Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Purpose of This Blog

The purpose of this blog is so that I can develop ideas in a semi-public way, as well as collect various writings I've inflicted on the web, be they letters or comments or full posts.

I have no doubt few people—if any—will read this blog. That's actually a bit of the point. There'll be no effort on my part to advertise this blog, or broaden its readership. The idea is to be both public yet obscure.

I'm most interested in developing ideas that help explain the world. I figure that's the purpose of the public intellectual: To create an intellectual framework that helps us all understand the world we are living in. A framework that will hopefully allow us to make a better world.

Today, however, the public intellectual is forced by the marketplace to say the popular thing, instead of the true thing.

The society we live in—the Industrialized West—purports to be free, but it's really not. You're free to say anything—but only if it fits with the prevailing ideas. And if it breaks with the prevailing ideas, then it can only do so if it is "charmingly" controversial—controversial without teeth.

If his ideas don't fit the prevailing beliefs, and if his ideas are aggressively controversial, then the marketplace will shout down the public intellectual. The pundits parroting the prevailing orthodoxy are more numerous, and they are louder. What's more, the public intellectual who voices heterodoxy will find himself with no means of subsistence—no one will want to listen to him. None of the networks will pay him to come on the air and "comment of the day's events". No one will pay to read his latest book—so no-one will publish him.

So what does the public intellectual do? He trims his sails. He might toy with heterodox ideas—he might even go right up to the edge of heterodoxy. But he is careful never to step over that edge—because to step over it is financial and social suicide.

Thus is the public intellectual neutered.

I think that that's part of the reason our society is in such turmoil—the public intellectuals are too fearful of pissing off the mob or pissing off the oligarchs to say what has to be said. They're too afraid of losing their perks or positions.

Since I'm no one in academia, and since I don't depend on the mob for my living—since no oligarch hires me to sell their point of view, and since I'm an expert in nothing—I have the opportunity to say what I really think.

This is a gift beyond price. If I'm shouted down, it won't matter—I don't expect to be heard anyway. If people don't want to pay me, it won't matter—no one's paying me anyway.

I am truly free. And I fully intend to use that freedom.

So then: To business.

7 comments:

  1. Dear Gonzalo,
    I was arguing with a fellow comment poster on some random website recetly. He was a libertarian -- you know the type: everything the government does is bad by definition (because it "hampers freedom"), and everything that a private business does is just dandy because the magical "market" will discipline it if it steps over the line. I tried to make the point to him that granting bloodless, yet immortal, corporations the same rights as
    natural born humans is a recipe for hell on earth. His answer was something like, "...yes, corporations should have the same rights as people. What's wrong with that? Why are you so against the increase of liberty in the world? After all, corporations are owned by the same natural born people that you seem so concerned about."

    I joined the Libertarian Party in 1972, when I was an idealistic teenager. My serial number had three digits. In my current geezer-hood, I can see that so-called "libertarians", such as the oblivious guy quoted above, are helping to kill actual liberty in the world. Corporations are legal fictions (horror stories?) that have become a threat to actual, breathing, natural born human beings. I am hopeful that a tipping point in consciousness has been reached with the latest disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. BP's behavior has been so egregious and so in-your-face, that I think hatred of BP will spill over (sorry) into other areas where these rapacious scofflaws are ruining the world. Your recent article on the Global Research website will help awaken people. Thank you for it. Keep writing. I'm sure it will make a difference. You may even help corporation-enthralled "libertarians" to
    snap out of it.

    Mike from Alabama, USA

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Sir,
    Loved this article. Of course these evils were still going under The Kings and Queens of England England with their domination over Ireland where Oliver Cromwell ransacked the poor Irish. Britain taxed the poor Irish to buggery and when England had hunted all their own foxes out of existance they stole a load of these poor animals from Ireland. England has behaved disgustingly in India too before that great man Ghandie freed India from British Rule or should I say suppression. England placed a Salt Tax on India for years and it was Ghandi that Imminent Lawer who freed India from the suppresive yoke of English Rule and gained India Freedom From English Rule.

    Cheers,

    Richard Leschen

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Gonzalo-

    I have read your recent posts on ZeroHedge regarding a hyperinflationary scenario in the US, and much appreciate your work and candid thought. You obviously opened a huge topic of discussion in a new and interesting light, and your contributions to societal discourse are exactly what is needed: free, unfettered thought about overdiscussed issues.

    The only other articles of your works I have read are the "Aphorisms" (I quoted one to myself at work for use in an upcoming public hearing) and this thread "The Purpose of this Blog".

    Please continue your discourse as time allows, as I enjoy it thoroughly.

    Chris in Idaho

    ReplyDelete
  4. Geez, I just wanted to say that I like the sky background.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The sky background is great, but is clashes with the lit matchhead in the banner.

    However....I don't come here for the scenery.

    I come for great writing.

    You have yet to disappoint.

    ReplyDelete
  6. GL, I recently stumbled onto your blog. I love it! Thank you for sharing your insights. Your blog helps me frame my own thoughts. Keep up the great work.
    John
    San Antonio TX

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your new look is fine and displays much better on my Mac running Firefox. Still some of the text in the right hand sidebars is superimposed behind the video image link.

    I love your blog. Keep up the excellent and inspired work!

    ReplyDelete

Whether you agree with me or not, thank you for your comment.

If you liked what I wrote—or if it at least made you think—don’t be shy about making a payment. The PayPal button is there for your convenience.

If you have a question or a private comment, do feel free to e-mail me at my address expat229@gmail.com.

GL