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"Socially Liberal, Economically Conservative" Is So Over Liberals Digging Their Political Graves

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Carry on Cutting, says Brandeis

by Christopher Chantrill
April 15, 2014 at 12:00 am


IT IS EASY to see why our lefty friends would want to defenestrate poor Brandon Eich, just like they did in the Thirty Years War, for the heresy of contributing money to hate and the exclusionary idea of man-woman marriage. Everybody knows that sort of thing just can’t be allowed in the 21st century.

But then Brandeis disinvites Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the extraordinary Somali woman that escaped tribal (yeah, and patriarchal) servitude to get an education in the Netherlands and launch a foundation to advocate for women’s rights in the developing world.

Why is the left on the same page as the jihadis? The world wants to know.

To seek out the answer I went straight out to HalfPriceBooks to get a copy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s latest book Nomad: From Islam to America.

First takeaway from Nomad: Muslims at US universities have been attacking Ayaan Hirsi Ali for years.

Second takeaway: Ayaan Hirsi Ali asks the question liberals don’t want us to ask. How can we best help the tribal people of the world become citizens? From her point of view we are going about it all wrong.

There are many good men and women in the West who try to resettle refugees... and strive to eliminate discrimination. They lobby governments to exempt minorities from the standards of behavior of Western societies they fight to help minorities preserve their cultures, and they excuse their religion from critical scrutiny. These people mean well, I have no doubt. But I believe that... their efforts to assist Muslims and other minorities are futile because, by postponing or at best prolonging the process of their transition to modernity — by creating the illusion that they can hold on to tribal norms and at the same time become a successful citizen — the proponents of multiculturalism lock subsequent generations born in the West into a no-man’s-land of moral values.

You can see why the lefties and jihadis at Brandeis didn’t want Ayaan Hirsi Ali on campus. The very idea of dignifying such an opinion!

And the liberal discomfort with her didn’t start at Brandeis. When Ayaan Hirsi Ali made the tour of US lefty think tanks looking for a job in 2006 they were “polite” but “tentative.” The guy at Brookings worried that she “might offend Arab Muslims.” Then she went to AEI, even though she’d heard it was “arch-conservative.” To her surprise, AEI loved her.

Here was another political lesson... American liberals are more uncomfortable with my condemning the ill-treatment of women under Islam than most conservatives are.

The liberal discomfort with Ayaan Hirsi Ali is in the very idea of the “transition to modernity,” from “tribal norms” to “citizen.” The whole program of the left from Marx to Zinn is to make a scandal of the transition, to question its necessity, to keep people in their tribal silos and away from universal citizenship.

And the whole war to keep people in tribal, racial, sexual silos is called the fight against racism and sexism!

The Muslim jihadis are frank tribalists. They want to keep the old patriarchal traditions where the man of the house makes all the rules and women are nothing but an potential stain on his honor.

The modern left is a movement of tribal nostalgia: neo-tribalists. They want people divided up in little tribes, each burning with carefully nurtured resentments as in old days, and each tribe led by a reliable lefty from Harvard or Yale — or in special cases, Brandeis.

The tribesman is a person of the collective self; there is no identity outside the tribe. But the citizen is an individual, a person of the responsible self. It is up to the citizen to create an identity, as an individual, on her own.

Liberals tell the tribesmen: you vote for us and will take care of you. Conservatives know that this attitude is the natural instinct of the modern ruling class. There must be victims, there must be helplessness, or there is no need for government and its force, and no need for liberals.

The world has already suffered two great rebellions against the new post-tribal order, in Nazism and its neo-tribalism of race and in Bolshevism with its neo-tribalism of class. Both times, after endless shilly-shallying and craven appeasement we eventually rose to the challenge and defeated the neo-tribalist reaction.

No doubt in the end we will meet the jihadist challenge. But we probably cannot start until our current ruling class is utterly discredited and disgraced.

Meanwhile the president of Brandeis should go to work on the university’s motto. Obviously the present “Truth, even unto its uttermost parts” is a dead letter. How about “Carry on Cutting”? At least the Brits would get the joke.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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

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

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

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

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[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

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.

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

Racial Discrimination

[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


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

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


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David Martin, On Secularization

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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