|Ammo for the Battle of Ideas||Liberals and Political Kitsch|
by Christopher Chantrill
January 07, 2011 at 1:39 pm
OUR LEFTY friends have just come off a pretty a good century playing the blame game on violence. Whether it was corporate goons whacking union organizers at the Battle of the Overpass, or racist southern cops turning the fire-hoses on civil-rights marchers, or Chicago cops attacking the kids in 1968, you knew who the good guys were. Somehow the story of union thugs attacking Tea Party folks, or Reverend Al Sharpton inciting anti-Korean riots, or anti-WTO anarchists vandalizing downtown Seattle didnt have quite the same resonance with the American people. So our lefty friends play the right-wing violence card every chance they get.
In part, the reason for this that black civil rights really was a big deal, the issue of Americas original sin. But a lot of the difference comes down to whose story gets told in the media. Back in the good old days, objective journalists told the story, and that meant the liberal line got handed down to posterity. In consequence, lefty bombers like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn get to pal around with future presidents; right-wing militia members and their ilk dont.
Despite a century of good press, the veiled or not-so-veiled threat of violence sits right at the center of left-wing politics. The very word demonstration is a euphemism for show of force. Labor unions have always used the threat of violence. Community organizing is what left-wing activists do when they are trying to gin up a rent-a-mob for the benefit of the TV news cameras. Just to be helpful, the MSM used to warn every year of a long hot summer if summer jobs programs for urban youth werent passed.
Whenever there is actual violence by lefties, as recently by students in Britain or by government workers in Greece, our lefty friends play both sides of the street. If there is property damage they blame the police for not controlling the crowd. If rioters get injured they blame the police for overreacting. Did you know that almost all MSM reporters are labor-union members?
Richard Fernandez has an elegant description of our lefty friends strategy on violence. He calls it deniable intimidation. How right he is. If the workers/victims/students/undocumented workers get enraged by the injustice of the system, how can we stop them? No justice, no peace, as Reverend Sharpton insists. Theres nothing we can do, the lefty talking-heads will say: poverty creates violence.
Lefties are full of ideas for violence. Frances Fox Piven in The Nation has proposed to renew the Cloward-Piven strategy for the 2010s. This time she wants to mobilize the unemployed into mass protests. Recovering lefty Ron Radosh reckons the revived Cloward-Piven is probably history repeating itself as farce. It just wont work this time, any more than it worked in the 1960s.
The left got away with subtly encouraging violence by its political clients in the last century because the American people could usually be persuaded to sympathize with the workers or the Southern blacks or the welfare recipients in question. Left-wing rhetoric often aligned with mainstream public opinion. But the Tea Party experience tells us that mainstream public opinion has changed. Theres an even chance that if the left takes to the streets in the near future the American people wont sympathize. Thats because the likely demonstrators will not be the unemployed, but overpaid, over benefited, over pensioned government workers. Even The New York Times get it: Public Workers Face Outrage as Budget Crises Grow. Americans understand that taxes spent on inflated government salaries and pensions put their Social Security and Medicare benefits at risk.
Also, conservatives are better placed to compete with the left at the level of rhetoric. We all know why. The monopoly of the mainstream media is broken, by talk radio, by Fox News, and by social networking. Now it looks like we are getting a generation of conservative politicians that know how to play the blame game. It was 90 years ago when then-Governor Calvin Coolidge (R-MA) cooled a Boston police strike with the words: There is no right to strike against the public safety, anywhere, anytime. Now we have Sarah Palin and her death panels and Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ). Hes become a YouTube sensation by commenting on the teachers union leader that wished him dead.
This shouldnt be that hard. Conservatism is all about limited government, peaceful cooperation, and the American Dream. Liberalism is a culture of compulsion, big governments bureaucratic experts conducting double-blind tests of the law of unintended consequences.
Maybe Im being too optimistic. But I believe we are entering an era in which conservatives can play the violence card on the left and win.
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