Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wrong about everything

A few choice recent-ish quotes from some favored political bloggers. . .

I would like to revisit Sarah Palin for a moment. I want to concede that she is wrong about everything. But I also want to say, look, your schematic cultural objections to her winking style of pretended regular-guy-ism is no excuse for judging her to be a greater moron than Barack Obama, who is also wrong about everything.

Since just after 9/11, which was likewise carried out by something other than illiterates, the so-called West has reacted with the same shocked dismay that engineers and doctors and elementary school teachers and suchlike have been so often implicated in various acts of terrorism or insurgency or irregular combat or what have you, despite the fact that engineers and doctors and elementary school teachers and suchlike have been so often implicated in various acts of terrorism and insurgency and irregular combat and what have you. This suggests some kind of a priori fallacy, does it not? I mean, if your own personal Weltanschauung is consistently rocked by seismic WTF moments, then maybe you need to set all those neatly ordered continents adrift.


The presumption that every educated Muslim will turn Washingtonward because the West produced the technological systems that said Muslim was trained to operate is wholly nonsensical; it has nothing at all to do with the political and cultural antagonisms driving the ongoing insurgency against American hegemony. Osama bin Laden is not, after all, complaining that Windows is a clunky operating system or childhood vaccination has somehow created autism. He and his compatriots are pissed that America keeps fucking invading other countries.

American Leftist, "The Okey-Doke Presidency":
It is entirely possible that Obama's Afghanistan speech will be remembered as a seminal episode, a slow motion lighting strike in which the inevitable failure of his administration flashed through the public mind, a squandering of all the goodwill that he had accumulated over the course of his life in politics.
The modern "state" is as much a hierarchy as anything else. Whatever values one wants to ascribe to it -- democracy, pluralism, egalitarianism -- it interprets from the top and bludgeons all below. Like every hierarchy, whatever vitality it has, it has stolen from the creative impulse of that social intercourse not yet subordinated to its needs. Among these, self-preservation ranks first.
And finally, Stan Goff, "Why I won't call myself 'progressive'", an enormous, wide-ranging piece posted Christmas day, of which this is only a tiny portion:
Healers don’t need 8-12 years of training; and medicine is the biggest racket in the world next to war supplies. The training I received was to keep a Special Forces A Detachment functional - like a machine - and to “establish rapport” with indigenous populations for the purpose of bending them to the machinations of a US foreign policy that was not good for them. The purpose of modern medicine is twofold as well: (1) to make a lot of money for lot of physicians, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and credentialing institutions, and (2) to keep our own population functional as consumers of these “products” and as workers. More and more, the latter involves psychotropic drugs to treat newly named “disorders” that before they were disorders were just part of life. “Stress,” for example.

Working the kinds of alienating jobs we have under the Domoclean swords of debt and our incapacity for subsistence, while raising our kids to be well-adjusted to a system that no one ought to adjust to, and living in an environment that is bombarded 24-7 with the agitations of a world that is ever more commodified, creates tension in our bodies, including our psyches. Does medicine enlist in activities to escape from or overturn said system? No. It names our natural reaction to this extreme and ceaseless alienation as a disorder called “stress” - which is in fact the most natural reaction in the world, fighting or fleeing before a dangerous or uncomfortable environment - and “treats” said stress, usually with chemicals, and sometimes with “therapy,” that is, serial suggestive conversations and exercises, led by a credentialed expert of course, and designed to help us readjust(!) to this reality.

Progressives have been proselytizing for greater access to this phenomenon for quite some time, with no criticism of what it is to which we seek this access. But there is a more visceral objection that can be raised against medicalized culture, and it is how this phenomenon is reflected in our very consciousness.

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