Saturday, May 17, 2008

Other than Diverting Details by Anthony McCarthy

& It is the real life results of moral or ideological positions that govern their rightness or correctness, not their theoretical or traditional foundations or logical discourse. Results that injure living beings, certainly including people, are a good indication that the position is wrong and should be changed or junked. Those that don’t produce good results or even any results at all are sterile and useful only to distract people from finding what works.

& Advocating putting the lives of people before abstract principles and intellectual doctrines will be incomprehensible to many of the brightest among us. They won’t see either the forest or the trees unless those are cut down for paper production. Our educations lie to us. Theories are not the things they purport to govern, ideological traditions aren’t real life. They are useful only to the extent that they produce beneficial results, otherwise they’re just items on a résumé or a publication list. The teaching of theory is an inadequate substitute for teaching skills and arts. Theory is an abstraction, it isn’t the thing itself, it can’t be substituted for the thing itself in real life and yield good results. This is even true within science, where, at least, they are supposed to remember that the theories are contingent.

& Recently there has been an increase in intellectual bigotry on the left that splits it and rejects the work and ideas of those who have produced good results in the past. Often the side insisting on black balling another haven’t produced any good results, sometimes they lay claim to those produced by the side they are attempting to supercede. This is almost always a bad idea. It’s not as if there are hoards of us to spare. The left is too short handed to give up willing hands at the behest of those who don’t produce. Those who insist that they won’t work with “them” had better produce in both numbers and results or they should be shown the door.

& The interests of an intellectual elite will often be at odds with those of political success for the left. The frequent temptation of intellectuals is to try to saddle the left with their ideas, often at odds with the most basic foundations of democracy and, even, of the continued life of the planet. People who put themselves before the common good are not leftists, no matter what the facade alleges to represent. They are just mistaken as to where their real ideological home lies. We shouldn’t indulge their confusion. Anyone who is more interested in their or their ideologies’ reputation within the intelligentsia than in people who live in trailers is waving a warning flag to the rest of us to use extreme caution. A lot of the disinterest in people such as those who live in trailers is the result of snobbery. Snobs don’t make good leftists.

& When Republicans and their kept media started on their strategy of lying about the price of governmental services and public works projects and the effectiveness of those, regardless of the actual record, they guaranteed that people honest about what those cost would be driven out of office. The results are vital public services being starved of necessary money, the pillage of those by sleazy corporations and the public’s ever more cynical view of the common good. The only way to fix that is by attacking their media which continually promotes their lies even as their parent companies profit from the plunge to the bottom. Virtually all of broadcast and cable are the servants or Republican crooks, they don’t deserve our support, they deserve our attacks.

& The diversion value of an issue is no reflection on its importance. Frequently the value as diversion of an issue is a good indication of its potential to divert attention from more important but more complicated and, therefore, less diverting subjects.

& A lot of people who comment on blog threads need to grow up. We all do. We should feel just bad enough about this fact to make ourselves grow up and act like decent adults, not enough to get discouraged.

& As a personal note: I am profoundly discouraged that a quarter of a century into the AIDS epidemic that young gay men, who have never known a world before AIDS, are practicing unsafe sex. I suppose it is the same kind of discouragement that the continued epidemic of teenaged pregnancy brings. We need to stop lying about sex, both in education for contraception and about the irresponsibility of dangerous sexual practices. As above, the corporate media is largely to blame for both. Masturbation, solo or mutual, should be promoted. This is a more important issue than whether or not Jon Stewart can say “fuck” unbleeped.