Saturday, July 30, 2016

bob mcmanus 07.30.16 at 8:25 am

Bill Clinton is evil
Hillary Rodham Clinton is evil
Barack Obama is evil

The “lesser evils” are evil, and the desperate HRC boosters have yet to make me believe that they believe and understand that, and are actually willing to resist the incremental evil that our nation has been moving through under Democratic governance.

Trump is worse, and I will vote a straight ‘D’ like I have for fifty years. I don’t think you have any freaking clue or appreciation as to the level of sacrifice and horror that that vote entails, nor do you provide an iota of hope that politics and conditions will ever improve.
bob mcmanus 07.30.16 at 9:23 am

29: Consider “evil” a rhetorical device making seriousness and commitment explicit. “Wrong” is inadequate for radical or effective politics, which is always about designating enemies, burning bridges, and going to war.

And my point in 22 is that the Manicheanism of election season necessarily extends into the policy and legislative seasons, and the insistence that Obama (or HRC) is a “good guy” besieged by nihilist barbarians will always tend to make opposition to his policies lukewarm, defensive, affectionate, guarded and wholly ineffective, since it is only marginal and arguable differences between friends and allies. How bad can this bill be? Obama signed it!

But enough. Rogers has a very interesting chapter on Reagan’s rhetoric that I want to compare to Obama’s, thanks Corey, and I need to finish Tanaka Mitsui’s defense and support for Nagata Hiroko, because nostalgia for authentic politics.
Rich Puchalsky 07.30.16 at 2:00 pm

Corey Robin: “”You might even say that was one of the, long term, purposes of my book on conservatism: to finally get liberals and the left to realize what conservatism was really all about, and thereby to see that to fight it, you’d have to transform yourself into an anti-capitalist party that would make anti-domination, freedom and equality, in all spheres of society (not just the economy), the centerpiece of your argument.”

I think that liberals have really already seen, and decided to not do that. Conservatism is, according to liberalism, ever-present, and the way to deal with it is with a kind of everlasting standoff in which the center point hopefully moves slowly to the left. And if conservatism wins some times, as it inevitably will, well that’s the diffusion of power in e.g. the American political system is supposed to be about — one political victory can not be transformed into full political control.

So the every-four–years “This conservatism is the worst ever!” isn’t supposed to be taken seriously: it’s in bad faith. Really what people are talking about it that in four years they expect to be saying that the conservative candidate then is the worst ever, that they expect the same basic conflict to be there every four years. If they thought that the elements of the worst-ever conservatism were actually bad, they’d have to repudiate them themselves, and they can’t.

The idea that seeing historical connections would transform liberals into anti-capitalist leftists en masse seems over psychoanalytic, if I’m using that term in a correct sense. It’s the idea that by seeing a truth, people see that they have to change. But that hardly ever happens. Changes comes through practice.

William Timberman 07.30.16 at 2:55 pm

Rich Puchalsky @ 50

Changes comes through practice.

Consider how far the practice necessary to create the kind of changes we need diverges from the practice that creates a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton — or a js or faustusnotes, for that matter. Consider how it is that bob mcmanus’s understanding of the ways our immersion in things-as-they-are affects our cognitive development, or bruce wilder’s analysis of the sine curve of institutional growth and decay, are disdained by the partisans here as the cynicism of grumpy old white men, or a nihilistic attempt to equate the obvious (to them) promise of Hillary with the certain (to them) Trumpian apocalypse.

Sadly for us, it’s not bad faith driving this disdain, it’s an avoidance of precisely that practice which alienates before it reveals, isolates before it offers any viable path toward effective political engagement. As for Trump and what he represents, suffice it to say that the warbling in the depths of our coal mine won’t always be coming from a canary.

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