Castro. Or a Kim Jung. Or a Mao. Or...

There is, in statistical fact, a better than even (52%) chance that the leader of any atheist-socialist government will kill a substantial number (at least 200,000) of his own people. It's the most homicidal creed known to man, and second place isn't statistically even remotely close. That's how it's worked out in the past.
I see the turning inward of nationalism -- the establishing of fences and barriers as it seems to be -- as necessary.
Well, I'd say don't trust nationalism or globalism, if either entails big government. But to set aside a given territory as one's own responsibility, whether by a border or a wall, is a very sensible and ethically-necessary thing to do. Those that have no "borders" at all have no defined zone of personal moral and fiscal responsibility either.
Last edited by Immanuel Can on Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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