Mark Lilla, “The Shipwrecked Mind”

Expanding on the essays he’s published in The New York Review of Books and The New Republic, Lilla’s seventh book is a rich history of political conservatism. Focusing on the often defining role of reactionaries, Lilla works through the legacy of Hegel and Heidegger as reflected in the thought of Franz Rosenzweig, Eric Voegelin, and Leo Strauss, then advances the theme to consider recent events, such as the January 2015 Paris attacks, tracing their effect on the reception of novels by Houellebecq, Zemmour, and others.

Lilla is in conversation with Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, and author of The Conservative Soul.

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Produced by Michael A. Kowaleski


Hank Fuddle says:

Lilla deviates from progressive group-think (slightly) and therefor must be excoriated. (I just read an article that called him a supporter of white supremacism. Unbelievable.) The intellectual straightjacket that academics are pressured to wear precludes the expression of any truly original thought unless they are willing to catch a whole lot of crap.

Fred Farmer says:

Awesome … because it tells us what we need to do to contradict the worse vision of the future!

Peurii says:

I think the multiculturalism part and the “white supremacy” analysis of the trumpian moment is true in a sense. I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily a racist moment, but rather a moment of deep distrust of the other.

We humans are tribal. We need the shared symbols, rituals and words to share in order to feel companionship with our in-group. But now patriotism and nationalism are seen as racist by the academic elites. All day you can hear about how borders etc. are racist. But this subverts the symbolic nature of the nation. The nation is an invention, but all groups are invented. But still we need them to feel safe in large societies.

Take the leftists of America at the moment. They say that they are anti-racists etc., but in fact they are building their own symbols, moralities, rituals and language. So when the nation is seen by a portion of the people as immoral, and another as moral, you are in fact creating two tribes in your nation.

So I would point a blaming finger to the academics who have been deconstructing the nation, religion and the activists that have been destroying the values of it, because it destroys the links between people. We can no longer trust each other, because we do not share the same symbols, rituals and language.

Mike F says:

Lilla’s good until his petty anti-conservative prejudices get better of him: reveals a general contempt, lack of empathy

Joey Burt says:

i just googled cato the elder and learned that cato the younger became a stoic. haha. i’d only heard their names in passing before.

Peurii says:

The revolutionary and the reactionary minds are the two sides of the same coin. Lilla is right. Both are dissatisfied with the present moment, but what distinguishes them from each other is that the revolutionary thinks that the better present would come as a break from history into an utopian future, where as the reactionary thinks that the golden age is in the past, and a return to the golden age would come if the mores of the past were to be returned.

All “revolutionary” movements before the French revolution were essentially reactionary, at least in the level of speech. The English of the Great revolution and the Americans of the American revolution both thought that they are bringing back the rights that were theirs in their saxon past, not bringing about something all together new. Same is true of the peasant revolts in the middle ages. They were not seeking to establish a altogether new society, but to return the uncorrupted into power, and return the rights that they thought were theirs.

This is reflected even in the vocabulary of revolution. Before about the 18th century, the term revolution itself meant a kind of return to a starting point, and not the radical break from history that it means now.

Thomas D says:

27:45 – Q1 : West = Global?
28:23 – Q2 : Guilt?
29:22 – A1 :
29:53 – A2 :
30:29 – ____ Shameless
31:20 – Q3 :
31:32 – A3 : Hyper-capital-ism Hyper-Me-ism
31:50 – Q4 & Q5 : Distinguish
32:40 – A4&A5 : Yes. The worse the Present looks the more you appeal to past/future
33:40 – ________ Lack of responsibility for living in our present moment
34:25 – Q6 :
35:15 – A6 :
36:34 – Q7 : Do not reactionaries have
37:38 – Q8 : What role religious morality?
37:44 – Q9 : Was my thought reactionary or rational?
37:50 – A Decline happens
38:42 ___ sees no bridge
40:13 – Q10 :
40:42 – A10 :
41:09 ______ Degree to take seriously
41:26 ______ More struck by anti-politics
41:54 ______ Irresponsibility
42:16 ______ decline in civic responsibility that you would not be informed
42:34 ______ How to rebuild responsibility for civilization
42:47 – Q11 : Recession animates
43:23 – Andrew – global elite invented Iraq war and international finance
44:13 __________ 2nd the elites never were held responsible
45:15 __________ Fascinating that the phenomenon is content free
45:59 – A11 : WHAT HE SAID
46:04 – Q12 :
47:55 – A12 : Decline of religiousity

Ross Douthat has emerged as one of the most provocative and influential
voices of his generation.

In his book titled Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
Hardcover – 17 APR 2012 he offers a masterful and forceful
account of how American Christianity has lost its way—and why it
threatens to take American society with it.

48:19 _____ You get worse religion
48:55 – Q13 : How into the ground
49:16 – A13 : Power corrupts
49:40 ______ Editor of Public Interest in the 1980’s
49:51 ______ Changed the debate about welfare policy
50:00 ______ R W R arrives
51:00 – Q14 :
51:50 – A14 : Hope
52:57 ______ Kafka was once asked do you really believe there is no hope
____________ Of course there is hope. Just not for humanity.
THE RECKLESS MIND – expanded edition

justgivemethetruth says:

2:04 – …. that!

day tripper says:

I’m surprised that he misunderstands current events.

justgivemethetruth says:

21:15 – AS – you talk in the book about how reactionary movements and ideas are just as powerful as revolutionary ideas …

My first reaction to that is … aren’t reactionary ideas MORE powerful than revolutionary ideas. Reactionaries are of the establishment and have been around maybe even longer than revolutionary ideas, and revolutionaries ideas are a threat to the status quo. The powerful in the establishment over time realize that their biggest concern is to deal with threats to their power and security.

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