Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Flight 93 Election, Decius


This one is worth taking the time for some extended reading.

It opens with an analogy that I've used and one I haven't -- I still like the revolver vs the semi-auto a little better, but it is worth some thought:

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees. 
Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.
The difference between the columnist "Decius" and I is that he still feels that we are HEADED over a cliff -- I  believe somewhere in the past 8 years we already went over it. I don't see this as America, I see it as BOistan.
If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.
The term "conservatism" needs a precise definition. It IS NOT just hanging on to or pining away for "what used to be" as the article seems to veer close to at times, it the idea that "Ideas Have Consequences" and for humanity, what really counts are ideas, principles, values, meaning, culture, truth and wisdom. I've spent a lot of text on it over the years -- here are 10 principles that are at least a decent summary.

Whatever the reason for the contradiction, there can be no doubt that there is a contradiction. To simultaneously hold conservative cultural, economic, and political beliefs—to insist that our liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature and must undermine society—and yet also believe that things can go on more or less the way they are going, ideally but not necessarily with some conservative tinkering here and there, is logically impossible. 
Let’s be very blunt here: if you genuinely think things can go on with no fundamental change needed, then you have implicitly admitted that conservatism is wrong. Wrong philosophically, wrong on human nature, wrong on the nature of politics, and wrong in its policy prescriptions. Because, first, few of those prescriptions are in force today. Second, of the ones that are, the left is busy undoing them, often with conservative assistance. And, third, the whole trend of the West is ever-leftward, ever further away from what we all understand as conservatism.
Decius is painfully close to the realization that I have had -- "We aren't in America anymore Toto", and in fact, neither whatever it is, nor Europe, is working very well. We part ways on the notion that the function of culture and government is to be "compatible with human nature". In my view, and I believe in the view of Burke, the Founding Fathers, and "conservatism", human nature is flawed and the result of a culture that is merely "compatible" with that nature will be significantly and probably fatally flawed as well.

As I've quoted to excess, in the words of John Adams, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other". The religion he had in mind, Christianity, does not say "I'm OK, you're OK, if it feels good do it".
How have the last two decades worked out for you, personally? If you’re a member or fellow-traveler of the Davos class, chances are: pretty well. If you’re among the subspecies conservative intellectual or politician, you’ve accepted—perhaps not consciously, but unmistakably—your status on the roster of the Washington Generals of American politics. Your job is to show up and lose, but you are a necessary part of the show and you do get paid. To the extent that you are ever on the winning side of anything, it’s as sophists who help the Davoisie oligarchy rationalize open borders, lower wages, outsourcing, de-industrialization, trade giveaways, and endless, pointless, winless war.
I need to devote more time to the "Davos class". The quick synapsis is that these are "the top 2,500 people" on the planet (by their estimation) and they know what would really be best for the rest of us. I cover a little more of "Davos Man" here.  Since Reagan, semi-real conservatism has returned to the position of the Washington Generals (the team that always loses to the Harlem Globetrotters).

This is insane. This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die. Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity.
Go visit Ireland, Germany, England, or likely pretty much any other country on the globe. They are DAMNED PROUD to be Irish, English, German, etc -- and willing to tell you about it! If Trump manages to win, I believe that is why. There are a whole lot of people living in BOistan that actually LOVED America, and at least want to imagine that they can recover it! Some of them even believe it could be "Great again"! Which brings us to the other article linked above -- a rather long Atlantic piece lamenting that idea that anyone with enough education to write, would be writing something in support of Trump!
The essay is an attempt to change the minds of conservatives who refuse to support the GOP nominee. It doubles as a barely disguised rejection of conservatism itself, stoking panic in hopes that conservatives embrace what is essentially right-leaning authoritarianism. And it begins with an overwrought metaphor about the passengers on one of the planes hijacked during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Atlantic definition of "conservatism" dovetails rather nicely with the Washington Generals metaphor from Decius -- the Atlantic wants "conservatives" that "win" by agreeing with the Atlantic, but primarily just lose -- quietly, and with the proper bows and scrapes to the Davos ruling class.

Even so, the apocalyptic rhetoric of Hewitt and Prager is forgivable in comparison to the more dangerous ideas put forth by Decius and elevated by the Claremont Institute. Decius is rejecting the adequacy of a Constitutional framework that survived a British invasion, slavery, the Civil War, the Great War, the rise of fascism and Communism, Jim Crow––and that will obviously survive four years of Hillary Clinton.
Decius and the Atlantic author seem to agree that "America" survived the IRS being used against political opponents with nobody prosecuted, immigration policy being issued by proclamation from the oval office, being forced to buy health insurance was a "tax" and the executive spending billions that were not appropriated by congress was now just fine.

In my view, that IS NOT "America" because it is not a nation of laws rather than men. It didn't survive 8 years of BO, so what Decius seems to fear, and the Atlantic author seems to think is impossible, has already come to pass for me.

The Flight 93 column is well worth reading in it's entirety. The Atlantic one, not so much. In my world, America is already ended -- better choose a fascist that will have a lot of opposition, and that is CLEARLY Trump!

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