(HH here: As the feeding frenzies around President Obama’s policies and appointments thicken I wish to note that the partisans on the RIGHT are feeling freer and freer to show their own true colors. From corporate apologies to thinly veiled Christian Supremacism we see the Right Wing minds daring to poke their heads above the Conservative majority on the Right.
Just as the Leftists feel compelled to oppose anything that is traditional or uniquely Western so the Right Wing follower of “revealed Truth” seems hard-wired to reflexively oppose ANYTHING proposed by a non-fundamentalist that does not reinforce the fundamentalist’s worldview.
Over the course of history just how many wonderful ideas were torn apart by the wild dogs of partisan “debate”? The saddest thought to me is that if the “ideal society” envisioned by both extremes ever had a chance it was from moderate ideals that the partisans rejected for lack of “purity”.
Back in March I posted a piece about my attitudes toward the extremes of the political spectrum, principally Islamists and Fundamentalist Christians. In that piece I talked about the difference between neo-Platonic thought and Neo-Aristotelian thought.
In a nutshell the Platonic model believes in revealed Truth as the only valid Truth. Human reason is a trap and a dead end and the only hope Humans have is to follow absolutely the rules of the MOST nearly enlightened leaders. These leaders can be secular (Hitler, Stalin, Mao) or they can be Religious (Bin Laden, Khomeini, Jim Jones, The Pope before the Reformation) but they all share the quality of being closer to the unknowable “Truth” than the hopeless and helpless masses. To NOT follow this master/teacher/leader is to commit blasphemy and accept the cloak of evil.
We see this model used over and over again by those who seek power but have no ideals that serve mankind. Rather they seek to sell their followers on the idea that they are lost sheep and following “The Leader” whether Christ or Allah, is the ONLY possible way to be “good”. Moral choice is declared too weighty for the average mortal and is reserved for the “priesthood” in charge of the orthodoxy.
We see this today most clearly in sharia “law” and in the actions of certain radical and heretical Christian sects. They look not to their Human conscience in making “moral” choices but to a book or fanatical leader whose pronouncements are to be simply noted and applied, not debated or questioned. Thus if the Islamic authorities declare that there is no sin in a man performing sexual acts upon his infant “wife”(as long as she is not PHYSICALY harmed) a “good” Muslim is simply expected to nod their head and go home and feel o.k. about uncle Salim masturbating on a 16 month old. MORALITY IS NOT IN OUR PROVENENCE in this mindset. Morality to the neo-platonic is obeying the rules end of story, now put your hand down and stop asking questions or we will cut it off.
Just so in some radical Mormon families or certain radical Christian families when the “patriarch” says that this 12 year old girl is to marry his 65 year old buddy as a 4th wife no one is supposed to THINK of questioning its “Rightness”. God says he has the right, he has used that right and the girl is blessed to be so taken care of; AMEN. In their minds.
Caught between the tribal squabblings of these fanatical (ultimately superstitious) fools on the Right and Left are the neo-Aristotelians. Those that believe that mankind can learn and grow. Those that feel that the universe is essentially sensible and follows consistent rules however subtle and complicated those rules may be. You know, the ones that USE their brains AND hearts.
With the Human race learning enough about the universe and how it works to place a whole series of people on the Moon and return them I would say that the jury SHOULD be in on who is right, us or the Platonians. Science as we have known it would be impossible if Plato were correct. Even the discoveries of something as old as the science of optics would be impossible if Plato were not completely off track in his analysis of mind and reality.
But this has not stopped the fanatical and self-hating Neo-Platonics from keeping the rest of us from finding greater harmony in our cultures and relations. On the Left and on the Right the tribal Us vs. Them mindset that sees all life as a zero-sum game keeps feeding off of every society that welcomes them.
Today let us examine the “fairness doctrine” and “localism”. On the left we have Mark Lloyd, Obama’s “Diversity Chief” and on the Right we have Mr. Lloyd’s bio on discoverthenetworks.org. In the middle of a lot of partisan blather are a few good ideas that look to get raped in passing while the two sides “react” instead of thinking.
Frontpagemag.com the umbrella site for discoverthenetworks.org and others trends from moderate Conservative to unabashedly Rightwing depending on the subject and on the author. This particular page, the bio for Mark Lloyd strays far over into the land of corporate apologia and far from the realm of objectivity.
Of course that does not change the fact that Mr. Lloyd is about as unreconstructed a Marxist as there is in the administration today. He knows the “Truth” of the Leftist religion and is ready and willing to use a broken slide rule to calculate which “means” are justified by each particular holy “end”. In addressing the idea that ownership of media outlets needs to be in more female and minority hands he embraces gleefully the idea of “removing” the “wrong kind” of owners and placing their outlets in the “right hands” for “proper” social growth.
On the one hand Lloyd was correct in a June 2007 report Lloyd co-authored titled “The Structural Imbalance of Talk Radio,” when he said: “91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming is conservative, and 9 percent is progressive,” and these stations and networks are failing to follow Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934, requiering “commercial broadcasters to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of issues of public importance.”
Also, while Lloyd feels the argument does not go far enough in FORCING the market to represent his Leftist “truth” in great enough proportion he does recognize that a big part of the cause was: “repeal of the Fairness Doctrine by the [FCC] in 1987. The Fairness Doctrine was a regulation … that required broadcasters to devote airtime to important and controversial issues and to provide contrasting views on these issues in some form. From this perspective, the repeal of the doctrine in the late 1980’s allowed station owners to broadcast more opinionated, ideological, and one-sided radio hosts without having to balance them with competing views.”
This is such a no-brainer that it boggles the mind that anyone would be arguing it. I remember what radio was like then. All sorts of things were discussed but the STATION was always neutral and it was the GUESTS that battled it out in the ideological duels. The idea of an ideologue of EITHER stripe having sole control for a time and being allowed to not only propagandize but select for themselves who they will let ask them questions and what they will answer.
The Rest of Lloyds Marxist ideals are toxic but the basic idea of a return to the times when stations regularly reminded their audiences that the airwaves belonged to THEM and not the station. I felt comforted to know that if a station went off the beam far enough the locals could bring it back in line.
Why do so many so called Conservatives fail to see when things are going their way that there might come a time when THEY will be the minority in need of a level playing field? As near as I can tell the only solid reason the Conservatives have to reject the Fairness Doctrine in its historical form is that they have more voices on the radio and non-partisan debate is the LAST thing they want. In this they have abandoned the honor of Conservatism for the reactionary opportunism of Right Wing totalitarianism.
By all means Mr. Lloyds draconian redistribution of outlets and the income of privately owned outlets should be opposed by all legal means. But to be fair, what is wrong with the fairness doctrine? It just holds the outlet to be neutral and to let real people instead of paid performers debate the issues. As I said, I remember it quite well and fail to see a problem with returning to it, other than demagogues losing the ability to get rich propagandizing people with hateful rhetoric. Regardless of the truth of any individual story that someone like Rush airs that story will be spun hard in one direction and no opposing voice will be heard.
The other issue that the “Conservative” that wrote Mr. Lloyd’s bio had that just seems silly is that of “localism” the idea that radio, TV and Newspaper outlets should be mostly locally owned instead of being arms of corporate interests.
Given the troubles that media has caused in the past due to too few voices in control I again fail to see why this is not a GOOD idea.
If Randolph Hearst had not been allowed to own so many papers would the West coast Japanese have been interred in WWII? Other examples abound. Frankly I can’t see the problem with the old school approach; one group or individual may own or control ONE outlet of each type, radio, Newspaper, TV. On the national level with cable and sat radio One theme per station should be the rule; news, music, talk, general entertainment.
If each owner, individual or group, is allowed an equal presence in every venue how is it NOT fair? To do as Mr. Lloyd wishes and control WHO is allowed to own at all is simply draconian but to try to defend corporations or individuals (like Hearst) owning and controlling huge swaths of media is just reckless. that simply defends a present status quo at the risk of the freedom of speech of generations unborn!
Reality Check: If someone who claims to not be Right Wing or Leftist defends injustice when it benefits THEIR group but sees it as evil if “committed” by the opposition then you are talking to a partisan. Do not feed them or pet them, simply walk away and continue to use your god-given will to resist the temptation to force others follow your “truth” whether they like it or not.
Go Forth and Be Moderate. Be Not Afraid to Think.)