|Freedom vs. The Secular Seminary||The Optics of Energy Failure|
by Christopher Chantrill
March 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm
GOOD NEWS! The upscale vote is moving towards Mitt Romney, according to Michael Barone. Says he:
One constant factor in the 14 contests with exit polls is that Mitt Romney has tended to run best among high-income and high-education voters.
This is a good thing, apparently, because in the 2000s the upscale chaps went for Democrats, as affluent suburbanites, especially women, were repelled by Republicans stands on cultural issues like abortion. The suburbanites around Philadelphia, for instance, went 57 percent for Barack Obama in 2008.
Charles Murray in Coming Apart asks another question. Where was the upscale voter as the sturdy working class in the United States was ripped apart and transformed into the unmarried, non-working, single-parent underclass?
Things are going nicely among the top 20 percent of Americans, according to Murray. They work hard, get married, have children, and dont get divorced. They live, you might say, an ideal that the bitter-clinger cultural conservatives can only worship from afar.
The problem that Murray identifies with the top 20 percent is what I would call a reverse hypocrisy. The true hypocrite stands for morality but practices vice. The reverse hypocrite practices morality but winks at vice. How come the top 20 percent doesnt stick up for the values it practices and sneers that those who do?
And how come the top 20 percent is sitting by in silence while liberals flush the bottom 30 percent down the welfare-state toilet?
The great achievement of the Progressives a century ago was to make a scandal out of the sufferings of the working class. How could you sit in your Victorian mansion and remain indifferent to the exploitation of the working class and the squalor in which it was forced to live? The Progressives made the bourgeoisie ashamed.
More than that, they cowed the bourgeoisie into doing nothing while all the middle-class verities were torn up and thrown on the bonfire of history: sound money burned up into inflationism, contract into intimidation, character into self-expression, rule of law into administrative discretion, checks and balances into the presidential cult of personality.
So the upper-income voters did nothing while the liberals passed program after program that demolished the authentic culture of the working class. In their safe enclaves they sneered while the liberals waged cultural war on people who wanted to push back against the cultural nihilism of abortion.
But now that liberalism is threatening to demolish the culture of the upper-income folks, as affordable housing programs led to a housing meltdown and clean energy is leading to a demolition of the rest of the economy, now the upper-income folks are forgetting their snobbery and sneaking back to the Republican Party.
Charles Murray wants the upper 20 percent to do something more than just vote Republican. He wants it to help rescue the bottom 30 percent from its cultural meltdown by sticking up for its principles and abandoning its reverse hypocrisy. But this would just be a rerun of the Progressive program. First, we are to rescue the lower orders because of their material poverty; now we are to rescue them because of their cultural poverty.
Thats not the American way. The American way, as told by William G., McLoughlin in Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform, is that you dont get social change from a benevolent elite extending a helping hand to the bottom 30 percent. You get it instead in the great American tradition of a Great Awakening,
the awakening of a people caught in an outmoded, dysfunctional world view to the the necessity of converting their mindset, their behavior, and their institutions to more relevant and more functionally useful ways of understanding and coping with the changes in the world they live in.
On this view a religious awakening comes first, and then the political movement and then the political reform, as in the Great Awakening followed by the American Revolution, the Second Great Awakening followed by the Civil War, and the Third Great Awakening followed by the Social Gospel and the welfare state.
On this view, the social and Christian conservatives at the core of the Republican Party are an avant-garde saying that the current liberal welfare state is an outmoded, dysfunctional world view. Walter Russell Mead calls it the end of the Blue Social Model. See Beyond Blue Part VII. After a decade of supercilious disdain, perhaps the upper crust is coming around to a parallel view.
In Coming Apart Charles Murray calls on the upper 20 percent to get out of their upper-class enclaves to instruct the lower class and lead them out of their cultural swamp. But Yuval Levin thinks that such a transformation would require a more general renewal.
Its telling that the central event of the Tea Party summer in 2010 was Glenn Becks quasi-religious revival meeting on August 28: Restoring Honor. Maybe the upper crust should start an Earl Grey Party.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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