Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, October 06, 2003

Not with a Bang, but a Whimper?

Everybody bitches about how bad things are, politically. (Well, everybody but Bill Whittle.) And the bitching is pretty much evenly divided on both the left and the right. But I've noticed something I find disturbing. It appears to me that the Right is resigning. Giving up. Leaving the field.

For example: Toren Smith of The Safety Valve:
After thinking it over for a while, I think The Safety Valve has run its course. Frankly, I'm tired of getting all bent out of shape about the stupidities of the world, which seem to be getting worse and worse as time goes by. The last few months it seems every day brings worse news about the corruption of science, the destruction of society by PC-think, the complete and utter end of rational political discourse, and the hydra-like expansion of government powers. International politics has gone insane. California is heading into the socialist shit pit, and most of the US seems poised to follow sooner or later. I may escape temporarily to someplace like Texas, but sooner or later I'll probably have to head for Belize or the Caymans.


To hell with rubbing my face in all the downer crap that's out there. Yes, I know--even if you don't go looking for politics, politics will come looking for you. But I'm going to try crossing the street, at least for the time being. And if necessary I'll shoot the bastard with my carry piece. And in the meantime I'll let my friends like Kim and James and the rest of the gang off to the right in my blog links "gaze into the abyss."
They're clearly tougher than I am.
When you start quoting Nietzsche, you're pretty depressed.

And Toren's not alone. Porphyrogenitus comments on the battle with liberalism/socialism/post-modernism:
Everywhere your light touches you get the satisfaction of seeing the cockroaches scurry away. You move the light around the room, and you get to see cockroaches scurrying off. What you don't see, because you have moved on, is as your light moves, the roaches scurry right back into the places they left. You have changed nothing.

We have been shining a light on this problem for probably a quarter of a century or so now. We know two things. Firstly, that the people doing these things are, like all bullies, cowards as well - they are intellectual bullies, but also intellectual cowards. When the light is shined on them, they complain (their academic freedom is being violated, dissent is being suppressed, the whole litany. Never mind how they close the academy to perspectives that aren't theirs, how they silence views in the name of sensitivity and the like). But they also tend to back down - back down on speech codes, back down on anti-American course outlines, back down on whatever. Superficially.

Because, having felt we solved the problem, we dust off our hands and move on. Then the roaches go right back into place; the speech codes get put back into place, in a slightly different guise. The same old stuff is taught, with less overtly obvious descriptions in the course descriptions but the same lectures. And it spreads.


There is no good solution to this. I have always believed that if one is going to criticize someone else's proposed solution to a problem, one better have an alternative in mind. But I don't. I just know that neither Steven Den Beste's nor Victor Davis Hanson's are going to succeed.


Frankly, personally, I am increasingly resigned to the fact that these problems are without solution, to the point that I'm ----->][<----- that close to simply giving up, mothballing this site, and accepting that yes, we're watching Western Civilization self-destruct before our very eyes and there is nothing to be done about it, but in the meantime it's possible to. . .well, I'm not as old as the original "optimist" in that exchange. (And I don't live that well, regardless). I'll probably end my life in a Death Camp of Tolerance for expressing "divisive" views and making "insensitive" remarks.
He says more here:
So we get to the assertion that reason will hammer them. Have you been paying attention? These people have immunized themselves against Socratic methods by declaring reason to simply be the tool by which the White Racist Structure maintains power. They teach that reason is not to be trusted (it is one of the premises of Post-Modernism). How often have you seen them fairly represent and grapple with the real arguments of those on our side of the debate, rather than simply distorting them when it serves their end and/or declaring that these things are "really" just a mask for our fears that our social position is being challenged or the like? In other words, rather than dealing with reasoned arguments, they impute base motives to them as a matter of course so they can dismiss them.


In my opinion, it takes more courage to recognize that the methods that people have been using to combat this are not working than it takes to pretend otherwise. I have returned to where I was on Thursday, that I'm just going to do the best I can. But this isn't working - not just for me, but as a whole. It's having no lasting effect. Have the courage to realize that.
Those are just two recent, noteworthy examples of reasoning, logical, intelligent people who have - for want of a better phrase - given up on the ideological battle that has been waged since about 1900 when Marx and Engels' little thought experiment infected the body politic.

It took a little bit of time before the danger was really recognized, even though it hasn't been fully understood by enough people. For example, the battle has been illustrated in literature only since the 1940's: Orwell with Animal Farm and 1984, Rand with Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead just to name some big hitters.

The problem, and I think that most people still able to look can see it, is in our education system, and it's really taken a death-grip on the nation since the 1950's. Probably the most outspoken bell-ringer on this was Rand herself. Read her essay The Comprachicos for a chilling, explicit denunciation of what the education system was (even then!) doing to our children. (I would quote from it, but it is of a whole, and excerpting would not do it justice.) Now the products of those 1950's preschools (at that time for only the wealthy) are tenured college professors and public school administrators, and part of the problem. I comment about it in my numerous "Our Collapsing Schools" pieces. The Volokh Conspiracy has recently had a number of posts concerning the overwhelming leftist bias in higher academia. There were these recent posts about undergrad and doctoral student experiences on major U.S. campuses. But it's discussed in the blogosphere in a *shrug* "What can we do about it?" tone. The only solution seems to be home-schooling, but given the economic and social realities (single-parent families being but one) it's not a viable choice for many, and in fact the number of people who actually recognize the problem is, in reality, pretty small - because today's parents are products of that corrupting system. We're obviously pretty outnumbered.

So the question is: "Have we reached a critical mass?" Are there now so many people who have gone through the education mills and been taught not how to think, but not to think that we're outnumbered to the point that resistance is futile? Steven Den Beste (one of the brightest brains out there today, in my opinion) points to a NRO column by Rich Lowry concerning the current platform of the Democratic candidates for President. He says:
(Their) credo is often nonsensical and hypocritical, but it is clearly discernible. The Democrats of '04 believe:

That wars should be authorized, but never fought.

That the United Nations is the world's last, best hope, and every jot of its writ should always be respected, unless it inconveniences Saddam Hussein.

That nation-building is always a humanitarian and just cause, unless it is undertaken in Iraq.

That anyone who said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction prior to the war was lying, unless his or her name is Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Bill Cohen, John Kerry, or Joe Lieberman, or the person ever served in the Clinton cabinet or as a Democratic senator.

That French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is always right.

That President Bush isn't devoting enough resources to the reconstruction of Iraq, and that — in light of his $87 billion aid proposal — he is devoting far too many resources to the reconstruction of Iraq.

That George Bush maneuvered the United States into war in an act of manipulative genius, and also is very stupid.
And much more in the same vein. And he's right. And what about the Republicans? They seem to have surrendered too. As Brian Reidl in the same forum puts it:
The Republican party may have once stood for fiscal responsibility, but it has since succumbed to the temptation of playing Santa Claus to whatever voter blocks (farmers, seniors, soccer moms) it thinks will swing the next election. To those who see government spending mainly as a means to buy re-election, reducing waste is a thankless and potentially dangerous distraction.
In short, they've done what they feel they have to do to keep getting re-elected by a voting populace that wants bread and circuses. And national security, and a prescription drug plan, and Social Security and....

Have we reached the point Alexis de Tocqueville warned us of when he said "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money"? Was Alexander Tytler right, and we're on our way back into dependency and bondage?

Are we going with a whimper, and not a bang?

Perhaps more on this later. Some discussion would be appreciated.

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