According to the cliché, most of us are liberals at twenty, and conservatives by forty.  By middle age, as the truism holds, we have been “mugged by reality”.

Leaving aside the fact that reality is a concept over whose meaning ontologists have argued for millennia, whoever happens to employ this infelicitous metaphor—I’ve heard it most often, in fact, on the avuncular lips of conservatives themselves–, “mugged by reality” is another expression of liberal condescension.  It suggests that conservatives are exhausted liberals:  liberals, that is, who have given up on their sweetly innocent, youthful ideals—the ideals of liberalism–, having grown weary of an arduous struggle for justice and truth against a recalcitrant—i.e, conservative–world.

Continue reading “Questioning Authority, and other Liberal “Ideals””

The Pythagoreanism of Empedocles’ Cosmogony…

Justice and Injustice…

Logos and Eros…

 

Empedocles’ cycle of existence, as we have seen, is obviously enough an adaptation of that of Anaximander, the first and most important of the Pre-Socratic cosmogonists.  His Sphere of Love, in which all of the elements are fused into one mass, is self-consciously evocative of Anaximander’s original to apeiron, the limitless thing.  But what Anaximander regards as being subject to “injustice”, ”aggression”, or “war”—that mutual invasion of the elemental provinces which he sees as violating the bounds of Destiny (Moira), and invoking dread Nemesis to demand “reparations”–, Empedocles envisions as the effect of the highest cosmic principle of Love.  At the opposite pole, what Anaximander conceivs as a Reign of Justice, where the four elements are differentiated from the mass and consigned peacefully to their provinces, Empedocles conceives as the reign of Strife. Continue reading “The Vocabulary of Myth, Part XXXVIII”

Empedocles’ On Nature…

His “Four Roots”…

Their Immutability and the Influence of Parmenides…

Love and Strife…

And Anaximander’s Vortex…

 

In his other great poem, On Nature, Empedocles begins his cosmogony where all of his predecessors, going back to Anaximander and Hesiod, also began:

Hear first the four roots of all things:  shining Zeus, life-bearing Hera, Aidoneus, and Nestis, who with her tears waters the mortal spring.

Continue reading “The Vocabulary of Myth, Part XXXVII”

JESUS OFFENDS OPPRESSED GROUPS

Fails to include women, gays, or transgendered in the Beatitudes

 ***

REAGAN HOSPITALIZED FOR GUNSHOT WOUND

Sleeps through entire operation

 ***

HAITI’S ECONOMY BOOMING, UNEMPLOYMENT AT 1%

Social activists worry about growing inequality

 ***

EARTHQUAKE DEVASTATES MANHATTAN

Poor and minorities disproportionately affected

 ***

–Past and Future Headlines from the New York Times

 

In every opinion survey conducted over the past few decades, journalists have ranked somewhere between politicians and used car salesmen in terms of trustworthiness.    And yet, as a profession, journalism continues to be respected.  In this regard, journalists enjoy the same presumption of innocence as teachers.  Why, I have always wondered, are teachers so uncritically admired?  If the telos of the teaching profession is to confer an education upon the young, the briefest conversation with today’s graduates of Self-Esteem High—if they are capable of conversation, beyond non-verbal ejaculations of “like”, “you know”, and “awesome”– ought to dispel any illusion that its practitioners have succeeded in fulfilling it.  But anyone who points this out invariably lights a fuse of defensive sanctimony about how hard educators work, how much they sacrifice, and how little they are paid.  (Try to imagine your plumber demanding regular raises after every pipe he’s installed in your house has sprung a leak, and then, in self-exculpation, bleating about long hours and cramped working conditions.) Continue reading “The Journalist Mystique”

What follows was written in 2008, shortly after the publication of William Gairdner’s latest.  For some reason which I can’t now recall, I failed to post it.  But since Gairdner’s work is always relevant, and Priceton’s watchword is anachronism, here it is…

Oh, Oh Canada!  A Voice from the Conservative Resistance (BPS Books), 195 pages;

The Book of Absolutes:  A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals (McGill-Queens University Press), 398 pages

(Both books are available at williamgairdner.com.)

 

William D. Gairdner, Ph. D., is usually described as a “best-selling Canadian conservative author”.  The phrase is arresting:  of the possible partial combinations of these four words, most are so improbable that the complete catena almost defies belief.   It is rare enough to be a best-selling writer in Canada (especially of non-fiction); no less rare to be a Canadian writer of conservative opinion; rarest of all to be a Canadian writer of conservative opinion whose books consistently make the best-seller lists. Continue reading “William Gairdner’s Book of Absolutes”

Empedocles…

And Pythagoras…

The Triadic Circle of the Soul…

 

In the cosmogony of Empedocles, we encounter a conception of the world-process that is no less moral than that of Parmenides, while at the same incorporating much of the mystical monism of his Eleatic predecessor.

Empedocles, c. 490-430 B.C., was a citizen of Acragas, an important Greek colony in Sicily.  A tradition going back to the fourth century B.C. has it that he was a disciple of Pythagoras–plausible enough, if only because of the geographical proximity of Acragas to the Pythagorean community in Croton in southern Italy—and that he was rebuked by his fellow adherents for having revealed the secret teachings of the master in his writings.  The charge is substantiated by the many fragments that have come down to us; all the same, Empedocles was said to have been revered in his own right as a god, and to have inspired a cult following no less devoted than that of Pythagoras. Continue reading “The Vocabulary of Myth, Part XXXVI”

Parmenides’ “Way of Opinion”…

Light and Night, and Heracleitus’ Opposites…

Parmenides’ Doomed Monism…

Light and Night as Religious Categories…

The Inseparability of Ontology and Morality…

 

In the prologue to his poem, Parmenides’ goddess-muse promised to reveal to him “all things; both the unshakable heart of well-rounded truth and the opinions of mortals to which there is no true belief”.  The first half of his task has now been accomplished; true being has been proven to be “complete on every side like the body of a well-rounded sphere”, that is, unchanging, indivisible, unitary, and self-contained. Continue reading “The Vocabulary of Myth, Part XXXV”

As the recent election in the U.S. has reminded everyone, conservatives and liberals have always had, well, their differences.  A couple of years ago, the prolific political author William Gairdner attempted to define them in his book The Great Divide, concluding that conservatives and liberals are now so far apart that they had better just give up trying to talk to one another, and decamp to separate countries.  (Note to Bill:  they already have; look at the post-November 8 electoral map of the U.S.  Let’s hope that Trump establishes sanctuary cities in California and New York for Republicans.) Continue reading “Slouching Towards Mao”

In our very first essay (“We Introduce Ourselves”), we promised that Priceton.org would be ever current, but never topical.  Thus, during the nearly two-year long U.S. presidential campaign, we at Priceton fastidiously resisted the urge to weigh in, in spite of the besetting temptation it posed on an almost daily basis to the satirical imagination.  But in our most recent post (“Fake News”), we may have jumped the gun.  After all, it has been only two months since the election campaign officially ended.  (And what mind is so capacious as to be able to make sense of, what stomach so robust as to be able to metabolize, after such a brief interval, the Olympian dung-heap of misinformation and lies excreted by the Democrat campaign and bespread by their propaganda agents in the progressive media?

As an antidote to our indecent haste, accordingly, we offer “Fake News From Long Ago”: factoids and story-lines about the history of the world ab initio to the modern era, that have been blithely repeated by historians (popular and academic), theologians, philosophers, scientists, university professors in every field, politicians, TV documentarians, movie makers, journalists, and other contemporary ideological snake-oil salesmen, most of whom have been driving under the same progressive influence as fecundated the fake news stories enumerated in our previous installment. Continue reading “Fake News From Long Ago”

The Democrat Party, along with its liberal media acolytes, has been engaged in serious soul-searching of late to find out why they lost the election.  Really.

Thusfar, in roughly chronological order, they’ve come up with:  1. Whitelash.  Xenophobic, white-supremacist members of the KKK and the American Nazi Party (all fifteen members in good standing) handed the election to Trump; 2. FBI Director Comey handed the election to Trump; (3. Don’t worry.  Hillary won the popular vote.);  4. Russian “interference” in the U.S. electoral process handed the election to Trump;  5. Fake news on social media (who knew that social media was part of the vast right-wing conspiracy?) handed the election to Trump. Continue reading “Fake News”