|US Can't Pass English 101||Never Trust Experts|
by Christopher Chantrill
May 26, 2008 at 9:59 pm
UNLIKE OUR British cousins we Americans honor the veterans of our armed forces twice a year. On Veterans Day we honor the service of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guard. But on Memorial Day we honor the Fallen.
In many parts of the nation communities still call it Decoration Day, the day to decorate the graves of those who gave their lives that we might live in freedom. In honoring the Fallen and declaring every year that we will never forget them we renew the contract between the generations about which the First Conservative, Edmund Burke, wrote in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. He wrote:
Society is indeed a contract... As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are to be born.
It was Burke who made explicit what was formerly practiced un-selfconsciously: the need to venerate the dead upon whose shoulders we are raised, and to pass our inheritance on to the unborn in whom we transcend our mortality.
But those whose lives are cut short that we might live occupy a special place in our memory, and there is a good reason why this should be so.
All self-respecting states are created out of a civil war. That means of course that every nation was created in a spasm of violence, where competing interests fought for power and the losers were at least humiliated and at worst eliminated.
In the aftermath, the victors want to forget the ugly realities of the fight, and they need to forget the appalling cost. The US Civil War was a typical instance, with incompetent leadership, a troubling peace faction of Copperheads and Democrats, and a victory procured, in the end, only with the blood-drenched ruthlessness of Grant and Sherman. The 625,000 war dead amounted to about two percent of the 1860 census population of 31 million and 3.75 percent of all males (including children).
There is only one thing to do, and that is to declare that it was all worth it, and that the dead are fallen heroes. We remember the dead from the Civil War, the doughboys of World War I, and the GIs of World War II.
When it came to the Vietnam War, our liberal friends decided that they didnt want to honor the returning veterans or the 58,000 who died. If the war was a crime then it was easy to think of our soldiers as war criminals. This was a mistake on several levels, not least of which was the practical problem that ever since it has raised a question mark over the patriotism of Democratic presidential candidates. It does not get resolved by having a presidential candidate begin his acceptance speech with the words: Im John Kerry, and Im reporting for duty.
The same question mark hovers over radical revisionism like Howard Zinns Peoples History of the United States. If the history of the US is one endless tale of oppression, then whats the point? Why go on? Why not just treat life as a lifestyle?
Some people might come away from Zinns History with the notion that the story of radical politics in the US is one endlessly repeated story of radical suits leading the poor, uneducated, and easily led off a cliff.
If you think back, you can see that our Democratic friends have no problem celebrating Democratic victories. They are happy to celebrate beating the Kaiser,with President Wilson (D), commander-in-chief. They are glad to remember the Greatest Generation that demolished Nazism with President Roosevelt (D), commander-in-chief. What they dont like are wars in which Democrats dont have the starring roles.
We know why this is so. It is because our liberal friends dont believe in nation states. They are cosmopolitans, citizens of the universe, and they are ready to move on from national loyalty to planetary loyalty. They believe that if political power were transferred from national governments to supranational governments we could hope for peace.
They are wrong, of course, deluded by their narrow Enlightenment faith in reason.
Reason is a wonderful thing when taken in moderation. But it does not reason away the reality of the struggle for existence in a dangerous world. In a dangerous world you need armed forces, and you need young men to give their lives in the struggle of good against evil.
When we celebrate our great national holidays, and particularly when we observe the holidays that honor our veterans there really is only one option. Honor the Fallen. To do anything less is not just a crime, it is a blunder.
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
[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
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[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
[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.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[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
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
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America