Wednesday, January 11, 2023

A Few Unrelated Thoughts


A Few Unrelated Thoughts

Peter Schultz


I am reading this book, G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century, by Beverly Gage, who teaches history at Yale University. Two things: (1) The book reads like Gage is trying to liberate herself from American myths but just can’t “get there.” Hoover’s racism and anti-Communism, e.g., aren’t “American” but “Hooverian.” (2) Gage psychologizes Hoover based on his upbringing by a dysfunctional father, failing to see that Hoover’s politics stem from fundamental American political values. By psychologizing Hoover, Gage maintains her belief in the fundamental goodness of America and its political values.


What if racism isn’t the problem? What if hate is the problem? That is, the hate was there first and it then attached itself to race. If so, we don’t need “Critical Race Theory” so much as we “Critical Hate Theory.” Question: if hate is the basic phenomenon of American life, where did it come from? Possibility: it accompanies the alienation that is part and parcel of the philosophy underlying the Enlightenment. We have become “strangers in the universe,” we have no real home there, which angers us and leads to hate of those who remind us of our own alienness.


“The owl of Minerva flies at dusk.” “Dusk” has often been interpreted to refer to the demise of social or political orders. Why is wisdom, “the owl of Minerva,” likely to appear then? Because that’s when it becomes clear that all political orders are built on illusions. Per example: the current controversy over Prince Harry’s revelations about the “royal family,” which he called “a death cult.” That the Windsors aren’t “royal,” are perfectly ordinary in their dysfunctions is now perfectly clear and the monarchy is exposed as a grand illusion or a series of grand illusions.

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