Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Catholic writer, James Nuechterlein follows on from Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas?" with a long survey of the current American political scene that makes some good points. A few excerpts:

"Why did the Democrats lose in 2004 and what can they do to turn things around? On the latter point, perhaps the most telling comment is that attributed to former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder in response to the string of Republican presidential victories in the 1980s: "There are three things Democrats must do to recapture the White House. Unfortunately, we don't know what any of them are."...

Kerry did, to be sure, have a message problem, but that problem was and is not just his, but his whole party's. To sum up in a phrase: the Democrats are a center-left party in a center-right nation. They stumble over their message because if they clearly say what they most deeply believe it gets them in political trouble. Consider the contrast with their opponents. Republicans are conservatives who are proud to say so and who do not fear that saying so will hurt them. Democrats are liberals who, in a correct analysis of their political situation, assiduously avoid using the word that most commonly describes them. Their label discomfits them and their positions give them an edgy relation with the majority of voters.....

At its deepest level, this is a war of religion. Secularists vote heavily Democratic; those most regular in their religious observance vote disproportionately Republican. But that, as liberals point out, distorts the issue. Most secularists are Democrats, but most Democrats are not secularists. America is a religious nation, and our differences are not so much of religion vs. irreligion as they are of divergent understandings of what our religious commitments require of us politically. That is a complicated matter that defies easy summary, but it is a serviceable generalization that here, as in the culture at large, we pit liberal, mostly Democratic, modernists against conservative, mostly Republican, traditionalists.....

America's poor and relatively poor are not in fact voting, whether rationally or irrationally, for Republicans. According to exit polls from last November, a majority of those whose incomes are less than fifty thousand dollars per year preferred Kerry to Bush. It seems that Frank wasted a book explaining something that needs no explaining because it is not true. It's not that the poor don't vote for Democrats-- it's that there aren't enough poor to allow Democrats to win.

Democrats go wrong not because they have forgotten the lessons of FDR and the New Deal, but because they have not sufficiently put those lessons behind them. Ours is the least class-ridden society in the Western world. The political economy of the 1930s is not America's historical paradigm; it is its great exception. Democrats, of course, are not entirely ignorant of that. They now address themselves to middle-class interests, but their middle class is still a working class that simply has a few more dollars in its pocket. They have not fully learned the lesson of exceptionalism: that America is the quintessential bourgeois society. We are, for better and worse, middle class and middlebrow right down to our bones. And their failure to see that is what's the matter with the Democrats"



Foreign aid mostly wasted: "Red tape, inefficiency and nepotism mean that only one fifth of international aid actually gets to the people who need it, aid agencies said Monday. Not only that, but 40 percent of international aid is spent buying overpriced goods and services from the donors' own countries, Action Aid and Oxfam said in a joint report calling for urgent reform of a politically compromised system".

Impotent Canadians: "For all our talk of exporting "Canadian values," the reality is that long-term neglect of our international responsibilities has left Canada a bit player. The recent deployment of our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to tsunami-stricken Southeast Asia was a telling example. Our deployment was tiny and came almost two weeks after the Americans and Australians sent in their own larger forces. The spectacle mocked the government's boast that "Canada is among the most generous international donors to respond to this disaster with humanitarian and early recovery assistance."... Indeed, if we are to apply Mr. Pettigrew's formulation that foreign policy "expresses the personality of a country," then Canada might well be described as a braggart who is all talk, no action. Consider this past week's grandiose promise by the Prime Minister to do "whatever is required" to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur -- as if Canada had the capacity to do even a small fraction of what is needed in war-torn Sudan. A similar boast from Hungary or Latvia would have been more credible".

Leftist obfuscation: The word "hegemony" has become an essential part of the jargon of the anti-American left. Followers of Noam Chomsky, for example, use the word as often as possible. For most of them, hegemony has become a synonym for empire, and its frequent use a badge of intellectual sophistication..... But what exactly does hegemony mean? The word is Greek: it means the leadership of a coalition or an alliance.... few users of the English language felt any need to rescue this word from its moldy niche in the Greek lexicon until the mid 1840's when the English radical and banker George Grote began publishing his monumental History of Greece.... Curiously enough, in light of its current usage, the reason Grote decided to revive the Greek word hegemony was in order to distinguish it sharply from the Latin-derived word with which it has now become inextricably muddled, namely, the word empire. Hegemony, according to Grote, was emphatically not empire."

Einstein not so original? "It is easily proven that Albert Einstein did not originate the special theory of relativity in its entirety, or even in its majority. The historic record is readily available. Ludwig Gustav Lange, Woldemar Voigt, George Francis FitzGerald, Joseph Larmor, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, Jules Henri Poincar,, Paul Drude, Paul Langevin, and many others, slowly developed the theory, step by step, and based it on thousands of years of recorded thought and research. Einstein may have made a few contributions to the theory, such as the relativistic equations for aberration and the Doppler-Fizeau Effect, though he may also have rendered an incorrect equation for the transverse mass of an electron, which, when corrected, becomes Lorentz' equation" [Anybody who still believed in Marxism in 1949 cannot have been too bright]

It is finished! At last the WHOLE of my big 1974 book Conservatism as heresy is online. See here or here. I put the chapters that I wrote myself up about a year ago but I have now also put online all the chapters contributed by others. Some chapters are now of course rather out of date but a lot could have been written yesterday. Leftists habits of distortion and expediency will always be with us, I fear. The book also serves well as a record of the Left/Right debate in the era of the Vietnam war. Note here (or here) how Democrats in the U.S. Congress DELIBERATELY sold out the South Vietnamese and in effect handed them over to the Communists.

My latest posting on MarxWords notes more of Marx's derogatory comments about Jews. My latest posting on "A scripture blog" looks at Zionist Christians.



That power only, not principles, is what matters to Leftists is perfectly shown by the 2004 Kerry campaign. They put up a man whose policies seemed to be 99% the same as George Bush's even though the Left have previously disagreed violently with those policies. "Whatever it takes" is their rule.

Leftists are phonies. For most of them all that they want is to sound good. They don't care about doing good. That's why they do so much harm. They don't really care what the results of their policies are as long as they are seen as having good intentions.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist"

Comments? Email me here (Hotmail address). If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


No comments: