Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cheap shot: Who's vulgar now?

Image via News Corpse.
Dr. William Kristol:
In a letter to National Review, Leo Strauss wrote that “a conservative, I take it, is a man who despises vulgarity; but the argument which is concerned exclusively with calculations of success, and is based on blindness to the nobility of the effort, is vulgar.” Isn’t Donald Trump the very epitome of vulgarity?
Would that by any chance be the same Dr. Kristol as the one who used to write a column for the New York Times, and who gently chided Ms. Noonan, in 2008, for complaining about the vice presidential candidacy of Sarah Palin as "symptom and expression of a new vulgarization of American politics"? Politics in a democracy has always been vulgar, my dear, he wrote at the time, "since democracy is rule by the 'vulgus,' the common people, the crowd":
as Gerald Ford said after assuming the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974, ”Here the people rule.”
One of those people is Joe Wurzelbacher, a k a Joe the Plumber. He’s the latest ordinary American to do a star turn in our vulgar democratic circus. He seems like a sensible man to me.
And to Peggy Noonan, who wrote that Joe “in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made.”
Seems to me the torch Governor Palin just passed on to Donald Trump is the one she received from Dr. Kristol's own damp fingers.

But to me the epitome of vulgarity is not the commoner who warmly expresses an opinion that is maybe not absolutely educated, but the upper-class person who pretends to a low-class opinion rather than directly saying what he thinks, leaving it for the elite to determine what he really means by "reading between the lines", as Dr. Leo Strauss advised conservatives to do:
Being a philosopher, that is, hating "the lie in the soul" more than anything else, he would not deceive himself about the fact that such opinions are merely "likely tales," or "noble lies," or "probable opinions," and would leave it to his philosophic readers to disentangle the truth from its poetic or dialectic presentation.

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