December 17, 2012

"Our gun culture promotes a fatal slide into extreme individualism."

"It fosters a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another — and in the aftermath of shootings such as at Newtown, paralyzed with fear. That is not freedom, but quite its opposite. And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force. Arendt and Foucault reveal that power does not lie in armed individuals, but in assembly — and everything conducive to that."

So writes Firmin DeBrabander, who is a philosophy prof at the Maryland Institute College of Art, in the corner of the NYT called "The Stone," which calls itself "a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless."

I'm not familiar with Firmin DeBrabander but I would like to know if he extends his principle generally to all of the individual rights currently protected in the various interpretations that have emanated from the Supreme Court.

Does our abortion culture/free speech culture promote a fatal slide into extreme individualism? Do abortion rights/free speech rights foster a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another. Would Professor DeBrabander say that abortion rights and free speech rights are not freedom but the opposite?

Let me offer a bonus literary reading to sharpen the question. It's from a famous book. I've added some boldface to stress things relevant to DeBrabander's philosophy:
"You are thinking... that my face is old and tired. You are thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am not even able to prevent the decay of my own body. Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you die when you cut your fingernails?...

"We are the priests of power.... God is power. But at present power is only a word so far as you are concerned. It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realise is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: "Freedom is Slavery." Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone— free — the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal. The second thing for you to realise is that power is power over human beings. Over the body— but, above all, over the mind....

"We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation— anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wished to...."

119 comments:

Rocketeer said...

And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force.

Occupy, you say? Egypt? Myanmar - oh, you mean Burma?

Slavery is freedom, indeed.

The Godfather said...

I don't think any sensible person would use the occupy movement or (right now) the Cairo protesters as examples of how great collective action is.

Sorun said...

Doh, I'd forgotten how world-changing Occupy was!

Brent said...

That is not freedom, but quite its opposite.

And so begins another Orwellian double speak, where one word - FREEDOM - is twisted to mean exactly the opposite.

Why is it that the left and progressives and liberals and Democrats cannot explain their views with real words that mean what everyone knows they actually mean? You know why. Because their very ideas and views cannot stand up to basic scrutiny of logic, common sense and morality. That is why a Rachel Maddow for example, who lies every time her show is with dishonest representations and outright falsehoods - as do most of her progressive cohorts - seeks to divert from it by calling honestly spoken people liars.

They have nothing that can withstand the scrutiny of logic, common sense and morality.

So, what else is new?

EMD said...

"As our Constitution provides, however, liberty entails precisely the freedom to be reckless, within limits, also the freedom to insult and offend as the case may be. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld our right to experiment in offensive language and ideas, and in some cases, offensive action and speech. Such experimentation is inherent to our freedom as such. But guns by their nature do not mix with this experiment — they don’t mix with taking offense. They are combustible ingredients in assembly and speech."

All those Town-Hall shootouts sure were horrible!

And I'll never forget the Madison Massacre of 2011 when gun-crazed KochBots attacked union protesters, resulting in 92 dead Wisconsinites.

He writes sans comprehension.

EMD said...

Also, keep in mind, the only people who pulled the trigger at Kent State represented the State.

Ann Althouse said...

The line between liberals and lefties is at individualism/collectivism.

Carol said...

Funny the Orwell stuff sounds a bit like Catholic theology, that exercising your freedom to submit to God's will and accept his laws, is true freedom. Or at least the exercise thereof.

I say that as a Catholic with probably poor discernment.

traditionalguy said...

He starts with collective mind control coming from a large mob to be the essence of freedom.

That sounds about right. They need to add a symbol that draws the group mind into loyal submission. The spiritual power of the rune called the Swaztika is proven to do the trick.

Why the Nazi Religion needed all those super weapons such as MG 40 machine guns, Tiger Tanks with 88MM guns, V-2 rockets and Messerschmidt Jets is not explained.

My guess is that the peace loving crowd invaded 10 other countries to exterminate their populations, and they fought back. There is the rub.

Dr Weevil said...

EMD:
Surely you haven't already forgotten the recent Lansing incident in which a union member spoke sarcasticly to Stephen Crowder, who then pulled out a fully automatic machine pistol with a 57-round clip and slaughtered him, 17 other union members standing behind him, plus 3 innocent women and 8 children in the nearby tent (oops!), and a dog, a cat, and 6 squirrels that all happened to be in the area at the time?

wfgodbold said...

"It is only as a man puts off all foreign support, and stands alone, that I see him to be strong and to prevail. He is weaker by every recruit to his banner. Is not a man better than a town?"

EMD said...

One last thing: Historically, Extreme Individuals are pikers compared to the collective in racking up body counts.

Rumpletweezer said...

There has to be reincarnation. Nobody can become that stupid in a single lifetime.

Old RPM Daddy said...

"And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force."

Maybe not, but citing a bunch of people who didn't secure their freedom or weild world-changing political force with or without guns is a funny way to prove a point. I'd like this guy's job; it's like you're getting paid to say well nigh anything.

Paul said...

So we are all 'cells'?

Sounds like Communisim in that the 'state is everything, the individual is nothing'.

And that gives rise to mass executions when things don't go well for the 5 year plans.

But keep in mind folks it was INDIVIDUALS that came here when it was a wilderness and built this society. And those individuals had guns.

Instead, I'd ask DeBrabander where does HE draw the line? When do we become 'subjects' to the KING? Will the intelectuals be the KINGS? Who decides? Who decides who dies and who lives and when do these 'cells' become a burden to the state? Does the state cast away these 'cells' when they are of no use to the STATE?

Lots of questions when you start making humans just part of a whole.

Shouting Thomas said...

It fosters a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another — and in the aftermath of shootings such as at Newtown, paralyzed with fear.

Jesus, what a collection of bullshit buzz words!

Whenever somebody resorts to this kind of linguistic obsfucation, I assume (once again) that they just don't have anything to say.

I'm not paralyzed with fear! Do you know anybody who is?

Pettifogger said...

Speaking for Mr. DeBrabander, are you implying that "1984" wasn't a Utopian novel?

mojavehicular said...

every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures.

I'm slack-jawed at this excess of profundity.

garage mahal said...

Doh, I'd forgotten how world-changing Occupy was!

Whatever it didn't accomplish, it did accomplish changing the conversation from "debt" and "deficit", to "inequality" and "jobs", pretty dramatically, if you look at the mentions of those words in our media:

July, 2011

Oct, 2011

YoungHegelian said...

Combining Arendt & Foucault in the same article like those two have anything in common!

Who does this guy think he's bullshitting?

Arendt would think that Foucault was a monster.

Calypso Facto said...

The gun culture in America pre-dates the Revolutionary War. How long can one slide take??? And how did we ever found and foster a great nation if all of those gun owners over the years were looking out only for themselves?

EMD said...

"debt" and "deficit", to "inequality" and "jobs"

Those last two are hard to address without dealing with the first two.

But that's a discussion for another thread.

sydney said...

Personally, I am afraid of guns. I would never keep one in my house or on my person (unless I lived near grizzly bears.) BUT all of this concerted effort to use the Newtown tragedy to limit constitutional freedom scares me more. Much more.

EMD said...

every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures.

I'm slack-jawed at this excess of profundity.


That was Orwell, not our esteemed philosophy professor from an Art school. Profound, indeed.

Scott M said...

While I'm not quite up on Myanmar's events, I would suggest that Occupy altered not a damned thing. The change in Egypt only occurred because the military...you know, the guys with all the guns, let it happen the way it did. Had the Egyptian generals been of a different mind, all the thuggish violence in the cities wouldn't have mattered a bit.

traditionalguy said...

Every human being is born scheduled to die. That is why God always wins.

The Eternal Life promise in the New Covenant in the blood sacrifice of Himself by Jesus does make it unique in all religions.

The season celebrates Jesus born as a man to a woman. That excited the locals on earth and in Heaven.

The rest of the story is contained in the next 2/3rds of the Nicene Creed.

Lem said...

Extreme Individualism...

Was disqualified as an Olympic event because it was dominated by a single country with a single individual who was both male and female and unmarried.

EMD said...

The gun culture in America pre-dates the Revolutionary War. How long can one slide take??? And how did we ever found and foster a great nation if all of those gun owners over the years were looking out only for themselves?

This is where my thinking originally went.

We've always had guns. We've always had assembly and speech.

As far as I know, Newtown had nothing to do with assembly and speech in this context.

Rusty said...

mojavehicular said...
every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures.

I'm slack-jawed at this excess of profundity.

Which state agency is working on our immortality?

chickelit said...

Not to judge a book by its cover, but the philospher's favorite speakers/intellectuals are "John Waters, Helen Thomas, Angela Davis, Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, Amy Goodman, Andrew Sullivan, and Cornel West" linkwhich is really all one needs to know about where he comes from.

David said...

Althouse, you expect these credentialed people to actually think. Silly you. Knowing you are correct means not having to think. The main thing they learned in their education was to side with the correct view. Then all else is permitted.

mccullough said...

Here's a quotation from 20 years ago from a NY Times interview with Cormac McCarthy that I cut out at the time (back in the old days before links):

"There's no such thing as life without bloodshed. I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous."

Shouting Thomas said...

What in the world is this "extreme individualism?"

My guess... voting Republican!

David said...

It had seemed to me that the Egyptian protestors were at a disadvantage in gun power, and that made a difference.

Ditto the American guards at Benghazi.

mccullough said...

Academia has done just a terrible job of trying to take the place of churches as social institutions in Europe and the United States.

Synova said...

What does this fellow suppose that the Occupy Movement accomplished besides turning public parks into rape and disease ridden sh*t holes?

And if it actually were "the greater good for the greater number" then there is no possible defense of gay marriage, abortion, free speech, or anything else that doesn't favor, at all times, the majority or the common good.

Certainly the best common good is not ever supported by sexual freedoms, which we understand as the only freedom that truly matters.

Chef Mojo said...

And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force.

What utter crap. The only reason the Egyptian opposition "succeeded" is that the people with the guns simply chose not to slaughter them. Assembly in front of massed arms is meaningless as an expression of freedom, because the freedom is illusory. Freedom is inherent, and must be defended. It is not something granted by governments. Governments are the antithesis of freedom, as it is their nature to limit freedom as a means to power.

As Tiananmen Square clearly demonstrated, being unarmed and your survival as a movement dependent on the good graces of your dictators is no recipe for success.

As for Occupy? Those moronic dolts couldn't revolutionize their way out of shit stained paper bag.

LYNNDH said...

Tell it to the Syrians.
The people in Egypt just very lucky that the army was not used to put them down.
And in Libya, nothing would have happened. Granted, USSR into Russia was mostly bloodless, as was the German reunification. So, it just depends doesn't it.

wildswan said...

Ask a young person: if your girlfriend got pregnant would you abort the child? And then later would you leave that girlfriend for someone more like yourself who you marry? And then she gets into drugs, would you divorce her and take the children? And then one of those beloved children gets in an auto crash and the doctor says he's brain dead, would you pull the plug? And then all your parents die but one who is suffering from cancer and in pain, would you allow euthanasia? You'd kill three people, including someone as innocent as an unborn child. But you didn't use a gun, so that's OK. You'd abandon two women but you don't judge them. So that's OK. Are you an atomized individual because you would say yes to all these scenarios? Or, is it true as the government would say, that you are atomized because your married neighbor, down the street loves to go deer hunting with his son?

AJ Lynch said...

I have little appreciation for what philosphy professors contribute to society other than their providing easy elective courses to college students who must take a few mandatory liberal arts classes. Does that make me a bad person?

sparrow said...

Carol,

You're right - but in the case of God seen through the eye's of faith- His will for us is our perfect fulfillment. Further God allows our freedom in this life and it's natural consequence in the next - we are allowed to be separated from Him if we wish it. Freedom is necessary because authentic love requires it.
Of course substitute the malevolent Big Brother, who allows no freedom of any kind, for God and you have tyranny. That's because obedience is not intrinsically virtuos in and of it self: it's dependent on it's object. Only obedience/loyalty to a good cause is good.

Amartel said...

The Occupiers and the demonstrators in Egypt did not "secure their freedom" or anything close to it.
The power of protest was harnessed by the collective. The Borg won.

Synova said...

He's probably right about "paralyzed by fear" and desperately looking for a protector and the illusion of safety.

Suggesting that a protector and illusion of safety solves this problem is... golly... I didn't realize it but isn't that a classically circular argument?

It ought to be a logical error that a *professional* philosopher knows better than to commit.

Palladian said...

It sounds like Firmin's brains have drained out of his neck.

SteveR said...

Not living in fear

edutcher said...

Teddy Kennedy was a great one for fighting individualism.

Mary Jo was unavailable for comment.

And (Godwin Alert) really hated it.

caplight45 said...

I'm sure he was very pleased with his insight in a most self-congratulatory way and that he was very popular that day at the faculty club where he bought nary a drink for himself but was roundly toasted through out the evening.

Synova said...

"What utter crap. The only reason the Egyptian opposition "succeeded" is that the people with the guns simply chose not to slaughter them."

What is it someone said about Ghandi once... that he was fortunate in his choice of oppressors?

In a great many places the slaughter ends because there aren't enough of the rebels left to bother. So, in a sense, the greater good is achieved, normalcy is regained, and life goes on.

Skyler said...

Call me Atom.

Palladian said...

Not to judge a book by its cover, but the philospher's favorite speakers/intellectuals are "John Waters, Helen Thomas, Angela Davis...

"She countin' up de minutes,
She countin' up de days,
She's a sweet black angel,
Not a gun toting teacher,
Not a Red lovin' school marm,
Ain't someone gonna free her,
Free de sweet black slave,
Free de sweet black slave."

caplight45 said...

I'm sure he was very pleased with his insight in a most self-congratulatory way and that he was very popular that day at the faculty club where he bought nary a drink for himself but was roundly toasted through out the evening.

Amartel said...

"Gun culture." There's that phrase again. Like people who own guns are in an entirely different culture. Like our Constitution doesn't include a fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

rhhardin said...

"If freedom has wings," taught Reb Idrash, "it also has eyes, a forehead, genitals. Each time it takes wing, it transfigures a bit of both the world and man in the excitement of its flowering."

And Reb Lima: "In the beginning, freedom was ten times engraved on the tables of the Law. But we so little deserved it that the Prophet broke them in his anger."

"Any coercion is a ferment of freedom," Reb Idrash taught further. "How can you hope to be free if you are not bound with all our blood to your God and to man?"

And Reb Lima: "Freedom awakens gradually as we become conscious of our ties, like the sleeper of his senses. Then, finally, our actions have a name."

A teaching which Reb Zale translated into this image: "You think it is the bird which is free. Wrong: it is the flower."

And Reb Elat into this motto: "Love your ties to their last splendor, and you will be free."

-Jabes _The Book of Questions_

Mitchell the Bat said...

Well, in all fairness to Mr. DeBrabander, we all get along well with dogs so well because, well, we're all pretty much the same as dogs, well, happiest running well in a pack, well.

Well.

Well.

Well.

Petunia said...

A philosophy professor at an art college?

Amartel said...

Interesting you should bring up good ole Angela Davis. Definitely a gun nut. At least she was when she bought the guns that were used to shoot up that courtroom in Marin.

Palladian said...

It's the collective power of millions of people like this person who are the real danger to civilization, not the random murderer who shoots up a school.

As I have written before, ideas like Mr DeBrabander's have to be driven into the outer darkness. It may already be too late to stop the next surge of soul-murdering authoritarian collectivism. The roots of that foul weed were never completely eradicated and it grows quickly.

Rick67 said...

Once again illustrating the consistent inconsistency of the Left.

Do we seriously think for a moment that if it served the interests of the Progressive State that leftists would not hesitate to restrict abortion? free speech?

Granted, that is highly unlikely, because there *is* tensive thread that runs through these seemingly unrelated inconsistencies.

Namely the conscious drive to defeat Nature (aka reality) and the unconscious drive toward death/non-existence.

KLDAVIS said...

"Alone— free — the human being is always defeated."

This was true for the vast majority of human history. Freedom as we understand it is a relatively new concept. The feudal serf had no desire to be free. Freedom would have meant no castle walls to hide behind in times of peril, and almost certain death at the hands of marauders.

That said, it has never been more of a lie than it is today. That, ultimately, is why I believe that Liberalism as a philosophy has peaked.

Palladian said...

A philosophy professor at an art college?

Camille Paglia is a professor at an art college.

Baron Zemo said...

This whole post just goes to show you that we have too many professors.

As well as too many colleges.

Close them up and do it all on-line.

Palladian said...

That said, it has never been more of a lie than it is today. That, ultimately, is why I believe that Liberalism as a philosophy has peaked.

Liberalism as a philosophy has been abandoned by these people, though many of them never embraced it at all. The postmodern progressives are not liberals; they hijacked the name of the philosophical tradition of the Enlightenment and the Founders, hollowed it out and filled it with the poison of fascism and control.

Amartel said...

Mr. Debrabander doesn't see any need for a gun because the government, as currently staffed, represents his ideological point of view. And is well-armed. He's completely comfortable making up fictional and specious arguments for taking guns away from his ideological opponents and others who would dare to contradict the Debrabander world view.

David said...

I like to look up these people on rate my professors so I can make them look bad. Didn't work this time. This guy gets very high grades from his students. His courses actually have decent reading lists.

He does have this habit of writing about political issues. He knows how to promote. Himself. Quite individualistically.

Very concerned about excessive surveillance and the impact of loss of privacy. So maybe there is hope for him. But the lefty trap is so hard to get out of once it clamps shut. Keep struggling professor. The truth is out there.

David said...

Now he never said he does not have a gun, did he. Lot's of lefties have guns. Really.

YoungHegelian said...

"Favorite speakers/intellectuals... Angela Davis"

Now, why oh why would I have some problem getting a lecture on the evils of guns from a man who admires a woman who:

1) bought guns for the Black Panthers (as Amartel points out).

2) ran as the VP candidate twice for the Communist Workers Party

3) received the Order of Lenin from the hands of that famous humanitarian, Leonid Brezhnev.

4) refused to join the Black Panthers because their Marxist-Leninism wasn't pure enough.

I mean, this is a man whose moral vision is unclouded as can be, right?

Michael said...

Palladian at 4:46 nails it. And these new fascists rub themselves all over with sanctimony juice .

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...


""Our gun culture promotes a fatal slide into extreme individualism.""

That sounds like a kinetic reaction proposition. There's evidence for it; what's the rate of change. Let's estimate a degree of magnitude of 1 in 10,000 persons per year, mass shootings and Chicago style shooting included. Let's look at the consequences of not having weapons and, not taking a broad range of consequences, let's look at the Hitler massacre of 6 million Jews without weapons. Now maybe armed there would have been some deterrence. And the rate of fatal slide without it would be on the order of a million per century or 10(6)/10(2) or 10,000 per year. So which rate of change is most important, 1 out of 10,000, the fatal slide rate in the U.S or 10,000 per year rate in Eurasia.

Amartel said...

I wonder if Professor Debrabander is "concerned" about Fast & Furious. Maybe not. All those people who died as a result of the Fast & Furious operation were doomed to die anyway and, if the operation had only gone as planned, their assembled deaths would have been useful to the Party.

ricpic said...

Firmin the Vermin and his ilk eradicated "extreme individualism" long ago. In other words he's beating a straw man. Once, just once, I'd like to hear a leftist "philosopher" tell us if there are any limits, any limits whatsoever to the usurpation of power by his beloved "community" from the dreaded extreme individualists that still survive, cowering in corners.

garage mahal said...

It's the collective power of millions of people like this person who are the real danger to civilization, not the random murderer who shoots up a schoo

Murdered children are just a small small price to pay for Man Cards.

Amartel said...

"Now he never said he does not have a gun, did he. Lot's of lefties have guns. Really."

He's arguing against an armed society. Now maybe he's like Bloomberg and has an armed security detail while arguing against guns for other people. But he's a professor at an art college so, probably not.

Amartel said...

"And these new fascists rub themselves all over with sanctimony juice."

What happens if you pour sanctimony juice on a strawman (@5:03) and light it on fire?

Levi Starks said...

There is a list of things that stand as obstacles in the path of those who've embraced post modernity, and whose end goal is that of a utopian world.
Sickness and disease were taken care of with Obama care.
On its face you could argue that death from guns is also one of those obstacles, I would argue it's more the threat of armed resistance that is the obstacle that stands in the way of and impedes our march to the Orwellian future of 1984.

Chip Ahoy said...

if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal.

Yes, that's what this cycle of voters did, 51% of you did, made sure you are immortal that your children and their children will know who the fuck your were and what your values were back then they'll be so completely tied up in your present idea of freedom they'll living it. Forever. And that's why I hate you.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

chickelit,

Not to judge a book by its cover, but the philospher's favorite speakers/intellectuals are "John Waters, Helen Thomas, Angela Davis, Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, Amy Goodman, Andrew Sullivan, and Cornel West," which is really all one needs to know about where he comes from.

Yep. That's practically a list of "stuff I read and than wished I had not." Except that Robert Reich's weekly column in the San Francisco Chronicle is unaccountably missing.

Good to know that former CPUSA Vice-Presidential candidate and UCSC "History of Consciousness" professor Angela Davis still retains at least one reader, though.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Bleh. "Then," not "than." Butterfingers.

bagoh20 said...

That crap sounds like some dialog from a Star Trek movie. Thank God for universities. Otherwise, I'd be trying to teach that idiot how to assemble a widget without smashing his finger. I bet if he ever did any manual work for a living he wouldn't be so fond of slavery. Does he get paid? Because based on his writing, he neither wants nor deserves it.

chickelit said...

@garage: It just occurred to me that lefties may have singled out Bushmaster for subconscious reasons. I fully expect a rant on George W. Bushmaster in the future.

Quaestor said...

It fosters a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another...

Ignoring for the moment the implied contradiction DeBrabander has blundered into identifying a component of the Newtown murders. Atomistic individualism is a possible (though clumsy and inaccurate) definition of Asperger syndrome, the autism spectrum disorder which is said to have afflicted Adam Lanza and contributed to his extreme social isolation and complicated the mental illness that led him to mass murder.

This evident hostility to the concept of individual liberty, the foundational tenet of our society, is something merely true to form for Mr. DeBrabander (who likely insists on being addressed by his academic title as do most underachievers). Do read this earlier DeBrabander piece, which argues against individualism and free will generally. DeBrabander thinks we'd be perfectly happy under Leviathan's thumb as long as Leviathan advances the common good, the good being whatever DeBrabander (unafflicted with a delusional individualism) thinks is good. Democracy? An illusion. Self-government? A limbec only.

Three guesses who he supported for president.

chickelit said...

Three guesses who he supported for president.

The one on the "left"?

Crunchy Frog said...

When I think of the most useless professions on the planet, Philosophy Professor at the Maryland Institute of Art has to rank way up near the top.

PeterJ said...

Some of us still believe that abortion "rights" are wrongs.
But to Ann Althouse abortion rights seem to have the same standing as free speech rights. Is there a constitutional amendment saying "Congress shall make no law restricting abortion"?

Quaestor said...

It is both amusing and distressing to read the comments attached to the DeBrabander article, many complaining about individualism, i.e. gun owners, and the NRA, a society of those self-same atomized individuals who somehow are able to shed their dangerous individuality and act concertedly.

bagoh20 said...

""Alone— free — the human being is always defeated."

How the hell would he know? He's likely never been alone in his life. I doubt he could feed himself, so he knows he can never be free and hates the idea that anyone else might be. Nothing defines the modern left like coveting, and what they don't covet, they must destroy.

" No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet?"

Dante said...

The line between liberals and lefties is at individualism/collectivism.

Liberals believe in individualism? Can you provide instances of liberal policies that do not curtail someone's rights?

(So called positive rights are not, because they require coercion of others to provide the funds for them).

Marshal said...

garage mahal said...
Murdered children are just a small small price to pay for Man Cards.


The left is bathing itself in class.

Synova said...

"Freedom as we understand it is a relatively new concept. The feudal serf had no desire to be free. Freedom would have meant no castle walls to hide behind in times of peril, and almost certain death at the hands of marauders."

Or "clan" or "family" or "tribe".

Belonging is a different sort of relationship, though we use "ownership" language to describe it, it's not as one-directional as feudalism and not as large scale or impersonal as slavery.

People do, actually, like to belong (yes, like dogs... we are pack animals, or herd animals... we flock or school for safety) and when we don't *belong* it's generally a problem.

The thing is... this doesn't discount even profound notions of individualism. It's perfectly compatible. And also, people who are part of a "herd" too large for actual relationships can be just as profoundly isolated, just as alone, as if they were stuck alone in a dugout through a North Dakota winter.

There's a bell curve, or something like it.

We group, and must, for our mental well being, and for safety, certainly we do. Because we're humans.

But put us in a group too large and we become isolated again and the mental well being is gone and even the safety is gone.

YoungHegelian said...

@Quaestor,

Thank you for posting that link.

These two articles have a common modus operandi: the author picks two completely dissimilar philosophers (in the second article Spinoza & Freud) and then pulls up some wild-ass similarity between them. As if Freud's "scientifically based" psychological determinism has ANYTHING to do with Spinoza's panentheism.

It really is like this guy cuts up some paper with the names of philosophers, throws them into a hat, picks two, and then says "How do I use these two in an article for the NYT?". Strange.

Synova said...

Individualism frees us for relationships and cooperation.

Can an unfree person cooperate? Seriously, as a philosophical sort of question... can someone who is not free, by definition, cooperate? Doesn't cooperation require free will? And doesn't free will demand individualism?

YoungHegelian said...

@Synova,

Doesn't cooperation require free will? And doesn't free will demand individualism?

Young lady, if you keep asking those sorts of questions in that tone of voice you will be sent to detention.

Lem said...
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Quaestor said...

When I think of the most useless professions on the planet, Philosophy Professor at the Maryland Institute of Art has to rank way up near the top.

I briefly toyed with the idea of a double major, mathematics and philosophy, but I dropped it when I discovered that professors are often very poor examples of the disciplines they profess, especially in the humanities. Professors of literature are miserable writers (I often think they all are failed novelists who stay in school hoping that that next course will do the trick and transform them into the next Flaubert or Faulkner) and philosophy professors are entirely minor players in their field as well.

Synova said...

In terms of our nation's founding, can a subject be a citizen? Doesn't human dignity require volition?

Maybe it's a bit like a defiant child... You're not the boss of me... I'm going to do what you said, but not because you can make me! Asserting person hood and volition and understanding at a fundamental level that, in truth, the child is a subject of others against its will.

A child escapes by growing up.

How do subjects escape subjugation?

Rusty said...

Synova said...
In terms of our nation's founding, can a subject be a citizen? Doesn't human dignity require volition?

Maybe it's a bit like a defiant child... You're not the boss of me... I'm going to do what you said, but not because you can make me! Asserting person hood and volition and understanding at a fundamental level that, in truth, the child is a subject of others against its will.

A child escapes by growing up.

How do subjects escape subjugation

You can revolt or die.

Quaestor said...

YoungHegelian wrote:
These two articles have a common modus operandi...

He pulled the same trick in his doctoral dissertation Spinoza and the Stoics: Power, Politics and the Passions. Talk about clutching at straws...

Chip S. said...

Poor Fermin DeBrabender.

Can you imagine enduring 3 years of middle school w/ that name?

creeley23 said...

Powerline has a good article on Eric Holder's days as a black radical. Holder participated in an armed takeover at Columbia University and changed the name of the ROTC buidling to the "Malcolm X. Lounge."

Holder's group, Student African-American Society, was for racial separatism and the Black Panthers charged with plotting to blow up various New York stores, buildings and Police Department.

Just the man to head the DOJ and lecture us on race relations and gun violence!

I get tired of the pretense that Obama and his associates are just a fine group of pragmatic centrist Democrats, when the reality is if you scratch them you find all sorts of New Left red creepy-crawlies spilling out from their academic backgrounds.

n.n said...

We need less philosophers, who are too ungrounded; less politicians who are too selfish; less lawyers, who are too litigious; less accountants, who are too rigid; less celebrities, who are too egotistic; less journalists, who are too manipulative; less scientists, who are too philosophical; less activists, who are deceptively idealistic.

When it is understood that civilized society is dynamically stable, then with a given set of criteria, and a consensus on the known bounds of reality, the engineers will produce the optimal system. We need more engineers.

Roadkill said...

Wasn't Tiananmen Square an example of collective action? Were those people exercising and securing their freedom, and wielding world-changing political force? How did that one turn out again?

Roadkill said...

Wasn't Tiananmen Square an example of collective action? Were those people exercising and securing their freedom, and wielding world-changing political force? How did that one turn out again?

bagoh20 said...

" We need more engineers."

OK, but I'll also add doctors and pothole fillers.

Honestly, if you just get rid of the lawyers, I can live with the rest. Lawyers are fine enough people, but they should just stop lawyering and politicking, and do one of the jobs above instead of making those jobs harder.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Everything bad causes extreme individualism. Which in turn causes everything bad.

n.n said...

Synova:

They don't. In a dictatorship, they are exploited through coerced leverage. In a democracy, they are exploited through numerical leverage. In whatever America has become, they are exploited through selective (i.e. differentials and gradients) leverage.

The only common thread is that in each system, the people are actually subject to the control of a minority interest. The distinguishing feature is whether the control is consolidated and exerted through covert or overt manipulation.

In America, the authority was granted through an election and fraud to exchange liberty for submission with benefits. I would describe our progressive degeneracy as passive (i.e. redistributive) aggressive (i.e. retributive) exploitation.

Well, with the marginalization and evisceration of competing interests, there is always the Les Miserables solution to consider. It's unfortunate that it was preceded by the French Revolution. Perhaps it's time to reset this wretched experiment.

n.n said...
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n.n said...

bagoh20:

I was suggesting the architects and managers of civilized society. Once that is established, it will require a diversity of individuals to populate and set it in motion. The product of the engineer's labor is, after all, meant for human consumption.

Ann Althouse said...

"Some of us still believe that abortion "rights" are wrongs."

And some have similar beliefs about gun rights. That's why I used that example.

AprilApple said...

What in the world is this "extreme individualism?"

My guess... voting Republican!


Not adhering to the dominate leftist group think.

*Guards - seize that individual! - he's not behaving, thinking, verbalizing, and voting as we want him to.*

chickelit said...

Chip S. said...
Poor Fermin DeBrabender.

Can you imagine enduring 3 years of middle school w/ that name?


Bullying made him what he is...bullying by straight white male teens. /sarc

AprilApple said...

Palladian said..
"As I have written before, ideas like Mr DeBrabander's have to be driven into the outer darkness. It may already be too late to stop the next surge of soul-murdering authoritarian collectivism. The roots of that foul weed were never completely eradicated and it grows quickly.

&

Liberalism as a philosophy has been abandoned by these people, though many of them never embraced it at all. The postmodern progressives are not liberals; they hijacked the name of the philosophical tradition of the Enlightenment and the Founders, hollowed it out and filled it with the poison of fascism and control.

This.

creeley23 said...

AprilApple: Yes, I liked the second quote from Palladian too.

I still call myself a liberal at times. I became conservative out of what I thought were liberal values: freedom, reason, open-mindedness, and honesty.

caplight45 said...

Tonight belongs to Palladian. Bravissimo! Encore!

n.n said...
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n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

There is no legitimate moral equivalence between a potential and actual commission of crime against humanity. There is no legitimate moral equivalence between defense to prevent involuntary exploitation and premeditated murder to prevent the development of a human life following conception from a voluntary behavior.

The right to arms is principally about challenging a minority interest (e.g. government) from running amuck and committing involuntary exploitation.

The right to abortion is principally about conscious rejection of responsibility for a human life conceived of a voluntary behavior.

That said, we should work for the day when elective abortion is completely and finally abolished. This, among other achievements, will ensure that individuals capable of self-moderating behavior will be eligible to enjoy liberty.

Bruce Hayden said...

I briefly toyed with the idea of a double major, mathematics and philosophy, but I dropped it when I discovered that professors are often very poor examples of the disciplines they profess, especially in the humanities.

Did the first, but not the second, and one reason was the one philosophy class that I took. I did not do well on a test. I asked the prof why my interpretation of Plato was wrong, and his was right. His response was that most philosophy professionals agreed with him, and not me, and, so I was wrong. Not the sort of proof that I was used to in math and sciences. At one point, not that far in the past, most natural scientists believed that the world was flat, the sun revolved around the Earth, etc. That didn't make their beliefs correct, just popular.

EMD said...

Murdered children are just a small small price to pay for Man Cards.

Oh noes! Advertising!

Vapors. Fainting.

You get the picture.

ken in sc said...

How does abortion get you a man card?

Crunchy Frog said...

No Man Cards were earned in this shooting. There were some in Aurora CO, where three men covered up their ladies' bodies with their own, and took bullets in the process.

That is what real men do.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved his church and gave himself up for her