Friday, March 02, 2007

Hillary Clinton and senior theses ... who is safe?

Apparently Hillary Rodham's senior thesis, written in 1969 at Wellesley, is kind of a big deal. She interviewed Saul Alinsky, the famous socialist community organizer, WHICH OF COURSE PROVES SHE'S A COMMUNIST, blah blah blah. The Swift Boat Vets are already getting moist at the idea of trolling the sucker for pro-Red sympathies or something. (Nevermind that Hillary Clinton is the least Communist candidate [or politician in general] out there. Her entire life has been an exercise in scrubbing everything but the most digestible, smiley-faced pablum from her record. Rudy Giuliani is probably more Communist than Clinton. I mean, he grew up in Brooklyn in the 40s with immigrant parents so he probably knew more Reds than Hillary could hope to read about in a textbook. Dick Cheney is, of course, Stalin reincarnate, so there's no contest there. Meanwhile, Sam Brownback is personally in touch with Jesus H. Christ, a well-known subversive.) The Clintons stupidly put Hillary's thesis under lock-and-key during Bill's presidency in some sort of face-saving maneuver, so it's gained notoriety over the years.

Here's the thing, though--could your own thesis do you any political damage if it came down to it? Mine's pretty airtight, as I hadn't started ranting about local politics or receiving emails from Barbara Ehrenreich as part of the "Young Democratic Socialists Update" at that point. Plus, my interest in Plato speaks to "timeless values." Robot, I think, is good for a Democratic party nomination. Everyone likes education. Austin-5000 would be elected President on the spot. (That's if they don't find the naked gun-toting photos, of course.) The Sheriff, dchan, and Kushakov need to suppress their pinko artsy psychobabble like, now if they hope to stand a chance. I don't know if Sebonde wrote a senior thesis, but he actually, you know, believes in stuff, so he wouldn't be welcome in Washington. I think the closest we could hope for in the 2038 election would be Curry/Robot vs. Austin/Scantron in a centrist-take-all battle royale. (An obscure law of probability guarantees that I will have embraced the free market by then.) Josh the Hippie Killer will blog the event on his Fortune 500 website, D'Mardree will lament the ascension of gargoyles and psychics to the White House.


Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

I doubt that my thesis will prevent my election, but I'm pretty sure some of the posts on this blog will. On a serious note, we should all remember that anything written here will probably be on the internet for a long time whether we want it to be or not.
I like some things about Hillary Clinton, but it would be nice if Obama won too, if only because of his admission of cocaine use, etc. He's the man when it comes to talking about that kind of shit.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Scantron said...

So true: freedom isn't free.

2:29 PM  
Blogger kushakov said...

Given that my thesis was primarily interested in a man who blocked up his orifices (even his nipples, which I did not think counted as orifices for a man) with Vaseline and a dildo cast from little white tapioca balls, I think I've put myself out of the running.

3:54 PM  
Blogger The Sheriff said...

I apparently said some things about WWII that could construe me in a negative light

11:43 AM  
Blogger Sebonde said...

So, I can't make it in Washington because I really believe in something? I realize that this was a slap at the regnant cynicism in Washington D.C. but could it also be an admission, witting or no, that the government of a liberal society must needs be allergic to true belief because true belief in government leads inexorably to the archnemesis of all liberalism, namely theocracy? Does liberalism then require cynicism?

Dchan wrote her thesis on graffiti as a legitimate mode of expression. But grafitti is, of course, outlawed. Yet this country prides itself on its constitution that is said to guarantee freedom of expression, but the very fact that this country outlaws the means by which a whole class of poor artists do their thing shows that this freedom is at best a middle-class conceit. Thus, one could very well argue that dchan's thesis is an attempt to expose one of America's most cherished freedoms as just another ideological mask.

By the way, I am thrilled to be mentioned along with the august members of the Wash Av Huffy Crew. I think I shall never wash my computer screen again.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

Good points, sebonde. I was definitely taking a cheap shot at Washington, but at the end of the day I will admit that there are plenty of people there (perhaps mostly young idealistic people, but hey, *some* people) who really do have strongly held beliefs. There are plenty of Republicans and Democrats who wouldn't sell out certain of their values for anything. Just because people are liberals (as in, left-liberals and right-liberals) it doesn't mean they don't have beliefs. They just won't allow certain beliefs to enter public discussion.

I can't really go into the whole issue now (once again it is an issue originating from some Stanley Fish material that many of us at Huffy Crew have read), but I have benefited greatly from some recent readings on liberalism, legitimation, epistemic belief, and politics: Carl Schmitt's "Political Theology" and "Political Romanticism," and Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau's "Hegemony and Socialist Strategy" and Mouffe's solo work "The Democratic Paradox." The Schmitt and the Mouffe are all slender works and pretty easy reads (though challenging). Many people resist reading Schmitt because he was a fascist, but Mouffe is right that he poses questions that any liberal democrat has to address. Both (very different) authors take on modern liberal democratic thinking as exemplified by Rawls and Habermas. Richard Rorty is on the sideline cheering whomever he feels like that day in a typically complacent manner. Also, as a Catholic, if you've never read MacIntyre's After Virtue you're cheating yourself (I hope that wasn't an insult--perhaps you've read it and reread it many times). Cheers.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Sebonde said...

I keep telling myself that I must read Carl Schmitt. I've been telling myself this for the past decade. I won't be able truly to enter enter the secret teachings of Leo Strauß until I read Schmitt. Oh, well.

Yes, I've read After Virtue. MacIntyre diagnoses the problem of liberalism very well. In fact, nearly all my rants against liberalism are more or less plagiarisms from MacIntyre. But the solution MacIntyre suggests in After Virtue sucks the big one. He wants us to return to the communitarianism of the Aristotelian polis while denying Aristotle's metaphysical biology. Aristotle based his political ethics upon what he thought was Man's Nature, and this Nature is in turn dependent upon his metaphysical biology. If this last is false, then Aristotle's conception of human nature is false, and Aristotle's political system no more conforms to what the Homo sapiens is than, say, fascism, communism, or democratic capitalism. In fact, if the Darwinian conception of Nature is correct, and MacIntyre says in After Virtue it is, then man's nature is not an eternal ever-fixed mark but rather, as MacIntyre's nemesis might well say, an open-ended question mark, and any political system that ignores this will seem arbitarily authoritarian. So, it is not surprising at all that After Virtue has been roundly criticized as an argument for outright fascism. MacIntyre slowly realized that he fucked up Aristotle and therewith that if his communitarianism is to be persuasive, he must first demonstrate that ancient anthropology is still viable in this Darwinian age. He undertook this task in a series of lectures in the late 'Nineties. I can't judge how successful he was because, alas, I have yet to read those lectures.

9:39 AM  

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