News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Dealing Illusion Some Kick-Ass on Illusion and Self-Deception, Discussion of a Possible Solution

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dealing Illusion Some Kick-Ass on Illusion and Self-Deception, Discussion of a Possible Solution

Who benefits from the political and socio-cultural polarization now afield in the US? I think there's something to the idea that even political insiders/outsiders on all sides are just as much captive to a socio-economic system that benefits those at the top of that system than is everyone lese. Therefore, the question becomes how to neutralize this polarization.

Let me state it baldly: The so-called culture war is really a class war, and the underlying forces at work are an economics that produces and thrives on antagonism between people with the same interests in an effort to consolidate its hold on power. ...

It seems that both conservatives and liberals find in the mirror the truth of their own positions. In this regard, the dialectic works in such a way that we find the truth of our beliefs about the meaning of the socio-economic order in the statements/beliefs attributable to the others I most oppose.

Indeed, in many ways, we are co-creators of each other. The more extreme my statements, the more extreme will become the statements of those who find that my own statements simply do not accord with the reality they find in the world. And it is exactly the case that extremist statements that deny the very basis of understanding that are the most suspect and most hypocritical.

I can find no better explanation of this phenomenon than the following from the far-far-left leftist Zizek:

Recall Jacques Lacan’s definition of successful communication: I get back from the other my own message in its inverted (true) form - is this not what is happening to today’s liberals? Are they not getting back from the conservative populists their own message in its inverted/true form? In other words, are conservative populists not the symptom of tolerant enlightened liberals? Is the scary and ridiculous Kansas redneck who explodes in fury against liberal corruption not the very figure in the guise of which the liberal encounters the truth of his own hypocrisy? We should thus (to refer to the most popular song about Kansas, from The Wizard of Oz) reach over the rainbow - over the “rainbow coalition” of the single-issue struggles, favored by radical liberals - and dare to look for an ally in what appears as the ultimate enemy of tolerant liberalism.

I know, it calls into a play a level of self-transformation that you perhaps are not yet ready to undertake. What wild, crazy, tree-hugging BS am I trying to perpetrate?

Of course, you'll know that such a notion goes back to the beginnings of democracy in the west via such crazy guys as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. And, as you'll know, it gets picked up by that perhaps most archetypal American democrat, Emerson. You know, this even leads me to ask why the neo-cons, those Platonic/Aristotelian poseurs, leave exactly this notion of individual self-transformation out of their screeds.

I read this as saying that the Left must look to itself to understand how and why the Right cannot/do not assess "the facts" correctly, something Glenn's posting asserts. This means, I think, that the Left is just as much guilty of skewing, misperceiving, distorting facts as much as the Right is.

This reflects something I have been proposing in previous postings: the best way to understand others is to know their arguments--not from the outside, so to speak, but from the inside. This assumes that--if my argument is correct--the extremists from both sides and others (middle-of-the-roaders) agree perhaps more than they disagree.

That is, were each to see the reality--that the only ones to benefit from the extremists being at each others' throats are those who head the current socio-political system--they might indeed accomplish more than spending all day accusing each other that it's the other guy who's wrong and the only ones who deceive themselves.

I used the quote from Zizek to make this point. Specifically, Zizek's discussion goes to show how the evangelical redneck oh so hated by "the radical Leftists" of various brands is actually a product of the Leftists' over-emphasis on such distracting movements like identity politics, women's rights, gay rights, and so on.

Not that these are not significant issues but that they distract from the real issue: the class warfare promoted by a socio-economic system that benefits from pitting lower class rightists against those who should indeed understand that the source of our problems is the socio-economic system and not religion, gender, homophobia, and so on.

For Zizek, it's hypocritical Leftists who want to emphasize gender/race issues over the real issue of class who are the problem, not the "redneck" evangelical. Indeed, it's the latter whose rage and anger must be understood to truly understand what the real issues are.

In other words, it is indeed the economy stupid but in a way that neithehr Carville nor the Clintons would be willing to accept since they are simply mouthpieces of the socio-economic uber-rulers; what Zizek has called Leftist communists like Gates and Soros.

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