Thursday, 30 April 2009

Some Phrases To Learn And Say

  • A "corporation" is most accurately defined as that which expends more energy in the mere maintenance of its existence than in the execution of its purpose. Yet most economists persist in using the word "efficiency" without irony.

  • "Freedom" is the process by which we choose the options our instincts render inevitable.

  • Nothing is more futile in a democracy than the virtuous pursuit of a political objective.

  • All people were created equal in the days when they were created. In the age of the Self-Made Man, however, our value is exactly what the market will bear. I am told this is different from slavery.

  • The collapse of the West will occur at the precise moment the term "middle class" ceases to be taken as an insult.

  • The genius of America was to marry the ethos of the criminal to the psyche of the victim and enrobe them both in the ermine mantle of the Eternal Law.

  • The "élitist" is he who understands the loneliness of the twelve who chose Christ whilst the hundreds chose Barabbas.




106 comments:

Aeneas the Younger said...

Points 4 & 7 are particularly well-made.

We live in a world where sincerity and principle is a social and commercial sin.

There is no sense of virtue anymore - only base calculation as a means to realise pure self-interest.

On a related note, I wonder what Ti-Guy really thinks of all these Tories and Social Democrats who collect here and demonstrate more sense than all the CPC and LPC hacks put together?

And when he reads this, will he issue a smarmy and quasi-insulting barb, or actually present his unadulterated opinion on Tories and Social Democrats?

Is his opinion one of surprise or pity?

Sir Francis said...

...will he issue a smarmy and quasi-insulting barb...?

He shall probably just correct my grammar.

It's a loving thing we do for each other--rather like the Spartans, who combed each other's hair before going into battle...

Ti-Guy said...

What are you two gossips doing talking smack about me behind my back?

I wonder what Ti-Guy really thinks of all these Tories and Social Democrats who collect here.

Oh, ATY, you're so ideological and angry. I respect anyone who can at least present a proper argument for the things they believe or support.

This was a nice post, SF, although I disagree with you about the middle class. I happen to think middle class values are virtuous and that the middle class is essential for social stability. You should read Susan Jacoby's discussion of middle-brow culture in The Age of American Unreason and how its disappearance has led to widespread cultural decay.

Like classic Liberals and Tories, you and I disagree fundamentally on the issue of class. Tories believe class stratification is inevitable and that elites are bound by noblesse oblige. Liberals like myself believe that everyone should have equal opportunity to access the finer things in life (however those are defined). Liberals have gone off the track though in believing that equality of outcome is possible or desirable, which I (and I'm sure you) believe just ends up advancing mediocrity.

Sir Francis said...

...you and I disagree fundamentally on the issue of class.

Indeed. Chiefly, I find it hard to respect a class that insists I be a member.

You should read Susan Jacoby's discussion of middle-brow culture in The Age of American Unreason...

I shall get around to that shortly. I'm still desultorily thumbing through Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectulaism in American Life, which I believe was her inspiration...

I (and I'm sure you) believe [equality of outcome] just ends up advancing mediocrity.

Agreed.

Ultimately, Ti, you're more liberal than I (and ATY), and we're more socialist than you--if that makes any sense. Anyways, I always identify myself as a Jacobite when pressed, which usually ends the conversation.

As for ATY being angry--he's in Alberta. How happy would you be?

Ti-Guy said...

I'm still desultorily thumbing through Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectulaism in American Life, which I believe was her inspiration...I'd skip that, since The Age of American Unreason presents the major themes of Hofstatdter's work and updates them with the benefit of hindsight and in light of rapid technological development.

The discussion of middle-brow culture really resonated with me, since I'm a product of generations of middle-brows.

Speaking of technological progress, Morris Berman has a new post up discussing the dead end of technological advancement as a substitute for genuine progress. I swear, that man is living my life...except he's sought refuge in Mexico.

Dylan said...

"All people were created equal in the days when they were created. In the age of the Self-Made Man, however, our value is exactly what the market will bear. I am told this is different from slavery."

Bravo!

Sir Francis said...

_The Age of American Unreason_ presents the major themes of Hofstatdter's work and updates them...

Naturally, but I'm reading the book primarily for its historical interest--particularly its discussion of the right-wing backlash against Adlai Stevenson and the beginnings of the Goldwater/Nixon era of Republicanism. I'm using it as a companion piece to Nixonland, which I recently finished.

I'm a product of generations of middle-brows.

Who isn't? Actually, my family might be classed as "low-brow". They believed that education, like religion, is good for children, but not to be taken seriously by adults.

My maternal grandfather, though, was surprisingly sensitive and intellectually curious--for the son of a Midlands tenant farmer who had had perhaps five years of formal education. He was taken out of school to help on the farm during WWI. He remembered seeing zeppelins as they crossed over Lincolnshire on their way to bomb London.

I swear, that man is living my life...except he's sought refuge in Mexico.

Heh. You just need to find a Metro Toronto equivalent of Mexico. Etobicoke, perhaps?

Sir Francis said...

Dylan:

Thanks, and cheers!

Ti-Guy said...

I should have been more fulsome in my praise of this post, instead picking a nit. I second what Dylan said...that one was truly inspired.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Actually, I'm not that angry. I'm resentful at the vacuousness of the "average" Canadian - and certainly saddened by it - but I don't think that I'm all that "angry" these days.

Do I hit back hard? Sure.

As to ideology? Well, I am a Monarchist, but beyond that - almost anything is up for debate. I think that clears me of charges of being an ideologist - unless of course you hate the Monarchy.

I'll stick to the virtues that have been proven, rather than grasp those of a more temporal nature. But that is just me.

Ti-Guy said...

unless of course you hate the Monarchy.We've been over that enough. I don't like the foreign sovereign, especially when I know she won't intervene when it will really matter.

liberal supporter said...

Thanks SF.

While I read many things I don't quite understand in many places, it is usually because they make no sense. Here (especially in comments) is where I read things I didn't know about and feel compelled to look them up.

I find it uplifting to come here, after dealing with the boneheads in other places (and sometimes in real life). There is actual discussion of how things could be and opinion of how they should be.

I would only say, when you are disheartened at your fellow humans for their mindless vacuousness and venality, remember there are many out there who are more or less guerrilla types, waiting for the right time, staying safely under cover as the stormtroopers run their course.

Sir Francis said...

...especially when I know she won't intervene when it will really matter...

Agreed. I'm a huge monarchist, like ATY, but I'm wedded more to the idea of it than to its practical execution--which has become a shabby joke, especially in Canada.

The Crown's prerogatives are actually the only effective checks on Cabinet power we have. The current constitutional arrangement whereby the Crown is just a rubber stamp is a big part of our democratic deficit. That needs to change.

A Governor General with any guts and sense of national honour would have ordered our troops home from Afghanistan long ago--as a sign of respect for the popular will and under her authority as Commander In Chief of our Forces (for it is the G.-G., not the Queen, who fills that role). She could have argued that the unprecedented seamless merging of our battle group into the U.S. contingent was an unconstitutional use of the Forces.

It would have sparked a massive and divisive constitutional crisis, but it would have been worth it, as it would have forced Canadians to decide whether or not our nation's constitution can any longer be taken seriously.

If a republic were to come out of such a crisis, so be it. I would be saddened, but better a self-aware republic than a senile constitutional monarchy

Sir Francis said...

I find it uplifting to come here...

That's wonderful to hear, especially as I would never have dared to think this blog could have that kind of effect on anybody. My only perspective on it is authorial, of course--and I experience it as cathartic, rather than uplifting.

...remember there are many out there who are more or less guerrilla types, waiting for the right time...

...a "cultural militia", as it were. Yes, they're out there, and one meets them in the strangest places.

I despair of so many of my students, for instance, but I daily meet young people who are powerfully driven by a basic integrity and an inner communion with justice (in the metaphysical sense). There are more of those people than our society deserves to have, actually.

Ti-Guy said...

A Governor General with any guts and sense of national honour would have ordered our troops home from Afghanistan long ago.

Hell, she should order them to arrest the Conservative caucus and have them charged with high treason.

...and then have them beheaded.

Dylan said...

Sir Francis, your second-last post, on the Monarchy, is a breath of fresh air.

If there is one thing that separates me from the most traditional of BNA conservatives, it is my view of the monarchy.

You have articulated my feelings on the issue perfectly! Accepting the monarchy within this role, as a balance against Cabinet - which often serves the interests of their party over their constituents - would frighten the individualized masses far too much. They'd worry about the democratic process, forgetting that this arrangement would serve the public as a "democratic audit."

That being said, my faith presses me to worship no other King than Christ Jesus. I refuse to heed the call of any other crown! Which makes our constitutional monarchy - with the crown far removed from our process, save for ceremonies and the occasional speech from the Governor General - convenient. So convenient that it begs questioning of its relevance to our democratic process. Which is exactly our point, that it ought to have a more active role for the very reason you gave in your above argument (the Afghanistan mission).

I agree that the price that we would pay from having an involved and empowered governor general might be costly, we may become a republic, but it would at least make Canadians take stock in their political process. It might create a country worth believing in and caring about beyond sticking a yellow magnet onto the back of their car or drinking Molson.

Sir Francis said...

Dylan:

Many Canadians would be shocked to learn how many of what have become discretionary prime ministerial powers are not constitutionally his but the Crown's. The Governor-General-In-Council having become a total sham, our prime ministers are free to act unaccountably, sometimes even illegally.

I shall soon be posting about an issue that illustrates the dire consequences of this fact.

Anonymous said...

Sir Francis,

Good post. I was going to pick nits, like Ti-Guy, but after he was reprimanded and apologized, I thought better of it.

Thought provoking. I also disagree with the Middle Class argument. The West ends when...

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." (JS Mill)

THAT will be the end of the west.

I guess I did pick nits. Reprimand me. Please!!!

Tomm

Sir Francis said...

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things..." (JS Mill)

"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you". (Jesus Christ)

Reprimand me. Please!!!

Don't get all kinky on me now...

Aeneas the Younger said...

I agree that a functioning Monarchy is now a mere idea, but that is not the Monarch's fault - in a literal sense.

The religion of liberalism itself has demanded that we worship the masses and that we abandon the idea that hierarchies exist all over the blasted map.

Modern liberalism is a mass delusion.

You want a functioning constitutional Monarchy? Try allowing it to be acknowledged as fact - rather than hiding it in the attic like some modern constitutional embodiment of Bertha Mason.

When there was acknowledgement and respect for the Crown, the System worked! Funny that.

I shudder to think of how dysfunctional Canada will be when we are officially a republic.

Imagine how much credibility an Albertan President will have in Quebec?

We have seen the enemy, and he is us.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Dylan:

"And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him." (Mark 12:17)

Aeneas the Younger said...

SF:

I would LOVE to see the GG reassert The Queen's prerogatives and stand in the way of the government on some issue of national import.

I would LOVE to see the Court rule as to who the prerogatives actually belong to De facto, as well as De jure.

That would allow Canadians to see the high-value and importance of the Crown in Canada.

I strongly support taking the appointment of the GG out of the hands of the First Minister.

That is the real deficiency in the current system.

Ryan said...

"That being said, my faith presses me to worship no other King than Christ Jesus."

Now we're talking.

I've always been uncomfortable with the notion of a monarch as the literal political "centre" that we owe unwavering loyalty to in all times. I tend to agree with SF and Dylan that the monarchy is more of an idea for me--one becoming increasingly irrelevant and marginalized.

ATY--Rendering on to Caesar that which is Caesar's is fine. But what is Caesar's and what is God's? The fact is that in terms of covenant Judaism, everything is God's. When Jesus said render unto Caesar, Caesar is okay. He meant that Caesar is subordinate to God. Unfortunately, the conventional interpretation is just a convenient one offered to justify what Paul called the "powers and principalities."

The civic-subordinated Anglicanism you've described on several occasions doesn't sound much like the original meaning. Though, it does sound very Canadian and traditional.

Ryan said...

Sorry, I mean when Jesus says render unto Caesar, it doesn't mean that Caesar is okay.

Ti-Guy said...

Can we can the religious talk? There's nothing that kills a good discussion faster than re-engaging the same insoluble issues for which millennia of deliberation by far more capable people haven't managed to provide any additional insight.

Sorry...a post about Christo-fascist gun-nuts I came across this morning has put me in a bad mood.

Sir Francis said...

I strongly support taking the appointment of the GG out of the hands of the First Minister.

That's an absolute minimum requirement, if we're to rehabilitate and re-legitimise the office. It needs to be the collective decision of a competent, credible, non-partisan authority--perhaps the SCC.

Moreover, selection criteria need to be codified, ensuring that the incumbent is qualified to use his/her discretion wisely and lawfully if ever called on to do so by a crisis (such as last year's risible "coalition" fiasco).

Thus, candidates should have some background in constitutional law, some military experience, and a demonstrable commitment to community (rather than corporate or partisan) service.

Jean's term is up soon, and I'm very worried that the next choice of G.-G. will lead the office even further down the road to irrelevance. The next choice is Harper's to make. I have nightmares about Ted Morton getting the keys to Rideau Hall.

I once had hopes that Romeo Dallaire would be appointed, but that seems unlikely, as he's happily ensconced in the Senate. I would be comfortable with Peter Lougheed. Other than that, it's slim pickings. Leonard Cohen...?

Aeneas the Younger said...

Ryan:

The Monarch is the only thing officially subordinate to God under our constitution. It is the first fundamental of our system.

Once we eradicate the Crown in Canada, then it will all be over.

Nietzsche will have won. I am sure you realise the implications of that kind of victory.

Aeneas the Younger said...

The Crown is not a mere mechanism. It is the final bulwark standing in the way of anarchy.

Witness: The United States and the Russian Federation.

Sir Francis said...

I've always been uncomfortable with the notion of a monarch as the literal political "centre" that we owe unwavering loyalty to in all times.

Sure, but the Crown is really just the embodiment of the constitution, at least since the 1688 Settlement. Thus, loyalty to the nice but bland Elizabeth is not an issue; loyalty to the rule of law and to the crucial need for executive authority to be subordinate to that law is the issue.

In Germany, the arm of government that monitors neo-Nazism is called the "Office for the Protection of the Constitution". Clearly, nations with traumatic fascist pasts have learned that nothing is more dangerous than allowing executive authorities to have their way with "liberal" constitutions. That's a lesson we should take; surely, the folks to the south have provided us with enough cautionary tales...

Aeneas the Younger said...
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Aeneas the Younger said...

Perhaps the difference betwixt us all is that Sir Francis and I know that "the jig is up."

And perhaps only we understand the final implications of this development.

I would rather be governed by the House of Windsor than by the "Fortune 500".

Delude yourselves if you must.

I gave-up on Canada 20 years ago.

Ryan said...

SF-No disagreement here. I've just noticed ATY has made statement that, appear at least, to be beyond loyalty to the rule of law and the like. I am a monarchist in the same sense you are.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Ryan:

I am guilty on BOTH charges.

I am loyal to the concept of our constitution and to the embodiment of same.

Where you perhaps err, is that you see a conflict in being so.

Ti-Guy said...

I gave-up on Canada 20 years ago.Well, then you have no one to blame but yourself. You were 20 then. If you gave up before you even started, then it's a little precious to be whining about it now.

Anyway, no changes to the process will make any difference, as long as we have an economy that rewards unethical behaviour and continues to champion a race to the bottom.

It's really comes down to this...if you aren't talking about the economy, you are not paying attention.

Ryan said...

ATY--No, I don't see a conflict in that. But I do see a conflict in living as a Christian and professing that at the same time.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Ryan:

How so?

If you really believe that, you are against close to 2000 years of the Western experience.

Aeneas the Younger said...

I was actually 26.

Sir Francis said...

But I do see a conflict in living as a Christian and professing that at the same time.

That's a tricky one. Especially for us monarchist Catholics; we have to negotiate two barely compatible loyalties--one domiciled in Vatican City and the other in Buckingham Palace! It's a real bitch.

In the West, the person of the king has always been seen as the lex animata--the "living law". He has always had, as it were, two bodies.

The term "Crown" has always referred to that dual reality, rather than to the person of the monarch alone. Thus, loyalty to one half of that duality presupposes loyalty to the other.

Loyalty to unlawfulness is no loyalty at all. Those who remained loyal to Henry VIII, for example, betrayed the Crown--as their "loyalty" to Henry's violence and corruption served to violate that which gave Henry his authority--his lawfulness.

The European tradition has always considered the king both above and below the law--that is, while he is a law-giver, he must also conform himself to the law. If he does not so conform, he effectively kills the half of the duality that gives him his authority; he then becomes just a man, with whom the law may deal as it sees fit.

What I find repugnant about the modern (post-Enlightenment) functionalisation of national authority is that it strips ultimate executive power of that traditional duality. Today, chief government executives who act unlawfully are not seen as the betrayers or killers of one half of their beings (regicides, in effect), but rather merely the violators of an abstract system of justice.

Too often, executive charisma (whether personal or official) wields such power over the masses that it appears to them more credible and worthy of assent than the system being violated; this makes total sense, really: to most people, constitutional law is abstruse and remote, while adept political actors like Obama and Harper (assisted by sophisticated marketing and "communications" techniques) can provide compelling, concrete, emotionally loaded vehicles for their agendas.

So, this is a long way of explaining the need for an embodied incarnation of the constitution (such as dear old frumpy Queen Bess). It prevents the constitution from being totally reduced to the kinds of abstract principles that power-hungry executives love to highjack and, ideally, provides a living flesh-and-blood deterrent against attempts by partisan actors to appropriate and pervert constitutional norms for their own ends.

But, as I said, the system has to be healthy in order to achieve these results. Ours is not.

Sir Francis said...

I gave-up on Canada 20 years ago.

Well, Canada is still objectively the best place to live in the world (despite its proximity to the States) and it was a privilege, richly unearned, to be born here.

So I'm not giving up on it. I'm trying, in my pathetic little ways, to make it work; I see that as the only way to pay back the debt of gratitude I carry for all I've been given. I'm sure there's a light shining somewhere; we've just got to go deeper into the darkness to find it.

Aeneas the Younger said...

I wish I shared your optimism.

Skulking around Ottawa in the 1980's killed my enthusiasm.

Canada as Creighton proposed:

"Well, it is still a good place to live. But that's all Canada is - just a good place to live. Canadians have lost their destiny, you know."

Aeneas the Younger said...

More from Creighton:

"We respect our ancestors' achievements by standing on their shoulders and seeing farther, not by crouching in their shadows and seeing less. Let's do something to inspire our own grandchildren. That's what the ancestors did."

What the hell is so inspirational about Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper?

Don't even get me started about Ignatieff - he seems clueless and dismissive of his Uncle's thesis ...

Aeneas the Younger said...
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Aeneas the Younger said...

Sacerdotium and Regnum. The two swords!

Are we the only two who recall this ideal?

Ti-Guy said...

Too often, executive charisma (whether personal or official) wields such power over the masses that it appears to them more credible and worthy of assent than the system being violated.

I still maintain that this is an illusion created by our media. I've been beside myself with a combination of despair and fury for at least ten years now over just how starstruck and hysterical our journalists appear to be when they cover politics. Everything is about "The Leader" and the narratives they create about their entirely conventional personalities. And they're so fickle...one minute, they're exuberant and the next, usually as a result of some minor issue, and they act like jilted lovers. It's particularly unseemly that it's mostly the men who behave like this.

*ugh* I pray daily for the death, a painful death, of every male journalist under 50.

Sir Francis said...

Everything is about "The Leader" and the narratives they create about their entirely conventional personalities.

Precisely. What you're describing is a mild version of the fuhrerprinzip that becomes normative when liberal democracies decay.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Compare all of this to 1939, when Mackenzie King horned in on the Royal Tour of Canada in an attempt to shore his own popularity and government.

The Monarch then was the focus and locus of the culture. Politicians were secondary in the Public's esteem. Even Churchill could not match the popularity of King George VI.

Stephen Harper or Elizabeth II?

Hard choice ...

Tomm said...

Interesting discussion.

Do any of you really think that democracy will be anything beyond the democratic framework in the coming years?

I think we are driving down a path where corporate (Exxon & WWF) mission, elitism, and public service technocracy all become more important than some democratic decision making.

Isn't our job (as concerned citizens) to broaden this base? Keeping it broad by holding politician's to account...
Keeping it broad by offering items like the Monarchy... Keeping it broad by creating point and counter point?

Ti-Guy said...

I think we are driving down a path where corporate (Exxon & WWF) mission, elitism, and public service technocracy all become more important than some democratic decision making.Public institutions have always been part of the process by which democracies express various forms of consensus. Your conflation of private and public institutions indicates that you either don't really know what you're talking about, or you're trying to establish a false equivalence between powerful corporations that escape democratic oversight and relatively powerless public agencies.

It really bothers me how some people (like Olaf, Tomm) refuse to focus and to examine issues in a way that would uncover meaningful distinctions. To them, everything's the same (Exxon and WWF are equivalent, for example) and any differences are merely a matter of political disagreement.

Ryan said...

"If you really believe that, you are against close to 2000 years of the Western experience."

And what is wrong with that?

Tomm said...

Ti-Guy,

You nit pick.

Exxon has a corporate agenda which is far narrower than the societal need set. WWF has a corporate agenda which is far narrower than the societal need set.

Surely you can't disagree with those statements.

I don't disagree with a need for public institutions, but you seem to be equating that with "GOVERNMENT" (capital letters, quotated).

Is that where we differ?

Ti-Guy said...

Can you explain to me what you mean by "societal need set?" I don't believe Exxon's scope, with its obligation to global shareholders and its ability to wield influence to protect its interests can in any way be thought of as "narrow."

Government *is* a public institution, by the way. All institutions, the value of which is not determined primarily by market transactions, are. The mistake we make is forcing government to behave more like a business. It has been ruinous for us, since we can no longer differentiate between our roles as consumers versus our roles as citizens. In fact, there's a whole generation propagandised to believe that such a distinction is irrelevant.

Aeneas the Younger said...

"Government *is* a public institution, by the way. All institutions, the value of which is not determined primarily by market transactions, are. The mistake we make is forcing government to behave more like a business. It has been ruinous for us, since we can no longer differentiate between our roles as consumers versus our roles as citizens. In fact, there's a whole generation propagandised to believe that such a distinction is irrelevant."

Well said Ti ...

Tomm said...

Ti-Guy,

What does society need from its leadership?

Leaders needs to provide a sense of responsibiity, a sense of incentive, a sense of pride and inclusion, and a whole raft more (no doubt...freedom, security). The leadership for Exxon and the leadership for the WWF also needs to provide those things, but for a narrower vision and scope.

Exxon is beholden to its bond and share holders, its regulators, its clients, and itself. WWF is also beholden to its contributors, it's supporters, and itself.

You make a good point about the blurring of lines between business and government, and how that can be a bad thing. For example, crown corporations do not function like private companies and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Let's think about nuclear power. What do we need from a nuclear industry today and into the future? What are our long term requirements? Clearly we can expect to receive a different set of successes and values depending on whether the nuclear industry is private or a Crown.

Government is not the only basket public institutions can be found. I belong to a service club and in my community there are people that think it is the government's job to do what we do. I shudder at the thought of government minor hockey clubs, government run fund raisers, good ideas needing government paperwork before they try to fly.

The Federal government should only do what it is mandated to do. The same with provincial and municipal governments. If there are gaps in mandate, we can fill them with legislation, but we shouldn't be piling on government function, just because it gets sold by some public sevant to some other public servant.

Tomm said...

Aeneas,

You said:

"Well said Ti ..."

Don't encourage him. He'll start begging at the table. Who know's where it will end.

For God Sakes, he's from Ontario!

Sir Francis said...

Mackenzie King horned in on the Royal Tour of Canada in an attempt to shore his own popularity and government.

Yeah, that tour was absolute pandemonium. George and Elizabeth were treated like rock stars; they drew crowds of tens of thousands, even in Quebec. It's a testament to how different the times were that the very notion of the king and queen on Canadian soil was such a mind-blower to us. It had never happened before.

And, yes, King wedged his fat ass into as many photos and newsreels as he could. He had to have his ceremonial uniform tailored for the event, since he hadn't worn it for years. In those days, Privy Councillors had to wear ceremonial dress when in the presence of the monarch, as they were technically at court.

My great-grandfather handled the security for their visit to Parliament. You can see him in silhouette in a famous photo taken of the royal couple just under the great arch of the Centre Block.

Sir Francis said...

Ti-Guy...You nit pick.

Gosh. Don't you just hate it when people do that, Tomm?

And "quotated"? Please...We've got standards here. ;)

He'll start begging at the table...For God Sakes, he's from Ontario!

Read the news, Tomm. The only guy "begging at the table" these days is your friend Stelmach...

Ti-Guy said...

I just can't have discussions about government with people who hate government for no reason other than they hate paying taxes.

By the way, Tomm...I've never identified as an Ontarian, so insult away. It has no effect on me.

Sir Francis said...

I just can't have discussions about government with people who...hate paying taxes.

They also hate "élitism", remember--which seems to be the process of having a deep inferiority complex triggered by anybody whose civic vision transcends the precepts of the law of the jungle.

Ti-Guy said...

inferiority complex triggered by anybody whose civic vision transcends the precepts of the law of the jungle.

I was listening to a podcast with Clive Doucet yesterday where he discusses "big box values," which is really more what these "Conservatives" are all about. The law of the jungle doesn't really capture the level of sophistication that these people do believe they embody. They might in fact believe they're socially-conscious, community-oriented and engaged in civil society, but their approach to it all is as a customer frequenting a large retail outlet, picking and choosing from a vast array of lifestyle products to meet a very narrow, narcissistic need.

Tomm said...

Ti-Guy,

If being from Ontario isn't offensive to you, give me something to work with.

Have you got a big nose? hairy ears? Come on.

I'll tell you what, I'll go first. People find me irritating. There. Your turn...

And to set the record straight I have spent most of my career as a public servant and have huge respect for the public service.

If you want to bring up some of the public servants I have been critical of, e.g. Linda Keen; go ahead. My being critical of public service doesn't make me anti-public servvice. Just like my criticism of business, doesn't make me anti-business.

Dylan said...
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Dylan said...

*My apologies for the lengthiness of this comment - I've clearly missed a lot of action that I want to touch on.

Wow. I blink my eye and this place turns into Raphael’s symposium!
Jesus’ “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” can be interpreted several ways.

First, is the way in which you have interpreted: that the government has demands on Christian lives and those demands, which are within the bounds of reason and rationality, ought to be met by Christians. In essence, government is ordained by God and therefore is worthy of our loyalty.

The second is far more radical. Giving to Caesar what “was Caesar’s” was in specific reference to paying taxes. This verse is within a conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees in which the Pharisees were trying to make Jesus out to be a criminal who would preach that Jews should not pay taxes as a sign of rebellion. The answer to “should we pay taxes?” was asked to try and get Jesus to incriminate himself and make it easy for the Pharisees to ask the temple guard to arrest him. Furthermore, advocating that people should pay taxes is, as not a passive subordination of a subjugated people, but an active rendering of earthly things to earthly kings. The Pharisees marveled at Jesus because the words he spoke were extremely radical and upside-down. For the Pharisees, they couldn’t see past earthly things like money, positions in the temple, and political power. Additionally, the Pharisees believed that a man who hung around with fishermen, tax-collectors and preached to Samaritans and women would not advocate that Caesar should get what “is his” from the Jews. (For example, some of his disciples, like Luke, were Zealots who, in the past, actively sought to violently overthrown the government and the Roman-installed Hebrew-in-name Herodian family who, in turn, supported the corrupt Pharisaic temple. If Jesus hung around these characters, so the Pharisees argue, what does this say about his beliefs?)

I hold this more “historical” interpretation of Jesus’ gospel within the Book of Mark.

Therefore, government, taxes, and monarchs are earthly powers who will try their best to get me to believe in them. God, as Christ Incarnate, shows us another way. While I must live on this earth and with these powers, I do not have to be within them – to the best of my ability. I try to live with the world not in it.

However, I agree with your position that the Monarchy is the only group subordinate to God within our constitutional system – the PMO is only subordinate to their re-election campaigns and the will of “the people.”
The Crown is fundamental to our system in the sense that it checks our parliament and acts as a “democratic audit,” in this respect it is the final bulwark against an individualistic anarchy. The Constitution, the framework which holds the country and keeps our democratic powers in check, is an important part of a functioning “world politics.” The Crown keeps the world powers in check but it is also a worldly institution. So who can actually hold up the mirror to the world when anarchy, tyranny, oppression and injustice rise through our political processes? My answer is the Church, and at its head is Christ.

While the Monarchy has a unique attraction in the sense that it is supposed to act like the Church, without BEING the Church. This is the secular appeal. This is the lure of the world. The Church, headed by Christ, grounded in faithfulness to God and lead by the Spirit; is the only check against the state – be it democratic or undemocratic, liberal or illiberal.

But I cannot ask civil society to accept the Church as a legitimate check against the state with constitutional powers. (And to be sure, even if society asked for the Church to fill this role, the Church ought to reject these worldly powers.) For this reason Monarchy has an appeal, yet, a precarious one.

I apologize for hijacking the conversation back to theology, but to address Ti-Guy’s reasonable objection to these arguments; I must confess that this is the only way I know how to enter the conversation. I am called to it and within a debate it is as legitimate as a conservative, utilitarian, egalitarian, liberal or socialist point-of-view. It’s is, as I call it, the original political view. And I welcome your opinion on my beliefs as I am sure you welcome mine.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

Damn rights I hate elites.

...Let's all go to the Club, have a brandy, a cigar, and decide how to deal with problems besetting the hoi polloi.

We have a significant history of elites running this nation. It is definitely a part of the Harper Advantage, and a definite problem for Ignatieff.

If the CPC is going to run attack ads, the pitch should be portraying Ignatieff as the New Yorker man in tails with a cigarette holder.

Ti-Guy said...

Tomm, I wasn't thinking of the civil service: I was referring to values embodied by public institutions.

I've never worked for the civil service, by the way. But I've always worked in public institutions (except for a few temporary jobs while I was a student).

Anyway, if you want to get me riled up, call me a Pepsi. That one makes me see red....which is odd, since I only learned the insult as an adult.

Sir Francis said...

...their approach to it all is as a customer...picking and choosing from a vast array of lifestyle products to meet a very narrow, narcissistic need.

Indeed. By "law of the jungle" I meant the predatory, consumption-drunk reflex to self-gratify instantly and the demand that such gratification be consequence-free.

Such appears to be the existential categorical imperative of North America's metroburbs.

Sir Francis said...

People find me irritating.

And don't even try to pretend you're not proud of that...

I have spent most of my career as a public servant.

My Lord! So your self-loathing is national and professional. You're a complex guy, Tomm.

Just like my criticism of business, doesn't make me anti-business.

Your "criticism of business"? In which alternative universe has that occurred?

Sir Francis said...

Let's all go to the Club, have a brandy, a cigar, and decide how to deal with problems besetting the hoi polloi.

Sounds like a typical Monday morning conference call in Harper's PMO--though I suppose its substitution of Timbits and Coke for brandy and cigars makes it populist, right Tomm?

Sir Francis said...

...call me a Pepsi.

"Pepsi" has got to be the most preposterously inoffensive ethnic epithet. It's right up there with "honky". Its use is utterly self-abnegating. One suffers all the debasing effects of resorting to an ethnic slur without enjoying the collateral satisfaction of inflicting any kind of pain on the target.

If I ever get angry enough at you, I think I shall hurl a "tête ronde" your way, to get vicarious revenge against the Pointe-Claire snipes who thought it awfully clever to call me, an obvious non-Saxon, "tête carrée" in grammar school.

Ti-Guy said...

One suffers all the debasing effects of resorting to an ethnic slur without enjoying the collateral satisfaction of inflicting any kind of pain on the target.Depends. When used by a card-carrying bigot, any word employed in a race/ethnicity-based attack sounds ugly. I'm not particularly prickly about such things, but if someone says that to me in anger, I get riled.

to get vicarious revenge against the Pointe-Claire snipes who thought it awfully clever to call me, an obvious non-Saxon, "tête carrée" in grammar school.That's too bad. Compared to bilingual areas of Québec, Northern Ontario is more harmonious. Can't take your revenge out on me though; that kind of name-calling was frowned on by my parents.

Dylan said...

I don't even know what it means to be called a "pepsi." It isn't offensive in the least. It is actually enraging to imagine that there are people who might call me that because they sincerely believe it would offend me.

Sir Francis said...

When used by a card-carrying bigot, any word employed in a race/ethnicity-based attack sounds ugly.

I guess so. There's just a certain inevitable de-fanging element in an epithet linked to a cola preference. I imagine being called a "Fanta", and I just laugh.

Having your head called "square", well...that's cold.

Sir Francis said...

Dylan:

Québecois(es) are well known for their preference for Pepsi over Coke. It's been known anecdotally for years, and it's been confirmed a number of times through North American market research. Pepsi is also preferred over Coke in some areas of the Maritimes.

That's why the word is applied to French Canadians by those (the majority, sadly) who equate "Québecois" with "French Canadian".

Ti-Guy said...

There's just a certain inevitable de-fanging element in an epithet linked to a cola preference. I imagine being called a "Fanta", and I just laugh.

Well, that really goes to heart of how insult works. Motivation is what counts. If one means to offend, then whatever follows is offensive.

This is what always annoyed me about that awful period of language policing (which we're not entirely past), during which it was thought that merely changing the form of the utterance would make offence impossible. The premise for that argument was fundamentally flawed.

Imagine, if you will, that you were (for whatever reasons) a real fan of Fanta. You enjoyed the beverage, you collected all the memorabilia, you prided yourself on your knowledge of Fanta trivia and you had no awareness that something like that could be considered singular or negative. And then someone calls you Fanta! in anger. You'd be offended. Thus, an epithet is born.

word verication: "outsmut." Indeed.

Tomm said...

If I were to be a soft drink, Pepsi's not bad. Perhaps I might be more of a Crush though. I always liked the multiple and complex roundings of the bottle.

Sir Francis, you of course are correct, I do not mind being a little irritating.

As George Bernard Shaw said:
"Reasonable men adapt to the world. Unreasonable men adapt the world to themselves . That's why all progress depends on unreasonable men"

In regards to my "self-loathing". I am a regulator, and my self critical look at the task probably makes me a much better regulator. A little humility is always welcome, regardless of your discipline.

In regards to cigars and brandy vs. timbits and coke. If you are doing it with the Timbits, you are already with the hoi polloi.

I wonder if Obama actually ate his elephant ear...?

Someone should ask Ignatieff the price of a dozen eggs or a loaf of bread. Maybe he should study up just in case.

Ti-Guy said...

The Gedankenexperiment was not to *be* a soft drink, Tomm.

...good God, the provinces...

Tomm said...

Sorry, I guess I was being a puppy dog again.

I'll go back to being a cat.

What do you expect from someone raised in Edmonton?

Sir Francis said...

I am a regulator...

...and there goes your libertarian cred leaping into the shredder!

You mean you've spent all your rhetorical energy damning a process that puts food on your table? Wow. That's low... ;)

Someone should ask Ignatieff the price of a dozen eggs or a loaf of bread.

Indeed--as an alternative to asking questions about things that matter.

Someone should ask Stephen Harper how his psychic hairdresser has interpreted the Line of Fortune on the palm on his right hand. It might help take some of the suspense out of the next election.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

You said:

"......and there goes your libertarian cred leaping into the shredder!"

Yeah, I guess so. I can rationalize this...

Only a smallish part of my job is in regulation...

I'm more of a manager...

professional public service is always an honourable calling...

Given the circumstances, I can do more good on this side of the table...

etc. etc.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

In regards to the price of a bushel of wheat or a loaf of bread, it actually does matter.

You forget that we still live in a democracy, of sorts.

Your fantasy Canada has yet to become a reality.

Canadian's don't like their leaders not knowing what's affecting them on a day to day basis. . Also, they get a little puzzled when their leaders don't even know what brand of car they drive. It isn't like its toothpaste or cereal.

People don't vote for that sort of thing.

Canadian's thought Dion's leather backpack was cool until they realized that it was just an elitist affectation.

Ti-Guy said...

What do you expect from someone raised in Edmonton?I don't know. I grew up thinking Edmonton was an urban oasis and an outpost of Canadian civilisation in the middle of nowhere. A testament to our collective will to exert sovereignty across this great nation. The Saint Petersburg of Canada, as it were.

I only learned as an adult that the Albertan elite tell the population something quite different about what we Easterners think of them.

Tomm said...

Ti-Guy,

You brought tears to my eyes.

I remember the hopefulness that I felt when Trudeau was first elected (I was a politically aware kid).

I never realized Edmonton held that place in the eastern soul.

We always thought you guys were arrogant pricks...(just kidding)

Ti-Guy said...

I never realized Edmonton held that place in the eastern soul.

Well, for me it did. Growing up in that vast expanse of Northern Ontario, the only city of consequence being...*urg, Sudbury...it seemed to embodidy the promise of Northern urban life.

Sir Francis said...

embodidy[!]

Oh man. That's worse than "uneducable" (which is, at least, idiomatically common, if not strictly Standard)... ;)

As for childhood notions of Canada, I must confess to being a typical product of 1970's Montreal: I felt as if Montreal were the centre of not Canada only but of the world. It never occurred to me that things of import were happening elsewhere. Even the U.S. I experienced mainly through television seemed utterly trivial to me. Frankly, my perspective has not altered appreciably since then.

Ti-Guy said...

embodidy[!]

Oh man. That's worse than "uneducable" (which is, at least, idiomatically common, if not strictly Standard)... ;)
Gimme a break. I speak five languages and can, in fact, describe the phonology and morphology of at least a hundred more.

Let's call an end to this petty little feud, shall we? Otherwise, it'll be game on the next you use the word "eleemosynary."

Sir Francis said...

...it'll be game on the next [time] you use the word "eleemosynary."

Heh. Am I precluded from using the word even when quoting from the relevant section of the BNA Act?

Agreed: I won't [sic] my dogs on you, if you don't [sic] your dogs on me. There's plenty of real illiteracy to ridicule--mercilessly--without wasting time on the insignificant gaffes of a pentaglot. To paraphrase Joyce, the genius cannot make an error: his mistakes are volitional and serve as the portals to discovery. Who knows? That may even apply to you too... ;)

Just out of interest: how many of your languages, if any, did you teach yourself? And do you have a passable Elvish?

Ti-Guy said...

I didn't teach any of them myself. I studied them in school and then immersed myself (German in Düsseldorf, Italian in Firenze, Spanish in Santiago de Cuba, English in Da Swisha, and French in Rapide-Danseur, aka the Aix-en-Provence of Abitibi-Témiscamingue).

Are you accusing me of being a...*gasp*...autodidact?

And I don't have a passable Elvish. Nor Esperanto, for that matter.

Sir Francis said...

Are you accusing me of being a...*gasp*...autodidact?

Well, yes. North Americans who wish to learn much have usually to teach much of it to themselves. Compared to Western Europe, we have the pedagogical infrastructure of an anthill, and we're glad of it.

Let's hope Tomm doesn't miss his cue to browbeat you for knowing too much and thinking you're better than those who are comfortable with and proud of their bovine nescience.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

I don't know what "bovine nescience" means, so I will take a pass.

Ti-Guy said...

Compared to Western Europe, we have the pedagogical infrastructure of an anthill, and we're glad of it.

Have you ever been to Europe and had a conversation with an average European?

Oh, wait...you went to Belgium last year, your first time in Europe, isn't that right?

Seriously, SF...just how "worldly" are you?

Sir Francis said...

...just how "worldly" are you?

Not very. I've often been called "otherworldly", though--if that helps.

I'm worldly enough to feel comfortable in the assumption that a German twenty-year-old will, when queried on the time-span of the Second World War, answer accurately rather than offering the kind of mute, blank stare I've often gotten from even the best of my own students.

Just last month, I had a student lament the lot of the "draftees" whom we've sent to Afghanistan, blissfully unaware that ours is a volunteer force and always has been, even in times of total war.

I have the odd notion that this difference may owe something to the fact that North America, while messianic in its espousal of the virtues of technical certification, has become virtually anti-humanist.

Of course, mine is just the cursorily-drawn opinion born of over a decade spent desperately trying to convince the South Park generation that reading books is not just for "fags". Perhaps I simply overrate the value of knowing stuff. I'm not very well socialised, I'm afraid--on top of being unworldly.

Ti-Guy said...

Perhaps I simply overrate the value of knowing stuff.

To be quite honest, I really don't think you try to teach as much as you should or are capable of.

If you want to teach...TEACH! These 20 year-olds don't know anything because we don't teach them anything. All they see are people like ATY, sitting in their rusting suits of armour, whining about how Canada died 20 years ago. What kind of example is that?

Sir Francis said...

I really don't think you try to teach as much as you should or are capable of.

If you would like to test your hypothesis, I would be glad to have you audit one of my courses. Your observation seems rather (atypically) glib.

These 20 year-olds don't know anything because we don't teach them anything.

That's precisely what I meant by us having the "pedagogical infrastructure of an anthill": our institutions are failing the students badly.

As for myself, I do try; I even provide tuition on issues that lie far outside my specialty.

I'm a literature professor, remember. I shouldn't need to give extensive lectures on history at all, but I find that my students require a basic grounding in it.

In adjusting my approach to suit their lack, I have often had to do less pure literature in order to cover the kind of history they should have gotten in high school. How does one teach Milton to people utterly unaware that England had a civil war?

In consequence, students often come to my office hours wanting to talk at more length about things I said in class that, while unrelated to literature, shocked them or contradicted what they had seen on TV. I'm delighted to do it, but I would rather not need to do it. I got into this work in order to talk about the glories of T.S. Eliot, not to inform Canada's intellectual élite (for such are they who make it to university) about fundamental aspects of their society

Sir Francis said...

Oh, and Ti--about the "giving up on Canada" nonsense: you'll remember that I wrote a passionate comment denouncing that sentiment.

Contrary to appearances, ATY and I are not the same creature. We have been seen at different locations, in different provinces, at the same time…

Ti-Guy said...

Still..If you want to teach...teach. Every hour of the day, teach.

Teach ATY, teach Tomm, teach me. Teach.

Sir Francis said...

...teach Tomm...

"Teach Tomm"? Whoa. I'm just a lowly blogger, not Annie Sullivan...

Aeneas the Younger said...

The thirst is there at times. I taught at McMaster for two years, and I saw some students come alive when they realised how short-changed they were in High School. However, they were shocked as to how much they had been deceived by the educational curriculum.

Alas, they were a strict minority. The rest just wanted to get their grades "and get ahead" at any cost - preferably as low a cost as possible.

They were perfect little utilitarians they was ...

At any rate, why do I give-up on Canada? Not because there is no fight in my heart, but because most Canadians don't seem to know enough about their history and culture to care.

All they want it more - preferably from Wal-Mart.

When we end-up in pointless arguments over the FACTS of Canadian History (verifiable, and undisputed facts ...), because so many Canadians conflate Americanisms and American History with Canada and Canadian History it all becomes too much to bear.

I am a tolerant individual, but I cannot tolerate a manifest & quite deliberate ignorance and stupidity.

When poltroons like DBT do not even know about such fundamentals as "The National Policy" and crow-on about Free-Trade I reach the end-of-the-line.

Yes, Sir Francis may harbour a somewhat greater sense of optimism than I do, I strongly suspect that even he reaches his limit on a daily basis.

What would you have me do? Become a Liberal? That's what got us into this mess in the first place. The antidote to Canadian liberalism is not more of the same, son.

When my only choice is between Harper and Ignatieff do you blame me for being pessimistic?

A choice between two pro-American continentalists - how grand!

Aeneas the Younger said...

You know, there used to be a time in Canada when we listened to the educated and learned from them.

Now, everybody has an opinion - and needs it heard, no matter how wrong he/she may be about the issues.

God forbid you should actually show them up and fracture their feeble arguments. No one has the right to be correct and corrode anyone else's self-esteem!

Demonstrating stupidity is the new virtue.

We see it everyday out here in the blogosphere.

Ti-Guy said...

and crow-on about Free-Trade I reach the end-of-the-lineYou can lament about the ignorant rubes' enthusiasm for free trade all you want, but you're wasting your time. You and people like you should be taking that argument up with the neoliberal economists (like that fucking Andrew Coyne, that fucking Terrence Corcoran, that über-fucking Diane Francis) whose unbridled, quasi-sexual lust for globalisation is never challenged effectively.

You know, there used to be a time in Canada when we listened to the educated and learned from them.A whole generation of boomer academics is responsible for that. For some reason, they became convinced that, just because truth is a construct, it's not even worth looking for anymore.

Thank God I finished university just as these people started getting tenure.

Sir Francis said...

...[their] unbridled, quasi-sexual lust for globalisation is never challenged effectively.

"Never"? On the levels of popular journalism and public advocacy, I think McQuaig, Klein and Barlow are, if not always persuasive, then at least "effective". They are out-numbered, not out-argued.

...they became convinced that, just because truth is a construct, it's not even worth looking for anymore.

Actually, the reigning attitude these days is an absurd permutation of that: the truth may be a construct, and it's not worth looking for. Their epistemology is equivocal; their cynicism is absolute.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Truth?

What's that?

They would rather deconstruct process. Or as Ellul would call it: "technique".

As we all know the mastery of technique is the liberal method. One cannot assail their logic, for it is unassailable.

However, it ain't moral.

How can one put forward a moral argument in an era devoid of a common morality.

It is very difficult to carry the day with a pre-industrial morality during the post-industrial age.

Ti-Guy said...

I think McQuaig, Klein and Barlow are, if not always persuasive, then at least "effective".

I disagree. They're not effective because they're not arguing in the same language the neoliberal economists are (although that's a catch 22...learning modern economics is actually indoctrination). In any case, all three of them should get together to establish a coordinated strategy: Week one, take out Andrew Coyne. Week two, nuke Tom D'Aquino. Week three, have Diane Francis deported, Week four, Kill Terrence Corcoran's dog, Week five...Dig up Milton Friedman's corpse and subject it to indignities.

...y'know, that kind of thing ;)

the truth may be a construct, and it's not worth looking for.

I can't possibly understand that mentality; it is completely alien.

Although I had an adviser for a reading course in undergrad like that. A complete career animal who eventually crashed and burned and moved back to the States (where she belonged).

Sir Francis said...

They're not effective because they're not arguing in the same language the neoliberal economists are (although that's a catch 22)...

Exactly. Once you've internalised the ideology and deployed its grammar, you've neutralised the sting of your critique. The most common tactic--using the system's premises to reveal the system's internal contradictions--merely seems nihilist and sophistic. And it scares people.

Consider Chomsky, a man who has been making eminent sense for years but whose perspectives are inadmissible to Americans because their implications are simply too profound. Logical? Yes. Bearable? No.

Chomsky's "law of concision" applies as well. Modern media--both visual and print--require that you make your point within a matter of a few seconds, the viewers'/readers' presumed tolerance threshold. To do this, one must assert what is already received opinion; those who dare to be "original" will sometimes assert something "fresh" that flows easily from popular prejudice.

One cannot, though, propose anything that violates popular consensus: to do so would require the establishment of a context and a thorough explanatory framework. One cannot do that within the bounds of concision. After the third sentence (it is believed), Joe Lunchbox will thumb away from your piece in order to see how the Blue Jays are doing.

Of course, much of the law of concision is based on the self-serving cynicism of marketers. It's a patronising rationale with which to justify the marginalisation of news and the maximisation of advertising/infotainment: "the masses can't handle the hard stuff; we need to give them what they want".

Nonsense. My mother is as apolitical and "ordinary" a bourgeoise as you're going to find, and she religiously sits down with her daily newspaper and reads it front to back (while skipping the Sports section, of course). No Chomskyite she, but she regularly and bitterly complains of the superficiality and irrelevance of much of what she reads.

Thus, we go back to what I said about North America (and what you disembowelled me for)—the fact that our doctrinal institutions seem designed to infantilise us.

A complete career animal who eventually crashed and burned and moved back to the States...

That's a common tale. If you want to measure the densest available localised occurrence of alcoholism, divorce, depression, heart disease, premature death and suicide, spend some time in the lounge of a CEGEP/college/university faculty. It's pretty grim.

Ti-Guy said...

Thus, we go back to what I said about North America (and what you disembowelled me for)—the fact that our doctrinal institutions seem designed to infantilise us.

What do you mean by doctrinal institutions? I believe the infantilisation is a requirement of commerce and (this will sound horribly sexist) exacerbated by female professionals insufficiently critical of each other's work.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Trust me, academe is doctrinal. When I was in grad school, you would get support if you were a neo-marxist or a neo-liberal.

No one was interested in supporting a perspectives outside of those broad categories.

This is not sour grapes at all, but my experience. I had a South African-born thesis advisor who told me that I could go far "if you were willing to be less of a tory and more liberal" (both used in classic sense of the terms).

He even advised to do so even if I was just putting in appearances, as that would be the most likely way to win internal support and external grants. So basically, he was asking me to play "the game."

This represented the first of many compromises that liberalism asks you to make. If you want the money and promotions, you must go along. Deviants do not proceed; they are not allowed to.

This opened my eyes to the fact that Grant - again - was essentially correct when it came to decoding the universalism that is liberalism.

Sir Francis said...

I believe the infantilisation is a requirement of commerce...

Yes, evidently--but not of commerce as such, I should think.

Clearly, non-capitalist, pre-industrial commercial practices such as potlatch and barter need not be driven by infantilisation. It is the current blissful collective ignorance of the transactional realities behind our post-industrial commerce that require the societal infantilisation we speak of.

I believe that our doctrinal institutions (e.g. media, education systems, research institutes, think-tanks, etc.), qua agenda-setting engines, are totally complicit in that infantilisation.

Ti-Guy said...

Yes, evidently--but not of commerce as such, I should think.

No, not as such. Just the type required by this economy.