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Fun Frolic and Midterms Obama's Grand Strategic Error

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At the End of a Dynasty

by Christopher Chantrill
November 01, 2010 at 1:25 pm


YOU REALLY have to feel sorry for our liberal friends. With each passing day they are coming to resemble the old WASP elite they sneered at for a century. Good liberal journalists should only visit those inscribed in the Social Register. And the Netroots seem more and more like southern rednecks, the folks that howled their approval when George Wallace vowed “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” in 1963 in the last moments before the Civil Rights Acts and the end of Jim Crow.

In the Juan Williams affair they are telling us that liberal journalists have to take a vow, as members of the exclusive NPR Vegan Club, never to be caught grabbing a salty snack at the FoxNews Drive-in window. Is that what liberalism is reduced to?

This is classic late-dynasty behavior. The founder of a political dynasty, whether a Napoleon or a Mao, understands the nature and use of political power down to his fingertips. He uses power to win his objective, never merely in the service of social snobbery. He decks his opponent with a knock-out punch: no face-slapping for him. But the heirs do not get it. They have never had to fight for power; they have merely stepped into positions of power carved out by others.

The women at NPR that bumbled the firing of Juan Williams last week advertised their weakness in all directions. They told the Angry Left that they could be rolled. They told the Republicans in Congress that they were not up to the job of defending their institution.

In addition they are demonstrating to anyone that cares the strategic folly of Affirmative Action. Why on earth would liberals want to staff their nomenklatura with a bunch of second-raters chosen on the grounds of race and gender, instead of making young liberals fight each other to the death for the the right to run their headline institutions?

The answer is that it is ever thus. It even applies to Rupert Murdoch, the street brawler that built his media empire with his bare hands. He appears to be preparing to hand over his media empire to his less-than-impressive sons. Eventually News Corporation will be inherited by the Murdoch equivalent of Pinch Sulzberger.

The Chinese have an elegant way of describing the late dynasty situation. In a great empire after years of strength and tranquility, things start to go wrong. Harvests fail; provincial governors become insubordinate and hold back their taxes. The army can’t keep the barbarians north of the Great Wall. That’s when the Chinese talk of the emperor losing the Mandate of Heaven.

Dynastic heirs lack the skills and the intensity to keep the dynasty going. As the British say, they start to lose the plot. The ladies at NPR demonstrate this. Don’t they understand that the charge of bigotry (or racism or sexism) is supposed to be used against the enemies of the regime, the racists and the bitter clingers, and not against a loyal if slightly off-message Juan Williams? Apparently they think it more important to truckle to their contributors and remain ritually clean of Foxite contamination.

Government is force. Politics is power. But the wise ruler keeps the mailed fist in reserve. Instead he uses the methods of social control to enforce his will. He knows that humans are social animals; they hate to be branded as bad people. So he sends out his operatives to brand his opponents as bigots and racists (or traitors and heretics, according to taste). Liberals have successfully cowed the nation for decades with their racist-sexist-bigot-homophobe charges. Last week was a hint that the liberal idol has feet of clay.

This election is marked by the enthusiasm of the Tea Party and Republican voters. But the sign that something is really afoot is the stumbling of the once-proud elite, call it what you will: New Elite, Ruling Class, Educated Youth, Progressive Elite, Cognitive Elite, Creative Class. They complained of President Bush’s strategic overreach in Iraq, but now must confront their own overreach in Keynesian stimulus and ObamaCare and their oblivious disregard of the gathering storm.

History is the lie agreed upon. For fifty years liberals kept us persuaded that their disastrous New Deal policies in the 1930s were a stunning success. Then they forced us to believe that their racial quotas and soul-destroying welfare programs were the essence of justice and compassion. Now they want us to believe that ObamaCare will reduce health care costs.

It all adds up to a bridge too far, and people have stopped believing in the liberal lies. Worse than that, people are starting to laugh at liberals rather than fear them.

That is always the danger signal for the Ruling Class at the end of a dynasty.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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

Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


“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

Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures

German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


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Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


[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


“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

Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

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