Wednesday, February 01, 2012
BILL MOYERS: NOT ENOUGH
Bill Moyers very recently answered the question: Why is American society so divided?
It’s a short answer, only two paragraphs long. You can read it here.
In light of what I have been talking about, he offers an excellent example of how so much commentary – no matter how well-intentioned or no matter how notable the commentator – has fallen short of the mark in addressing the core problem and the core dynamics feeding the abyssal and multiple divisions that have fractalized American society.
“Well, I think it’s part of human nature… and it has been ever thus”, he begins.
So he is going to ascribe Our current profound (and lethal) condition to being merely the usual human dynamics of fractiousness and disagreement. And maybe a particularly strong case of it. But nothing more. This sort of thing, he implicitly burbles, has been around ever since humanity began.
It’s not quite Nothing to see here folks, go on home now – but it’s a hell of a lot less than a sufficient and clear and accurate analysis and diagnosis.
Then – and this is where he rises to PBS levels of sweet and informed reasonableness – he expounds a bit on his historical examples. First, the example of Joseph being left to die by his brothers in the Book of Genesis (“the Bible’s First Family is so contentious”). So we’re into family-dynamics therapy here: sibling rivalry and that sort of thing.
Second, the example of the American colonists being so “divided” on the matter of revolution and independence that fully a third remained loyal to the British Crown, a third fought for or supported independence, and a third “stayed on the sidelines”. But in the Revolution, the American Experiment was literally being formed – taking shape, in its birth agonies (and glories). It was precisely this struggle that gave historical shape and form to the American Vision that would then be politically stabilized in the Constitution.
And that was – I hope he doesn’t have to be told – a hell of a lot more than a ‘family squabble’: it was a world-class, world-historical struggle to establish the right of human beings to govern their own governments. And that presumed their competence to do so, through the individual having mastered the art of governing by governing his/her own self.
So in this example Moyers is actually going back beyond what is precisely at issue in Our present situation: the American Framing Vision itself. And he grossly under-describes the regime-shattering, amazing and wondrous Newness of the whole proposition.
But that plays to the pomo’s and Gramscians and their bases here among the various Correctness-sodden elites. America is, in that fever-dark dampdream, not a worthy Vision but rather a vision of Hell for the ‘marginalized’ and therefore its Culture – even more than its government – should be attacked root and branch at every opportunity using every possible pretext to agitate toward that end , especially since there is actually no objective reality and reality is whatever any individual or group (a serious incoherence here) feels it to be since there’s no use thinking because there’s no reality to think about.
But the nice PBS part is that it’s all in a good cause and no real damage is being done and rather, indeed, it’s all turning up roses and there’s no cause for alarm – let the chai and chardonnay flow! (When actually, in an eerie symmetry, We are not really so far removed from the passengers of that Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia whose command staff ran her aground by operating against all the regs, then told everybody not to worry, and then got the hell into a lifeboat themselves while the things could still be launched. Funny how the Universe moves.)
His next example is from the Civil War era: “We were so divided over slavery we went to war, turning families against families, neighbors against neighbors, and the soil red with each other’s blood”.
We were not only divided over slavery. We were also divided over the matter of the Union and of the Constitution (indeed, one of the great if no longer remembered Union mantras was ‘The Union and the Constitution forever!’). *
Lincoln, certainly, was and always had been opposed to the reality and the concept of slavery. He saw the concept as utterly incompatible with the Declaration of Independence’s axial assertion and “all men are created equal” (‘men’ in the classical sense of human beings, before we get sidetracked by the usual genderist brays and bleats).
But Lincoln also realized that if you lose the Union of States then you lose the country, and if you lose the country then the matter of American slavery becomes moot since there will no longer be an America. That is to say, if you lose the Ship itself, then arguments about how to better arrange daily life aboard become pretty much a dead issue. In that sense, then, getting rid of slavery in the country was logically and actually a secondary issue in comparison to the utterly primary and overriding issue of keeping the country in existence in the first place. Saving the Union was an objective that was and had to be, by operation of brute existential logic, prior to Emancipation.
Nor was the Civil War merely a particularly nasty form of family squabble on a national level.
Except perhaps that in a ‘family’ everybody is – or was until recently – united by an ineradicable primary bond.
I also point out that ‘we’ didn’t simply have a deep division of opinion. Americans were so deeply divided, and the problem so intractable, that ‘deliberative democratic politics’ – the utterly indispensable precondition for the Framing Vision and thus for the country – became incapable of solving the problem.
(Indeed, the Confederacy based much of its argument for a right of secession on a rejection of what would today be called ‘majoritarian politics’ precisely because they realized – as had their fathers and grandfathers 60 years before at the Constitutional Convention – that if slavery were left up to a ‘democratic’ process it would most probably have been gotten rid of then and there in 1787. Which is why they insisted in 1787 that there would only be an America (i.e. a Union of all the colonies, including the slave-holding ones) if slavery were somehow protected in the Constitution. That was their ultimatum: America with slavery or no America at all.)
And the war came.
But make no mistake about it: it was a war. To spin it as a national family dispute doesn’t even begin to reach the reality of that War and its nature – as well as its results – so “fundamental and astounding”, as Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural. (I can never resist the urge to recommend a re-reading of that profound document, and you may do so here.
So in his first paragraph Moyers has already, in my view, set himself and Us up for failure by mis-diagnosing the problem. Specifically, he has under-diagnosed the problem: what We face now is not a mere family squabble on a national level, nor is it a matter of ‘war’ being merely some intensified version of a ‘difference of opinion’. The Revolutionary generations had to consider and decide if they supported having an America at all – a country built on every individual Citizen’s primary and deliberate commitment to the Framing Vision - and the Civil War generation had to consider and decide if the country as a polity, the Union of the States, was worth keeping together at all.
(I have no doubt that if he could have saved the Union by not freeing the slaves then and there in his own day, Lincoln would have done so – just as he said. But again, from the point of view of saving the Ship being the utterly unavoidable primary concern, he can hardly be faulted. To the abolitionist mind, the country-with-slavery was not worth keeping in the first place; to the Radical Republicans slavery must be immediately eradicated without any concern for consequences being permissible But for Lincoln, the country had first to be preserved or else there would be no further American history. And, one might imagine, without a national authority, the life of the slaves would have become even worse than it was when the South at least had to pay some heed to the need for moderating its treatment of them.)**
In fact, neither of Moyers’s examples can actually address the operations of ‘deliberative democratic politics’: in the first example, there was not yet a country formally erected on the basis of the Framing Vision and the Constitution, and in the second example there had been a monstrously unique breakdown precisely because the original ‘deal’ struck at the Founding simply to get the country going was, by 1861, impossible to sustain and a decision had to be made about adherence to fundamental Framing principles one way or the other.
Either-or situations are never susceptible to real ‘politics’, where the Citizens must hammer out some workable compromise. But this would hardly have been news to the Framers. Their whole idea was that once you had everybody committed to the American and the Framing Vision, and all the Citizens were united both by Citizenship’s love for the country itself and by some basic common Culture – the combined weight of both thus comprising all of the Citizens’ first and primary commitment and ‘value’ … once you had that set up and going, then the ‘deliberative democratic politics’ would enable the Citizens of all shades of opinion or concern, however steeped in emotion, to move things along.
Perhaps not as fast as might be liked (Lincoln wanted to see slavery gone, but he wasn’t going to push the Ship so hard that it would come apart) but it was The People who were to be the best judges of just how fast and in what ways things could go. Yet the bedrock presumption was that The People, deciding on any issue, was comprised – on all sides of any issue – of Citizens whose love for the very existence of the country and the Vision would inform and govern all of their disputes and differences.
But this is precisely why today – getting to Moyers’s second paragraph – We are in such a mess and why Moyers fails so profoundly in his answer.
“Politics”, he says, “is an alternative to fratricide but it is no pacifier of our conflicts over issues that touch our deepest emotions”. [italics mine] Again, he is going for the ‘family squabble’ and pomo ‘feelings’ spin.
Or, at best, he is going for the Citizens-with-different-ideas framing of the situation, intensified by the fact that the Citizens have such deep emotions over the matter.
But that’s not at all a sufficient assessment of what has happened to Us in the past forty or so Biblical years.
What has happened in these past decades is that the Framing presumptions about the primary love and emotional investment of the Citizens being for the country no longer hold; they have been ‘deconstructed’ through sustained (and Beltway-abetted) assault.
Instead, a) individuals come to public discourse (such as it has now become) not as Citizens united in and dedicated to a commonweal and a common polity but rather as aggrieved members – first and foremost – of some Identity.
And b) that aggrievement and whatever is claimed to have caused it is considered to be their primary emotional investment; and the ‘community’ of the similarly aggrieved is considered to be their primary loyalty and care. Indeed, it is now held that they are justified in abrogating their primary emotional investment in the country and in the American Vision because they are aggrieved.
And c) that on the basis of that aggrievement they are justified in demanding – either/or – the fulfillment of their demands, without any ‘deliberative democratic politics’ entering into the matter at all.
And d) that such fulfillment must be granted them forthwith and immediately, and with no regard for possible or probable consequences and ill-consequences to the commonweal (or even to themselves, ironically).
This, as I said before, is a re-creation pure and simple of the Stance taken by the Southern States (soon to become – for a few stunning and bloody years – the Confederacy): either you give us what we want or we’re going. (In the even more insidiously lethal Gramscian version, it becomes: either you give us what we want nicely or – if you just don’t or won’t 'get it' – we will infiltrate and wreck your Culture … which is political gangsterism in the original package.)
And if they went, then the country went – because there would be no way to continue the national existence successfully if the South chopped off the entire lower half of the country.
It was the Southern Stance that pretty much sidestepped politics completely and went straight to an either-or demand, and for the most lethal of stakes.
The Southerners may have had a ‘disagreement’ with the North about the role of slavery and about the future of slavery. But they also weren’t prepared to yield to any ‘politics’ (perhaps because they realized that they weren’t going to get what they wanted that way).
And in a way they were being logical: although the Constitution had been constructed so as to take into account their demands in 1787, the Southerners realized that unless they somehow kept enough political power they weren’t going to be able to keep what to almost everybody on either side of the Mason-Dixon line was ultimately considered a dubious and suspect institution that could never find a home in the American Vision because it was utterly incompatible with the first principles of that Vision.
And the Southrons would first rather be ‘the South’ than be part of ‘America’ or the Union of the States.
So they made their either-or demand and took the matter beyond politics.
But what they demanded is not accurately characterized as ‘disagreement’. What they demanded was the continuation of a profoundly illogical, incoherent, and incompatible practice that could not be squared with the principles of the Declaration of Independence’s powerful assertion that “all men are created equal”.
When such demands –demands on such a profound level – are made, then politics – even the best deliberative and democratic kind – is brought to a tightrope over an abyss with a flame burning under the rope. There is great pressure and little time to deliberate, reflect, and come to terms – to the extent that the demands can be met without endangering the fundaments of the country as polity and society.
Nor are We merely a “querulous people” who always like to argue, as Moyers says. There are times when profound challenges or threats to first principles are presented, at which point the simplistic recourse to the 1970s happy-face insistence that everybody attend a We-Agree Workshop and then start cutting and pasting whatever they have to in order to ‘agree’ … there are times when that isn’t going to work, can’t work, shouldn’t work.
While Lincoln kept hoping to “preserve the Union without war”, the South – as he no doubt cannily sensed – had based itself in a demand that could never be met, about a reality (slavery) that sooner or later was going to have to go.
This was not a ‘disagreement’; this was a fundamental difference in Vision as to what the country was about and how it worked and it was also a fundamental difference in primary loyalty because the South saw itself as ‘the South’ first and ‘American’ second (or third).
And on top of all that, Moyers is ducking the Elephant that I insist has been in the middle of the room for forty-plus years now: Identity Politics is based in the Alien political Universe of Marx and Gramsci (introduced over here, with a few self-serving modifications, by Radical Feminism).
And that Alien Universe operates in a way completely incompatible with – and hostile to – the Framing Vision.
Because a) there is no presumed love for the country and the Framing Vision that fundamentally and primarily motivates all of the Citizens, whatever their differences or sense of grievance, but rather an insistence that the ‘grievance’ itself constitutes the primary identity and demands and deserves the primary loyalty of those who consider or claim themselves aggrieved.
And because b) the country and Framing Vision and the Culture and the Constitution are considered to be rotten and unworthy of allegiance and must be ‘deconstructed’ and replaced and that to achieve that those who are aggrieved must wage a sustained assault on all of the foregoing.
And because c) this must be done immediately because the sources of grievance constitute an ‘emergency’ of outrage and of rights and of ‘pain’.
And because d) therefore any time taken for ‘deliberative democratic politics’ will only obstruct alleviation and redress of those grievances.
And because e) the country is not worthy of allegiance in its present condition (if at all).
And because f) the Citizenry are not worthy of being allowed to ‘deliberate’ because if they love this country then they are clearly enthralled-to or in league with the whole outrageous grievance-making thing in the first place and clearly ‘just don’t get it’ and therefore don’t deserve to have a voice in the matter.
I am saying that this is the core deranging factor that is afflicting Us and has been for the past forty-plus years.
Leviathan has always been a danger to this country as to any country; but the Framers had belled that cat and thus in America Leviathan was always going to have trouble presenting itself as anything other than what it has always been.
But Leviatha (which I define as an all-consuming government based on ‘sensitivity’ and ‘liberation’ rather than outright coercive power) was able to insinuate itself precisely because nobody imagined that the species Leviathan could come from any other direction than the Right.
Identity Politics – based in the quite literally anti-American and anti-Western Content and Method of Marx and Gramsci – constitute not any ‘politics’ compatible with the ‘deliberative democratic politics’ of the Framing Vision, but rather the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary ‘politics’ that actually are no politics at all, but merely the vampiric taking over the husk in order to lead a far different, diabolic existence for its own purposes.(‘Diabolic’ here in its root sense of ‘divide’.)
In terms of conceptual coherence, there can’t be any ‘disagreements’ or ‘squabbles’ because it is already taken as axiomatic by one side that the other side ‘just doesn’t’ get it’ and is in a pact with or in a thrall to some version of Hell and therefore neither deserves to be heard nor should nor can be allowed to waste the revolution’s time with what can only be pointless palaver.
Marx and Lenin and Gramsci and their ilk are, I am saying, very much parties to this problem of Ours here. And they are not ‘family’ – they are, not to put too fine a point on it, barbarians at the gate.
Well, actually, since the Beltway’s sworn defenders of the walls and the gate went and eagerly let them in, they are actually barbarians already inside the gate.
They are barbarians in the sense that they have no use for the Framing Vision to which the country is ideally dedicated.
And in the sense that their basic assumptions about human beings and human existence are grossly and lethally insufficient.
And thus I would insist that any Citizen who has refused to accept that this is just a ‘squabble’ or a ‘difference’ that a little We-Agree Workshop or some ‘reeducation’ or ‘sensitivity-training’ can solve, may well be not so much a ‘backlasher’ as simply a Citizen who senses – however inchoately – that profound principles are at stake and that no compromise is possible because somehow something very deep and vital to the American reality is being most fundamentally threatened and has to be re-asserted and defended.
No doubt Moyers, trying to remain Correct while yet continuing his appearance as a national Sage, would claim that since this is all merely a ‘disagreement’ among naturally ‘querulous’ folks, then everybody has to give a little to get along.
But when you are facing Marx and Gramsci – and even when you are facing persons and groups who have, willy or nilly, given up their Citizenship in the American Universe for citizenship in the Marxist-Gramscian Universe – then those persons and groups are in some very profound sense not ‘family’.
Like Lincoln in 1861, you can try to call them back to the fold and recall them to their old allegiance – but if they are determined to wage war (even ‘culture war’) rather than let the nation continue, and more importantly if they are willing to hold their grievances more dear than the Union itself … well, then what?
None of this has been helped by the fact that the Beltway itself – desperate for votes and deeply embarrassed by the stunning 49-1 defeat in that 1972 election – quietly abandoned the Framing Vision and the American political Universe.
Or – and this is about as far as decency and truth can be stretched without breaking – the pols really thought that they could blend the Universes – American and Marxist – without too much trouble. Although clearly anybody who thought that or thinks that should not be operating heavy machinery, let alone controlling the levers of power in a major nation’s government – and especially a nation such as Ours committed to and built upon the first principles of the Framing Vision.
And so – despite the clear warnings of Kirk and Spock that in those days was knowledge that every kid knew – the Beltway pols decided that even if most people couldn’t, yet the the pols could ... mix Matter and anti-Matter, and yet avoid a Universe-shattering explosion, and have excellent plans work out so successfully that the whole operation would wind up on the positive side of the ledger.
Or perhaps the Gramscian Radical Feminist cadres had assured the pols that this American Universe deserved to be wrecked anyway so what the hell … ?
One way or the other, here We are now.
And Moyers – carefully observing the Correct rules and boundaries – refuses to recognize the profound awfulness of what’s actually causing the whole thing. And instead offers a homey and platitudinous greeting-card of an analysis and a diagnosis.
This is like advising the captain of the Titanic as she starts to pull away from the berg: ships always leak a little, being metal they always get a little brittle in cold temperatures; and they’re almost never totally level as they sail across the surface of the ocean; but what’s a little of all that for a sturdy crew?
But it gets worse: following along with the analogy, the Beltway ‘captain’ decided to agree with that analysis and put the weight of his command authority behind it. After all, he had been advised – and desperately wanted to hear it anyway – everything was now ‘brand new’ and no prior historical experience or ‘thinking’ or principles of buoyancy applied because he was a maker of history and not a simply fetishizer of old thinking. Toss out the Book (the Framing Vision) and just do it because you ‘get it’ and it will all work out even better than anything that could be imagined.
And here We are.
Moyers, a public commentator of great stature, continues the lethal – and perhaps fatal – mistake of under-estimating the genuine awfulness of what has been done. Thus his prescriptions cannot solve anything because they are based on a grossly insufficient and inaccurate diagnosis.
We are still a very sick patient.
The ‘optimism’ of a 1970s happy-face sticker and a tut-tut-dahlings approach will not effect Our cure. Nor Our recovery – to whatever level of former functioning now remains achievable.
*If you’re up for a meaty and conceptually gravid but immensely rewarding read, I can heartily recommend Harry V. Jaffa’s 2000 book “A New Birth of Freedom”.
**And if you’re up for it, I can also heartily recommend Barry Schwartz’s 2008 book “Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era”. Wherein he describes the decline in Lincoln’s status in American society nowadays as the result of the pomo (and, I would add, Gramscian-driven) belief that since everybody has a right to his/her own idea of what the country is or should be, then there is no longer a need for exceptional ‘heroes’ who were committed to a particular vision (or, I would add, to the Framing Vision).
And as a corollary: the very concept of an exceptionally impressive ‘hero’ implies the existence of non-exceptional persons, which is a self-esteem and ‘respect’ and ‘equality’ and ‘recognition’ No-No of the highest order. This is not the ‘equality’ envisioned and presumed by the Framers.
Curiously, Schwartz as author betrays a deep ambiguity himself throughout most of the book: he wants to somehow point out the rather substantial problem without indicting modern Correctness for causing it. But, in his Conclusion, he can’t help but reveal his ultimate distaste for what has been done, what has happened, and where it has taken Us.
And ironically, he wrote the book before the 2008 financial implosion. So when he does try to make the case for a legitimately successful ‘post-industrial society’ that is based on a robust economy of Knowledge and Service … well, We all know better now. Except the President, who seems to be still committed to the K&S economy according to his State of the Union address.
Additionally, Schwartz raises the interesting point that whereas in prior era’s, Lincoln was seen as being a ‘hero’ for being Savior of the Union, in the past forty years he is being touted as the Emancipator.
This clearly serves many interests. The Beltway pols can claim that in their whole-hog embrace of Identity Politics they are simply continuing Lincoln’s ‘great work’ of Emancipation. Thus too the media and the assorted Big Identity advocacies can deceptively spin their agendas and demands as being merely a continuation of Lincoln’s great work.
But in so doing, they all neatly skirt the huge question that has always resided at the core of the Identity Politics gambit: Does such a whole-hog and ruthlessly impositional embrace of what is essentially a political philosophy from an Alien and anti-democratic Universe not threaten the very existence of the ‘Union’ (i.e. the American Culture and sense of common-weal) itself?
Because if it does (and it would be hard to deny it) then what the country is really in danger of is a ‘deconstruction’ of the Union just as lethal as the Confederacy’s ‘secession’ from the Union.
Just to be a bit more specific, this is my listing of the various elements in the Beltway’s whole-hog embrace of the Gramscian agenda of assaulting and undermining the Framing Vision and the American Culture that’s built on it.
The first Identity was Race. But ‘race’ not as envisioned in the splendidly unitive vision of Martin Luther King (drawing richly upon the entire American tradition reaching back to Lincoln and beyond him to the Framers). Rather, the ‘Race’ of post-1966 black separatism, black power, multicultural divisiveness, and anti-‘white’ animus.
The second Identity was Youth: the voting age was lowered to 18; ‘maturity’ and ‘rationality’ and ‘prudence’ and ‘tradition’ were all ‘de-valorized’ in favor of the classic youthy characteristics: simplistic thinking, an optimism based on feeling rather than derived from substantial life experience.
The third Identity was Gender and ‘women’ – especially as defined by the Radical Feminist advocacies who quickly convinced the Beltway that they spoke for all actual females in the country (or – at least – for the best interests of all those females whether they knew it or not).
By creating the general approach of i) demanding ‘rights’ putatively hidden in the penumbras of the Constitution or asserted to be essential ‘pre-rights’ necessary to exercise the classic Constitutional rights and of ii) emphasizing in myriad ways the ‘victimization’ of women by ‘males’ who were dominant, oppressive, hegemonic, and violent (especially in a sexual way), the Radical Feminist advocacies fulfilled the Gramscian vision of undermining the target culture (i.e. traditional American Culture) along numerous simultaneous avenues of assaultive infiltration.
The fourth Identity was Immigrants. But not the immigrants of the previous era’s who came to the country anchored in some common Christian and even Catholic (the Irish in the 1840s, the Scandinavians and Germans throughout the 19th century, the Southeastern European and Central Europeans in the 1880s) Culture and who were looking to join the commonly respected American Culture. Rather, immigrants who – even when possessed of such desires – are nowadays urged by elite thought and government policy to refuse to embrace American Culture and, instead, insist upon their own folkways and demand ‘recognition’ for them. You can read an excellent overview of California’s immigration difficulties and the consequences for immigrants, state politics, and its economy and culture here.
These immigrants, indiscriminately welcomed regardless of competence or even legal status, would serve to a) create new client populations for the increasingly impositional government; b) create yet more stumbling blocks to any continued sense of a national unity and common-weal or national common identity as Citizens; c) create the need for even more ‘professionals’ to help them and provide services, and d) keep up population numbers as Radical Feminism’s rigid insistence on ‘reproductive freedom’ made its inevitable subtractions.
The fifth Beltway-embraced Identity was Israel. Forty years ago it was the Left that benefitted from traditional Jewish thought’s sensitivity to social justice and the struggle on behalf of the ‘underdog’ and the ‘marginalized’. But as the decades went on this initial impulse was suborned and co-opted by the Israeli Realm as a sovereignty, to whose interests and defense the Beltway indentured itself even as tectonic changes in domestic American politics and international affairs caused the Israelis to see their interests better served by the neocon and Christian-fundamentalist Right during Reagan’s era.
Having embraced all of these Identities – under the general rubric and game-plan of the Gramscian assaultive undermining of a targeted culture and abetted by the very government responsible for sustaining the Framing Vision and the American Culture that grew around it – the Beltway enabled the ignition of numerous simultaneous threads aimed at ‘deconstructing’ American Culture.
Those Citizens who sensed that there was something lethally dangerous in all of this were not accurately characterized as mere ‘backlashers’ and ‘oppressors’ or ‘tools of oppression’.
As, I believe, is now becoming inescapably clear and obvious.
The consequences for, say, the Presidency and the rule of law, have been fundamental and should be extremely alarming.
Given the fractalization of Identity Politics, few in Congress wish to create alienation among any potential voters or ‘bases’ or to disrupt existing ‘deals’ or preclude potential ‘deals’ by taking a stand and have been increasingly happy to pass on their proper responsibilities to the Presidency.
But the nature of electoral process has been not merely hugely ‘changed’ but grossly degraded.
The short attention span of youth and its emphasis on enthusiasm (or the ‘high’ of it, at least) and the lack of either maturity or experience; the emphasis, consequently on celebrity and sports figures and the even more corrosive consequence that candidates must try to squeeze the vast complexities and matters of the Presidency into a sweet bite-size package that will attract the youthy attention and garner its never-grounded approval … do not create the need for candidates (or Presidents) who are mature, seasoned, and solid of character and temperament (although the ‘appearance’ of possessing those achieved qualities is as vital as the substance of those achieved qualities is a sure disqualifier).
The ever-required duplicity required to avoid naming the Elephant created by post-1966 Race and Gender policies and to continue spinning their consequences as being all ‘liberation’ with no ill-consequences or downside does not create a need for candidates (or Presidents) of integrity and character (although the ‘appearance’ of possessing those achieved qualities is as vitally useful as the substance of those achieved qualities is a sure disqualifier).
And this holds especially true for the post-1972 embrace of the profoundly corrupting and corrosive embrace of the Marxist/Gramscian Universe (and the consequent effective rejection of the American Framing Universe): it cannot be acknowledged for what it is, its consequences must continuously be spun as positive even as evidence to the contrary continues to accumulate and manifest with intensifying clarity and urgency; and its ‘advocates’ and ‘advocacies’ are now established Beltway gangsters just as the assorted ‘marginalized’, ‘victimized’, and ‘oppressed’ whom they claim to represent constitute dependent political client-bases.
The same holds for the truly shocking Beltway embrace of the Israeli Realm (which has consistently refused to become a formal ‘ally’ by signing a master treaty of alliance).
The refusal to acknowledge the Gramscian-assaultive purposes for which Immigration was embraced since 1965, and the consequent conceptual confusion caused by trying to spin it as wholly something else (an issue purely of moral sensitivity and compassion or a nativist rejection of the Other) also creates an intractable complex of problematic issues for which any classical qualities of personal and political maturity, integrity, intelligence and character are only going to get in the way. Easier to kick the can down the road, or pander to both sides under the rubric of flexibility, and in all ways keep up appearances while avoiding the substantial problems.
So while Congress (whose candidates and Members are also infected by all of the above) refuses to accept responsibility for its Constitutional responsibilities, the job-qualifications for the ever-engorging Presidency are for gentlepersons of such lack of character and maturity or of such ‘flexibility’ that they are essentially so invertebrate that it is now probable that no Lincoln or Washington or even Eisenhower could make it to the White House.
In some very real way, I am saying, the same thing dynamic is operative here in Our electoral politics as was in Germany after Weimar: “the gutter rules”. In Our case, not yet the overtly violent and lumpish mediocrity of the Third Reich’s officialdom … but We are getting there in policy and substance if not yet in appearance.
This accurate perception of this stark reality is not made any easier by the pomo insistence that there are no more ‘objective standards’ and that one shouldn’t be ‘judgmental’ (or ‘ageist’ or ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’ or nativist’ or ‘anti-Semitic’ or ‘essentialist’) – slyly packaged rules of Correctness and sensitivity that by the most amazing coincidence precisely stifle the genuinely critical thinking and Tire-Kicking that the Citizens and The People must exercise if they, in light of the failure of all the Branches of the government to do so, are to somehow get the national Ship of State and Culture back on a course away from the rocks and shoals that will surely rip her open and shipwreck every soul aboard.
And thus if such human creatures as I have described are the only ones who can make it to the White House, while the Congress is happily collecting its swag while letting the Presidency amass and engorge with power, and there is no Higher Law to which government or official is answerable, and there are so many ‘outrages’ and ‘emergencies’ that require the immediate imposition of the Sovereign authority and power … well, then, the Rule of Law – utterly indispensable to maintaining and sustaining the American Experiment’s and the Framing Vision’s commitment to popular governance – has a life expectancy that diminishes with ever-intensifying rapidity as each month goes by.
We can say, with Eisenhower but now in a situation of far more advanced danger and far sharper and acute urgency: “So much remains to be done”.