|Back to Basics||Defining the Modern Foundation|
by Christopher Chantrill
November 08, 2008 at 12:26 am
THE NEW Republic was nosing through the election results earlier this week, and discussing the long-term trend in party affiliation.
Over the last several decades, the country has seen two swing groups move in opposite directions: Working-class whites exiting the Democratic Party, and more affluent, educated voters leaving the GOP.But in this election the working-class white trend bifurcated.
Among all whites without college degrees (40 percent of the electorate), Obama lost by a whopping 18 points. But among whites making $50,000 per year or less (a quarter of the electorate), he lost by a mere 4 points.
Which makes sense, if you ask me. Because the Republican Party is the party of aspiration. It is the party of people who are aiming to improve their lot in life. That is why aspirational working-class whites are exiting the Democratic Party and non-aspirational working-class whites are not.
The Democratic Party is the party of credentials. Get the right credentials, and get a government job (as a union worker, a teacher, health worker, or professor) and you get set up for life.
You often learn more about yourself when you fail than when you succeed. In the greatest failure in modern Republican Party history, the election of 1964, the party faithful found out that they had a rising star in Ronald Reagan. For the next twenty years, Democrats sneered at him as a lightweight and a B-movie actor. But he still became president of the United States.
The standouts of the recent election were, obviously, Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Both of them are aspirational Americans, in the process of improving their lot, or at least dreaming of improving their lot. So we may look back at the election of 2008 and say: that was they year that the Republican Party as a Middle America party of aspiration was truly born.
Maybe not. You can never tell. The sky is always full of portents. But most of the portents signify nothing.
The telling part about it all was the viciousness of the liberal attack on Palin and Joe. There was obviously something profoundly offensive in Sarah and Joe to the liberal mind.
Its not hard to understand why. Liberals dont like aspirational people. They dont like them because they dont fit in the liberal plantation. In fact you could say that aspirational people look like troublemakers to the overseers of the liberal plantation.
But it is still astonishing to realize that, for our liberal friends, people like Sarah Palin and Joe Wurzelbacher are an offense to all good-thinking people, and must be destroyed.
Im still finding it a bit hard to get my mind around that.|
[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