Hildegarde

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Archive for July, 2009

Getting A Message from Karl

with 3 comments

So, Robert says:

>>With due respect for Locke, he is NOT where rights begin. Try Runnymede, only they weren’t new then.<<<

But  I didn’t say rights started with  Locke–in fact, I’ve said several times on th is blog that rights are not invented by human beings, but inhere in the person whether human beings choose to recognize them or not.  Rights are true statements about a human nature that is fixed, not a social construct in any way.

What I did say was that the formulation of rights as found in the Declaration and elsewhere at the American founding derived from  Locke–and it did.   The formulation “life, liberty and property” was an invention of seventeenth and eighteenth century Enlightenment philosophy–it didn’t invent the fact of rights, but it did invent that particular way of talking about them.

And it’s impossible to spend ten seconds looking into the things Jefferson,  Madison, Adams, Franklin and the rest of them wrote without seeing that they were well acquainted with that philosophy and determined to use it in their design of the new government. 

If I was going to pull for my particular little patch of intellectual ground, I’d be pulling for literature, not philosophy–but literature is secondary to philosophy, as is history.  Neither literature nor history can be written at all without their writers assuming a philosophical position.

I think it makes more sense–Jefferson and Madison thought it made more sense–to assume that philosophical position consciously, rather than by default.

But it occurs to me that the time has come for me to recommend a book.  Usually, I just sort of mention books and talk about them and take the attitude that you can take them or leave them, but I want to take this one and jump up and down on the heads of everybody and say “read this!  read this!”

The book is The Open Society and Its Enemies, by Karl Popper.  I bought my copy of it almost ten years ago, or maybe longer, and at that time it was sold in two volumes.  The first covered Plato to Hegel.  The second started, I think, with Marx and came on down to Popper’s present, which was around the time of World  War  II.

It’s a famous book, so I’m sure it’s still in print somewhere and in some form, but the point here is this:  Popper was a philosopher of considerable influence in his time (and since, in at least some quarters) and his book takes on that part of the philosophical tradition that seem to advocate for an authoritarian, centrally-controlled society under the direction of one form of ruling elite or another. 

Popper saw, before anybody else was willing to, the connections between Fascism and Communism.  He became famous for isolating “falsifiability” as the distinctive attritube of scientific inquiry–note, he didn’t invent falsifiability, he just noticed and codified it. 

But The Open Society and Its Enemies is largely about political philosophy, and specifically that history of political philosophy that begins with Plato and lands us with Marx.  It’s one of the most impressive documents of anti-Communist liberalism, with “liberalism” here used in the American sense, although Popper was a Brit and eventually knighted.

It’s sometimes difficult for us to remember that people like Popper existed, never mind that it was once the norm among liberals to be almost more vigorously anti-Communist than conservatives were.   There’s an entire stretch of the political history of the Anglophone sphere that we’ve just lost, as if it never existed, and yet it explains a good deal about why the FDR consensus lasted as long as it did.

Popper, Sidney  Hook, Arthur  Schlesinger, Jr.  Almost any one of them comes closer to what modern day conservatives say they think they’re doing than the anti-democratic Edmund Burke.  And yet it’s Burke I keep getting hit with whenever I look through conservative web sites. 

It’s a good thing that most Americans aren’t going to be bothered to read through Burke’s dense prose to figure out that what he actually thought not only of the French revolution but of the American one was that not only were revolutions bad things, but so were societies where “the people” were presumed to be able to rule.  They couldn’t really do it, and the result would always be undesirable.

What The Open  Society and Its Enemies at least tries to do is to explain why an authoritarian tradition in Western philosophy ever developed at all, and how that philsophy was composed and how it functions in history–and will continue to function, if it is not faced directly.

It can be very effective, in the short term, to counter the depredations of authoritarianism by pointing to the dire effects it has had when it’s been tried in history.

In the long term, though, by doing that you’re treating the symptom and not the disease, and the disease will be back and in a more virulent form before you have a chance to take a good deep breath. 

Written by janeh

July 20th, 2009 at 7:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Disappearing Act

with one comment

First, conratulations to Lee.  I’m so used to thing of Derrida and company as plagues of the English Department that I forget that at least some of them started out as philosophers.

It’s enough to make your head ache.

As to the Founding Fathers of the United States, however, there is simply no way that an examination of what they wrote–both publicly and privately–would support the idea that they constructed this government on the basis of their understanding of history and not of philosophy, or even of history primarily rather than philosophy primarily.

The concept of rights as they exist in the Declaration and in the  Constitution is not historical.  It comes straight out of the work of John Locke, whom the Founders knew and knew well, as they knew Liebnitz and  Rousseau.   They knew both Plato and Aristotle, too, and Cicero and Seneca.

Did history inform the decisions they made about this government?  Of course it did, as it should.  But the design of this government was an exercise in philosophy, and an educated guess that that philosophy of Locke–Locke’s “what should be”–was workable in real life.

The problem here, for me, is this:  rights are a hard sell.  People don’t like them.  In fact, vitually nobody does.  At this moment, neither political party has any inention of honoring rights as they are formulated in this Constitution, and I have my doubts if any government of the US ever managed to honor them fully.

Freedom of speech?  Wonderful idea.  Except it shouldn’t mean that people can say things that are unpatriotic, or that are “hate speech.”  Freedom of the press?  Excellent–but that was never intended to protect child pornographers, or people who want to argue that drugs should be legalized, or people who insult other people’s religions, or people who argue that some races are more intelligent than others. 

And on and on and on.

One of the things I’ve been doing over the last few years is constructing a curriculum that could serve as a full, multi-year course in American civilization, meant for the elementary-through-high-school on the assumption that it might make sense to teach this stuff if only so that succeeding generations could know what they were rejecting.

But yesterday, something came to my attention that seems to me to present the exact sort of problem we need philosophy to solve–that we DESPERATELY need philosophy to solve.

Because it’s only philosophy that can provide the intellectual framework for and foundation of rights.   Rights are creatures of philosophy.  They could not have come into the consciousnesses of human beings in any other way.

Now to the incident, which some of you have already heard of, because I was blithering about it on Facebook yesterday.

What happened, as near as anybody can tell, is this:  Amazon sold a number of books by  George Orwell to their Kindle users.  It was later determined that the third party seller offering these books did not have the right to offer them for sale, and the literary estate of Orwell, or the publisher, or whoever holds the actual copyrights these days, objected.

So Amazon deleted these books from their customers’ Kindles and refunded their money.

Think about that.  You’ve bought a book.   You think you own it.  You get up one morning, try to read it–and find that someone has wiped it clean and you no longer do in fact own it.

If you ever did.

Now do the kind of apocalyptic thinking I’m fond of–imagine a world where Kindles or related devices are the primary way in which books are distributed and read, and then think of a government that decides it doesn’t want its citizens reading X.

Say what you will about “dead tree technology,” as somebody put it yesterday, but once I produce the physical books and put them in your hands, they’re virtually untracable and ineradicable.  That’s why book burnings are always largely symbolic.

It is part of human nature that human beings feel a drive to ontrol their environments–and in the range of human personalities, some will want more control than others.

It is also true that part of our environments consists in the people in them, and that there is no possibility in the real world that we will ever reach a state when we will need to exert no control at all.

The police are a necessary institution–without some such institution, murder and rape and robbery would be routine.  Free markets could not exist unless we were able to provide some protection against fraud, and they don’t work well if we don’t provide some prevention as well as some punishment once the fraud has been committed.

Unfortunately, once we allow any control at all, we put ourselves in danger of being swallowed by too much of it.  Control feeds on itself. 

Rights, as conceived by Locke, are attempts to curb that feeding. They don’t last long unless we understand what they are and how they function, and that means we need to understand at least some philosophy. 

The better course would be to understand a lot of it–but for the purposes of my  primary and secondary curriculum, I could probably get away with starting in the seventeenth century and throwing in those specific ancient philosophers that the Founders also read.  Those were, after all, part of the standard ciriculum for secondary school and  university in this country at the time of the Founding, and for many decades after it. 

There are a lot of issues these days which hinge on our understanding of rights–government health care reform, home schooling, even private clubs that want to admit only Albanian men and allow smoking.  Hell, there’s the issue of smoking in your own home, if you happen to have children living there–and, of course, the rationale for things like the drug war.

Locke presented a concept of rights and a concept of government that had never existed before in history, and we at least tried to put it into practice.  

What’s more, we did this fully conscious of what it was we were doing.  We were, we said, providing novus ordo seclorum–a new order of the ages.

Written by janeh

July 19th, 2009 at 6:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Blood to Drink

with 3 comments

So, my day started-well, it started before it was a day, actually, when the brownout hit around three o’clock.  The full scale power outage made it in at four thirty. 

That last one was the kicker, because of course I  had a couple of freezers full of food, and the power company kept telling me they’d have the power back on by about…oh, maybe quarter after eleven.

It actually worked out all right, because if you have lots of food frozen solid in a freezer and never open the doors, it takes more than half a day for anything to even start thawing out, so we weren’t hit too badly.

But I couldn’t use the computer or otherwise distract myself, so as soon as the day got light enough for me to read, I sat down and devoured a huge hunk of this book I’ve been reading, by Yvor Winters.   It’s actually four short books all collected into a single volume, which I usually don’t like.  But four or five years ago, when I went looking for the one book  I wanted–Maule’s  Curse:  Four Studies in American  Obscurantism–this was the only wa to get it. 

Winters is not only exactly the kind of critic most present-day academics in literature think they’re rebelling against, he was the critic most Fifties New  Critics were rebelling against.  The interesting thing is that he’s still in print at all.

At any rate, me being the person I am, when I finally sat down to read this thing, I  sat down to read it all, all four of the included volumes.   It’s just an odd coincidence that this morning, when I had all this time to read and think, I’d actually just reached the text of Maule’s  Curse itself.   “God will give you blood to drink,” Matthew Maule says to old Judge  Pyncheon at the beginning of The House of the Seven Gables, and in this case both Maule and Hawthorne knew what they were talking about.

I want to go back to a point Robert rased a couple of posts ago and that I have raised several times myself–that the great destructive power of one strand of philosophical thinking in the West (the Plato/Rousseau/Marx strand) is caused by the assumption that you can turn human beings into anything you want them to be–that the power of nuture is absolute over the power of nature.

The intellectual history of the United States begins in  Puritan New England.  Much of the general history of the United States starts there, too, but for whatever reason, the other and contemporary settlements didn’t throw up much in the way of theology, philosophy, poetry or art.  They would, later, but especially in the seventeenth century, they were a little slow to get started.

The thing to remember about Puritanism is that its purity lay not in strict moral adherence to absolute definitions of virtue and sin, but in strict adherence, often to the point of incoherence, to the doctrine of predestination.

The Puritans were, in a way, the ultimate anti-Romantics.  If the Romantics believed that men and women could be changed into anything at all–pacifist vegetarians who would never even consider going to war, for instance–the Puritans believed that men and women could not be changed at all, ever.  God had decided the fate of every human person before the beginning of time.

But here’s the thing.  The Puritans may have believed that, or said they did, but they did not behave as if they believed it.  They established laws and punishments on the assumption that such things would serve as deterrents to prospective criminals.   They constructed school curricula on the assumption that such curricula had an effect on the kind of men and women children would grow into.  

Jonathan Edwards was a very late Puritan–a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin, not the Salem witch trials–but he wrote a book, called Freedom of the Will, proving that human beings have none.   He also preached a very vigorous revival in the First Great  Awakening, and quite obviously thought it was possible for men and women to be converted by being persuaded by sermons.

In other words, it’s not just philosophers who think that men and women can be changed by their environment–it’s everybody. 

I know I’ve tended to use “think they can chane human nature” as a handy way of categorizing the Romantic impulse in morals and politics, but I’ve been less than correct.  

The  Romantics didn’t think they could change human nature, any more than  John Locke did.  They thought human nature was something different than Locke thought it was.  And they were more wrong than Locke was, but let’s put that aside for a moment.

Philosophy is the project of applying reason to the understanding of life on earth–all life, from its material base to its ethical base to its political arrangements and on around again.

Political philosophy is the project of applying reason to the workings of governments.

Rousseau is a philosopher, but so is Locke–they came up with different prescriptions for the governments of men, but they were both engaged in the same activity when they did it.

Their differences are partially ones of assumptions–Locke was much less sanguine about the goodness of mankind than Locke could be–but partially ones of calculation.  And the calculations are crucial.

All philosophers look at the world and see the same things in terms of base data, the same things the rest of us see.  They see that there is a lot of violence and pain, that men and women ruin themselves and each other with stupidity and avarice and spite.   They see that some men live better than others and hold power, and that often these men not only seem to have done nothing to deserve their good fortune, but to exhibit qualities that make such good fortune a slap in the face of justice.

They see that some people work hard all their lives and barely manage to feed themselves and their families, while others work not at all and get anything and everything they want.  In their time, they would have seen–as Plato and Aristotle saw–that some men live in bondage to others, that some are used worse than animals as slaves in mines and quarries. 

They see rape, and murder, and theft, and torture, and–especially from the perspective of nearly 300 years ago–endless wars that on second look seem completely senseless, and that destroy entire peoples, lay waste to the landscape, and make all but a very small group of people on the winning side worse off than when they started. 

They see, as well, wars of religion, and religious persecutions–one human being torturing, murdering, thieving against another in the name of upholding the honor of  God. 

We’ve come a long way since the eighteenth century.  We’ve improved our technlogy to the point where casual starvation is no longer common, where famines are rare.  We’ve improved our understanding of the way men live under governments so that we’ve managed to minimize–but not eliminate–that problems of injustice in inequality of outcome.

But given that this is what all philosophers see, the fact that all philosophers think that human nature is at least in some degree and in some directions malleable is tautological–of course they do.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be philosophers.  What would be the point of engaging in political philosophy if you couldn’t improve the lives of human beings from what you see around you?

John Locke and  Ayn Rand want to make radical changes in society just as much as Plato and Rousseau do, they just want to make different changes, and they consider as “problems to be solved” different things.

It makes no sense, to me, for Americans to decide that philosophy is nothing but destructive and worthless trash that should be removed from the “core curriculum,” because while the Puritans and the Romantics wer fighting it out in New England, the Virginians were reading Locke and–yes–Rousseau. 

And on that basis they managed to found a government that was the first ever concceived and constructed on the basis of philosophy–and we’re still here. 

Like it or not, Philosophy  R Us.  You need philosophy to build the gulags, but you also need it to build the Bill of Rights.

Of course, the philosophy that had its brief vogue during and directly after the American Revolution has never been particularly popular–and I would guess a full, whole-hearted acceptance of its principles was close to nonexistent even at the time.

One of the exercise I like to do in some of my classes is to assign a set of readings from the period–Federalist papers, letters, public procolamations, etc–on two subjects:  the right of the people to bear arms, and the separation of church and state.

I’ll absolutely guarantee you I make nobody happy.  The right wing guys are happy about guns–whee! they did mean an individual right to gun ownership–but appalled at how very much support there is for a strict separation of church and state, and even more appalled at how hostile so many of these men were to traditional Christianity.

The left wing people are happy with the separation of church and state until they realize that this meant that individuals and nongovernmental organizations had an absolute right to hire and fire people based on their religion, and they don’t know what to do with the gun rights thing at all.

Then there’s freedom of speech, which absolutely nobody but a few fanatics ever seems to actually believe in.  Most of us believe in “freedom of speech, but…”  “But not if it’s child pornography.”  “But not if it’s unpatriotic.”  “But not if it’s hate speech.”

I’m going to go back to Yvor Winters for a while.

I do want to point out that the first half of thise was written yesterday, and at about the point of that last paragraph about Jonathan Edwards we had a second power outage, this one also lasting five hours, and  I had to stop.

But today looks pretty, so I have my fingers crossed.

Written by janeh

July 18th, 2009 at 7:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Typicals

with 3 comments

There was supposed to be a post yesterday.  I even know what I  wanted to say in it.  I just wanted to write it on a better, and faster, computer than the one I have at home, so I put it off until I could run into school and get some time on the machines there.

Then, the way these things always work, I never got a chance to run in  at all. 

As it turned out, though, it brought me an epiphany, and the only thing that surprises me is that I was at all surprised.

I think that none of you has actually met a Nurse Ratchett. 

I shouldn’t be surprised at this, since in the experience of my own life, Ratchetts have been blessedly rare.   I think I’ve only met two of them face to face, and only one who was in a position to focus on me.

In the nasty situation I am presently in, there are plenty of people whose only concern is to save the institution–but not one of those people is a Ratchett, and the Ratchett involved in this, the one who started it and the one who keeps it going, is not only not working to preserve the insitution, but she’s perfectly willing to see the institution go smash as long as she gets what she wants, which is personal, individual power.

Perrsonal and individual.

What characterizes a Ratchett is not just that she wants power–there are plenty of power hungry jerks in the world–but that the kind of poer she wants.

A Ratchett wants to stand directly in front of her victim, look him in the face, and watch him writhe and squirm and finally capitulate, to accept his pleading assurances that all he wants is to please her, he finds her the one true friend he has ever had, everything she wants is good and true.

A Ratchett would find ordering about a crowd distinctly unsatisfying.   From everything I’ve read about Hitler, he was not a Ratchett in any way. 

I’ve worked in academic instiutions half my life.  I’ve never met an administrator who was a Ratchett.  I  know the kind of enforcers Robert is talking about–but they’re not Ratchetts.   They’re ruthless, and morally stupid.   They’re martinets.  But their object is to maintain the institution at all costs. 

A Ratchett’s object is the writhe and squirm, the breaking of an individual human will, by herself, in her presence, and for itself. 

If you want an Ayn Rand character for reference, it’s not her “second-raters,” but Ivy Starnes from the tramp’s story at the end of Atlas Shrugged.

It’s almost like an odd, fundamentally depraved form of sexual orientation–and, in a way, that makes the Ratchett far more dangerous than martinet administrators or politicians who’ll lie through their teeth to get into office.  

Most of us can’t even imagine wwanting to do to other human beings what the Ratchetts want to do to all the ones they come in contact with.  We really can’t imagine wanting to do it personally, and to watch the break. 

Robert’s administrator-enforcers make damned sure to get other people to cause whatever breaking is necessary, or to do it in letters or e-mails so that they don’t have to face what their actions are causing, if any break is caused.

Because those administrators also don’t actually need anybody to break.  They only need them to obey.  It’s nice if you buy into the program, but they’re happy to take your grudging compliance, and they don’t care a damn if you’re spending your free time thinking they’re idiots as long as you’re doing what they want done.

A Ratchett would never settle for that kind of compliance.  Her purpose is not to get you to obey, but to get you to break–the break is the point, not the obedience.  

Ack, I feel like I’m going around and around here.  Ken Kesey’s book is a good one, so I’ll recommend One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest to anybody out there who wants to read it.   Kesey is an excellent writer who was badly served by his times, but both of his major novels (that one and Sometimes A Great Notion) are worth the time.

And politically, he’s apt to surprise you.  Ratchett is his strongest creation in character, but he was always focussed on them and the harm they do.  In his second book, though, he finds one in…a labor union.

Thinking about the Ratchetts I’ve known and the ones I’ve heard other people report on, it occurs to me that absolutely all of them have been members of the “helping professions,” most usually teachers, nurses and social workers and in every case I’ve heard of people who work with children.

Most people who are charged with running programs of various sorts that have been written on  Ratchett principles–those drug programs, for instance–aren’t Ratchetts themselves, and end up doing it all very badly, and find themselves angry and frustrated that the programs don’t work the way the material says they will.

But that’s our good luck, so I’m not going to bitch about it now.

And eventually, I will get to Yvor Winters.

Written by janeh

July 16th, 2009 at 7:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Ratchetting Up the Emo

with 2 comments

First, let’s start with Robert’s comment that the Ratchetts of this world are just the hippies’ enforcers.

The Ratchetts are never anybody’s enforcers but their own.  Their interest is in personal, immediate and individual power.  They’ll use the language of hippies if that will get them where they want to go, or the language of Hitler if that will.   They really don’t care about anything but their ability to control everything and everybody around them, with “control” defined as something much deepr than a simple ability to order people about.  They don’t want you to do what they tell you to do.   They want you to believe, to the very core of yourself, that what they tell you to do is the only morally acceptable option, and that you are bad to the core because you resist them.

The hippies have a problem with the Ratchetts because the hippies have such a thoroughly a randically social constructionist view of the world that they have little or no defenses against the Ratchetts.

Even when hippie instincts rebel against Ratchett methods–and they often do–there’s no way most hippies can promote those instincts against any methods at all.   Add to this the fact that Ratchetts are always good at speaking the language of their enablers, and lots of hippies will decide that their qualms are illegitimate, a vestiage of those parts of themselves that remain unenlightened, and you’ve got a prescription for some very bad stuff.

But it’s not only the hippies who react this way to the Ratchetts. Almost everybody does, and Ratchetts arise in every political and social movement, and in absolutely all medical ones.  Ratchetts absolutely love medical movements, because they provide the perfect platform for Ratchett grabs for power–“it’s for your own good” gets to become “the SCIENCE says that X is bad for you, so no rational person could make that choice, so if you’re making that choice, you’re not rational, and if you’re not rational, you can’t really make a choice.”

This is the language of high school anti-drug and alcohol programs far more than of college speech codes, and Ratchett methods will always work best in areas where they can point to something objective (the  SCIENCE says) to back up their bids for power.   In political movements, Ratchetts thrive by turning political questions into  moral ones, unless they really hit the jackpot and find that they can medicalize what is really a non-medical social issue.  \

For that, you have to look at things like the calls in some circles to require home visits of social workers in the first two weeks of every newborn’s life–just to make sure there isn’t any child abuse or neglect going on in the home.  Or, better yet, the people who try to declare that raising a child in a religion is “child abuse” and should be prohibited.

As for the champions of Napoleon in England–we’ve really got to keep intellectual history straighter than this.   They were the “children of Rousseau” in some respects, yes, but they were mostly the children of Goethe. 

The Romantic backlash against the Enlightenment had some hippie-egalitarian elements, such as a reverence for nature and emotion over science and reason, but what it mostly had was a commitment to the Idea of the Genius, the man so much greater, nobler, and finer than the ordinary men around him that he broke every rule and embodied the very spirit of the age.

This is not The Social Contract talking.  This is The Sorrows of Young Werther.  If Hegel represented the apotheosis of history, Goethe proposed the secular Christ, and it was as the secular Christ that the Romantic revered Napoleon (until he lost, therefore proving that he wasn’t really the secular Christ at all), and all the other figures they revered over the years.  Thre were several dozen over the years, and most of them–like Beethoven–were neither military nor poltical.

All this does bring up an interesting question, though–whether or not modern cults of adoration of people like Castro and Che (and even  Stalin, once) are offshoots of this same Romantic quest for the second coming.  That explanation would make a lot more sense than most of the ones I’ve heard. 

But none of this really gets me where I need it to go, which is to some explanation as to why this specific cluster of attitudes–the ones I outlined a couple of posts ago–should go along with the fact of picking up on one real moral necessity or another before and in a greater percentage than those of people with other clusters.

Somebody–Cathy?–suggested that this might be just that these people are “bellwethers,” but I don’t see any “just” about it.  I think that exactly what they are is bellwethers. I’d just like to know why.

But in the meantime I’m reading my first book by Yvor Winters, and maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow.

Written by janeh

July 14th, 2009 at 7:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Climate Matters

with 4 comments

No, I’m not about to go on a rant about global warming, for or against.  I’ll get to the reason for the title in a minute.

Before then, it seems to me that we’re getting things a little confused, and since I was the one who started the confusion, I’d better be the one to clear it up.

First, I never said that hippies and protohippies are leaders, and I really never said that they were/are morally better than other people.

Nor did I say they were sincere, or authentic.

On the morality front, I actually think they tend to be morally worse than other people on most measures of morality.  At its very best, their moral thinking is fuzzy, insubstantial and largely illogical.  The cluster of positions on that agenda I outlined a few posts ago are not logically connected in any obvious way. 

In some cases, the positions on that agenda are actually contradictory.  To answer John’s question, most of the NETs and the people around them in the abolitionist movement supported the Union side in the Civil War, and didn’t flinch at the ida that war might be necessary to fix the problem.  Hippie pacifism tends to be highly selective even now.

As for the attraction to violent people–some months ago I wrote a post about writers who had ended up getting a thrill out of championing murderers and getting them out of jail.  Those writers included William F. Buckley, who was nobody’s hippie. 

I think the attraction to violent people may have something to do with bookishness and be largely unrelated to left-wing or right-wing, hippie or otherwise, politics.  What’s interesting to me about that particular phenomenon is that I have only ever found one writer who knew what he was doing plain when he got himself into these situations, and that was Truman Capote.  

Whatever else Capote was, he didn’t lie to himself either about the nature of his protoges–he knew Dick and Perry were guilty, and dangerous as hell–or the nature of his attraction to them.  But crime and violence have always attracted the intellectual class. 

As to Mrs. Hiss, I can give you the Cliveden set–who did much the same kind of treasonous work on behalf of the Nazis.   That’s an offshoot of absolute moral certainty, of the conviction that the Good, the Right, and the True lie with X, and therefore anything is justified in bringing about X.

Hippies can certainly fall into that sort of moral mess, but so can people who are not hippies, or anything like them. 

The college speech codes, though, and the rape codes, and all the rest of it, are the work not of hippies but of  Ratchetts, and Ratchetts will attach themselves to any movement where they think they can get enough power to operate as they like.

Te problem with the hippies when they’re confronted by speech codes is that they have no way to resist them, even if they feel–and their morality seems to me to be mostly emotional–that what they’re seeing is wrong.  Heck, even people who are not hippies sometimes have a problem seeing their way through this kind of thing.  I seem to remember having a long and involved arguement with Mique–no hippie, and no leftist, either–who felt that a right to free speech that protected calling somebody a nigger had something wrong with it.

Okay, that was several years ago.  And he changed his mind.  But to people who are not free speech absolutists, the reason for such a protection for such speech is not usually clear, and that resistance to extending protections to “wrong” ideas exists across the political spectrum.   Consider the fuss even ardent opponents of college speech codes–say, Bill  O’Reilly–can make over the NAMBLA website.

If you want to look at a revolutionary war era man who made a principled decision about slavery, you should look not to Washington, but to a man named Robert Carter, who freed his slaves not when he died but immediately and on the spot, knowing it would subject him to penury for the rest of his life and doing it anyway.  There was a god book about him a few years ago that’s worth reading.

But Carter and  Washington, like the contemporaries and near-contemporaries of Rousseau who made him an important figure in the French revolution, where products of the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment.  Hippies are the products of and Romantic backlash. 

And that’s where we get to the title–climate matters.  A world where slavery exists and is largely considered to be inevitable, right and proper is fundamentally different from a world in which slavery exists but is considered to be inexcusably wrong.

Real and necessary social change–and, yes, moral progress–happen not when Leader X arises to point the way, but when the moral and political climate experiences a sea change.  

What the hippies do is to provide mass in bulk for some ideas–bad ones as well as good ones–that attract the less thoughtful and less committed sort of vaguely in their direction, and the existence of that mass, especially when it’s growing, changes the rules of engagement on the ground.

Consider the recent social sea-change about the spanking of children–opposition to which began almost entirely among the hippies.  Most people in the US still support a parent’s right to spank, but that support gets weaker by the day, and it’s already heavily on the defensive.  

Climate matters. And no significant social change ever happens unless the climate changes first.  

The correleation here exists whether we like it or not, and the reason for that correlation is not entirely clear.   That doesn’t make the hippies some sort of moral beacons to the rest of us–as I said about, they seem to me to be largely less morally good the the rest of us–but it does mean that we can’t entirely rule out some reason for that correlation that we haven’t been able to isolate yet.

In the meantime, there is moral progress that does need to be made, and climate matters, and as fas as I can see, these are the people who largely provide the climate.

And that wouldn’t be negligible, even if one of them hadn’t written “Slavery in Massachusetts.”

Written by janeh

July 13th, 2009 at 8:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Hippies and Proto-Hippies, A Note

with 3 comments

I still don’t have the olives pitted, so this is going to have to be short, but I’d like to point out a number of things.

First, I’m sticking to “in this country” because I am in the middle of a summer of reading through a great deal of American material, almost all of it from before the Civil War, and I can therefore comment on the contents of that material, and the intellectual history of the United States, without having to make a special effort to research it outside of what I’m already doing.  To comment on the situation in England, I would have to go look it up in some detail.  Maybe I’ll get to that next summer.

Second, I was using”New England Transcendalists” as a stand-in for an entire point of view, which I did outline in the post.  The point of view existed before the NETs arose in New England, and among people you would not tend to think of as belonging to the NET. 

But you know, that’s a kind of curious thing.  

The ideas certainly start with Rousseau, but the phenomenon–this cluster of ideas, in whole or in part, as the basis for a social identity–begins with the Romantic movement.   And of course the NETs knew about it, and copied, it, quite deliberately. 

That doesn’t change the fact that they and the other people who bought into this cluser of ideas are the ones who signed on to abolition, women’s rights, and later civil rights before anybody else did in any numbers.

No, of course, the people who think like this are not leaders, and never could be, because they’re far too squishy in too many ways, and far too extreme for the vast bulk of their fellow citizens to stomach. 

But without their extremism–and their persistance–no such movements would ever have gotten off the ground.

Yes, the Northern states abolished slavery early–and the hippies and the proto-hippies pressed for its total abolition, and for the equality of the races right there at their own dinner tables, while the rest of the population decided that what went on in Mississippi was none of their concern.

The Northern states also insisted on enforcing the fugitive slave laws at the same time the NETs and their spiritual cousins were demanding it be resisted.

Quakers are not an exception to this, but an early example of it–they’re proto-hippies in embryo, so to speak, and by now they’re the institutional framework of this entire point of view, along with the Unitarian-Universalists.  

And I don’t know enough about Henry Ward Beecher to comment, but I know enough about Harriet Beecher Stowe to make a guess, because she was quite definitely an example of what I’m talking about, as was Julia Ward Howe.  Scratch their public Christianity and you find the fuzzy universalism that is the defining mark of the hippie in religion–God is just too good to send anybody to Hell for eternity.

Every leader of the women’s rights movement in the United States fit the paradigm, too, and bought into nearly the entire cluster of ideas I mentioned.  And, for that matter, so did Mary Wollstonecraft in England, her husband, William Godwin,.and her daughter, later Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the patron saint of British Romanticism.  

So, for that matter, did Harriet Taylor Mill, who dragged her husband into unconventionality while he kicked and screamed all the way. 

When textbooks write about people like Harriet  Beecher Stowe or Susan B. Anthony, they tend to leave out the stuff that might make them sound odd to students–the forays into spiritualism, the flirting tease in and out of vegetarianism, the anti-traditionalism in religion and custom.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton rewrote the Bible to make it compatible with the equality of women.   Lucy Stone not only refused to change her maiden name, but was convinced that war would cease to exist once women held the reins of government.

The more you start looking into the people in these movements, the more it becomes clear that most of them did in fact share huge hunks of the paradigm I outlined.  It shows up in the oddest places in the histories of people one does not expect to see it in. 

Maybe the reality is this–what is required to embrace and champion truly radical ideas (the equality of the races, the equality of the sexes, whatever) is a habit of mind that leaves one open to certain specific modes of thought.  If you can successfully resist such modes of thought, you’re less capable of conceiving and embracing even the one or two ood ideas those modes give rise to.

Okay, I’m writing sentences that should be shot, again. 

I’d better go do those olives.   Or get Matt to do them.

Written by janeh

July 12th, 2009 at 9:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Taking Umbrage

with 2 comments

Let me start out by agreeing with a few of the posts.  There is certainly a lot of moral posturing in the group I’m talking about, and certainly a lot of inauthenticity. 

But the fact remains that these people–not just any goup of moral posturers or any herd of independent minds–were first off the dock on slavery, at least in the US, and the first to champion the political equality of women, among other things.

These are not small things, nor are they in any way negligible, and I think it remains an open question a to whether the ability to think through them–to arrive at the determination that slavery is wrong, and then to commmt do do something about getting it abolished–requires a certain kind of mind that thinks a certain kind of way, and that mind and its way of thinking are also susceptible to all these other specific things.  

Annoying as these people may be, and dangerous as they may be in certain situations, we may need them.

But, yes, back to Nurse Ratchett.  Robert is right, of course.  Nurse Ratchett isn’t confined to tis particular group of people and this particular kind of politics. She occurs in all movements and in most institutions.  I’ve been trying to figure out if she’s always a she, and although I’ll admit that I’ve never met a male who uses this particular approach, I can imagine one.   And the psychiatrist played by William Fichtner in The Chumscrubber is one, so maybe other people have run into the male variety.

I think fewer people are familiar with Nurse Ratchett these days than are familiar with her most recent popular reincarnation–meaning  Delores Umbrage of Harry  Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

I don’t know the actress who plays the part in the movie from anything else, but she’s absolutely rilliant.  If this is a character type you’re not sure of, you might want to see if the movie is on one of your local cable stations.  They’re replaying it a lot these days because the new movie is due in theaters next week.

What characterizes a Nurse Ratchett has been described by many people as a kind of “soft totalitarianism,” and it’s characteristic of certain kinds of “fuzzy science” “professionals.”

I’m using all those scare quotes advisedly.  The thing is, this is as much a management technique as anything, and I’ve seen it used in public meetings and other places where somebody had an agenda they wanted to push through and not a chance of getting it through in a free and open debate. 

It consists of using a very soft voice, a very “encouraging” manner, and driving relentlessly to a single acceptable conclusion.

“You don’t really want to do that, now, do you,dear?”

In the last twenty years or so, a lot of teachers have been taught to deal with students this way, especially elementary and middle school students, a circtumstance that I think could account for at least some school shootings.  

It’s also the basic method behind some of the big anti-drug abuse, anti-alcohol abuse and anti-bullying programs, which is funny, because it is, of course, a particularly brutal brand of bullying in itself.

We’re going to help you make good choices, the programs say–but only one choice is allowed, and if you don’t make it, well, we’ll just “reason” with you until you do.

“You don’t really mean to say that, do you?”

“We all know that alochol is bad for us, don’t we?”

Before I read other people writing about this, I used to think of it as “forced consensus.”  The leader decides what “we” will all “agree” on and then just says we do.  If anybody objects, she just nudges, in a very soft voice, and looks rather sad and disappointed.

And the most effective part of this is that trying to counter it is nearly impossible, because when you do try to counte it, you look like an idiot.  So much of it is played out in tone of voice and manner, that a transcript would often make the conversation look innocent and the dissenter look wild and extreme. 

Really reasoning with someone requires meeting her head on, as an equal, addressing her objections directly and accepting that she might just think you’re wrong. 

This method consists of creating an atmosphere where the assumption is that you could never be wrong, and anybody who disagrees with you does so not because he has honest objections to your position–after all, there are no legitimate objections to your position, that’s been established from off–but because he’s being emotional, or irrational, or immature, or he has psychological problems (his opposition proves it).

I don’t know who came up with the idea that this is a good way to deal with children, but it’s really not, and what you end up with is a lot of seething resentment.  There’s seething resentment among the adult victims of this approach, too, and a strong feeling of helplessness.

Back in the late 1980s or early 1990s, a number of Christian family groups offered training sessions for their members to counter this approach when it was used in public meetings to try to authorize certain kinds of birth control curricula in the public schools.  I don’t know if the training did any good or not.

I tend to think of the Nurse Ratchett/Delores Umbrage approach as a kind of McCarthyism.  We tend to think of the problem with  McCarthy as the fact that people were often accused and punished on the flimsiest evidence, or no evidene at all.

But the simple fact is that almost anybody hauled in front of the Senate or the House committees could get off scot free simply by saying, “oh, yes, you’re right about everything, I was really guilty, I have reformed, I confess, I want to atone,  here are a bunch of names.”

The point of the hearings was too often to get the accused to abandon any claim to integrity, to deconstruct his individual will and make it wholly subject to the will of his accusers.

“In your heart, you know that naughty children deserve to be punished,” Delores Umbrage tells Harry Potter, and that’s what she wants, not his obedience to her rules, not to punish him for his disoedience, but to get him to accept right down to his blood and skin and bone everything she decrees is true.

She wants him to accept it even when she doesn’t believe it herself.

I feel like I’ve been blithering here, and other people do this a lot better than I do.   I’ve tried several times to write a Ratchett/Umbrage character, and I find I can’t do it, at least not from the inside, the way I write most of my characters.  Something in my head just can’t seem to penetrate the thought processes that would m ake it possible to behave like this without being deeply and abidingly ahamed of yourself, and these people are not ashamed of themselves.

And, confronted over the last four years with my own personal Nurse Ratchett, I made all the mistakes honest people make when they try to defend themselves from this kind of bullying.

So maybe I’m not a very good source of information on this.

Written by janeh

July 11th, 2009 at 7:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Free Love, Free Men, Free Silver and a Ticket to Heaven

with 6 comments

Okay, so here’s the thing.  

My two sons read this blog–or, to be exact, my younger son reads it, and my older one (who claims never to read blogs, ever) pumps my younger one about it, and then they both argue about it with me.

I figure this has got to be better than endless chatter about videogames, so I let it go. 

At any rate, yesterday the two of them had some very strong complaints, and on reflection I’ve decided they have a point.  I described Zenobia as a Nurse Ratchett, but she isn’t one, and neither are most of the people I was thinking of when  I wrote that post yesterday.  

There are always Nurse Ratchetts hanging around any reform movement, and they often get fairly high in reform organizations, especially after the main point has been one (slavery abolished, women have the vote) and what’s left to do is a sort of maintenance effort. They are, however, parasites on the revolution, not revolutionaries, since their only object is their own personal power.

So I’ll get back to the Nurse Ratchetts some other day.  We have spent a lot of time in this house over the last few months talking about the Nurse Ratchetts, and it’s a subject tat fascinates me.

But the people I was thinking of yesterday are the people my older son says I should call “the hippies,” because that’s what they remind him of.  I think they’re a little too relentlessly earnest to be hippies, but then  I’ve actually meant hippies, and Matt’s only fantasized about them.

I keep telling him Tommy Chong isn’t the best model here, but, you know, what the hell. 

We’ll call the the Serious Hippies, maybe, or just the Zenobias, but what they have in common is not so much a personality type (although they have that, too) as a constellation of positions that’s always the same everywhere and everytime these movements arise.  There is, as far as I can tell, no logical necessity that people who agree with the main point (back to ending slavery, or giving rights to women) should take up these other things, but they do.   And once they do, they treat these things as moral laws with all the seriousness of Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Okay, let me hedge a little here–this constellation of things has been the same since the French  Revolution.  The men who made the American Revolution had no interest in them that I can tell.

But the New England Transcendentalists did, and reading the books I’ve been reading this summer has been like some weird time trip.  It’s the antebellum Northeast that I’m reading about, but it all sounds like a report from a Vermont communal farm in 1973.

There is, first, the assumption that marriage should be abolished–that it is a hindrance to the right relations between men and women, a shackle that causes harm to human relations.  Sometimes this wish to abolish marriage goes along with a wish to establish Free Love, as it did for Victoria Woodhull and Abbie Hoffman, but sometimes it doesn’t.  The NETs were very concerned about being pure and putting the relations between men and women on a spiritual plain, but they still thought it could only happen if they “did something” about the institution of marriage.

There is, next, the assumption that education should be “natural.”  The Progressive Education movement and Maria Montessori actually came up with plans for doing this at the beginning of the twentieth century, but Rousseau had already led the way, and you can see it now in the “unschooling” movement.   Lead a hild to learning, let him absorb it like a sponge without turning it into something hateful by punishments and restrictions, and he’ll–well, he’ll just choose to apply himself to algebra.  After all, learning is natural to the human child.  He’s driven to do it by his very nature.

Then there is the commitment to vegetarianism.  I’m not saying that all vegetarians are Zenobias.   People decide on a vegetarian (or vegan) diet for a lot of different reasons.  But the Zenobias area almost always vegetarian or close to it, and from the beginning their argument in favor of such a diet relied heavily on claims that meat corrupts the human body, that it fills it full of pollutants, that it lowers the energy and obscures the spiritual in the human soul.

What interests me about the vegetarianism is that it arose and persisted in an era when it was actually physically dangerous to practice it.  In 21st century America, or Australia, or Brussels, you can commit to even a vegan diet without worrying about what you’re denying yourself nutritionally.  We know about other ways to get enough protein and there are dietary supplements for the amino acids we miss when we walk away from the prime rib.

But Bronson Alcott knew nothing about any of this, and yet he forced his wife and children to eat a nearly totally vegetarian diet, with the result that they were often ill and that at least one of his children was perpetually “sickly.”  Practically the first thing his daughter Louisa May did when her books became popular and she became the source of income for the household was to fill the place full of meat.

The next thing is the attraction to violence in other people–Zenobias are never violent themselves–almost always coupled with the stated conviction that war is just something stupid and unnecessary that can be abolished.  The NETs sat in awe at the feet of John Brown and his sons just as Leonard  Bernstein and his gets thrilled to the sight of Black Panthers in their midst. Pictures of Che still adorn the t-shirts of college kids on campuses throughout the US.

Then, finally, there is the replacement of standard forms of religion with commitments to the “spiritual,” both in movements for liberal Christianity–the idea that Jesus would never actually send anyone to hell dates from the early nineteenth century, at least as part of the repertoire of the Zenobias–and in an attraction to what they imagine to be “Eastern wisdom,” and to Buddhism especially.

Margaret Fuller, that model for  Zenobia herself, was a passionate student of anything she could find out about Buddhist “spiritualisty,” and the enter NET movement supported what it called ‘natural religion,” which, as far as I can figure out, meant having a direct relationship with a God you sort of made up in your own head by communing with Nature and  The Infinite.

And no, I can’t get any more clear than that.  You’re going to have to go read Ralph Waldo Emerson, and even then I’m not making any promises.

But you must see what I mean here.   There’s no reason whatsoever that supporting the abolition of slavery should make you start communing with the  Infinite or give up eating meat.   There is no logical connection between the first thing and the other two.

And yet these things all occur together among the first proposers of really good, really necessary reform ideas.   Those reform ideas always seem to start with people who hold to these other things as well.

And I have no idea why.  No reform movement succeeds with just these people, of course, and none succeeds while being led by someone who had bought into all of this.  For a reform movement to succeed, you need the support of the general public, and the general public doesn’t have any patience for Zenobia’s constellation of principles.

Hell, one of the most effective ways to stop a reform movement in its tracks is to convnce that same general public that you can’t have the reform without having all the rest of that stuff.  They take one look at it, get appalled, and run for the hills. 

If a reform is ever really going to happen, you need a Lincoln or a Martin Luther King, as Robert noted, a person who isnot a Zenobia at all.

But still.

What is it about this particular constellation of ideas that seems to make the people who hold them more capable than the rest of us of seeing what reforms are really needed and committing themselves to making them happen?

Written by janeh

July 10th, 2009 at 7:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Zenobia Problem

with 8 comments

So, here’s the thing.  I am, at the moment, reading The Blithedale Romance, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  For those of you who haven’t read it or wouldn’t read it or whatever, it’s a novel about a utopian socialist back-to-the-land experimental community in antebellum New England.

For those of you who thought all that started in the 1960s, there were actually several in the northeastern US before the US Civil  War, the most famous of which was called Brook Farm.  Hawthorne himself lived at Brook farm, which was practically a picture-perfect mess of the kind thse communities tend to be.  

You have a bunch of middle class and upper middle class New Englanders of the plain living and high thinking variety, pumped up on Romantic literature flooding in from  England, all desperate to Commune with Nature by throwing off the corrupting influences of artificial civilization. 

Then you have the guy they take on who actually knows how to farm, a process about which our heroes and heroines have no clue.

The  Blithedale Romance is what I think of as a “what it looks like” kind of novel.  There is a basic plot, but the point is mostly to draw a portrait of this place and the people in it, warts and all.   And there are a lot of warts.  There are good reasons why this is considered a minor novel next to something like The  Scarlet Letter, but Hawthorne had no patience for the idiocy he found at Brook Fram, and he isn’t shy about expressing it.

He also has a pretty good eye for pretention, self-importance and snobbery.

But.

Back a few months ago I pointed out that Hawthorne was a good critic of the New  England Transcendentalist movement because he didn’t belong to it, but that it was more than a little ncomfortable to realize that he didn’t belong to it in good part because he wasn’t an abolitionist and he was something of a racist.

And I use the word “racist” here advisedly.   I’m n ot the kind of person who slings it around as an all-purpose accusation, and I do know the difference between actual racism and being, simply, a person of the time in which you live.

But Hawthorne was not just such a person–all of New England would have qualified for that–but a racist in the pure sense, someone who believes that one race is inherently more human than another.

For all their faults, one of the things you have to give the Transcendentalists is the way they approached not only the slavery question–you can of course fault them for their support of John Brown when Brown was behaving like a serial killer–but the issue of race itself.  They not only invited black speakers to address their meetings but black abolitionists to dinner in their own houses, and no matter how difficult they might have found it emotionally, they made an attempt to live by the principles of equaolity they’d inherited and committed themselves to.

Hawthorne had no use for abolition and no use for black people, whom he and his wife consistently referred to as monkeys and apes.  He once complained to a Transcendentalist friend who had had the Hawthornes to dinner to meet a famous black abolitionist that his wife had been forced to dine with animals straight out of the jungle.

It was not a pretty thing. 

Hawthorne felt about women’s suffrage–and women’s rights in general–the way he felt about abolition, although he at least tended to think of white women as actually human.  In The  Blithedale Romance he gives us a character named Zenobia–not her real, but her supposed pen name–who is modeled on Margaret Fuller.

Fuller was an interesting person in some ways.  She was a journalist when women were not often journalists, and a public speaker when women could literally get themselves physically harmed by speaking in front of sexually mixed audiences in public. 

Nowhere near enough has been written about the role of abolition in the American women’s rights movements.  Women who would never have imagined themselves going so far against convention as to speak at public rallies did it in behalf of ending slavery, and the men who ridiculed and threatened them also got gradually used to them as the movement gained steam. 

Fuller was, however, a particular kind of person, and I’ve known dozens of them in my life.  She was not really a first rate mind, and her politics were largely the politics of opposition.  She was desperate for an affirmation of her femininity of the kind that comes when a man agrees to marry you.  In the end, she married an Italian she met on a trip abroad and had a child by him.  There are intimations that the marriage wasn’t happy–and probably couldn’t be, given the circumstances. 

Hawthorne’s Zenobia has all these traits, and a few others. Unlike a lot of other feminist characters in American literature–say, Olive in  Henry  James’s The Bostonians–she’s portrayed as physically beautiful, vigorous and engaging.  Hawthorne doesn’t give the impression that he doubts the woman’s abilities either as a polemnical writer or as a speaker. 

(He does portray her as a God awful novelist, but that’s a different story.)

Zenobia is, however, a master manipulator, self-centered, self-righteous and self-absorbed, willing to wreck the life of anyone around her who gets in her way, and able to do it with no full consciousness that that is what she’s doing.  Like I said, I’ve met dozens of people like this, and certainly enough of them in the various feminisms that have blown through the landscape during the course of my life. 

But.

Zenobia’s big issue, the social reform she wants most to effect and that Hawthorne spends most of the time ridiculing here, is precisely that right to speak in public in front of sexually mixed audiences that I was talking about earlier.

I don’t think there’s anybody reading this blog today who wouldn’t find a restriction on such activity by women to be entirely unacceptable. 

We can read and laugh at the descriptions of our earnest back-to-the-landers discovering that a day at the plow doesn’t inspire poetry and philosophy but rather makes one too tired to even read it, never mind write it–but it’s impossible for me, at least, to laugh at Zenobia when she defends the idea that women should be able to engage in public speaking.  Hawthorne clearly finds his character contemptible and ridiculous for the ideas she holds, but I can’t read his contempt and ridicule without rebelling.

But.

In one way, Hawthorne isn’t wrong.   Much as we’d like our political saints to be all around  Good People, they rarely are.  A great deal of good work has been done, and moral and political proress mae, by people who are objectionable as human beings. 

It’s not just that such people “have their faults,” as it’s common to say.  It’s that many of them are downright dangerous in all the worst ways.  Zenobia is not just ridiculous, or vain  She’s what I think of aa a “soft totalitarian,” the best example of which may be Ken Kesey’s Nurse Ratchett in One Flew Over  The Cuckoo’s Nest.

In fact, she’s quite a lot like what Susan  B. Anthony was like, from what I’ve been able to read of Anthony’s letters and speeches–excpe that, in physical form and relationships to men, Anthony was a little more like Olive in The Bostonians.

So, here’s my question–is there something about the things we need to make ourselves better as a people and a civilization that requires that they be done by people who, on other issues, we’d be better to avoid like the plague? 

Why is it that the push for the right thing–for ending slavery, for treating women like equal adults, you name it–so seldom comes from ordinarily decent people without the megolomania, the self-absorbtion, the sheer adversarial objectionableness of the people who have actually led the movements that resulted in these things?

I think we often talk as if we would be better off if these people all just went away, but the more I look into it, the less I’m sure.

Written by janeh

July 9th, 2009 at 9:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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