Salvaged Idiocentrism Posts

Ariel Sharon as teacher

Ariel Sharon’s principle was “Act now, and let everyone else pick up the pieces”. I do not admire Sharon and am not suggesting that he be taken as a role model, but he serves as a nice contrast to the Democratic Party’s unspoken rule of “Never do anything unless you’re absolutely 100% sure that it’s the right thing to do based on the Science and customary procedures”.

Neoliberalism in America: I

An introductory piece clearing away some specifically American misunderstandings of the terms “liberalism” and “neoliberalism”.

Daniel Kato: Liberalizing Lynching

For almost a century the American Supreme Court protected lynch law in the South by blacking all efforts to apply the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to the once-Confederate states. This was not done based on any deep legal principle, but just because the justices, who in many cases probably had some degree of sympathy with white supremacy, were unwilling to take the initiative of actually applying the law by judging a civil rights case on its merits. When the Court finally changed its mind, it was because Lyndon Johnson, in response to a mass movement led by the Martin Luther King, the SCLC, et. al., appointed Thurgood Marshall and Abe Fortas to the course on the understanding that they would change civil rights law. Kato’s conclusion is something like “if the Constitution is as flexible is this, what is the point of having a Constitution?

Kathleen Pistor: The Code of Capital

The American legal system is tweaked in many different ways to make sure that it always favors the big-money players. Pistor shows in detail how law has been this way back to the beginning, but gives special attention to changes in the law made, sometimes under cover of darkness, during the nineteenth century. If someone finds that their political or reform efforts are consistently blocked by technical legal details, it’s no accident. The law is intended to work that way. (This is very relevant to the work of the Virginia School economist James Buchanan, whose final project was to help lock free market ideology permanently in place by Constitutional methods).

Trump As Extremophile

Trump is not a defective normal human being, but someone who has triumphed in the present-day American world of loose money and soundbite politics. He has never lived under the constraints familiar to us, but is comfortable and competent in the world he lives in, and this world happens to rule our world. His stupidity is not his own personal, but is the public stupidity of America.

Starting from Greenland: “Kayak” Circumnavigates the Globe

Sort of a thought experiment. The kayak and the word “kayak” came to Europe sometime after 1000 AD, when the Norse reached Greenland, and the thing itself was known in England no later than 1556. The kayak was in use by the Inuit all across N. America, from Greenland to the Bering Strait, and words for a boat related to “kayak” were used in Turkish and other languages all across Asia as far as the Adriatic, where a certain kind of small boat is called a “caique”. The Norse had reached the Adriatic long before they reached Greenland, so the inuit word, though not exactly the thing, might have been etymologically global at some point in the early Middle Ages.

Original Dao: Introduction

The only area of scholarship in which I am possibly legit is Daodejing studies. .This piece presents my division of the Daodejing into “Early Dao” and “Sage Dao” a quick summary of my reasons for dividing it, a division of “Early Dao” into 7 textual / topical groups, and a proposed history of the text.

Ressentiment, The Teacher, and Marriage in Western Civilization

St. Augustine as the prototype for Nietzsche, Rimbaud, and other alienated geniuses. Authoritarian schooling and deferred marriage forced on sons by ambitious middling parents are the origin of the Oedipus complex. Really.

Could Nietzsche have married Jane Austen? No. While Nietzsche resembled Austen’s dreamboat Darcy, he did not have A Thousand A Year.

Zarathustra and Kahlil Gibran

Also Sprache Zarathustra as the first New Age self-help book, with Kahlil Gibran as mediator.

Why did Henry James Kill Daisy Miller?

Miasma theory. The American Girl was different and she taught the staid, horny Frenchmen how to flirt. Henry James’s most popular book, and he swore never to make that mistake again.

A naive reading of Descartes

Descartes’ Discourse on Method is short and easy, and it shows you a Descartes far different than the one you read about in survey courses.

Murder Most Foul

Young Genghis Khan’s murder of his half-brother Bekter was not an anomaly or an abomination, but part of the normal career path of conquerors and founders of states.

Medieval Pulp Fiction: Aucassin et Nicolette

Not your typical medieval romance.

To the Shores of Tripoli: an Appreciation of Google

The Marine Hymn, American secularity, Billy Budd, and the pro- / anti-war song “Reuben James”.

History of the Caucasian Albanians

No, not those Albanians. Before Charlemagne, when Albania was in the Caucasus, Greeks were Romans, Arabs were Tajiks, and the Catholikos was not Catholic.

Author: John Emerson

An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur.

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