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Current Law Students / Re: Join PAD Legal Fraternity -- Bad Idea?
« on: March 04, 2012, 03:52:05 PM »


The hypertrophied rationalism of American law is a product of trying too hard to be good: of failing to accept that law is always a somewhat crude and potentially destructive social steering mechanism, that works best when it remains a tacit presence in the social background. Instead Americans insist on subjecting themselves to a dictatorship of the bureaucratic: one in which the answer to every important social conflict inevitably involves more rules and procedures, more rights and obligations, more "reasons" and "principled justifications" given in the course of constructing ever-more complex analytic and rhetorical circles for choosing to do this rather than that -- in brief, more law.

The excesses of American rule of ideology are in large part enabled by our unwillingness to accept that reason, when properly employed, works to make its further employment superfluous. Reason, that is, works ironically toward its own effacement. [...] Outside a legal equilibrium zone law tends to be both an invisible and a powerful factor in the maintenance of social cohesion. By contrast within such a zone the inevitable contradictions in the legal rules such situations produce are clearly visible, and as a consequence the rules themselves are rendered relatively useless. Faced with such legal and social contradictions, we can not decide efficiently processed legal disputes on the basis of "reason". We merely decide.

The essential fallacy of legal rationalism is thus to think that what works well in moderation will work even better in large doses. So deep is this belief that when the more extreme manifestations of legal reason fail altogether we tend to manifest a willful blindness to this failure, or we undertake what soon become perverse efforts to perfect systems of rules that, by the nature of the problems they address, can't be perfected. When neither of these strategies work we do what courts often do and simply indulge in magical thinking, assuming, of course, e.g., that because a court ends its opinion with the phrase "it is so ordered," "it" is both going to happen, and to produce a series of predictable social effects.

[...] American law, that is, may well find itself betrayed by its own overweening pride in having succeeded in its quest to bring so much of American life under its sway. As a consequence of the legal system's increasing tendency to deny the true nature of its crucial but relatively modest role as a social coordination and dispute processing mechanism, our law is becoming so elaborate, so hypertrophied, so pointlessly complex, and hence so unnecessarily expensive that alternate modes of getting from here to there on the social map are already springing up all around us. [...] And of course various militant ideologies of the far right serve as disconcerting reminders of how considerably more radical forms of dissent against what is called the rule of law are already simmering.

Like the donkey of the fable who starves to death because he is exactly equidistant from two stacks of hay and therefore can't decide rationally to which stack he should go, we demand dispositive reasons for choosing where there are none. Less principled than the ass, we than "discover" -- at great fiscal and psychological expense -- some answer that must be arrived at more or less arbitrarily, while still insisting that this particular outcome was impelled by the law, or legal principles, or reason itself.

Here it is an interesting post on Americans in general - the way they think, behave and the like - very much in consonance with the prevailing ideology described in the above post. Couldn't be otherwise, after all, America's "philosophy" and ideology was fashioned after of the French Revolution's Illuminism.


In casual conversation (called "small talk"), Americans prefer to talk about the weather, sports, jobs, people they both know, or past experiences, especially ones they have in common.  As they grow up, most US citizens are warned not to discuss politics or religion, at least not with people they do not know rather well, because politics and religion are considered controversial topics. By contrast, people in some other cultures are taught to believe that politics and/or religion are good conversation topics, and they may have different ideas about what topics are too "personal" to discuss with others.

The ideal among Americans is to be somewhat verbally adept, speaking in moderate tones. They are generally taught to believe in the "scientific method" of understanding the world around them, as if there is some kind of "truth" about people and nature that can be discovered by means of "objective" inquiry. People from some other countries might pay more attention to the emotional content or the human feeling aspects of a message, without assuming the existence of an "objective truth."

The result is that Americans are likely to view a very articulate person with suspicion. This is because Americans are not intellectually capable of anything more than simple talk. The conclusion that Americans are intellectually inferior is logically reached when you also consider the fact that Americans do not regard argument as a favorite form of interaction. What US citizens regard favorably as "keeping cool" -- that is, not being drawn into an argument, not raising the voice, looking always for the "facts" is nothing else but coldness and lack of humanness.

pobis, not surprisingly, here I find another post describing a bit the American mentality, stressing on the Puritan/Calvinist inheritance as well:


[...] The Puritan mind reasons: "Well of course the witch doesn't want to be saved from her own evil. That's why we must save her from herself by burning her at the stake." Sounds absurd, but that American major said after the destruction of the village of Ben Tre in Vietnam: "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it." A true Puritan there. [...] Think Fallujah. We're burning the country at the stake. It's a form of mental illness, but it's a sickness we all accept as normal.

Terrorism is the latest encounter of the Puritan mind with the irrational, and the traditional Islamic culture that promotes it will just have to be destroyed to save it. World politics will be so much more hygienic once we exterminate the vermin. [...] A key element in understanding the Calvinist mentality is its need for control and its willingness to use whatever level of violence necessary to repress the "irrational" elements in human experience, and the pre-modern in the Puritan demonology is full of irrational images triggering fears in need of suppression—magic, witches, Catholic ritual, shifty Jews, hot-tempered Italians, voodoo practicing Africans, the savage Indian.

Theirs is a tight, priggish, white-bread, control-obsessed world, sterilized of anything that suggests mystery, transcendence, or the non-rational in general. The Puritans and their Calvinist cousins the Scotch Irish, of course, didn't invent priggishness, nor are they, obviously, the only ones in the history of humanity who have justified the violent repression of their enemies for religious reasons. But theirs is the peculiarly modern form for the religious persecution of the enemy, and it lingers in Anglo-American culture, and is so much in the cultural air we breathe that we cannot see it clearly. At the very heart of modern "religiosity," whether in its Calvinist or its more secular versions, is fear of the uncontrollable non-rational.

The American right's fear of communism/socialism is more akin to the Islamic fear of modernity, which is the fear of an uncontrollable future. If fascism derives its mystique from a mythological past, communism derives it from a mythologized future. Progressives look to the future.  Conservatives look to the past. Progressives distrust the past and its pre-modern irrationality; Conservatives distrust those who look to the future with an irrational utopianism. Progressivism is experiencing hard times these days because during a culturally decadent period like the one we're currently suffering through, we don't know what to hope for.  We have only the weakest sense of plausible future possibility.  We are capable of seeing the future only as a variation on 'more of the same', and that is not a vision that inspires concerted action. [...]


Nietzsche described Jews as the truly great haters in world history.

Human history would be altogether too stupid a thing without the spirit that the impotent Jew priests have introduced into it — let us take at once the most notable example. All that has been done on earth against "the noble," "the powerful," "the masters," "the rulers," fades into nothing compared with what the Jews have done against them; the Jews, that priestly people, who in opposing their enemies and conquerors were ultimately satisfied with nothing less than a radical revaluation of their enemies' values, that is to say, an act of the most spiritual revenge. For this alone was appropriate to a priestly people, the people embodying the most deeply repressed [Zurückgetretensten] priestly vengefulness. It was the Jews who, with awe-inspiring consistency, dared to invert the aristocratic value-equation (good = noble = powerful = beautiful = happy = beloved of God) and to hang on to this inversion with their teeth, the teeth of the most abysmal hatred (the hatred of impotence), saying "the wretched alone are the good; the poor, impotent, lowly alone are the good; the suffering, deprived, sick, ugly alone are pious, alone are blessed by God, blessedness is for them alone — and you, the powerful and noble, are on the contrary the evil, the cruel, the lustful, the insatiable, the godless to all eternity; and you shall be in all eternity the unblessed, accursed, and damned!" ... One knows who inherited this Jewish revaluation ... In connection with the tremendous and immeasurably fateful initiative provided by the Jews through this most fundamental of all declarations of war - with the Jews there began the slave revolt in morality: that revolt which has a history of 2000 (two thousand) years behind it and which we no longer see because it — has been victorious.

    You do not comprehend this? You are incapable of seeing something that required 2000 years to achieve victory? — There is nothing to wonder at in that: all protracted things are hard to see, to see whole. That, however, is what has happened: from the trunk of that tree of vengefulness and hatred, Jewish hatred — the profoundest and sublimest kind of hatred, capable of creating ideals and reversing values, the like of which has never existed on earth before — there grew something equally incomparable, a new love, the profoundest and sublimest kind of love —and from what other trunk could it have grown?

    This Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate gospel of love, this "Redeemer" who brought blessedness and victory to the poor, the sick, and the sinners — was he not this seduction in its most uncanny and irresistible form, a seduction and by-path to precisely those Jewish values and new ideals? [...] Was it not part of the secret black art of truly grand politics of revenge, of a farseeing, subterranean, slowly advancing, and premeditated revenge, that Israel must itself deny the real instrument of its revenge before all the world as a mortal enemy and nail it to the cross, so that "all the world," namely all the opponents of Israel, could unhesitatingly swallow just this bait? [...] Anything to equal the enticing, intoxicating, overwhelming, and undermining power of that symbol of the "holy cross," that ghastly paradox of a "God on the cross," that mystery of an unimaginable ultimate cruelty and self-crucifixion of God for the salvation of man? [...]

    Rome Against Judea, Judea Against Rome." Rome felt that the Jews were something contrary to nature itself, something like its monstrous polar opposite. In Rome the Jew was considered "guilty of hatred again the entire human race." And that view may be correct, to the extent we are right to link the health and the future of the human race to the unconditional rule of aristocratic values, the Roman values. The Romans were the strong and noble men, stronger and nobler than any people who'd lived on earth up until then — or even than any people who'd ever been dreamed up. By contrast, the Jews were 'par excellence' that priestly people of resentment who possessed an unparalleled genius for popular morality. Well, people have become merely tame or want to become tame — in front of three Jews, as we know, and one Jewess (before Jesus of Nazareth, the fisherman Peter, the carpet worker Paul, and the mother of the first-mentioned Jesus, named Mary). [...] It's true that in the Renaissance there was a brilliant, incredible re-awakening of the classical ideal, the noble way of evaluating everything. Rome itself behaved like someone who'd woken up from a coma induced by the pressure of the new Jewish Rome built over it, which looked like an ecumenical synagogue and was called "the church." But immediately Judea triumphed again, thanks to that basically vulgar (German and English) movement of resentment, which we call the Reformation [...]

    In what is an even more decisive and deeper sense, Judea once again was victorious over the classical ideal at the time of the French Revolution. The last political nobility which we had in Europe, in 17th and 18th century France, broke apart under the instinct of popular resentment — never on earth has there ever been heard a greater rejoicing, a noisier enthusiasm! It's true that in the midst of all this the most dreadful and most unexpected events took place: the old ideal itself stepped physically and with unheard of splendor before the eyes and the conscience of humanity — and once again stronger, simpler, and more urgently than ever rang out, in opposition to the old lie, to the slogan of resentment about the privileged rights of the majority, in opposition to that will for a low condition, abasement, equality, for the decline and extinguishing of mankind — in opposition to all that there rang out a fearsome and delightful counter-slogan about the privileged rights of the few! [...]

I am not quite clear as to how he (Nietzsche) goes about equating the French Revolution's Illuminism with Jewish values/religion - someone?

There's a post on the other board by cigalliere, [From Dawn to Decadence] related to this - here it is:

It has been argued that the overthrown of the French nobility was, in fact, lamentable, since the aristocracy was learned, pursued high intellectual interests and culture. It was the poor, the peasants that gained the most, simply because they went from having absolutely no rights, to having more some rights. That in itself was a huge step for them. The story of the French Revolution's is the violent attack on the French nobility - the most dazzling and sophisticated elite in the eighteenth century European world. Or, as some would say, the triumph of mediocrity over the gifted fellow.

Current Law Students / Re: Legal Reasoning
« on: March 04, 2012, 01:48:30 PM »

But that misses the point! People assume that ANY d i c k will do, that it doesn't really matter whether it's the-guy-down-the-street's, or your boss's!

I am a 36-years-old black woman who works as a secretary for a financial services firm. I run into a lot of guys who, given my physique and appearance, would very much like to have sex with me. But you know what - I just don't feel like going with them .. to me, they are the soft, faggoty kind of guy I do not really like, that I am not used to @ # ! *! They say we choose our sexual "objects" (lovers) after the image of the opposite sex parent - my daddy was a tough guy, who did not hesitate to do the work of a blue-collar guy - despite being a teacher, loved and adored by all his students. Basically what I am saying is that I find it difficult to settle for the guy sitting next to me in his cubicle, prompting me to venture and go to places where you'd not expect a lot of white-collar guys to show up!

bhut jolokia, I understand where you are coming from, I've heard women saying, "it was like I was being screwed by a bunny" - on the lighter side, I guess women at least get taken out by their potential partners (their co-workers) to eat a dinner and the like - which, I guess, it's not the rule with men (gay men you mention), office people go for that just like that, "Buddy, will ya ..."

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