When There’s One More Thing to Clarify, Composing, 31/07/2017

I wasn’t on the blog much, but I actually had a really productive writing weekend. Since I’ve caught up on my marking at the college, I had some time this weekend to get back to that project for the Reply Collective that I was telling you about a while ago.

The blog is, once again, moving on from considerations of Mt Pelerin
Society philosophy, writing, and communications. But those Mt Pelerin
views are seriously unforgettable. This image came from some dude
who lives near there selling his duplex apartment.
So that draft is finished, and I’ll probably give it a polish later this week before sending it up to the editors in Virginia to go in the publishing queue. It’s not as openly experimental as some of my other articles, but I think that’s for the best.

I’ve had my period of playing around, and this is an essay where I wanted to get serious. It’s called “Beyond Socrates: The Philosopher as Creative Craftsperson,” so the topic has a pretty wide scope.

It rides on a few contemporary examples and responds to a half-recent essay by a fellow SERRC member to further develop my philosophical challenge to the philosophical community – Get your conversations out of musty overpriced journals and get them online and into the streets.

Most important to encouraging that profound worldly engagement for philosophy, is writing your conversations in language that’s more accessible to people. I’m not talking about anything so pedestrian (or loaded with the opposition’s meaning) as “dumbing down.” I mean write in the common styles of intelligent discussion that you see in high-quality feature journalism.

Except you’re writing about concepts. Ideas in action through life in society. You’ll find out in more detail soon enough. I’m excited about that one.
• • •
While searching for images to go along with this post, I also discovered
this one of Friedrich Hayek relaxing and having a laugh like an
ordinary human being, instead of staring seriously and portentously
into the camera.
Here’s something else I’m excited about – moving on from writing about Milton Friedman on the blog. I went to Capitalism and Freedom because I was thinking more about how I’ll discuss the dystopian utopia of Earth’s current political, economic, and ecological clusterfuck in Utopias.

I realized that I wanted to get more material on the ideas of Mt Pelerin libertarianism than I had from looking into Hayek. Friedman’s book – and the responses to my posts from other friends at SERRC – helped me wrap my head around an interesting angle about that libertarianism.

Here’s the short version. The original philosophical texts of Mt Pelerin libertarianism – key examples being Capitalism and Freedom and Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom – were (most of the time) very nuanced, well-thought texts. But the modern politics of libertarian right-wing activists are brutal, dogmatic, and significantly meme-based.

Where’s the disconnection? You discover that through media analysis of the online social networking platform. Where’s the connection? It’s in the tells of those popular books, the spots where they reveal a blindness.

It also fits the theme of my last post about my Capaldi Years Doctor
Who book project, that my research recently is mostly about
returning to ideas that I studied a few years ago to update my
All the time, it’s a blindness to the systematic and community-level processes that help constitute individual personalities. The individual and his liberty is, ontologically speaking, such a fundamental unit of moral and political analysis for the Mt Pelerin thinkers, that the interdependence of social and individual drifts out of their philosophical view. Same with systematic effects on individual liberty.

I still feel like I’m not quite saying it right. but I’ll get back to it eventually.

After reading Friedman, I switched tack in my research to fill in some more ideas that I wanted to revisit. That’s my uptake of Antonio Gramsci’s ideas. Thanks to some nerdy tweeting from Jeet Heer, I discovered a few Perry Anderson books, and it made for wonderfully pleasurable and productive reading.

I’ll talk more about my engagement with Anderson’s ideas and interpretations over the next couple of weeks. Here’s basically what he helped me clarify.

The integration of ideology and military power in international hegemony. The complexity of the marxist tradition, which absolutely contradicts all the popular discourse about marxism today. Most of that popular discourse is uninformed far-right smears of all progressive politics as “cultural marxism.”

I'm also closer now than I was three years ago to a really detailed
outline of what Utopias will actually cover, so I wanted to clarify
some of the outstanding questions about Gramsci's ideas about
the material possibilities of an activist's life before I put any more
flesh on that manuscript's skeleton.
Well, Anderson’s helped me get another good handle on why this idea is such an incredible misfire and mistake. If anything, I think a better understanding of real marxist traditions – and particularly, practice – can do some real good to shutting down the resurgent fascism of our era.

He also wrote a really good book about caste politics in India, but that’s for another post entirely.
• • •
So I’m going to throw a link to this post up on my Patreon a few hours after it goes live today. Since it works as a general update on my writing projects, and it’s posting on the same week as my patron payouts, I figure it’s a good place to throw it.

If you like hearing about any of these projects, think of pencilling in a couple of bucks each month to support more publications. I’m taking part this year in one really amazing artistic project that could seriously use some Patreon support.

I can’t say anything about it yet, because it’s too early in the production process. The people in charge aren’t me, so I can’t just start yammering on social media yet about its details. But it’s going to be pretty awesome.

That said, its commercial potentials aren’t that great. Which is why I’m blatantly asking for more Patreon support. So if you like sci-fi, and you like the kind of sci-fi I write, and you can spare maybe two dollars each month, hit my Patreon and throw some cash on there.

You'll be helping me produce more super-trippy writing projects. You know you want to do that.

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