by Christopher Chantrill
July 12, 2016 at 12:00 am
WHEN A WHITE racist thug kills a bunch of black Charleston church ladies we are supposed to go into the Cringe. But when a black racist thug kills a bunch of Dallas policemen we are supposed, even by conservative writers, to get out of our partisan foxholes and fraternize with the other guys in political nomansland.
I couldn’t agree more. Forgive the liberals, Father, for they know not what they do.
You can see why, from the life of Good Little Girl Hillary Clinton. First she was daddy’s good little Goldwater Girl, but then she went to Wellesley, and good little girls at Wellesley learn to become good little lefty activists, so Hillary Rodham wrote her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky and his politics of street empowerment. Then she went straight to the head of the line as a staffer on a Watergate committee. And so on, checking elite lefty boxes all her life like the good little girl she was. Now look at her. Sad.
There is a problem here, and it is that, having lost their religious faith, our liberal friends have have made a religion out of their politics. So good little girls with a vocation don’t become nuns and help working-class women birth their babies, as in Call the Midwife. Today they have bigger fish to fry and become political activists. But politics is violence; government is force.
Religion, since the Axial Age, has introduced the radical idea of the responsible self. If you read the pre-axial Iliad you learn that humans are the helpless victims of the gods, and live or die according to the day’s power plays up on Mount Olympus. But one day a smart Jewish kid came down from Mount Sinai and said that the old ways were over. From now on God had set forth Ten Commandments for his Chosen People to follow. Or else.
Nicholas Wade has an interesting take on this. The “or else” of divine justice, he writes, solves the problem of punishing malefactors. Earthly punishers tend to get into trouble with the relatives and friends of earthly malefactors, the Black Lives Matter folks down the ages, so why not ask God do it instead? Good idea, said the gods, and have performed “this chore willingly and vigilantly” ever since.
But with the Death of God and the end of divine justice we are left with dueling community organizers hitting back twice as hard in the war of all against all, and the trouble is that our liberal friends, from President Obama on down, actually believe that this street activism works. Send your community organizers out into the street, properly funded by George Soros, and the arc of history will bend towards justice.
But if Nicholas Wade is right, the community organizers will only make people arc with rage.
I’ve recently been digesting on my blog the thoughts of a liberal, who argues that a progressive is “someone who *is* interested in power, specifically, the *empowering* of other people.” So, for him, the question is “how far to get the government involved in empowering people.”
There is one little problem with this. When government, at the behest of anyone, sets out to empower people it usually means giving them stuff taken from other people.
Here’s how. Look at the basic fact of the last 100 years of government. US taxes have gone up from about 7 percent of GDP to about 35 percent of GDP, according to usgovernmentrevenue.com. This money has been given to millions of people in wonderful empowering government programs. But first it was taken from other people. The average worker, instead of having to fork out about 7 cents out of every dollar earned to be given to other people, is now forking out about 35 cents on the dollar.
How can anyone call that empowering? Job One in America is that you (or somebody else) are forced to pay 35 cents to the government on every dollar of your wages before you pay your rent. Some empowerment.
The last time liberals tried to legislate their religion of politics-as-empowerment was in the Sixties, and after they had set the streets ablaze they had their heads handed to them twice by Richard Nixon and twice by Ronald Reagan. So they hid their beliefs for a while in order to get back into power.
Now liberals are doing it again, and nobody knows whether today’s voters will honor their fathers and hand liberals their progressive heads to them all over again. I hope they do, because I love America and I want Americans to fulfil the nation’s promise, which is that politics and government are necessary evils, not the klieg lights illuminating the arc of history.
But still, I can’t be angry at liberals, for they know not what they do. Bless their hearts.
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