the map and the territory

Immanuel Kant and Max Weber on Concept Formation


Kant: "Thoughts without intuitions are empty; intuitions without concepts are blind."

Kant-Forster: "To make concepts out of representations one must be able to compare, to reflect, and to abstract, for these three logical operations of the understanding are the essential and universal conditions for the generation of every concept whatsoever."

The Territory


The brutishness in language and behavior that are the chief characteristics of Trump's mass-oriented performances must be understood as manifestations of something of great ontological significance.

fascism is a concept, not an epithet.
fascism is a heuristic device, not a thing.
fascism is the map, not the territory
.
the map is an ensemble of texts re. that which is called fascism
The Map


Patrimonialism, Fascism, and the Lynching for Rape Discourse
Trump is "not hurting the people he needs to be hurting"

from It’s Just Too Much’: "A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane, New York Times, 1-7-19.

I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” an employee of the Federal prison in the Florida Panhandle said. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.

from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 14

Here the works of vengefulness and rancor swarm; here the air stinks of secrets and concealment;  . . . and what mendaciousness is employed to disguise that this hatred is hatred!  What a display of grand words and postures, what an art of "honest" calumny!
Fascism is a Concept (not an epithet)
from Eckart Förster, The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy: a Systematic Reconstruction (Harvard, 2012)

 . . . concepts have their basis in functions, by which Kant understands “the unity of the act of bringing various representations under one common representaton.” (A68).  A concept is a rule for combining certain representations (and thus also a principle for excluding certain others).  Thus the represesntations’white’, ‘grainy’, ‘saline’ are combined and ordered in the concept ‘salt, while the representations ‘colorless’, ‘liquid’, ‘tasteless’ (say) are not.  In this way a concept is a rule allowing me to unite certain representations and to bring them under a higher representation, i.e. the concept. (pp. 22-3)

Cognition does not consist merely in the collecting of phenomena; rather we strive to forge conceptual links between them and to grasp the laws of nature that are valid for specific classes of objects as cases of yet more general laws, whereby we are guided by the ideal of a unified explanation of nature. (p. 38)

“To make concepts out of representations one must be able to compare, to reflect, and to abstract, for these three logical operations of the understanding are the essential and universal conditions for the generation of every concept whatsoever.  I see, e.g., a spruce, a willow, and a linden.  By first comparing these objects with one another I note that they are different from one another in regard to the trunk, the btanches, the leaves, etc.; but next I reflect on that which they have in common among themselves, trunk, branches, and leaves themselves, and I abstract from the quantity, the figure, etc., of these; thus I acquire a concept of a tree.” (pp. 250-51)

a Concept of Fascism
Three paragraphs from Robert O. Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004):

¶ 1.  Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by 1) obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and 2) by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which 3) a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, 4) working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, 5) abandons democratic liberties and 6) pursues with redemptive violence and 7) without ethical or legal restraints 8) goals of internal cleansing and 9) external expansion.  p. 218

¶ 2.   The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy brings us close to the heart of fascism.  p. 84

¶ 3.  Today [2004] a "politics of ressentment" rooted in authentic American piety and nativism sometimes leads to violence against some of the very same "internal enemies" once targeted by the Nazis, such as homosexuals and defenders of abortion rights. . . .  The languge and symbols of an authentic American fascism would, of course, have little to do with the original European models.  They would have to be as familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascisms were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans, as Orwell suggested. . . . No swastikas in an American fascism, but Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars) and Christian crosses.  No fascist salute, but mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance [one minute and 45 seconds into this video].  These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy.  p.  202



Randall Collins and Max Weber on Patrimonialism
Randall Collins, "Patrimonial Alliances and Failures of State Penetration: A Historical Dynamic of Crime, Corruption, Gangs, and Mafias,"The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 636, Patrimonial Power in the Modern World (July 2011), pp. 16-31

Classically, patrimonialism was organization based on private households, plus alliances among them. Patrimonialism wields political power in the form of personal loyalty and arbitrary discretion, tempered only by tradition. The archetype of this kind of personal power is the family, but a patrimonial household is not limited to kinship per se. What makes patrimonialism capable of wielding large-scale power is that some households expand beyond kinship and become extremely large by including a large number of servants, armed guards, retainers, hostages, and houseguests; the bigger the entourage of the head of such a house, the greater his power.

It is important to distinguish, as Weber (1922/1968) did, between patrimonialism and patriarchy. Rule by the father (literally) or male dominance generally - patriarchy - can take place in many different kinds of organization; it occurs even in bureaucracy, although bureaucracy historically has been the main ally and organizational weapon of resistance to patriarchy. Patrimonialism is something more.

Patrimonial power involves personal loyalty, but  it is also fraught with conflicts, betrayals, and treason—Shakespearean plots are virtual textbooks of patrimonial politics. . . .  patrimonialism and bureaucracy are not bare organizational forms but sites for constructing moral visions; proselytizers for expanding bureaucratic state penetration are moral entrepreneurs as well as expanders of organizational domains. The struggle between patrimonialism and bureaucracy takes the form of rival moralities, althoug one side rarely recognizes this about the organizational form they oppose.

And this, from Researchgate: What are patrimonialism and neo-patrimonialism?



Max Weber's Ideal Type
from Max Weber:

An ideal type is formed by the one-sided accentuation of one or more points of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse, discrete, more or less present and occasionally absent concrete individual phenomena, which are arranged according to those onesidedly emphasized viewpoints into a unified analytical construct.

The above Concept of Fascism Deployed
Paragraph 2, "The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy" perfectly encapsulates the "populist" performativity of Trump's  rallies.  (note)

Paragraph 1 is much more interesting.

Paragraph 1 can be broken down into nine elements, six of which (1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) characterize the Trump phenomenon.

1. obsessive preoccupation with community decline
4. working in uneasy but effective collaboration with
traditional elites (see note on the concept of elites)
5. abandons democratic liberties
6. pursues with redemptive violence
7. without ethical or legal restraints
8. goals of internal cleansing

More interesting is to look at the three elements of Paxton's definition of fascism that seem least applicable: 2, 3 and 9.


2) cults of unity, energy and purity
3) a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants
9) external expansion

It is here that we see the plausibility of the ratio: Hitler is to Trump as Tragedy is to Farce

Compare Paxton's Paragraph 3 with the Lacan-Atwater Signifying Chain (below). Atwater has shown how the discursive and symbolic elements of the Southern Strategy were generated through the construction of a theatrical arena in which hatred is expressed and sadism performed.  This sado-sexual performativity is the essence of the GOP's mass appeal.  Well before Trump the evocation of evil and the channelling of rage against a scapegoat (various forms of the other) was the stock-in-trade of Republican politicians, from their Know-nothing ancestors to today’s fascist formations and modalities.. 

The rhetorical violence of Trump rallies, not ideology and policies, is what is fundamental. The Trump performances--the audience, the cultural-historical context, and Trump himself as a therapeutic object with which the audience member can identify--become intelligible when viewed through the prism of certain key concepts: Nietzsche's concept of ressentiment; psychoanalysis's concept of the mechanisms of defense; Wilbur Cash's concept of the proto-Dorian convention; the Lacan-Atwater Signifying Chain; and Robert Paxton's concept of  transcendental violence.

On the right there are not issues, but postures, gestures, various encodings of the same sado-sexual reflex (the inner logic of racism).  Rage enacted in a political-media theater of violence, sadism, and revenge.     The cruelty of it all is the most important thing.  The vicarious thrill, the “enthusiasm for inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation”(OED): this is what is seen at Trump rallies.  The GOP's performative cadre are specialists in herding hominids.

Here the works of vengefulness and rancor swarm; here the air stinks of secrets and concealment;  . . . and what mendaciousness is employed to disguise that this hatred is hatred!  What a display of grand words and postures, what an art of "honest" calumny! (Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 14)





from Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 16:

Let us add at once that . . . the existence on earth of an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and pregnant with a future that the aspect of the earth was essentially altered.  Indeed, divine spectators were needed to justice to the spectacle that thus began and the end of which is not yet in sight . . . .  From now on, man . . . gives rise to an interest, a tension, a hope, almost a certainty, as if with him somethin were anouncing and preparing itself, as if man were not a goal but onl a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise.


from Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 22:

Oh this insane, pathetic beast--man!  What ideas he has, what unnaturalness, what paroxysms of nonsense, what bestiality of thought erupts . . .

All this is interesting, to excess, but also of a gloomy, black, unnerving sadness, so that one must forcibly forbid oneself to gaze too long into these abysses.  Here is sickness, beyond any doubt, the most terrible sickness that has ever raged in man . . . .  There is so much man that is hideous!--Too long, the earth has been a madhouse!

from Timothy R. Pauketat, An Archaeology of the Cosmos: Rethinking Agency and Religion in Ancient America (Routledge, 2012), p. 30

Indeed, this is the very basis of the Western world, with religions that profess beliefs while simultaneiously disciplining bodies and purging them of their desires.

the Lynching for Rape Discourse
from Jacquelyn Hall, Revolt Against Chivalry: Jesse Daniel Ames and the Women's  Campaign Against Lynching (Columbia, 1993), p. 150

The imagery of lynching—in literature, poetry, music, in the minds of men—was almost inescapably erotic. . . . 

Rape and rumors of rape became a kind of acceptible folk pornography in the Bible Belt.  As stories spread, the attacker became not just a black man but a ravenous brute, the victim a beautiful, frail, young virgin.  The experience and condition of the women. . . were described in minute and progressively embellished detail: a public fantasy that implies a kind of group participation in the rape of the woman almost as cathartic as the subsequent lynching of the alleged attacker. . . . 

The small percentage of lynchings that revolved around charges of sexual assault gripped the southern imagination far out of proportion to statistical reality.  In such scenes, described in the popular press in strikingly conventionalized words and phrases, the themes of masculinity, rage, and sexual envy were woven into a ritual of death and desire.


from Lillian Smith, Killers of the Dream (1949.  Norton ed. 1994)

 . . . the lynched Negro becomes not an object that must die but a receptacle for every man’s damned-up hate, and a receptacle for every man’s forbidden feelings.  Sex and hate, cohabiting in the darkness of minds too long, pour out their progeny of cruelty on anything that can serve as a symbol of an unnamed relationship that in his heart each man wants to befoul.  That, sometimes, the lynchers do cut off genitals of the lynched and divide them into bits to be distributed to participants as souvenirs is no more than a coda to this composition of hate and guilt and sex and fear, created by our way of life.  162-3

In the name of sacred womanhood, of purity, of preserving the home, lecherous old men and young ones, reeeking with impurities, who had violated the home since they were sixteen yers old, whipped up lynchings, organized Klans, burned crosses, aroused the poor and ignorant to wild excitement by an obscene, perverse imagery describing the “menace” of Negro men hiding behind every cypress waiting to rape “our” women  145

"The Equal of Some White Men and the Superior of Others": Masculinity and the 1916 Lynching of Anthony Crawford in Abbeville County, South Carolina, in Men and Violence: Gender, Honor, and Rituals in Modern Europe and America, Pieter Spierenburg, ed. (Ohio State U. Press, 1998)



on the hermeneutics of "intelligent design"

from MEMORANDUM OPINION, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Dist., 400 F. Supp. 2d 707 (M.D. Pa. 2005); John E. Jones III,  United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (also Wikipedia articleDoverAreaSchoolDistrict).

1. An Objective Observer Would Know that ID and Teaching About "Gaps" and "Problems" in Evolutionary Theory are Creationist, Religious Strategies that Evolved from Earlier Forms of Creationism

The history of the intelligent design movement (hereinafter "IDM") and the development of the strategy to weaken education of evolution by focusing students on alleged gaps in the theory of evolution is the historical and cultural background against which the Dover School Board acted in adopting the challenged ID Policy. As a reasonable observer, whether adult or child, would be aware of this social context in which the ID Policy arose, and such context will help to reveal the meaning of Defendants' actions, it is necessary to trace the history of the IDM.

Randall Collins and Max Weber on Patrimonialism








the Lacan-Atwater Signifying Chain

from Wikipedia: (Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy)

As a member of the Reagan administration in 1981, Atwater gave an anonymous interview to political scientist Alexander P. Lamis. Part of the interview was printed in Lamis's book The Two-Party South, then reprinted in Southern Politics in the 1990s with Atwater's name revealed. . . . Atwater talked about the Republican Southern Strategy and Ronald Reagan's version of it:

Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now you don't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a by-product of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

Paxton on Fascism in U.S: History, 1845-1938
Altough Anatomy of Fascism was published in 2004, it describes the anti-Obama Tea Party uproar of 2009 with uncanny prescience--the Youtube video below (click on link below screenshot) is a good example.  

The United States itself has never been exempt from fascism.  Indeed, antidemocratic and xenophobic movements have flourished in America since the Native American party of 1845 and the Know-Nothing Party ofthe 1850s.  In the crisis-ridden 1930s, as in other democracies, derivative fascist movements were conspicuous in the United States.  The Protestant evangelist Gerald B. Winrod's openly pro-Hitler Defenders of the Christian Faith with their Black Legion; William Dudley Pelley's Silver Shirts (the initials "SS" were intentional) . . . .  Much more dangerious are movements that employ authentically Amerian themes in ways that resemble fascism functionally.  The Klan revived in the 1920s, took on virulent anti-Semitism, and spread to cities and the Middle West.  In the 1930s, Father Charles E. Coughlin gathered a radio audience estimated at forty million around an anticommunist, anti-Wall Street, pro-soft money, and---after 1938--anti-Semitic message broadcast from his church in the ouskirts of Detroit.  For a moment in early 1936 it looked as if his Union Party and its presidential candidate, North Dakota congressman William Lemke, might overwhelm Roosevelt. . . .  p. 201


Donald J. Trump and the lynching for rape discourse
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Richard Staley, Einstein's Generation : The Origins of the Relativity Revolution (University of Chicago, 2009)

George Makari, Revolution in Mind: the Creation of Psychoanalysis (Harper-Collins 2008)

Margaret Jacobs, Alcorn

Ernst Cassirer

This is the home page of G. J. Mattey’s Philosophy 175, Kant, for Winter Quarter, 2019.

the distinction between inuitions and concepts is critical.  In the media concepts that are too abstract are laughed off the stage.  Ossified concepts, which are deployed as if they were immediately knowable and true, are the only concepts admisible to media discourse.

A striking illustration of the cognitive limitations of liberals is that they fail to note the obvious--that is, they fail to conceptualize the generic character of this stream of sado-sexual performances.  The excerpt at the right from a study of Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment makes this clear.  Jamieson and Cappella just don't get it: The vulgarity and sadism of Limbaugh's rhetoric is the main event in this theater of ressentiment, while the "issues" are merely the occasion for the expression of emotionally appealing sexual inuendo and sadism.  This is the stuff of Nietzsche's ressentiment. 

For example, in the theater of ressentiment that is the right, the really lousy rollout of Obamacare just doesn't matter.  Obamacare has already been transformed into a racially loaded epithet, and that is the only way in which the term is "understood" by right-wing audiences.  It is not that they disregard facts, or are even immune to them. They are  pre-operational in their cognitive modality, not concrete operational.  Facts are simply props in the theater of ressentiment.  Surely you must have noticed that by now.

from Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella, Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment (Oxford Univeristy Press, 2008), p.p. 188-89. (Emphasis added.)

Limbaugh's attempts at gender-based "humor" are of the locker room variety.  As the California gubernatorial recall was heating up, Limbaugh informed his folowers that Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante--"whose name loosely translates into Spanish for 'large breasts'--leads the Terminator by a few pionts" (August 18, 2003).  A photomontage on the Limbaugh website shows a photograph of Schwartzenegger's head and shoulders from his Pumping Iron days as a body builder.  A naked woman has been transposed onto his shoulders.  Over her breasts is a sign reading BUSTAMONTE.  When Madonna endorsed General Wesley Clark, Limbaugh reported that she had "opened herself" to him.  Why the vulgarity in this message does not alienate the churchgoing conservatives in his audiences is a question for which we have no ready answer.


from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 14

Here the works of vengefulness and rancor swarm; here the air stinks of secrets and concealment;  . . . and what mendaciousness is employed to disguise that this hatred is hatred!  What a display of grand words and postures, what an art of "honest" calumny!