|New Hope for Education Sufferers||To Be or to Do|
by Christopher Chantrill
May 08, 2004 at 8:00 pm
THE DEFINING event of our generation was 9/11. It divided America into those who thought it was our fault, and those who thought it was their fault. Lefties like Susan Sontag immediately wrote what millions of liberal hearts felt, that we brought it on ourselves by our arrogance and our imperialism. Conservatives wrote about a new Pearl Harbor, and President Bush announced a War on Terror.
But the liberal hearts that wanted to enjoy political power in America could not really afford to confess their feelings. The result, after the convulsions of the Democratic presidential primaries, is John Kerry, who is both for and against the war, for he must navigate his campaign between an angry Democratic base that hates American power and a patriotic majority that is believes in it.
And he is facing also the lesson of 9/11 that power still counts in the world. While liberals have flopped around parsing the presidents speeches for lies, conservatives have reminded themselves that the power of the west is founded upon its power.
It goes all the way back to the democratic tradition of the Greek hoplites, according to Victor Davis Hanson. Ever since, the Europeans have presented a tradition of heavy infantry and shock tactics that has proved unbeatable in ruthlessness.
It goes all the way back to the Spartans, according to Lee Harris. The Spartans transformed the teenage boys gang into the cooperative team, and chopped the extended family down to size. The new cooperative team was organized not by bravado and charisma, us against the world, but by rules.
Powered by the corporation, the Protestant church, the nation state, and the modern army, the western Europeans jumped the boundary of consanguinity and the rigid world of extended family, clan, and tribe. They woke up one day to find themselves the first true world civilization, unequalled in its power.
But liberals are past all that. They are ashamed of the power of their fathers, and enraged by their rules. They believe in the transformative power of creativity and the sanctity of world community. You can see this attitude in their attacks on President Bush and in their eagerness to discover setbacks in the War on Terror and in numerous popular books published in the last few years. For Richard Florida, in The Rise of the Creative Class, the key to understanding the present is the emergence of creative ideopolises, urban fermentations full of creative artists and gays, 38 million Americans willing to break the mold and imagine something new. For Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ann Johnson in The Cultural Creatives the future is a merging of the social justice movement with the Sixties consciousness movement, 50 million people worldwide who are building a new culture of resistance to oppression and a spiritual revolution that combines eastern meditation with shamanistic wisdom traditions.
The great American conservative movement, we know, arose to shout Stop! to the progressive hordes sweeping across the world determined to replace the bourgeois ethos of self-government and contract with their secular heaven on earth of creativity and community. It knew, as Edmund Burke knew in the first twinkling dawn of the French Revolution, that any culture that rejected the Anglospheres constitutional culture of cooperation under contract and the limitation of political power would lurch inevitably into the slaughter of millions by deliberate, cold-blooded genocide. But it is flummoxed by the culture of creativity and universal community. What is wrong with the rule of law and the movement from status to contract, it complains?
The answer to the conservative complaint is a growing movement that, in Hegelian fashion, resolves the contradiction between the culture of the cooperative team and its antithesis in the cult of creativity and the vision of universal community. You can see its threads everywhere, from the rough-hewn ideas of the autodidact John Boyd, the man whose revolution in military strategy won Gulf War I, to Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker whose Blank Slate is an attack on the idea that humans are noble savages that have been helplessly corrupted by civilization. Poet Frederick Turners Shakespeares Twenty-first Century Economics lyrically shows how four hundred years ago that the transactions of merchants were nothing if not softened by the gentle rain of mercy. Ken Wilbers Integral philosophy experiences human consciousness as an ascending spiral from power to rules to creativity to community in which each step upwards transcends and includes what has gone before.
What all these thinkers reject is the fatal flaw of the left when it declares war on the culture of rules championed in the last millennium by the rising bourgeoisie, these new thinkers want merely to transcend it and include it. As Hegel said two hundred years ago: The whole is an overcoming that preserves what it overcomes. And that is all that conservatives ever wanted.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
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
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization