Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Random Observations

Lacking the time or energy right now to hunt up my own links, here are some shaky opinions on the ones posted by others:

1. Did you notice the manly Mansfield’s bold opinion in his hooking up review? He’s endorsing some mean between the hooking-up culture of the elite institution and the purity culture of the evangelical college. Each extreme, apparently, is a denial of the truth about our eros. Extreme claims about both hooking up and purity turn out to be forms of bragging that are plainly unrealistic. I’m not saying I agree, but it’s something worth talking about.

2. Berry College, always on the cutting edge, has already had a seminar on Mansfield’s MANLINESS and Wolfe’s I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS, on the philosopher and the novelist of manliness. There are some amazing similarities between the two manly guys’ Jefferson lectures given in successive years.

3. Rev. Wright is sounding so insistently crazy that I confess I’m getting suspicious. People can reasonably say that Obama couldn’t possibly agree with ALL THAT, and so the distancing Barack needs is being accomplished by his preacher, who might be in a sly way taking one for the good of the campaign.

4. To answer a comment in the thread: I completely agree with Mac Owens that with better luck and/or better strategy the South might have won the Civil War. And even the defeat of Hitler was far from inevitable and depended upon some luck.

5. All the manly exaggerations found in men who brag about hooking up were predicted by Tocqueville in DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA: The Americans take complacent pleasure in explaining that they’ve informed every moment of their lives by the doctrine of self-interest rightly understood. They brag, in other words, that love is for suckers etc.

Discussions - 13 Comments

It seems more likely to me that the crazed Wright is bent on deep sixing the Obama love fest and in good Marxist fashion exacerbating the "contradictions" in American society, in other words stirring up Americans to fight by race. I for one have been bored for years by "race", so much so that I could never be tempted to vote for anyone to transcend it. On another matter I will shamelessly aver that Wofford too is on the cutting edge, having offered seminars on the manly Mansfield and Charlotte and her men. It is unclear whether in the end Charlotte has found the mean between unerotic hooking up and unerotic purity, but I suggest she read Ratzinger/Benedict. Finally, on how Hitler lost WWII, read John Lukacs great book, The Duel.

Robert swallowed all the bait: 1. On Wright, that's the other plausible hypothesis. 2. At the end Charlotte couldn't even connect the real Charlotte with the publicly presented Charlotte, and so she ended up far too calculating to be erotic. She doesn't love Jojo, despite that fact that he loves her and has become in every way a real man. 3. Charlotte should certainly read Ratzinger. 4. It's true that Hitler LOST the war as much as the Allies won it. 5. Wofford is certainly on the cutting edge too.

Even within the campus hook-up culture, though, some degree of shame is attached to female promiscuity which in turn partially moderates male predatory behavior....the old double standard and its effects, however now diminished, attests to the limits of university ideology and culture in recreating the erotic relation between the sexes....their anxious and un-erotic adventures often seem to them like an unsatisfying labor...unfortunately, the only real winner on this scene is the genuinely predatory male...

So this seems like confirmation of Bloom's thesis:the dampening of our students' erotic longings. However, Bloom's account of an impersonal eros that is ultimately philosophic, liberated from the demands of political and moral life, would also seem to result in the de-romanticization of their sexual lives.....

Excellent last point, Ivan K.

Mansfield is better on this than Bloom--though Bloom, perhaps, is more erotic (at least on the face of it). My point being that Mansfield's manly prescriptions, though perhaps less obviously "erotic" would, in fact, produce more eros--it being the kind of eros that would produce.

PL and RJ: some links to Ratzinger/Benedict on this point would be appreciated if you know of them. I recall reading something of his years ago (too many now!) but all I recall of it is that I read it.

Finally, I propose that the faculty at Wofford or Berry make this class available via a separate on-line discussion forum. I want to sit in!

I believe there is a third possibility concerning the Reverend Wright, namely that he is a passionate man in the sense employed by Hegel. He wants to set the record straight because he is a full and true believer, maybe something in your metaphysics precludes such irrational zealotry but I find it probable. It is even possible that his congregation moved him to speak out and save Obama's soul from the sin of pandering to white voters and not defending Wright against a media he honestly believes is in the pocket of corporations antagonistic to him and the black church(a belief that would be self-reinforcing by his standards of warrant). The chief danger of marxism is the more marxist you become the more marxist you become.

The same thing applies to Machiavelli, or at least the view that there is a possible indian behind every bush, that you don't find one only seems to mean it is more likely that the next bush will contain the unknown finite quantity that exist. Which is why I am hesitant to agree with point 3 which sounds pretty juicy. But why should we assume conspiracy on the part of the Obama campaign? Why shouldn't we?

The argument might be that at this point in the race the argument is all about superdelegates, voters in Indiana only think they are making a huge difference, which would be true and would be the case if it weren't for the fact that the outcome is already fairly predictable. Now suppose that Obama's team of demographers have determined that his vote is pretty solid and he is unlikely to sway many people,(as has been the general pattern) but that the political gain from winning is slight but that the political dammage from loosing is great in terms of suppose they think he will lose narrowly but that his base is very solid. Under these conditions it might make sense to bring out this dirty baggage, increasing expectations for Clinton...shifting the argument to how she can't close the deal and taking away the arrow in her quiver that Wright will be dammaging, and that the Republicans already have all the dirt on Clinton aired. (because the difference between pre-Wright predictions and results in terms of election results demonstrate a much more negligeable and manageable deficit. Say Obama looses 46% to might actually be a loss for Hillary.)

in other words I do think statistical arguements will be definative with superdelegates...and they will be tracking all sorts of "microtrends" addition to this Clinton may have to rework what she wants the stats to show, and Obama might even be able to show a rebound if he comes back from the Wright dip.

That being said I think Wright is simply blinded by passion, thinks his views are right by virtue of being the word of God and that his supression is more proof of the media/government/corporate conspiracy to keep the black man down.

I absolutely don't believe that Obama set this up...even if it works out to his advantage which is more possible than some people would think, it is still unlikely to help him, almost impossible to ascertain with the degree of certainty required to even consider such a plot, and completly out of character for someone whose whole life seems to be a spiritual struggle against Machiavellian forces... he might as well commit suicide, Obama and his narrative are inseperable.

The relative scarcity of men--real or otherwise--contributes to the hook-up culture. But if I'm not mistaken, African-American women on campus participate less in that culture than do others, despite the even greater scarcity that they face. Might religion have something to do with that?

All these speculations about Wright and Obama's possible Machiavellianism strike me as far-fetched.

But here's a question: Could it be that the "demonstrative" worship and preaching styles preferred in the black church mean that the black pastorate tends disproportionately to attract loud, self-promoting types with outsized appetites for attention? I'm sure there are some coolly cerebral folks in the black clergy as well, but Wright was the noisy central figure in a mega-church congregation that he largely built around his own rantings (which by the way makes it very, very hard to believe that Obama didn't really understand what Wright was selling until just the other day).

Peter, please use the word "manly" and its variants in your post more often.

I would like to discover how many mentions makes a self-parody.

Obviously the man who says "manly" most is manliest, because real men just can't stop themselves from commenting on other men's "manliness". The manlinest thing of all would be for a group of men to spend all their time complementing each other on how manly each one of the others was.

If Rev Righteous remains silent now, it means he is blackmailing (or should that be white-maleing?) Obama. (The latter wouldn't dare try it on Righteous.) Compare this situation to the Rezko sleeper.

Re comments 9 and 10: That is not manifest to me!

Ken, I think Obama is now terribly exposed to a counterstroke from Wright: Obama has in effect pled ignorance, but if Wright can start coming up with plausible accounts of how he said this, that, and the other "controversial" thing in Obama's presence (and recall that Obama admits that he had earlier knowledge of Wright's "controversial" opinions, about the actual content of which Obama has been carefully as vague as possible), and if Wright's accounts are backed up by others who say they were there too along with Obama, then Obama's goose will be well and truly cooked.

In short, Obama is in all likelihood a serious prevaricator on the subject of "what he knew and when he knew it" regarding the Rev and his many hateful opinions, and it's in Wright's power to expose him as such.

My own take on this is that Wright, in addition to being an attention-lover, is acting out of strong personal pique. He probably feels, not without reason, that he was one of those who helped "make" Obama, only to find the one-time makee, as of early 2007 (when the invite to give the blessing at the campaign kickoff was rescinded), tossing his mentor aside like so much used Kleenex. That has got to sting, and Wright strikes me as a first-class grudge bearer--everything about him exudes resentment. I don't think the Rev is done getting back at his former protege just yet. He's like a one-man Operation Chaos, and I for one am staying tuned.

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