Popper’s dissection of the open’s society’s enemies was insightful, but his defense was far too rationalist and embedded in Platonic traditions itself. As a philosopher, he put far too much emphasis on the articulated conversation within open societies, and not enough on the unarticulated, practical knowledge which can only survive when left alone.
…Popper understood that adopting rationalism was not itself a rationally-founded choice, but a moral one. He justified this adoption on the grounds that rationalism offered the only path to non-arbitrary decision making. In Popper’s world, it’s either rational debate or chaos, reason-driven decisions or knee-jerk emotional appeals. The reality, as we now know, is that it’s always much closer to the latter. To the extent that there is such a thing as “reason”, it operates very narrowly within the context provided by the people around us and the culture and traditions we are embedded within.
Interesting. Reminds me of an illuminating article by Razib Khan. I’ll have to keep that in mind whenever I get around to reading Popper (both volumes of The Open Society and its Enemies are in my Amazon wish list, but of course, there’s still a long way to go from that point).
September 12, 2013 @ 11:56 pm
well…on foreign policy and the Police State, count me in on Daniel Larison and Radley Balko, also. So…taxonomies may obscure things more than they illuminate! 🙂
September 12, 2013 @ 8:49 pm
Noooooooo. Damian cannot be becoming a conservative. LOL.
The Khan article is…interesting. I have quite a few problems with it. He has the implicit assumption that past practices have "worked" or led to "flourishing" as he claims. His thought exercises seem….on the surface, to ignore questions like "who" flourishes, and in what situations. That is pretty important to me. An Indian Dalit would be rightfully skeptical about a conservative defense of the caste system by a Brahman.
I also find the discussion of immigration somewhat peculiar, even glib. Even if there are underlying "nefarious" purposes as he outlines, he ignores the moral issues associated with invasive immigration enforcement, such as separation of families, children born here to "illegals" etc. He too glibly assumes that the value of "nation states" should self evidently transcend such moral issues. He also ignores the multiple cases where the utility of nation states has NOT been proven at all. Somalia comes to mind.
So…Mr. Khan sounds rational and reasonable and conservative, but I find his essay pretty troubling, actually.
Thanks, though, for the interesting link.
September 12, 2013 @ 11:30 pm
Well, he did say: "Additionally, one must remember that individuals differ in their dispositions and orientations. A policy that allows one person to flourish may be detrimental to others. This holistic view can be difficult; it does not allow for simple and elegant answers."
I don't think he really elaborated enough on immigration and nation-states for me to feel strongly one way or the other.
As for me, I won't even pretend to have any meaningfully informed opinions on most political issues. Nothing I'd care to argue about, anyway. My misanthropy transcends mere political boundaries! But I've always had some small-c conservative inclinations (conservative, to me, having different connotations than authoritarian, reactionary, or even Republican). As I've said before, to me, conservative is the opposite of radical. Liberal is the opposite of authoritarian. Shitheads like Peezee and the gang are authoritarian radicals, or at least they would be, if they ever stopped sobbing in the dark while cutting themselves over how mortally offended they are by something they saw on the Internet and managed to organize and seize political power. Conservatives like Razib or Radley Balko or Daniel Larison, just to name a few, are infinitely preferable to me in every way to "progressives" like that. Where does that place me? I don't even bother trying to taxonomize it.