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Obama and "A Streetcar Named Desire" Next Up: The Privacy Moms

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The American Dream: Not This Way

by Christopher Chantrill
August 13, 2013 at 12:00 am

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THE MADDENING thing about being a conservative these days is watching our liberal ruling class, rotten to the core, prancing around the public stage acting all pure and innocent -- and getting away with it. I suppose that’s why God invented divine justice, so that people could at least hope that the bad actors would get their just deserts.

But divine justice doesn’t always work. I just finished up watching most of Wagner’s four-opera Ring Cycle here in Seattle. What begins with great lordly pride and high hopes ends up in everything going wrong and the betrayal of the good guys. The bad guys get their just deserts in the end, but only because the whole of civilization gets flushed down the toilet with them when the fat lady sings. That’s not quite my idea of divine justice.

What about us? In one week we have the president dodging and weaving on the illegal delay of the Obamacare employer mandate. We have Jeff Bezos approved as a good guy by all the beautiful people for buying the Washington Post. We have the US retreating from the Middle East. We have the student loan program turning into an utterly corrupt political slush fund. Will the rest of America get flushed down the toilet with the corruptocrats?

In his latest pivot to the economy President Obama talks about growing the economy from the middle out. Again. It’s a good line and it comes right out of the Obama campaign research for 2012, for the focus groups told the Obamis, according to Peggy Noonan, what “the American middle class has been thinking the past few years: The guys at the top and the bottom are taken care of while I get squeezed.”

You have to admire the president’s conjuring skills. Day in and day out he manages to distract the American people from the truth that his over-under Democratic coalition of billionaire subsidy whores and the poor benefit whores is the real problem. He almost seems to have people convinced that top-down big government of liberals, by liberals and for liberals, is really good for the middle class.

There’s a reason the president can get away with this. When a Democratic president gives a speech and says that “I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out” the mainstream media does not write the paragraph that always accompanies such a speech by a Republican president: “But critics say,” the paragraph begins. “But critics say that the president’s economic policies are more likely to benefit well-connected campaign contributors and government union members than ordinary middle-class wage-earners in the private sector.” Somehow the critics are tongue-tied where Democratic political claims are concerned.

It’s no use whining. Republicans and conservatives don’t get to set the political weather; in 2013 it is still liberals that get to define reality and liberals that get to teach our children in school. We conservatives only flourish when the failure and corruption of the liberal ruling class is knee high even to a low-information voter. As in 1980. As in 1994. Like maybe real soon.

As a result, people don’t understand that Obama politics and Obamanomics and executive orders and QE and deficits and top-down bureaucracy can never deliver them the American Dream.

Yet left-of-center thinkers are no slouches when it comes to critiques of the liberal administrative state. James C. Scott in Seeing Like a State argues that modern states want their people to be legible so the rulers can control them.

Then there is Michel Foucault. His Discipline and Punish argues that the modern state is a power project that features “three primary techniques of control: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and the examination. To a great extent, control over people (power) can be achieved merely by observing them.” Normalizing judgment requires national standards in education and health care and diet against which people can be observed and graded, and the modern state does not punish so much as “correct deviant behavior” as the PC police demonstrate daily.

Jürgen Habermas has critiqued modern administrative systems as inherently dominating and hegemonic; they need to be balanced by communicative negotiation and action in the person-to-person lifeworld.

This is not completely lost on President Obama. He says that he is “pro free market;” he says he is for growing the economy from the middle out. But his policy always enlarges the administrative state and its dominating systems.

Obviously the president says the right things because he knows the American people want to hear them.

He says he’s for the American Dream while he and his willing accomplices to everything they can to destroy it.

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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