|Newt Gingrich is Shameless||Let's Stop Obama-ing Apart|
by Christopher Chantrill
February 03, 2012 at 4:10 pm
EVERYBODY IS outraged and disgusted by our divisive politics, from Jewish bubbies in Florida to ATs own Rick Moran. The rest of us just think that President Obama is incompetent. Obama doesnt have the experience, character, or personality to be president. To put it flatly: hes in over his head. Thats Barry Rubin.
And if hes not incompetent he is polarizing, writes Peter Wehner. And that from the candidate whose core claim
wasnt simply that he would heal the planet; he would also heal the nations political breach. He would elevate the national debate. Reason would prevail over emotion... Obama would turn the page on the old politics of division and anger.
Sorry to disagree, but I am not disgusted. I dont believe that the president is incompetent. And I dont believe he has reneged on his promise of bringing us together. To me, everything about President Obama makes sense.
First of all, the division. Our national politics is in a space very like the 1850s just before the showdown over slavery. You remember the history. For 60 years, ever since the ratification of the Constitution, the South had refused to discuss slavery, and would stage a tantrum if anyone raised the subject. Eventually the North got fed up and organized an explicitly anti-slavery party. It was called the Republican Party.
But why was the South so intransigent when everybody knew that slavery was immoral? The simple answer is that business was too good. Slavery was profitable, very profitable for the South.
The same thing applies to todays America. Everybody knows that the welfare state is finished, but the peculiar institution is profitable, very profitable--for liberals. Look at usgovernmentspending.com. Liberals get to spend $4 trillion a year on their favorite programs. Conservatives get $1 trillion a year for defense. Why would liberals give up on a deal like that without a fight?
Nor is the president incompetent. He is doing exactly what his liberal base wants him to do. He is doing Keynesian stimulus, taking care that most of it goes to Democrats. He is doing clean energy, regulating the environment, canceling pipelines, carrying water for unions, cutting defense. He has held off Republicans that want to cut and slash spending. He is a liberal dream.
Polarizing? Look, if you are a liberal, the problem is Republicans. We would have sweetness and light if only those bigoted, mean-spirited, racist Republicans werent opposing the president at every turn. What this nation, this anti-intellectual nation, needs is a national conversation on civility, led by its educated class.
In this 1850s rerun, the Republican Party is reinventing itself as the anti-liberal party. That means division, because liberals are the ruling class that has run America as a very profitable plantation for the last 70 years, and they are not going without a fight. Whats ahead for America, in consequence, is a classic Clausewitzean decisive battle.
President Obamas State of the Union Jonah Goldberg: Ever since William James coined the phrase the moral equivalent of war, liberalism has been obsessed with finding ways to mobilize civilian life with the efficiency and conformity of military life. George Will chimes in as well: Onward civilian soldiers, marching as to war.
Likewise the presidents fairness argument. Fairness is how liberals talk to the American people. To each other, they talk about inequality. There is another word they like: exploitation. They use that one on the masses. But the words all mean the same thing. Liberals dont like the economic results of 200 years of capitalism in which the daily income went from $3 per head per day to over $100 per day, and they dont like the results of the 20th century which began with the rich fatter than the poor and ended with the poor fatter than the rich. Invisible hand? Its a myth, say liberals. What we have here is exploitation.
In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, [capitalism] has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
In one word, Charlie, force must be met with force. Theres a harsh logic to this. Ever since Karl Marx liberals have rebelled against the fat, sloppy way of voluntary cooperation that leaves no room for political power and civilian soldiers. So voluntary cooperation must go. Forget about humans as social animals. Think soldier ants.
The great achievement of President Obama is to present his vision so clearly: America as a progressive ant-hill.
Heres an alternative vision. How about America as a city on a hill, a beacon, a magnet for all those who must have freedom?
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
[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
[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
[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
[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.
[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
[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
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
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
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
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America