Murdering Philosophy

by Glenn Fairman2/22/17

As any acolyte who earnestly yearns for the golden prize of transcendent philosophical wisdom will attest, the 20th century has not been good for the old girl. Logical positivism, Scientistic empiricism, Wittgenstein’s deconstruction of language, semiotics, and all the shoeless bastards of Post-modernism have only succeeded in cutting the legs out from under the higher eros that aspires to truth and wisdom and makes meaningless the study of history, culture, biography and every interesting inquiry into human ontology and teleology.

Denying the possibility of transcendent moral knowledge, because modern deconstruction demolishes the availability of trans-historical and trans-cultural communications of shared epistemological truths, is the antithesis of a life affirming philosophy. Indeed, what was once the Mother of all human inquiries becomes reduced to a “History of Philosophy:” a study of the disinterred bones of mankind’s “idiotic” attempts at material transcendence.


Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca.
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36 Responses to Murdering Philosophy

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Interesting how the word eros is appropriate in this sense.

    One can’t have philosophy in the modern world. The very word implies something of a search for truth, morality and more than simple materialism. That’s why psychology has taken over. It fits the age of materialism perfectly, especially since the field of “abnormal” psychology is shrinking away to make place for “all human action is natural action.”

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, Ayn Rand certainly wasn’t a post-modern, with her devotion to reason and Aristotelian philosophy. But she didn’t indulge in transcendence, either. I’m no expoert in the field, but maybe no one has since Kierkegaard — and an array of religious and religious-oriented writers (such as the Inklings Lewis and Tolkien).

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Tim, There are a few in the early 20th century, but they are mostly Jewish existentialists like Buber and Rosenzweig.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Deborah C. Tyler sounding a bit like Fairman:

    For the time being, Milo Yiannapoulos has degenerated into being the right-wing version of Lena Dunham.  They are both outlandish narcissists.  Her shtick is repellant self-display and recreational abortion.  He is a fabulous “faggot,” super-glib, and always runway ready.  Both think they are being provocative with tawdry preoccupation and potty-mouth patois.  She sounds like a moron.  He is brighter but also proves that the millennial generation has not produced one single noteworthy writer or intellectual.  Probably never will.

    I take it as a given that fart jokes are easier than painting the Mona Lisa. We have a society oriented around privileging the fart jokes via finding all sorts of rationalizations for why they are cool, daring, courageous…and in the conservativesphere, why the inane is considered vital “outreach” to yutes.

    It seems to me that throwing drowning yutes an anchor isn’t outreach.

    Here’s a great comment by someone about the whole Milo thing:

    If you have to be decadent to reach the young, then civilization is already lost.

    • Rosalys says:

      I definitely have a problem with the whole Milo thing (though I think the UC Berkley riots and the subsequent banning of him from speaking was a disgrace.) Beyond his primary bona fide, which is being pro free speech, what else is there? I don’t see him as a good spokesman for the cause. Is he just the Right’s token homosexual?

      • Timothy Lane says:

        There are other conservative homosexuals; Guy Benson at Town Hall, for example. Benson is also much more reliably conservative than Milo Yiannapoulos. But the latter is edgy, and thus popular with millennials, a demographic that otherwise tends to be liberal.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Here’s a good background article on this. It can be summed up as “Milo was wrong but it’s time to accept homosexuality and move on.” Don’t let me short-change the article. It’s still worth a read.

        There’s probably no better advocate for sobriety than an ex-alcoholic. The main thing is the “ex” part.

        Jonah Goldberg in a recent article stated that human beings tend to live and think in terms of narratives or stories. This is self-evidently true to a large extent. Unfortunately, as I noted earlier, he has a hard time applying this reality. When Goldberg a couple of years back accepted homosexual marriage, it is unavoidable that you accept and promote the entire narrative behind it which is destructive and noxious.

        To send Milo out there to spread the conservative message is like sending a pyromaniac out to talk about fire prevention. Sure, one can rationalize that in order to reach young people you must be “cool” (which, from experience, we know means “liberal”). But that’s a weak rationalization in my opinion. A reformed Milo would indeed have something useful and important to tell young people. As it is, he’s simply more of the same, a product of a culture that has learned that irreverence is “cool” and that shocking people simply for the sake of shocking them is a virtue.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          It can be summed up as “Milo was wrong but it’s time to accept homosexuality and move on.”

          Yes, the argument that in order to save conservatism, we must become leftists.

          If a conservative makes this argument he is either a liar or wimp. Let’s give up on our core beliefs so we can become acceptable to those who hate us.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Is it possible to be tolerant of homosexuals? Sure? But “tolerance” has come to mean “total acceptance.”

            I insist the notion of “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a good one. It means you can deal with people and love all the things about them (if only their basic humanity). But that love regarding their sin means that you do not accept it and thus try to correct it.

            Children lie constantly. They’re making no end of mischief. But do parents stop trying to correct them? Do they stop loving them because their children can be a handful? Usually “no” and “no.” Most people, at least at this level, understand that to love your children requires accepting that they’re not perfect but still understanding that if you love them, you’re not going to allow them to go uncorrected.

            I would grant you, Mr. Kung, that the idea of “love the sinner, hate the sin” now mostly means accepting the sin as normal. And this is highly fueled by a hedonistic “self-fulfillment” culture. If the point of life is to scratch every itch and sate every desire, who am I to say “no” to anyone? Thus, in my opinion, we see how rotted out Christianity is, for example. I believe most congregations teach a version of the prosperity gospel. That is, I believe most pastors teach how their congregants can do better materially, not how they can be better people. The formula of the former is “more.” Of the latter it is “limitations.”

          • Timothy Lane says:

            It’s possible for someone to genuinely disagree with conservative orthodoxy on a particular issue, such as homosexuality or homosexual marriage. But it’s fundamentally immoral to say that one should agree even when one know it’s wrong. At the same time, one can also accept that a fight, though right, has been lost.

            Politics is not religion; it’s the “art of the possible”, and some things are no longer possible, though that may change again if the Overton window swings to the right (as occasionally happens). So we should never actually go along with what we believe to be an error, even if it isn’t worth fighting against it at present. It may be that the cited article was making this point about homosexuality, and they might even be right — at present.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              It’s possible for someone to genuinely disagree with conservative orthodoxy on a particular issue, such as homosexuality or homosexual marriage

              If anyone actually believes this is simply about accepting homosexuality and/or homosexual marriage, they must be smoking dope.

              The left has latched on to all sexual deviancy as a way to undermine our culture. First the tolerance, then the acceptance and finally the praise of such things follow like night follows day. What else is this nonsense about “transgender” bathrooms about? What else is the claim of dozens of “sexual” identities about?

              The left never stops. They never accept defeat. Should a conservative be any less committed?

              The left has politicized sexual deviancy and it must be seen as such. I couldn’t care less about the individual homosexual. Coming from a musical background, I happened to have a fair amount of contact with homosexuals and lesbians. But in those days, they went about their lives and did not try to shove their lifestyle down everyone’s throat. They did not try to normalize the abnormal.

              Here is a piece I penned in which a deviant is actually honest as regards what this politicization of deviancy is all about.

              http://www.stubbornthings.org/dont-need-stinkin-marriage/

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Yes, I’ve been pointing out for years that the problem isn’t homosexual militants seeking tolerance, but demanding approval. They have no right to demand it, and if nothing else this should force genuine libertarians to side with conservatives on the issue. Those who don’t are libertinists, not libertarians.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Someone said something once about being in this world but not of it. Learning to live beside those with whom you fundamentally disagree is par for the course in this life, in a civil society. That is the context of tolerance. We make our best case where and when we can (through personal contact, and in the making of the laws and electing of officials) and then we try to live with the results. We don’t go ape-shit like the totalitarian intolerant loonies do on the Left when they don’t get their way.

              To my own mind, I think the idea of limited government, personal responsibility (people who are self-limiting), freedom, peace, and virtue are not compatible with a mindset for whom even being born with a dick-and-balls is considered but a social construct.

  4. Glenn Fairman says:

    Is it possible to heartily disagree with a person about a core issue, yet love them and even desire their company? Yes, but one must delve deeper – diving under the sub-strata of ideology and rhetoric.

    Behind every vital question, lies a questioner. And if we even hope to educate not only the hearts and minds of others, but ourselves, it will have to be on the fertile soil of friendship and respect. Sounding out souls can be a laborious endeavor, and the sparks produced when first principles collide can burn and chafe our egos until we plumb beneath the ephemeral and touch one another’s pain and doubt. But having taken that initiative, we may find that even if we have not returned with a convert, perhaps we will have forged a friendship.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Well said. In a perfect world…

      In the real world, it is blessed hard to get past the fundamentalist ideology as indoctrinated into people by the Left. It is a very seductive ideology because the cult members believe they are the most compassionate, fair-minded, and nice people to ever have graced the planet. When sounding out first principals, all we on the right seem to have to offer these cult members is a reduction in their highly-evolved, almost narcissistic, self-image.

      I don’t say that dismissively or with snark. It’s just useful to know beforehand. The people of England may have responded one time to Mr. Churchill’s admonition of “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” But those days are long gone. Unless you offer to burnish one of the six sides of the Snowflake, it will be hard going.

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The following quote is from a book by John Buchan, author of “The Thirty Nine Steps.”

    Every man has a creed, but in his soul he knows that the creed has another side, possibly not less logical, which it does not suit him to produce. Our most honest convictions are not the children of pure reason, but of temperament, environment, necessity, and interest. Most of us take sides in life and forget the one we reject. But our conscience tells us it is there, and we can on occasion state it with a fairness and fulness which proves that it is not wholly repellent to our reason.

    Ah, for the old days when girls were girls and men were men. Unfortunately, the above sentiment is no longer one which can be held to. The left has become so unhinged that it is repellent to our reason.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    When destructiveness and insanity passes for “concern” and “care.” Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Didn’t Just Leave A Mountain Of Garbage Behind

    I know someone personally who went to that. Long story short, what we can say about it (especially in terms of murdering philosophy) is that mindless hand-wringing and emotional masturbation have overcome a fair amount of people. This is not good.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      They Cared. And because they Cared, we aren’t supposed to be concerned with how they behaved — even when they left a large mess, contradicting their alleged concerns about the environment.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        No doubt Native Americans (aka “Indians”) have some real grievances. One of the ongoing ones, from what I’ve read, is the social destruction caused by living on Federally-subsidized reservations. At least it should be one.

        Be that as that may, what we find happening in our “multicultural” culture is the elevation, veneration, and even worship of exotic, non-Western (non-white, non-male) things simply because . . . well . . . where else do you have to go when you’ve been taught that everything that your society is built upon and achieved is a lie?

        It takes a brave man or woman these days to stand up and say that they prefer Shakespeare rather than some African poet of dubious talent that no one has ever heard of. But you’ll get no back-slaps in this forever (grievances are never-ending) counter-cultural Marxist-based society for simply objective measurements of excellence. But you’ll receive accolades for sharing in the marginalization of all things Western and the elevation of all things contra-Western.

        Objective measurements of value and worth have been replaced by little more than a mob sensibility, driven by fad, fashion, and feelgoodism.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          It all comes down to the leftist rejection of their own culture and nation, perhaps stemming from an element of self-loathing. Thus, multiculturalism means that anything done by another culture is acceptable (such as Muslims gang raping young women, as in Rotherham) — but there are no such exculpations of Western civilization.

          Incidentally, if you want to see something really insane, there apparently is a group of liberals concerned that “female” digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana face some sort of sexual harassment. Hot Air had an article on this, which is linked here:

          http://hotair.com/archives/2017/02/28/liberals-worry-that-digital-assistants-are-being-sexually-harassed/

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            It all comes down to the leftist rejection of their own culture and nation, perhaps stemming from an element of self-loathing. Thus, multiculturalism means that anything done by another culture is acceptable (such as Muslims gang raping young women, as in Rotherham) — but there are no such exculpations of Western civilization.

            I certainly agree. And I think one of the primary issues is that of attitude and expectations. Set them too high, and they are destructive. Not high enough, and you’re content to be a junkie living on a park bench.

            The Left rejects America for some very dark and dastardly reasons. So I’lll set them aside. It’s the second tier who have given them so much power by buying into expectations of Utopian perfection. This sets the groundwork for rejection of everything prior because, of course, any human convention or institution is going to be imperfect.

            We see the current destructiveness of the Utopian mindset in Europe as they take in invaders and call them “refugees” because being perfectly high-minded and never excluding anyone is their addiction.

            Adults make choices. They learn to live without perfection. For spoiled children, on the other hand, nothing is ever good enough. What we are seeing in our culture is zealousness wiping out any possibility of having an adult conversation about issues of importance.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of bad philosophy, although Andrew Stutttaford notes that Andrew Sullivan has some huge blind spots, his analysis of the poison philosophy/religion of the Left is a pretty good one and worth a read in excerpt here: Middlebury and The Heretic

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Sullivan has a lot of blind spots, particularly for someone who often claims to be a conservative. But at least he’s a genuine liberal in most respects, not a modern totalitarian leftist.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I think Sullivan is to Stalin what running outside in the rain without a coat on is to catching pneumonia. These “liberals” only notice the disease they’ve helped spawn long after it’s taken hold.

        In Sullivan’s imaginative mind, there is a “liberal” place (based upon Cultural Marxism, whether he realizes it or not) where we can all just get along. Well, not if it’s an ideology based on grievance, is dismissive of reality (and nature, including human nature), and based on Utopian cravings. Sullivan is a fool but he can at least diagnose the illness even if he doesn’t realize he is the guy running outside in the cold without a coat on.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    For a look into the cold and ugly heart of our citizenry, take a look at the comments following this rather good article by Theodore Dalrymple. Why and how contemplation about the wonders of nature can spawn an inhuman discussion about assisted suicide is a telling sign of the time. The little monsters are amongst us. Here’s the comment that caught my eye and that was bolstered by several other supportive comments. The roses…well, no one was stopping to smell them:

    Having time to look at the cherry blossoms is probably just as reflective of high moral character as stopping to smell roses. However, I don’t think Houseman knew his cherries; they are only fruiting for about six weeks in summer in Australia. Maybe he was using some subtle metaphor that escapes me. But if I have another 20 years to sniff roses and look at cherries, with or without snow, I’ll be bored to death. I’ll probably start sniffing cocaine. Governments should demonstrate some testicular fortitude and legislate to allow euthanasia instead of giving grants for medical research that extends human life.

    This is one reason I am backing off a bit from online life. I will share my thoughts. I enjoy the book and movie reviews. I’ve gained a lot from learning about new books, in particular. But you all are crazy out there. I don’t mean the twenty or thirty core people here. But I mean that our culture is sick. Any thoughts I had of creating a better mousetrap and a world beating a path to it have long been shattered by a Kungian realism.

    I would say “Pray for you fellow man.” But I quite think he is happy in is misery and degradation.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      There is a reason why I believe that Dalrymple is the most perceptive social critic or our time.

      I have long maintained that, particularly in the USA, people have lost sight of how close death is to us all. I believe medical progress, particularly the advance in antibiotics, is to a large degree responsible for this. In our time, it is rare to have a family member sicken and die within a few days from typhus, typhoid, scarlet fever or the many dozens of other infectious diseases which were the rue of mankind until the 1930-40’s. Outside of the occasional accident, drug overdose or rare case of cancer, we do not see children and young adults die before their time.

      As to the comment you copied and posted…..

      I believe the poster’s thoughts display all the depth of a sheet of Saran Wrap. He certainly does not display an inquiring mind. Self-reflections? Who needs them? Curiosity, who cares about it? I am easily bored, would seem to be his motto. And strangely, the poster turns the discussion into assisted suicide. Perhaps a libertarian zealot?

      I might say one should pity such a shallow soul, but why waste time on a thankless task? It is best to try and avoid such people. Flee from them like they are the plague. They are soul-numbing boors. Frequent association with such types lowers one’s I.Q.

      For a different point of view on cherry blossoms, take the Japanese. They are fascinated by these ephemeral flowers. The whole country follows as the first bloomings appear in Kyushu and move north and east to Osaka, Tokyo and up to Sendai. In a few weeks they are gone.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        And of course it was the Japanese who supplied the cherry trees for the National Mall (or vicinity) in DC. I remember we saw them in 1961 while my father was preparing to be Assistant Army Attaché to Greece. (This station got my mother mentioned in Jesse Stuart’s Dandelion on the Acropolis, which discussed a trip he made there.)

        • Gibblet says:

          How odd the pink shadow the cherry tree casts
          beneath its sail and around its mast.
          As cotton-candy clouds ride the tide of Spring,
          the pastel snow makes the landscape sing!

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            The cherry blossoms are in red.
            Trump did it it is said.
            I hope cherries to soon be fed.
            Rainier, Royal Ann, maybe buh-buh-buh Bing instead.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I believe the poster’s thoughts display all the depth of a sheet of Saran Wrap.

        I do believe you have just added a word to the StubbornThings lexicon. We will have “Saran Warp Level 1,” Saran Wrap Level 2,” etc., as classifications for shallowness.

        Being of superior compassion, Mr. Kung — as I know you are — I’m torn between sympathy for these types who, instead of stopping and smelling the roses, contemplate an early passage to the afterlife (or perhaps the Sagansphere for atheists). Leftist dogma creates unhappy people. And although unlike Dennis Prager, I do not view happiness as a high achievement, I do think being miserable and filled with hate (self or otherwise) is a bad way to live.

        I know I took a few shots as Henry David Thoreau lately (I find “On Golden Pond” a bit thick…What’s that? Wrong title?). But I thought Dalrymple’s was a splendid and thoughtful article. He, too, has often of late engaged in word salad where it seems word count, not having something to say, was the motivating force.

        But I think he articulated a number of important points. People should read that article for themselves. It’s certainly short and well written. You won’t have to struggle through it. And if at the end of reading it the main thought that occurs to you is, “Government really should make it easier for people to kill themselves,” then as they say in one of my favorites Christmas songs, “God bless you.”

        Ah, we probably are seeing signs of the derangedly short attention spans modern technology is fixating into people. They are chronically bored. And I get it. I understand. You understand. Most people here understand. We understand it because we’re fighting that same battle ourselves if we are even halfway self aware. Modern inventions and easy and cheep forms of entertainment threaten to spoil us every day.

        Thus I do love spending a little time on nurturing and caring for yesteryear. I know you do so in your biographies and other reading. I do so by refurbishing old cameras, game consoles, and whatever I can lay my hands onto that seems to be screaming out to be saved from the obscurity of the junk pile.

        We should indeed flee from such people. Part of the problem is, like locusts, they’re not necessarily going to leave you alone. They are gaining the upper hand in terms of shear numbers. It’s enough to make you want to kill yourself…well, metaphorically, at least.

        The Japanese do (or did) have an interesting mindset. I love their love for flowers. I love how bamboo leaves show up in everything. There is a reverence for form and artfulness. And nothing is more artful than the creations in nature. We so easily take these things for granted. One reason I love doing macrophotography is because it allows you to take a second and closer look. Here’s one I shot the other day. I don’t offhand know what kind of plant this. The closeup of the leaf reminds me of a fish with scales.

        And take a look at this ordinary blade of some type of ornamental grass. (It’s likely expandable to actual size inside your browser window for even more detail.) These we tend to step on without notice and scrap them off the bottom of our shoes before entering our home.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Leftist dogma creates unhappy people.

          I think it originated with unhappy people and a chain of unhappiness was created. And now they have raised their unhappiness to a political/religious system thus sanctifying it in their minds.

          While it is a sad thing that these people are miserable, it is outrageous that they wish to inflict their misery on the rest of us.

          Those photos are really beautiful. The framing, detail and colors are excellent.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            The Who once came out with a song called “The Angry Young Man” about a young radical. (“And he likes to be known as the angry young man.”) So the professionally outraged leftist goes back a long way.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Thanks, Mr. Kung. The detail is indeed excellent. This was shot with my “kit” (bundled with the camera) 18-55 mm Nikon zoom lens. I was dabbling with the prospect of buying a fast prime (fixed focal length) lens, the F 1.8 35 mm. There might still be some advantages to that. And I’d sure like to test it. These fixed focal length lenses are supposed to be super-sharp. But I have to say, I have a hard time imagining what detail I may be missing.

            It could be that this lens I have just happened to be a particularly good one out of the batch. It’s hard to know without some comparisons. But glad you liked the shots. When taking these, you really have no idea what you’re seeing. You can’t, of course, see this level of detail by eye. And the compositions (though one tries one’s best) can turn out radically different once you blow everything up. You can get unexpectedly good or unexpectedly bad.

            The same type of thing happens when we blow up our expectations, our tempers, our grievances, including all the little rat-bastard things we wrap up as “good” under the name of social justice, fairness, equality, diversity, etc., although the bad that results might not be so unexpected. An elevated sense of self-righteousness and omniscience (what I call “niceness,” also known as “good intentions”) as some people strive for the hifalutin feeling and persona of The Anointed Ones has given me a rare understanding of the words:

            Blessed are the poor in spirit.

            The inflated in spirit are insufferable. And no wonder the meek will inherit the earth. The arrogant cannot be trusted with it. This lead me to another thought, I’m not sure why: Did god make man a savage or did we become savage?

  9. Lucia says:

    Brad, the top photo could be a Hosta. My mother had 80 varieties of Hostas and that variegated type was one of them.

    If God made Adam the first man, who was physically and mentally far superior to modern man, then mankind has devolved into savages. The Great Flood was meant to wipe out mankind who had become so murderous and immoral that God repented of making mankind at all. If it weren’t for Noah we wouldn’t be here today. That’s my take on what the Bible says anyway.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I found that this did have a little white tag stuck on the back of the pot. It’s a a Tradescantia (variegated trailing). Sounds Norwegian. It seems to be growing rather vigorously where it is. I bought this just a few days ago. Impulse buy.

      Regarding mankind, no one doubts that the wolf was made to be a wolf. I wonder if man was simply designed to be a wolf. Given our history, it sure seems like it. Maybe we’re living in some kind of reverse-mystery. Maybe the Garden of Eden is something yet to be obtained.

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