Judge Kozinski's "Ordeal of Civility"
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The New York Times editorial board is mad that the Constitution makes it harder to fire federal appeals court judge Alex Kozinski than it has been to fire most of the other guys caught up in Weinsteingate:

Who Will Judge the Judge?


… And if Judge Kozinski were anything but a federal judge with life tenure, he’d most likely be out of a job by now.

Last week, The Washington Post reported the allegations of six women who had worked for the judge as clerks or staff members, and who accused the judge in detail of crude behavior and sexual harassment.

Heidi Bond, who clerked for Judge Kozinski in 2006 and 2007, said he repeatedly called her in to look at pornography on his computer, and asked if she was aroused by it. On her personal blog, she described how he privately showed her his “knock chart,” a list of women he had sex with in college.

That’s not terribly judicious behavior, especially for a guy with about a 180 IQ. Like Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Brett Ratner, etc. etc. Kozinski has a high Id to Superego ratio relative to his IQ.

When I was a kid, National Review was fascinated by a 1974 book by the New York Irish-American sociologist John Murray Cuddihy, The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Lévi-Strauss, and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity. Cuddihy had been trained by New York Jewish intellectuals, and he turned his hyper-intellectualized style back on Jewish intellectuals. Forty plus-years ago, this kind of turn-about was seen as fairly fair play, and Cuddihy was nominated for a National Book Award. But since then he and his book have disappeared down the memory hole.

I’ve only read a couple of chapters of The Ordeal of Civility. Cuddihy’s style isn’t to my taste. I’d sum up the idea as that, as Heinlein said, “An armed society is a polite society,” and Ashkenazi society wasn’t very armed and thus was, despite its high literacy rate, pretty crass. So it ended up less civil than gentile polite society of similar wealth levels, which caused post-Jewish Enlightenment Jews a lot of distress and agitation when they tried to enter the broader society.

In a new article in Thermidor, Hoyt Thorpe summarizes Cuddihy in relation to Trump’s highly Jewish crassness:

Trump And The Return Of Pre-Modern Incivility

… Cuddihy looked to the daily face-to-face interactions of humans to divine another, perhaps more important, influence on the western psyche: the personal experience of Civil Religion. Cuddihy found that many, especially outsiders and minorities, experienced Civil Religion as a religion of civility – a “protestant esthetic” of bourgeois manners that was less about substantive values than about proper etiquette and interpersonal respect. In essence, Cuddihy had found the western rituals underlying our Civil Religion to be experienced by many as something closer to the “empty formalism” Bellah insisted our Civil Religion was not.

The Trump era has stimulated a renewed and impassioned commentary on civility that raises fundamental questions about the nature and role of civility in American democracy, as well as the future of our civil religion and how it is experienced by America’s ever-changing electorate. Cuddihy’s unique account of how certain groups have experienced civility provides an incisive explanation for Trump civility commentary today and ultimately serves as an unsettling portent about the future of our civil religion.

Civility and Counter-Culture

Cuddihy describes civility as a ritual exchange of “gifts” among strangers enabling us to “live with unknown others without transforming them into brothers or enemies.” This ritual carries with it a differentiation between private and public behavior and spaces, with social appearances, respectability, and censorship (both self- and other-directed) coming to dominate the public sphere. In western Protestant society, civility demands public humility about one’s wealth and power, respect for strangers, and censorship of one’s private convictions about individuals and groups. The development of civility in western history is, for Cuddihy, bound to the refinement of “barbaric” behaviors, with the prototypical example being the refinement of the feudal baron into the high-modern aristocrat.

One of Cuddihy’s arguments was that the counter-culture ideologies that radically altered the course of western civilization in the 20th century originated in attacks upon civility. Such attacks reflected in one way or another outsider or minority anxieties about the relationship between civil rights and civility, of being accepted as a full and equal citizen in society, not just in terms of being granted political equality, but also in terms of being socially accepted by others as equal. Among the various counter-culture movements, Cuddihy selected Freudian psychoanalysis and Marxism as two of his most important case studies.

Freud experienced civility as a sham ritual sublimating man’s natural, barbaric impulses: the formal and respectful rituals of romantic love merely covered up with successive layers of refinement the brute reality of the sexual transactions between individuals. Other aspects of civility merely concealed the shocking Freudian “truth” of childhood sexuality and incest fantasies. Of course, such “scientific” reductions were not new to a western society increasingly secularized by Darwin and Newton. But the way in which Freud communicated his observations to the world was seemingly contrived to scandalize his audience. Many of Freud’s colleagues lamented the impudence with which Freud discussed sexuality, and his correspondence is littered with stubborn declarations against self-censorship or euphemizing. This was, at least in Freud’s view, because psychological malaise could only be ameliorated by attacking the euphemisms with which the superego and society censored the brute reality of human existence. “A science cannot be bourgeois,” declared the founder of psychoanalysis, for bourgeois etiquette was merely a veil of petty lies obscuring our view of the truth.

But behind the putative therapeutic and scientific goals of Freud’s project, Cuddihy argues, lurked the mischievous motivations of a counter-cultural prankster. In one speech, for example, Freud mused about a “malicious fellow” preventing women from euphemizing their bathroom breaks as “picking flowers” by distributing a document at a party that revealed the true meaning behind the innocent euphemism. Indeed, in Hannah Arendt’s dismissive estimation, psychoanalysis was nothing more than a “modern form of indiscretion.” Whatever Freud’s ultimate motivations were, his remedy was a compromise with the religion of civility: indiscretions only were to be expressed during a closed analytic session. This compromise ultimately marks Freud, in Cuddihy’s analysis, as a conservative or reform critic of civility to be contrasted with Marx, whose radical attack on the bourgeois order admitted of no compromise.

… In a brilliant set of analogies, Cuddihy shows how closely Freud and Marx’s seemingly distinct projects converge on the function of civility. Just as the west deluded itself into thinking that love had eliminated selfish haggling from courtship, so it had also deluded itself that modern capitalism had eliminated selfish haggling from exchange. The industrial revolution may have attempted to sublimate the selfishness of the feudal west under Calvinism, but Marx’s experience with the Prussian censor helped him see through the conceit. His therapy for a hypocritical, deluded society was, like Freud’s, an uncensored confrontation with the brute facts underlying bourgeois society.

Jews have taken on the role of society SuperEgo, while wanting to remain the Id in private. This is an unstable combination, as the high proportion of Jews have gotten in trouble attests.

[Comment at Unz.com]

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