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Mixing up Mamet, Hayek, Hitchens, and Sowell Is Head-Smashed-In the Solution to Smash-Mouth Politics?

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Postmodernism's Take on "Flake" Journalism

by Christopher Chantrill
July 09, 2011 at 12:28 pm

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IN ITS FEATURE piece on presidential candidate and Tea Party darling Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), The Weekly Standard makes the obvious point: there is something about Bachmann and Sarah Palin that sends liberals crazy.

What unites Bachmann and Palin, above all, is the contempt with which they are treated by liberals. “I’m just mocked and marginalized, Sarah Palin is mocked and marginalized,” Bachmann told me. “If you are unashamed and vocal about your position as a conservative, that’s what happens. That’s what happened to Reagan, that’s what happened to Newt Gingrich, that’s what happens to anyone who’s not afraid to be a conservative. It’s part of the job.”

So that’s why Chris Wallace of FoxNews thinks it’s OK to ask Bachmann if she’s a flake.

It’s strange that our liberal friends should be set on mocking and marginalizing conservative women politicians. After all, every liberal has been taught to a fare-thee-well about the ethical outrage of marginalization. It’s at the center of the post-modern turn. The whole point of the liberal value system these days is to celebrate diversity. To stigmatize and to marginalize another group or another culture, to call someone a flake is wrong, because “other” reduces the span of “us”. There are no objective standards to determine right and wrong, therefore we should respect and celebrate other cultures and value systems.

So why don’t liberals obey their own rules and take immense care in their statements when it comes to pro-life conservative woman politicians who are so easily experienced as “other” by liberals?

American philosopher Saul Alinsky wrote: “The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth of the individual, and faith in the kind of worth where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible.” Except when that individual is a pro-life conservative woman, say today’s liberals.

Or take Time’s Richard Stengel who asks, in a 5,000 word article about the US Constitution: “What would the framers say about whether a tax on people who did not buy health insurance is an abuse of Congress’s authority under the commerce clause?” Here’s what, Mr. Stengel. The whole point of the Constitution is to limit the the power of government officials. If the Constitution doesn’t limit the government then the Constitution doesn’t have a point.

Anyway, what’s with this liberal grand narrative about the Living Constitution? I thought we had all agreed, with the post-modernist Lyotard, that Grand Narratives were a thing of the past. In the post-modern era we have “micro-narratives” as each sub-culture conducts its own Wittgensteinian “language game.” In this new world the conservative micro-narrative of constitutional originalism is just as valid as the liberal micro-narrative of the living constitutionalism, and all good diversity counselors should work to celebrate both diversities.

Back in the 18th century, the First Postmodernist celebrated micro-narrative and sub-cultures. He wrote: “To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.” And Edmund Burke also celebrated the diversity of Catholic Emancipation, and anticipated with his Impeachment of Warren Hastings the problem of dictatorial domination that agitated Adorno and Horkheimer of the lefty Frankfurt School.

Of course it is not enough to belong to the little platoon; you must participate. American freedom-lover Saul Alinsky: “The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people... Tocqueville gravely warned that unless individual citizens were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self-government would pass from the scene.” But in the big government welfare state only liberals are credentialed to pursue the common good. Everyone else just gets benefits.

America’s own contribution to post-modernism is the philosopher Richard Rorty. He held with Hume that “corrected sympathy... is the fundamental moral capacity.” Get people to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin if you want them to identify with the sufferings of slaves. So here goes.

Let the word go forth from the mainstream media to the Democratic National Committee, from the groves of Academe to the citadels of philanthropic foundations, that lily-white Netroots and mainstream media alike should get out to Iowa and get their sympathy corrected by watching the Palin biopic The Undefeated. Because we wouldn’t want liberals to compound the ethical outrage of their “mock and marginalize” hate speech towards the pro-life, conservative, female “other” for too much longer. Liberals, “when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of [their] nature,” believe in civil discourse and national conversations. At least that’s what they keep telling us.

Special thanks to American humorist Saul Alinsky for assistance on this article: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Chappies

“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


Education

“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


Conversion

“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


Postmodernism

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

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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