Note: This is Mupetblast, not TGGP.
In lieu of anything particularly original to say and for a lack of creative synthesis on my part – due mostly to my recent success in finding work (copywriting for “adult entertainment oriented media”) – I link to some web writings of note:
1. The Sociological Imagination guys suggest a re-reading of Jesse Walker’s “The Paranoid Center,” probably in light of the Arizona shootings, and I second that. This whole episode got me thinking about a book released last year entitled Fanaticism: A Brief History of the Concept, written by leftist scholar Alberto Toscano. He uses a kind of sociology of knowledge approach to determining why some groups and individuals are deemed “fanatics” by the political commentariat. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve read this overview by the author himself. Referencing Hegel’s description of a fanatic as someone with “excessive enthusiasm for the abstract,” he makes the case that the liberal Enlightenment mode of thought, or rather, ideology, should consider applying this notion of fanaticism to itself, a not wholly uncommon point of view on the academic left. His primary example of a victim group at the receiving end of this hegemonic liberal ideology (or “liberal virus“) is Muslims, as you might guess. I’m curious if Jared Loughner might be a case in point too. Given his threadbare ideological orientation – the guy appears to borrow from everybody – and his poignant question to Rep. Giffords in 2007, “What is government if words have no meaning?“, his political mindset is about as abstract as it gets. Though Toscano is reluctant to parrot the common reliance on “psychopathology” by mainstream journalists and politicians to marginalize challenges to liberal ideological hegemony, I’m curious if he’d be so reluctant to apply it in the case of Loughner, tentatively “on the right” in the left imagination. Shannon Love at Chicago Boyz gives us a taste of what a right-Toscano might sound like.
2. Keith Preston’s “Our Glenn Beck?” suggests that Alex Jones has more in common with traditionalist conservatives than the Fox News Mormon. I somehow can’t imagine Russell Kirk feeling much affinity for an Alex Jones, but at least they both share either a disdain (in Kirk’s case) or incapacity (in Jones’ case?) for ideological edifice building. As Preston has it, you won’t see Jones shunning conspiracy theories in favor of complexity and “the extended order.” But yes, Kirk is not the end all of Paleo thought.
3. French “New Philosopher” Pascal Bruckner criticizes the term “Islamophobia” for shutting down serious debate about the role of Islam in the modern world, Europe specifically. He writes that the term was coined in 1970s Iran during the time of the Revolution. Funny, I would have guessed it was spawned in the West.
4. Possible fodder for redistributionists: The rich really are more selfish (so you’re gonna have to take it from them).
Upcoming, an interview with scholar Mark Pennington for the Critical Review alumni site on why deliberative democrats are wrong, even on their own terms.