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by Christopher Chantrill
January 15, 2013 at 12:00 am
NORMALLY, I can’t get interested in the daily liberal partisan output, but when I saw RealClearPolitics’ link to Andy Kroll of Mother Jones on “Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics” I decided to make an exception.
Nancy Pelosi has been promising to take back the House in 2014: maybe the lefties at Mother Jones knew something I didn’t know.
The “massive new liberal plan” turned out to be a meeting of all the usual suspects to commit resources and staff to a three-point plan. The plan calls for:
1. getting big money out of politics,
2. expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and
3. rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation.
Nothing new, in other words, just the usual liberal push to marginalize and demonize anyone and anything that isn’t liberal.
Kroll is full of the usual rubbish about “wringing our hands over the Koch brothers” and the “40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world... to take over the country.”
Now I like to say that there are only five things wrong with liberal thought and politics: its cruelty, its corruption, its injustice, its waste, and its delusion. The delusion bit begins with the need for lefty-liberals like Kroll to insist that those awful Kochs and Scaifes and Exxons are trying to take over the world, so they can demonize them.
Let’s stipulate that Karl Marx had a point when he worried about capitalists replacing the landed warrior class as the overlords and oppressors of the modern era. Way back then, who could tell how the power contest of the industrial era would turn out?
But the answer eventually became clear, at the very latest when the US government broke up Standard Oil a century ago. If the capitalists were really running things, why would they let the politicians smash up their capitalist corporations?
In our own time we have the recent evidence of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. When President Obama told BP to fork out $20 billion--before any regulatory finding or legislative action, just on his say-so--BP merely asked whether to pay with their usual eftps.gov account. If you are not living a delusion that act has to tell you something.
This week we have the Boeing Dreamliner problem. Does Boeing tell the FAA and the flying public to go take a hike? They wouldn’t dare.
The left needs the idea of vast corporate power to populate its tableau of oppression. It needs oppression to justify its lust for government power. And it needs to divide employers and employees to maintain its power.
However, advanced lefties realize that the old tableau of capitalists vs. proletarians needs freshening up. So Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their Empire-Multitude-Commonwealth trilogy declare that the capitalists are now merely surplus. In the new economy of “biopolitical production” the capitalists just get in the way of the spontaneous exchanges of the multitude, the “labor of the head and heart, including forms of service work, affective labor, and cognitive labor.” Hardt and Negri call for an end of the power of both capitalists and the welfare state in favor of the spontaneity and self-governance of the multitude. But first we need a “global initiative to provide the basic means of life to all:” income, health care, and education.
Isn’t it odd that a book advertising the wonders of spontaneous order among millions of “singularities” in the multitude wouldn’t have one, not even one index entry for F.A. Hayek, who wrote the book on it.
Hardt and Negri call for revolution (of course!) to purge the “common” of its “corrupt form.” They mean “the family, the corporation, and the nation.”
One is reminded of Winston Churchill line that democracy was the worst form of government “except all the others that have been tried.”
One day in the glorious future the history of the last century will be written as the repeated and delusional attempt by people like Andy Kroll and Hardt and Negri to force on us a society stripped of the most stunning and most beneficial forms of social cooperation ever established by settled science: the nuclear family to organize generation, the limited liability corporation to organize production and service, and the nation state to create a society based on the tie of common language rather than common blood.
It’s this combination of the common in its corrupt form that got us from $1-3 to $120 per person per day in 200 years.
There will come a day when people will ask of us, as we wonder about the Romans, how could we end up so stupid, so deluded?
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