Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Leftist America -- another view
Whether or not it was always so, America today is undoubtedly dominated by the Left. As I tediously point out at times, the Pilgrim Fathers were such fanatical communists that only the imminent threat of their group being wiped out by starvation budged them from it. And their "progressive" descendants are not much better. They are certainly just as solidly convinced of their own righteousness and the correctness of their own ideas. They have ditched God but their personalities endure
So anything the Left disapprove of today, from race-awareness to dislike of homosexuality to Christianity gets heavily condemned and censored at least -- and may even get the "offender" kicked out of his or her job. And conservative politicians certainly get an infinitely harder time in the media than liberal politicians do. Any criticism of Obama is "racism" but you can call George Bush a Nazi all you like.
The Left are people with no real morality or ethics at all so you can expect no mercy from them. If you bother them in any way, they will knock you down in any way they can -- even if you are one of a "minority" whom they claim to help. They lack the power to do what Stalin did -- wipe out 20 million "class enemies" -- but they do whatever damage they can
But readers have been divided over my claim that America has always been Left-dominated. That is partly because the Left changes its tune whenever convenience suits so the Leftism of the past is not as visible from today's perspective. One has to be clear on what basic Leftism is for the Leftism of the past to become obvious. In one short sentence, Leftism is an anger-driven hunger for sweeping change.
Another misunderstanding is that I was claiming that America was more Leftist than some other places. I was not. I am quite happy to acknowledge that Leftism is far more dominant in various other countries. That does not diminish its overriding influence in America, however.
I should also add that I have no quarrel with the splendid ideals enunciated at the time of independence and which are still held dear by many Americans today. I just don't think they have ever had much influence on actual policy. They have mainly received lip service only.
I put up yesterday one of the emails that opposed my claims so I think it is only fair to put up another email that was broadly in agreement with me. Thomas Anger, who blogs here writes as follows:
"I don't agree that America has always been leftist because I don't buy into abstractions like "America." There are and have been individual Americans of many political persuasions, most of them confused and contradictory.
That said, as an enlightened libertarian (i.e., Burkean conservative) I do agree with your characterization of the motives of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. For example, a latter-day romantic, Timothy Sandefur (author of The Conscience of the Constitution), asserted that "The American founders held that people are inherently free—that is, no person has a basic entitlement to dictate how other people may lead their lives." I responded:
"Did they, really? All of them, including the slave owners? Or did they simply want to relocate the seat of power from London to the various State capitals, where local preferences (including anti-libertarian ones) could prevail? Wasn't that what the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation were all about? The Constitution simply moved some of the power toward the national capital, mainly for the conduct of foreign policy and trade. Despite that, the Constitution was a "States' rights" document, and remained that way until the ratification of Amendment XIV, from which much anti-libertarian mischief has emanated."
Later, I wrote:
"Why can't you [Sandefur] just admit that the Declaration of Independence was a p.r. piece, penned (in the main) by a slave-owner and subscribed to by various and sundry elites who (understandably) resented their treatment at the hands of a far-away sovereign and Parliament? You're trying to make more of the Declaration -- laudable as its sentiments are -- than should be made of it."
In sum, the War of Independence isn't all that it's cracked up to be. And there's no doubt that liberty suffered in the long run as a result of the North's victory in the Civil War. But, in my view, those historical missteps have little to do with "left" (or "right") and much to do with human venality and power-lust, which are found in persons of all political persuasions.
The genius of the Constitution was that it provided mechanisms for curbing the anti-libertarian effects of venality and power-lust. The tragedy of the Constitution is that those mechanisms have been destroyed. If you were to say that Americans have gradually lost their liberty through successive and cumulative violations of the Constitution, I would agree with you.
And if you were to say that Americans are the captives of a leftist state, and are likely to remain so, I would agree with you.
In any event, I have been and will remain a faithful reader of Dissecting Leftism, which provides a valuable service in exposing the left's anti-libertarian motives and actions."
Hell is Other Americans
It is some time since I recycled a post from Gagdad Bob so I am delighted to find him still in full spate. I reproduce his latest below. He is a whimsical writer but he has got the Left pretty much down to a "T". A small caution: His usage of the word "pneumatic" gives no allegiance to Mr Dunlop's splendid invention. Bob must know some Greek. The Greek "pneuma" can be translated as "spirit" and Bob uses "pneumatic" to mean something like "spiritual"
To be conservative is, among other things, to follow the evidence where it leads. It should be the very opposite of ideological pneumapathologies, which superimpose secondary realities on the first and expect reality to fall into line. But reality always has the last word, which is why leftism is bound to fail.
To be American is to love freedom (including free markets), limited constitutional government, and rule of law; and to respect the individual, private property, and natural law more generally.
How about the purpose of education, especially in the context of the principles outlined above? In order to be capable of self-rule, one must be capable of ruling oneself. In other words, before you presume to dominate others, might you not want to be capable of dominating yourself? Just a thought.
Only such a minimally mature person is in a position to influence "the public toward responsible freedom and limited government by the state" (Moore). Conversely, people who are incapable of self rule are precisely those who will support an ever-expanding (and anti-American) state to control and dominate them.
This is seen in its extreme form in the African American demographic, which is responsible for such a disproportionate percentage of crime, while at the same time, provide such disproportional support for the criminal enterprise known as government (in its un- and anti-American forms).
Why does this happen? One obvious reason is the absence of fathers. The father is a necessary source of order in the male soul, so we shouldn't be surprised by the cultural disorder that results from their widespread absence. One cannot simply wish away the father principle just because the father is physically absent, any more than one can wish away God, aggression, or sexuality. Rather, they simply return in disguised and transformed ways.
Thus, the void created by the absence of black fathers is filled by the prison system. The welfare state is overall a form of feminine fascism, but the prison system is its masculine consort. One hand swaddles, indulges, and forgives, while the other hand persecutes and punishes.
The IRS is not a proper masculine entity, since it is so sneaky, unprincipled, and arbitrary. Rather, it is more like the female enforcer. It is either Big Mama Lois Lerner or this creepy pervert. Whatever it is, it has no honor, no courage, no virtue. Imagine putting citizens through such hell, but scurrying for the nearest rathole at the first hint of accountability.
I don't really like the term "self-domination." True, success in life is predicated on an element of will directed toward the self, especially in the early phases of growth (which is true of any endeavor, from sport to music to writing). However, this should be preparatory to integration, otherwise one is at permanent war with oneself.
Which one is, or at least one must always have a strong military presence so as to pacify mind parasites and other internal saboteurs and pneumatic troublemakers. Weakness is provocative, whether in geopolitics, national governance, or intra-personal harmony.
Obama is a curious combination of weakness before enemies and hostility toward decent Americans, with predictable consequences. On the political plane he is repeating the pattern of a weak or absent father and a domineering, flaky, arbitrary, and crazy-making mother, with no appeal to reason or law or consistency. I suppose he wants to inflict his hellish childhood on the rest of us -- a hell that was papered over by the indulgence of racial preference and low expectations in general.
Back to integration. One thing we want to integrate is the mother and father principle, but that is difficult to do if you never experienced them. We also want to integrate adult and child, knowledge and wisdom, body and soul, and other complementarities. Moore writes of the "integrated person, in whom the head, heart, and spirit, the rational, affective and spiritual, are educated and developed."
Which is precisely what public schools do not do, because integrated citizens would be fatal to the leftist project.
Rather, statism simultaneously relies upon and creates the atomized, shriveled, and disordered souls who are its primary constituents and clients. There is no defensible or articulate "idea" at the heart of leftism, which is why it cannot be defeated on the cognitive plane. Reagan knew this about communism. Why argue with a communist? Rather, just kick him in the nuts.
Can you imagine tying to have a rational conversation with Harry Reid? The problem there is that you can't kick a eunuch in the nuts. Nor can you shame a leftist, since they are always shielded by their intrinsic moral superiority.
As we have suggested before, leftism is a conspiracy between the overeducated and the uneducable, the policies of the former driving the latter into such hopeless dysfunction that then becomes the pretext for ever-expanding and intrusive rule by the overeducated.
Who are these overeducated? Probably 75% of the people who have attended college, since colleges have had to so drastically reduce their standards so as to accommodate those hordes of uneducable. As a result, getting a PhD in the liberal arts is easier than it used to be to graduate high school. But since these people are credentialed beyond their intellectual station and have no real-world skills, they really have only two career options to exercise their uselessness: education or government. Or maybe journalism, which combines the worst of each.
Which is how we end up being ruled by ungovernable savages and educated by indoctrinated mediocrities.
"The problem in our Progressive (not Libertarian) Age is this: those at the center of the Pew scatterplots are not a class of temperate philosophers. Rather, they’re the politically disengaged and ideologically inconsistent. This is perhaps the part of the American citizenry least suited for popular government—one that acts politically, if and when it acts politically, primarily from impulse and passion. Ideational ignorance and material need are its calling cards, often mixed with a bit of sanctimony for being above the political fray. This combination makes it the group most susceptible to the demagogue and the one least willing to do the hard work (thinking) necessary to cast a responsible vote."
The Difference Between Republicans and Democrats
It is a line I have used to open speeches on the lecture circuit for years and it never fails to get a laugh: "I'm happy to be here tonight from Washington, D.C., where the only politicians with convictions are in prison."
That's only partially true. Democrats have convictions. They know what to do with power when they get it and how to isolate, even punish, any member of their party who dares to take a different position on an issue. Republicans seem to constantly react to the policies of Democrats or slam each other instead of making a case for the superiority of their ideas. It doesn't help Republicans that they lack the Democrats' uniformity.
President Obama's approval ratings continue to plummet while polls showing that voters think the country is on the "wrong track" seem to be on the rise. Republicans should focus less on scandals and policy failures and begin promoting a positive, inspirational and motivational message that reminds Americans of who we are, where we came from and what we can be again. Rather than settle for a Democratic nanny state, Republicans should feature in their speeches, political ads and conversations the virtues of liberty and the benefits and personal satisfaction that come from the power within each of us to make decisions that can improve any life far better than government.
Telling America's story might inspire a younger generation to reach back and consider the values that sustained this nation in the face of numerous challenges. Good history is worth repeating.
Cynics might say it is too late, that government has grown too big and there are far too many dependent on it to turn the country around and embrace liberty and personal responsibility. What the country needs is the political equivalent of a Rev. Billy Graham to rally the nation. A spiritual revival would be even better, but that's for a Higher Authority to direct.
Americans should never have to "settle," even in the midst of a failed presidency, as this one is by any objective standard. Americans have always believed we can do things better than other nations and we have proved it in the past.
inspiration-motivation-perspiration, rather than the envy-entitlement-greed culture in which we are now immersed. "We can do better," said John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign. Indeed we can. Indeed we must.
As I write in my book "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America," we didn't just crawl out of a cave; we don't have to discover fire or invent the wheel. We have a history of problems that were solved, challenges met and innovation encouraged and rewarded. Why do we continue to conduct political discourse that sounds like stale sitcom dialog and lob the same rehearsed and focus-grouped sound bites at each other to no effect? Why not try something old that worked?
Given their party's deplorable state of disunion and the country's fixation on self, a Republican "revivalist" will have to sell his or her platform based on self-interest, featuring men and women who have overcome by making right choices, if we can still define "right" in a country that increasingly considers all choices equal.
Republicans should promise that if voters allow them to regain control of all three branches of government, an outside auditor will be named to go through the federal government, recommending to Congress which agencies can be reduced in size or even eliminated. Congress would require itself to accept the auditor's findings, as with the Defense Base Realignment and Closing Commission, which has been charged with increasing the Defense Department's efficiency by the realignment and closure of unnecessary U.S. military installations.
This will be a challenge for Republicans. We'll soon know if they can meet it and, more importantly, whether voters will respond to such a message. The time may be right for someone with real convictions and the courage to state them, regardless of what polls say.
Meanwhile, God save us from popular opinion and from politicians whose only convictions come in a courtroom.
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Posted by JR at 12:45 AM