Mar 11Liked by Woke Watch Canada

That was quite an article written articulately and well referenced. Personally, I prefer the witticism and simple philosophy of America's greatest humorist, Mark Twain, who frequently spoke on the folly of mankind with comedic disdain:

“Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.”

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When their aim is to deconstruct "such institutions as the family, the school, the law and the nation state through which the inheritance of Western civilization has been passed down to us", then our aim as parents is to foster family, be responsible for our children's education (or deliberately involved), and teach a love of the inheritance of Western civilization.

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Mar 11Liked by Woke Watch Canada

James you guys are amazing so glad I found you on this journey, you should start a school, I learn so much from your articles, thank you for loving Canada

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My dear Mr M, I do sympathize with your skepticism, but I assure you that you could not find a more impeccably small c 'conservative' (you know, sustainable behavior to the sixth generation) than me.

My most referred-to historical character is not Karl Marx, but Martin Luther. whose objections to Papal Indulgences triggered The Reformation. What I end up doing is using a quasi-Marxian structuralist analysis of late capitalism to run the spirit of Luther's analysis of Indulgences, where it is not merely used, as it was in Father Martin's day', as an expedient to raise money to pay the debts of the Archbishop of Mainz and to build St Peter's Basilica, but as a cross platform system driver to profoundly alter and reconstruct social and existential (OK, 'spiritual' if you must) architecture on an indefinite basis.

My objections to Indulgence as a system driver are exactly the same as Father Martin's.



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Thanks for a nice essay on the history of modern thought. I enjoyed the read, but as an old ex-Marxist I thought that not only was there too much weight being put on the authority and historical 'influentiality' of notable philosophers, but that their more totalitarian tendencies reached across all authoritarian collectivist traditions, including fascism; you know, "Ein volk! Ein Reich! Ein Fuhrer!"

When I speak of 'Marxism' here, I am thinking of the way Marx understood the means of production and the way it created wealth, institutions and social norms/practices to service and facilitate their operations, and shaped the way ideas and the architecture of discourse would be formed, constrained and potentially able to prosper within the intellectual and technological limits of the milieu made possible by its material circumstances.

With the arrival of early capitalism, the concentration of economic power in cities and the rise of absolute monarchies/urban oligarchies, secular philosophy got its chance to escape the clutches of priests and faith determined dogma, and take up where it had left off with the decline and collapse of the classical period.....under the patronage of the courts of great rulers. Political polemic was still monopolized by the religious exigencies of the Reformation and Counter Reformation.

But as we all know, capitalism doesn't stand still, as it increasingly colonized the status quo and demanded increasing adjustments to its increasingly powerful and persuasive requirements that applied constant pressure to events and the attitudes and emerging practices around them. By the middle of the eighteenth century this dynamic was becoming overwhelming for traditional institutions whose authority and clout was in decline, creating a whole new world of opportunity not just for practical men of science/technology and industry, but those who would speculate and conjecture on the possibilities in the entrepreneurial and increasingly secular world that was opening up in front of them.

In my view, there were three main options as the eighteenth century progressed, that were defined by industrial revolution that broke up traditional ways, means and beliefs, forced thinkers to rethink what presently existed and to then visualize new pathways that might address the challenges in front of them, in accordance not just with imagined worlds, but the opportunities that might possibly leverage them.

The first was the successful 'radical' populist/democratic rebellion of American colonist liberal experimenters that only decapitated an external kingship and aristocracy. The second was the Great British traditional/Liberal Compromise that started with the civil war and continued indefinitely by gradual increments, and third, was the absolutist totalitarian extremism of the French revolution that provided the templates for later fascism and communism.

And while these tendencies were separate events, they interacted with one another in ways that elaborated and explicated in all directions and interactions.

The narrative that I am spinning here tries to ground ideas in their milieu in a way that I do not think yours does. History does not proceed by its ideational debates/controversy so much as that the debates and the economic and social forces/circumstances surrounding their expression dance in a series of feedback loops, as they walk together in a series of adjustments that become historical events, particularly when contradictions reach a point of decisive seismic shift.

Blaming the wretched Rousseau for the subsequent troubles of the world seems a step too far.

And more, the emergence of the kind of bizarre tripe that is spewing out of our very damaged social and existential infrastructure has much more to do with the dynamics of Indulgence Capitalism than any previously extant ideological tradition. Its impending collapse and the rise of late modern fundamentalist religion, of which Woke faith-based extremism is just one sub-theme, is part of the roll out of new potential worlds that will replace the modern one, as we move into an increasingly unstable and uncertain intermediate transitional period.

It is just bound to be very turbulent and violent, in the same way and for the same reasons that the Reformation was, when the medieval world broke up in favor of the rise of the modern one.

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Interesting but lamentably short shrift to the history of half the human race. "Although the women’s liberation movement might be pursued by employing liberal argumentation (men have been granted rights and so women should be granted rights as well), from the time that utopian socialist founding father Charles Fourier coined the term “feminist” and invented the ideology that goes along with it, women’s liberation has predominantly been argued according to the socialist mode." That leaves out a lot of liberal women’s rights advocates who decried women's legal status as lifelong children dependent on male whims, Mary Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" in 1792 most notably.

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This is a truly fine essay, with 2 small errors. 1. The word "devote", right at footnote 55, probably should be "devotee", as in " devotee of Saint Simon.", rather than "devote of Saint Simon".

2. The second arguable error is one of double or even triple ambiguity in the sentence which received footnote 19. That sentence is quote:

"Rousseau pre-empted later radical intellectuals from Marx, to Nietzsche, to the structuralists and postmodernists, in attacking the legitimacy of the professional historian and the very premise that written history could be anything but a collection of the historians’ own subjective biases."

It is true that "pre-empted" has the sense of being ahead of something else, as in Rousseau was ahead of all the other mentioned "radical intellectuals". But pre-empting also has the sense of "taking away" from the other party, as in "the president's speech pre-empted regular comedy programming."

I think that you actually mean that Rousseau "anticipated" or "predated" the other radicals in "attacking the legitimacy of the professional historian", given the Marxist thesis that "the winners always write history (in accordance with their own biases). "Predated", rather than "pre-empted", is the same thesis as you put forward at "3.1.3 Utopian Socialism and Rousseauan Education:", where you argue "Predating Marx and the Marxian variety of socialism by several decades ... (etc.)

And it is true that all these radicals, along with Rousseau "attack" the veracity of professional historians, but it is not true that they also "attack" the quote: "... (and) the very premise that written history could be anything but a collection of the historians’ own subjective biases.¹⁹" They all arguably agree with that "very premise" rather than "attacking" it. So in effect they all agree that the history of professional historians is nothing but a collection of the historians' subjective biases in support of the oppressor's biased view of history --- or something to that effect.

In sum, a little ambiguity in an otherwise fine essay.

I especially liked footnote 41, which reveals Rousseau and Hume to be a pair of the most odd "philosophical couples" possible, only sharing in hostility to Greek antiquity [especially Aristotle] and organized religion which is independent of the State (Rousseau) or supported by the State (Rousseau and Hume). Hume was so seriously skeptical that he bordered on "solipsism" [I can only be sure that I, alone, exist.]. His skepticism was only relieved by social interactions such as convivial dinners or billiards with his many friends.

However, Hume could never, ever, be absolutely certain that there really were such things as either "friends or enemies", given his skepticism. Rousseau, in sharp contrast, was so romantic, narcissistic and paranoid, that he was absolutely certain that everybody was his enemy and out to get him, especially the leaders of organized Catholicism in France --- and probably Protestant England too! Hence he eventually accused Hume of being "in" on a supposed "cabal" to get him!

Good stuff,


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Great article. I haven't read the entire thing yet but I will come back to it.

This article is somewhat similar. "Academia’s Infatuation with Marxist Ideologues"


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