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Putting the MoveOn.orgers on the Couch

by Christopher Chantrill
September 14, 2007 at 1:22 pm

ALL ANIMALS live by killing.  That’s the awful truth that we spend our lives avoiding.  Even your average cow does nothing but kill innocent living grasses all day.

Some people believe that they know a higher truth than the instinctive need to live and the instinctive desire to protect your own.  They believe that we can break the “cycle of violence.”  And that leads them away from loyalty to their community or nation.  As William Hawkins puts it:

Only an intense belief in a "higher truth" can lead people to turn against their own country during a war. The flowering of this strain of liberal doctrine goes back to the decades following the Napoleonic Wars.

Actually it goes back before that.  Christianity views all selfish action—let alone violent action—in a questionable light. And we can regard the tension between church and state in the Christian era as a healthy response to the problematic both of untrammeled selfishness and unrestrained unselfishness.

So the liberal reaction to 9/11 was predictable.

Liberals warned against "overreacting" to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Katrina vanden Heuvel, in the misnomered journal the Nation, argued, "The most promising and effective way to halt terrorism lies in bringing those responsible to justice through nonmilitary actions in cooperation with the global community and within the framework of domestic and international law."

Maybe so.  But the 20th century’s foremost theorist of thuggery, V.I. Lenin, had another idea.  He called people like Heuvel “useful idiots.”  And after 9/11 the useful idiots knew what to do.

The patriotic unity felt by Americans in all walks of life when the Pentagon and World Trade Center were attacked by al Qaeda had to be torn asunder as quickly as possible to conform with liberal-left ideology. Thus, groups like Moveon.org cranked up their partisan hate speech.

For the left believes not in the nation state but in “class division and hyper-individuality.”  It’s a curious combination.  People are only allowed to form communities based on class.  For the rest, we are individuals.

But sometimes reality has a way of breaking through.

The French philosopher Ernest Renan started out as a classical liberal but after his country lost its 1870 war with Prussia became an eloquent exponent of nationalism. He argued, "A nation is a living principle, a spiritual principle. ... To have common glories in the past, a common will in the present, to have done great things together, the will to do the like again — such are the essential conditions for the making of a people."

There’s nothing like having foreign soldiers in your country to concentrate the mind.

In Iraq, of course, there are foreign soldiers not just from the US, but from Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran.  And that is not counting the non-state actors like Al Qaeda.

No, history is not over, Virginia.  Not for a while.  Not in your lifetime.


Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[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

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District

Liberal Coercion

[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

Taking Responsibility

[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

Responsible Self

[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.


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

Conservatism's Holy Grail

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

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

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

Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion

Government Expenditure

The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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©2007 Christopher Chantrill