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June 03, 2016

When Violence Roams the Streets, Intellectuals Quaver in the Shadows


But some sort of excused this, or contextualized it.

I think we're seeing something similar that happened with the Left after 9/11.

The Left became enraged after 9/11 because it's worldview was repudiated and its influence was diminished. "You're all stupid and racists" because their wooby -- their way of assuaging themselves after a diminishment of influence and power.

They began throwing venom at the rest of the country for not having the wisdom to appreciate their wisdom.

The online conservative commentariat is going down the same dark road.

"What the hell is wrong with people? Why don't they understand?" is a perfectly fine question to ask. I know I ask it all the time.

But another question to ask -- maybe more frequently than that one -- is "What am I not getting? What am I not seeing?"

If you just keep telling yourself that your opponents are Evil and Stupid, well, that's a self-satisfying indulgence, but an unproductive one.

The online conservative (?) commentariat is ghettoizing itself further and further from mainstream opinion, and convincing itself more and more as it self-selects down to tiny numbers that it is a Vital Remnant of Goodness and Good Sense in an increasingly ugly and stupid world.

They are not, by any means, the only people guilty of this, certainly.

But they are doing it now.

I really think that when you're at the point of saying "Everyone around me is stupid, wicked, racist, and evil," you should begin to examine the possibility that perhaps they're not all these things, and perhaps the defect resides more in your own egotistical mental barriers erected to keep any of those barbaric ideas out.

I really don't know what some of these organizations' game-plan is for the future. They seem to desire to become fringe political exotica; well, I won't stand before anyone's dream.

Let me say something about intellectuals. I have long contended that intellectuals had an unfair reputation as being cowards and creatures of decadence, rather than as being vital, important things.

But I have to say, I am reconsidering. The day after another bout of leftist rioting and personal violence in service of suppressing a political rally -- this one apparently undertaken with the connivance and permission of the police, the agents of the state itself, and the support of the mayor -- I see many of the dessicated, decayed, and decadent intellectual class continuing to obsess about their Pet Concerns and Wooby Preoccupations instead of dealing with the frightening reality that is the actual news of the day.

At NRO, I saw earlier only Jim Geraghty talking about the violence of the left. Update: A commenter points out that Jonah Goldberg also wrote on the left's double standard on violence.

Everyone else seemed to decide that reality was too ugly and indecorous to be mentioned in polite company, and retreated to their nicely-manicured gardens.

Nietsche mentioned that in a decadent society, the decayed cultivate "luxurious concerns" -- concerns as luxury goods and badges of rank.

Many of us think that on a day of open challenge to the rule of law and civil politics generally, perhaps these luxurious concerns could be put aside for one day -- or at least a few hours -- to talk about actual reality its ugly, brutish, but inescapable configurations.

And so it is I am re-examining my belief that intellectuals are vital and strong creatures, and falling back into my old bias against them as being decadent, weak, timorous, and frightened by reality.

Something ugly, dangerous, and thoroughly anti-American happened last night.

If you can't summon the courage to your fingertips to comment upon it from a safe distance, then who the fuck needs you?

To Clarify: I don't consider intellectuality a sign of weakness at all. These two things should not be associated with each other.

Ideally, the intellectual is in fact brave -- or, at least, brave in the psychological, social, and mental ways of being brave. (Few intellectuals are physically brave; but then, few men are physically brave, period. You can't hold it against an intellectual that he shies away from physical danger and even discomfort just like 98% of the male population.)

But if the intellectuals themselves choose this path, no one can shy from noticing.

I mean, at least show the bravery of denouncing something easily denounced.

Or would that help Trump too much...? Are we now gaming out which principles we should speak a word in favor of according to which candidate might indirectly benefit from our utterances...?


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posted by Ace at 04:04 PM

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