A Terrible Blogger is Born!

September 14, 2009

Quote of the Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 2:57 am

In order to create it is necessary to destroy; and the agent of destruction in society is the poet. I believe that the poet is necessarily an anarchist, and that he must oppose all organized conceptions of the State, not only those which we inherit from the past, but equally those which are imposed on people in the name of the future.
-Herbert Read, Poetry and Anarchism

September 1, 2009

The Right and Wrong way to be Politically Incorrect

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 3:47 am
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I have a good deal of admiration for Paul Gottfried as a scholar. I not only thoroughly enjoyed his book After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State– which tells the story of how modern liberalism emerged as a horse of a completely different color than its ostensible predecessor, classical liberalism, and how the idols (‘scuze me, ideals) of “democracy” and “pluralism” served as a cover for the ascent to power of an essentially elitist managerial ideology- but felt like I emerged as a more educated person after reading it. And listening to his speeches at Mises.org reveals that he is an engaging personality with an active and lucid intelligence. Of course he is an unapologetic man of the Right and I am a nascent Left-Libertarian, but that is really neither here nor there.

I agree generally with the assessment of conservative critics like Gottfried that the egalitarian sentimentality that has come to be known as “political correctness” has become a totalitarian ideology in late-imperialist America. However, the whole “the animals have taken over the zoo- even the Republicans!” theme that is obsessively sounded in Gottfried’s column at Taki’s Mag is beginning to tire me. And even more . . .

It shouldn’t be hard to guess that a libertarian and a conservative would have different reasons to oppose political correctness. The conservative bemoans the loss of a stable order in a formerly great civilization. Gottfried offers us a bit of that, even if he is too smart to go in whole-hog in the misty-eyed romanticism of 1950’s-worship of lesser Rightists. My own main beef is that, in the rush to usher in the millennium of equality, the evangelists have created a hostile environment for free thought, and for the honest pursuit of truth for its own sake. The started out with good ends, but adopted the most bullying and stupid means to achieve them. All intellectual life is degraded in this atmosphere. A recent Gottfried article illustrates what I’m talking about:

talking about politics and history is rarely “scientific” and less so in our frenetically progressive and anti-traditional age than in the older bourgeois age that preceded it. It was once possible for the devoutly Lutheran German historian Leopold von Ranke to write about the Renaissance Papacy with detachment and even sympathy, because historians in 19th-century Europe were expected to write that way. (Of course in practice not all historians met such a demanding standard, but at least they knew what the standard was.) In our age, by contrast, any failure to dwell on sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia in one’s account of the past will likely result in the kind of career that I and other academic mavericks of my acquaintance have had to endure.

This sort of threat to objective inquiry has led many intelligent people to oppose politically correct ideas. But this becomes a problem if the bigots become to look like freethinkers. Totalitarian liberalism has led many libertarians into the arms of the Right, where in my opinion they have no business whatsoever. The end of that same Gottfried article gives a good example of the kind of callousness that can result from the wrong kind of anti-PC attitude:

I once listened to an Ashanti cab driver in Washington boasting about how his tribe had sold the black slaves who would be used to construct the U.S. capital. Whether it was true or not, I found this boast to be refreshing. The African cab driver did not suffer from the choking sense of guilt I encounter in American WASPs.

I also oppose “the politics of guilt” as Gottfried keeps calling it. In the first place, it doesn’t erase any past wrongs, in the second, as an individualist I disbelieve in collective guilt, and finally, it’s just no way to live your life. But come on, dude. There’s nothing refreshing about actually being proud of slavery. That doesn’t mean I want to put the cab driver in prison or force him into a sensitivity training course, as the most zealous “anti-racists” would. But sometimes you have to call a racist idiot a racist idiot. Some things aren’t politically correct, they’re just correct.

August 21, 2009

A Terrible Blogger is back!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 3:29 am
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artwork_images_112457_205754_raymond-pettibon

Well, my nearly month-long hiatus from blogging is officially over. I don’t know how all those folks out there on the interweb got along without me, but they can rest easy knowing I’m manning the keyboard once again. Let’s see, what’s happened in my absence? Well, there were Hiroshima and Nagasaki days (August 6th and 9th, respectively). Daniel Ellsberg wrote a moving piece about it recently, America Has Been Asleep at the Atomic Wheel for 64 Years. Fuck Truman! Speaking of warmongering Democratic presidents, Obama’s dumbass Afghan attacks continue. But nobody wants to talk about that, since it might fuck up Health Care or some such bullshit.

I also want to mention something disturbing I saw recently. I was on the way to pick up Jane at the courthouse, where she volunteers for Legal Aid, and I was passed by a bus with a huge advertisement along the side. An advertisement for the cops. There were a row of them decked out in full SWAT regalia. The tag line went: “We’ve Got Your Back”. More like, “We’ve Got (Guns at) Your Back”, I thought. Then there was a phone number, followed by a line which said something like, “Please report substance abuse”. Substance abuse! Don’t hesitate folks, drop the dime on anyone peacefully pursuing illicit pleasure. Crack their fucking skulls and abscond with their corpus. Who gives a shit for them anyway?

I told Jane I thought we were living in a fascist country. Not “heading toward”, but “living in”. That was earlier, and she had no idea what I was talking about. This is what I was talking about. Nobody believes it because nobody knows what a fascist America would look like. Contrary to anachronistic movies like V for Vendetta, it doesn’t look like the last time around. Ads like these blend into our environment, as if it said “Eat at Joe’s”.

Even the Gestapo, even the KGB, didn’t have fucking advertisements.

Well, this has been a more bitter post than I expected, so I’ll leave it at that. Don’t forget to head on over to the Nightwatchman for your literary fix. And yes, there will be a song for Sunday this week.

Peace.

June 5, 2009

Random subversive thoughts for the weekend

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 11:28 pm

A person opens his umbrella when he goes out into the rain, because he does not want to get wet. A person pushes another in front of a subway train not because he “has” schizophrenia or because schizophrenia “makes” him do it; he does it because, like the man who opens an umbrella, he wants to improve his existence.
-Thomas Szasz

Children are made to see, through school experiences, that their classmates are so cruel and irresponsible, so inadequate to the task of self-discipline, and so ignorant that they need to be controlled and regulated for society’s good. Under such a logical regime, school terror can only be regarded as good advertising. It is sobering to think of mass schooling as a vast demonstration of human inadequacy, but that is at least one of its functions.
-John Taylor Gatto

. . . community militias are drawn from the community itself, so individual militia members have a greater personal attachment to the community, whereas cops are simply bureaucrats with a gun . . .

-Kieth Preston

It is well-known that the United States maintains the world’s largest prison population. More than one quarter of all the world’s prisoners reside in US prisons. A grossly disproportionate number of these are blacks or other minorities.
-Kieth Preston

[Since 1940] black illiteracy doubled, and white illiteracy quadrupled. . . We spend three to four times as much real money on schooling as we did 60 years ago, but 60 years ago virtually everyone, black or white, could read.
-John Taylor Gatto

Rapper Tupac Shakur was a voracious reader; one of his favorite writers was Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin.

Happy two-day respite from wage-slavery everybody!

May 27, 2009

Geistbuster

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 6:01 pm
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The other day after watching the movie Ghostbusters for the first time in many years, I thought to myself, “It’s highly unlikely that the character Egon Spengler was named after Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele and German historian Oswald Spengler, but that would be pretty awesome.” Turns out, he was named after Spengler, though the name “Egon” came from a high-school classmate of actor Harold Ramis.

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May 17, 2009

Funny Business

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 5:38 pm

The Onion pokes fun at blogger complaints about the mainstream media. Mea culpa! But then on the other hand . . .

May 5, 2009

In case anyone was interested . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 5:24 am
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I took the infamous questionnaire designed to rate “authoritarian” tendencies, known as the “F-Scale“, and scored a 2.43, which makes me a “liberal airhead” (this is site host Chick Anesi’s classification, not that of Adorno et al). You need a 5.5 or higher to rate as a Fascist, and 3 to 4.5 to be an average American. Of course there are a ton of problems with the test (not the least of which is that you can rate as an authoritarian merely by agreeing with every statement, or the opposite by disagreeing, and these responses are conveniently located on the right and left respectively), but the evidence is piling up that I am a liberal. And yet I do not cease to loathe the Clintons. Hmm.

May 1, 2009

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 4:43 am

If you’ve never read Arthur Silber’s blog, please avail yourself of the opportunity to do so, since he is simply one of the finest writers on the web, and damned if he isn’t on our side to boot. Then, see if you can’t spare some money to help him out, as he has run into some health-related financial troubles. Medical bills are a bitch, as I well know, and right now writing is his only source of income. If you’ve got a PayPal account it will just take a second of your time.

March 13, 2009

Getting Faced

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 10:38 pm

I can’t believe I’m actually linking to an article from The Weekly Standard, but I agree with most of this one denouncing Facebook. I’ve been on for a little over a week now, and its become a huge time-waster. It’s bad enough that I’m blogging at least every other day, commenting other folks’ blogs every day, and feel I have to contribute my two bits to every Bureaucrash Social conversation (not to mention playing Animal Crossing), but now here comes Facebook. I’m getting like 30 e-mails a day now. There’s always that status update at the top: “What are you doing right now?” I’m on freakin’ Facebook, what do you think? One would get the impression that all I ever do is drink coffee and beer while browsing the web (nearly true of course). Sure, it was nice to get in touch with old classmates and cousins, but it’s like, now what? I currently have 40 “friends”, which is extraordinarily low by Facebook standards. And the embarrassing thing is that I’m reaching the limits of people I even recognize, to say nothing of people I would actually interact with on something like a regular basis.

But wait, now I see that my home page asks, “What’s on your mind?”  “See my blog,” I think I’ll write.

March 11, 2009

Quotes of the Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 3:48 am

. . . life in its simplest known form is a shapeless blob of rebellious jelly rather than a crystal eternally obeying the most ancient law. . . . Life is rebellious and anarchical, always testing the supposed immutability of the rules which the nonliving changelessly accepts.

Joseph Wood Krutch

Yes, our first ancestors, our Adams and our Eves, were, if not gorillas, very near relatives of gorillas, omnivorous, intelligent and ferocious beasts, endowed in a higher degree than the animals of another species with two precious faculties-the power to think and the desire to rebel.

Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State

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