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The Purpose of Bureaucracy ObamaCare's Hot Water Treatment

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The Liberals' "Other" Problem

by Christopher Chantrill
November 19, 2009 at 11:53 am

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WHEN A WHITE redneck American blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, President Clinton blamed right-wing talk radio. But when a Muslim-American blew away thirteen American citizens at Ft. Hood in 2009, the president was careful not to rush to judgment, and the mainstream media medicalized the suspect’s motive into pre- or post-traumatic stress syndrome.

This is a serious problem, and I think the conclusion in inescapable. Our liberal friends are turning us into a nation of cowards on the terrorism issue.

As we know, from constant badgering from our liberal friends, there is scarcely anything worse than dividing the world into “Us” and “Them.” It’s a matter of inclusion. Only if you have learned to be extremely inclusive do you go the head of the class and call yourself tolerant and compassionate. Liberal Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor in Sources of the Self:

Perhaps the most urgent and powerful cluster of demands that we recognize as moral concern the respect for life, integrity, and well-being, even flourishing, of others... Virtually everyone feels these demands, and they have been and are acknowledge in all human societies. Of course, the scope of the demand notoriously varies: earlier societies, and some present ones, restrict the class of beneficiaries to members of the tribe or race and exclude outsiders, who are fair game... [For] most contemporaries this class is coterminous with the human race[.]

It is faith in this ideal that makes our liberal friends hesitate to brand the accused killer of Ft. Hood, Maj. Hasan, as an outsider, an “Other.” Once you brand someone as the “Other” then he becomes a potential enemy; it become possible to go to war with that enemy, and war, we all know, is not the answer.

But our liberal friends did not hesitate to blame Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City attack. They did not hesitate to call President Bush a liar and a “selected, not elected” president. They were on Sarah Palin’s case within hours of her nomination as Vice President of the United States with the vilest personal smears. They have been quick to play the race card against President Obama’s critics.

For our liberal friends Maj. Hasan, accused mass killer, dwells within the boundary of moral concern. Rush Limbaugh, President Bush, and Sarah Palin do not. They, like the president’s critics, are the “Other.”

It’s easy to put bumper stickers on the back of your Prius to “Visualize World Peace” and declare that “War is Not the Answer.” It is especially easy when “they” are bombing the financial district and shooting up a military base, and not the Upper West Side or a yeasty Victorian neighborhood in Berkeley. But when things get closer to home our liberal friends turn out not to believe in peace and pacifism after all. Don’t expect much peace visualization or respect for your integrity when abortion or gay marriage is on the agenda.

There is a reason why our liberal friends have gotten into this mess of hypocrisy. The reason is the narrowness of their liberal narrative. Liberals exist to rescue those excluded from the country clubs of capitalism. You see, even though nobody would ever want to belong to a WASP country club, the fact that the WASPs don’t immediately invite everyone to join is intolerable. Indeed, ever since the dawn of time dead white male bourgeois capitalists and their running dogs at Fox News and talk radio have been excluding workers, minorities, women, and gays from full membership in society. But fortunately there are kindly people, once called liberals and now progressives, who are determined to bring in an era of full inclusion for these traditionally marginalized groups. Liberals propose gentle and nuanced progressive legislation to include the excluded groups into the mainstream of society.

The problem with this philosophy sits right at the heart of it. Government is force. Politics is conflict. President Obama’s program of progressive health care is a program of force. Most Americans will be forced to buy government-approved health insurance or face criminal penalty. To create support for the program he and his supporters demonize the opponents of the program as greedy insurance companies or greedy drug companies. In other words, they divide the world into “Us” and “Them.” If you don’t support the president you are the “Other.”

Liberals can’t really believe in inclusion when they believe that government is the answer and politics is the way.

When you believe that government is the way then you need Fox News, talk radio, “christianists,” “tea-baggers,” George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin as the “Other.” Sometimes the “Other” is Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the Republican Party. At other times the “Other” is Rush Limbaugh, a mere entertainer.

Of course, conservatives can be shockingly divisive too. In particular conservatives feel that the US government should use force when necessary upon declared enemies foreign and domestic, and exclude them from inclusion in the last best hope of man on earth.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Responsible Self

[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.


Taking Responsibility

[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


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


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[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


Liberal Coercion

[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


Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

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


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


Society and State

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


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


Never Trust Experts

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, “Letter to Lord Lytton”


Conservatism's Holy Grail

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


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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