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A Liberal Judge Lights a Fuse

by Christopher Chantrill
August 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

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LAST WEEK, when Judge Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger came out, I felt a dreadful fear.

My fear was not about what gay marriage would do to the institution of traditional marriage. I reckon that marriage is not as fragile as conservatives fear, although one should never underestimate the damage that a liberal wrecking crew can do. Marriage is more than a “cultural construct.” To use a liberal argument, the science is in on marriage. It is a profoundly Darwinian, evolutionary adaptation that will long survive the fashionable twists and turns in liberal jurisprudence.

No, I fear what this decision, if confirmed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, will do to the politics of the United States.

It seems pretty clear that Judge Walker imagines that his decision, brimming with findings of fact from social science, will be a decisive victory in the culture war and resolve forever the question of gay marriage.

No doubt in addition to his knowledge of social science the judge is also familiar with the the last chaps that pinned all their hopes on decisive victory: the Germans inspired by the immortal Clausewitz. It was a brilliant concept, and an understandable response to Germany’s strategic problems. But look how it turned out. Germany scored a decisive victory against the Russians in 1914-18 but got ground down to defeat on the Western Front. Then in 1939-45 Germany scored a decisive victory against France but got ground down to the most decisive defeat in all history by the Russians.

Our liberal friends are also wedded to the decisive victory. They achieved decisive victories on race with Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Acts, but turned the whole South against the Democratic Party. They achieved a decisive victory on abortion with Roe v. Wade, but raised up a whole movement of rejection against them. Obama-Pelosi-Reid scored a decisive victory on ObamaCare and then paraded in the streets to stuff it in the faces of the racist Tea Partiers that rose up to reject their government takeover.

Another decisive victory and liberals will create a veto-proof majority of the American people united against liberals and everything they stand for.

But I do not fear too much the conflict that liberals are conjuring up with their decisive victories. One way or another, liberals will get what is coming to them. I fear what the conflict will do to conservatives. I fear it will make us more like liberals, for in learning to fight the oppressors we often become them.

Look what the culture war has done to liberals.

Seventy years ago liberals set out to fight against the white southern obsession with race. Now, after America elected a black president, liberals can think of nothing but race. An African American acquaintance confidently told me recently that opposition to President Obama was all about race.

Liberals have been fighting for half a century against “homophobia” by which I think they mean hatred rather than fear of homosexuals. But a gay acquaintance recently told me how he “loathed” Sarah Palin.

Then there are the feminists. It was the marginalization, the humiliation of women that brought them into the streets and the lobbies. So what do they do? They have gamed the education system to humiliate boys. Ask 11-year-old Sam Besserman about that.

All these nice folks belong to “protected classes,” a liberal euphemism for privileged classes. What is it about privilege that makes people into such haters?

I found an answer in South Pacific, from the old days when liberals were talking guardedly about race. You’ll remember the song:

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught
From year to Year
It’s got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught

Er, no liberals. You’ve got it completely backwards. It is not true that:

You’ve got to be taught
Before it’s too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You’ve got to be carefully taught

On the contrary, the hard thing to do is to teach people at any age not to hate people their relatives hate. That is why most religions feature forgiveness and the settling of feuds. Given that liberals completely misunderstand hate, it’s not surprising that our big challenge is to teach liberals not to hate.

You’ve got to be taught
Before it’s too late
And Alinsky has made both you and your mate
To hate all the people
the liberals hate
You’ve got to be carefully taught

And that’s why I fear the bomb that Judge Walker has tossed into the public square. His decision will conjure up a generation of conservative culture warriors that may come to embrace and perfect the very liberal cruelties they fight to defeat. He might teach conservatives to hate.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[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


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, 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


Class War

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”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


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


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


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


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


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