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Sullivan on Being a Conservative vs. a Reactionary


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#1 LFC

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 11:49 AM

Sullivan discusses his conservative views but admits the temptation of going reactionary. Personally I believe he is over inflating the impact of the hard PC left. Yes, they have some impact but statements like this are way too broad brushed:

Quote

To watch this version of the left capture all of higher education and the mainstream media, to see the increasing fury and ambition of its proponents, could make a reactionary of nearly anyone who’s not onboard with this radical project.

"All of higher education?" Yet 90% of examples seem to be a handful of schools like UC Berkley or Stanford. "All of the mainstream media?" Their failures to call out lies of the right are legion as they bend over backwards, forwards, and sideways to be "balanced." He also seems to have a big blind spot. He talks about the human nature involved with the right-wing reactionism but fails to have an equal understanding of left-wing reactionism, much of it exploding after literally centuries of oppression.

Still the piece has a lot of good points and I think it's worth a read.
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#2 AnBr

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:49 PM

As they say, reality has a liberal bias.
“Trump’s a stupid man’s idea of a smart person, a poor man’s idea of a rich person & a weak man’s idea of a strong man.”

— Fran Lebowitz


“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

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Pray for Trump: Psalm 109:8

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
1995


“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

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On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe


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Second inaugural address January, 1937

#3 golden_valley

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 12:03 PM

Overall Sullivan seems to conclude that reactionaries wouldn't be reactionaries without something to react too. That seems true.
It's just human nature.

Quote

...smugness, self-righteousness, and dogmatism...
Sullivan uses these words in connection with the "current left." Those words also apply to his reactionary right people too.

Quote

Many leftists somehow believe that sustained indoctrination will work in abolishing human nature, and when it doesn’t, because it can’t, they demonize those who have failed the various tests of PC purity as inherently wicked. In the end, the alienated and despised see no reason not to gravitate to ever-more extreme positions. They support people and ideas simply because they piss off their indoctrinators. And, in the end, they reelect Trump. None of this is necessary. You can be in favor of women’s equality without buying into the toxicity of men; you can support legal immigration if the government gets serious about stopping illegal immigration; you can be inclusive of trans people without abolishing the bimodality of human sex and gender; you can support criminal-justice reform without believing — as the New York Times now apparently does — that America is an inherently racist invention, founded in 1619 and not 1775.

Are there that "many" leftists? Or do the ones that hold those extreme beliefs just get more media coverage, in particular right wing media coverage? And doesn't it seem like the right wing reactionaries see those that don't conform to their standards and beliefs as inherently wicked too?

Conservative reactionaries are more sympathetic to Sullivan.

#4 gmat

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 11:24 AM

Sullivan: I don’t believe these things but there are many people who believe these things and you can’t really blame them because leftists.

#5 indy

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 11:51 AM

Isn't this just the universal chant of the emotionally stunted? You made me do it!

#6 baw1064

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 03:14 PM

Quote

But what are “permanent and natural limits” to transformation? Here are a couple: humanity’s deep-seated tribalism and the natural differences between men and women. It seems to me that you can push against these basic features of human nature, you can do all you can to counter the human preference for an in-group over an out-group, you can create a structure where women can have fully equal opportunities — but you will never eradicate these deeper realities.


He's too much of a social scientist for my taste. The truly fundamental limits have to do with the size and resources of the Earth, not with human nature, which over a sufficiently long time period is malleable. If it becomes a sufficiently compelling survival advantage for humans to become less tribal or define gender relations differently, then it will happen--in the same way that bipedalism, writing, agriculture, and cities came into being. All of these things were at least as disruptive to the existing order of society at the time as anything we're talking about now.

The most fundamental choice in my view, is between fearing the future, and embracing it (with some degree of trying to guide it to happen in a minimally-disruptive way).
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#7 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 03:48 PM

View Postbaw1064, on 18 August 2019 - 03:14 PM, said:

Quote

Here are a couple: humanity’s deep-seated tribalism and the natural differences between men and women.


Of course, those are themselves interpretations of reality, not reality themselves. The easiest to identify is the "differences between men and women" at anything other than the gross physiological level, which have always been understood differently by just about every society everywhere. Which ones are the eternal and immutable ones?

Likewise "tribalism" has always existed as soon as you got more than a few clans together. Today, the favored "tribal" markers seem to be pigmentation, but at other times and in other places the shape of the ear, the shape of the head, you name it was the true determinant between "them" and "us." Strangely, it seems to be like magnetic zones in crystals: not inherent, but a state that arises absent external stimulus.
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#8 AnBr

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 05:26 PM

Quote

humanity’s deep-seated tribalism and the natural differences between men and women.

I thought he was gay. His tribalism wants to condemn him and his kind. His tribalism also endorsed institutional slavery based on race. His tribalism led to strange fruit. His tribalism led to one of history's bloodiest civil wars. Sounds more like he is trying to rationalize the immorality. The more he goes on the less respect I have for him.
“Trump’s a stupid man’s idea of a smart person, a poor man’s idea of a rich person & a weak man’s idea of a strong man.”

— Fran Lebowitz


“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

— Carl Sagan


Pray for Trump: Psalm 109:8

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
1995


“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

— H.L. Mencken
On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Second inaugural address January, 1937

#9 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 05:33 PM

I've never rated Sullivan.
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#10 indy

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 07:13 PM

I think he got a lot more credit from the left than he deserved for a few heterodox views he had, especially with regard to the many forms of institutional (religious and secular) bigotry practiced by his friends on the right. He's a good writer and he was a tireless aggregator of all things political when he did his blog. Now half of that is gone.

#11 Probabilistic

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 07:38 PM

Are you guys faulting Andrew for histrionics? Tsk! Tsk!

#12 golden_valley

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 07:42 PM

View Postindy, on 18 August 2019 - 07:13 PM, said:

I think he got a lot more credit from the left than he deserved for a few heterodox views he had, especially with regard to the many forms of institutional (religious and secular) bigotry practiced by his friends on the right. He's a good writer and he was a tireless aggregator of all things political when he did his blog. Now half of that is gone.

I quite enjoyed his column for a while though his pursuit of the Sarah Palin childbirth story was pretty strange. He got gay marriage, which he wanted badly, but he still craves the approbation of conservatives.





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