3 Pillars of Conservatism

3 pillars of conservatism: tradition, authority, conformity. It’s good because it’s old. It’s good because I say so. It’s good because you aren’t.

No one thinks conservatively except by thinking at least one of these. He either conserves in time (tradition), in privilege (authority) or in coercion (conformity). Only the most conservative among us admit of all three.

Thus, if anyone says “I believe in tradition,” demand that they say “I believe in things only because they are old.” Likewise, if anyone says “I believe in hierarchy and order,” demand that they say “I believe some should be compelled to do and believe things because others say so.” And again, if anyone says, “I believe in conformity to objective truth,” you must insist they say “I believe some lay prostrate before others and whip themselves for failure to do so, since some have seen the truth and others have not.” 

Conservatism should really be called the philosophy of self-mortification. Conservatism is, in point of fact, a belief in the correctness of torture (if only God has ordained it). Any conservative who says anything less is either dimly witted, a liar, or both. Indeed – whoever professes conservatism should say so with gusto. You want my submission to you – say it loudly and proudly, or say nothing at all!

I, when so unsettled

I – when so unsettled – cannot capture even eyes –
Four hands quake as each partakes of searching for a side,
To grasp, or pass, from self – too crass – to object of the Other,
But falling through the eyes melt too quick for me to cover
Self up of – a hopeless love – a feeling me at home,
Without which – I cannot mix – a self is shaken ‘lone.

Theory of Motive Reductions

All essential motive reductions function as reconstructions of the thoughts of another (B) in one’s own mind (A). More simply: A reduces B to his alleged motives when A attempts to know what thoughts had by B conditioned B’s action. These become conceptual, or complete, when expressible such that men can be in a state of common-hearing and thereafter do in a state of common-intending based on the expression. Thus, the essential motive reduction is pragmatic, the conceptual motive reduction rhetorico-coordinative. The primordial motive reduction is also pragmatic, albeit un-self-consciously so – it is whatever comes to the individual mind (A) of another mind (B) without his knowing that it does.

Some preliminary motive reductions:

  1. If it seems to you too good to be true, then it is.
  2. People minimize perceived losses and maximize perceived gains.
    1. People do whatever they can get away with.
    2. People want whatever they can get.
  3. The less of an object there is, the more people have consumed it.
  4. Actions follow from intentions.
    1. If they cared, they’d do something about it.
  5. Imitations follow from observations.
    1. If I do something and someone else repeats it, they likely saw me do it.

Mankind’s Self-Sundering

If we consider human history under the aspect of the Total, the Global, and the Has-Been-Necessary, the conclusion is inevitable – Mankind is slowly killing himself. He has achieved this severally:

  1. Encasement – closing himself off from the pre-given material world through new materialities, technicities (homo faber now wears communicative gloves. Punch a wall and they will explode, electricity igniting his flesh).
  2. Confinement – squaring space geometrically, so that life itself is redoubled everywhere (one does not cook in the office – one works at his computer. The “space” demands a different mode of living, behaving, and thinking. This is so for every space – each confines a certain propriety to itself. Life is infinitely split.)
  3. Dicticity – or what we might call social rationalism, that thought is to be and only be (a) followed from another hierarchically, and thereby dictated by one to another (b) consigned to the implementation of dicta as formulae, moral and mathematical. Thought cannot freely imagine – it is, as in space, geometrically confined. Euclid laughs.
  4. Pro-sublimation – all desire is everywhere oriented towards all that already-is. Can I stop wanting to wear clothes? Perhaps, but would I? That is, unless I dwelt on it the point of near psychosis, would I ever choose otherwise? No, for cultural normalcy (or the “we” internalized in my “I”) keeps me apace with all it has given me. To cease such desire is to become psychotic. I want what the world gives me – and it is good/normal that I do. This is the “pro-” – this is all pro-social, pro-society, pro-“we”. Hereby all other desires are cut off – this is only an application of encasement to itself. Desire has become encased in itself.
  5. Machiavellianism – the above 4 denude freedom of all content but their domination. This domination is the encasement of pro-sublimation, or men seeking to control other men’s desires so none stop the first. Witness the circularity to this – men control others so men need themselves not be controlled. This ouroboros will choke man’s neck and, through encasement and confinement especially, it already has.

Who can imagine when he fears for his life? Who can wonder when his throat might be slit? These gave rise to our world – their liquidation will end it. Go to work. Do your job. Do not think, do not feel. Behave as is right for the place. All else is wrong. Battery cell you are, take what we’ve given you – your charges are nothing to us. As soon as you die, another will take your place.

Calculate the ROI compounded 5 times monthly, discounting for relative inflation. Yes, thicken my portfolio proportionally – I must have enough to buy 4 more land slots to collect rent. Oh, yes, measure them 5′ by 27′ – that’s how much squared? The market interest rate will determine how much I collect. Yes I’m going to the bar, it’s a bit dim no? Ah, well they can’t spend too much on light – power’s running high due to the war in China. Oh yes, the bill? I’ve got enough to cover it – my knitted cozies are selling well on Etsy.

Mind has seemingly run its course – it has begun the sprint before the limp to its final abode.

How can it walk once more, with footsteps beside it in the sand? The answer to this question is the secret of Being, or as Marx calls it, man’s “species-essence.”

Towards a distinction in the social value of knowledge

We could distinguish, or at least attempt to distinguish, a priori between two different kinds of knowledge – those knowledges which comport independence, and those which do not. The former we might call independent knowledges, the latter dependent knowledges, both in and for the knowers who profess them. Thus, independent knowledges are not independent of each other – they produce independence for those who know them.

Much of what passes for “knowledge” simpliciter in modernity is a distinctly dependent knowledge. Of course, at the broadest level of abstraction, all knowledge is dependent, since all knowledge is afforded by discursive communities and their linguistic practices. However, a lower-level, perhaps ground-level, dependence is afforded by those who demand that some know other things as the first declare them. It is this stance, that knowledge be known to any B as an A demands it, that I truly mean by dependent knowledge. It is that knowledge which cannot proceed unless B knows what A wills that he know exactly as A wills it, preferably without B’s consciousness that A wills it as such.

Example: my father wills that I do the dishes at 5pm, and thus wills that I know how to do so. He tells me that I must do so because of cleanliness, not because he conceives of cleanliness in this or that way. He (A) wills that I know about cleaning the dishes as he desires, though he would never qualify this. Thus, he prefers that I (B) conceive of his knowledge as though it were an absolute knowledge. In this way he makes me dependent on him, since he is aware of his arbitration.

Example 2: A philosopher writes about the structure of agency for other philosophers. He tells them that they must assess his writing as he has written it, and on no other term. For there is no proof of his writing except in and how the others around him believe it. He has produced a dependent knowledge, since the knowledge must depend on him as philosopher and not on any possible reader as agent independent of him. If the philosopher attempted to write towards such an end, he would (at least) be attempting to produce independent knowledge. (Only Plato and the Stoics have done this; Nietzsche attempted it).

Example 3: An economist writes about the summation of marginal utilities across an arbitrary time frame. He in no way tells me as reader how I can practice such summation, since I (allegedly) will perform the summation without my wanting to do so. The economist has made me dependent on him, since I must know his laws if I am to “know” if what I would do without my knowing it is to be “rational,” on his terms. I cannot act independently of him, since he has written me in such a manner that, if I do, I deny him his account of rationality.

In each example, knowledge is essentially patriarchal, parochial, and paternalist. Each knowledge producer wills that the reader suckle his teat like a babe to its mom, for he is the fount of wisdom. Each is a kind of epistemic slavery, doubly. First, the slavery is temporally dependent since I must read what is said to be “up to date” with the literature. Second, the slavery is metaphysically dependent since the pre-conditions for any spatial action (metaphysics) proceed quietly (in a Derridean trace) as I enchain myself in time to reading the relevant work. I cannot begin to think otherwise except as I have “refuted” the writer, and thereby willed that he believe me instead of the contrary. Robert Nozick has aptly pointed this phenomenon as, in my view, a lurking monarchism beneath all speech acts – “You, dear mortal, be my slave! For I know the truth, to which you must submit!” Michel Foucault calls it “the fascism in our heads.”

What sham, phony, childish thinking! Knowledge ought to be in all senses free, liberty-inducing. Give me such liberty, or give me death!

The Ideal of Objectivity

The ideal of maintaining objectivity is only the ideal of maintaining some degree of cognitive privacy. That is, the ontological position is merely a cover for a social, human position about states of knowing. For, if there is objectivity, then men need not consult each other per se, but only incidental to some discursive purpose. If there is no objectivity, then social consultation is per se, since private knowing is excluded by the inability of any one man to render a thought commensurate with an object. Indeed, without objectivity, there is no object – all that remains is the practice of its social construction.

Such relativism and groundlessness about knowing ought rightly scare many thinkers. For, if there is only the hive of mind, then there is nothing that supports each individual moment thereof, or at least a linear mereologist would have us believe.

The obvious solution is to save the object. Hereby, one saves the knower. But suppose one wishes to save the knower without the object – how could he do so?

This problem must be fleshed out with greater judiciousness at a later time.

Public Assumptions

To be in the public is to stand always on a violent assumption. This assumption: that one can determine the public in some way. Thereby, one does determine it – not by knowledge, but by will. Such willful determination of the public is only being-in-the-public. And this is creating it.