|Bobby Jindal: GOP
Should Stop Being
The Stupid Party
The 2012 Election: Results and Prospects
(first time as tragedy, second time as farce)
a cultural-historical, cognitive-developmental approach
meaning is to use as theory is to observation*
Hegel is to Kant as Vygotsky is to Piaget
tragedy is to farce as Hitler is to Trump
*Robert Brandom, Towards an Analytic Pragmatism, p. 5
Landscape with Cardinal, Passenger Pigeon and Enormous Cat Head
Map 1. 2012 Congressional Elections: Results
Map 2. 2012 Presidential Election, by county
Click here to see the New York Times interactive map
Click here to see House Vote 659 - Passes Fiscal Cliff Deal (Jan 1, 2013)
Click here for a set of reference maps and charts
Scores, 2003 - 2009:
21 Nations +U.S. New England + U.S. South + OECD average
source. PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do – Student
Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science (Volume I)
The bottom red line is the Trump zone, Bobby Jindal's Stupid Party.
The two maps (2012 Election Results) show the geographical distribution of the electoral base of the Party referred to by Bobby Jindal as "The Stupid Party" (Huffington Post 11/13/2012). Jindal is Governor of Louisiana and incoming president of the Republican Governors Association, and thus might be said to speak with some authority.
Figure 1 is about more than test scores, even about more than education. Formal schooling is only one moment in the unfolding of cognitive development, and data such as appear in Figure 1 therefore reflect the various forces that promote or retard development. This complex systems approach is emphasized by Pasi Sahlberg, "A Model Lesson: Finland Shows Us What Equal Opportunity Looks Like" (American Educator, Vol. 36, No. 1, Spring 2012):
Importing a specific aspect of Finland’s education system, whether it is curricula, teacher training, special education, or school leadership, is probably of little value to those aiming to improve their own education systems. The Finnish welfare system guarantees all children the safety, health, nutrition, and moral support that they need to learn well in school. One lesson from Finland is, therefore, that successful change and good educational performance often require improvements in social, employment, and economic sectors. As described by theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman, separate elements of a complex system rarely function adequately in isolation from their original system in a new environment.
The dominant approach to education in the many of the top performing nations (Finland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands) is broadly described as cultural historical activity theory.
In the United States this approach has been rejected by political elites (of both parties), despite the fact that it represents the state of the art in educational theory and practice whose efficacy is indicated by Figure 1 (in this respect it is similar to the standard model of particle physics and the modern evolutionary synthesis). Instead, the shibboleths of provincial Protestantism dominate educational policy in the United States, helping to bring the United States to the sorry state revealed by Figure 1.
Figures 2 and 3 (birthers and evolution) together with map 1 and 2 (red and blue counties and congressional districts) and figure 1 (PISA math scores) provide a synoptic view the cultural praxis of the Stupid Party.
Figure 3. Public Acceptance of
Evolution, 2006: from "Why doesn't
America believe in evolution" by
Jeff Hecht, Science: August 20, 2006
Figure 2. percent who doubt Obama's
from the DailyKos, "Birthers are mostly
Republican and Southern," July 31, 2009
The Research 2000 findings were pulled
together from a survey of 2,400 adults.
Poll question: Do you believe that Barack
Obama was born in the United States of
America or not?
Choices: Yes No Not sure
No + Not Sure = variable graphed
No Child Left Behind: the Stupid Party Makes its Mark (continued)
Consider the implications of this excerpt from Richard E. Nisbett, Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009), p. 197
The No Child Left Behind Act demands that the differences in academic acheivement between the classes and betweeen the races be erased in half a generation by the schools alone. This is absurd. It ignores the fact that class and race differences begin in early infancy and have as much to do with economic factors and neighborhood and cultural differences as with schools.Absurd . . . and yet the Stupid Party is allowed to set the parameters for any possible discourse on education. I propose overcoming this cognitive liability by shifting these discursive parameters. Instead of arguing with the Stupid Party over questions of education, etc., this site is devoted to analyzing and contextualizing the discursive praxis of the Stupid Party. When confronting the discourse of the Stupid Party we should recognize that we are dealing with symptoms (e.g., the discourse on guns), not modern cognitive processes. By taking the rhetorical maneuvers of the Stupid Party at face value*, we degrade our own capacity for thought. Now that Bobby Jindal has spilled the beans, we can stop the special treatment of the GOP (the assumption not only of good faith but also of a certain level of cognitive competence in their discursive performances).
The map and the graph are juxtaposed for good reason. The forces undermining our development as a nation are many, and they are complexly interrelated. These forces have triumphed in a policy--No Child Left Behind--based on the substitution of simple-minded shibboleths for genuine educational theory. Ideologically, NCLB is an expression of free-market fundamentalism.** NCLB's hostility to modern pedagogical theory and practice is cut from the same cloth as climate change denial and creationism, and is part of the crusade against reason and science that has been a mainstay of the GOP rhetorical appeals for decades. This demonization of reason, which to a considerable degree has been institutionalized in the major media, is a major force in subverting the development of human capital in the United States. NCLB's refusal to consider the educational experience of Finland and other high-achieving nations should be taken as prima facie evidence that the main concern of our educational reformers is something other than educating America's children.
(Hint #1. It's about money. Hint #2. It is identical in purpose to G. W. Bush's attempt to privatize social security. Hint #3. When you hear the word "reform" think "predation" and scrutinize the financial not corporate backers of reform organizations such as Relay University and Students First.)
*"But as semiotics it remains of incalculable value: it reveals, to the informed man at least, the most precious realities of cultures and inner worlds which did no know enough to ‘understand’ themselves. Morality is merely sign-language, merely symptomatology." Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, p. 55 emphasis added.
**Michael W. Miles, The Odyssey of the American Right (Oxford University Press, 1980); Paul Krugman, Free-market Fundamentalism; John Quiggin, Five Zombie Economic Ideas That Refuse to Die.
"Stupid" is more of an epithet than it is a concept. Richard E. Nisbett, in Intelligence and How to Get It (W.W. Norton & Company, 2009), and Stephen J. Ceci, in On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development (Harvard University Press, 1996) provide an intellectual resource for addressing Jindal's concerns. This excerpt is from Ceci:
The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . . however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ, g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior. (Ceci, p. 22)
"The possibility that there exists a more restless relationship between intelligence and context, in which thinking changes both its nature and its course as one moves from one situation to another, is enough to cause shudders in some research quarters. It represents a move toward a psychology of situations . . . " (Ceci, p. xvi)
Intelligence used to be thought of as something genetic, given at birth, and unchanging. Now intelligence is thought of as a cultural historical achievement that is the result of developmental strategies, deliberate policy efforts undertaken by the state that include well-educated teachers, a secure and supportive environment, and a national (and family) culture that is pro-science. Finland exemplifies this approach.
Thus, cognitive performativity is not only an extremely variable developmental outcome, it is context-dependent as well.*
Nevertheless, Bobby Jindal has renamed his party the Stupid Party, and I will continue to use this term, but only as a proper noun. I will never refer to a specific remark as stupid (take your pick among the GOP primary contestants for tempting examples--a temptation that must be resisted). On the contrary, the specific cognitive performances of the GOP will analyzed through the deployment of the conceptual matrix indicated in xxx. Terms such as gestural, pre-operational, concrete operational, and formal operational, derived from the discursive field of developmental psychology; and projection, displacement, paranoid schizoid position, depressive position, and other concepts derived from the psychoanalytic discursive field will be deployed in order to understand the Stupid Party.
*Dynamic process methodology in the social and developmental sciences, Jaan Valsiner, Peter C.M. Molenaar, Maria C.D.P. Lyra, and Nandita Chaudhary, eds. (Springer, 2009):
Phenomena of nature, society, and the human psyche are context bound, constantly changing, and variable (from book description--see Amazon page).
from the backcover: "Reality is dynamic: filled with variables and constantly in flux. So are the physical, psychological, and social processes that make up our lives—so much so, assert the contributors to Dynamic Process Methodology in the Social and Developmental Sciences, that phenomena science often dismisses as "anecdotal" evidence are in fact the valuable record of highly individual dynamic systems."
A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and BeyondFig 1, when taken together with maps 1 and 2, poses fundamental questions about cognition and culture in the 21st century. Instead of a cognitively homogeneous citizenry (the basic assumption of the Enlightenment), there are fundamental differences in cognitive functioning among different historically and sociologially defined subgroups of the global population. These subgroups can be defined by the nature of their cognitive-linguistic practice, including, at one extreme, inventories of basic expressions and rhetorical maneuvers, such as are seen in the Youtube videos of the Palin and McCain rallies, Tea Party protests, town hall mobs, and the mass of political ads produced for TV, as well as videos of newscasts and talk show interviews. The cognitive performances of the Right are a mixture of gestural, preoperational, and psuedo-concrete-operational mental processes (See Developmental Divergence and American Politics: Cognitive Development in History). (One of the effects of r*c*sm, already mentioned above, is that "it" sets the parameters for any possible discourse on cognitive performances in the public sphere. Thus, terms like "cognitive deficit" are only permissible when applied to the other.)
At the other extreme--and radically divergent from red state cognitive-cultural modalities--are the scientific (that is, formal operational) cognitive modalities of the Intel Science Talent Search Finalists (N=160) for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. (For analysis see Intel finalists.) While these high school seniors are exceptional, they are exceptional within the modern cultural historical cognitive manifold that Flynn (excerpt 2) sees as the hallmark of post-war modernity. The striking results of this analysis of the Intel finalists are summarized below:
Excerpt 1 of 4
from William Calvin, A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 2004)
It is just in the last 1 percent of that up-from-the-apes period that human creativity and technological capabilities have really blossomed. It's been called "The Mind's Big Bang." In our usual expansive sense of "mind," the history of the mind is surprisingly brief, certainly when compared with the long increase in brain size and the halting march of toolmaking. xiv
. . . there are emergent properties lurking in anything that produces a steep gradient. . . I can imagine softwiring emergents in the brain intensively engaging in structured stuff at earlier ages. The steeper gradients between rich and poor may produce surprising social effects unless we do something about the rich getting richer. 177-8
"Yet once our education has the techniques to incorporate what is being learned about brain plasticity and inborn individual differences, we are likely to produce many more adults of unusual abilities, able to juggle twice as many concepts at once, able to follow a longer chain of reasoning, able to shore up the lower floors of their mental house of cards to allow fragile new levels to be tried out, metaphors and beyond--the survival of the stable but on a higher level yet again." 183
Intel Finalists: sociological profile
Children of highly educated scientists and engineers, academics, and professionals (mainly doctors and lawyers) from secular households and affluent, cosmopolitan communities completely dominate the list of Intel Finalists. Children of capitalists are absent, as are children of upper mangement from both the corporate and the service sectors. Children of everyone else are, of course, also absent.
Asians comprise 65% of the finalists, Jews 12.5%. The number of whites from the south is near zero.
The most striking conclusion? The victims, on a mass scale, of the right wing crusade against science and the public sector are fundamentalist Protestants, both white and black, and working class Catholics. "Christian America" has
The best explanation of this emerges from the Vygotsky-Bronfenbrenner approach to cognitive development. All of the finalists came from cosmopolitan, secular family and school environments. They were thus immunized against the threat to cognitive development posed by the anti-intellectual crusade of the right, a crusade that the mainstream media legitimizes by presenting for example the "controversy" as a legitimate debate between equally credible opponents. This has no effect on those children whose families provide them with immunity from these efforts. But for the masses of fundametalists, both white and black, and many working class Catholics, it is a crippling blow to the developmental prospects of their children.
The two articles below tell us about a future that is already here.
Asian workers now dominate Silicon Valley tech jobs (San Jose Mercury News, 11-30-12)
Asians: Too Smart for Their Own Good? (New York Times 12-19-12)
The developmental psychology on which I rely is the antithesis of the implicit racism of public discourse and much of social scientific discourse on "intelligence" which takes "race" as an ontological given.
deconstructing the "white" finalists
In analyzing the lists of Intel Science Talent Search Finalists one finds first of all that about two thirds of these students are Asian in family background. But more interesting are the categories that help to deconstruct the "white" finalists. I will expand on this later. For now, let me just say that four categories emerge from this encounter with the data (and in the broader context of American society): severely white (that is, where rage is combined with the symbols and rhetoric of violence toward the other); really white (people for whom being white really matters--heavily evangelical Protestant but also northeastern Catholics)--and toward whom the racist appeals of most GOP primary contestants are directed); merely white (largely children of upper middle class Catholic and mainline Protestant educated parents); and nearly white (Jews and European immigrants). This is the first step (a-posteriori, phenomenological) beyond the racist (a-priori ontology) practice in the public sphere.
Out of the roughly 110 finalists I have looked at, of the "white" minority there appear to be none from the severely and really white subsets.* All the rest are subsumable under the merely and nearly white categories.
Th next step in the cognitive decon/reconstruction of the Intel finalists is cultural historical analysis, which finds the underlying forces responsible for the tremendous developemental achievement of these students (read their project descriptions and be prepared for a shock). See COGDEV
*I thought one of the finalists, from Barttlesville, Oklahoma, might be really white. Alas! His dad turns out to be a petroleum engineer. Another, whose dad was a motorman, was a super geek mathematician living and going to school in San Francisco.
A Brief History of the Mind:
From Apes to Intellect and Beyond, cont.
What Flynn refers to (excerpt 2) is a very recent cultural-historical developmental achievement (even more easily reversed than it was to create). Calvin (excerpt 1) sets the broader evolutionary context of that achievement. Härkönen (excerpt 3) is a concise summary of the development of educational theory in Finland. Geist (excerpt 4), bucking the tide of cognitive distortion produced by anti-communism, points out the obvious: that cultural historical activity theory (and the concept of Bildung) are central to the mode of thinking that is associated with Hegel. One of the interesting twists in 21st century thought is the decreasing relevance of Marx, and the increasing relevance of Hegel (Slavoj Žižek: We Need Thinking).
The requirement that people develop new habits of mind (the scientific world view and formal operational competence) only arises as a major societal issue in the era of the third industrial revolution, beginning in the late 20th century. To become middle class in the twenty first century means acquiring the degree of cognitive performativity that was once the domain of an educated elite. This is what Finland, the Netherlands, Singapore and Hong Kong have set out to achieve for large proportions of their population. Figure 1 can thus be read as an indication of how far short of that goal the United States has fallen. It now seems likely that the United States has simply failed to take the leap, educationally and cognitively, from the second industrial revolution to the third industrial revolution.
from Alan S. Blinder, CEPS Working Paper No. 163 May 2008 (Center for Economic Policy Studies, Department of Economics, Princeton University)
At the risk of some (but not much) exaggeration, the nation’s K-12 education system never adapted to the Second Industrial Revolution. Yet we are now, I believe, in the early stages of a Third Industrial Revolution, often called the Information Age. p. 6
Excerpt 2 of 4
from James R. Flynn, What is Intelligence? Beyond the Flynn Effect (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2009)
The scientific ethos, with its vocabulary, taxonomies, and detachment of logic and the hypothetical from concrete referents, has begun to permeate the minds of post-industrial peoples. This has paved the way for mass education on the university level and the emergence of an intellectual cadre without whom our present civilization would be inconceivable. p. 29
Science altered our lives and then liberated our minds from the concrete. This history has not been written because, as children of our own time, we do not perceive the gulf that separates us from our distant ancestors: the difference between their world and the world seen through scientific spectacles. . . . As use of logic and the hypothetical moved beyond the concrete, people developed new habits of mind. They became practiced at solving problems with abstract or visual content and more innovative at administative tasks. p. 172-174
Cognitive development is not a normative, inevitable process. It is an effect of history and politics, and can suffer reversal or collapse
The inability of American society to generate the advanced minds critical to the development of advanced capitalism is masked by the enormous inflow of skilled and educated Third World middle classes into the U. S. labor force, including those born here of immigrant parents. In developmental diveregence I show how the concept of Zone(s) of Proximal Development, rather than the concepts of race and ethnicity, helps not only to explain "Asian" dominance, but also deconstructs the "white" minority subset into ZPDs. For an early albeit implicit demonstration of the effectiveness of the concept of ZPD, see Zena Smith Blau, Black children/white children : competence, socialization, and social structure (Free Press, 1981).
The current convergence, in the United States, of economic decline, attacks on teachers and on the public sector as a whole, and the evangelical crusade against formal-operational thought (the impact of which is made clear by application of the ZPD concept), might reasonably be expected to deepen this inter- and intra-national developmental divergence. Just as devastating is the effect of the corporate mobilization of desire in the context of narcissistic regression. The cognitive consequences of post-modern consumer capitalism is analyzed by Hall et. al.*
Entropy: conflict between order and decay. In this case, the conflict beween organization (both as mind and as capital) and the corporate mobilization of desire in the context of narcissistic regression. Latter may by the signal event of the 21st century--not only the obvious effects (obesity) but also the most complex and elusive yet decisive effects on cognitive development and personality formation--those instantiations of an inner order and discipline that are the sine qua non for society to exist at all. (Alcorn)
Cognitive decline--the decay of structure and discipline in cognitive performativity--is well underway, and has been for decades.
Few consider the historicity, fragility, and reversibility of cognitive development. Cognitive development is not a normative, inevitable process. It is an effect of history and politics, and can suffer reversal or collapse.
*Hall et. al. (Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture: crime, exclusion and the new culture of narcissism)
Excerpt 3 of 4
from Ulla Härkönen (University of Joensuu, Finland), "Current Theories Related to Early Childhood Education and Preschool as Frames of Reference for Sustainable Education," in Institute of Sustainable Education, conference, 2004
In Finland, for thirty years, theoretical frames for early childhood education and preschool have been outlined through Bronfenbrenner's ecological approach, Vygotsky's developmental theory, didactic theories and the psychological theories of learning, among which the latest is the constructivist theory of learning.
Bronfenbrenner's theory of ecological development (1979) has in Finland for almost thirty years been one of the most generally used theories to analyze the phenomena of early childhood education and, at the same time, of preschool. The importance of the theory of ecological development lies in the fact that personal development is seen in relation to different kinds and different levels of systems. This has introduced to the methodological principles of educational research a systems approach, according to which an object is studied as a system of its structural and functional relations.
Early childhood education and preschool have received strong theoretical stimuli from developmental psychology. This is true of Finland even today and evident also in this article. Developmental psychology theories are represented here by the often referred to theories of Bronfenbrenner and Vygotsky. They both focus their attention on human development and both have introduced a systems dimension to their ideas.
The Limits of Cultural Historical Activity Theory
The above is but the tip if the iceberg. Cultural Historical Activity Theory, notwithstanding its success in the nation where it was most fully implemented (Finland), does not address the vulgarity, violence and greed of modern life. It does not address such phenomena as the Stupid Party; it has nothing to say about fascism as a generic phenomenon of modernity and as a central feature of American life. Nor does it have anything to say about the cognitive effects of our enormously powerful corporate networks devoted to the stimulation of desire and envy.* Cultural Historical Activity Theory is Hegel with a smiley face, Hegel tamed and made subservient to the logos advanced capitalism. The strikethrough indicates a critical negation of much of what is implied by the word--and at the same time the word cannot be abandoned merely because of the trite and vulgar, conceptually lame way in which it is used. The same treatment must be applied to the word racism. This whole site (which at present consists of about two dozen pages) is devoted to both criticising and expanding these terms, which should be thought not so much as concepts as invitations to think through what it is that they point to and problematize.
Hegel was just the beginning of the development of a mode of thought that has superceded the scientistic cognitive modality that preceded it (Margolies, below right). (Nevertheless it is the scientistic cognitive modality, a crude materialism, that dominates modern discourse in the public sphere. (see Heretz, Russia on the Eve of Modernity)
*But see Robin Usher, "Experience, pedagogy, and social practices," in Knud Illeris, ed., Contemporary Theories of Learning (Routledge, 2009), for a smiley-faced acknowldgement of these forces. Hall et. al. (Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture) is a far grimmer asessment.
Excerpt 4 of 4
from Hartmut Geist, "The Formation Experiment in the Age of Hypermedia and Distance Learning," in The Transformation of Learning: Advances in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, edited by Bert van Oers, Wim Wardekker, Ed Elbers, and René van der Veer (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Looking at the history of science, we find two different roots and basic ideas in scientific thinking: the idea and concept of evolution sensu Darwin, and the idea and concept of activity sensu Marx. . . .
. . . the basic idea [of activity theory] is not "evolution," that is, the idea of adaptation to the environment, but "revolution," that is, change of the environment. The dialectical analysis of human history, as it was done, for example, by Hegel and particularly by Marx, showed not only that humans adapt to the environment but also that they change it in accordance with their demands . . . Activity is not an active adaptation to the environment but the transformation of the environment and--in inrtrerelation with it--of humans themselves. Although this idea is not new, it has only begun to prove its explanatory potental. Among the first to apply this idea to psychology were Vygotsky and one of his closest students, Leontiev. (pp. 103-105; emphasis added)
Thus, what one finds in Marx (as in Hegel) is an incipient concept of species being as sociocultural cognitive developmental process that is both a consequence of past activity and the possibility of a future-oriented intentional praxis of self-transformation. This is what makes the case of Finland so important.
1. Transcendental Empiricism & Extended Mind
The site as a whole recognizes that the Internet is the techno-cognitive axis of a praxiological revolution in thought, where the extended mind is fused with philosophy as the critical accompaniment to empirical practice. An example of the kind of empirical practice embodied in this site, which I refer to (after Deleuze) as transcendental empiricism, can be found in Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense, which assembles internet-accessible videos, graphics and texts expressive of right-wing political performativity in the USA. This is about fascism--and about much more than fascism. What this page (Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense) does is something a book, by virtual of its techical limitations, cannot do: it starts in the present, utilizing the expanded semiotic capacity of the internet, and wallows permanently in the existential muck of political life. But it does so while also keeping in mind an ever-expanding array of academic and literary texts. (There is a "Hegelian" strategic core to this site.)
I have assembled some excerpts re. transcendental empiricism here. Above all, for me TE is a form of practice. To see what I mean by this go to Plane of Immanence ----- Progressivism to New Deal: Bildung.
The structure of this site is summed up by John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (Pluto Press, 1998)
The rhizome is a figure borrowed from biology, opposed to the principle of foundation and origin which is embedded in the figure of the tree. The model of the tree is hierarchical and centralized, wheas the rhizome is proliferating and serial, functioning by means of the principle of connection and heterogeneity.
Deleuze and Guatarri argue that the book has been linked traditionally to the model of the tree, in that the book has been seen as an organic unit, which is both hermetically sealed, but also a reflection of the world. In contrast, the rhizome is neither mimetic nor organic. It only ever maps the real, since the act of mapping is a method of experimenting with the real: and it is always an open system, with multiple exits and entrances. In short, the rhizome is an 'acentred' system; the map of a mode of thought which is always 'in the middle'. (45)
from Joseph Margolis, The Unraveling of Scientism: American Philosophy at the End of the Twentieth Century (Cornell University Press, 2003)
. . . the record of the last half-century is, philosophically, largely a record of the dawning exhaustion of an impressive vision (scientism) and the incompletely developed, still somewhat inchoate, possibilities of a promising alternative philosophy (pragmatism).
By 'Cartesianism' or 'Cartesian realism' I mean any realism, no matter how defended or qualified, that holds that the world has a determinate structure apart from all constraints of human inquiry and that our cognizing faculties are nevertheless able to discern those independent structures reliably. 'Cartesianism' serves here as a term of art, as not confined to Descartes's own doctrine. It ranges over pre-Kantan philosophy, Kant's own philosophy (quixotically), and even over the views of such contemporary theorists as Putnam and Davidson. Twentieth-century analytic philosophy is, in this respect, thoroughly pre-Kantian or Kantian in a way in which Kant himself is pre-Kantian: it is an unabashed continuation of seventeenth and eighteenth-century philosophy threatened in precisely the same way its ancestors originally were. . . . The main feature of Hegel's strategy, which, in American philosophy, is preserved (almost without attribution) among the classic pragmatists (particularly Dewey*) retires altogether the very idea of reference to a 'noumenal' world or a world the properties of which are seperable from from whatever they are said to appear to be to human inquirers, and reinterprets 'appearances' (Erscheinungen) as open to the recovery of no more than a 'constructed' realism, that is, a realism shorn of the recuperative use of the 'Cartesian' habit of opposing or disjoining 'appearance' and 'reality' completely. (If, that is, 'realism' is a proper term for rendering the sense of the Phenomenology's argument.)" p. 49-50
*re. Dewey and Hegel, see James A. Good, A Search for Unity in Diversity: the "Permanent Hegelian Deposit" in the Philosophy of John Dewey (Lexington Books,2006)
2. The Myth of the Subject
(the "Individual" as Ontological Presupposition)
Development (Bildung) vs. Democracy
envy & distinction
food (The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food nyt)
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment
Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer,
Rick Tillman, The Intellectual Legacy of Thorstein Veblen (Greenwood Press, 1996)
Malcolm Rutherford, The Institutionalist Movement in American Economics, 1918-1947 (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
James A. Good, A Search for Unity in Diversity: the "Permanent Hegelian Deposit" in the Philosophy of John Dewey (Lexington Books, 2006)
Espen Hammer, ed., German Idealism: Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, 2007)
from Michel Foucault, Remarks on Marx : conversations with Duccio Trombadori, translated by R. James Goldstein and James Cascaito (Semiotext(e), 1991)
"It was a matter of calling the theme of the subject into question once again, that great, fundamental postulate which French philosophy, from Descartes until our own time, had never abandoned. Setting out with psychoanalysis, Lacan discovered, or brought out into the open, the fact that the theory of the unconscious is incompatible with a theory of the subject (in the Cartesian sense of the term as well as the phenomenological one). . . Indeed, Lacan concluded that is was precisely the philosophy of the subject which had to be abandoned on account of this incompatibiity, and that the point of departure should be an analysis of the mechanisms of the unconscious." p. 56-7
|3. Entropy--The Unexpected is
Figure 1 and the analysis of the Intel finalists are evidence of an unprecented development in the human comedy. One ought to view the multitude of reality shows to understand this--Jersey Shore is the most infamous, but the genre now grows exponentially. Yet we have not grasped what has already happened, what is happening, and the ghastly future already past that lies before us. The New York Times article The Rainbow That Follows ‘Jersey Shore’ misses what is the most striking feature of these shows: their cognitive primitivism.
It is already clear that in the U.S. fundamentalist whites and blacks have been disgorged from the project of modernity, and now constitute a new "barbarian" mass, concentrated in the central cities and the rural heartland (see map), and removed in toto from the possiblities of development implied by the term "education". I use the term "barbarian" in a cognitive-linguistic sense, although of course the fascist violence of the "tea party" (see Ressent & MD) suggests an additional meaning to the term "barbarism": the lack of bourgeois self-control (see Walzer) evident whenever the sadistic rhetorical elements that are the central feature of the Right are deployed.
Hall et. al. have really grasped this, a result (it seems to me) of their participation in the everyday lives of their subjects. Words such as poor or marginal hardly get at what they describe and analyze.
I too have been immersed in a range of cultural contexts (in the Detroit metro area) since 1975, from street networks and drug dealers through the working poor, unionized workers (auto, steel, telephone, etc), frontline supervisors and middle management, both as a teacher in a degree-granting adult education program (where I breached the fundamental rule of class etiquette), and as an "activist/organizer" (words that, given their common use, do not really apply, yet which cannot be abandoned).
Rainbow That Follows ‘Jersey Shore’ By
Published: January 6, 2013
American Exceptionalism: the Psychometric Data
Developmental Divergence and American Politics: Cognitive Development in History
Appetite and Entropy: Subverting Cognitive Development
Semiotic Regimes (cognition, ressentiment, and desire)
Progressivism to New Deal: the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State
historical traectory enl to ND
Progressivism to New Deal: Charts
Progressivism to New Deal: Documents
Plane of Immanence: Progressivism to New Deal
Philosophy and History
Three Rules and Four Ontologies
4. the Myth of the Working Class
Lest this be misunderstood, this entire site is a demolition of the fundamental conceit of Marxism, the myth of the working class (but Jaques Ranciere has already done this), even as it is a further development of the cultural historical trajectory Enlightenment to New Deal. My involvement with activist networks of auto workers (and to a lesser extent teamsters and steel workers) in the seventies and eighties confirmed my earlier intuitions of the nature of the fundamental intra-class conflict that contemporary scholars of the Russian Revolution have now established as the current canonical interpretation:
The 'conscious' worker who emerged in the last quarter of the ninetenth century were hardly typical of the majority of migrants who came to St Petersburg. They identified with the working class, at least in an idealized sense, yet often expressed a'burning, pungent loathing of the utter self-devouring ignorance and incomprehension' of the ordinary worker. 'Conscious' workers sought to distance themelves from the latter, seeking to reconstruct their lives around the ideal of 'personality', struggling to develop as knowledgeable, autonomous individuals.
S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008), p. 76-77; and Reginald Zelnick, Workers and Intelligentsia in Late Imperial Russia (University of California Press, 1999). See also the Wellman interview.
But Ranciere has done this only empirically, demonstrating the artisan not industrial proletarian character of 19th century labor radicalism.
What I have done is far more disheartening, for it now is clear that the class with radical chains that was supposed to carry to triumph the flag of Enlightenment simply never (or almost never) existed. Instead, the forces of ressentiment overwhelmed the forces of enlightenent, even at that apogee of revolution 1917-18. And now, it is clear, corporate power has taken hold of human biology and forged it into a new form of life, a life dominated by desire, building on and transforming our primate inheritance and subsuming the forces of Bildung (which now is found increasingly within the Asian population, but only under the sign of subservience to Capital). Culture, let us say from Goethe to Schoenberg, is dead. (Still taught in schools, but not alive, as it once was, in networks of everyday life. See also Vivian Gornick, The Romance of American Communism.)
And so, as the old America ("Christian" America) dies a sociocultural death (Hall et. al. is indespensible in understanding this rotting away of the mind), extruded from the project of modernity, to be replaced by newer populations capable, for now, of cognitive development; and as perhaps even Finland begins to succumb to the new order of bio-capitalism (Sahlberg suggests or at least hints at this development, as does Illeris); and as the dreams of social democracy (including its American manifestation in the New Deal) die, we await our science fiction future, which perhaps we in America already know.
|III: the four fundamental forces
for Our Times: Luciano Berio - Sinfonia
The rhetorical and theatrical elements of the Right are assembled in RMD. Most likely Bobby Jndal's characterization of the GOP as the Stupid Party refers to what are now called the rhetorical excesses of recent years. Nevertheless, since the Goldwater campaign of 1964 GOP strategists have consciously and puposefully utillized these means to achieve electoral success, so it is not GOP leaders and strategists who could be called stupid.
Video: see Exclusive: Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy
An updated equivalent of Atwater's deconstruction of the racist intent of the GOP is Hispanic group to GOP congressmen: Watch your language (The Hill, 01/28/13)
from Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: the Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (W. W. Norton, 2009), pp. 142-3
Ron Suskind, The Politics of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense
Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist?
Evidence taken by the Interstate Commerce Commission in the matter of proposed advances in freight rates by carriers: hearings before the United States Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce, Sixty-First Congress, third session.
ERC Vol. 1
ERC Vol. 2
ERC Vol. 3
ERC Vol. 8
A thermodynamic concept of entropy is more than mere metaphor; it is directly applicable to history in regard to conflict between order and decay; in this case, the conflict beween organization (both as mind and as capital) and appetite. Latter may by the signal event of the 21st century--not only the obvious effects (obesity) but also the most complex and elusive yet decisive effects on cognitive development and personality formation--those instantiations of order and discipline that are the sine qua non for society to exist at all. While more attention is devoted to the externals of discipline--the state, the factory and office, the community and family--it is the fragile emergence of higher order ccogntive functions chacteristic of modern and advanced captalism (Shulameth Firestone, Reich) that is the problemtic of today.