CONSERVATIVES like to use the Frankfurt School (of neo-Marxists) and their "critical theory" as punching bags. Not to mention as the source of all our problems.
Yes, it's true that all the cruel and unjust ideological repression against conservatives through the application of what we call "political correctness" seems to issue from the ideas of the Frankfurt chappies like Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and second-stringer Herbert Marcuse.
But in my view it is better for conservatives to study and understand the ideas of the Frankfurt School than to stigmatize and reject them as, for instance, the excellent Bill Whittle does here.
That's because if conservatives want to win the culture war we need to be able to understand and transcend the ideas of the left. We need to grasp the kernels of truth in their critiques of bourgeois society, and then go on to show how they completely miss the point.
Let's take Max Horkheimer's definition of critical theory as an example. He wrote that a theory is
critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them."Now, of course, lefties use critical theory in the limited scope that assumes that it is traditionally marginalized groups that need to be liberated and bourgeois culture that they need to be liberated from.
I know we are all supposed to be outraged at Lois Lane, er, Lerner's neat little trick of taking the Fifth right after her self-justificatory statement.
Yeah, what would Clark Kent down at the Daily Planet say about that?
But let's be practical. Lois Lerner is merely telling Congress a simple fact. Hey, pal, you want information, you gonna pay for it. Immunity for Information. Pay for play. That's the First Commandment in the Beltway.
Immunity for Information. That's how things go in the Obamian Culture of Intimidation.
Look. We conservatives finally get to come up for air and have a good laugh. Because liberals did this to themselves. They believe in the chimera of Good Government. Ethical activists and credentialed experts think up beneficial legislation and then the administrative state executes on it.
Settled science alert: Hayek told us half a century ago that the Good Government/Expert/Administrative state model was bound to fail, because the man in Whitehall (he was still in Britland at the time) could never know more than a million consumers.
On top of that liberals believe in a kind of salvific politics. Only elect the right man, the young and vigorous JFK, the charismatic policy wonk Bill Clinton, the intellectual Barack Obama, and the oceans will start to recede.
(Do these people not understand how religious this sort of thing sounds?)
But government is force. Politics is division. Administration is domination. If you don't limit all three you lose society. It turns into an internment camp. Liberals think that because they are virtuous and well intentioned and intellectual that they can design a beneficent society administered by large-minded people like them.
But the philosophy of limited government says that anyone, no matter how virtuous and large-minded, is corrupted by power. It says that the more government you have, the more force you have. The more politics you have the more society will be divided. And the more that you systemize things into administrative bureaucracies the more domination you have.
Well, now, five years after liberals went into a multiple political orgasm over the OMG! First! Black! President! we are starting to see the wages of folly. That wonderful intellectual president has been presiding over an IRS that has specifically targeted grass-roots political organizations for delay and harassment. The wonderful politician who was going to move beyond red and blue has tapped the telephones of AP journalists. Not just right-wing nut-cases at FoxNews, but good liberal AP journalists! And the most transparent administration in history is tangled in a web of lies and obfuscations over the murder of a US Ambassador.
Look liberals. Politicians are merely professional specialists in winning elections. That is all. Activists are activists, narrow, driven people with an agenda. Experts are thinking about their next grant. And bureaucrats are thinking about keeping their noses clean for the next few years until they collect their pensions. That is what you believe in.
There is such a thing as society; it's just not the same thing as the state. Society evokes the idea that humans are social animals; we cooperate and work and play together because that's who we are. But government is force; politics is division. The more government you have, the less freedom you have. the more politics you have, the less unity you have. With more government and more politics, the less society you have, because you have reduced society to an internment camp of force and division, mediated by systematic bureaucratic domination.
I don't think liberals really understand what is coming. They are safe in the soothing NYT-NPR bubble. But people are hurting. They are hurting as they get stripped of their health insurance by Obamacare, as they are stripped of a future by the sluggish economy.
Think of the next three years as Oklahoma in the tornado season. There are black clouds all around, but nobody knows when a line of thunderstorms will touch down into a twister. And nobody can know whose house it will rip apart and whose life it will tear in pieces.
Conservatives and Republicans are notorious for being stupid about politics and messaging and tactics. But when something big is in the air the minutiae of tactics usually don't matter as much as the professionals would like to believe. What matters instead is what the Soviets used to call the "correlation of forces" or the "contradictions" of the existing order.
All we can know for sure is that the lives of millions of Americans are going to be ripped to shreds in the next few years as the tornado of bankrupt government touches down on the ordinary American heartland.
And all the while the job-for-life IRS myrmidons that dutifully ragged on mom-and-pop Tea Parties will be taking the Fifth and bargaining about Immunity for Information.
TODAY'S the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner. He's #3 in Charles Murray's list of classical composers compiled in Human Accomplisment. But he's probably #1 on the list of most-hated composers. That would partly be due to his anti-semitism. And partly due to the fact that he wrecked the good old opera formula of recitative followed by beautiful songs. But really, he upended music as a ...
IT'S lucky that liberals never have to look at themselves in a mirror, and never have to listen to their hate speech. Because what liberals do is an utter betrayal of what they say they believe. They say that everything they do is for the little people. But they don't have a problem siccing the IRS on the little people of the Tea Party. They say that dissent is the highest form of ...
ONE of the underappreciated facts about the Tea Party movement is that women have been in the vanguard. And they started organizing in the fall of 2008. We're supposed to believe that all women are Democrats. But Keli Carender (@LiberTBelle), who started the Tea Party here in the Seattle area, is a graduate of Oxford, a teacher and sometime actor. Doesn't fit the profile. And of course many...
IN a thumb-sucker about the managerial shortcomings of the Obama White House, John Fund surfaces the worries of Democrats, that "chaotic implementation" of Obamacare could "could become the biggest political liability Democrats will face in next year’s midterm elections." Don't set your sights too high, Mr. Fund. How about: the train wreck of Obamacare implementation could result in the ...
SOMETIMES I have to agree with liberals. The writers of the US Constitution were living in another age. They just could not foresee how things would change and make the constitution obsolete. Take the First Amendment and the Jefferson corollary. The whole idea of preventing an "establishment of religion" and enforcing a separation between church and state is just so 18th century, darling. ...
A great irony of our modern era is that at exactly the same time that the Cartesian-Newtonian world-view was emerging the anti-systemic capitalist culture was emerging as well. On the one hand you had the billiard ball determinism of Newtonian mechanics. On the other hand you had the infinite complexity of the market process. So why do we talk about the free-market "system", the price "system...
A while back I took a look at "Marx's Five Big Mistakes," five big things that Karl Marx got wrong. I mean things like the immiseration of the working class, the alienation of workers by the division of labor, the labor theory of value, the idea that bureaucracy would wither away under socialism, and that people would abandon the division of labor under socialism. But then I got to wondering...
MANY OF THE commenters on my article last week on “Democrats: End of the Big Push” took me to task for underestimating the ruthlessness of the Democrats.
Maybe I do underestimate them. But here is something to back up my point. A well-known Democratic activist recently said this:
Planned Parenthood is not going ...
Last week, the pundits told us, was one of the worst in President Obama’s presidency. ...
WHAT WILL come after the welfare state? After 120 years, at the turn of the twenty-first century, it is clearly showing its age.... more
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Heres how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>
The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.
[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, quoted in 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
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