|Do Corporations Rule America?||"As President, I Will Defend Americans Against the Moral Bullies"|
by Christopher Chantrill
August 05, 2014 at 12:00 am
EVERYONE REMEMBERS a formidable aunt who could cool the jets of the rambunctious neighborhood boys with a glance. The US has Peggy Noonan for that, and last week Aunt Peggy frowned at the Obama boys.
The president shouldn’t be using a fateful and divisive word like "impeachment" to raise money and rouse his base. He shouldn’t be at campaign-type rallies where he speaks only to the base, he should be speaking to the country.
Then there’s the Pelosi rich-girl clique:
The House minority leader shouldn’t be using the border crisis as a campaign prop, implying that Republicans would back Democratic proposals if only they were decent and kindly[.]
And this word for the Lerner girls:
Lois Lerner shouldn’t be able to operate within an agency culture so sick with partisanship that she felt free to refer to Republicans, using her government email account, as "crazies" and "—holes."
Aunt Peggy gave the kids quite a lecture about playing with fire. It’s easy to take the nation’s unity for granted, she wrote, but you can’t just run around throwing red meat to the base without taking a big risk.
No nation’s unity, cohesion and feeling of being at peace with itself can be taken for granted, even ours. They have to be protected day by day, in part by what politicians say. They shouldn’t be making it worse. They shouldn’t make divisions deeper.
The problem is that, as I like to say, politics is division. The way a politician gets power is by riling up the voters to vote for him or her and not for the other guy. Politicians get elected by exploiting divisions.
Here’s an example of what Peggy is talking about. It’s Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) talking immigration and taking offence on behalf of America’s Hispanics, from Breitbart.
Let me also say that look unfortunately, the way they speak about a community, it is almost as if the children, we are a vile, repugnant community to them, that they vilify and demonize in every one of their statements,” he said calling it a “sad commentary” on the Republican party.
The “they” of course are Republicans.
I’ve been reading a long piece on the “culture of taking offence” by blogger Alistair Roberts. Political leaders understand that there is enormous power in taking offence, and in representing people that are “supposed to be offended.”
The most virtuous person is the person who is most successful in kicking up a fuss on behalf of the subject supposed to be offended. The accumulation of such virtue is generally fairly painless, but can win people great adulation, and a sense of moral superiority (which can conveniently serve as absolution for other faults). It is also a perfect way for officials to deflect attention away from other issues and to feel good about themselves.
Right now, Hispanics are supposed to be offended about lack of progress on amnesty. But suppose that in fact they are actually offended by the lack of jobs, or the horrors of Obamacare? Who knows? Better get them insulted about racist sexist homophobic Republicans so Hispanics don’t stumble on a gap in the fence and escape the liberal plantation.
But the problem with the culture of offence is that it doesn’t solve problems; it festers them. We have another culture for actual problem-solving; it’s the can-do American way that inspires people to develop strength of character so they can overcome their weaknesses.
The community of offence... stifles this development of strength. Rather than seeking to strengthen its members to the point where they can hold their own in combative debate on level terms, it encourages the notion that they are so vulnerable that, unless one tiptoes around their sensitivities and emotions, they will be deeply hurt. The members of such groups internalize this expectation and are consequently less likely to overcome their overly sensitized condition.
Are you liking this yet? Here’s the good bit. It’s a couple of feminists worrying about the graduates turned out by Women’s Studies departments.
All too often the definitions and doctrines espoused within Women’s Studies seemed calculated merely to make women feel besieged. Their sensitivities were being sharpened to such an edge that some were turned into relentless grievance collectors or rendered too suspicious to function in the workaday world outside of Women’s Studies and were left with few possible roles in life beyond that of angry feminists.
Liberal sewer politics is tricking people into flushing themselves down the toilet into miserable lives in the sewer of dependence and misery.
That’s why for me, Aunt Peggy’s frown ain’t gonna get those Obama boys and the Pelosi clique back in line.
What we need, Aunt Peggy, is to drag them all out behind the woodshed for a good midterm thumpin’.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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.
[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
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, 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
[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 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
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
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
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
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
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
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
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