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The Day America Stopped Poncing Around The Sterility of Feminism

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The Mom and the One

by Christopher Chantrill
September 10, 2008 at 10:09 am


WE KNOW now that the Palin phenomenon is for real. We can tell because our lefty friends have come up with a new pejorative: “Caribou Barbie.” It joins “neoconservative,” invented in the 1960s to describe New York Jewish intellectuals who had been mugged by reality, and “neo-con,” invented in the 2000s to account for the sons of the neoconservatives of the 1960s, men who believed in reality even before they were mugged.

And who can forget Dorothy Parker on Calvin Coolidge: “weaned on a pickle,” or Clark Clifford’s “amiable dunce” who won the Cold War.

There is no escaping the truth. No real conservative can hope to succeed in national politics without first earning a sneering pejorative from the Progressive Order of Angry Lefties. Gov. Palin must be the real thing.

Many conservatives were angry, in the last week, as our liberal friends descended upon Gov. Sarah Palin with a ferocity that was startling even to William Kristol. But this was not bad. This was good.

Rush Limbaugh is always saying that liberals cannot admit to the American people who they really are. They have to dissemble in order to get elected. That’s why Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going around talking about his “faith,” trying to talk evangelical lingo to the God and guns set.

But last week, after the Palin breakout and the ensuing disorder in the front lines of the culture war, many liberal formations were running around leaderless, and they didn’t have their talking points from brigade HQ at The New York Times and National Public Radio yet.

Without the proper talking points they told us rather more about themselves than they should have. They let us see who they really are.

And they showed Americans how liberals really are different from conservative and heartland Americans.

The difference has nothing to do with bad-tempered pejoratives. Oh no. We conservatives understand that. We understand that the difference is deeply philosophical.

Here’s what Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor says in The Sources of the Self. The “me” of the authentic modern self, he writes, is not a feeling or an instinct, it is:

what reason produces, and what reason demands is that one live by principles.

Reason and rational principles must be the guiding lights of life. But ever since this notion was advanced by chaps like Kant at the end of the eighteenth century, conservatives have said: Whoa, dobbin.

Conservative have insisted on aspiring to a balance of principle, of conscious rational principles balanced by the unconscious wisdom of tradition.

But in the progressive understanding, developed by Hegel and Marx, the “aspiration is ultimately to a total liberation.” Here there is no balance but an drive for complete liberation from the superstitions and the obligations of the past.

In politics and economics total liberation gets you from capitalism to the liberation in socialism. In personal liberation it gets you to French existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre and his partner Simone de Beauvoir. For them the liberation of the individual creative self in creative expression is everything From them comes the idea of women’s liberation in The Second Sex, where woman is the “victim of the species” unless she is liberated from unending drudgery by a career of creative expression.

You can see why abortion slithers into place as the central sacrament in this faith. You cannot attempt a life of creative expression if you cannot experiment with all aspects of human experience, including sex. But then you cannot live out your life of individual creative exploration if you have also to live out the sexual consequences of your expressive life. Nobody would want a young person to be “punished with a baby,” or disqualified from creative self-expression by a minor youthful indiscretion. You soon get, in fact, to the modern extended adolescence where nobody expects a teenaged liberal, or college liberal, or twenty-something liberal to suffer the consequences of their expressive behavior.

The life of Gov. Palin and her family are an intolerable witness against this liberation world-view, inconvenient facts that cannot be allowed to falsify its liberating truth, and that is why our liberal friends are beside themselves.

And so the culture wars are rejoined, and the American people are called to make their choice: The Mom or The One.

“Bloom where you are planted.” That’s what Rebecca Hagelin’s mother told her. And that is what Gov. Sarah Palin did.

What makes her absolutely appealing to ordinary citizens across the country - both young and old - is that she didn’t go looking for greatness somewhere "out there"

She found it right where she was planted.

Want to influence your child’s education? Get involved at the local school. Fed up with the “good old boys” at city hall? Run for election. Get pregnant when you are 17? Well, I guess you are growing up faster than you thought.

Does that make sense to you? Then you must be a conservative. You must believe in responsible liberty rather than self-expressive liberation.

Still, a conservative can chuckle at the thought of “Caribou Barbie.” Do you think that Mattel could get a limited edition with rifle, specs, and chignon out by November 4?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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“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.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, 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

Hugo on Genius

“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

Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they 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 don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006

China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing

Religion, Property, and Family

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


Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity

US Life in 1842

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

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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