[Milton-L] "Avatar" reviewed by Milton : What can we do?

Sanford Blackburn antinomian2 at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 27 23:19:05 EST 2010

You remind me of a thread I once briefly followed (I was exploring the anthropology of shamanism at the time) that looks at the essential "conservatism" of pre-literate cultures.
Another thread, which traces off in this vicinity, is represented by Dali's film _Impressions de la Haute Mongolie_ in which he casts much exotic but nonetheless analytic abuse upon Rousseau.  (The film was on view at the Museum of Modern Art two summers ago).   What struck me (beyond Dali's stunning insight, suave incisiveness, and jolly clowning around) was the fact that in the broader brush strokes he is in agreement with Alan Bloom, who is also hostile towards Rousseau, although didn't Bloom teach Rousseau before _Closing of the American Mind_?  Certainly Bloom should not be burned at the stake, or are we not making allowances for those who repent? 
If pre-literate culture is our pedigree of the conservative Weltanschauug.
And Rousseau championed the pre-literates.
Then Rousseau championed conservatism?
Was Napoleon the direct outcome of Rousseau put into practice?
Dali's conclusion is that Rousseau leads to tyranny, utopianism leads to Hitler.  And isn't this what what Jonathan Littell is suggesting in _The Kindly Ones_?
Where does Milton frown upon utopianism?
Carter Kaplan

> Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 15:40:44 -0500
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "Avatar" reviewed by Milton : What can we do?
> From: jamesrovira at gmail.com
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Amusing, Carter, but of course our options are not limited to
> Rousseau's ridiculous, essentially racist romanticizing of indigenous
> cultures (authentic=closer to nature and therefore not in possession
> of real culture) and puritan intolerance.
> Unless you're writing for Hollywood, of course.
> Jim R
> On Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 11:34 AM, Sanford Blackburn
> <antinomian2 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > What can we do?  No . . . really . . . what can we do?
> > Well, we should get our historical and political understanding in order.  We
> > should read Melville's _The Confidence Man_ and Hawthorne's _The Scarlet
> > Letter_ to clear our heads of all hippie detritus, and then we should go
> > through our libraries and burn Rousseau, then embrace an open and
> > independent form of Calvinism, seek to live lives of truth-telling and
> > charity, affect humble piety and repent for burning all those copies of
> > Rousseau, but then if anyone tries to teach Rousseau we should burn them at
> > the stake. That should about do it, I think.
> > Carter Kaplan
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