The Happy Tectonics
Popper v. Niebuhr
Conflict is inevitable and coercion's vital for resolving it. --Reinhold Niebuhr
All conflicts are resolved via coercion, implied or applied,
of the dominant party over the denied (Niebuhr).
Not news at the 2nd St. jail. But the Constitution
provides for moderation, persuasion and elections
as way stations, stopgaps, safe havens before the decision's taken
to go to war. Civil war, daily low intensity warfare is unavoidable when
chambers of commerce and large corporations wrestle naked
and who are the 1% controlling 25% of the wealth, name names,
hold a french revolution over it. This space I write from's
safe, comfortable but what about a Taco Bell cashier with 4 kids x 3 men
who came and went when they found how human her bleeding and complaining was, how
voluble, not faked.
This obtains when you consider Niebuhr: "That the limitations of the human imagination,
the easy subservience of reason to prejudice and passion, and the consequent persistence
of irrational egoism, particularly in group behavior, make social conflict an inevitability in
human history, probably to its very end." (emphasis mine)
respiratory tract infection, hunger pains
Popper drops by: "Their story that democracy is not to last forever is as true, and as little
to the point, as the assertion that human reason is not to last forever, since only
democracy provides an institutional framework that permits reform without violence, and
so the use of reason in political matters. It is clear that this attitude must lead to a rejection
of the applicability of science or of reason to the problems of social lifeand ultimately to a
doctrine of power, of domination and submission."
split lip, fever blister
Cynical nihilist Niebuhr: "Educators who emphasize the pliability of human nature, social
and psychological scientists who dream of 'socializing' man and religious idealists who
strive to increase the sense of moral responsibility, can serve a very useful function in
society in humanizing individuals within an established social system and in purging the
relations of individuals of as much egoism as possible. In dealing with the problems and
necessities of radical social change they are almost invariably confusing in their counsels
because they are not conscious of the limitations in human nature which finally frustrate
their efforts. So persistent are the moralistic illusions about politics in the middle-class
world, that any emphasis upon the second point will probably impress the average reader
as unduly cynical. In America our contemporary culture is still pretty firmly enmeshed in
the illusions and sentimentalities of the Age of Reason."
terror, runny nose
An apoplectic Popper: "And being a typical historicist, he accepts the judgment of history
as a moral one; for [Heraclitus] holds that the outcome of war is always just: 'War is the
father and king of all things. It proves some to be gods and others to be mere men, turning
these into slaves and the former into masters . . . One must know that war is universal,
and that justicethe lawsuitis strife, and that all things develop through strife and by
lonely physics, national purpose
Poppa Popper proceeds: "Sweeping historical prophecies are entirely beyond the scope
of scientific method. The future depends on ourselves, and we do not depend on any
historical necessity. This prophetic wisdom is harmful, the metaphysics of history impede
the application of the piecemeal methods of science to the problems of social reform. We
may become the makers of our fate when we have ceased to pose as its prophets."
fatal heart attack, fatty acids
Reinhold, while drinking orange juice: "Conflict is inevitable, and in this conflict power
must be challenged by power. Since political conflict, at least in times when controversies
have not reached the point of crisis, is carried on by the threat, rather than the actual use,
of force, it is always easy for the casual or superficial observer to overestimate the moral
and rational factors, and to remain oblivious to the covert types of coercion and force
which are used in the conflict."
Doc Wheeler runs the 2nd St. jail keeping the High School Dropout Prevention Program
breathing. The Sheriff's Dept. provides guards, a metal detector, one man with a gun
door buzzer (in out), sign in sheet, breakfast and lunch. None too clean, not too tidy.
Niebuhr goes nuts: "All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social
group requires a measure of coercion. While no state can maintain its unity purely by
coercion neither can it preserve itself without coercion. The inability of human beings to
transcend their own interests sufficiently to envisage the interests of their fellow men as
clearly as they do their own makes force an inevitable part of the process of social
3 hots and a cot, circle with a dot
Popper replies: "Instead of aiming and finding what a thing 'really' is, and defining its 'true
nature,' science aims at describing how a thing behaves in various circumstances and
especially whether there are any regularities in its behavior. It sees in our language, and
especially in those of its rules which distinguish properly constructed sentences and
inferences from a mere heap of words, the great instrument of scientific description, not as
names of essences. To those philosophers who tell him that before having answered the
'what is' question he cannot hope to give an exact answer to any of the 'how' questions,
the scientist will reply, if at all, by pointing out that he prefers that modest degree of
exactness which he can achieve by his methods to the pretentious muddle which they have
achieved by theirs."
"when making an axe handle, the pattern is not far off"
Niebuhr nods: "The problem which society faces is clearly one of reducing force by
increasing the factors which make for a moral and rational adjustment of life to life; of
bringing such force as is still necessary under responsibility of the whole of society; of
destroying the kind of power which cannot be made socially responsible; and of bringing
forces of moral self-restraint to bear upon types of power which can never be brought
completely under social control."
Popper and Niebuhr were married yesterday at the 2nd St. jail
under the federal Freedom of Marriage Act
Copyright 2013 by Robert Ronnow. Acknowledgements.