Thursday, September 1, 2011

Redefining... Everything

It's become clear that the Obama Administration intends to play the redefinition game to the hilt. They have long been asserting that their favored conservative Hooverite economic policies are somehow "progressive," just like their social policies.

It is "progressive" in their world to accommodate their political foes and to denounce and denigrate their political allies. It is "progressive" to maintain historically high unemployment rates month after month, year after year. It is "progressive" to continue the wars abroad, to maintain the National Security State apparatus at home, and to call for the kind of tax reform that increases the tax burden on the overburdened working and middle classes while lightening the tax paying obligations of the Highest of the Mighty.

"Progressive" in their view is Left Neo-Liberalism. "Progressive" in their view is Post-Modern language manipulation. "Progressive" in their view is whatever will please the Owners and Sponsors.

"Progressive" is conceding without a struggle.

"Progressive" is whatever you believe it to be.

"Progressive" is not the Other.

I used to make quite an issue about the need for the Rectification of Names -- because words and concepts, the most basic tools of understanding -- were being constantly redefined to suit some powerful interest or other, to the point that only an adept could figure out what a word or concept meant any more. The need for Rectification is based on the Analects:

Tsze-lu said, "The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?"

The Master replied, "What is necessary is to rectify names."

"So! indeed!" said Tsze-lu. "You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?"

The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.

If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.

If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.

When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish.

When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.

When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.

Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."

(Analects XIII, 3, tr. Legge)

When basic words and concepts mean different things to different people, depending on their class primarily, then Rectification is a necessity. But that can only come after the Revolution comes.

Akhenaten was one of the earliest absolute rulers who faced the necessity to rectify the names of things (in the broadest sense) after his Palace Revolution; and yet as soon as he was gone, there was a counter-revolution and a re-rectification that took meanings back almost to where they had been... but not quite.

We see the phenomenon over and over again, whenever an idealist revolutionary movement runs into the brick wall of reality. If the movement is inchoate, as most revolutionary movements are by their very nature, a counter revolution will arise, and yet even if successful, it cannot entirely undo the works of the Revolution itself. No, it carries on with many of the Revolutionary elements intact.

From my perspective at more than 6,000 ft elevation (You think that has no effect on someone acclimated to sea level? Think again) we are getting closer and closer to the counter-revolution. But against what?

The Bourbon Restoration (as an example) did not restore the Ancien Régime. By that point, nothing could ever do that.

And so it will be should there ever be a backward looking counter-revolution in this country.

I would just make note of the fact that in RT's retelling of the events of 1993 in Moscow, when the Yeltsinite Neo-Liberal faction sent tanks to fire on the elected parliament of Russia -- the Soviet Union having dissolved in 1991 -- the Congress of People's Deputies that was being fired on was called "conservative," even though most of the elected members were Socialists and Communists. The Left, in other words, became the "Conservative" party largely because they were stridently opposed to economic "reforms" that would harm the People.

Meanings of words and concepts were reversed by the counter-revolution.

We do indeed live in interesting times. Come to think of it, when haven't we?

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