Saturday, 22 August 2015

So Who Is The Author of Position Reserved?

[It occurred to the Author that regular readers had no frame of reference for the personality behind the postings. This is a slightly edited version of the Facebook Profile I use and may act as a sort of reference point.]

Existentialist, Anti-Trancendentalist Mysterian Supermaterialist and Politically Non-Euclidean with Chaotic, Possibilian, (cautiously) Trans-Humanist, Gothick, Nietzschean, Antinomian, Discordian/Erisian, Zen & Tantric Tendencies. Believer in Wu Wei and Wyrd and not much else. Looks on the species as work-in-progress likely to take another 30,000 years to become basically secure and so decent.

Politically into personal liberty (all things being equal, especially in cognitive and sexual matters), anti-bureaucratism (above all, that of the European Union which is the 'monstre sacre de nos jours'), good order mixed with compassion and common sense (the 'way of the decent copper'), sustainability for future generations and maintenance of the natural environment (which is not to be confused with any support for the Greens who are as mad as hatters or professional environmentalism which is little more than a job-creating racket), the primacy of the young over the old who usually are responsible for screwing things up in the first place, national self-determination (though never ethnicist which means that Israel worries me), against German-led Europeanism (as opposed to liking Europeans) and American-led Atlanticism (as opposed to liking Americans even though I go into hiding when they 'get God'), secularism (big time! anyone who believes in fairies and is in politics is a threat to me and mine), evidence-based policymaking, respect for difference (it is the outliers who ensure the progress and survival of the species), kindness to people who believe in fairies except in politics, anti-feminist, anti-identity politics (you are a person not an hysterical attribute) and anti-Frankfort School ideology which precisely means that I support the rights of women to make their own choices and that I support socio-economic and political equality, above all against the matriarchal top-down busybodies of the Academy.

All in all, a classic pre-1970s rational, pragmatic liberal socialist who still believes in the democratic nation state (not that the UK is really one any more) - very much an endangered species amidst the hysterics, posturers, hypocritical moralists, opportunists and downright liars of modern media-driven democracy. Not currently party-affiliated: the Labour Party is so appallingly decadent that the Tories now look relatively competent. How did that happen? Oh, and past contributor to Tribune, The Chartist and Lobster and founder of www.exaronews.com over which I have no editorial control or influence whatsoever.
 

Instinctively polyamorous like most men if they were honest but married to a remarkably interesting woman with two very bright and likable kids ... I really like women a lot and my sympathies are wholly with Emma Goldman on 'feminism'. I do not like sport or engines. I rather like fashion and art.

However, my aversion to ideology, identity politics (which has destroyed and fragmented the intelligent distributionist Left) and post-Frankfort School idiocy suggests that if you are a dim-witted femi-nazi who denies men their fulfilment as anything other than pale imitations of themselves, an ethnicist or traditionalist or a happy-clappy rights liberal or activist, you might be a helluva lot happier not entering into my circle..

Philosophy

My philosophy in life is existentialist (as if regular readers had not guessed). Life is a path that leads to death and no other end. There is no point in believing that you will be pulled from the pit by some great God. You climb out yourself.

The only meanings are those you make for yourself. But, actually, life is good, very good, if you feel the fear and make it work for you. I am passionately anti-anti-natalist and all philosophies of death and the death instinct. I prefer Catholicism for all its evils and mistakes to a Buddhism which negates.

Sometimes, things will go very wrong but these can be good times in retrospect, though you may regret that you had to learn the hard way.

But no regrets is part of the rule-book. Just live with it and move on ...

Philosophers who are admired include Heraclitus, Socrates, Kierkegaard (without the God bit), Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein and Foucault. I respect Wilhelm Reich and Jack Parsons not for their thought but for their good will. I find the philosophers of the Far Right challenging, fascinating and instructive - their critiques of contemporary liberalism resonate even though I oppose them. There are dangers in these thinkers and they require contesting with respect.

Philosophers who are despised include Plato, anyone deluded enough to think that meaning subsists outside ourselves, Hegel and all Hegelians (though with a sneaking respect for Marx's use of Hegel to create a dynamic political movement which, though it went wrong, still gave hope to the hopeless and still has things to say today) and guilt-ridden post-Nazi 'liberals' like followers of Kojeve and Habermas. Zizek drives me up the wall - did he and others not see that Tsipras was engaged in a doomed enterprise. I have no time for German Idealism more generally, analytics who dance on the head of a pin or who invent elaborate ethics in order to avoid personal despair or ensure tenure. My current bug bear is the fashion for extreme scientific speculation which is taken too seriously - it is an enjoyable stopping off place between real philosophy and science fiction.

Matters of the Spirit

I was never interested in the idea of some ghostly spirit, internal or external, animating us and then merging with some abstract Great Beyond. The mind is materially embedded in the body and the mind-body in society and all is fundamentally matter. We are emergent from matter but we cannot say we understand precisely what we mean by matter in this context. Functionalist materialism is simply an interpretation of materialism and there may be more here yet to be uncovered - or never recoverable.

There remain great mysteries in the functioning of society, about the nature of ourselves and about the workings of minds which may as well be regarded magically as undiscovered, and possibly undiscoverable, science.  If there have to be gods, then I choose Dionysos and Aphrodite, Odin and Freyja ...

But you cannot escape the drag of matter, of others or of your own carcase. A Luciferian rebellion, in the end, makes it all worthwhile because it asserts the working of your own deeper matter against the matter worked on you by the laws of physics and by the burden of social organisation. The imagination, a creative irrationality, is what makes us able to move beyond being mere walking stones, shuttled around by blind necessity and previous chance.

If I could rebel against matter I would but I cannot, so, instead, I reserve the right to rebel against social convention and the dead weight of history to free the mind-body for new experiences and pleasures, for individual psychological transcendence (not to be confused with claims about the universal) and for the benefit of those I love.

God certainly need not be involved. Past texts, especially those 'revealed' in the Iron Age, are useless. As are all socially constructed abstracts ... I very much prefer the realist Foucault to the delusional Habermas.

Politics

I used to be involved in politics a great deal. I wasted much of my life and time on the 'official' Left. It achieved little and all I learnt was that the few will always command the agenda of the many, not because they are strong but because we, the many, are weak. Recent events surrounding Jeremy Corbyn's candidature for leadership has exposed to the gaze of all what I learned in the struggles of the 1990s - the main Party of the British Left is deeply dysfunctional, staffed by second and third rate minds with no strategy beyond the 'next election'. The British Labour Party is little more than the defensive manouevre of conservative special interest groups terrified by the onward march of history. I may join it again if Corbyn wins even though his politics are not mine (though I know and respect the person)

On the other hand, anarchism tends to the naive, riddled with the naturalistic fallacy, deviant forms of religion and hidden communitarian terrors. One sinks back into a soft sort of left-libertarianism, a social liberalism or libertarian socialism created out of justifiable pessimism tempered by good will. I would prefer even Baathist order to the killing fields created by enthusiastic and naive armchair liberal outrage, at least when push comes to shove on taking the AK47 out of the broom cupboard.

I have certainly come to dislike the self-regarding political class and the lies of the 'international community' (aka professional fixers) but equally those who afford them loyalty out of an ignorant tribalism, corporatist cowardice or a refusal to think about the nature of power and how the power of the few depends on the willing servitude of the many at home and their disregard abroad ... evil lies so often in obeying orders provided by those same second rate people who naturally rise to the top of political institutions.

The foot soldiers of domestic left-wing politics have been continually digging while in a hole. Solidarity, once it has served its initial purpose, tends to become slavery. The networks of people determined to collaborate to get the cattle trucks from place to place without asking about the destination, combined with the awful truths of social psychological experimentation by our elites, suggested to me that evil was well embedded in the human species by its very socialisation strategies long before we were born.

And so I am a peculiar form of pessimist of the anarcho-Left, owing more to Rabelais, De Sade (the philosopher), Nietzsche (again), Paine, Shelley, William Morris and the incomparable Oscar Wilde than the current degenerate crew of rascals serving special interests, overseas and domestic, who have passed by the moniker of 'New Labour' and who owe more to Lloyd George than Keir Hardie.

These became mere statist war-mongers who have run the economy into the ground for the sake of power, and whose supporters are a rump of dangerous post-Marxist ideologues. In the end, they rise like scum to the surface to get their well-paid jobs in an international system that they created. In that context, it is billionaire wealth creators who deploy capital well to create jobs and build economies that impress me more than the Atlanticist and European clowns who do the opposite. The real talent is at the front end of capitalism nowadays and the leaders of the people should be ashamed of themselves for letting this happen.

The problem may be with Parliamentary Democracy itself, with the prerogatives of the Crown, with the dominance of Party and with institutional special interests that stand in the way of the people's own ability to develop their capabilities in collaboration with others. The way that the priestly class of public intellectuals and third-rate journalists dictates the terms of politics in the Atlantic system and the way modern graduates lap up the nonsense is a lot of the problem ... closed cosmopolitan (a classic contradiction) elites believing their own lies about the nature of the world and existence.

I stand against the bureaucratic State, the Crown as State (though I quite like the Windsors out of sentiment), foreign wars, federalism of all types, the corporate mentality (while appreciating the innovations supplied by genuinely free Jeffersonian markets and even intelligent State infrastructural investment), managerialism as cult, neuroscientific manipulation and tenured technocracy.

Science, technology and innovation are mostly very very good indeed but have to be kept out of the hands of the fruits and the nuts. The market and the State do inspire great works of progress as well as great evils.


Malatesta,Tucker, Rocker, Kollontai, the Kronstadt Mutineers, Zapata, Makhno and, of course, Goldman all had a point and the naive Jack Parsons makes that point likeable: freedom and personal autonomy within a society of free individuals is our highest aspiration ... but I would still trust a weak democratic State over any number of self-righteous activist enthusiasts who weedle their way into the bureaucratic corporatism of social democracy under self-righteous liberal cover.