September 8, 2009

"Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans?"

Asks Camille Paglia.
Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.
Yes, exactly. This is a big reason why I feel so drawn into writing what gets perceived as a right-wing blog.

159 comments:

somefeller said...

This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

Perhaps whatever "authentic 1960s leftism", whatever it was, is a dead end, and society has moved on, boomer nostalgia notwithstanding. There was a left before 1968, and one that has its interests in things that have occurred long after that date. Maybe if Paglia understood that, she'd have something interesting to say.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

John and Ken compare Obama and his upcoming health care speech to a salesman that you've shut the door on, who rings the bell again for another try.

somefeller said...

Latest diktat from the Politburo, Comrade?

No, just thinking of people like FDR, MLK and others on the American left who managed to make America a better place without a bunch of naive flower power nonsense. Try again.

ricpic said...

"Authentic 1960s leftism" was a herd phenomenon. Nothing individualistic about it.

John Lynch said...

Maybe it's Boomers deciding their New Deal parents were right.

Rialby said...

They now have no problem with big government bureaucracy because it is Boomers who hold the reins of power. Even during the darkest hour of our country (2001-2008), none of their benefits were cut off. The machinery kept moving, the checks kept coming, benevolent government programs kept growing. All was well in the world as far as they were personally concerned. They were only anti-establishment when government wasn't doing enough to serve their needs. Now that the 18 year old of 1968 is cruising the adult care aisles of the Target closest to their suburban McMansion, they've suddenly grown accustomed to authority and the bennies they'll be receiving through their 80s. Big government is the answer because there is no other answer left to support them. Since most of them raised their children without any moral cumpulsion to care for them, they're now truly screwed unless Barack and his Democrats keep big government big.

garage mahal said...

So Democrats have turned into Republicans. Hard to argue with that.

nina said...

So do you think that non-Democrats (your dichotomy, because I would not divide the world in this way) care for the poor and dispossessed more? Just curious.

Penny said...

"Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans", at the same time the Republican Party seems equally arrogant and detached?

Now that's a bitch, and that's a fact, fellow citizens.

Pick your poison.

rhhardin said...

Clip of Obama the cool and analytic answering a question real audio, from KFI's John and Ken, 6pm hour.

Chase said...

rhhardin - I love you and your pithy, wise commenting.

But this conservative can't stand John and Ken even when they agree with me. They're the same ilk as the left wing talk idiots who will say anything for ratings. I truly feel sorry for their families.

kentuckyliz said...

I witnessed something truly chilling this evening:

a government nurse, making a presentation to a group, said, "Well, some people need to be exterminated."

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O. said...

Liberation theology was born in that same 60s idealism, a reaction against both the government and the established Church of its day. They had a lot of influence in shaping Vatican II, and made huge strides in reminding the broader theological and ecclesial communities that Jesus valued the poor.

A preferential option for the poor, they said. The liberation theologians, mostly coming out of middle class or upper middle class educated backgrounds talked a great deal about the poor.

The poor, meanwhile, became Pentecostals. Pentecostalism is of the poor, not just about emphasizing them but about empowering them, giving them a place and a role and a sense of contribution.

The poor, for the most part, don't want to be poor.

As the Democratic party increasingly becomes about the poor, directed to the poor, rather than actually lifting people out of poverty and giving them a voice and a place and a influence, the poor might start taking notice.

Maybe. The poor lifted Chavez into power.

But, if Republicans get themselves a bit of charisma and Pentecost about them things might change.

Maguro said...

Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem.

This isn't weird at all. The professional class understands that whatever big-government solution the politicians pass will be rigged to their benefit, and they're right.

The nomemklatura is just looking out for itself.

Peter S. said...

Ann,

Nicely put. Your comment helps me to realize that, ultimately, you were using your blog to stick up for the left, decrying how far it had fallen from it own best standards. I apologize for missing it.

In this vein, I eagerly await what must be a backlog of unpublished posts defending the principles and vision of the "true" left -- the populism and anti-authoritarianism of the 1960s (and its cultural precursors).

It's easy to say, "I didn't leave the left wing; the left wing left me." It's much harder to tell someone what vision of the left wing you actually, albeit nostalgically, support.

AJ Lynch said...

When I got to her question where she wondered why upper class libs have such faith in the govt, I was reminded of your comment, Althouse, the other day when you were dissecting Joe Klein and you wrote ..."people should not view govt as part of themselves; it is wiser to keep govt separate and distant from yourself" [pardon the very rough paraphrasing].

IMO Paglia hits it out of the park again.

P.S. I have an older sister who has not changed her views about anything in 40 years. She is a far left liberal. I used to think very much like her.

Synova said...

"Yes, exactly. This is a big reason why I feel so drawn into writing what gets perceived as a right-wing blog."

Conservative just means a reluctance to rush into the next bright shiny thing, it doesn't mean no change. There was a lot of very good things in liberalism, in secular humanism, in those political movements and a whole lot of those things are being conserved in conservatism while the liberals have moved on.

There were always radical communists but I'm not counting them in this because that was never *individualistic* was it? And anarchy *still* doesn't count for either left or right. But there were other things, the individual rights things, the fight for equality unhampered by multicultural things... same under the skin, same despite language or cultural differences, same despite gender... and now it's all about how different we all are and how categorized we must be and how we ought not say that something outside our own culture is wrong.

As recently as 10 or 15 years ago the loud-liberals I knew on usenet would often have the quote about how "I may hate what you have to say but will defend to the death your right to say it." That one. NEVER see it any more.

Beth said...

I am sympathetic to the position Paglia takes here, and from which, Althouse, you propose to be writing. But I do think Paglia does a better job of it, and is a more credible critic of liberal elitism. Perhaps it's because she is clear about where she stands, because she doesn't have to perform sleight of hand for a mostly conservative readership:

Having said all that about the failures of my own party, I am not about to let Republicans off the hook. What a backbiting mess the GOP is! It lacks even one credible voice of traditional moral values on the national stage and is addicted to sonorous pieties of pharisaical emptiness.

miller said...

I guess I don't understand why Paglia -- and Ann, for that matter -- cause such emotional distress to the "left."

I can read David Brooks and Glenn Beck and I don't need to go crazy because neither of them agree with me, each other, or even themselves. They're just viewpoints.

But Paglia goes against the dominant "progressive" thought and Katy Bar the Door.

Beth said...


How's that for a run-on sentence?


Well, since you ask: it's properly punctuated, and the subordination and coordination appear in place. So, it's not a run-on sentence - i.e., nowhere in it do two complete sentences run into each other without adequate management. It's long! But it's a good sentence.

Chase said...

What Beth said. Both times.

MnMark said...

I respect that liberals want to improve the world, and that they believe ideas and the intellect should be used to guide society towards "progress". This naturally is opposed by conservatives, who want to conserve the good things about society and tradition. There's a valid and useful place for both - seeking to change for the better, and seeking to preserve what is good.

But what blows my mind is that what liberals have settled on as the means for ideas to guide society towards progress is Big Government Socialism. Good lord! Is there anything more tired, more worn-out, more disproven by a century of brutal experience, than the idea that people with Big Ideas can take the reins of power and make our decisions for us better than we can? That's the best that the intellectuals can come up with, an incremental Marxism dressed up with free-market terms like "investment"?

The *real* source of dynamic change and improvement comes through *freedom*. It comes from 300 million people pursuing 300 million different possible paths, seeing what is working for others, trying that, improving on it. Freedom, liberty, is so much better than centralized Big Government plans and control for the same reason that parallel systems are better than serial systems.

There is nothing new or innovative about Obama and the Big Government liberals in control right now. Every idea of theirs revolves around some variety of government control and planning, and this is not innovative, 21st century thinking. Real innvoation, real new Big Ideas spring from free people, from a free market of people voluntarily associating with one another as they see fit, and not being compelled to do what Daddy Obama and Mommy Pelosi think we ought to be doing. For god's sake, they even lecture us about washing our hands! Next they'll show up on a nightly broadcast at bedtime to tell us to brush our teeth.

In my opinion, Obama should not be President, but should found a commune. People who think like he does could voluntarily join in his commune and they could set up a health care system for everyone in the commune, with a school system that teaches their values, and so on. He has no business trying to use our government, the purpose of which is to protect our LIBERTY, to coerce all of us into participating in his commune vision. It's immoral, it's worn out and tired, and it won't work.

JAL said...

KLiz says: I witnessed something truly chilling this evening:

a government nurse, making a presentation to a group, said, "Well, some people need to be exterminated."


Was his/her last name Holdren by any chance?

feculti
fecund faculty? Yikes.

Chase said...

I can read David Brooks and Glenn Beck and I don't need to go crazy because neither of them agree with me, each other, or even themselves. They're just viewpoints.

I agree to a point. While I am not afraid to read other viewpoints, I steer away from - and detest - the hard liners on any side who mainly demonize their opposition and obviously bend their performance to gain a larger crowd - hence my vomitous tendencies when John and Ken come on when I'm perusing the dial here in Southern Cal. I am SO tired of how they call everyone a "jerk" or an "ass" or "spokeshole" - and then occasionally treat one of the very people they call such names with a semblance of respect when they have that same person on their show. They're such hypocrites. You get the feeling that there is no real set of values there - just a job. A good job, a job that brings fame and degrees of wealth, but you're never sure that the right sales guy coming along with a better offer couldn't persuade them to switch to the other side of the issue.

I'm the last guy to shy away from a good argument, but I don't have time for the posers on either side anymore. And yet, strangely - I am so much happier.

William said...

Journalists and academics are just another interest group. They have their own set of prejudices and assumptions and class interests. They are better with words and can make their grasp for preferment seem like the highest aspiration of humanity. But, in the end, their saintliness and self interest nearly always are in alignment......It was always thus. I'm reading a biography of that Ur liberal, Walter Lippmann. Walter was not particularly wise, but he was a good writer and did a terrific impersonation of a wise and well informed man. He felt that public opinion was the result of popular prejudices, misinformation, and special intereests. He distrusted democracy. The people kept electing people he did not like. He felt that the challenge of democracy was to find a way to put the levers of power in the hands of men like himself.....Lippmann was wrong about a lot of things. He hailed one of Hitler's early speeches as being "statesmanlike". But public opinion has also been wrong a fair number of times. I'm not sure how to quantify it, but I get the sense that the American public has gotten it right far more often during the past century than the intelligentsia. But, of course, the intelligentsia are the ones who get to write the history of the past century.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Wow, Camille Paglia criticizes liberals! And she is a liberal! I thought I'd never see the day...

Cedarford said...

"This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism."

Yeah, it is pretty interesting. The 60s, for better or worse, were about achieving Revolutionary change and about civil disobedience to what were perceived as unjust laws and too much power in the hands of "The Man" in authority.

Now the reaction of very well off liberals in business, the well-heeled progressive Jews, black establishment, trial lawyers, journalists/media owners, job secure academics and government union employees? Its to go absolutely nuts at ANY hint of general public revolt on any matter.
Palin? Tea parties? Anarchy! Forces of darkness!!
The now-aged forces that once thought any law could be disregarded and civil disobedience the "higher ground" on any "unjust laws" regarding The Draft, restrictive campus rules, local laws impacting civil rights?

Now the same people never tire of braying and honking "Rule of Law"!! When it seems the "Rule of Law" they envision favors terrorists over the Bush-Hitler, favors restricting conservatives doing campaign fundraising.

(Lately the Left has cited Rule of Law!!! about as much as Bull Connor cited it in Selma.)

The people that said never trust the Man are now the ones that advocate government "saving us all" from anything...without any personal responsibility to lift a finger to self-help. A NOLA parasite sits in sewage...and it is the Fed Gov'ts noble task to take them to some place they should have evacuated to themselves, give them free housing, 2 thousand in gifts, and 3 square hot meals and free living for up to 2 years.
And every present problem from saving fat kids from themselves by banning snacks in school for all to promoting Algore lightbulbs to bailing out people that bought insanely too much house or consumer goods with too much debt...it's now all on the Gov't to solve.

Now it is everyone outside the Left talking about Revolution if the Social Contract breaks down on a terror attack the lawyers let happen, or a complete collapse of the US dollar, or people finally launching massive disobedience regarding tax revolts over too much spending..And Lefties screaming "You can't do that if you love Rule of Law". Revolutions are illegal and un-Constitutional!! Don'tcha know??

LonewackoDotCom said...

Of course, one of the main issues they don't want to talk about is immigration. Anyone who's part of the establishment - especially Dems - thinks there can never be enough of it. For those leaders, a major part of that is because they want power. For some, it's because they aren't that bright and they think they can vastly increase the labor supply and raise wages at the same time. I kid you not.

And, the # of unemployed in CA is about equal to the number of illegal aliens in the state. Despite that, Beltway hacks and even low-level blogger hacks would rather commit seppuku with a rototiller live on TV then promote this pro-American plan. (If you've got a second, send an email to jpalmieri *at* americanprogress.org and ask her to push that plan; she didn't respond to either email I sent her).

Also, it's not unexpected that the "tea partiers" have whined like little five-year-olds about their taxes, but have at the most paid lip service to concerns about illegal aliens taking jobs from their unemployed fellow citizens. They're only concerned with themselves, and their corrupt or incompetent leaders aren't exactly encouraging them to do the pro-American thing.

Chase said...

Oh, and here's the list of posers I do without and still manage to come to the my own (correct of course)informed conclusions on the issues of the day:

- Glenn Beck - Watched him for the first time last week. I'm so ashamed. I see where the word "clown" is associated with him. Sadly, his popularity gives him the capacity to set back conservative progress on the issues and it looks like he probably has the desire too.

- Keith Olbermann - Is he ever not mad? Loved him on SportsCenter - go back, Keith, whatever you have to do to make it happen!

- Bill O' Reilly -really - does he add anything of value to any of conversation?

- Pretty much every host on Air America past and present (or whatever they call it.)

- Frank Rich - is there anyone so talented yet so poorly sourced in their writing?

- Andrew Sullivan - One Note. Many Subjects. One Note. Truly Sad.

I dislike a lot about Rachel Maddow - I believe her thinking is shallow on many things, but she is not stupid, nor is she a sell out. I will watch her to sharpen my points against her take on the issues.

I'm certain everyone has their own list.

I pray so.

Beth said...

While I am not afraid to read other viewpoints, I steer away from - and detest - the hard liners on any side who mainly demonize their opposition and obviously bend their performance to gain a larger crowd -

What Chase said. I hear so much about Olbermann, for example, and I can't go there. I don't deal much with big talking heads, especially perpetually self-righteous ones.

Freeman Hunt said...

That article about Hitler as an artist has come to my mind a lot lately. (And no, I'm not about to compare anyone to Hitler.)

The woman said that a hundred years ago there was this conception of genius as being larger than life. That there was this idea that genius was, in a way, above morality. That the ideas of a genius must come to fruition.

I don't think we've lost that entirely. There are a lot of people in both parties, more of them Democrats though, who have this idea that everything should be planned.

I even had someone make an argument to me about healthcare saying, "How can you support the market? It's not even planned!"

It sometimes almost seems like there's this idea out there that things are worth trying just because they're plans. Even if they look very bad, why not give them ago? There's a plan. Implement the plan.

thecoyle said...

Liberals today are primarily motivated by their desire to f-over Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, whatever the cost.

Chase said...

lonewackodotcome,

How much would the rounding up of illegal aliens, processing and deportation cost, in your estimate?

Will it just be the fields of Central California that you are recommending the INS, Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement (who all will be involved in various stages of the round up and deportations) and any necessary agencies to perform this focus their efforts on? Will that be enough to carry out your employment plan?

If you mean to expand the round up and deportations beyond the Fresno/Central Califonia area, do you have cost estimates? What is your recommendation for raising money to meet said costs?

Do you feel that the the cost should be covered in an additional "stimulus package" from the Federal Government?

Taking into account today's political and fiscal realities, what do you believe are the actual real world chances that such a plan would be enacted under a realistic best case scenario.

chickenlittle said...

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans?

The "why" is easy: the upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and especially lawyers bought (or paid their dues for the) party didn't they? They own it!
What did the poor do for the Dems?

How the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans is more interesting IMO, because it happened slowly over time and was skillfully done. I'd like to hear her take on that.

David said...

About ten years ago, I took a long trip through Ethiopia, covering well over a thousand miles on some of the worst roads you can possibly imagine. Ethiopia--and especially rural Ethiopia--is unremittingly poor and harsh and the people have very few resources to improve their lives.

One of the things that surprised me was the presence of numerous non governmental American aid centers providing medical help, advice on sanitation, food distribution, agricultural training, counseling to vulnerable girls and young women and teaching of basic education. Nearly all of these missions were affiliated with American churches, mostly evangelical and conservative, the type that liberals dismiss as bigoted and superstitious. I met numerous Americans, mostly middle aged and older and a large percentage women, who come back regularly for several months a year to help serve the Ethiopians needs.

I talked with many of these people and learned a lot about them. I was surprised that they were largely conservative people with conservative politics. I did not meet any American liberals.

dick said...

Disagree vehemently with Paglia about the Republican party. The main moral voice they have is that the people in their wisdom are best able to set their own moral standards. They don't need a national figure to set the standards for them. In fact having a national figure to set the standards is one of the main problems with the Democrats.

After all it is all supposed to community standards. That was what the Supremes decided a few years back. The basic Republican belief is get the government out of the picture and the people will do it for themselves.

Donna B. said...

There were, IIRC, several "authentic movements" in the 60s.

One was anti-war and it was also misogynistic in my experience. The female protestors were there for sex and making coffee. This turned me off the anti-war movement very quickly.

There was also the flower-power love movement. I was much more attracted to this one. I am still attracted to goodness in whatever flavor it comes. It's just that goodness never seemed to conquer all without a bit of badness thrown in...

My parents laughed and said, yes, this is the way we used to live. We can do better now. I didn't listen.

And then I had children of my own. I learned to despise the educational bureaucrats that kept my gifted daughters from excelling... while at the same time, they kept my disabled son from realizing his abilities.

Oh yeah... I despise professional "educators" with a profound passion.

I was fortunate to find an outlet for my daughters' talents in parochial schools and for my disabled son's talents in a very specialized (and very private) school. To afford this education for my children, I cooked and served lunches at one school and cleaned the other.

The two years I was able to send my son to this very special school has resulted in his functioning as if he had a high school diploma.

My daughters excelled in school because I expected it of them and because they were competitive by nature.

This nature and expectation were not absent from my son's education, but they were minimized.

Though I was a liberal until my children were in HS or college, they are, as I am now, conservatives.

Obama is the first president my son is truly aware of and he worries that more is going to be taken away from him than will be given to him. My son truly cannot support himself. His physical and mental disabilities prevent this... and he is finally coming to realize that conservatives (not necessarily Republicans) are his allies. He has realized that liberals use his discomfort as a tool rather than meaning to help him.

I think this is difficult to understand until you have experienced it.

To experience fulfillment, and I think especially for a male, requires a feeling of accomplishment. Liberals are much more likely than conservatives to say one deserves fulfillment regardless of accomplishment and this is demoralizing to both men and women.

Women, if avowed liberals, are denied full enjoyment of motherhood and being a wife. There is an accomplishment in both that is denied in modern liberalism.

Conservatism is much more likely to recognize such accomplishment... but they are also likely to seem to require it and that is an annulment of the reward.

To each according to his need resonates with me where my son is concerned... yet from each according to his abilities does not give him a chance because his abilities are not "normal". His abilities, in a fair and just world might exceed his needs... but we don't live in a fair and just world.

For my daughters (and their husbands) their abilities far exceed their needs. And I am inordinately proud of this fact. That my youngest daughter out-earns her older sister's husband... yeah, I'm proud.

But, I'm proud of my oldest daughter's husband because he is doing not only good work, but work that is necessary for the good of our country. He could earn 1000s of $ more in the private sector than he earns in the Army. His is a slower and tougher path, but he supports my daughter and grandchildren very well.

You see, neither liberals nor conservatives have all the answers. My lament is that there is no longer a method of compromise between the two.

And... I've had a glass or two (perhaps three) of wine tonight, so if none of this makes sense, you know why.

Joe said...

The main moral voice they [Republicans] have is that the people in their wisdom are best able to set their own moral standards.

Really? This is the party that wants to use government to dictate what THEY deem as moral. When state governments don't serve their purposes, they follow lock step with democrats in enrolling the federal government in their cause.

Pox on both their houses.

(I'm a classical liberal in the tradition of Mices and Hayek. So is Paglia. I suspect most people who identify themselves as libertarian, really are classical liberals as well. Unfortunately, there is no political party to represent us.)

bagoh20 said...

MnMark @11:21pm

I hereby authorize you to write my comments. You do it better.

Thanks, send me the bill.

class-factotum said...

How much would the rounding up of illegal aliens, processing and deportation cost, in your estimate?

You don't have to round them up. You simply have to verify citizenship/legal residency for employment, school and welfare benefits. If illegals can't work or send their kids to school here, they will leave.

bagoh20 said...

My great great grand parents came to this country broke, made a decent living and raised a family. Every generation since has done the same. Sometimes starting out with a little left over from the previous, sometimes not. My parents again started out penniless and quickly built a middle class life. I left home, again with nothing, and eventually became wealthy, pulling many others along with me who likewise started out flat broke (many were immigrants). All have done this on our own working together and for ourselves, as freely and as independently as we wanted. I don't think this would have been possible under the socialist systems in Europe.

On a purely empirical basis, seeing it over and over, I have become a believer in the magic of a free market. It is not a philosophy for me, but my life and my family's experience for 200 years.

I don't think the people Paglia is talking about have had that experience. It is hard to turn your back on something after seeing it works magic and pull people out of poverty so effectively. To instead turn to something I read about, sounds nice and that should work, but never has.

Each time the new purveyors think they will do it right, but after about 70 years it collapses from lack of spirit, imagination and hard work.

Rose said...

I find myself saying "Amen!" And "Thank GOD people are starting to see it!" And I'm not even religious.

rhhardin said...

But this conservative can't stand John and Ken even when they agree with me. They're the same ilk as the left wing talk idiots who will say anything for ratings. I truly feel sorry for their families.

All outrage all the time apparently gets high ratings, but that's the business they're in.

They are capable of very entertaining whimsey, however, making the art of listening to John and Ken worth learning.

In particular, you have to be able to spot early when they have no material and are going to go over and over the latest details of the most recent child abduction or state tax plan until the hour is out; and tune away until they find material.

Podcasts are your friend here, if your player has a fast foward.

In return you might learn that the Indian Red Crayola was not for coloring the faces of Indians.

Historically they did this outrage crap even in a former career in NJ; then went to whimsey on KFI in a syndicated show; got fired and did whimsey on KABC in the morning, which got zero ratings but was a great show. On return to the de-Cox'd Clear Channel KFI they went the ratings route, which is their job, but is hopelessly tedious to fans. Hence the fast forward.

Sometimes the outrage is okay, when it's media-directed. When Rev Wright came up, John's "I no longer care what black people are mad about" rant was pretty good. That's a rare topic though.

rhhardin said...

Glen Beck sends email to Imus to congratulate him on joining Fox Business, saying that now Imus's Bernard McGuirk won't be the only one looking to take care of his wife Dierdre when he dies, and is there any word on what that might be.

rhhardin said...

..when that might be.

hdhouse said...

thecoyle said...
Liberals today are primarily motivated by their desire to f-over Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, whatever the cost."

as well they should be. they are entertainers masked as newspeople as is Sean, that crazy Savage guy, Gordon, Michelle, Anthrax Annie...well the list is endless and their airtime is non-stop.

you will notice that Paglia also tosses out the "tort reform" red meat...again, less than 5% of all doctors are the recipients of over 50% of all malpractice suits but she kinda glosses over that little detail...like all of that cited rant.

Frankly I think Ann needed to marry a moderate to keep this once "down the middle" blog in the middle...but alas, I fear that the breakfast discussions at the althouse household have taken a turn to the right.

shoutingthomas said...

The Democratic Party has become so arrogant because:

Ordinary Americans know that the problems of blacks are self-inflicted. Black racism and violence are plagues in their cities. The Democratic Party has become an enabler of black racism and violence.

Ordinary Americans consider the gay activist, sex change obsession of the Democratic Party ridiculous, and ultimately destructive of family and marriage.

Ordinary Americans understand that going to church and indoctrinating your children in religious faith is essential to creating a functioning and sane community and family.

The cult of the individual is a dead end, and ordinary Americans know this.

The ragtag, adolescent "lifestyle" obsession of the Democrats is regarded by ordinary Americans as an abdication of responsibility and duty. Sensible people also consider this "lifestyle" obsession something of a joke.

The Republican Party has become the party of the adults. The Democratic Party is the party of the infants. The infants want what they want now. Whoa unto any adult who denies the infants their goodies.

Note: In terms of actually delivering anything to its constituents, both parties are useless. The money to finance both parties comes from the same sources, and both parties are beholden to and serve the same masters.

LarsPorsena said...

"..Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers..."

Our new Mandarins. Like the Mandarins they achieved their positions through 'peer' review, disdain commerce, avoid the military for the scholar-bureaucratic 'service', look to increase state control of most facets of life, and pass on their special privilege positions to their children.

Pogo said...

I wish I could discern an ideologic difference between the vast majority of Dems compared to the GOP. Like Senator Arlen Specter, most can glide from (R) to (D) with little discomfort.

The main difference is procedural, as the health care plan has shown. Democrats want government control of the universe now, and the GOP wants it on the installment plan.

Pogo said...

Both sides are offering you safety and security. All they want from you is one little thing:

Your freedom.

Shanna said...

I think the people saying a pox on both their houses (although I agree) are mostly missing the point. I look at politicians from a "who can/will do the least damage" standpoint, and generally on that score Republican's win by a mile. Certainly Republican's take their turn of doing some damage, but the democrats are almost always worse.

Shanna said...

Oh, and gridlock wins over either party being in total power.

Pogo said...

Shanna, generally I agree, which is why I held my nose and voted for McCain.

But who am I fooling here?

Jean-Francois Revel described our fate presciently in How Democracies Perish. The Rockefeller Republicans and New Deal Democrats have with each passing year edged ever closer to the totalitarian impulses of socialism. More and more of the economy, and even non-economic life, has come under the thumb of state and federal control.

He wrote: "Perhaps in history democracy will have been an accident, a brief parenthesis which comes to a close before our very eyes."

I hope upon hope that I am dead wrong.

Jason (the commenter) said...

dick: Disagree vehemently with Paglia about the Republican party. The main moral voice they have is that the people in their wisdom are best able to set their own moral standards.

I'm an independent and the Republican party has contacted me several times, by phone and mail, always asking for money and always in the sleaziest way imaginable.

Don't tell me anything about Republicans and their moral voice. It's a party of whores from what I can tell.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I'm suspicious of this article because I agreed with it so much. I love how Page says the problem with Liberals is a lack of critical thinking. Is this the result of a generation of politically correct education? I'm prone to say yes. People don't need to be validated, they need to be corrected. Humans are so prone to error, if they don't go looking for errors (thinking critically) they will end up being useless.

It's gotten to the point where the worst thing you can say about a Liberal is that they are wrong; it hurts their feelings so much.

Crimso said...

Donna B.:
Drink more wine and keep the comments coming.

Kirby Olson said...

Donna B's comments were exceptional.

traditionalguy said...

Camille has the point of view of a liberal, but she insists on adding to that point of view an integrity to the truth. Therefore she is poison to the new left's mind control masters of delusion. I always enjoying reading her feisty stand your ground for the truth writing style. She usually adds some well reasoned thought to any debate. Her clarity on the new Afghanistan disaster plan is welcome.

Aaron said...

I think the perfect example of the cognitive dissonance on display here is the health care bill.

So... they think they can force me to buy insurance. Mmm, yeah. Except there is a little precedent standing it their way. you might have heard of it. its called ROE V. WADE. i mean if we take Roe seriously, doesn't that nix the whole idea of health care reform?

Which suggests even the liberals don't take Roe very seriously as law.

Roger J. said...

What Kirby and Crimso said.

bearbee said...

The nature of politics is power and rule over others in what the politician thinks is right but always with an eye on retaining power.

Ultimately you will be betrayed by the lust for power.

Hold no allegiance to any politician, party or any hard and fast ideology.

Life is too fluid.

The late Senator Everett Dirksen: "When I feel the heat, I see the light."

Beth said...

I look at politicians from a "who can/will do the least damage" standpoint, and generally on that score Republican's win by a mile.

I live in a state that's gone more conservative year after year, so I know just how much damage the GOP - and conservative Democrats - can do when given the opportunity. Don't be fooled.

montana urban legend said...

The inability of many to see the difference between mandates and options, between negative externalities and discrete lifestyle choices, between moral hazard and rational self-interest, is telling.

It could also be destructive to the republic - were it not for the existence of so many less mentally chaotic individuals.

Just being opposed to authority as an idea, without any coherent definition of what authority is - let alone a legitimate role for it, is emblematic of both the far right which has taken over the Republican party, and such insecure intellectual lightweights as Paglia (and her admirers).

There was a time when Paglia had very interesting things to say. But her (and others') inability to tell the difference between cultural analyses and political power shifts, and between social preferences or social needs and core legal principles, makes her unworthy of being taken seriously. The blurring of these lines is the product of a corroded understanding of human affairs in a functional, modern society.

garage mahal said...

I look at politicians from a "who can/will do the least damage" standpoint, and generally on that score Republican's win by a mile..

Jesus. Even the rich lost their shirts under Republicans, after the tax cuts that most didn't even ask for.

SMGalbraith said...

It was always thus. I'm reading a biography of that Ur liberal, Walter Lippmann. Walter was not particularly wise

Wow, I had to reply to this.

Walter Lippmann was one of the most brilliant journalists in American history.

At the age of 21 he wrote Woodrow Wilson's 14 points and nearly 50 years later helped write JFK's inaugural address.

In between he helped found The New Republic magazine and wrote seminal books on public opinion and democratic theory.

And he was hardly an ur liberal (read his work "The Good Society" for example where he rejected and warned of FDR's New Deal program).

LarsPorsena said...

"Jesus. Even the rich lost their shirts under Republicans, after the tax cuts that most didn't even ask for."

Which is why from Manhattan to Malibu
the richest areas by zip code are solid blue in their voting.

montana urban legend said...

"I hope upon hope that I am dead wrong."

Well, have hope then. In all likelihood you are in fact wrong.

The inability of Pogo (but not just Pogo) to tell the difference between what democracy is and what a democracy isn't is so conspicuous it's almost comical.

In a democracy, you actually have to convince others of why your aims are reasonable, justifiable, preferable, what have you. You can't just hold the entire process hostage to your haughty dismissal of anything deemed socially contaminated by virtue of whatever association it has to "the left".

You also have to build historical frames of reference that are more current, sophisticated and relevant than 1930. Unless you like living in a time-warp, that is - a not always unjustifiable criticism of certain John Birchers that seem to swarm to this place. Their numbers may be larger than the LaRouchies, but they are simply the political mirror image of the latter. On an intellectual level, these are twin movements, with worldviews that are just as limited and farcical.

LarsPorsena said...

Fee, fie, foe, fum, I smell 'social scientist'.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The liberation theologians, mostly coming out of middle class or upper middle class educated backgrounds talked a great deal about the poor.

Even in the midst of the 60's rebellion when I was right in the thick of things (lived in SF near Golden Gate Park, performed music from 65 to 73, attended the conferences, lived the alternative lifestyle) I could still see the rank hypocricy of the potheads and earth groovy hippie types and the self serving hypocricy of the anti war (hell no I won't go)types.

The hypocricy, to me was summed up in the lyrics from the song from Hair.

Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
Especially people
Who care about strangers
Who care about evil
And social injustice
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
How can they ignore their friends?
Easy to give in
Easy to help out
Especially people
Who care about strangers
Who say they care about social injustice

Oooaaooh
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd?


I could tell that they only REALLY cared about themselves and that the poor were abstract concepts. The generic bleeding hearts caring about the generic bleeding crowd.

Quite often the harebrained ideas that they would propose were given no thought about how they would actually affect the targets of their ideas. That the actions that they proposed were useless or worse harmful in the long run were immaterial as long as it made them, the activists, feel good about themselves. If I tried to point out that doing X was not going to help the people that they were 'bleeding their hearts' over or that it might actually make things worse (for the residents of Hunter's Point, Vietnam, you name it) they didn't care or were such ideologues that they refused to see.

When I could see that the people who really cared and QUIETLY went about doing good with out wanting anything for themselves were from the conservative, traditional avenues (church, local charities, the nice little old couple down the street who lived through the Depression and WWII definitely over 30 years old, etc)......this was the beginning of my turning to conservatism. These people helped, didn't hurt and did it without self congratulatory selfishness

Nothing has changed in the grown up Democrat's philosophy except they, the self indulgent hippies, have gotten older and..... God help us all, they are in charge now.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

so I know just how much damage the GOP - and conservative Democrats

Define damage.

Shanna said...

I live in a state that's gone more conservative year after year, so I know just how much damage the GOP - and conservative Democrats - can do when given the opportunity. Don't be fooled.

They can all do damage. It is just who is choosing to do the most. Right now, that would be the dem’s (at a national level, all my local level pols are dem’s and there is pretty much no choice).

Which brings me back to the whole gridlock thing. I think the best kind of government would be the one who is prevented from doing the most things. If we could decrease substantially the amount of time politicians are in washington, decrease the number of things they actually do, etc.. I think we would be far better off.

Der Hahn said...

John Althouse Cohen said...

Wow, Camille Paglia criticizes liberals! And she is a liberal! I thought I'd never see the day...
9/8/09 11:31 PM

montana urban legend said...

... , and such insecure intellectual lightweights as Paglia (and her admirers).
9/9/09 8:48 AM

Pssst, JAC, guess you didn't get the memo that she's not a liberal anymore.

montana urban legend said...

I could tell that they only REALLY cared about themselves and that the poor were abstract concepts. The generic bleeding hearts caring about the generic bleeding crowd.

This is a sometimes valid criticism. And it is one that equally applies to the right when they embrace the notion that there is no such thing as altruism, and yet, that by seeking to enrich ourselves individually through material self-interest, all of us as a whole will end up better off. They endorse this as their primary article of faith, relegating all spiritual self-betterment to traditional religious institutions, while turning the republic into a corrupt wasteland of cynicism and manipulation. They then wonder why people should even want to trust in the public institutions that the people own - all the while lamenting the supposedly impending end of democracy.

It's like the self-fulfilling prophecy of a schizophrenic.

Shanna said...

they embrace the notion that there is no such thing as altruism

Nobody says that, only that it’s not very altruistic to rob peter to pay paul. If you think paul needs help, help him yourself, instead of moralizing and trying to take from everyone else to help him.

montana urban legend said...

very altruistic

So now there are varying shades of altruism?

instead of moralizing

Altruism, as I understand it, is a moral philosophy. So is whatever philosophy that holds that reliance to any degree on public structures will inevitably lead to one's moral destruction.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And it is one that equally applies to the right when they embrace the notion that there is no such thing as altruism

You completely misunderstand conservatism. Altruism exists on an individual, personal and voluntary level. Does altruism exist in every human being? Of course not.

However, altruism is impossible to exist when coerced by government. The liberals believe that they are being altruistic when they, as Shanna says, rob from Peter to pay Paul. They are not. They are robbing, stealing from others, but creating altruism.

Sure their little hearts 'bleed' for the 'bleeding crowd', but their actions are not altruistic in the least.

Altruism is a voluntary action with no expectation of personal gain nor does it require the use of force.

OMG! vw - labia tee hee

Dust Bunny Queen said...

err...but NOT creating altrusim. Grrrr. Proofread first!

montana urban legend said...

You completely misunderstand conservatism. Altruism exists on an individual, personal and voluntary level. Does altruism exist in every human being? Of course not.

However, altruism is impossible to exist when coerced by government. The liberals believe that they are being altruistic when they, as Shanna says, rob from Peter to pay Paul. They are not. They are robbing, stealing from others, but creating altruism.


I may misunderstand conservatism as it has been bastardized by yesteryear's professed supporters of it. But I don't see what that has to do with your criticism of a supposedly liberal view of altruism.

Conservatives (as opposed to libertarians) seem to believe that certain beliefs and practices can be encouraged to the point where they will be supported willingly, to the point where old ideas might become popular once again.

You cannot accept that by encouraging "traditional" family values for instance, conservatives may make those things more fashionable, while rejecting the idea that by encouraging altruistic attitudes, liberals can only fail at making altruism more popular. That is an illogical proposition.

Shanna said...

by encouraging altruistic attitudes, liberals can only fail at making altruism more popular.

If it were only encouragement, no one would have a problem! You can’t force someone to be altruistic. Altruism is selfless. Not everyone is selfless. And if you are not actually giving anything of your own? You are making no sacrifices. Encouragement is great, but it is no longer encouragement when it comes at the point of a gun, or by law.

WV: ingin. WV is RACIST!!!

Richard Dolan said...

Even in the '60s, the Dems were never the party of '60s leftism in the sense that Paglia (and Ann) are using the term. Instead, then and now, the Dems have usually favored equality-focused policies over liberty-focused ones.
When a particular policy concerns the distribution of social goods, "equality" basically meant equality of outcomes, intentionally leveling the differing outcomes that would otherwise have been generated. I practice, it came to mean economic security as provided/administered by gov't bureaucracy. Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and the various welfare policies associated with LBJ's Great Society all fit that pattern.

The promoters, planners and providers of that security are, of course, the "upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers" that Paglia talks about. No surprise, really, that they have become the core of the Dem party, and along the way have become the prime beneficiaries of the policies they push. Like the Hawaiian missionaries, they came to do good and stayed to do well.

When the policy at issue concerned social choices rather than the distribution of social goods, the Dems' emphasis on equality kept its focus on outcomes but was experienced as the opposite of leveling -- the civil rights policies were an attack on the social status quo, enforcing the liberty of some by constraining the liberty of others. The liberating impact of those civil rights policies on racial minorities, gays and (to a lesser extent) women made them feel different, but they all came from the same focus on social equality rather than classic notions of individual liberty.

Paglia's critique of the Dems talks about a "stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism." But in truth, the Dems were never turned towards those "principles" to begin with.

Crimso said...

"while rejecting the idea that by encouraging altruistic attitudes, liberals can only fail at making altruism more popular."

She wasn't rejecting encouragement of altruism by liberals, but rather was rejecting forcing people to be "altruistic" by confiscating their property. At least that's the way I read it.

G Joubert said...

Put another way, governmental programs for the poor are not "altruism." They are a power grab.

montana urban legend said...

If it were only encouragement, no one would have a problem! You can’t force someone to be altruistic.

It's not the point any more than the fact that you can't force someone to embrace whatever values conservatives have instituted into federal law.

Synova said...

"there is no such thing as altruism,...(etc)" this isn't a "right" belief, it's libertarian or objectivist... and it's not that there is no such thing as altruism but that altruism as a goal in itself is actually damaging. Charity is allowed but an honest person would recognize and admit that helping others is sometimes the best way to help yourself.

The "right" view of altruism is very near the "left" view but only slightly skewed toward Charity and away from Government... unlike the libertarian view Charity is seen as having value in it's own self.

What the "left" seems unwilling to understand (and much of the "right" as well) is that compelled altruism - compelled charity - is just as impossible as compelled sexual morality. Because that is what it is... compelled morality, pure and simple.

The heart can not be compelled and attempting to compel it damages it.

Part of what is damaging in the mainstream idea of altruism is that it requires no other motivation so that taking care of your own disqualifies it. This puts personal responsibility as a subordinate virtue to caring for strangers. The result is the belief that it is *more* moral, *more* virtuous, to promote a model where "charity" is filtered through an impersonal government and distributed to strangers, even though that undermines and weakens personal responsibility toward a person's immediate family and sphere of influence because those things are *less* virtuous, *less* moral.

So there is that, and there is the fact that compelled charity results in an "I've done my part" mentality rather than true giving including the twisted notion that enacting yet another way to force other people be charitable under the threat of law is seen as charity, but there is also the sad fact that *impersonal* charity as a highest virtue means vast inefficiencies due to not *knowing* what people need the most or how an *individual* can be best helped.

The substandard charity, the selfish helping of those closest to you or those in your sphere of influence, allows a personal knowledge of how best to help.

And yet a person is entirely justified, if someone in their family is receiving tax money from a government program to have the opinion "I've done my part" because they HAVE. They've been forced to do so.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You cannot accept that by encouraging "traditional" family values for instance, conservatives may make those things more fashionable, while rejecting the idea that by encouraging altruistic attitudes, liberals can only fail at making altruism more popular. That is an illogical proposition

Then don't take that position. It is nowhere near the point that I was making.

Altruism isn't anything that can be 'made popular'. Being an altruistic person is something within your character, whether it is learned or is part of your genetic make up.

You can't FORCE people to be altruistic or caring and you can't FORCE it by taking money from a selected group to give to another more favored group and you certainly cannot FORCE altruism by making young people do a mandatory amount of community service.

Family values, which is a very slippery term (whose values, what families?), are learned by observation and by experience.

The entire idea that the Government should be involved in any of the above activities (altruistic charity, engineering social values, regulating families etc) is merely a continuation of the pipe-dream that the aging, overweight, nip and tucked hippies in charge want to continue to dream.

It is also a pipe-dream that they have indoctrinated into the youth such as yourself. You have spent years being crammed full of nonsensical liberal pipe-dreams and refuse to face it.

former law student said...

They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy.

Universal healthcare has been in place in every other industrialized country for decades -- in Germany for well over a century. This proves that such dangers can be controlled.

We're in the position of South Africa with television -- terrified that this "modern" development would change our culture beyond recognition. As a result, they had to watch man land on the moon a week late, in movie theaters.

I decided Althouse was no liberal when she showed no interest in the Progressive magazine's 100th anniversary conference back in May. Dozens of left-wing personalities were scheduled to appear, and the conference was held in Madison. It would have been a perfect opportunity for her to engage with "progressives." Althouse is a moderate conservative, now married to a mainstream conservative. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

montana urban legend said...

Also, I get the feeling that there may be a conflation here between utilitarianism and altruism.

montana urban legend said...

It is also a pipe-dream that they have indoctrinated into the youth such as yourself. You have spent years being crammed full of nonsensical liberal pipe-dreams and refuse to face it.

Blah blah blah. You have spent years being crammed full of the idea that ad hominems will distract me from whatever flaws exist in your reasoning, or from your projecting onto me your obsession with trying on every new ideology you come across like a new pair of shoes, like a new chapter or phase of your multifaceted life - rather than looking at them objectively and engaging them rationally.

I have until now kept my posts on this thread free of personal comments to you. Your obsession with seeing me as someone to warn, cajole, castigate, etc., may betray your own obsession with seeing the same paternalism in government, or wherever.

And why must you always do this as soon as I actually have something else going on? Is it ok if I defer to my pressing self-interest in the needs of the invisible hand right now and get back to this thread later?

LarsPorsena said...

"....top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers ..."

No way!!! I've been reading the comments here and nobody would be suspected of belonging to any of those groups.

Fred4Pres said...

This is a big reason why I feel so drawn into writing what gets perceived as a right-wing blog.

Don't forget that Althouse is a pro torture blog too. Andrew Sullivan never tells a mistruth or exaggerates.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Also, I get the feeling that there may be a conflation here between utilitarianism and altruism.

This is an important and interesting point to consider.

My main objection to either is the government involvement and attempts to coerce by social engineering.


The results always turn out badly.

kight said...

Over the years, I morphed from a moderate liberal Democrat to a fairly conservative Republican to a conservative libertarian.

The Democratic Party was once the party of the cop on the beat, the melting pot, and working class Catholics. It was the party of hard work, thrift, and citizenship via values -- some of which were taught from the pew.

It became soft on crime, "diversity" worshipping, and groups of rent seeking constituencies. It became the party of subsidies, deficits, and apologies for America.

The GOP can be just as bad.

Tea Parties don't surprise, and far worse may happen when our debt starts lowering standards of living.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And why must you always do this as soon as I actually have something else going on?

LOL Because I'm old enough to be your Mom. Eat your vegetables, sneeze into your sleeve, pick your friends wisely and get a good night's sleep.

And now I too have pressing needs for work.

Synova said...

"Really? This is the party that wants to use government to dictate what THEY deem as moral. When state governments don't serve their purposes, they follow lock step with democrats in enrolling the federal government in their cause."

The only difference is which morality is being forced. The Democratic party is horrible on liberty. Mark Steyn had an article tying this to sexual license and one of his commenters summed it up perfectly... no matter how oppressive a government, as long as a person can look up at a billboard and see a naked lady, he believes he is free.

Sexual license and the celebration of sexual freedom and perversion (and sorry BDSM folks, but getting off on dominance over other human beings is perverted) takes the place of liberty because people look at it and say... we're allowed to do *that* so we *must* be free.

We've got college students whose concept of free speech is that offensive speech doesn't count but hey, they have sex worker presentations at the school, how could anyone even *imagine* that any sort of freedom of speech or expression is being oppressed?

Very true, the Republicans are no better, not enough better to notice the difference, and they *are* just as likely to legislate in favor of their own power and control.

But please, could we force them to stop that instead of pushing yet *another* federal take-over?

Could we please recognize that freedom of speech *includes* offensive speech or it's not freedom? Can we recognize all of the many intrusions into privacy and not mistake a gay pride parade for proof of liberty? Please? Can we be a little bit concerned when our politicians are trying to convince us that it is MORAL to give them more power and control over our bodies and lives? Can we ask them not to take yet another thing under the federal umbrella, hospitals, education, the arts, because our bodies and our minds don't belong to them?

Or will we just look at the raunchy things we're allowed to do in public, all the innuendo and sex on television, and be complacent in the firm belief that those things mean that we are free.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

"Universal healthcare has been in place in every other industrialized country for decades -- in Germany for well over a century. This proves that such dangers can be controlled."

Not really. It only proves that the dangers can be endured.

Original Mike said...

This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

I have a good, long-time friend who was very much an authentic 1960s anti-authority, anti-establishment guy (I was just a little too young to participate, or I would have been one too). The stuff I hear coming out of his mouth now-a-days supporting big government statist ideas just leave me scratching my head in befuddlement.

Montagne Montaigne said...

“Conservatives” decry the progressives’ forcing policies they decry as “socialist” like universal health care or higher regulation of the banking or insurance industries onto the public, via mechanisms like higher taxes on the very rich. This is “social engineering,” totalitarian-leaning, a threat to freedom, etc. Government should be smaller and taxes lower no matter what the situation, right?

But what they’re not thinking about is that the results of strict laissez-faire capitalism are a threat to public order and ultimately do more damage to individual freedom. A wider and wider gap between rich and poor is a threat to public order. Because people don’t simply sit back and applaud the success of others when they are suffering from want. It’s human nature not to lie down and die in that situation but rather take what you need to survive, with violence if necessary.

Who wants America to become a third-world country? Is it liberals who want to spend us into penury, or is it the laissez-faire conservatives who are leading us to a land of high walls, armed guards and restive populations held in check by martial forces?

Social democracy is a social compact that acknowledges that not every member of society can do well all the time, and that collectively we can make sure that everyone has the minimum they need to live a decent life. Without that compact, it’s a Hobbesian nightmare that awaits us, and there are plenty of countries in the world you can go to right now if that’s your thing.

Yos said...

"Yes, exactly. This is a big reason why I feel so drawn into writing what gets perceived as a right-wing blog."
Uh? Really? right-wing blog? You voted for the Messiah ... and don't try to fool me with "I feel so drawn into writing what gets perceived as right wing blog" ... you voted for the Won, you can't spin your blog as "gets perceived" right wing blog. What a joke. I'm laughing ....

chickenlittle said...

Left to ourselves in post-cold war isolation, our choice seems not to be guns vs. butter but rather schools vs. prisons.
We must build one or the other in the face of failed parenting.

AJ Lynch said...

Beth:

You live in New Orleans right? You think its chronic problems are the fault of Republicans and conervative Dems?

That is the same as if Philly residents blamed its chronic problems on Martians.

Synova said...

MM, our "poor" are far richer than any "poor" in any nation on Earth in the entire History of civilization.

OMGAWD the peasants are revolting!!!!

Eeiiiiieeeeee!!!!!!

We better buy them bread! We better send them checks!!! We better tax the *very* rich and give their money away before the revolting peasants rise up and take it!

Sure this wrecks the economy, destroys notions of personal responsibility, and makes it far harder for the revolting peasants to get a job, but we've made laws about housing and cars and wages so that it's illegal to be poor, and we give them money so...

Hey, it's all good!

Beldar said...

"Yes, exactly" -- but Barack Obama has ALWAYS been the poster child for Paglia's description.

I don't understand how anyone can grasp what Paglia has written, yet have voted for -- and encouraged others to vote for -- Obama last November.

ray_g said...

"This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism."

No, it is not. Authentic 60s leftism was about promoting socialism and communism, and the anti-authority and anti-establishment themes were just tactics to promote their goals, and to enlist what were then basically just angry teenagers (in thinking if not in real age) rebelling against their actual and "in loco" parents. They have no problem with authority if they think they are the ones in charge. What surprises me is that Paglia (and others) can't seem to understand this.

This is just more nostaglia and false memories. I lived through that time, and very few of the people at the protests or whatever engaged in any serious political thought. Also, it is pure fantasy that these 60s boomers were more individualistic, most were just parroting what the perceived "cool kids" were doing. And they still are.

Quayle said...

Quite often the harebrained ideas that they would propose were given no thought about how they would actually affect the targets of their ideas. That the actions that they proposed were useless or worse harmful in the long run were immaterial as long as it made them, the activists, feel good about themselves.

I had an experience last fall that changed my entire thinking about what a merciful and just society is and does. I worked on the case of a 22 year old charged with three counts of federal child porn: receipt (20 years), possession (10 years), and distribution (20 years).

The client was a shy, reserved, introvert, who had been molested when he was in day care, and had a porn addiction as a teenager. He had collected more and more stuff off the internet, and over time the boundary lines became fuzzy and he had all kinds of illegal images. His father knew what was going on and only said: “be careful.”

At his rearrangement the boy broke down at the podium in the courtroom. The judge took a recess and we went out in the hall to help him compose himself. The boy was as open and real as a little child, and sobbed in agony at the full measure of what he was facing. I could feel the bitterness of it all.

Later, I couldn’t stop thinking about that experience. I started to feel that we’d failed him as a society by allowing so much porn to be so freely available to a teenager. He sped by the few, small speed bumps that were there, and now was suddenly facing 50 years in prison.

I understand - nobody wants to be a prude or actively limit the full range of other people’s choices. Who isn’t stunned by shouts of “censorship” or “First Amendment – freedom of speech?” Such slogans make us all feel good to say.

But doesn’t a merciful society protect the vulnerable and weak? Sometimes restrictions are a merciful way to help the weak.

We’d left this kid to face the porn-laden internet totally on his own, without any barriers, and he was too weak or too damaged to handle it.

Synova said...

"I don't understand how anyone can grasp what Paglia has written, yet have voted for -- and encouraged others to vote for -- Obama last November."

McCain sucked and there was "hope" that Obama was a smart centrist campaigning to those farther to the left... that it would be like Clinton again but without the skank element. And also that, most other things being more or less equal, it would be a good and positive thing to have a black President.

I think, as we're tempted into personal recriminations, we should remember just how *much* McCain sucked. (And also, for general recriminations, that Bush fatigue meant that, functionally, the Republican candidate was going to be a Bush stand-in, no matter what.)

downtownlad said...

"Perceived" as a right-wing blog?

Let's see. Ann has thrown her lot in with the birthers. She believes that Obama telling students to stay in school is "child abuse". She thinks that forcing a 16 year old gay kid to go to reparative therapy is about "freedom". She believes in "torture". She thinks that Bush did a wonderful job with the economy, and she pins the current economic situation entirely on Obama.

Why oh why would anyone "perceive" her to be right-wing?????

downtownlad said...

i forgot to add that Ann thinks that Medicare is "tyranny".

master cylinder said...

there is not very much left of the middle class,
that might be why you think all the libs are so high and mighty. Look at the income brackets in the last few decades. Big Government is one of our only big industries.

former law student said...

The Democratic party is horrible on liberty. Mark Steyn had an article tying this to sexual license

Agree 100%. Let's have good old GOP sexual hypocrisy: Ensign, Sanborn, Vitter, et al. Bring back "Do as I say, not as I do."

Huey L. Golden said...

There was a time when being a "liberal" was a badge of pride. As a "liberal" you:

Stood for individual freedom against an oppressive state. (Now the left is cozily in bed with the state.)

Stood for the right of individuals to freely speak their minds, whether to each other or to speak "truth to power." (Now the left does everything it can to impose its world-view on everyone else, whether through the political correctness insanity or through "balancing" of the airwaves.)

Stood for the right of all individuals to be judged as individuals rather than by the color of his skin or the country from which she came. (Now the left seeks to impose rights for one group of people -- based on color or country of origin -- to the detriment of the rights of others.)

Stood for the right of people to freely exercise their religions and not to have any religion imposed upon them by the State. (Now the left does all it can to denigrate and destroy the Christians and to impose its secular view upon everyone through the school system, the mainstream media, and hollywood.)

Stood for a strong national defense so to preserve the foundations of "liberalism," a concept which almost doesn't exist anywhere else on the globe -- recognizing that Marxist and Fascist regimes posed the greatest threat to the dream of a "liberal" country. (Now the left seems to be bent on destroying the military, cuddling up to Marxist dictators, stepping ever closer to Fascism in this country as they bed down with giant conglomerates, leaving us exposed to external and internal threats.)

Stood for the common man against the great corporations which threaten to quash competition and individuality. (Now the left seems intent on forming great corporations itself and using the power of the monolith to crush opposition and force conformity.)

Stood for healthy cynicism against the power of a centralized government. (Now the left seems intent on giving over to the central government all power.)

Stood for a free and skeptical press always on the prowl to discover, report, and thwart the abuses of power. (Now the left seems to be content with a press which is in bed with those in power.)

I proudly call myself a "liberal." Still.

I just have to explain to my friends what a "liberal" is and distinguish myself from these "progressives" who are in reality burgeoning Fascists and/or Marxists.

traditionalguy said...

My antenna still wonders why the facts about President Obama and The Democrat Congressional leadership joining in with the Communist Revolutionary Tyrants in Venezuela and Cuba against our Honduran ally has not become a frontpage story. That is a perfect example of Pro-Communist activity within the White House. But no stories are being written.

Chase said...

Wow Quayle.

The social costs of pornography.

Yet we sacrifice so many in order to insure the free access for many.

Devastating.

montana urban legend said...

As a "liberal" you:
Stood for individual freedom against an oppressive state. (Now the left is cozily in bed with the state.)


The state is an oppressive force against enlightened insurance policies/companies that fear competition the way Thomas Paine feared the British.

I'm eating my vegetables and I still can't find a clearer explanation for the motivating force of the opposition than this!

Stood for the right of individuals to freely speak their minds, whether to each other or to speak "truth to power." (Now the left does everything it can to impose its world-view on everyone else, whether through the political correctness insanity or through "balancing" of the airwaves.)

Seriously, this is the best that they can come up with?

The strongest sense of authority as I would define it is the authority of a sound, well-reasoned, well-supported set of ideas or observations.

You guys are so obsessed with seeing a caricature of the left, one that is more obsessed with ideology than with reality, that you are missing the point: The practical concerns of people and who they will trust to be more focused on those practical concerns than with philosophical abstractions.

In the meantime, continue fancying yourselves as modern day, philosopher anti-kings. A noble idea in its origin - and one utterly unfit to govern, as Plato paradoxically observed.

But at least you can make money off the idea. Which is nice, if not necessarily very civic-minded.

Synova said...

Me: "The Democratic party is horrible on liberty. Mark Steyn had an article tying this to sexual license..."

FLS: "Agree 100%. Let's have good old GOP sexual hypocrisy: Ensign, Sanborn, Vitter, et al. Bring back "Do as I say, not as I do.""

You're better than that, FLS.

The point I was referencing Steyn's commentor for was that we use sexual license as a stand-in for liberty... no one was suggesting laws to criminalize sexual immorality... just pointing out that it should not mislead us into thinking that we're free because we've won the right to piss off social conservatives.

Can I assume that you find the idea that free speech is understood to apply to approved speech only to be at least a little bit wrong? But I've heard just that more than once in the last few years. Our speech is being limited by *law* in a variety of ways, but who finds that alarming when they can turn around and point at something lewd and assert that our speech is obviously freer than ever?

Nahanni said...

Camille has written the best analysis of the Democrats and the "liberals" I have seen all year in that article. You really need to read the whole thing but the following passages hits the liberal/Democrat nail on the head.

By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done.

*snip*

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clich├ęs that it's positively pickled.

Throughout this fractious summer, I was dismayed not just at the self-defeating silence of Democrats at the gaping holes or evasions in the healthcare bills but also at the fogginess or insipidity of articles and Op-Eds about the controversy emanating from liberal mainstream media and Web sources. By a proportion of something like 10-to-1, negative articles by conservatives were vastly more detailed, specific and practical about the proposals than were supportive articles by Democrats, which often made gestures rather than arguments and brimmed with emotion and sneers. There was a glaring inability in most Democratic commentary to think ahead and forecast what would or could be the actual snarled consequences -- in terms of delays, denial of services, errors, miscommunications and gross invasions of privacy -- of a massive single-payer overhaul of the healthcare system in a nation as large and populous as ours. It was as if Democrats live in a utopian dream world, divorced from the daily demands and realities of organization and management.

montana urban legend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miller said...

Nahanni, you might be right, but it's probably too late for now.

Just like we wouldn't know today if the sun stopped burning (the heat it already has would keep it going for quite a white), the fact that we have developed a leadership elite that has destroyed the Republic won't really be known for a few more years. We'll continue to have fiscal crises that require us to spend trillions of dollars, and we won't even think about what it means to "repay" this loan. It's all in the fuzzy future, and we can enjoy the prosperity now.

montana urban legend said...

I have no idea what Synova is talking about with the speech bit, but sexual freedom is still freedom.

Maybe I'm missing something here, maybe there's a cultural disconnect. But doesn't anyone find an inordinate, uninvited, values-affirming interest among politicians, among the media, among the public, among anyone, about the sex lives of others, just the least bit useless and bizarre?

miller said...

MUL, you just miss the point.

The point is pretty clear.

If we think freedom is best expressed by sexual freedom, then when we see naked ladies on billboards we won't notice that we've lost the right to carry a gun, worship as we please, say what we want when we want, and meet together when we want and where we want.

That's pretty clear. I'm sorry you think that any attempt to resurrect the traditional rights of man seems only to be a gun aimed at your genitals, but there you go.

(I use "rights of man" in its original sense of mankind, but if you want also to screech about womyn, go ahead.)

Synova said...

Quayle, Chase, - That is truly a heart breaking story.

Part of the problem, I think, is that too many people don't question the connection between right and wrong and legal and illegal. This makes it near impossible to argue about just how damaging pornography is because any argument that this can *hurt* you is perceived as a push to pass laws to forbid it. And it's true that for many people it is.

"Legal" must mean "approved", right? And if something is bad for you, why isn't there a law against it? If a product isn't safe, why is it allowed to be sold? Simply being *allowed* is seen as an endorsement.

This is damaging and wrong and makes government into our parent, and responsible, and larger and too intrusive.

But the moral arguments do need to be made and our culture needs to address them and our communities need to be clear that some things that are not illegal still may be actively harmful.

It's in the Bible, too. Not everything permitted is profitable. Not being bound by the law doesn't automatically make everything *good* for you.

Also, of course, there are the admonitions about causing another to stumble. That, too, is about what is right and wrong to do that doesn't depend on what is legal or illegal. The *rule* about eating meat sacrificed to idols (the example used) is not changed to protect the person who will "stumble", the voluntary behavior of those who care about their fellow's weakness is what changes.

I think that we'd be far better off to make *clear* that laws are limited and do not at all define right and wrong... and that we can and should strongly and loudly advocate an understanding that, legal they may be, some things are outright harmful and should be avoided for good reason.

Widmerpool said...

Montagne Montaigne,

Your views, as always, are sort of laughably 1930ish. Have you been asleep since then? You are either very young or very obtuse.

marriedrambler said...

Walter Lippmann was one of the most brilliant journalists in American history.

Hardly a distinction. Journalists are generally empty of anything approaching knowledge or perspective. They are the tubeworms of our society: facts go in, feces come out.

At the age of 21 he wrote Woodrow Wilson's 14 points

Which accomplished...?

and nearly 50 years later helped write JFK's inaugural address.

See above. Writing fine elegant phrases, or even synthesizing worthy ideas, is not the same as actually doing something.

In between he helped found The New Republic magazine and wrote seminal books on public opinion and democratic theory.

So he was a man of letters. Bully for him.

And he was hardly an ur liberal (read his work "The Good Society" for example where he rejected and warned of FDR's New Deal program).

I'm sure the man knew well how to slap noun next to verb. And a non-doctrinaire mind, at that. Fantastic. Now if we could just get our Mandarins to stop using him as cover for their sclerotic bureaucracy, he'd be a peach.

Synova said...

Miller did an excellent job of summarizing, MUL.

Sexual freedom *is* freedom, but it's not the only way to be free and to a large extent I believe that it is being conceptually substituted for *all* freedoms. People *feel* free even while they are less and less and less free, even while government is increasingly intrusive, because they can *see* the license given to any sort of unusual sexual expression and the celebration, even, of any shocking and previously disapproved of thing.

So they just don't *notice* the constraints on other expression, on speech and assembly, religion and ideology.

former law student said...

If we think freedom is best expressed by sexual freedom, then when we see naked ladies on billboards we won't notice that we've lost the right to carry a gun, worship as we please, say what we want when we want, and meet together when we want and where we want.

Have we lost any of those freedoms since the 1950s? I would say since then, we have gained more freedoms than ever. Concealed carry is easier to do in more states than ever, there are more religions (like Scientology) to belong to than ever, there are more right-wing call-in shows than ever on which people can express themselves, and political rallies such as the tea parties are more prevalent than ever.

I think there's been a certain loss of civility in public speech, but that's the only other change I can see.

Freder Frederson said...

Yes, Camille Pagilia, that Yale educated, radical lesbian feminist New York intellectual is just shocked that the Democratic Party has become so detached from ordinary Americans like her (and Ann).

Give me a freak'n break

SH said...

Peter S. said...

"It's easy to say, "I didn't leave the left wing; the left wing left me." It's much harder to tell someone what vision of the left wing you actually, albeit nostalgically, support."

If she tried you'd write it off as right wing. Thats the catch all for everything outside the box she is critical of.

Example... I can support more equality in healthcare and universal coverage... but because I don't support FULL forced equality in healthcare and would not use a public option to achieve the universal coverage... I must be... RIGHT WING!

Jamie said...

FLS, "hate speech" and "hate crime" are two new categories of prior restraint, aren't they?

As for the "success" of "socialized" medicine in some nations, has ANY of those nations tried to maintain its health care program without the US's (relatively freer market) system to provide and test medical, surgical, and pharmaceutical innovations?

BJM said...

Montana @ 9:05

Incredulously I find myself in complete agreement with this graf:

"In a democracy, you actually have to convince others of why your aims are reasonable, justifiable, preferable, what have you. You can't just hold the entire process hostage to your haughty dismissal of anything deemed socially contaminated by virtue of whatever association it has to "the left".

Obama has not been able to convince Medicare recipients that the proposed cuts will not impact their care; nor that the 85% of Americans who are insured will be better off under Obamacare.

Shanna said...

Later, I couldn’t stop thinking about that experience. I started to feel that we’d failed him as a society by allowing so much porn to be so freely available to a teenager. He sped by the few, small speed bumps that were there, and now was suddenly facing 50 years in prison.

Agree, it’s a tragic story, but maybe the actual problem is that the punishment does not fit the crime. 50 years in prison is just WAY too much for finding illegal crap on the internet. That should not give you a longer prison sentence than murder. Period. This is the kind of liberty we lose when we criminalize everything out to insane mandatory penalties. You could give the exact same type of experience leading someone to drugs and it would be equally sad, and equally ridiculous.

On a related note, an old coworker of mine (many years ago) was caught with child pornography at work. He was fired, but nobody even thought of calling the cops. Is that strange?

Methadras said...

One could say that this latest incarnation of the Democrat Party is really the party for the Neo-Yuppies.

jms said...

It's always been interesting to me how Congress ignores the lessons coming from our state "laboratories." I live in a state with 5.1% unemployment, a balanced state budget, high school SAT scores several points higher than the national average, and obesity is the biggest health problem of our poor. How did this happen? We are a conservative "red state"--even our Democrats are conservative--and our citizens are active in government, initiating 60 ballot propositions in the last century. Among those that passed were laws requiring a balanced state budget and term limits. The news I see coming out of "blue states" is much different--insolvent state governments, unemployment rates in the mid-teens, failing schools, and politicians who serve for decades--if not life.

While I'm an independent, it's impossible to ignore the evidence that limited government works better. Yet all I hear from the left is "we need more government," while from the right I hear ideas that sound promising, such as those recently put forth by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. And Democrat's response to Mackey's ideas on health care reform? Boycott his stores.

Jasmina said...

Latest diktat from the Politburo, Comrade?

No, just thinking of people like FDR, MLK and others on the American left who managed to make America a better place ...
------
And thinking that FDR was a rich democrat who spent other peoples' money building up government whcih did not end the depression, while MLK was marvelous human being and a republican (like his father).

montana urban legend said...

"If we think freedom is best expressed by sexual freedom,..."

Miller, I'm glad you think that in order for me to "just miss the point", you only have to put so many words in my mouth, like "best expressed", for instance.

Perhaps I should have said, "is a part of", etc., etc., etc.

Anyway, so glad to see such a potentially novel way of reinterpreting 1984 here - especially among the would-be revolutionaries against the totalitarianism of such evils as, you know, a competitive health care market.

miller said...

You know, if you want to convince someone of the rightness of your argument, you might want to make a cogent argument.

The point others make is this: focusing on genital rights as the mark of freedom means you are missing the point of freedom.

I know you know this, but I can't figure out why you think it's profitable to argue as if you don't.

But it's your computer, so keep firing blanks.

Just Lurking said...

"I just have to explain to my friends what a "liberal" is and distinguish myself from these "progressives" who are in reality burgeoning Fascists and/or Marxists."

In my estimation, "Progressives" = Communists.

I distrust anyone or any policy labelled "progressive". Capitalism is not perfect, but I'll always take it over the lie of communism. Ultimately, communism is enslavement of the individual in the guise of equality.

Which is why I held my nose and voted for McCain. I could see where O came from ideologically- in part by the company he kept- and hence where he would likely want to go.



wv: beerbe; as in "Beerbe good".

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:
Really? This is the party that wants to use government to dictate what THEY deem as moral. When state governments don't serve their purposes, they follow lock step with democrats in enrolling the federal government in their cause."
So should the govt dictate what they deem as immoral? Are you suggesting that classical liberals don't promote that which they deem as moral and enact social policies to conform to what they view as good or positive values?
Who are these classical liberals who were not promoting their moral values through social policy? At what time in history did this occur and are you suggesting that somehow policies they enacted had no moral value? Classical liberals are not moral relativists who think that one cannot or should not legislate morality.

LarsPorsena said...

"Anyway, so glad to see such a potentially novel way of reinterpreting 1984 here - especially among the would-be revolutionaries against the totalitarianism of such evils as, you know, a competitive health care market."

Wrong book. It's not "1984". It's "Brave New World".

Shanna said...

term limits

We passed term limits as well, but it has only resulted in some weird politician swap between all the state offices. So, Charlie Daniels (for instance) will be Attorney General for two terms and then he’ll run (and win) for Secretary of State, etc..etc.. ad nauseum. Kind of funny. I think we tried to pass term limits for congress as well, but all that got thrown out by the supreme court (?).

maninthemiddle said...

Back in the ancient early '70s, one of the leaders of the radical movement on campus was a gaunt red headed (and bearded) fellow known as (what else) Erik the Red. He was an avowed Marxist, and I sparred and debated with him on a number of occasions.
With the documented failures of the political system he proposed, he would often be "checked" in his arguments.
His response was always the same. "It's all mute. In a couple decades we will control the universities, and from the universities churning out our little allies we will control the press, the political discourse, and the country."
Laughed at the time and told him I didn't think so.
Sometimes I wonder where he is now.

jr565 said...

maninthemiddle wrote:
"Laughed at the time and told him I didn't think so.
Sometimes I wonder where he is now."
You sure he's isn't one of Barack's czar's?

Number Six said...

In the 60's all the angry liberals hated Amerika because it was FASCIST. And they saw proof of Amerikan Fascism in the corporate technocrats escalating the Vietnam war, in kids imprisoned for minor drug charges, in Mayor Daley's thugs beating up protesters and a police state that spied on them.

In 2009 the same angry liberals are Democrats who proudly lead their party into making America more fascist: escalating land wars in Asia, an endless War on Drugs, Mayor Daley's thugs beating up protesters and stealing elections, government spying on citizens.

And most importantly, angry liberals gladly embrace every scheme sold by corporate technocrats: trillions to prop up failing automakers and banks, trillions for cap and trade, trillions to pretend to fight global warming and more trillions to take control of all healthcare.

Modern democrats have become the fascists they hated forty years ago.

Anthony said...

I'm not sure it's really the democrats that are so all-fired statist and detached like this. It's really an elitist thing, that cuts across party lines. At least, that is how my thoughts have been developing lately. The long-term politicos like Kennedy, Byrd, Hatch, Specter, etc., are all as elitist as they come. It's not conservative or liberal government that we need to limit as much and as often as we can, it's government.

Government under any logo serves mostly to protect and extend itself.

miller said...

I think it's hilarious that the (D) party wants to protect us from Big Insurance (but happily not Big Pharma -- they're on board!).

Who will protect us from the (D)s?

WV: rinumpo, Natty Bumppo's cousin

bagoh20 said...

"Sometimes I wonder where he is now."

Would be cool if he was a visitor to this blog. Most people I know who consider themselves progressives would never extol communism nor would they understand how what they do favor leads to it. Even if you never get to the gulag filling stage, progressive policy can do much of the same damage to the human spirit. This is not admitted until too late usually by later generations not wedded to the revolution.

Sofa King said...

Classical liberals are not moral relativists who think that one cannot or should not legislate morality.

Quite right. The difference is that classical liberals are content to legislate moral duty, i.e., "you must not be evil," while "progressives" attempt to tackle the realm of moral virtue, i.e., "you must be good" - often forgetting that there is a vast gulf between virtue and evil, the domain of which rightly belongs to the independent struggles of a free human spirit.

Jim C. said...

somefeller said Perhaps whatever "authentic 1960s leftism", whatever it was, is a dead end, and society has moved on, boomer nostalgia notwithstanding. There was a left before 1968, and one that has its interests in things that have occurred long after that date. Maybe if Paglia understood that, she'd have something interesting to say.

Surprisingly, I agree with all of that. Not quite in the way you might expect, though.

1960s liberalism was the feel-good cover for the naked lust for power that was there all the time and is now showing itself. Paglia, as well as our esteemed hostess, being idealistic, can't quite believe that. You might say they're (as the above commenter put it in a subsequent post) naive.

NPR's "On The Media", Aug. 7 : But the ideas behind community organizing are the opposite of idealistic. There’s a famous story. Whenever Alinsky would have a new student coming to organize, he would ask them, why do you want to be an organizer, and they would always say, well, I want to help others, you know, I want to devote my life to doing good. And he would scream back at them, no, you want to organize for power.

Compare with a similar scene between O'Brien and Winston in the second half of "1984".

1984 has arrived.

former law student said...

Bagwash needs to put down his pinko-tinted glasses and look at Alinsky objectively. Consider Alinsky's approach to groups of churches:

"Alinsky pointed to the Bible as an organizer s training manual and to Moses and Paul as organizers. Without Paul, where would the Jesus movement be?"

from the book review:

Saul Alinsky: Homo Ludens for Urban Democracy

by Richard Luecke

Richard Luecke is director of studies at the Community Renewal Society in Chicago. This article appeared in the Christian Century, November 15, 1989, p. 1050. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation

Book Review:
Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky: His Life and Legacy, by Sanford D. Horwitt. Knopf, 640 pp., $29.95.




http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=903

Meade said...

"Frankly I think Ann needed to marry a moderate to keep this once "down the middle" blog in the middle...but alas, I fear that the breakfast discussions at the althouse household have taken a turn to the right."

That's funny.

Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time must know by now that I am far more liberal than hdhouse.

Ask Althouse herself, if you like. I think she will tell you - it was primarily my liberality that made me marriageable.

ps: Our breakfast conversations, always a delight, happen to be quite moderate, albeit, at time, conducted in extremely immoderate voices thank you very much.

Bruce Hayden said...

So should the govt dictate what they deem as immoral? Are you suggesting that classical liberals don't promote that which they deem as moral and enact social policies to conform to what they view as good or positive values?
Who are these classical liberals who were not promoting their moral values through social policy? At what time in history did this occur and are you suggesting that somehow policies they enacted had no moral value? Classical liberals are not moral relativists who think that one cannot or should not legislate morality
.

The problem here is that there are different levels of moral value. Wishing that a problem would go away, and the world would be a better place if it did, is one level. But that is extremely naive.

I think a higher level is to realize that actions have consequences, and that the unintended (but not unforseeable) consequences of many of those liberal policies are far worse than the intentions are good.

Teddy Kennedy was almost sanctified after his death for all of the good intentions that he had and all the good intentioned legislation that he backed. But that totally ignores that much of our problems today are a result of all those great intentions of his.

For example, who could complain about the noble intent to eliminate poverty through the Great Society? Except that at least some of the reason that our life expectancies are lower than other countries is because that same Great Society effectively destroyed families in much of our underclass, and most notably, among African-Americans. And as a result of that, violence in that segment of our population is horrifying high in the males, and the females continue to have fatherless kids at an age when they should be finishing at least high school. But because they don't, they lack the basic literacy skills needed to properly take care of themselves and their kids. Much of this as a direct result of the Great Society that Kennedy supported so strongly.

Do I believe that most liberals are so naive that they believe that good intentions are sufficient, and that if only we put the best and brightest in charge of the government, that government could solve all our problems? Yes, I really think that many liberals do.

That said, I do believe that many of the liberal politicians who have risen to power and held onto it for an extended period of time must by cynical, and not naive. They don't really believe that ObamaCare will actually provide better health care for more people for less money, but rather, that it will create a new dependency class that will help them retain power (and as we keep seeing, most notably recently with Rep. Rangel, make them rich as a result). But, as we have seen recently, Republicans sell out for power too.

But most liberals, I think, truly believe in wishful thinking as a cure for all of society's problems. And never mind that the results were terrible - it is the good thoughts that count.

Frodo Potter said...

Donna B., great comments. I wish you and your son all the best.

David, very compelling story about Ethiopia. I’ve never been there, but it rings true that the workers there are all conservative Christians.

Lars Porsena, very trenchant insight on the New Mandarins—how true that is.

traditionalguy, what differentiates Paglia from other leftists is her intellectual integrity, a commodity in short supply amongst many on the left—and especially amongst academics. I agree with you; she is nearly always worth reading.

Finally, Shanna, regarding gridlock: I. Could. Not. Agree. More. Gridlock is good.

wv: ching. ka-ching, left-wing baby boomers are making money through green jobs and government subsidies. Right-wing baby boomers through talk radio.

rhhardin said...

Belmont Club on Paglia,

The hardest thing of all was not to be blind to Obama’s mistakes, but to ignore the fact that everyone saw the errors and kept it to themselves.

Methadras said...

montana urban legend said...

"If we think freedom is best expressed by sexual freedom,..."

Miller, I'm glad you think that in order for me to "just miss the point", you only have to put so many words in my mouth, like "best expressed", for instance.

Perhaps I should have said, "is a part of", etc., etc., etc.

Anyway, so glad to see such a potentially novel way of reinterpreting 1984 here - especially among the would-be revolutionaries against the totalitarianism of such evils as, you know, a competitive health care market.


No one needs to put any words in your mouth only because it would already cram what already in your mouth and it ain't words. The fact that you equate competitive with government should immediately promote you as the new guy between Moe and Curly. If you want to see an immediate competitive health care market, then allow the use of out-of-state insurance shopping and you will see prices fall within a month. What's the harm in trying that, at least it could be on the dime of the 'evil' insurance corps. no? I'm sure, your progressive thought processes are heading into tilt as I await with baited breath at a response.

montana urban legend said...

No one needs to put any words in your mouth only because it would already cram what already in (sic) your mouth and it ain't words. The fact that you equate competitive with government should immediately promote you as the new guy between Moe and Curly. If you want to see an immediate competitive health care market, then allow the use of out-of-state insurance shopping and you will see prices fall within a month. What's the harm in trying that, at least it could be on the dime of the 'evil' insurance corps. no? I'm sure, your progressive thought processes are heading into tilt as I await with baited breath at a response.

I guess you'll be waiting a long time, seeing as how I am not in favor of restrictions on out-of-state insurance shopping.

I'm also in favor of understanding the dangers of doing things like this.

montana urban legend said...

Oh, and since I forgot to mention it, the fact that you think no government is necessary to enforce a competitive market - well, that says something about you as well. No government is not the same thing as "efficient", or "deregulated". No government is "anarchy". Maybe you think any rule or law is an impediment to competition. But that's kind of like saying that a basketball coach should be free to amputate the legs of the players on the opposing team.

Imagery not necessarily all that different from the Three Stooges and indicative of a mindset just as foolhardy in its prescriptions.

David said...

Obama is the prince of fools. Fostered upon a George W. Bush weary public by a liberal media who were only interested in a hip well spoken African American with liberal views
becoming President. Obama, no record of real accomplishments other
than Ivy league degrees became the first affirmative action president and first affirmative action nobel prize receipient. He will go down
as Carter 2.0 paving the way for another Republican revolution in 2010 and pave the way for Mitt Romney to become President and the
nuclear 911 several years after he has left office due to his soft and weak policies on terror. His policies will also lead to a weakened country that will take a decade to recover from. Democrats took power in 2006 and things have gone downhill ever since because democrats are weak on terror on are economic illiterates.

Special K said...

Some observations by the late, Sen. Everett Dirksen (IL)

A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
Everett Dirksen

But the basic difficulty still remains: It is the expansion of Federal power, about which I wish to express my alarm. How easily we embrace such business.
Everett Dirksen

During a political campaign everyone is concerned with what a candidate will do on this or that question if he is elected except the candidate; he's too busy wondering what he'll do if he isn't elected.
Everett Dirksen

I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
Everett Dirksen

I have said, with respect to authorization bills, that I do not want the Congress or the country to commit fiscal suicide on the installment plan.
Everett Dirksen

The mind is no match with the heart in persuasion; constitutionality is no match with compassion.
Everett Dirksen

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/everett_dirksen.html#ixzz1gHLvXuaa