March 25, 2010

The Platonism of the left, the wilding on the right

El Cabrero tries not to rant too much here about things that get on my last nerve, but I may indulge myself a bit today. My topic of choice is what I've come to think of as the Platonism of the left.

Plato, of course, was a great Greek philosopher and student of Socrates. He wrote brilliant and often charming dialogues that have influenced thought for 23 centuries or so--so much so that Alfred North Whitehead famously referred to Western philosophy as "a series of footnotes to Plato." I've fallen under his spell more than once myself.

But thinkers from Nietzsche to Karl Popper have pointed out the dark sides of Platonic thought. For Nietzsche, he represented pure decadence for devaluing the material world in favor of the realm of forms or ideas. For Popper, he was an advocate of a closed society.

Platonizing has become a verb or sorts, which at the broadest level means to imitate his thought. At it's worst, it can mean believing that one's own ideas or models of the world are more real than the world itself.

I think the Platonism of the Left has surfaced during the health care reform debate. Some "progressive" people would apparently prefer an imaginary perfect bill which had no chance of getting anywhere to an imperfect real one that will make a huge difference for many Americans.

I don't mind if people would prefer to live in an imaginary world--as long as they don't mess up the real one.

Meanwhile, there's also the Whackadoodleism of the right. See below...

MORE UGLY. Some representatives who voted for health care reform have received death threats. What exactly is in that tea, anyway?

IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES until somebody cuts a propane line. The FBI is investigating an incident involving a cut gas line at the home of the brother of Virginia Democratic Congressman Thomas Perriello after his address was published in a Tea Party blog which urged the faithful to visit the place and express their feelings about his vote in favor of health care reform.

AND STILL MORE. One might think that after the wave of name calling, vandalism, death threats, and other fun and games that right wing leaders would try to tone down the rhetoric. Sarah Palin appears not to have gotten the memo (if one existed) however. In a recent tweet, she wrote

Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!"

Read more here.

WHATEVER HAPPENED to the old conservatism?

FALLOUT. A group of evangelical Christians have responded to Glen Beck's assertion that the idea of social justice is communist/Nazi. (One sometimes wonders whether those who assert the Whackadoodle equation of communism and Nazism may have dozed during their history of World War II classes.)


1 comment:

Hollowdweller said...

The GOP have got to be the sorest losers ever.

Can you imagine if Obama had won by the narrowest of margins, the deciding state having his brother as governor, and the final decision was made by the Supreme court packed by democratic nominees, some put in by his father??

On the critcisim of the bill from the left I think it's a good thing.
You are never going to get a bill to please everyone but if there isn't a group continually pushing for Democrats to be more democratic then as the fundamentalists would say it give our own lawmakers who depend a lot on corporate money anyway too much "room to backslide" :)