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Liberals Should Have Known

by Christopher Chantrill
February 26, 2013 at 12:00 am


ONE OF THE favorite parlor games of our liberal friends is “The Germans Should Have Known” about the Final Solution, about the war crimes, the slave labor. Part Two of the game is to blame everyone from Nietzsche to Hegel to Herder to Heidegger for setting the stage for Nazism. Some people are even able to parlay the parlor game into a bestseller, as with Daniel Goldhagen and his Hitler’s Willing Executioners.

So, while the president tries out for the new Hollywood blockbuster, “The Boy Who Cried ’Wolf,’” featuring fiscal cliffs and sequesters and climate change, let us imagine the world after liberalism. It might be a time when media talking heads and ambitious young writers will be figuring out paths to fame and fortune playing the “Liberals Should Have Known” game.

Really, I don’t think we will be playing “Pin the Tail on the Liberal” because what’s the point? In the glorious dawn of entitlement reform, vigorous economic growth, a price-driven health-care system, educational choice, with abortion safe, legal, and shameful, and a robust African-American middle class with the highest marriage rate in the nation, who will care about blaming liberals? Except, perhaps, former liberals eager to curry favor with the new ruling class.

Having lived through the liberal Götterdämmerung, any decent person will then figure that the liberals have suffered enough with the destruction of all their delusions, what with Siegfried Obama dead, Brünnhilde Clinton finally done singing, and the Ring of big government returned to those captivating MSNBC Rhinemaidens.

Another thing. All the liberals that I know are good decent people. They just believe what they read in The New York Times and hear on National Public Radio.

Of course our educated liberal friends should be reading Sowell’s Basic Economics. Of course they should be parsing Hayek. But they don’t; they won’t. Instead they take comfort in Nobel economist Paul Krugman’s call for more Keynesianism. They worry about right-wing militias. They sneer at fracking. And they equate gay marriage with the civil rights struggle. They are, you might say, Human, All Too Human. They stay with their faith.

After all, what would have happened to the Israelites if they hadn’t followed Moses on his crazy wanderings in the desert? What would have happened if Henry J. Heinz had given up after going broke in cucumbers? What would have happened if the Revolutionary Army had melted away in the winter at Valley Forge?

Liberals naturally think that with one more Big Push they will get the political breakthrough they need to fundamentally transform America.

But liberals should have known. They should have known that their vote-winning entitlements were a fraud that discouraged generations of Americans from saving for their old age and creating jobs for their children. They should have known that a time would come when people would react in outrage at the idea of killing little babies in the womb, for what are we here on this Earth if not for babies? They should have known that their welfare politics would have led to a cultural implosion, with lower-income women abandoning marriage and lower-income men abandoning work, and both abandoning their children to inner-city chaos. They should have known that the global warming conspiracy was a “con” from the beginning, and that its exposure as a cesspool of crony capitalism would touch just about every Democrat in high politics. They should have known that a century of compulsory government education would lead inevitably to a generation of whining whipped puppies.

The reason the Germans created their big state was to play catch-up with Britain and France in the nation-state game. They succeeded only too well, and then didn’t know how to stop. It didn’t help having a foolish Kaiser as head of state at the turn of the 20th century.

The reason the liberals created their big state was to solve the “social question” posed by early capitalism. They succeeded only too well, and then didn’t know how to stop. It didn’t help having a foolish president a little after the turn of the 21st century that got his politics from drinking a lethal ideological cocktail of radical suits and big-city corruptocrats.

A liberal friend recently told me that the civil-rights revolution was inevitable. I beg to differ. It required a lot of things to come together, including a united ruling class determined to do the right thing against the bitter-enders, who at the time, you might recall, held a lot of committee chairmanships in Congress.

The tragedy of the Obama era is that there is no consensus in the ruling class to do the right thing and reform our government finances. And the Democratic Party is a coalition of bitter-enders, dogs-in-a-manger snapping at anyone that dares to threaten their rotting pensions and sinecures.

It is all such a shame.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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

Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


“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

Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures

German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


“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

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


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


[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


“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

Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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