Monday, August 30, 2010


Michael Lind has a fresh and important article out about the difference between traditional (my term) American concern for economic and class concerns and the past 40 years’ worth of ‘culture’ (race and gender and affirmative action on those bases) concerns. (The above link will take you to the Salon page, and you will see the Lind article (I hope) on your upper left; click on that.)

He had done some remarkably acute work in the past; his 1995 book on the dangers inherent in Multiculturalism was especially impressive to me. But more recently, as my Posts about some of his pieces indicate, he had become more conventionally ‘liberal-progressive’, in my view.

Now, discussing a Senator Jim Webb address that he attended a while back, he has – I would say – recovered a hefty chunk of his old mojo.

Webb said in the address that “the greatest threat that this country faces is the class system”. Which sounds much like a recent James Petras article (I Posted about it here) in which Petras observes that Marx had gotten one thing right: it IS all about ‘class’. (In a hell-hot irony, that was precisely the one element in Marx that the radical-feminists ignored when they adopted his attitude and method of analysis – and Lenin’s follow-on methods of imposition by ‘vanguard elites’ – in order to make their point that it was all about ‘culture’ and, more specifically, ‘gender’ (the patriarchy, the oppression, the all-sex-is-rape, and so forth and so on).

Then, recently, Webb made some follow-up comments in a ‘Wall Street Journal’ piece (linked-to in the Lind article) in which he critiqued race-based (not so much gender-based) “preferences” in numerous areas of government policy.

This gets Lind to recall – marvelously and in a sense shockingly – that “from the 1970s until the mid-1990s, there was a lively debate over race-based affirmative action between INTEGRATIONIST OR COLOR-BLIND LIBERALS and LIBERALS OF THE IDENTITY-POLITICS SCHOOL” (caps mine).

I find it tremendously heartening to be reminded that ‘liberals’ retained for so long a grip on the core dynamics essential to a working society (although I don’t recall as much indication of that “lively debate” during the early 1990s, at least in the general reportage). While the New Deal electoral coalition of Industrial North-Northeast and Jim Crow South was shattered by the civil-rights era’s (very legitimate) assault upon the Jim Crow system, the Dems apparently hadn’t lost sight of the underlying vital validity of the economic issues which were the gravamen of the New Deal.

“Most of the liberal critics of race-based policy were pro-labor liberals and social democrats, while many of its defenders were found among neo-liberals, who favored inexpensive symbols of racial progress even as they sought to deregulate the economy, slash welfare, and shrink the government.”

I point out that this discussion of ‘race-based’ affirmative action legitimately focuses on the dynamics of that original site of affirmative action. But that there is also the cumulative effect of extending affirmative action starting in the 1970s to include various other ‘minorities’, including most significantly the gender-based intensification and expansion of affirmative-action – a development soon joined by the multicultural, diversity-based affirmative-action skewed toward immigration in one form or another.

That being said, Lind’s points are hugely well-taken and well-made.

Lind’s claim is that it was in the late-1990s, Clinton’s second term, that the frakkulent combination of widespread pandering to the Left and ruthless indulgence of corporate out-sourcing of the nation’s industrial base combined in the conflagration of neo-liberalism. In the course of that conflagration, perhaps under the dizzy infatuation of the dot-com revolution (d’ye remember that?) the Knowledge-and-Service Society was raised up as the newest incarnation of Utopia and NAFTA pretty much guaranteed the impoverishment of Mexican farmers (who would come North and be pawns in the dampdreamed Dilution of White, Male, Industrial, Working Class culture … what was not to like?).

You may recall that adult American jobs suddenly included telemarketer, telephone debt collector, barrista and hash-slinger, ‘greeter’ in big-box cut-rate department stores, and such - grown-ups were now collecting carts in supermarket lots and bagging stuff, the jobs kids used to get for summer pocket money; while those with enough Knowledge not to have to Serve built McMansions and furnished them with credit card purchases and filled their garages with bought or leased high-performance autos. The ‘ordinary people’ of 1980's “Ordinary People” – well-paid architect, reeely nice house, a computer (At home! On your desk!) – had become something hell-and-gone from the little folks of the 1930s.

So, to do their bit and keep up their creds as and A-list dinner eligibility, the mainstream media and ‘elite opinion’ simply dropped any mention of the Integrationist Liberal approach and solidified the spin to create the real blob of a fake 'unanimous Identity-Politics Liberalism'.

Nicely, Lind notes that Bayard Rustin, a homosexual black civil-rights activist of the old school and “social democrat”, opposed race-based affirmative action, thus exposing as agitprop whackery “the claim that only conservative white males oppose race-based public policies”.

And Lind acknowledges the arrival of ‘diversity’ as a concept to replace the clanky and increasingly questionable race-based affirmative action itself. It was taken as axiomatic – though never proven, or subjected to discussion – that institutions such as universities “must MIRROR, in their internal composition, the ever-changing racial and ethnic composition of society as a whole” (caps mine).

I would add ‘gender’ to the composition element.

The sly monte-scam in this formulation is that the composition of American society did not at all organically ‘change’ – it was force-fed from a pipeline specifically designed to rapidly Deconstruct and Dilute American society, while simultaneously undermining the traditionally held fundaments that were the bedrock of the American vision, ethos, and culture. “Ever-changing” is wayyyyyy too nice a term for what has happened here; the ‘change’ was not incremental but imposed with all the force that the Beltway could bring to bear.

I would also point out that this Diversity gambit was a shrewd one: it would sidestep the entire requirement for achievement (including, intentionally or not, any personal responsibility for self-mastery and competence) and simply award ‘status’ to a selected population who would become ‘clients’ of those political patrons who gave them such bounty. It was a ‘kinder and gentler’ and more ‘enlightened’ version of the raw and dirty ‘spoils system’ of the 19th century – although hardly cleaned-up.

But, of course, Wealth and the corporations saw just how phantasmagoric such dampdreams were – and promptly pressured the Beltway indentures to permit them to out-source with abandon, finding places on the planet where there were cheaper labor pools but also more capable ones.*

But Lind notes just how selective this theoretically capacious Diversity concept really is: at this point, universities are putting their well-manicured thumbs onto the scales in order to reduce the number of “over-represented” Asians in order to inflate the numbers of “under-represented” categories. As if the Knowledge-and-Service economy could conceivably employ the current crops of graduates to the manner which – by watching ‘Gossip Girl’ – they have already accustomed themselves.

Yet, as one slightly alarmed university-employed commentator recently noted (sorry, clear recollection of the content, but I can’t recall who said it): she was jolted to find a young female student (and this is certainly not limited to females, I expect) who quit a college-course because ‘the Asians have an unfair advantage: they study too hard’. I submit to you that in that one little ‘story’ is contained the key to the decline of a mature and productive civilization.

But again nicely, Lind notes that if Diversity were really a workable policy, then the Supreme Court – almost all Catholic at this point – would have to be re-jiggered to make room for more Protestants (and Buddhists and Wiccans and new-model atheists and what-have-you). And, I suppose, women would have to be allowed onto pro football teams where – through the workings of some mysterious and dark and no doubt sinister backlashy forces – they are not.

Lind then turns his considerable powers on LBJ’s speech at Howard University in June, 1965 – a speech frequently trumpeted by race-conscious Identity Politics ‘liberals’ as proof positive that theirs is the Way that had always been intended. (There is a link in Lind’s piece to the text of that speech and it’s well worth a couple of minutes to read.)

Lind sets the tone by saying that he intends to look at the speech in order to shed truthful light on “the rather Orwellian argument that the sequel to the anti-racist civil rights revolution had to be a temporary or permanent era of benevolent racial discrimination”. (Again, I note that ‘race’ long ago ceased to be the only basis of all this government discrimination.)

Lind shares from his own wide and insightful experience: he had once talked to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who in 1965 was a key mover behind the speech that LBJ gave on that June 4th almost half a century ago. “We were not talking about affirmative action. We were talking about jobs. Safe streets. Good schools. The safety net. Healthcare. Strong families."

Alas that was not to be. The urban riots of the Northeastern and West-Coast cities undermined LBJ’s moral authority to twist Congressional arms; the feminists (soon to take over the Revolution business) were dead-set against ‘the Family’ (it was Auschwitz or Dachau, take your pick); and the post-King Black Power types didn’t intend to take any lessons or advice from Honky; any government benefits put in their service were purely owed, didn’t need to be earned, and that was all there was to it.

LBJ went on to enumerate what he saw as required beyond the essential but insufficient facts of Civil and Voting rights: jobs, decent homes in decent surroundings, a chance for a decent education, welfare and social programs designed to hold families together, and care for the sick. (I am going to imagine that in regard to this last, LBJ imagined the government helping families take care of their sick, not some form of the mass warehousing of the elderly and the hyper-hospitalization and medication-nation stuff that has come to pass.)

But as I said, neither the now-authoritative Black Power interests nor the up-and-coming feministicals were going to be happy with a program like this. Let me quote – as Lind does – the full sentence LBJ used about ‘jobs’: “They bring the income which permits a man to provide for his family”. (italics mine) You can see here, from today’s vantage point, precisely how doomed LBJ’s vision was, and how much American developments have subsequently diverged from that sober and constructive path.

Let me quote here an entire paragraph of Lind’s: “In his Howard University speech, Johnson proposed that the formerly abused athlete be rehabilitated and trained so that he could later compete and win in a fair race without help. Race-based preferences, however, are the equivalent of taking the bondage-crippled athlete and, without allotting sufficient time for rehabilitation and training, permitting him to start several laps ahead of the other competitors”.

Imagine how this would play out – and cumulatively – in American society as not only race, but gender, ethnic background, citizenship status (or the lack of it), disability of any kind and widely-defined, and even sexual orientation … all came to add their own specific layers of government-selectivity.

Imagine how all that accumulated load would make an impact upon anyone simply trying to get out on the field, practice, and play as good a game as possible: ‘fairness’ was no longer guaranteed.

And then, recall, in the early 1970s John Rawls began tossing around his concept of “moral luck” – that if you happen to be born with a skill or be disciplined enough to pursue study, this was not a sign of achievement or maturity because you just happened to have benefitted from “moral luck”. (Thus the Asian who studied too much in the story mentioned above was mostly just “lucky” and had no right to expect the government to sit idly by while s/he reaped the advantages of sustained and focused effort; by the same token, the young female student who quit her course was merely the victim of some bad “moral luck” and shouldn’t be stigmatized for it AND should actually be helped by having the government put its fat thumbs on the scales of Life.)

“Moral luck” was Rawls’s effort to factor in what previously had been known as Divine Providence. But a) there is a huge price to pay when conceptually you Flatten the dimensions of human existence and claim that this world of appearances is self-sustaining and self-contained and there is no Beyond worth mentioning; b) Divine Providence is a dynamic concept: it doesn’t just start you off like a soccer player kicks a ball and sends it on its way for better or worse – rather, it (or God, if you wish) stays with you throughout the trip; c) Divine Providence is relational (God, in the old religious view, being a Person) and humans get not only Assistance but Accompaniment.

Rawls offers none of this. His concept simply provides benefit-of-philosophy to a frakkulent government intrusiveness that resembles nothing so much as refs and coaches actually getting into the game and directing the outcomes according to their own illuminations.

(And imagine how “moral luck” would play out, as I never tire of pointing out, in a military setting where EVERYTHING depends on Achieved Competence Applied In Timely Fashion against Actual Threatening Realities, for which Actions there will be Consequences that cannot be Wished or Spun Away. What happens to the motivation to pursue and achieve Competence, Skill, and Excellence? What, for that matter, happens to the motivation to pursue and achieve any Maturity at all?)

Thus, Lind goes on, once the CASTE-based system of Jim Crow was delegitimized – as it was by July, 1965 – then “the second phase of the civil rights movement had to be race-neutral and CLASS-based” (caps mine) What he means, he explains, is that blacks and whites together would now need to apply themselves to both producing and – as Citizens – to guiding the just distribution of the fruits of that labor.

But that’s not what happened.

Not hardly.

In fact, first the Black Power separationism and in-your-face attitude alienated blacks from much if not most of the white goodwill that had provided indispensable support for the actual work King and his colleagues accomplished on the streets of Southern cities.

And then second, the follow-on Revolutions, spear-headed by the eerily gimlet-eyed cadres of the feministical Revolution, embraced Identity Politics as well, but added French Theory to Marx’s methodology and Marx’s eternal suspicion of decent motives; and they did so not in order to achieve a wider public consensus but to forge an Identity that could be used as a weapon against the public by intimidating or seducing the pols into going along with the dampdreams of the Movement and of the Revolution.

LBJ and MLK, divided in the end by the war in Vietnam, both remained firmly convinced that the next phase of civil rights had to be “race-neutral economic reform”.

But Identity Politics was to derail all that, drowning out all sober thinking with the mantras of Multiculturalism and Diversity.

Meanwhile, the country’s economic condition was allowed to careen on down the track, the pols pandering to the Identities by formally enacting their short-sighted agendas into law and policy, while collecting cash (through the ingenious PAC system) from Wealth and corporations to permit them to go abroad in search of more profitable workers.

And as the gap in national wealth widened on several axes, Reagan borrowed, Clinton allowed a huge asset sell-off and outsourcing, and Bush allowed the Bubbles to flow like champagne.

But that was then. And now the party’s over.

Lind wants to see that long-postponed and evaded “next phase” of civil rights implemented now. It would be the best way to address the national Mess and it would provide a more comprehensive and politically attractive (to mature and thoughtful voters) platform than the tired and (literally) bankrupt agitprop panderings of Identity Politics.

It is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

But as I have been saying, a lot more toxic water has flowed under the bridge in the past four decades: the country is not simply standing once again at the cross-roads of late 1965 at this point. It is a different country, the competence and political maturity of the Citizenry is alarmingly compromised, American economic primacy has gone and will most likely not return in any way approaching prior levels, and there really isn’t much money around anymore. (Bill Gates’s entire fortune could not dig California out of the hole for a year).

There exists no small possibility that the opportunity of that “second phase”, missed in 1965, is gone for good and won’t return.

Surely, Lind is on solid ground when he observes that “Rustin was right to warn that race-based affirmative action would make a social democratic coalition of black Americans and the white working class even more difficult than it would have been otherwise”. That in itself was a huge negative consequence, realized – alas – all too well. But again, at this point We must factor in the cumulative consequences of the follow-on Identity Politics ‘revolutions’, each of which have – along their respective axes of division – done quite the same type of damage. The American polity now resembles not so much a piece of fabric with one big hole rip torn in it, but rather a piece of fabric peppered with holes large and small, like a Swiss cheese (sorry to mix the metaphors there).

But I certainly think that some way of applying the LBJ-MLK approach now, if given a decent hearing by the Beltway pols (I doubt the ‘elites’ would be enthusiastic, having been raised to the purple under the aegis of Identity Politics), there might be some real progress to be made.

Lind is on solid ground reminding Us of the 11 points of the ‘Freedom Budget’ proposed in October of 1967 by A. Philip Randolph and others: "the abolition of poverty; guaranteed full employment; full production and high economic growth; adequate minimum wages; income parity for farmers; guaranteed incomes for those unable to work; a decent home for every family; healthcare for all; educational opportunity for all; reforms of Social Security and welfare; and equitable tax policies".

This is a tall order. It was then but it’s even more so now: the industrial base is gone; the dampdreams of the assorted Identity revolutions have turned the apparently solid conceptual ground of the points into a mine-field of coded agendas and objectives many of which are themselves misconceived and lethal; the entire sitting political class and its elites have made their careers doing exactly the opposite; and the Citizenry that in 1967 might still have been able to Ground the whole thing has been grievously diluted and weakened along many crucial axes.

But at least it would get the country back on the right track. Although We would then still have a long hard way to go.

And it would get the country ‘back to work again’, if I may put it that way. I don’t mean in terms of productive and life-sustaining useful jobs, but rather in the deeper sense of allowing the Citizens to again engage in the reality-based challenge of building a responsible and mature life as individuals and as a commonwealth, as a society and as a polity, as a culture and a civilization (hey hey, ho ho), as a complex but deeply united association of committed adults.

Now THERE is a Vision.


*As I so often point out, even the military had to bend to the wind. But even more than industry, the military must operate in a world where Competence in the face of Hard Realities and the inescapable and unspinnable power of Consequences do not yield to the clever manipulations of appearances. But still, huge numbers of ‘contractors’ started to appear to bolster the Diversity-riddled forces.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010


An article in a recent issue of ‘The Nation’ reveals more than perhaps it intends to.

Writer Ann Jones observes – with some respect for complexity – that if the US pulls out of Afghanistan it will be ‘abandoning’ Afghan women.

This puts “us and Afghan women in a double bind”, she admits.

The Taliban will come back into power and that won’t serve the cause of Afghan women. True enough.

Nor does she hold much hope for Hillary Clinton’s “assurance that a ‘reconciled’ Taliban will agree to observe women’s rights under the Constitution”, which Jones sees as “either cynical or naïve in the extreme”.

I presume she refers to the U.S. Constitution; I can’t imagine that the U.S. has genuinely succeeded – or ever could succeed – in imposing a U.S.-style constitution on the Afghanis.

And this is not because in the eyes of contemporary American feminism the Afghan culture is ‘patriarchal’, ‘oppressive’ and so forth. Rather, it’s because I don’t think it’s wise or prudent U.S. policy to try to impose itself on any other people.

Especially at the point of a bayonet (or automatic weapon or drone or what-have-you). Napoleon famously observed that folks don’t appreciate the ministrations of “armed missionaries”.

And since those purported ‘Constitutional rights’ are to no small extent still not fully accepted over here, then I can’t see how it makes sense to use the military to impose them elsewhere.

Especially with a nation that is known – and has been since long before American feminism gained traction through the vote-addled support of the Beltway – to most stubbornly and effectively want to be left on its own, unmolested (as it were) by the dampdreams or ‘progress’ of other cultures. If this was true of the Brits – who in the 19th century were simply trying to use the Afghanis as pawns in their Great Power maneuverings against the Russia of the Czars – it will most certainly prove to be true about the Americans, who – under the aegis (and cover) of some form of Victimology and liberation-from-victimhood – have been trying to drag the Afghanis into some U.S.-friendly (and U.S.-shaped) broad sunlit upland of ‘progress’.

Let’s face it: American feminism as it has evolved as a political agenda and in its most essential philosophical justifications and objectives constitutes a profound assault upon society and culture (which, being presumed ‘patriarchal’ and ‘oppressive’, must be Deconstructed and Re-constructed root-and-branch forthwith).

This is not the ‘spin’ that has been put upon it here, and indeed to even suggest it is to prove oneself a ‘victimizer’ and ‘re-victimizer’ and ‘backlasher’ in the scripts that govern mainstream American elite discourse.

But the Afghans can be forgiven for not being as susceptible to American elite discourse and agitprop as the American elites themselves.

Not that they care a whit whether American elites forgive them or not.

Would any nation want to accept so profound and fundamental assault not only on its perceived short-comings but – given the deep and broad scope of such a cultural and societal re-structuring – on the most visceral and vital organs of its entire worldview and its lifeways and folkways?

Wouldn’t any nation – if it were able to retain its independence of thought and action – exert itself vigorously to repel such an assault, no matter how comprehensively spun as ‘progress’ and ‘liberation’?

Indeed, given this reality, haven’t We now set up a situation where – in attempting to drape Our military and geo-strategic objectives in the sheeps-clothing of feministical liberation – the Afghans see Us as far more of a grave threat to their national existence than the Taliban?

And if so, then Our adventure over there will not – cannot – end well.

Let me say here that my primary objection to the current mutation of American feminism is not first with its Vision (although Deconstruction, especially of such vital social organs as Marriage and Family and a robust, genuine, well-Grounded Maturity, is a lethal virus indeed). Had the Citizenry been given a chance to deliberate, some of that Vision would have been adopted here, although only after being run through the filtration of broad public debate and consensus-building to filter out the more lethal elements.

But – again, with the Beltway’s pandering help – the entire filtration process was side-stepped and instead the radical-feminist agenda was stove-piped right into the nation’s vital systems and organs.

This was not merely due to the impatience of Youth or the committed cadres of Revolution.

It was due to the gimlet-eyed awareness on the part of the vanguard-elites that their Vision precisely required so massive and fundamental assault on the ethos of American culture and society that no Citizenry in its right mind would have accommodated it whole-hog.

The entire ‘democratic’ process HAD TO BE side-stepped, and through Beltway stove-piping it was.

Now, since the citizens of a far-distant nation are not legally under the aegis of the Beltway’s authority and its hyper-excited illuminations, the effort will be made to put them under the aegis of military invasion and occupation.

I can’t imagine that the Afghanis don’t see this. Only Americans, it seems, don’t see it – but of course, the ‘beam in one’s own eye’ is one of the great and classic strategic traps, as even Scripture saith.

Nor is it legitimate to insist that with a little ‘democracy’ imposed upon their polity the Afghans can surely make their own changes. They very well may not.

And to claim that the Identity of ‘women’ overrides national Identity and the sovereign authority allowed to nations and peoples, is to undermine the Westphalian international system that has managed to hold the modern world together for 350 years or so. And while that system has not been perfect – may indeed be riddled with limitations – yet, as Churchill said of ‘democracy’, it is still “the worst of systems – with the exception of all the rest”.

Humanitarian invasion to right perceived wrongs or – worse – preventive invasion to prevent perceived wrongs – is not ‘progress’; it introduces a hugely regressive wild-card back into the deck of international affairs (which is a chancy game as it is). No government – and few human beings – can be trusted to wield justly and effectively so huge and freighted an authority as the authority to preventively invade and occupy and Deconstruct and Re-construct whomever they think is not performing up to expectations.

Yes, the Federal government did it to the Jim Crow South, for the (originally) limited objective of abolishing that system’s clear violations of long-recognized and accepted Constitutional rights.

But even within its own nation, on its own turf, the Federal government was seduced into expanding its objectives virulently, to the point where it has made a lethal hash of some of this nation’s and this polity’s most vital and quintessential supporting structures.

And I can’t imagine that the Afghans (or any other nation) haven’t seen that; the mess is, so to speak, visible from space, for heaven’s sake.

I had Posted a while ago on the effort to get the International Violence Against Women Act passed, which would essentially turn the entire planet into a herd of ‘potential’ abusers and sex-offenders and rapists and ‘oppressors’, and bring them under the ‘legal authority’ of the enlightened Beltway elites and their pandering pols.

Although that Act has not – to the best of my knowledge – made it into law, its essential dynamics are being shrewdly deployed in Afghanistan and against the Afghan culture.

I can’t help but notice the hell-hot irony: just as the Beltway attempts to further justify its military presence over there by claiming to be liberating some feminist conception of ‘victims’, just so does it incite genuinely patriotic resistance by locals (the Afghans) who don’t relish the Deconstruction of their entire ethos.

They know – as We have not allowed Ourselves to know – just how surely Deconstruction rides in the train of Our current ‘humanitarian’ interventions.*

Nor, in another hell-hot irony, will there be success through the effort – perhaps to kill several unpleasant birds with one stone – to use American females (military or contractor) to fan out and soft-sell the whole thing to the local villagers. The elders won’t pay much attention, and if the Western females try to ‘organize’ the village females instead … well, I don’t see things progressing well from that point on. And you are well-advised to put as little trust in happy-face reporting of ‘success stories’ in this regard as you might put into official military media’s happy-face, can-do BurbleSpeak about how We are advancing boldly on all fronts, where no man/person has gone before.

This is the real-world, not Star-Trek, even that oh-so-transgressively-Correct ‘Next Generation’ that cruised through the early 1990s in the equivalent of a flying Marriott concierge-level suite.

But those were the salad-days of the American feministical movement as its radical elements managed to spin its moderate elements as gender-traitors and spin themselves as the One True Feminism.

A lot of good that’s done Us.

And the Afghanis know it.


*I wonder if someone isn’t going to come up with a Four Horsewomen of the American Apocalypse sort of image: Deconstruction, Re-construction, Identity Politics, and (fill in the fourth blank as you see fit).

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Friday, August 27, 2010


A Catholic priest is in the news again – and the Cardinal that protected him from police investigation.

It hasn’t received a lot of play here though.

The man is long dead (1980) but that has rarely made a difference in current American media and legal praxis.

He was a member of a shadowy and indeed secret organization that rather fancied it a good thing to screw up lives, perhaps since in the Big Picture they were actually doing the work of the Lord.

The man’s alleged crimes certainly ruined the lives of nine victims. ‘Totally screwed them up’ as no doubt might be said anywhere in the US these days.

His Cardinal got together with the police and they all quietly decided that the best thing would be to transfer him out of the country – and so they did. He died uninvestigated and un-charged. There will be, thus, no ‘closure’, as they like to say in these parts.

His alleged victims will never go to church again.

They are dead. He allegedly masterminded the IRA bombing that killed them in 1972.

It was in Ireland during ‘The Troubles’ that started in 1969 and went on for quite a few years.

The story hasn’t received much play here.

I think I can see why.

It’s been an elephant in the middle of the room around these parts that priests could easily be tarred with a metaphorical ‘killing’ through this, that, or another form of ‘abuse’ since – reliably – priests rarely really actually killed anybody and so there was no reality-principle to act as a brake on the incessantly trumpeted ‘soul-murder’ or ‘life-destruction’ said to result from this, that, or another form of ‘abuse’.

So it has been easy-peezy to play the ‘death’ card against ‘abusive’ priests, since there was never any real death on the field that would put the ‘abuse is death’ mantras in proportion: as being rather substantially exaggerated. Not to put too fine a point on it, if one is well enough to be taking nourishment and breathing with some regularity, one is not really dead. And claims to be so must be taken as the (perhaps well-intentioned) exaggerations that they are.

This embarrassing reality is clearly not ‘friendly’ to the cause of certain interests in the country these days, nor to their media enablers. Indeed it threatens to inject an irrefutable reality into a forum that has been somewhat prone to something other than reality: the exaggerated mantra itself, of course, and then the somewhat phantasmagorical reliance on ‘spectral evidence’ – I am ‘dead’ because I believe I am dead and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Which in any normal world would elicit, at best, counseling, and at worst, a bit of tough-love explication of just what ‘reality’ means.

Although then again, We no longer live in a culture whose elites value ‘reality’. ‘Facts don’t matter’; symbols are more useful than actualities; if enough folks can be gotten to believe something then it is ‘true’.

All of the foregoing are signs not of cutting-edge progress (no matter how ‘sensitive’) but of regression to more primitive forms of public discourse.

George Bernard Shaw once said that “all progress depends on the unreasonable man” – say “unreasonable people” if you like. There’s a bit of truth to it, real truth.

Although it’s exaggerated for effect, as all aphorisms are. The ‘unreasonable’ – like the nonconformist lemmings of the later Boomer generation – are helpful, indeed indispensable.

But they cannot be the policy-makers or the policy-drivers in a civilization. Especially in a remarkable civilization – the Western civilization – that was built on Reason and reasonableness. And especially in the American version of Western civilization, that was founded upon a politics of reasonableness NOT for the purpose of creating an idolatry of Reason – that was the French Revolution’s vision, that poisonous tree that also bore the fruit of the Leninist and Maoist revolutions – BUT for the purpose of ensuring a reasonableness in politics and a reasonable politics.

It was in that way that the Framers sought to avoid the dark and primal excesses that abide in the human self and were enshrined, one way or another, in so many of the world’s prior civilizations and systems of government.

It has not been ‘progress’ that unreasonableness has been enshrined here and drives far too much of the American government’s policy and the country’s politics, and has now for decades. It has been, rather, a monstrous regression to a more primitive politics and has resulted in a much more primitive and greatly weakened polity.

And that must change.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Andrew O’Hagan has a short piece about the Wikileaks dust-up.

No doubt you’re familiar with the matter: European Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, published 92,000 pages of official military and government reports about how things are going in the day-to-day operations in Afghanistan.

O’Hagan has looked through many of them.

Most of the reports are laced with “thick, stubby acronyms and gamer-speak”. It’s not unusual to see a lot of acronyms – the military tries to convey a lot of info in the shortest possible way, and acronyms are one way to achieve that objective.

The “gamer-speak” is more worrying. It’s a way of distancing yourself from what you’re doing – especially if you or any normal person would otherwise find it unpalatable.

But whereas in the bad old days those in military service sort of came to the service with a decently formed conscience, and then ran into problems when there was nasty work to be done, the ‘gamer generation’ may well come into military service already far more ‘experienced in combat kills’ than Patton could ever have imagined. After all, a lot of kids spend dozens of hours a week for years (their most formative years, no less) in these interactive and wide-based online war games – kill games, might not be an inaccurate term for the things – and most have actually grown into late adolescence or early adulthood having fortified their sense of achievement through counting the blood-spatter they’ve caused on their screens.

Nor is there really anywhere near as much counter-influence (maturity, charity, decency, and all that sort of thing) available to them nowadays like there was before the country and its society and its culture started making so much of the ‘progress’ that is currently trumpeted by certain interests.

From his reading O’Hagan concludes that “you realize, first, that something much worse than we thought has been happening in Afghanistan, and, second, that journalism may never be the same again”.

I don’t need to take up time rehashing all the things wrong in Afghanistan; it’s ‘going south’ as the military likes to say, and that ain’t good.

I would like to suggest, however, that Our domestic situation is very similarly ‘going south’. And that a lot of folks don’t realize it any more – or even less – than they realize what has been going wrong ‘over there’.

I say this because when I read the piece today, I had a personal moment. Let me take a moment to share it. It came to me that in my Posts I might sound like Henry Adams – and nothing more than that.

Henry Adams, you may recall, was an observer of the American scene in the 1890s and the pre-WW1 era. He saw the America he knew fading away – which has been the case with almost all generations of Americans as they aged. So there’s that element in it.

But then he also sensed – especially after the high-level government skullduggery of McKinley’s era that used the ‘liberation’ of Cuba to cover the first-ever American overseas occupation (of the Philippines) – that the government was beginning to develop a much different relationship to the American People, not telling them the full truth and getting itself – and the People – involved in some mighty iffy business.

“Order becomes disorder” he said. Using the Second Law of Thermodynamics, he applied it to History and saw the country somehow declining or falling-off from what it had originally been – or perhaps sought to be.

I sense much the same thing. Only worse.

What has been happening in the past 40 years domestically has brought Us to a hugely dangerous place: We are economically undermined, and unless another world-changing invention along the lines of the Apple-Microsoft phenomenon of the 1980s comes along then this country is not bouncing back very soon, and it will surely not bounce as far back up as it used to.

Of course it was easy to miss (or ignore) the falling-off that Adams saw; for much of that new century (the 20th) the country improved economically and – especially under the stimulus of two World Wars (that nicely undermined the then-regnant governing Great Powers of the world) – progressively overtook its rivals to become the principality among the powers of this world.

No matter what else the government did or was suspected of doing, it was presiding over lots and lots of economic success, or at least a lot of money sloshing around.

That’s going away now. And as the blinding golden glow of endless cash dissolves, it reveals the actual goings-on that have been corroding as well as corrupting the whole American Experiment.

Unlike Adams, and for the first time in American history, We are a generation that will not see Our children do better. Or Our children’s children or their children (just on the basis of the national debt already incurred).

The ‘slackers’ were the canaries in the cage: sticking around home not simply because there was no room for ‘males’ in the knowledge-and-service ‘economy’ but also because the actual number of life-sustaining jobs (thus not barrista, leaf-blower, dog-walker, or nanny) were disappearing at an alarming rate. And you can add major glitz jobs in ‘the financial sector’ now as well. In fact – face it – as the general ‘wealth’ of the population decreases, there will be a declining need for lawyers, corporate honchos, bankers, and such. And if anyone is hoping that ‘the government’ will step in as the employer of last resort, then a) the government is already broke and that’s not getting better any time soon and b) a government that controls the employment and salaries of the majority of its Citizens is not going to be governed by those same Citizens and there goes the Constitutional balance and The People itself.

And if no People, then no Republic and – what the hey? – no need for the Constitution in any sense recognizable to the Vision of 1787. (Which is what the ‘progressive’ Revolutions have presumed – with the coy approval of the Rightists and Corporatists – all along.)

So I just want to say here that I see my only resemblance to Henry Adams being a concern to point things out while there still might be time.

That being said – and I don’t like injecting personal material into these essays – let’s continue with O’Hagan’s fine piece.

His point about journalism never being the same again ties in with the nature of Assange’s and the Web’s “potent new amateurism”: flouting the rules of journalism “because, by and large, it aligns itself with no commercial body, no political party, no ‘national security interest’, and no code of honor about who is more likely to deserve our protection”.

He’s writing in a British publication here, but what he says goes equally well for US journalism: it has ‘allied’ itself into irrelevance. The entire purpose of a “free press” in the Founding Vision was to provide accurate information to the governors of the government, i.e. The People.

But over time, papers developed ‘slants’. Which reduced objectivity somewhat, but there was still a cultural strength to Truth as a goal and a guide. And there were many independent newspapers (no radio or TV yet) even within one metropolitan area, so Citizens could compare and perhaps with some thought figure out what was going on.

But William Randolph Hearst’s decision to throw the weight of his entire publishing network behind fueling the run-up to the Spanish-American War (famously telegraphing to a reporter in Cuba “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war” – feast on the frakkeries of Yellow Journalism here) heralded an ominous change: corporately-webbed papers / deploying emotional and sensationalistic and selective ‘reporting’ / in order to manipulate rather than truly inform public opinion / among a population now having to judge vital national developments about which they had no personal knowledge / and under the eye of a government that was up to all sorts of major international skullduggery that it would much rather not have anybody know about.

Things were not improved by the ‘progressive’ Wilson’s insistence upon the passage of the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 1918 respectively: even reporting by the mainstream press might be a criminal offense if it ‘reported’ the wrong things, and the laws were later used to suppress Labor in its efforts to achieve its goals.

But by the end of World War 2 the press – radio included and TV almost on the scene – had passed from the control of individual owners to corporate structure, and the bosses of the “free press” became part of the “elites” who had assumed control of the labrynthine and byzantine complex into which the Federal government had morphed.

Accommodating themselves to the requirements of a government now greatly concerned for ‘national security’ in the Cold War – headed up in the West by an United States that had supplanted the former Great Powers of Europe – the “media” also adapted themselves to a country now given less to complex consideration of issues and increasingly accustomed to the ‘sound bites’ and gripping (though shallow) images upon which television thrived.

The Civil Rights Movement agitations of the 1950s started to lure those media into not simply ‘reporting’ on events but helping to ‘shape’ them, dimly but surely reflecting a growing sense in theories of communication and of philosophical epistemology that there really was no way to be ‘objective’ about ‘facts’ since all such ‘facts’ are ‘constructed’ by the observer to begin with.

But it was a ‘good cause’ and the media came to feast upon the role of ‘shaper’, now not simply an objective and detached observer reporting to The People but rather part of the elites who ‘shaped’ ‘public opinion’.

With the agitations of the later 1960s, and the whole-hog importation of French Deconstruction theory by radical-feminism (already surfing the wave created by the second and Revolutionary, Black Power phase of the black Civil Rights Movement), the media were now given benefit-of-philosophy for their mutation.

The French elites were horrified by the effects of mass-movements in France and Germany during the era of World Wars 1 and 2. The French Rightists and Leftists waged ideological war upon each other as early as the Dreyfus matter of the 1890s; the populations of all the European nations were whipped into a frenzy as the Great Powers slid frakkingly into World War 1; and the Nazis had taken the manipulation of public opinion to horrific heights and depths.

Better, the most agitated French intellectuals thought after 1945, to simply keep everything as divided up and stymied as possible, to prevent any unanimity of public discourse, since unanimity seemed inevitably to lead to ‘totalizing’ and totalitarian governance.*

Thus no Big Picture in terms of a Beyond or a God or any sense of overarching Meaning to life could be allowed; nor could there be allowed any coherent unifying political big-picture; nor could any generally unifying politics be allowed. But then, of course, no unified polity could be allowed either.

The French in general seemed to realize that this approach was a corrosive acid that, once released, could not be harnessed or controlled and would eat away the foundations of any national existence of polity at all. And they were probably right.

Because it was soon deployed for field operations – in another field.

Because the whole mish-mash fed into American Identity Politics after 1970. (Along with a heavily Marxist analysis of American society and culture that injected profound suspicion of ‘majority opinion’ as well as profound hostility to ‘patriarchy’ and an insistence on an Identity that was not in any working sense ‘American’.)

And in a too-infrequently noted cumulative effect, the Black Power Identity was joined not only by the ‘feminist’ Identity, but by other follow-on Revolutions, which were then themselves given benefit-of-philosophy by the newly-minted movements (they can hardly be called ‘philosophies’) of Multiculturalism and Diversity.

And of course, being ‘government-friendly’ in ‘liberal’ administrations ensnared the media into being equally so in ‘conservative’ administrations.

And the band played on.

And the Beltway signed on, whole-hog. Perhaps, as I have been saying for quite a while, in an effort to forestall American shock at the end of postwar American economic primacy through distracting culture wars but also by Deconstructing the America and Americans who had achieved that primacy, replacing them with newly ‘valorized’ Youth and immigrants who would have no memory of what was being Deconstructed, as well as the numerous ‘liberal-progressives’ such as radical-feminists who were absolutely sure that their dampdreams would lead to broad, sunlit uplands of gender-Utopia and ‘justice’.

(Nor did the Republicans long remain out of this mud-hole, once it became clear that Wealth could benefit hugely if quietly from this Deconstruction of an America that was too Labor-friendly.)

So, thus, O’Hagan says much when he observes about Wikileaks’s Assange that “he is a believer in the truth for its own sake”. The Western mainstream media no longer believe that: either because – in the accents of Pilate – they no longer believe that there is such a thing as ‘truth’ or ‘Truth’, or else because – in the accents of Goebbels and Goring – they believe that ‘truth is whatever we think is good for the (German) people’. And, of course, ‘truth’ is no longer where the profits are.

Assange is “techy” about the objection – shrewdly raised – that “the leaked war reports would put US and coalition forces in danger”. This is a verrrry shrewd objection. It attempts to surf the regnant American predilection for ‘victimism’: the troops over there are ‘victims’, and will be ‘victimized’ by the dangers that might be inflamed by the Wikileaks.

Assange – not bound by American sensitivies and predilections – asks the acute question as to whether categorizing troops on active service as ‘victims’ or ‘potential victims’ doesn’t undermine any examination of military operations at all.

Because it is an axiom of victimism that ‘the victim cannot be doubted or questioned’ and that to do any such doubting or questioning is to ‘re-victimize the victim all over again’.

But if the government now tries to cover its activities under the mantle of ‘victimization’ – and using the troops themselves as ‘fronts’ like a bank-robber trying to get out of a surrounded bank by holding hostages in front of herself – then effectively and for all practical purposes We are back to Woodrow Wilson’s insistence that NOBODY, not even the Citizens and The People, can question the actions of the Federal government.

And THIS in the context of Our current hugely dubious and failing national military misadventures – which are themselves possibly in contravention of every principle established at Nuremberg and even Westphalia .

Assange states that “he is all for ‘victim protection’ but soldiers, as he sees it, represent the national security state”. Which is hardly a surprising revelation, except perhaps to a lot of Americans.

O’Hagan doesn’t get into it, but there is also the huge and ignored elephant-in-the-middle-of-the-room Question: has the government victimized its own troops (and on Our authority) by sending them into such a frakkulently mis-conceived, mis-justified, mis-conducted set of wars to begin with? Is the government the Prime Victimizer in all of this?

I’m not sure where O’Hagan stands on this, but he acknowledges with what seems a personal note that “Some of us believe that soldiers are basically poor guys from Blackpool [a poor English city] who aspire to a better life but don’t have many options. Some victims wear battle-fatigues”.

I can see where he’s coming from here and it’s not inaccurate or unjust of him to make the point.

But there’s also the problem that these “guys” (and upon them be peace) are now in the position of having to find a life by signing up to conduct invasive and preventive wars, military occupations, and God-knows what horrific duties or – alas – malfeasances that, on top of frakkulent strategic blunders and government deceptions, condemn them not only to the risk of physical maiming but place them on what can only be charitably described as ‘the moral low-ground’.

THIS is the core problem, and Wikileaks isn’t the cause of it. Government is. The very same government that now wants to somehow suppress the news about what’s been going on ‘over there’.

This is a moral catastrophe that screams to heaven – even before you factor in the consequences and effects rained upon the human beings and populations caught in the middle ‘over there’ (upon whom be peace).

Of course, given that Politically Correct doctrine refuses to admit the possibility of any dimensions of human existence that could be described as ‘moral’ or ‘Moral’, then We are all in the position – and not simply in terms of military operations – of having brought a knife to the proverbial gunfight. We are being battered on a dimension of the ‘battlespace’ that We don’t’ even know exists.**

Funny how the Cosmic night moves.

Lastly, O’Hagan refers to one of those types (linked-to in O’Hagan’s piece) whom perhaps might best be characterized – and with no gender disrespect intended – in Victorian terms as “kept women”: ‘thinkers’ employed by lobbyist ‘think tanks’ precisely to provide intellectual cover or grounds for whatever ideological position they are paid to shill. This particular fellow (it could as easily have been a woman) brays and bleats that Wikileaks has “muddied the waters between journalism and activism” and with “little regard for the hard moral choices and dearth of good policy options facing decision makers”.


First, this is the exact type of thing that with Daniel Ellsberg’s release of the so-called ‘Pentagon Papers’ in 1971, mainstream journalism mostly leaped upon as being indeed a very valid exercise of the officium of “a free press”. Something has gone verrrrry wrong subsequently (see my thoughts above) since American journalism no longer sees its role as digging up vital and accurate information to be provided to The People.

Second, “moral choices” is a tad insufficient here. A choice for an immoral action is not most accurately characterized as a “moral choice” … while you were originally confronted with a choice in the moral realm, the choice you actually chose was immoral, and thus the actual essence of what you finally did choose to do is best characterized as ‘immoral’. (Precisely, by the by, the type of gambit many say is now ingrained into liberal-progressive praxis through the efforts to ‘spin’ abortion, by odd coincidence.)

The Correct come-back to this, of course, is that ‘my’ morality is not the same as ‘your’ morality so if I think it’s ‘moral’ then there’s nothing you can rightly say about what I do. But then what is morality based upon that would make it Morality, i.e. a capital letter concept that has compelling universal validity as a guide to human action?***

And if there is no such Morality, then what remains to distinguish doing the ‘moral’ thing from doing-what-I-want?

And if governments can do what they want then … what’s left to judge them and their actions? Was the only reason that the Nuremberg trials were held that the Allies had won the war and thus could physically enforce their Way of looking at things? If the Nazis had won, and they and all Germans mostly agreed that what the Third Reich had done was moral, then would that mean that what they did was indeed ‘moral’? (This is what happens when you try to anchor Morality in the human dimension itself; you can’t establish an Archimedean Point within the quantum that you’re trying to lift – you need to establish it outside of – or ‘beyond’ or ‘Beyond’ – the quantum that you’re trying to lift or you’re simply going to tip yourself over disastrously when you start applying pressure on the machinery – as the Engineers saith.)

Third, if there is indeed now such a “dearth of good choices” then HOW did We come to this terrible pass? And I don’t pose this question to try to assign blame as much as to assert that whatever was done to lead to this pass may still be a dynamic factor in the continuation of this frakkish situation and We need to know what’s going on under-the-surface (see Note ** below about the Long Lance torpedo).

I still say that there is a future in this country for The People as conceived at the Framing, and that there are enough folks still capable of mature and deliberative thought (despite decades of government-empowered efforts to Dilute same) to justify getting real information out to The People.

While there is still time.


*You will find clear echoes of this in Martha Nussbaum’s recent philosophizing in support of Identity Politics: that ‘majoritarian’ interests must not be allowed to interfere with ‘minority’ ‘rights’ – widely and vaguely defined. Thus, she asserts, ‘politics’ and democracy must not be allowed to interfere with the ‘rights’ agenda she wants the courts to impose and enforce (apparently she senses that legislators – shades of Autumn 1944! – are beginning to get a little nervous and are starting to think about ‘consequences’).

**An analogy from World War 2: the Japanese early developed the Type 93 ‘Long Lance’ torpedo, which could travel three times the distance of American torpedoes, packed twice the explosive power, and was fueled in such a way that the thing left no tell-tale trail of bubbles on the surface that would betray its path. Thus, for quite some time, American warships were taking defensive measures that presumed Japanese torpedoes operated within the same parameters as American torpedoes, and were being hit, holed, having their entire bows blown off, or sunk by what American naval commanders assumed must be mines or un-detected submarines. Meanwhile, Japanese warships and submarines could stay well outside the too-small American detection and protection screens, and blow up capital ships with unnerving accuracy and frequency. And for quite a while, the Americans didn’t even know what they were actually up against.

Or again: imagine that immediately upon hitting the berg, Titanic’s command staff ordered all the passengers locked below decks, and told them that things weren’t so bad and if everybody would simply ‘stay positive’ and perhaps pray (you can’t suggest this nowadays) then everything would be OK; the only thing to fear was fear itself (with all respect to FDR, whose use of the phrase was apt in 1933, but not today). Folks would thus continue their activities, perhaps with increasing reliance on champagne or rot-gut likker (depending on your Class) to dull the sick-making awareness that things were increasingly not-on-the-level.

***For the philosophically-minded: the Correct come-back to this point is that John Stuart Mill said that you can do anything you want to do as long as it doesn’t harm anybody else.

This was Mill’s way of trying to preserve the widest individual liberty, yet maintain the coherence or reliability of human society, while simultaneously NOT involving God or any metaphysical principles (Mill was a good Liberal, after all).

But while his effort looks good on first glance, it won’t float once out of the constructor’s dock and into the water. He’s forced to adopt a verrrrry narrow definition of ‘harm’: an act of ‘harm’ has to be clearly established as such and it has to become manifest quickly enough to justify or indict the person who perpetrated it.

BUT a) you therefore have to restrict your definition of ‘harm’ to something which can be established as such. There are dimensions of existence – the moral, the spiritual, the psychological – where ‘harm’ cannot be easily established, leading your theory to either i) overlook large swaths of harmful action or ii) accept what amounts to ‘spectral evidence’ as ‘proof’ of an alleged ‘harm’ (this is the gambit that Victimism has tried to enshrine: if the allegedly harmed person says s/he has been harmed, then that claim must be accepted as true even though there is no way to independently corroborate the claim).

And b) you have to presume that all harmful consequences will make themselves manifest in a short-enough period of time after the alleged harm has been perpetrated. But some consequences might not manifest for quite some time. An action that might not seem harmful in the time-period X after the act has been committed, might manifest harmful effects in the time-period X-plus-Y.

I’d also add here that Mill must restrict himself to non-metaphysical harms, since his theory does not admit the relevance or existence of the metaphysical plane. But suppose that all humans are linked in a great Web of emotional or mental or spiritual bonds; if THAT is so, then an action perpetrated by one person might indeed radiate out to have harmful consequences – much as if on a very large waterbed, the action of one person in one corner of the mattress would be radiated out to impact upon all the persons on the mattress.

And that’s without bringing God or His commandments or Morality into it.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010


I’ve Posted on this before* but the material now comes (with a new twist but still the same gravamen) in a book review by the Irish author Colm Toibin and in no less a venue than ‘The London Review of Books’, so I am going to briefly say it all again, with some attention to the new twist.

Toibin is setting himself a difficult task in this review of a book entitled “The Pope Is Not Gay”: he has to keep his liberal-progressive creds by going along with their agenda, while also adding this new spin of being ‘gay-positive’.

The ‘gay-positive’ bit means that he has taken it upon himself to somehow make ‘gay clergy’ not-look like the folks responsible for all the sex-abuse (and in this I agree with him and support him) while also making gays – even gays in the priesthood, even ‘active’ gays in the priesthood – look good in and of themselves.

It makes for some interesting twists and turns.

The first point, then, is to point out the massive and fatal incoherence in the liberal-progressive agenda: using the ‘sex abuse crisis’ (with or without the ‘gay’ bit) as a reason for doing away with both clerical celibacy and a male-only priesthood in the Catholic Church.

Serious sex-offense studies have established that a huge percentage of all child sex-abuse occurs in families, perpetrated by family members or relatives; much less than 10 percent is perpetrated by the now-classic cartoon of the ‘slavering and monstrous and incorrigible stranger’.

Therefore, the liberal-progressive effort to propose a married clergy is not only inaccurately grounded but also – in light of the actual known dynamics and demographics of sex-abusing – places a child in more rather than less danger.

Whether a non-male clergy, married or otherwise, might be any ‘safer’ would depend on just how much females engage in sex abuse, whether they are straight or lesbian. Curiously, there is little statistical information to go on here; nobody seems to be tracking it, although all the male-related possibilities in sex-abusing are heavily explored in the research.

Which segues rather quickly into his derisive recitation of the many comments by Church functionaries and supporters that the Catholic Church is being somehow singled-out. I can’t see how you can avoid that conclusion: the presumption of sex-offending in its classic formulation is that all males are prone to this (indeed some radical-feminist thought holds that all sex is rape and all males are potential – and probably ‘probable’ – rapists simply by virtue of their sex-drive).

Yet little coverage, comparatively speaking, is given to clergy of other faiths, or to such other functionaries as teachers, counselors, and assorted care-providers.

The reasons for this ‘singling-out’ no doubt range along a spectrum: outside the Church, the liberal-progressives are engaged in a major struggle to either supplant or at least discredit the Church’s moral stands against such major elements of the lib-prog agenda as abortion, the sanctity of marriage, the importance of the Family, and in general a stubborn bearing witness to the authoritative role of any Higher Law or Law-giver, the authority of Which (or Whom) can stand in judgment on human laws and practices.

The Rightist, nation-worshipping Fundamentalists (more or less Protestant) seek to supplant the Church’s moral authority as it stands against ‘preventive war’, torture, and many other elements that have now become Standard Operating Procedure by a government that in the Fundamentalist view is pretty much God’s Deputy and therefore authorized by Him to ‘do whatever it takes’ and to do so with His full support and approval.

And the Church – especially since Vatican 2 – has been concerned for ‘the poor’, precisely as the Beltway has been quietly pandering to corporations and Wealth. (And you might want to look here to get an idea of how dangerous THAT was to the Beltway strategy).

Recall that in the early 1980s the Catholic hierarchy of the day took strong stands for social justice (especially as economically defined) and against nuclear war.

Within the Church there is a strong ‘liberal’ (as the term is used nowadays) tendency against celibacy, against males as priests, and against hierarchy in general. (Although whether such an aversion would survive if a Popess were to be on the Throne of Peter is an interesting question.)

So, given the confluence and synergy of both Leftish and Rightish objectives, inside and outside the Church, you can see that there is more than enough richly-manured earth from which a selective focus on the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy might indeed spring.

As always, I am NOT saying here that no sex-abuse (however that term is defined) occurred NOR am I trying to smuggle in any sort of approval for the imposition of sexual-experience on any human being by any other human being.

With Church supporters, there are – as Toibin notes and quotes – ‘conservative’ or ‘traditional’ elements who insist that the whole problem stems from ‘gays’ in the priesthood. And – queasily – there are some in the hierarchy who are quite happy to go along with this ‘explanation’ if for no other reason than to offer up some sacrificial lambs to stave off further incidents of the aforementioned selective obloquy. In fact, you might almost say that some hierarchs are trying to use the gay-clerics much as Chamberlain used the Czechs: as sort of an appeasement to the monster, acceptable collateral damage because – and this was feculently untrue even when Chamberlain uttered the phrase – they were “a people of whom we know little”.

The Catholic priesthood, as Toibin notes and quotes, has a rather substantial gay contingent. He observes that in his own experience he saw a large number of what he describes – very nicely and vividly – as “male flutterers” who were given to doing a lot of “male fluttering”, swanning about with swishy and sequined vestments.

Indeed, in a nice by-the-by, he lets it be known that when in the mid-2000s the Archbishop of the US military forces conducted, on orders from Rome, a serious survey of American seminaries, he reported that anywhere from a quarter to a half of all seminarians and priests were gay (whether ‘out’ or ‘closeted’ is left un-discussed by Toibin). I don’t know how much of the Sisterhood (the nuns, that is) is lesbian, and that matter wasn’t examined … a point I raise here only to note that a female priesthood might well include quite a few ‘gays’ itself.

Anyhoo, Toibin then gets on to the current Pope and to the hierarchy. He reports himself shocked, shocked, that whereas in 1991 he observed mostly nuns helping prelates take their liturgical vestments off at large religious events, more recently he has noted that it is mostly good-looking males attending to the prelates.

This is a stretch that exposes a queasy elasticity. If there are gays in the Church they were surely there in the early 1990s. Indeed, he quotes one highly-placed Church source as saying that such stuff has been “going on for centuries”. So Toibin’s effort here to establish his creds as one of the Shocked is too much of a muchness.

It’s true that there are stories alleging that the late Cardinal-Archbishop of New York, Spellman – much like his contemporary Lavrentiy Beria, head of the NKVD and Commissar for Internal Affairs under Stalin – used to troll the city streets late at night in his official limo; the difference being that the Commissar was looking for young girls.

Which might put paid to any fantasies – however pious – of a Golden Age when all priests were Bing Crosby or Barry Fitzgerald (also contemporaries of the Cardinal-Archbishop).

I have no definite information on the late Cardinal-Archbishop. And while just about any excuse would have done to justify the erasure of Stalinist Communism from the earth, I don’t recall anybody suggesting the erasure of the US Congress or the Pentagon when this or that Member or official is entangled in sexual crimes or misadventures.

But Toibin is going for the gayness-of-the-hierarchy here, as part of his effort to not-disapprove of even those gay priests who consider themselves “more free to consult their consciences and break the rules of celibacy should they see fit”. Which he apparently considers a laudable exercise of conscience and individual freedom.

So, building on his ‘1991’ trope, he observes that even the current Pope himself has a stunningly handsome younger friend, a 40-ish priest from the same part of Bavaria as the Pope himself. I’m not sure about the “handsome” part; one man’s handsome is another man’s ‘beefy’, and surely the classic Enlightenment image of male beauty – that florid, well-fed type bursting out of its satin breeches – proves that beauty is in the eye of the beholding era.

Two points come to mind though.

First, it’s an established point in military history that generals have often chosen good-looking young officers as their aides-de-camp. Grant had one such on his staff, and Shelby Foote recounts a story of Lee playfully pulling down toward his cot a young aide who had come in with a late-night message from some commander on the front lines. I am making no innuendoes about Grant or Lee or anybody else in that rank and capacity, but it seems to be a typical human trait to enjoy the presence of physical beauty, especially youthful, in any form, especially by older members of the species.

Second, there is that under-appreciated (and highly ‘transgressive’) possibility that the Greeks considered females insufficient soul-mates for an adult male, who required the close companionship of another adult male for such soul-sharing. (The sex stuff was only between teens and early 20-year-olds, perhaps as a sage nod to the fact that among the young, biology pretty much dictates some form of sensual element to any relationship.)

Were the Greeks accurate in their surmise as to soul-mates? Was their ‘solution’ effective? Questions too big for me to resolve, but to suggest or imply that the Pope must be gay because he has a close and younger male friend (half his age, but with the Pope at 80-plus a friend half his age is still well into adulthood) does not at all convince.

But Toibin also notes that the Pope favors Prada for the red leather pumps required to go with the white-cassock that is his uniform of the day. Yes, some types of gays – and Imelda Marcos – are into the lotsa-shoes thing, but unless the Pope has a hundred or so pairs of pumps in an expensive closet where he retires to admire them late at night, I’m not impressed by the ‘evidence’.

And for that matter, the Pope may simply have the typically Germanic concern for good uniforms. Teddy Roosevelt, let’s not forget, prepared for the rigors of field command in the Spanish-American War by ordering a specially-designed uniform from Brooks Brothers, with very picky instructions on quality of cut and tailoring and on the amount of gold-bullion and rank insignia and so forth. And most gentleman officers of the era did exactly the same thing. And who can forget George Armstrong Custer with his personally-designed uniform that featured gold braid up to his elbows? Grant, in contrast, was a model of sartorial sobriety – although there was the matter of the youthy aide-de-camp. And Sherman, come to think of it, was said to become notably goo-goo in the presence of early-adolescent females visiting with their parents. And Lee had both gold-braid up to his elbows (as did all Confederate officers) and that come-to-my-cot moment. Go figure.

It is repulsive that Toibin would use as a closing flourish the statement to the effect that Alas, it hurts and stuns to think that “many of us who were brought up in the Church now know that we once listened to sermons about how to conduct our lives from men who were child molesters”. Yet even at the height of the 3rd Phase of the Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis (initiated in early January 2002) the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in its official Report on the matter, could only point to 4 percent of all the priests in the United States who were accused of some form or other of the widely-elastic ‘sex abuse’, and the vast majority of putative victims were not children even at the time of the alleged incidents.

And this was with a stampede-driven loosening of rules of evidence and statutory limitations and other classical legal protections. Nor can one presume that all were guilty, since there were very few trials (such as could be fairly conducted under the conditions imposed) and many hierarchs took the prudent way out by simply settling civilly with huge amounts of cash to forestall the even greater expense of individual trials for each accused priest (those, that is, still alive).

So I don’t think that a whole lot of Catholics grew up learning their religion from “child molesters”.

Lastly, he covers the conventional ground conventionally, claiming that Ratzinger’s refusal to prosecute a priest who was close to death (and subsequently died) for child sex abuse offenses is proof-positive of a cover-up. I don’t think that would stand as the primary or only motivation for such a decision: after all, when you are firmly convinced that a) there is a God and that b) He will judge far more surely than any earthly court, and that c) given the certainty of (a) and (b) there is little to be gained from subjecting an old man’s dying-time to an ecclesiastical trial for matters that happened long before, especially when – again in light of (a) and (b) – the old gentleman is going to be facing a Judge far beyond (to use Lincoln’s phrase) “our poor power to add or detract”.

But this of course reveals the darkness at the heart of so much of this abuse-crisis material: somehow the existence of God and Judgment and Hell doesn’t seem to be an operative factor in the views or calculations of an awful lot of the folks who otherwise claim themselves such good Catholics.

There are many possibilities for that fact, but I leave those in your capable hands.


*See, for example, here, here, and here.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010


In ‘The Nation’ Greg Grandin shares some tactical or – what they hey? – strategic thoughts, specifically “nine reasons Democrats should embrace immigration reform this year”.

A couple of thoughts are prompted.

His first point: “Immigration reform ends the Southern strategy”. The Republican Southern strategy was that Party’s response to the political opportunities opened up by a) the combination of the Civil Rights Movement (in its first, Martin Luther King nonviolent and unitive phase and then in its second, separatist, revolutionary, Black Power phase) and b) by the cultural whackery promised by the Boomers’ youthy anti-authoritarian anarchism, which had been given such a strong boost by the profound (Democratic) failures in prosecuting the Vietnam War.

At first this was a purely political-tactical gambit, picking up a demographic that the other Party had left or lost.

But then by the mid-1970s there began the queasy and ominous elements of Deconstruction – deployed with the support of the Dems initially against ‘men’ but then against ‘patriarchy’ in all its alleged forms. And when all that began to register with the larger body of the citizenry, the Southern culture – the only game left in town that supported any sense of tradition and social order – became by default the choice of a lot of Citizens: not simply ‘backlashers’ and Southerners mad at the loss of Jim Crow, but rather a whole lot of folks who simply had their doubts about what seemed an awful lot of change on verrrry dubious bases.

Nor was it irrelevant that Southern culture by its very nature was tradition-oriented. Granted that had been put to bad use in the Jim Crow era, but in the mid-70s things had moved wayyyy beyond Civil Rights as any average person would have understood that Movement’s agenda in – say – 1960. Beside the Black-Power revolutionary separatism, there had been the follow-on (and far more organized) radical-feminist Revolution built – craftily – on the Jim Crow era paradigm: males exercised ‘patriarchy’; the aforesaid ‘patriarchy’ was a form of gender-slavery and far worse than the Jim Crow oppression of blacks; and the only thing to do was for the Federal government to do to White, Macho, Working-Class, Industrial culture what it had done to Jim Crow culture in the South. (Oh, and that all sex was rape.) (Oh, and that Family and Marriage also had to go.)

In the face of such hugely doubtful agendas, highly dubious in both the Content of their demands and the Method of their implementation (rapid, intrusive, and imposed) many folks turned – by default – to the Republicans.

Immigration came into this: as Affirmative Action started to wobble under the weight of its own inconsistencies and its extension to increasing numbers and types of persons for ever more vague reasons, Multiculturalism arose. Its assertion was that American culture was not worth assimilating into and should be Deconstructed by Dilution: bring in more and more folks who weren’t native to that culture and then, under the guise of ‘respecting’ their native culture, Dilute the traditional American culture and identity-as-Americans into non-existence.

“Diversity” began to make its appearance, not so much as a proven theory but simply as a buzzword (that was accepted whole-hog by the Beltway). As best I can see the ‘Diversity’ mantra, based on the assumption (never proven) that a ‘diverse’ country is stronger than a ‘monocultural’ one, was embraced as a way of neutralizing the assaultive aspects of Multiculturalism (which sought, as I said, the essential Deconstruction by Dilution of American culture – especially that White, Male, Working, Industrial culture). And America as ‘monocultural’ prior to 1970 is more than a bit of a stretch.

You can look around and ask yourself – absent the extensive and ubiquitous happy-face Correct burbling – if American society and culture are “stronger” now than they were several decades ago.

Immigrants were thus dragooned into coming over as pawns in this frakkulent strategy of Deconstruction by Dilution. (Which was only one prong of a sustained and lethal assault, another prong of which was the Correct attack on the bases of American culture: Family, traditional Ideals, and Industry itself, both as a personal discipline and ideal virtue and as an actual web of industrial capacity.)

The America of the historic Immigration waves of earlier eras – culminating in the era from 1880 to 1920 - no longer existed when the current era of ‘immigration’ began: its social and cultural ideals had been deeply weakened and were under assault with the assistance of the country’s ‘political elites’ with the full connivance of the government itself, and its actual ability to create sufficiently-salaried and reliable jobs was being outsourced-away.

So to suggest that the anti-immigration sentiment in the country is merely the result of traditionalist and ‘dominant’ backlashing and selfishness and insensitivity, or perhaps as nefarious as the Jim Crow regime of the pre-1965 South, is hugely misconceived (to be polite about it).

THEN, in his second ‘reason’, Grandin suggests, stunningly, that “immigration reform” (and by now no sober person can see the word “reform” without wondering what fresh and virulent whackulence is actually being put forth) should be embraced because “it wins back the Catholic Church to social justice”.

First, there is some real question as to whether the Catholic Church has ever abandoned its Vatican II ‘social justice’ stance. Surely its support for reliable Family structure to provide the utterly indispensable Shaping of the young (without which they will grow up Shapeless and require ever more intrusive government regulation in order to maintain any Shape to their social and even personal lives at all), and its continuing refusal to Embrace the Suck in the matter of abortion, constitute a substantial and profound stance for ‘social justice’.

Second, there is some real question as to whether dragooning folks from other countries – luring them, even – to come over to the hugely weakened American situation as it now is (and doesn’t promise to be getting better any time soon) isn’t itself a form of profound and insidious social IN-justice.

Third, there is an elephant in the middle of this room here: ‘liberals’ have played no small role in the quarter-century long assault on the Catholic Church (defender of Family, Marriage, Virtues, Ideals, and the Higher Authority of God) as nothing but a nest of child-molesting (and, nicely, ‘male’) priests and their conniving bishops. Although I have often written here that the Jingoist-Right, tainted heavily by nation-idolizing Protestant Fundamentalism, was also complicit, since the Church also stands officially against preventive war and invasive occupation and a whole bunch of other stuff that the government has now made Standard Operating Procedure.

Granted that ‘The Nation’ magazine itself has never gotten very deep into that sex-abuse mudhole, it strikes a jarringly incongruous note for one of the flagship ‘liberal-progressive’ magazines to suddenly propose to its faithful that the Catholic Church is a worthy potential ally in this particular campaign.

But, as so many of the proposals in this piece, there is a heavy flavor of ‘technique’ to all of this: the short-sighted ‘strategizing’ of political ‘alliances’ – however temporary or fragile or incongruous – and studied avoidance of deeper issues. This article represents a form of political-gambit, much as the Bush-Cheney ‘strategizing’ about the Iraq War was merely a matter of ‘getting a lock on’ necessary groups of allies (or dupes) and not only a studied avoidance of, but a treacherously dishonest manipulation of, such deeper issues and questions – Questions, even – that were at stake in the entire agenda ad bellum.

And then, as if to demonstrate that entire dynamic more clearly, Grandin comes right out and says it: “But immigration reform now has the potential to trump abortion as a wedge issue”. So it would be a political benny to sidestep the intractable (40 years in 2013) ‘abortion problem’, insofar as you define that problem as merely being a political one: one very influential demographic officially objects to it on the deepest moral grounds. And in best modern ‘Beltway’ style, the game is to somehow sidestep the profound questions and tack together an alliance on whatever conceptual terms can be arranged, legitimately or otherwise.

My, my. As in the festering frakkulence of American’s current ‘wars’, it has to be said: so much ‘strategy’, so little seriousness. But of course, for the past 40 years it was precisely the very serious Deconstructive and Dilutive assault on American culture and society which required the abandonment of and suppression of and distraction from any Seriousness at all in the realm of American public discourse (Who in office wanted to admit publicly just what they were up to there inside the Beltway? The national Patient wasn’t quite anesthetized enough for that, and might yet rise up off the table if it became clear just what the elite Beltway ‘doctors’ had in mind).

There are reasons within the Catholic system for its support of some aspects of immigration: concern for the human impact on illegals already here and their children; concern for persons in foreign countries living under such awful life-circumstances that ANY improvement – including coming to America in its present state – would be desirable; and – more politically – an increase in serious adherents to replace the Shape-Deconstructed cohorts of American young, raised for decades with the idea that God is not a hypothesis needed in the magnificent American dampdream envisioned by the liberal-progressives.

And perhaps the mention of this entire gambit in such a respected liberal-progressive organ is a signal to the cadres as to just what is now allowable to imagine and still retain the indispensable creds of Correctness. Although to the most committed, this must be like Berlin happily trumpeting a pact with Stalin to the long-faithful Sturmer of the National Socialist Workers Party.

In his third ‘reason’, Grandin displays persistence in this uncharacteristically religious bent: Embrace of immigration reform “slows the inclusion of Latino evangelicals into the religious right”. I can’t help but think that unless it has taken the veil, ‘The Nation’ is not so much concerned for immigrants’ immortal souls as it is for political strategizing and manipulation.

In a hell-hot irony, apparently large numbers of immigrants (and upon them be peace) ‘welcomed’ by the liberal-progressives as pawns in their General Deconstruction and Dilution campaign, have perversely refused to stampede over the liberal-progressive ‘bridge’ (and rightly so, it is a rickety and treacherous thing). Instead they have done some ‘embracing’ themselves, of the only element they can see on the modern American scene that offers both robust community and – indispensably connected to that robustness – a profound and solid relationship with Things Unseen.

Which, come to think of it, seems clearly to give the lie to the entire ‘secularist’ foundation of the liberal-progressive agenda and dampdream: that ‘religion’ and the entire dimension of the Beyond with its Higher Authority and Higher Law and Virtue and obedience thereto is merely an “opium” (as one noted and hugely discredited commenter, dear to the hearts of many of the original radical ‘reformers’ 40 years ago, once said), and America and its folks had no need of it – whether they knew it or not; and that you could sustain a flourishing society and culture without any Beyond at all.

The immigrants were brought in as pawns and lab-rats in that dampdream (that is masquerading as cutting-edge social thought). Many, many of them have since demonstrated a mind (and soul) of their own: they have accepted the increased (however tenuously) material benefits of current American life compared to their country of origin, but have shrewdly and stubbornly sought out a source to sustain their relationship – as individuals and as communities – with the Beyond. The ingratitude! After all the liberal-progressives have done for them, they won’t drink the Kool-Aid! Perhaps, in that shrewd and calculating wisdom traditionally ascribed to peasants, many of the immigrants can identify a lethal dampdream drummed up by profoundly clueless elites when they see one. And have taken steps to filter the whackness out of their immigration experience while acquiring the material benefits.

Recall that while the urban proletariats eagerly embraced his revolutionary wisdom, Lenin soon had to resort to shooting huge numbers of peasants – creating the class of kulak and declaring mere existence in that class to be a crime against the people and the Soviet State; and eventually shipping off to Siberian work-death camps large numbers of the disillusioned proletarians as well. And he knew all along that he would have to; Lenin was brassily trumpeting Terror as an essential political tool from the get-go.

Naturally, Grandin’s little strategic gambit here might be expected to seduce the Catholic hierarchy, so punchy from the sustained (and so selective) sex-abuse bouts that they might be imagined at this point to be grateful for any official ‘rehabilitation’ and any place on the A-list of national political ‘players’. I expect Rome will play its traditional role of reining-in the emotionally-driven weaknesses of local hierarchs and spackle them up with a few well-placed Latin admonitions.

Despite the clearly-calculated offer of more communicants, lured away from the admittedly whackulous Fundies.

His fourth point is that “It is lose-lose for the Republicans”. Oh goody! Goody goody gumdrops! Just what We need more of: short-sighted political gamesmanship (and gameswomanship, most surely) masquerading as serious deliberation about what’s best for the country and the common-weal in the long as well as the short term. Tit for tat. As if it’s going to make a difference to anybody except the connected ‘elites’ whichever Party wins the next round of elections.

We have hit the berg, and can’t claim We didn’t see it coming. And whether a Democratic Congress or President can bail water faster than its Republican shadow is hardly a matter for serious consideration at this point. At the rate the water is coming in, buckets are no longer on the table, no matter how adroitly handled.

At this stage, C-Span or CNN or any ‘news’ shows are probably as detached from reality as a soap-opera.

But – alas – this is what elites ‘do’, and it’s all they have left. And if We aren’t kept entranced to the very end, We might take it upon Ourselves to step in and save the game and defenestrate the poltroons.

Ditto Grandin’s fifth point: “It splits the conservative coalition in other ways”. More gamespersonship.

But it does let a few cats out of the bag;

The wedge would be driven by ‘business Republicans’ and the “no-amnesty, know-nothing wing”.

First, the Know-Nothings were a party of the immediate pre-Civil War era, and I can’t see too much relevance here. There was a Nativist element to it, as there has been throughout American history, especially since the 19th century. But again I say that in Our current situation, and given the type of virulently and actually hostile elements seeking to Deconstruct and Dilute American society and culture (and they’ve already succeeded in terms of the industrial base itself), there is plenty of justification for a prudent Citizen to wonder if lots more immigration on those terms and to support that agenda is really a good idea.

But Grandin lays open to light that awful, frakkulent, and treacherous 40-year de facto alliance between the total-autonomy anti-‘oppression’ Left that sought to Deconstruct and Dilute that White, Male, Working Class Industrial American culture, and the corporate Wealth that sought to get rid of the gains of the American Worker over the past hundred years or so, and especially since the New Deal and the postwar Detroit Consensus (give workers reliable employment and pay them well and they will buy the products).

His ascription of this to ‘the Republicans” is more than a little misinformed, if not also dishonest.

And while bald and utter ‘libertarianism’ is merely one extreme response to what has never been admitted to be the extreme agenda of Deconstruction and Dilution, folks who are trying to recover some semblance of personal-responsibility and excellence in conducting one’s life as individual and Citizen, and persons seeking to re-introduce some amount of Citizen participation in a government that is now morphing into the worst of both a National Nanny Regulatory State (the elite Left’s dampdream) and a National Security Corporate State (the elite Right’s dampdream) are hardly nefarious in their concerns and hopes.

His sixth point is that “it revitalizes the union movement”. I can’t see at all how there can be a union movement with no more of the jobs that are necessary if one is to be an actual ‘worker’. And if the liberal-progressives are trying to sell Kool-Aid to the effect that the ‘knowledge and service’ economy will provide many opportunities for barristas and leaf-blowers and nannies to unionize in the Grand Style … well, I can’t see that being realistic at all.

For one thing, union members didn’t just fight for their own personal rights but for their Families; and because they considered themselves responsible not just for ‘fulfilling themselves’ but for providing a good life to their children and families. And THAT motivation has been, you recall, Deconstructed.

And for another, corporatist chieftains (and chieftainesses) are not about to let ‘unions’ get going again. They’ve just spent the past 40 years trying to get rid of them. That was, you recall, their price for their undercover alliance with the Left elites in the first place. And if immigrants are here, facing the monstrous complexities of trying to realize the American Dream in an America that is unable to any longer support such a Dream, then they are not going to be risking what they’ve got by doing the risky work of union-organizing (or re-organizing). Most of them, anyway, will be working for the government, one way or another. Which, by the by, is hardly a recipe for an independent Citizenry.

Seventh, an embrace of immigration reform “dilutes the power of the Florida Cubans”. Granted this particular highly-concentrated though small demographic has had a rather unsung but palpable influence on national politics, I can’t see how they have had “a toxic effect on US domestic and foreign policy”, any more than – say – the supporters of Our Staunch Ally Sans Treaty.

Grandin indicts them for being fomenters of the “Brooks Brothers Riot” that helped shut down the disputed Florida recount in 2000. (Which, you recall, created an opening for the Supreme Court to do for the Right in 2000 what it had done for the Left with Roe v. Wade in 1973 – tit for tat and a nice balancing act … and a stunning example of what happens when the Supreme Court tries to play politics out on the field rather than quietly and tactfully reading the election returns in the privacy of chambers).

He indicts them for “delivering Florida’s large number of electoral votes to Republicans”. Although given the large number of ‘traditional’ retirees dwelling therein, raised in that traditional White, Male, Working, Industrial culture that the Left was eagerly and with malice aforethought trying to Deconstruct and Dilute … well, I think there are a whole lot of other elements, and larger, in the equation than the Florida Cubans. And again I note that Grandin has no strategic thoughts – let alone indictments - concerning the supporters of Our Staunch Ally Sans Treaty, whose activities in pursuit of Middle-East domination have played no small part in leading Us to Our current unhappy misadventures in the famously-named ‘graveyard of empires’.

Eighth, “it helps American cities”. Here he limns some sort of latter-day Norman Rockwell scenes from his own personal experience dwelling in the metropolis of Durham, North Carolina. Wherein dwelleth hordes of “undocumented laborers”, all happily carousing and communalizing in the streets AND – GET THIS – “raising families”.

Let Us pass over in silence the eerie and queasy semblance of this vision to the happy darkies, singin’dey songs on de fron’ stoop, of a more benighted age.

The smallish place (85th or so largest city in the country) is – by the oddest coincidence – home to both Duke University as well as other universities and to “the Research Triangle” corporations that are major elements of the knowledge-and-service ‘economy’, so-called. You do well to note just how much government-money and influence must support such an ‘economy’.

It is no coincidence that in this little city, the elites of both Left and Right meet and greet, spinning their several webs happily, and mutually enriched by the flow of Beltway cash and benefits.

And here, plopped right down – and by the oddest coincidence – is a large agglomeration of undocumented aliens, apparently happily employed.

Do you see some dots that need to be connected here?

What We are being led into is NOT the broad, sunlit uplands of a marvelous future; what We are being led into is NOT merely a regression to some earlier and less ‘enlightened’ phase of American history.


What We ARE being led into is a re-feudalization of society and culture. The elites – and it makes no difference whether of Left or of Right – are going to wind up re-feudalizing Western society and turning most citizens back into serfs.

To listen to Monsieur Grandin he seems quite pleased with progress in that direction so far. And, indeed, seems to see it as ‘progress’. But he and his ilk are dragging Us back toward a time of sociopolitical and socio-cultural monstrosities that, for the United States, were permanently (it was presumed by most at the time) buried in 1787.

But today, to quote Christopher Sarandon’s vampire of 1985: “Welcome to fright night – for real”.

It’s not enough to build your national and personal home over a presumption that “it could never happen here – not again”. It can happen here: the monsters vanquished in 1787 could return, and indeed have been invited back.

Which is the danger that Franklin sorta was warning about when he said to Us that you’ve got a democracy, “if you can keep it”.

It appears that Our era cannot. (Feel free to prove that impression wrong.)

Duke is simultaneously a verrrry government-friendly place and the scene of the infamous Duke Lacrosse Rape scandal – since utterly discredited – in the course of which a hundred or so of its faculty admitted loudly and proudly that “facts don’t matter”. Advice perhaps given to Bush-Cheney when they were charting and stove-piping their way to a quick little war in the Middle East almost a decade ago.

Anyhoo, Grandin lives in the sure and certain hope that this new incarnation of American happy-darkies will make cities (pick one, several or all: ‘richer’, more creative, more robust, more transgressive, more “diverse”). Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And all without any unforeseen consequences, certainly no downsides (or was that Rumsfeld about Iraq?).

THIS apparently is the type of actual experience that feeds and fuels the still-dewey liberal-progressive dampdreams.

Ach. Oy. Frak.

Lastly, and he has saved the best wine until last, Grandin burbles brassily that “it is the morally right thing to do”.

Take Us now, Lord – for I feel like Sam and Dean Winchester realizing that the Apocalypse is due in on the two-fifteen from Durham. The liberal-progressives, who have built their entire regime precisely on the fact that ‘morality’ is either “quaint” or delusional, certainly not fit for governmental and public affairs (Bush-Cheney got that part right), and most likely merely a ‘cover’ for ‘backlashing’ (like the Constitution’s protections merely provide ‘cover’ for utterly evil (and male) perps who must be rooted out and consigned to outer darkness) … the liberal-progressive cadres are now being signaled that ‘morality’ is part of the Party-Line upon receipt of this Memo.

But he spends no time on irony nor – of course – allows any time for thought about THIS bombshell. No, his point, instantly made, is that “as a result, it is strategically smart”. So … doing the moral thing is doing the right thing, and being so it is therefore strategically smart. Which is the point of the exercise.

But I’d like to go back an inch or so. If morality is ‘right’, why is it ‘right’? Just because enough people agree that it is right? (And if they decide otherwise tomorrow then it will be the wrong thing to do, just as soon as a Memo can be distributed to the cadres?)

Doesn’t morality rely for its usefulness and right-ness upon the reality that there is indeed some moral order (or Order) in human affairs and perhaps even built-into human affairs? Perhaps placed there by some Source that has – or Who has – designed the human experience with an orientation toward such an Order?

If not, if there is no Higher Law in which morality is anchored, then morality is simply a matter of some sort of politics – a consensus or at least a critical mass of ‘alliances’ cobbled together for the moment and for the purpose at hand. Sort of like Bush-Cheney cobbling together their Coalition of the Willing who – after looking at matters as hard as they could – decided that Yes, what they wanted to do was Right and Good and they all were Right and Very Clever.

What I get a whiff of here is Stalin re-opening the churches in order to bolster morale for the Great Patriotic War. When History took off its street-clothes, revealed its awefull and muscled torso, and got in the ring with him, the swaggering, monstrously-mustachioed Ultimate Gargoyle had to quickly call upon the Beyond in order to get help. Because that vast and suffering sea of humanity known as the Russian people seemed profoundly attuned to that Beyond.

He drew few lasting conclusions from his experience – alas – and the Beyond got short shrift again just as soon as History left the ring and put its deceptively civilized disguise back on.

And here’s Grandin urging the cadres to push ‘morality’.

History must be closer than any of the elites want to admit.

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