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What Third Rail? What are the Democrats Thinking?

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Is America Ready for a Christian President?

by Christopher Chantrill
September 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm

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LEAVE IT to a RINO. Now Gov. Mitt Romney is doing the Democrats’ work for them by worrying that Rick Perry is too extreme to be electable.

That’s not the way that Democrats talk about their candidates. They go straight for the guilt trip, and worry out loud, e.g., about whether America is ready for a black president.

With Obama in a spiral dive, it is starting to look as if the next President of the United States is going to be a Christian. I mean, of course, Christian in the modern sense, as someone that has come out of one of those religious right churches, or even, like Michele Bachmann, attended Jerry Falwell’s Regent University.

In 2008 America said it was ready for a black president. So now maybe it’s time we returned the compliment to our liberal friends and ask whether America is ready for a “Christian” president.

Liberals thought that George W. Bush was America’s first Christian president, and maybe, a Yalie WASP could be, in the way that Bill Clinton was our first black president. But Palin, Bachmann, and Perry: these candidates don’t come out of Yale-dom. It’s not that they have the sawdust trail about them—how could they, when Elmer Gantry was so solidly early 20th century? But they are obviously strivers, over-earnest, over-contrived, over-enthusiastic: not to the manor born.

Given the power liberals have to define the cultural horizon, it is easy to miss the importance of today’s enthusiastic Christianity. Liberals are taught in their secularist seminaries that God is Dead and so the usual journalistic trend-spotters don’t write breathless articles in The New Yorker or The New York Times Magazine about the worldwide spread of enthusiastic Christianity. You need a different kind of cultural radar to make sense of the rising moral movement that Palin, Bachmann, and Perry represent. But modern history shows that moral movements are what it’s all about.

Back in the middle of the last millennium, capitalist entrepreneurs invented modern industrial capitalism. We are not talking about textile factories but commercial plantations growing sugar and then cotton. The capitalists made lots of money out of sugar and cotton, but there was one little problem: their profits were based on slave labor, a lot of it. Around the middle of the 18th century a moral movement arose to oppose this inhumanity and within a century it abolished slave labor from the face of the earth. This movement had just about finished the cleanup on slavery when a new moral movement was born.

When our liberal friends descant upon racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia, they are singing about the moral movement that got started 150 years ago in reaction to the inequalities of the industrial revolution—the textile one, not the slave one. The workers in those days, moralists said, were exploited by the new industrial order. So also, in due course, were blacks, women, and gays, and the moralists created a moral movement to oppose and to right these injustices.

The old anti-slavery movement, its object achieved, faded away. But not the moral movement to mitigate worker and other exploitation. For this movement wanted not just to help the workers, but help itself. It wanted political power. Its moral zeal eventually built the authoritarian welfare state, the rule of the educated experts, and it expected the world to live happily ever after.

But, Nietzsche wrote, “power makes stupid.” Or, we could say today, power makes Obama stupid, big-government stupid: stupid enough to flush the United States down the toilet. The movement that swore to help the workers is ending by betraying them in a cess-pool of corruption and powerful stupidity.

It would hardly be surprising if a moral movement arose to oppose this corrupt dynasty, this negation of all that is just and good. On the contrary, it would be shocking if such a movement did not arise.

For anyone with eyes to see, there is a moral movement now spontaneously arising in America to fight the injustice of the authoritarian welfare state. The enthusiastic Christian churches, the Tea Party ladies, the conservative movement, and at least half of the Republican presidential candidates are part of it.

Our liberal friends instinctively know that something is wrong, even if, in the argot of their psychology, they are completely in denial. That is why they get so upset over “theocrats,” “Christianists,” and Tea Party “terrorists.” They can feel a moral movement building against them, and they cannot bear to think of the next President of the United States coming out of that movement.

As Gandhi wrote, First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. Is America ready for a Christian President?

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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