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Watching Joe Biden Play Willy Loman Obama and the Liberal Conceits

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Liberals Say It's the End of an Era

by Christopher Chantrill
October 23, 2012 at 12:00 am

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NOBODY KNOWS how the election will come out, pollsters least of all. But we know one thing. Liberals are in retreat. I have a liberal friend, a member of the Greatest Generation, who says simply that we are coming to the end of an age.

Well, yes. You could even dip down into cycle theorists like Mircea Eliade and say that it’s the Eternal Return, baby. A century ago when liberals came in the poor were suffering, and now after a century of liberal governance we are back where we started, with the poor and minorities hardest hit by the Great Recession.

But those of us hoping to live for a couple of decades or more can’t afford to be quite as unworried as my liberal friend. We will actually have to live through the end of the age and on into the next one.

Are liberals thinking that, wow, we could be Greece in a few years, meaning that women and minorities would be hardest hit? And that liberals, the most evolved, most educated ruling class since the dawn of time, could be thrown out of power?

Short answer: they are not thinking at all. They are distracting their base with silly laugh lines about binders and the 47 percent and dogs-on-the-roof while the average woman voter is worrying about what life will be like for her children and grandchildren. You could say that the Soccer Moms and the Security Moms now turning into Deficit Moms.

Worst of all, the liberals seem to think that they can secure the future by telling their base that the benefits can keep coming if only the rich would pay a little more. Maybe they are right; maybe they can distract their base long enough to get through the election. Or maybe not.

You can understand why liberals have been so angry for the last decade. Listen to President Obama: First Republicans cut taxes, then they put a couple of wars on the national credit card. All that drove the economy into the ditch and led to the worst recession since the 1930s.

Exactly. Whaddya mean by cutting taxes? What about the money we need for health care? Whaddya mean by starting a couple of wars? What about the money for teachers and training?

Tell your Democratic friend that we are broke anyway, that Medicare has a $40 trillion or $80 trillion unfunded mandate, or whatever the number is this week. Point them to Michael S. Greve, who wrote in early October, in an article reviewing the federal debt, the “agency” debt, and the state and local debt:

Debts of this magnitude will not be paid. The question is who will take the haircut.

It doesn’t register. Lillie Ledbetter and gay marriage: that’s what matters.

Liberals do not think of themselves as a cynical ruling class that only thinks about political power and the pitch needed this election cycle to separate the “mark” from her vote. They just think about all the wonderful ways that liberals have protected peoples’ rights.

You suppose that somewhere in an undisclosed location there has got to be an executive committee of the entire ruling class that knows better. It knows that a ruling class must keep the ship of state fueled, provisioned, and seaworthy. It knows that it must manage the expectations of the regime supporters and avoid overpromising on the “affordable” front. It worries that the Great Recession, quite apart from ratcheting up the national debt, seems to have impoverished regime supporters like single women and blacks more than the average American. And the committee members must be shaking their heads about Obamacare and the inevitable train wreck between Medicare entitlement beneficiaries and Obamacare entitlement beneficiaries.

But suppose there is no executive committee of the ruling liberal class. Suppose that the tired clichés of Barack Obama are the best that can be thought and said in elite liberal thinking. Suppose that liberals really are as they seem to be, nothing more than clueless scions of a once great old family in terminal decline. Suppose that our liberal friends possess little more than the low cunning needed to rile up their base before the next election.

Well, then we conservatives ought to be looking to hire the best turnaround expert in America and then wondering how to survive and thrive if the dollar and the national debt and the entitlement programs all get flushed down the toilet. It’s all very well for John Hawkins to talk brightly about “The 5 Life Advantages You Acquire from Experiencing Poverty.” What about the poor schmucks that never got to be poor? What do we do in the coming time of troubles as the grass starts growing up in the cracks in the streets?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Action

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


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


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


Churches

[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


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


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”


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


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


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


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


Drang nach Osten

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


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


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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