August 13, 2013

Barzun: "The Public Mind and Its Caterers"

From Chapter 2, "The Public Mind and Its Caterers," in Jacques Barzun's 1959 book The House of Intellect:
"The world has long observed that small acts of immorality, if repeated, will destroy character. It is equally manifest, though never said, that uttering nonsense and half-truth without cease ends by destroying Intellect."

My upcoming movie review of Elysium documents a bizarrely widespread case of this.

19 comments:

AMac said...

> uttering nonsense and half-truth without cease ends by destroying Intellect.

Only a commie, racist, witch, or Eastasian would make such an obviously false claim!

Anonymous said...

"...uttering nonsense and half-truth without cease ends by destroying Intellect."

Speaking of which, the bibliography section of Barzun's wiki bio includes the following:

1937 Race: a Study in Modern Superstition (Revised, 1965 Race: A Study in Superstition). Methuen & Co. Ltd.

Does anyone know if it's as bad as it sounds?

Anonymous said...

OT: the tech industry which is pushing hard for more immigration and H1Bs, is also stashing tons of money overseas to avoid taxes:

"Look At The Humongous Amounts Of Money US Tech Companies Stash Overseas To Avoid Taxes"

http://www.businessinsider.com/tech-companies-hoard-cash-overseas-to-avoid-taxes-2013-8

Anonymous said...

Not only that, but Cisco's CEO threatened not to hire any more US employees unless Congress lowered taxes even further:

"Cisco's John Chambers Repeats Threat To Ship Jobs Overseas If Tax Laws Don't Change"

http://www.businessinsider.com/ciscos-john-chambers-threatens-to-ship-jobs-overseas-2013-5

Auntie Analogue said...


In 'Vindication of the Rights of Woman' [1792] Mary Wollstonecraft wrote: "Public spirit must be nurtured by private virtue."

alonzo portfolio said...

Department of Not Catering to Steve - in amicus brief to the Supreme Court, privacy group omits superfluous iSteve "of":

If the Court finds that the statute allows this sweeping a warrant, then it must consider the flat Fourth Amendment bar against general warrants, as well as the unreasonableness of collecting all information about Americans’ phone calls for speculative future investigations.

rightsaidfred said...

Elysium bugged me to no end for all the reasons discussed on this blog. No moral frisson whatsoever, just the starkness of good and evil in canned set pieces.

Steve Sailer said...

My influence shall live on in the spread of my grammatical errors!

Anonymous said...

Neill Blomkamp is well aware of the fact that when massive numbers of low IQ immigrants enter a country the result is disaster.

Blomkamp himself made this clear in District 9.

However, he is smart enough to know that cheering for mass immigration is what will make him popular in America and as such his new movie is a clarion call for open borders

Anonymous said...

Philology, or the study of genetic relationships among languages, is associated with racism and Nazism among academics - one simply need to read Edward Said to get a sense of how hostilely the 19th century attempt to trace Europeans' prehistory is currently viewed. Because the attempt to link Europeans to one another via a common language excludes people whose ancestors did not speak these languages (i.e. Jews). I remember reading a book, Maurice Olender's "The Languages of Paradise", which asserted (on the book jacket, not in the book itself) that philological speculations of the 19th century were directly responsible for the Holocaust. Modern linguistics, as well, reflects this prejudice by sidelining "historical linguistics," clearly the most informative and interesting branch of the field, and asserting the Chomskian orthodoxy that all languages are equally capable of expressing any idea. Because Homer could have just as easily been an Inuit, and Shakespeare could have been an Aztec - he probably was, and it was just those horrible white people who burned all the evidence. By the way, the discoveries of linguistic commonality between Europe and the Subcontinent didn't stop the British from treating Indians as second-class citizens of their empire, or the Nazis from exterminating the Roma. In academia, as in politics, all hatred is local.

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of which, the bibliography section of Barzun's wiki bio includes the following:

1937 Race: a Study in Modern Superstition (Revised, 1965 Race: A Study in Superstition). Methuen & Co. Ltd.

Does anyone know if it's as bad as it sounds?"

Read it and let us know. The Barzun works I've read (this isn't one of them) have all been well-considered and informed.

Considering the pub date, I imagine it's less "everyone is exactly the same so hooray for open borders" as much as "propaganda of an Aryan race is flawed because the various tribes that have occupied and intermingled in Germany and the European continent over thousands of years impose realities that do not lend themselves to said propaganda".

FredR said...

I feel like Blomkamp unnecessarily stacked the deck with that whole med-pod thing. Granted, none of the plot works without them, but getting high-quality medical treatment is in reality simply a matter of cash. You don't need to become a citizen of anywhere. It seemed like a distraction from the real factors involved in immigration and citizenship.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Charlton recently made a similar argument to Barzun's: http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/dishonesty-reduces-applied-intelligence.html

I have long thought that liberalism makes smart people stupid and now I think this is how it works--pervasive dishonesty leads to impaired brain function and liberalism is full of lies.

Joe H.

Anonymous said...

Who are you getting at Steve?

The 'open borders' shills?

One would have thought that Peter Schaeffer's master's stroke would have silenced them for good by now.

Conatus said...

Theodore Dalrymple quote
“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is...in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

Anonymous said...

I would love to see one, just one movie, in which the typical iSteve commenter's dream plays out, but not portrayed as a nightmare like Hollywood would normally do. Instead, as a triumphant, against all odds kind of thing.

David said...

>"Cisco's John Chambers Repeats Threat To Ship Jobs Overseas If Tax Laws Don't Change"<

Better headline: "Net Takers Throwing a Tantrum for More Govt. Cheese"?

Anonymous said...

Might as well learn from the masters: "Live Not By Lies".

"Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us."

NOTA said...

Anon 11:07:

SM Stirling's Conquistador includes what you might think of as a white nationalist's attempt at building a utopia. Neither the author nor the main character are entirely comfortable with this utopia, though it does actually look like a nice place to live in most ways.