The Washington Post’s Ethical Unethical Accurate Stupid Tone-Deaf And Dangerous Headline

Go ahead, keep deriding "the people." Can't do any harm...

Go ahead, keep deriding “the people.” Can’t do any harm…

The big problem with the “elites” that conservatives and Trumpeteers keep demonizing is that they insist on acting and talking as if they are exactly as insolated and contemptuous of “the masses” as they are accused of being. Witness this headline on the Washington Post website, on the Wonkblog column:

Headline Post1

Talk about walking into a haymaker! This headline went viral on the conservative media and social media, with such comments as, “Know your place, peasants!” and  “Stand aside and pay attention to your betters!” As with many such incidents, the headline signals that some ethics alarms aren’t functioning in high places. How could this headline make it to the web without anyone seeing it and thinking, “Whoa! Hold it! That sure sounds like (another) call to authoritarian government, and this is the major paper in the Capital of what is supposed to be the cradle of liberty! We can print that, and if we think it, we have to be a lot more clear about what “some things” are.” What does it tell us that nobody had that thought at the Washington Post?

This is the realm of headlines, which, like internet memes and bumper stickers and Twitter posts, are not safe for expressing complex ideas, and should not be used by competent journalists to do so. Ultimately, in a representative democracy, the people do decide such things indirectly, by electing their representatives and punishing them with their votes if they don’t make decisions the public finds competent and beneficial. The Post web headline asserts an ugly and arrogant dichotomy between “the people” and what, their rulers? The intelligentsia? The aristocracy? The 1%? Journalists? Since trust in our institutions are at a dangerous low point, this is a mind-blowingly stupid thing to print, and plays directly into the hands of the anti-establishment hucksters like Trump and Bernie.

Now in fact, a government opening up a complicated economic and political decision like leaving the European Union to a binding straight up or down vote by citizens who really are not equipped to analyze all the factors and make a careful, weighted, rational decision with tremendous long and short term consequences internationally and abroad is incredibly foolish, unless the leaders are absolutely and accurately convinced that the vote will be what they expect…in other words, using the vote as a political tool. Even if it works, it’s a cynical tactic, but if it doesn’t, it is a bone-headed one. Prime Minister Cameron blew it. The headline could just as easily read, “Brexit is a reminder that some things shouldn’t be handled by incompetent leaders like David Cameron.”

Suddenly, someone at the Post today heard the faint ringing of an alarm, and the anti-democratic headline was changed to read..

Headline Post2

That’s better. As California has learned, sort of, government by direct democracy and referendum is a ticket to Disasterville. It’s too late for the Post, though, and the “elites” it speaks for. If Trump’s campaign was astute, and of course it isn’t, we would be seeing that first headline a lot.

But keep handing the “people” ammunition to destroy you, everybody. After all, they can’t really do anything. All they can do is get angry, then they have a few beers, and cool off.

Or let them eat cake.

Right.

Here’s the kick-ass anthem that was inspired one of the times that attitude was rife. And you know what happened..

By the way: WOW!

67 thoughts on “The Washington Post’s Ethical Unethical Accurate Stupid Tone-Deaf And Dangerous Headline

  1. The source of all wisdom: academia, the entertainment industry, news media personalities, sports stars, beautiful people celebrities, and professional politicians. Why would we ever doubt them?

  2. I watched that video and I can only echo — Wow! In fact, I was motivated to look up the English translation, which I don’t think I’d read before.

    I’ve long been drawn to marching songs from the American Civil War, and I think this strikes a similar chord. One can easily imagine the power of this song for a unit marching off to war.

  3. Oh, and about the headline.

    I’ve long maintained that it is a rule of the Headline Writers Guild that headline writers are not permitted to read the story in question before writing the headline.

    How else can one explain some of the headlines you see all the time in newspapers?

    (This headline is a work of fiction. All the persons and events portrayed in the headline are fictitious and any resemblance to real events is pure coincidental.)

    • Diego Garcia said, “How else can one explain some of the headlines you see all the time in newspapers?”

      It must state in that same “Headline Writers Guild” training manual that there is a fair amount of the population that never read beyond the headline, so the writer must make their most significant point there regardless of article content.

  4. Of course, what is ironic is that it is certain conservatives (most notably the Tea Party) who typically want to do away with popular vote, not the writers at the Washington Post. This is a constant theme on my non-liberal friends’ Facebook pages. Liberals tend to be pro popular vote — although they complain about the ignorance of the masses when the vote goes against them.

    • Sigh…

      I think I’ve heard Tea Partiers wish for a chance to return to the Federalist system envisioned by the Founders…an aspect of which returns the Senate to election by the State Legislatures.

      Since the President is elected by the Electoral College and the House is popularly elected which I’ve heard no Tea Partier or conservative seek to change, I’m not sure from where you’re cherry-picking and falsely generalizing your information.

      You are correct though that liberals (at least for now) like to include more offices and more decisions in the popular vote, mostly because the people, passions inflamed, can usually be relied upon to vote in stronger and more centralized measures, just what the nascent totalitarianism of the Left wing would love. Of course, once fully entrenched, I wonder just how eager the Left would be for popular elections then…at least anything past pseudo-elections.

      • Sigh (mine is more dramatic). There are movements underway — they won’t be successful — advocating for the right to vote only if people own property.

        • No doubt. I did preempt your explanation though when I quizzically wondered where you cherry picked the information you falsely generalized. And if you didn’t mean to falsely generalize, then you are merely poisoning the well.

          Either way, you made a fairly irrelevant and silly observation.

            • I have never once heard or heard of a single conservative (or anyone, really) arguing to “do away with the popular vote.” That’s not even a generalization…you’d have to hunt out individual examples just to get up to a theory.

  5. Just a minor correction, the Brexit referendum was non-binding (and your text above implies it was).

    As for the rest, I think it was stupid calling for the referendum, especially because the “elites” (quoted because it’s not clearly defined) kept making the exact mistakes that gave rise to Trump in the U.S. They played as if they had it won (just like the Clintons are playing it here) which only helped to fire up the opposition.

  6. Jack, I live in the once-great state of Michigan, and our GOP legislature and governor frequently add a spending addendum to many, many of the laws they pass. Why? Because if there are appropriations attached, the PEOPLE can’t vote to overturn the legislation with a referendum. Liberal elites writing headlines? Not as bad as a stat legislature that prevents the people from actually having a voice.

    • “Jack, I live in the once-great state of Michigan, and our GOP legislature and governor frequently add a spending addendum to many, many of the laws they pass. Why? Because politicians have attached taxing and spending bills to legislation since 1792.

      There, I corrected your assertion for you.

  7. Well “Let them eat cake” says the Washington Post blog. I’m in favor of Britex and national sovereignty. Citizens “to the barricades!”

  8. The European Union dates back to ye olde 1990s. It’s kinda sad hearing Brits be all like, “What are we going to do now? How are we going to survive leaving the EU?” Hello, you’re ENGLAND. If that’s even still true.

  9. Let’s go children of the fatherland,
    The day of glory has arrived!
    Against us tyranny’s
    Bloody flag is raised! (repeat)
    In the countryside, do you hear
    The roaring of these fierce soldiers?
    They come right to our arms
    To slit the throats of our sons, our friends!

    Refrain

    Grab your weapons, citizens!
    Form your batallions!
    Let us march! Let us march!
    May impure blood
    Water our fields!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    This horde of slaves, traitors, plotting kings,
    What do they want?
    For whom these vile shackles,
    These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
    Frenchmen, for us, oh! what an insult!
    What emotions that must excite!
    It is us that they dare to consider
    Returning to ancient slavery!

    What! These foreign troops
    Would make laws in our home!
    What! These mercenary phalanxes
    Would bring down our proud warriors! (repeat)
    Good Lord! By chained hands
    Our brows would bend beneath the yoke!
    Vile despots would become
    The masters of our fate!

    Tremble, tyrants! and you, traitors,
    The disgrace of all groups,
    Tremble! Your parricidal plans
    Will finally pay the price! (repeat)
    Everyone is a soldier to fight you,
    If they fall, our young heros,
    France will make more,
    Ready to battle you!

    Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
    Bear or hold back your blows!
    Spare these sad victims,
    Regretfully arming against us. (repeat)
    But not these bloodthirsty despots,
    But not these accomplices of Bouillé,
    All of these animals who, without pity,
    Tear their mother’s breast to pieces!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Sacred love of France,
    Lead, support our avenging arms!
    Liberty, beloved Liberty,
    Fight with your defenders! (repeat)
    Under our flags, let victory
    Hasten to your manly tones!
    May your dying enemies
    See your triumph and our glory!

    Refrain

    We will enter the pit
    When our elders are no longer there;
    There, we will find their dust
    And the traces of their virtues. (repeat)
    Much less eager to outlive them
    Than to share their casket,
    We will have the sublime pride
    Of avenging them or following them!

    Refrain

    Translated by Laura K. Lawless

    La Marseillaise
    “La Marseillaise” (Arc de Triomphe)
    The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792
    Photo courtesy of
    Allan T. Kohl / MCAD Library

    The four stanzas between ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ are no longer sung today.

    For those of us who took something other than French in school as your second language. Like moi.

  10. I saw today that Cameron told the EU that the reason Leave prevailed was Angela Merkle’s decision to force a million plus “refugees” down the EU’s throats. Am I the only person alive who thinks of this as “Merkel’s Boner?”

  11. I simply do not understand you people. I do not grasp what specific brand of Conservatism you represent. There are too many contradictions here.

    La Marseillaise as sung by maddened, drunken revolutionaries, having internalized a spirit of sheer vengefulness and pure destructiveness, who sentimentalize their fury and their will in resolute, emotional terms – a fantastic rhetoric with which it is impossible to reason. That spirit, for all that it had some ‘justification’, when set loose, destroys and dismantles.

    And the same spirit, carried forward, is alive in the fury of the mob that clamors to lynch a ‘rapist’ (Brock Turner) or to elect Uncle Trotsky into the White House. And there is no criticism of this?

    What do you represent? I really do not get it. What do you defend?

    A mass of people is by its very nature incapable of making choices as we normally understand choice. It is a tenet of Occidentalism that, in one way or another, the best decisions are made aristocratically, in council, deliberately. Choice implies forethought and forethough profound intellectual work. Choices of these sorts are defined by schools of thought. It is a question of which School of Thought gains predominance.

    No one in their right mind could even imagine, nor propose, that ‘people’ can or know how to choose proper and sound fate. If someone tells that they are likely selling something.

    I am trying now to imagine which side of this Brexit issue would be singing La Marseillaise. Must be the nationalists, right? Along with the nationalists in: Spain, Croatia, Bulgaria, Sweden, Holland, Czechoslovakia, France, Hugary, Italy, Norway, in Portugal and in Greece?

    But that doesn’t work. The French Revolutionaries, largely, dismantle hierarchies and thus national hierarchies (eventually). The revolutionary sentiment leads, eventually, to the state of affairs of communistic-globalized-mind-managed distribution-systems: the leveling of difference, the disestablishment of category and hierarchy.

    The forces that rise in resistance to *all that* are of a different order. It is a resurgence of something long suppressed and is not so much revolutionary as it is … genuinely conservative.

    Someone needs to email me the Interpretation Manual to understand better where you-all are coming from. I promise I will read and study it.

    • The message of the reference to the French National Anthem, which played a crucial role in the French Revolution and throwing out the monarchy and aristocracy—literally the “elites” (okay, killing them, actually), was “disrespect the people at your peril. oh rulers and self-satisfied elite.” That’s all.

      The leaders of that revolution were not “drunk,” or they could not have succeeded.

      • Oh.My.God. Oh.My.God.

        This statement runs 100% contrary to my direct experience.

        Drunk revolutionists can indeed succeed. It is far easier to tear something down than to build it up.

        I do not profess to understand in any necessary dept the French Revolution, but it certainly had its blind, drunken aspect.

        There had to be a sober faction that took over the reins at some point. That would be more to my point: You canot rely on mass sentiments. It requires an elite to forge a sane path.

        • Alizia Tyler said, “It requires an elite to forge a sane path.”

          WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!

          Being “an elite” has got nothing to do with it, not a damn thing!

          It takes a LEADER with a strategic vision and the ability to multiply their energy throughout the populace to forge the path of a revolution. Although sane and sober might be good traits for a leader, it makes little difference in the scheme of things if the leader is insane or drunk.

          • Zoltar, Mind of Fire, writes: “It takes a LEADER with a strategic vision and the ability to multiply their energy throughout the populace to forge the path of a revolution. Although sane and sober might be good traits for a leader, it makes little difference in the scheme of things if the leader is insane or drunk.”
            ____________________________

            You could just as easily note that a demagogue, a madman or a sociopath, if a good leader, could mobilize a mass-movement.

            As I understand things – please correct me if you think I need correction – the American Revolution and the solid philosophy on which it was built, is no small thing. The essence of it, and the reason it has endured, and allowed for the creation of very substantial things, is BECAUSE it is founded in sound philosophical principles. I have heard it described as a ‘conservative revolution’ and this conservatism stands in a direct opposition to the ‘drunken’ and resentment-infected terror and destructiveness of the French Revolution.

            To note that a LEADER is required is superficial understanding. To build something- anything – solid in this our world requires the contruction of a foundation on which to build. Without that foundation, the building will not stand.

            What you are speaking of is more a military leader or a good general. But a military leader of that sort, in the best of worlds, is constrained, controlled and directed by someone or a group of high-minded, well-informed, and thoughtful persons.

            And that sort of person, and those sorts of groups, are by their nature elites.

            • Alizia Tyler,
              Let’s be perfectly clear about something, I did not say “good” leader, I just said leader; and NO I’m not just talking about military.

              You clearly do not understand leadership. A leader is anyone who has two characteristics; first, he/she is going someplace; second, he/she is able to persuade other people to go along with them.

              Your talk about “the elite” comes across as pompous classism and elitism. I think it would be reasonably fair to say that after someone becomes a leader, some people might consider them “an elite” but being an elite is NOT a base requirement of being a leader, PERIOD!

              • Most Esteemed Colleague Zoltar:

                “A leader is anyone who has two characteristics; first, he/she is going someplace; second, he/she is able to persuade other people to go along with them.”

                That may be so, but the topic here is what sort of leadership, and what sort of ideology and program does the leader subscribe to, and institute. I have no reason not to accept your definition. But there is surely more to the question. If you are going to define ‘leadership’ you will necessarily have to define ‘ethical leadership’. To have ethics is to have been formed by morality. And morality has everything to do with values.

                “Your talk about “the elite” comes across as pompous classism and elitism.”

                If you approach conversations in this way, and if you react and more or less fly into a fit because a particular word rubs you wrong, I’d suggest examining the psychology in operation there.

                I have said a few times, and I mean it: I choose to examine and reexamine every trigger-phrase and every PC term that has become installed in our consciousness. Every one of my concerns, if voiced, would likely cause in you spastic episodes. I question: Democracy. Race. Cultural chauvinism. Gender issues. Sexuality. Homosexuality. Education. Value. Modernity.

                Every tenet that defines our relationship to the present, and to our self-definition, each and every one I question.

                What you HEAR as ‘pompous classisim’ is irrelevant to me and to my point. My point is not that I am of that class, it is that the construction of societies and cultures and certainly of ‘civilization’ is a project of elites. This is such basic stuff Zoltar.

                This is not meant to devalue or belittle anyone who is outside of that elite and directorial class.

                Our societies are run by sophisticated, trained technocrats, and in my view one simply has to accept that and understand that this is how social machines and cultural machines function. The object is to get the best technocrats into positions of rulership. It is an elite project, classically and realistically defined. It does not mean that it cannot serve the greater good. Indeed it should.

                • Alizia Tyler said, “That may be so, but the topic here is what sort of leadership, and what sort of ideology and program does the leader subscribe to, and institute.”

                  You said to me in different blog thread less than an hour and a half ago; “You often speak of ‘thinking’ and ‘reasoning’ but in my experience you do very little of it. Can you please take one specific idea, sentence or paragraph in what I have written here and SHOW ME with good argument 1) where I go wrong and 2) how it is rightly done?”, “An argument cannot be mere assertion, you have to demonstrate it.”

                  So here we are; I picked a sentence that you wrote reflecting a singular point (unusual for you) and “showed you with good argument 1) where you went wrong and 2) how it is rightly done”, I didn’t make “mere assertions, I demonstrated it” and what do I get in return from you, I got a statement saying “that may be so, but the topic here is what sort of leadership, and what sort of ideology and program does the leader subscribe to, and institute…,etc, etc, etc”; you moved the damn goal posts to Alpha Centauri.

                  You just earned yourself a well deserved friendly FO, Alizia.

                  By the way Ms. Tyler, the actual topic here is The Washington Post’s Ethical Unethical Accurate Stupid Tone-Deaf And Dangerous Headline and it doesn’t “seem” like you’ve actually addressed that, you just wrote usual deflection manifestos; but I digress to the truth, how dare me.

                  • Hello there Zoltar. You picked a useless example to argue. And one that no one could possibly contest. Yes, a leader can influence people. That is all there is to it. I agree.

                    The larger conversation, and the more important conversation, has to do with very much more. Hugo Chavez was such a leader and he did fantastic harm. How the masses cooperated with him is much more a concern of mine. And I am of the opinion – I hope this is not illegal – that he should have been ‘taken out’ as the Americans say. Assassinated. Best if by a Venezuelan patriot.

                    That would have amounted to an ‘elite’ decision! Because I have to deal with a very different politics than you likely do, my views are more harsh, more radical.

                    I do not think that the headline itself is the real issue, Zoltar. It is the issue which is expressed. That issue is a much larger one. I am less concerned for the specifics of that headline, aand more concerned by how people organize perception of their world.

                    My concerns are the larger issues, the meta-political. You don’t have to share that focus though.

                    • “That would have amounted to an ‘elite’ decision!”

                      You seem to be using “elite” in the sense of the dictionary definition: “The choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.”

                      He’s using it in the more common sociopolitical sense of “a small group of powerful people in political and sociological theory, such as an oligarchy, that controls a disproportionate amount of wealth or political power in society.” (From wikipedia)

                      In that sense, Chavez *was* the elite, and obviously not the best leader. The potential assassin may not have had popular support, but he could easily have been disenfranchized– the opposite of elite.

                      You talk about wanting the best technocrat for the job. The only point here, both in the original post and from Zoltar, is that only decent criteria we’ve found for selecting the “best” technocrats is letting the people decide who they want to lead them — whether that person was “elite” (already one of the powerful people) or not. That doesn’t always work, but it’s better than the alternatives, and the track record for the “elite” and non-elite choices of the people are pretty similar over the world.

                      I take it English isn’t your first language? Because if that’s the case, you might want to google or ask for definitions on words central to your arguments, to make sure there aren’t alternate definitions or connotations you’re missing.

                    • Alizia Tyler said, “You picked a useless example to argue.”

                      R…e…a…l…l…y?

                      If I remember correctly, you are the one that started this deflection with your bigoted elitism argument (that’s probably a direct result of your morally bankrupt racism). Yup I was right, after looking back I found that you are the one that presented the original bigoted argument that stated “it requires an elite to forge a sane path.” therefore you made it a legitimate point to openly discuss whether you like it or not. One of the roots of the stated bigotry I originally quoted is that anyone that isn’t “an elite” must not be sane but it’s twisted by you into something that resembles anyone that points out your bigoted character flaws is presenting useless examples to argue.

                      There’s absolutely no sugar coating your blatant bigotry. Did you learn your bigotry from your parents?

                      It might be mean of me to say this and maybe it should be stripped from my comment and replaces with a bunch of *****; however here it is in its entirety, screw your bigotry, screw your classism, screw your elitism and screw your racism. I am and will always be intolerant and speak out against such things.

                      It’s your choice to visit these blogs; it’s your choice to comment on these blogs; it’s your choice to write the bigoted meandering trash you write. These choices all have consequences and one of them is that people, like me, will figuratively nail to your cross for your bigotry, classism, elitism, racism, double standards, hypocrisy, nonsense, etc.

                      Damn me for not talking about your words in a way that you would have chosen to discuss.

                    • I’ve said what I believed needed to be said, I’m done with this particular conversation.

                      Ms. Tyler can have the last word, or many, Many, MANY words if she chooses.

    • I think what might be confusing to you is that many “conservatives” these days are actually Classical Liberals, as were the American and French revolutionaries, with varying outcomes.

      (Though of course most people have a more muddled political philosophy based on personal experience and information.)

      You can find an entry on Classical Liberalism on wiki, if you want.

  12. OK, well, here is what Marseillaise singers have done to my country: https://youtu.be/UOQb7Y5QVO8

    This is another derivative of La Marseillaise: https://youtu.be/b1gX0SxtidI

    Thanks Emily, I see your point. I do not understand much of this in any depth but I am trying to.

    Zoltar, my fine feathered friend, I am trying to understand what specific Conservatism is espoused. You seem to be one but never talk about what you propose. Others are quite like you. I cannot read what you are proposing and where your values lie. That is an honest statement.

    • Hugo Chavez came out of The Enlightenment? I thought he was a Castro Communist who, as has Castro, hijacked Simon Bolivar’s legacy. coe to think of it, wasn’t Bolivar a product of The Enlightenment?

      In any event, your country’s problems are the result of Karl Marx’s work nearly a century later. Marx had nothing to do with either the French or American revolutions, both of which came out of the same intellectual milieu.

      • This is the point where ‘you’ confuse me (this is a general ‘you’ and to what I am attempting to understand as a general conservative faction: many or most who post here).

        The Left, and the Progressive Left, sees itself and has direct links to the doctrines of Enlightenment. The impetus of the French Revolution reverberated throughout Europe and the world. And continues to reverberate. One could say those are Enlightenment values in operation. So far so good.

        Marxian ideation is not, however, disconnected from Enlightenment ideation and values. In fact they are connected. They must be connected as they arose in the same matrix. Or, are you saying you;d separate them absolutely? As two distinct and totally separate things? If so, I’d take issue with you.

        If those singers of La Marseillaise, in your book, do not sing a song that can be linked with general progressive politics, including Marxian politics, but are actually singing some other sort of song, I admit to sitting here scratching my aching head. You seem to manipulate facts to conform to some personal opinion you’ve cobbled together. I really do not get it.

        The emotionalism that animates the song is, I think, a charged sentimentalism that nearly always seems to serve leftist, Marxian and progressive social and political movements.

        Who is now singing La Marseillaise and leading the Masses to an enlightenment conservatism? Where?

        On one level the French Revolution represents and is an eruption of social psychosis and vengefulness. It got contained and channelled by other forces. Similarly, the Bolivarian (Venezuelan) revolution was a social movement, a social reaction, against a corrupt elite system.

        On one level or another, at one moment or another, the same ‘spirit’ will have its way with the United States of America. It starts in genuine sentimentalism and it ends – or so it seems – in tyranny.

        The question I have is: How radically should one then oppose both the Marseillaisian sentiment as well as the tool that it tends to grab: Marxist activism?

        • Very interesting to hear you are Venezuelan. Northern and Southern Europe are totally different kettles of fish. Arab-Iberian societies are essentially (and I think hopelessly) authoritarian. Everybody in the Middle East, Spain and Central and South America,Cuba (or any other former Spanish colony) loves a strong man. Not sure why. People in Northern Europe enjoy their freedom and despise strongmen. I don’t know why. Something in the genes. You’re there, maybe you can explain it. Macho culture? Baby boys spoiled by their doting mothers? Unbridled greed? Winner takes all? Beats me. I can’t explain it, maybe you can.

        • “If those singers of La Marseillaise, in your book, do not sing a song that can be linked with general progressive politics, including Marxian politics, but are actually singing some other sort of song, I admit to sitting here scratching my aching head. ”

          Classical liberalism. If you’re not interested in learning the answer (classical liberalism, BTW) you’re going to continue to be confused.

          As to your question, we shouldn’t oppose, and should even promote, the *classical liberalism* that inspired La Marseillaise — the idea that all people are equal under the law and are natually endowed with civil rights, and that we should be willing to stand together to defend ourselves from tyrants who would try to limit those rights. *Other philosophies that play on populism,* like Marxism, are worth being concerned about, especially given their track record as compared to classical liberalism, *which is a different thing.*

          Seriously. Go to wikipedia. Look up “Classical Liberalism.” Read the article. Look up Marxism. Read the article. The ideas expressed there will be different, and you will no longer be confused about what conservatives support (Classical Liberalism) and what they oppose (Marxism.)

        • Hello there Emily. Thanks for your response. I don’t need to read the article on Classical Liberalism. I have enough of a general grasp to understand what you mean, and also what you earlier said.

          I do not, not at all, think that you can isolate that those *noble* ideals from the mass of destructiveness that was/is the French Revolution. At the very least, it is quite complex and any description of the phenomena requires nuance. Myself, I tend toward the idea that there are impulses, I am not altogether sure where they come from nor why they arise, that tend to degeneration, and sometimes to open destructiveness. If a ‘levelled present’ with everyone equal according to your vision is the object, and if that leads to or produces the sort of cultural death we notice around us (I notice this, I cannot say what you notice), then I also question this ‘classic liberalism’. I am of that school that tends to see the French Revolution as an unleashing of chaos. And while I do appreciate liberty equality and fraternity, up to a point, I just as well respect and understand — and notice, as facts of the universe — inequality, curtailment and control, and hierchical difference.

          I do not either have much confusion about what Conservatives support, that is American Conservatives. I think everyone does, more or less. But what in fact they support is somewhat different from what they hold up as an ideal or a banner of what is to be supported. In a nutshell I see it as ‘Americanism’. A military and war-readiness footing, extensive market freedom with few or no restructions on accumulation, and then the classical religious posture: a sort of lived nostalgia within religious forms that, most often, have limited relationship to the whole pattern of life lived. I do not see American Coinservatism as having much of an articulated philosophical base, in fact it is rather devoid in that sense. As Steve of NJ has recently stated these things require pages of definition and this is not the place for it.
          ______________________________

          The rest goes to Other Bill. It’s funny, you mentioning genetics. You know of course that those are illegal thoughts? Thou naughtie man. Because genetics means biology means the physical person means the cultural and civilizational construct. They are, in my book, inseparable. So, let me put it to you this way and through this I will kill various birds with one stone. I too can think illegally.

          The closer that one moves to pure Anglo-Saxon culture and biology, the closer one moves to freedom, to a self-empowered person capable of enjoying it (because he invented it; carved it out of chaos more or less). The farther ‘south’ one goes, the more one finds ‘the cahos of peoples’ and a social will that is undisciplined, unstructured, and not even interested in what discipline and focus can achieve. It is shocking to some degree how clear the biological lines are. It is not all of the equation, but it is a big part of it.

          As everyone knows or should know, all the republics of S America up to Mexico were established, essentially, by mercenaries and adventurers strictly for purposes of extracting wealth. The governmental institutions are of an inferior quality. They are administrative entities, or political structures set up to rule and dominate, but true citizenship and civic spirit hardly can be said to exist. They include no notions of ‘freedom’ or social responsibility. Anglo-Saxon idealism is foreign, absolutely foreign, and this is also reflected in the Catholicism practiced. It does not empower so much as it contains or perhaps restrains is the word.

          I have a rather harsh interpretation of Venezuela and its unreally impossible and twisted politics. You and everyone else here, becasue you have no connection with these historical forms, likely cannot and possibly will not ever be able to understand it. But even with existent bad political forms what has happened is that the ‘unterman’ has penetrated into the political and economic scene of Venezuela, and has plundered what is there to be taken.

          It takes another sort of man, and naturally I suggest a man with very different biological and cultural roots and anchors, to run a country properly, even to be able to ceonceive of such a thing, and to establish and maintain civilization. There was not and there is not now a will to create, or to preserve, or to erect or to maintain anything at all that resembles civilization in the European sense (all the skills necessary to create culture and civilization). These will require a wholly different governing class. It is a mistake, at least in some sense, to blame it on Marxist Ideology, though that plays a part, it has evermuch more to do with the quality and the aptitude of the ‘self’, and this means biological, intellectual, spiritual and moral self of the governing class.

          My theory is as follows: the more that the US is overtaken or dominated by the ‘unterman’, the more the Republic will move, inch by inch, toward chaos. The Republic is an Anglo-Saxon project, a brain-child of the Anglo-Saxon mind. It cannot be, and will not be, maintained by any other.

          I’ll take my beating off the air …

          • Oddly enough, if you botherednto read the wikipedia article I keep mentioning, you’d find out that Freidrich Hayek had some ideas that could explain both the cultural conservativism of American conservatism, and (arguably) part of what contributed to the chaos of the French revolution:

            “Friedrich Hayek identified two different traditions within classical liberalism: the “British tradition” and the “French tradition”. Hayek saw the British philosophers Bernard Mandeville, David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, Josiah Tucker and William Paley as representative of a tradition that articulated beliefs in empiricism, the common law, and in traditions and institutions which had spontaneously evolved but were imperfectly understood. The French tradition included Rousseau, Condorcet, the Encyclopedists and the Physiocrats. This tradition believed in rationalism and sometimes showed hostility to tradition and religion.”

            • Hello there. Yes, I have read similar accounts of that division. I have done at least some reading on the philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution.

              A small comment: This English conservatism, Classic Liberalism as you mention, arises and occurs within a relatively homogenous and relatively stable culture. So much cultural work has already been done to bring forth such a matrix, and thus a liberal system is even possible, or becomes possible.

              In my (former) neck of the woods such liberalism is, to put it bluntly, an impossibility. You’d have to construct a culture and build the traditions, founded in trust essentially, for such a Liberal system to operate successfully.

              My family — most anyway — relocated to Bogota and other cities in Colombia, as well as to Panama (because my family are strictly observant Jews, however I am the total Black Sheep and have abandoned Judaism completely which places me in a very tense situation vis-a-vis them). Colombia right now represents in my view one of the more successful examples of state-building in the region. It is poised for continued success. (If they don’t mess up — a possibility believe me).

              It is instructive to compare Venezuela, today, with Colombia. Colombia has done what the ‘sudaca’ should do and must do: cleave to a stronger power, imitate his ways, avail himself of the other’s expertise, and educate his technocrats in his universities. Cooperation with power, not resistance to power. One path leads to success and prosperity, the other to the Pit. Venezuela chose the Pit. I am in touch with people in Caracas almost daily and it is a psychedlic terror-nightmare. You would have no idea how strange and impossible it is. It is beyond imagining.

              The ruling powers of Colombia are, pretty strongly, Anglo-Saxon I will add. I mean the monied elite. Their ‘identification’ is England. The technocratic class is educated mostly in the US although there are quite good universities in Bogota. Their identification is with US mostly. The lower classes in the Bread and Circus zones are quite happy imitating Americanism down to the nailpolish. It is what it is.

          • I agree with you one hundred percent.

            Some anecdotal evidence on our topic: I went to high school in Miami with a lot of Cuban refugee guys. One good friend’s grandfather was in the group of Cuban aristocrats to whom the U.S. Government returned Cuba after the U.S. had freed it from Spanish colonial rule. He told my friend, his grandson: “Always have an Englishman run your country.” Of course, this was during the Batista Era. You know, right before the Castro Era.

            I assume you are being tongue in cheek when you say such thinking is illegal. I think we ignore our ancestors at our peril. I’m three eighths Irish and wish I drank less. Hah!

  13. They act and talk like that because they really DO believe that, Jack. The left isn’t about any of the great goods they preach, they’re about power. They are delighted to have the boost of a popular vote when they can get it, but if the vote goes against them they are very quick to turn against the whole idea.

    Between 2004 and 2012 over 30 states put the question of marriage between one man and one woman to a vote, and marriage expansion lost every. single. time. Did the left respect those referenda? Nope, they decided the people were too wrongheaded to vote the right way so they’d turn to government by lawsuit. This nation was moving toward resolution of the abortion issue by democratic process, but it wasn’t fast enough for some, who again, turned to rule by five unelected judges.

    Funny, these are the same people who flooded the streets with rowdy protesters in the run-up to not just the Iraq War but every conflict the US has been in since Viet Nam and called for the government to heed “the voice of the people.” These are the same smug people who said that the Senate should get the hell out of the way on Obama’s choice of justices to replace Scalia because the people spoke in 2012 when they reelected him and that Congress should get the hell out of the way, Obamacare was here to stay.

    Strip away the mask, and the left is just their worst exemplar, Lenin, who referred to western socialists as “useful idiots.” Give them complete power, and they reach the state described in The Gulag Archipelago:

    ” That’s when interrogators spit in the open mouth of the accused! And shove his face into a full cuspidor! That’s the state of mind in which they drag priests around by their long hair! Or urinate in a kneeling prisoner’s face!”

    • Steve, what about the Conservative (or the Libertarian) rejection of excessive war engagement? The construction of a war-manufacture economy, or ‘perma-war’? Is an ultra-conservative rejection of the temptations of war a possibility in your book?

      • I’m not sure how to answer that. The short answer, and one of two that I instruct my witnesses to give when asked on cross-examination whether some scenario is possible is that anything is possible (the other one is it’s possible but not likely). The questions of what constitutes a just war, whether a nation’s economy is tied in too much with the making of arms, and libertarian/ultraconservative isolationism are big, complicated questions, any of which could easily spawn a 500 page textbook. The answers to any of those questions are not something you can reduce to a bumper-sticker slogan or a catchy chant to be yelled by a hot, sweaty, rowdy, revved up crowd who think they represent the force of history.

        • Almost every important issue requires a 500 page answer. But do you have a comment on the foundational American position and doctrine of avoiding embroilment in foreign wars? Do you personally think this should have been avoided as a tenet of conservatism?

            • Makes sense: Can’t back out now.

              I have begun to wonder if we have not deliberately provoked the conflicts that we see developing. For example 9/11. But I do not come from that position as a Leftie, but from a theoretical conservative position. We got embroiled in foreign conflicts and provoked conflicts that may well destroy the Republic.

              “If for instance the military defense of a state is carried to such excess that it provokes wars by which the power of the state is annihilated, this is a breaking of the jug.” (Chinese Book of Change).

    • The referenda on gay marriage are an example of what shouldn’t be put to a vote, but if it is, your point is sound that it undermines trust to just overturn it by edict. Prop 8 was like Brexit: cynical pols were sure the vote would bolster their position, and it didn’t. The fact is that gay marriage WAS a constitutional issue not just a social one, and thus not responsibly given to an up or down vote. The analogy would be voting on whether Muslims should have to register and have special background checks. I bet that measure would pass, and the courts would be obligated to overturn it.

      • Yes, my main point is that just overturning a vote by edict undermines trust, and if something isn’t properly put to a vote, then don’t put it to one. Once you do, it looks pretty bad, even tyrannical, if you say “oops, our bad, the people shouldn’t have been trusted with this because they’re too stupid, so we’ll just set their vote aside and hope they keep on running the machines, doing the paperwork, and paying their taxes.” If the only thing you want is for the people to vote your way so you can say “the people have spoken” and silence those who disagree with you, that’s abuse of both the process and the people.

  14. Zoltar excplaims: “It might be mean of me to say this and maybe it should be stripped from my comment and replaces with a bunch of *****; however here it is in its entirety, screw your bigotry, screw your classism, screw your elitism and screw your racism. I am and will always be intolerant and speak out against such things.

    “It’s your choice to visit these blogs; it’s your choice to comment on these blogs; it’s your choice to write the bigoted meandering trash you write. These choices all have consequences and one of them is that people, like me, will figuratively nail to your cross for your bigotry, classism, elitism, racism, double standards, hypocrisy, nonsense, etc.

    “Damn me for not talking about your words in a way that you would have chosen to discuss.”
    ______________________

    I admire anyone who forms strong ideas, sticks by them and defends them. I don’t have any problem at all with how you see me. You give me an opportunity, from which I have shied away earlier, to get stronger and more confident in what I see and what I think.

    Getting emotional and dramatic, though, is unnecessary. I also disagree strongly with abandoning the or any conversation because of offense or, in your case, a sense of moral superiority. You come from a culture that has undergone a substantial and really intense indoctrination in respect to certain key ideas. It is part-and-parcel of the American Civic Religion. It does not surprise me that you react as if I have offended your god.

    The truth about things, the truth about how things really are and really work in our unbelievably weird world, is scary and strange. It took took me at least 2 solid years to be able to examine my own cultural matrix objectively (Judaism). I did something that few do or have done (I mean MOT’s): I investigated it hyper-critically. So, it is not that I have not and cannot turn the critical lens around. And one SHOULD turn the critical lens around.

    But you get in a huff because at your core you are truly self-righteous! That is a core tenet, a metaphysical assumption, of Americanism! I am not criticising it, but I do understand it from an outside position.

  15. Emily wrote: “In that sense, Chavez *was* the elite, and obviously not the best leader. The potential assassin may not have had popular support, but he could easily have been disenfranchized– the opposite of elite.

    “You talk about wanting the best technocrat for the job. The only point here, both in the original post and from Zoltar, is that only decent criteria we’ve found for selecting the “best” technocrats is letting the people decide who they want to lead them — whether that person was “elite” (already one of the powerful people) or not. That doesn’t always work, but it’s better than the alternatives, and the track record for the “elite” and non-elite choices of the people are pretty similar over the world.”
    __________________

    I fundamentally disagree with you if we are speaking about ‘my neck of the woods’. I think it is different when one speaks of Europe and possibly also the US and maybe anyplace where a mature polity exists, one capable of reasoned thinking, and one willing to do it. Myself, I think the best option is a strict conservatism but I don’t think it is popular.

    The tecnocratic class, in Latin America, is not elected but rather it is assigned to duty. Especially the ones who have been trained in the US and have lived and experienced living and carrying on in a sane, organized environment, they hanker to bring it back and to instill those possibilities on a less fertile soil. Its thrice the work. It becomes a joint effort, a joint vision. This spirit of renovation and restructuring is very strong as I said in Colombia. Like it or not, the ‘real rulers’ of Colombia are a very powerful group of wealthy families. Yet they also have vision. The state almost dissolved and almost failed, but it came back from the brink.

    Chavez was a usurper, a political trickster, but very charismatic. They had him in prison after his coup in ’92. Were he to have been eliminated in 2002 things would be much much beter now. They should have killed him (horrible though it is to say) and dealt with the popular reprecussions. They feared the people I suppose.

    It is not a disenfranchized that should have done it but the very elite of Venezuela. They should have pulled a counter-coup and a rather draconian repression-period. Sorry. These are the hard and tough fact.

    Thanks for commenting. My head aches.

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