Politics - Point 16
UNDER CONSTRUCTION, QUOTES ONLY
Also, the political problem of representing from a bottom level to a top level of group societies cannot be a clear truth transference with something like voting. The movement from the lifescape that taps into depths below even any voter’s consciousness up to some group society’s unity of action can at best proceed by continued and repeated steps of action’s short-circuiting complexity. The choke point in the contemporary world is the inability to make halting steps where actions and speakers are discarded to form new syntheses.
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“Thus, in the Platonic vision, rhetoric is either terrible or trifling–truth’s enemy or its simpleton servant.” Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 9.
"This is a very simple conundrum. Societies grow into systems. The systems require management and are therefore increasingly wielded, like a tool or a weapon, by those who have power. The rest of the population is still needed to do specific things. But the citizens are not needed to contribute to the form or direction of the society. The more 'advanced' the civilization, the more irrelevant the citizen becomes.
"We are not quite so advanced as that, but neither are we so far off. Our professional elites have spent the last half century arguing over management methods, as if these were the only proper areas of political interest. If we could bring ourselves to think of reason as merely one of several management techniques and as something separate from the democratic process, our understanding of the situation would be quite different. In truth, if there are solutions to our confusion over government, they lie in the democratic, not the management, process. And essential to this is the reactivation or destreamlining of the assemblies. The reestablishment of true popular gatherings is one of the few easy actions available to the citizen. All it would require is a realization in the public mind that the decision-making process--that is, the process of creating national policy--is profoundly different from the administrative process. The two have no characteristics in common. One is organic and reflective. The other is linear and structured. One attempts to waste time usefully in order to understand and to build consensus. The other aims at speed and delivery." Voltaire's Bastards, John Ralston Saul, Vintage Books, 1992, pp. 261-2.
“Reason and will are equally foundational but ultimately irreconcilable principles of the legal order. They are reconciled in practice, but not in theory....
Some contemporary legal scholarship seeks a position between these two poles, holding for intellectual coherence in a compromise that does not appeal simply to a practice of judicial statesmanship. These theorists tend to attack the traditional abstractness of both reason and will. What is abstract appears either as empty or, even worse, as a mere cover for very particular interests. Abstract reason may be only a false appearance, for example, of patriarchal interests; abstract will, only a false appearance of class-based, economic interests. Opposed to this dialectic of the abstract and the particular, these theories seek compromise in ideas of narrative, discourse, and communities of interpretation. On this view, law is founded in an historically specific discourse that gives shape simultaneously to individual identity and community values.” Kahn, Paul. The Cultural Study of Law. University of Chicago Press. 1999. pps. 22-3.
"If democracy is a continuing discourse, as Dewey said, then one problem of modernity is to thwart attempts to bring the process to a halt. In that spirit, even the reader who is ill-disposed to rhetorics of science can entertain a rhetoric for modern democracy. And those who want to maintain some version of realism against the various rhetorics of science can nonetheless entertain the claim that the rhetoric-versus-reality trope nourishes despotic discourses. Surely Mr. Goebbels has proved that rhetoric is as real as anything else. Despotism and fanaticism always come wrapped as Truth, and they are most insidious when they ignore, conceal, or deny their own rhetorical character." Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 10.
"The modern technocrat attempts at all costs to initiate any dialogue. Thus he is able to set, in the first sentences of any exchange, the context of the theoretical discussion about to take place. In written arguments briefing books play the same role. The intended audience unthinkingly accepts the parameters laid out. It is then caught up in the coil of the resulting logic and kept busy rushing back and forth between the questions and answers which the predefined structure imposes. In the process it feels the satisfaction produced by simply keeping up or the despair of inferiority if it does not. There is no time for reflection or consideration of the basic parameters.
"We have difficulty linking the Jesuits' intellectual approach with that of the technocrats because we believe that formal eloquence was central to rhetoric. Modern argument doesn't rely upon the modulated qualities of the voice. Nor does it attempt to seduce by pleasing. There is no artifice. We are not enhanced by its appearance. In fact, modern argument is usually ugly and boring. The awkward bones of facts and figures are there as signs of honesty and freedom. The charts and graphs lay out lines of inevitability, which always begin in the past and advance as a simple matter of historical fact calmly into the future. There is no appearance of guile.
"But this awkward, boring surface is the new form of elegant phrasing. The facts, the figures, the historic events used to set the direction of lines on graphs are all arbitrarily chosen in order to produce a given solution. To this is added an insistence that the constant questioning involved in modern argument is proof of its Socratic origins. Again and again the schools which form the twentieth century's elites throughout the West refer to their Socratic heritage. The implication is that doubt is constantly raised in their search for truth. In reality the way they teach is the opposite of a Socratic dialogue. In the Athenian's case every answer raised a question. With the contemporary elites every question produces an answer. Socrates would have thrown the modern elites out of his academy." Saul, John Ralston. Voltaire's Bastards. Vintage Books. 1992. p. 116.
Interlocking both primary societies shows politics as a natural thing as every society within the conceptscape is continually redefining itself from within and without. Struggle, cooperation, toleration and infiltration are all necessary aspects of various phases of societies in interaction. Politics is, moreover, a concommitant of every knowing and caring act as these create an alliance or an aversion with a degree of strength anchored in each knowing act’s web. Under the Socratic regime of truth politics was relegated to the non-excusable, but the pretense to sameness under truth repeatedly fell from its pedestal into the nasty differences of all meaning’s myriad interests.
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Page updated 3/5/03