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September 28, 2004


Kick ass hilzoy (sorry too late to read the whole post - I saw Johnny Lang tonight and...fading quickly - but I got through the abbreviated description of the shadows on the wall).

hilzroy nails the anger bit dead on. it was that part that I wanted to verify for certain. and that part came through loud and clear in my continued emails with the professor this evening. 9/11 seems to have lit a fuse in him, as is understandable. but it turned an otherwise apparently reasoning individual into something else entirely. in professor k, it has triggered a conflation of the al qaeda violence against the usa with the israeli/palestinian problem and even the holocaust. somewhere in this one man's tortured views are a key to how the bush team has managed to hijack the psyches of half the american electorate.

It seems many right-wingers romanticize Plato, but always end up channeling Nietzsche.

Rationalism is treated as weak, slow and abstract while the "logic" of primal passions are revered as real and true.

And here I was content to call him names and break the posting rules. Apparently, there is a better way.

Well, Plato and Aristotle are the ones you can read about on the back of cereal boxes, and I think he threw in Peirce just because he admired his petulance.

Truly amazing, hilzoy.

You can get on a visceral level that Professor Kozloff is misdirecting his anger, but to have it laid out so clearly and logically is a gift...thanks.

And thanks to you too Martin, for writing him. I was hesitant to. He scares me. Not because I think he'd harm me, mind you, but because my first dozen or so drafts of the post I wrote included dares to him...he was bringing out the same sort of irrationality in me.

Thanks ;)

In a moment of folly I sent Professor Kozloff the url to this post. I post his reply without comment:

"As with so many other persons, you completely misunderstood both what the letter said and what it intended. It was a mirror.

The letter was NOT my opinion.

I was NOT advocating ANYTHING in that letter.

The letter was sociological in intent. It was a literary device to get readers to examine their own assumptions.

I have NO hatred of Arabs or Muslims.

I do not advocate killing anyone or burning anything. I do not consider Arabs or Muslims to be roaches. I do not advocate killing people who beg for mercy. I do not advocate muzzling professors. Anyone who knows me, knows the truth of what I just said.

The letter was expressing the feelings and drives of what I see in more and more Americans.

I did not sign my name to it precisely because it did NOT represent my opinion.

When read dispassionately, it should be clear that when the words "arab muslim" were used, they referred to people designated as "our enemies"--NOT to all Arabs and Muslims merely. The letter also made it quite clear that "arab muslims" and "our enemies" were the people (called "you," again and again in the letter) who are engaged in beheading, raping, mutilating, burning, hanging, and bombing.

Further evidence that the letter was a device designed to get people to face their own assumptions and feelings, was that I SAID EXACTLY THAT on websites where it was originally posted. [I did not first put a link to it on the University website.]

For example, I wrote this in the "Comments" section of the Horsefeathers websiste...

"I was writing what I believe will happen if our enemies attack us again."


"I (boldface) advocated nothing. I (boldface) said what I thought was happening and was going to happen even more if we were attacked again.
"Perhaps instead of attacking me (which is okay if you need a target) why not discuss the issues? For example,

"At what point or under what conditions will citizens begin to form militias to protect themselves?

"When is it a good/bad thing for them to do so?

"Under what conditions will citizens take the law into their own hands, as they say?

"When is this a good/bad thing to do?

"Under what conditions will citizens violate what had been their own moral code (such as not harming noncombatants) in order to protect themselves.

"Under what conditions do ordinary persons begin to see themselves as soldiers?

"These questions are more important than whether I am (or you are) the bigger %$$wit."

The unreasoned responses both of persons who liked and persons who hated the letter (and its writer) show that I was right about how we are replacing democratic discussion with violent rhetoric.

I wish you had written me before you published your false assertions about me. I surely would not have done that to you.

What does that say about you?"

He wrote the letter but others upset reactions to the letter prove his point?
Whose "violent rhetoric"?

I think someone's worried tenure isn't as secure as he once presumed.
What was it Moe was looking for in another thread?
Oh I remember, "a vaguely-plausible rationalization..."


I'm sorry Professor Kozloff, but your letter, as posted on Horsefeathers, was in no way initially qualified as you're doing so now. As a matter of fact, your very first reaction to the applause the letter (unqualified in anyway as "sociological in intent") was initially generating was

It's more than nice to know that my feelings are shared by so many other folks--most of whom have served their nation longer and better than I.

"The letter was NOT my opinion.

I was NOT advocating ANYTHING in that letter.

The letter was sociological in intent. It was a literary device to get readers to examine their own assumptions."

What a backpedaling load.

I have a profound lack of respect for anyone who would write the tripe he chose to write. Whatever meager shred is left is lost when he can't stand up and admit it in front of his critics, though he's happy to own it in front of his supporters.

Also, I'm always befuddled by conservatives who endorse Plato. The Republic proves him to be fundamentally a totalitarian, or at least a paternalistic statist, and he should be an anathema.

Sidereal, many conservatives *are* authoritarian paternalist statists. (Particularly among the subset Catholic Traditionalist Intellectual.) This is why you find so much Old South hagiography at colleges like Christendom and Thomas More, and the cult of Saint General Franco, Saint Winston Churchill, and SS. Ferdinand & Isabella, along with the cottage industry of Inquisition Denial, and why the SSPX is advocating a "Reconquista" of America. So they know perfectly well what they're doing when they advocate late-Platonic totalitarianism over Socratic individualism.

Hilzoy, beautiful exposition of the Allegory of the Cave.

Warning: two spam posts in need of deletion above. You may want to get rid of this one as well.

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