WE'VE seen this all before. It was back in the 1960s that the Democrats got a big presidential win and passed a bunch of big-government programs. And the left figured that they were going to take over. There were the hippies and the New Left and Cloward-Piven. The hippies were going to make love, not war. The New Left, inspired by Frankfurt School acolyte and One Dimensional Man Herbert Marcuse were going to transform politics, and Profs Cloward and Piven were going to overthrow the establishment with street action.
Well, they got their Medicare and Medicaid forever, and hippiedom too. And they successfully moved the center of gravity of left-wing politics from class to identity. But Cloward and Piven failed to crash the system.
And most of all the average American just wanted to live a middle-class life in peace. This was symbolized by Ben Wattenberg's 47-year-old housewife from Dayton, Ohio in his book The Real Majority. The theme was taken up by Richard Nixon and his Vice-President Agnew who talked about the "silent majority" that hadn't been yelling its head off during the Sixties.
And so we got a conservative revolution and Ronald Reagan and a 20 year economic boom.
Evidently liberals have interpreted the Obama victory of 2008 as a call for a new Sixties and a new lurch to the left, even though the result has been the most Republican Congress in almost a century.
Of course, after the Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and gay marriage it looks like the liberals were right. But I have a feeling that they are going to be radically, embarrassingly wrong.
The thing is that we don't know, we can't know, because liberals have forbidden anyone to disagree with them.
But the question is: can we roll back the Obamacare entitlement? Everyone knows that once you give people an entitlement they will resist reform until the place goes Greece. But we must remember that Obamacare was not like Medicare and Social Security which gave the broad middle class something they had never had before. The average American already has health insurance and the average American is pretty upset that Obamacare has messed with their health insurance. Also, I suspect that the folks getting the Obamacare subsidies are pretty upset and confused right now.
As for the social issues like gay marriage: In my view the decisive demographic in all social issues is women: middle-aged women, just like Ben Wattenberg discovered in the 1960s. That's because things like abortion and marriage are central to women's lives. In the end it doesn't matter what the ruling class -- or men -- wants on social issues. What matters is what women want.
It turned out, after Roe v. Wade, that women do not want unrestricted abortion as the high-class feminists wanted. That's because for the average woman, child-bearing is central to her life. Not so much for elite women. There's a similar aspect to gay marriage. Lots of elite people are gay or know someone who is gay. Down in the trenches, not so much. And marriage is central to the life of a middle-class woman.
As you know, I look at the world through the filter of my three peoples model: people of the creative self, people of the responsible self, and people of the subordinate self. Because of the influence of the people of the creative self we all get the impression that everyone agrees with their current enthusiasm. In all the fuss and feathers of elite-class enthusiasm it takes a long time for the influence of the people of the responsible self to be heard.
I was out to dinner last night with Lady Marjorie and her mother and her niece at Ray's Boathouse in Seattle: the last night before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. We were at a table for five, but nearby were several middle-aged middle-class couples out on date night sitting together in booths that looked out on a sun-drenched Puget Sound. It was touching to see the satisfaction of the wives to be out to dinner with their husbands. They looked, from moment to moment, at their husbands with gentle married love. From time to time they would gently put an arm around their husbands.
What do people like that think about things in Obama's America? That's what I want to know.
THE big takeaway on Obamacare is the mindless ruling-class faith in bureaucracy and regulations. Set up an administrative system, the Obamateers seems to think, and equitable benefits will result. Of course that is pure fantasy. What really happens when a government sets up an entitlement system is that people learn how to game it. Like welfare. Like Medicare. And the costs spiral out of sight....
THE slippery slope argument against gay marriage was that, next, we'll see the social justice warriors insisting upon "polyamory," or polygamy. And of course, no sooner had Justice Kennedy imposed gay marriage on America than the push for polygamy began. (By the way, I voted for gay marriage in Washington State Referendum 74 which passed 53.7% to 46.3% in 2012, but I still think it's stupid.) ...
ONE of radio host Dennis Prager's recurrent memes is that the left runs on feelings. It's not grounded in the Judeo-Christian intellectual tradition, but encourages free-floating "feelings." Here is Prager in the aftermath of the Supreme Court on gay marriage and the end of Judeo-Christian America. Americans, from the Founders on, understood that without God, there is no moral truth, only moral...
IF ANYONE DESERVES a lifetime achievement award in the liberal virtue of “speaking truth to power” it would have to be Charles Murray. Back in the 1980s he wrote Losing Ground to tell the truth that liberals knew, by the mid 1970s, that their Great Society programs weren’t working. But they did nothing to fix them.
Then Murray wrote The Bell Curve with Richard Herrnstein, telling the truth about IQ. For that he got branded as a racist.
So Murray confined his statistics ...
If you think that government is force, you probably don’t think much President Obama’s deceptive line about government being the name for things we do together. ...
TO THE UPPER CRUST, the nineteenth century was a never-ending worry. The old order was coming to an end, the cyclical world of agriculture and its wealth in land.... more
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Heres how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>
The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up
rather than learns... Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of agesthey seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
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