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Old 05-11-2017   #21
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
I haven't claimed that at all. I just don't see how Aickman not believing in a substratum of racialist politics means he wasn't conservative given everything we know about him.
Because some people actually think that conservative = racist.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 05-11-2017   #22
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I don't identify as conservative, but, just to get some clarity on the subject, here's a couple of paragraphs that give a very rough idea of what 'conservative' means to many who do identify as such, from this article:

http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-polit...disraeli-burke

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In October 1976, the philosopher Anthony Quinton was invited to deliver the T S Eliot memorial lectures at the University of Kent. He took as his topic the history of conservative thought in England, tracing a lineage that stretched from the Tudor thinker Richard Hooker, via Bolingbroke, Burke and Disraeli, to the 20th-century political theorist Michael Oakeshott. The conservatism espoused by these thinkers was, Quinton argued, a "politics of imperfection" - that is, their views about the nature and proper extent of government were rooted in a vision of human weakness. For Burke and the others, men are morally and intellectually imperfect creatures, and political authority - specifically, the authority that inheres in customs and institutions - is to be understood as a remedy or palliative for that imperfection.

The principles of this venerable tradition guided Tory politicians from Disraeli and Lord Salisbury to Stanley Baldwin and Rab Butler. But by the time Quinton came to give his lectures, the Conservative Party was preparing to abandon them. Two years earlier, Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph had founded the Centre for Policy Studies, one of a number of "New Right" think tanks that would make the intellectual running in British politics in the late 1970s, and would transform the Tories from the party of Burke and Hume into the party of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek - turning it from a conservative party, in the Quinton sense, into a classical or neoliberal one that would begin a long and ultimately destructive march through many of Britain's most established institutions.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 05-11-2017   #23
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I find it funny that there's an argument over the fine points of an extensive political treatise that people here have, at best, only been exposed to through one as yet incomplete summary...
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Old 05-11-2017   #24
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I hate to disagree with Sand, but from what I have read (including a great deal of Panacea), and having talked to several people who knew him well, there can be little doubt that Robert Aickman was deeply conservative. James is quite right to point out that he was a traditionalist, and that was why he sometimes appears at odds with modern conservative thought. It would be kind to call him a romantic, but many of his views could just as well be considered contradictory and utterly unrealistic. I would certainly not describe him as a rationalist, and would hesitate to call any but a few of his views libertarian.

Panacea was written by Aickman when in his twenties, and he re-submitted the book to publishers over the years, and retained the manuscript until his death. It is easy to see why it remains unpublished—Aickman presents his views on a vast array of subjects, jumping wildly from one to another with no coherent argument or philosophical train of thought, sometimes repeating himself, often contradicting remarks he has already made. In many cases it is easy to write-off his opinions as simply justifications for his own interests, prejudices, etc.

Sand has written:

(a) he was a rationalist and sceptic – I disagree. As James has pointed out, he believed completely in the supernatural, and put a very misguided (and probably fatal) trust in homeopathy.

(b) he deprecated wage labour – Aickman felt strongly that his family wealth and social standing had been taken away from him. It is clear that he believed that he should not be forced to labour, and therefore he propounded the idea that certain people should be given a private income.

( c ) he did not favour ‘the establishment’ – I disagree. Aickman supported the monarchy and aristocracy, although not the democratic establishment (especially post-war labour governments—or government of any colour which made it difficult for him to restore the waterways.)

( d ) he deplored industrial capitalism – And yet his passion was for the canals of Britain, the very arteries of the Industrial Revolution. (Otherwise, I condeed the point.)

( e) he valued pluralist societies – I am not sure about this. Aickman was a snob, and didn’t seem to think much of any kind of modern society.

Sand has quoted Douglas Anderson’s précis of Chapter 16 of Panacea:
“The ideas of eugenics done by eliminating “unfit” people from procreation are based on misunderstandings on how society functions.”
This sounds very enlightened, but in the following chapter, Aickman discusses (to quote Doug again):
“Lunatics are of two types—those who become insane, and those who were born that way (e.g., mental deficiency).”
What the précis doesn’t mention is that Aickman states that the mentally deficient should be kept away from society, and the mentally unwell should be euthanized.

In my opinion, Panacea is a disaster of a book.

I am politically on the Left and I am sure that I would not have got on well with Robert Aickman if we had ever met. He had a great propensity for friendship when he found congenial company and could be witty and entertaining. But he could also be unpleasant towards those who dared to disagree with him, and sometimes ruthless and vindictive.

But … Robert Aickman was a sublime author of strange stories, and I consider it my greatest good fortune to have been introduced to his work by David Tibet, and it has been an honour to publish so much of his writing through Tartarus Press. One does not have to share an author’s political views to have the utmost respect for their writing. Aickman’s politics and opinions are there in his stories, but they are rarely centre stage -- he is too much of a craftsman and an artist for that.
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Old 05-11-2017   #25
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
I find it funny nobody reads what anybody says on here. The OP was immediately met with claims...
Which if you read my statement after your knee-jerked, such claims would obviously be an example of someone interpreting the finer points of...
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Old 05-11-2017   #26
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I wasn't referring to you specifically. It was just a general exasperation at people talking down to me for knowing things.

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
And I honestly don't understand why you and some other folks here are so dead set on presenting him as a conservative.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 05-11-2017   #27
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Conservatism does not equal racism, only in the minds of those who are innocent of past History.


Lincoln was a Republican.

Even in the 60's the Democrats were known as the party of the Klan. The Klan was considered their military arm. The clowns who stood in the schoolhouse doors were Southern Democrats all--Wallace, Maddox and the others. All Southern Democrats bowed to the Klan. Even Robert Byrd was a high ranking Klanner.

At least get your history straight.
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Old 05-11-2017   #28
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

"Republican" and "Democrat" are just labels. Names of a parties that morph and twist over time. They are fluid, and have been throughout history.

It's what underlies these labels that is important.

Progressive/Liberal and Conservative/Traditionalist as concepts and belief systems have remained pretty much the same. They are beyond political party, and these days, line up under respective banners that we all recognize. That could change in the future.

Was abolishing slavery and emancipating slaves more of a Conservative/Traditionalist move, or something that could be better defined as Progressive/Liberal?

Is the Klan more of a Conservative group or more of a Progressive group? Would your average blue state Democrat in 2017 be apt to join the Klan? Would old school Blue Dog Democrats be considered Liberal/Progressives, or Conservative/Traditionalists?

This whole bull#### call-back to Lincoln and "the party of the Klan" is childish and wrong, and I think the people who spout it know this, but try to pull it anyway.

Presently, in 2017 America, if you are a Progressive/Liberal, the Democrats best represent the issues you value. If you are a Conservative/Traditionalist, then the Republican candidates best reflect your interests. Period.

The rest is cheapjack nonsense.

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Old 05-11-2017   #29
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

So a knowledge of history is wrong and pointing out that mindless labels (conservative equals racist) is, well, mindless...that too is wrong? Your smug answer is designed to shut down debate but, fear not, I have no intention of entering into such a non-productive waste of time.

For some, inconvenient facts that imply life is less simple than one would like are to be deemed "Irrelevant" or simply ignored. Sorry. Life is more complex than that.
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Old 05-11-2017   #30
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Racism reflects a Conservative mindset more than it does a Progressive one. That is just a fact, and one that - aside from being common sense - has been reinforced in my life over and over and over again, as one who has traveled extensively throughout Europe and lived in Red States and Blue States, small towns and our biggest cities, in majority/all-white areas of the United States as well as areas that where white people are the minority.

Not to say that all Conservatives are racist, and that no Progressives are (as I've seen passive and latent racism couched in good intentions a thousand times), but it's a simple fact that a racism exists better in a conservative/traditionalist environment than one devoted to inclusion, diversity, etc.

No amount of mining history will change that fact, and it doesn't matter anyway. Everyone knows the lay of the land. Their willingness to admit it is another matter.

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