A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.
I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.
We must also bid farewell to the dream of the absolute autonomy of reason and of its self-sufficiency.
For human reason is not autonomous at all. It is always living in one historical context or another. Any historical context, as we see, distorts the vision of reason; that is why reason needs the help of history in order to overcome these historical limitations.
Notwithstanding the arguments against logicism, no alternative account of the status of mathematical propositions is convincing. Philosophers throughout history have claimed that propositions such as: 1+1=2 are necessarily true.
This necessity flows from the meaning of the terms employed in the proposition. To the present day Mathematicians continue to work with methods which are appropriate only to the establishment of a priori, necessary truths.
Because the claim to know the truth is widely regarded nowadays as a threat to tolerance and freedom, this whole question had to be taken up.
Our mission in Iraq is clear. We're hunting down the terrorists....Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq.....The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened, or defeated.
Whitman was writing in a time of unexampled prosperity, but more than that, he was writing in a country where freedom was something more than a word. The democracy, equality, and comradeship that he is always talking about are not remote ideals, but something that existed in front of his eyes. In mid-nineteenth-century America men felt themselves free and equal, WERE free and equal....There was poverty and there were even class distinctions, but except for the Negroes, there was no permanently submerged class. Everyone had inside him, like a kind of core, the, knowledge that he could earn a decent living, and earn it without bootlicking. When you read about Mark Twain's Mississippi raftsmen and pilots, or Bret Harte's Western gold-miners, they seem more remote than the cannibals of the Stone Age. The reason is simply that they are free human beings.
In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
Like it or not, this is the world that Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and Tony Blair between them, have made Britain into. And for us the words of the old song will belie the dream of Dr. King:
England is a country in which property and financial power are concentrated in very few hands. Few people in modern England own anything at all, except clothes, furniture and possibly a house...
The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century. But this has nothing to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit. It is the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above....
It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern people, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’. But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.
Nothing ain't worth nothing, but its free.
But feeling good was easy, when Bobbie sang the blues.
Feeling good was good enough for me.
Good enough for me and Bobbie McGhee.